Use of Name When Acting in a Johns Hopkins Capacity In News Coverage


Johns Hopkins Medicine encourages the use of the Johns Hopkins name by recognized and legitimate news organizations, as well as appropriate proactive and reactive relationships with news media.

The Media Relations and Public Affairs group, which is part of Johns Hopkins Medicine Marketing and Communications, is faculty and staff's official Johns Hopkins Medicine link to national, local and international press, and broadcast and online media.

Requests for information, interviews or other press activities that come directly to faculty and staff from accredited news organizations, including newspapers, magazines, television, radio and online news services, should be referred or directed to Media Relations staff.

Appropriate use example
A science reporter for the New York Times attends the annual Society of Neuroscience meeting. She is particularly interested in Dr. Major's presentation of her recent research on autism, which is the subject of a published paper and a press release issued by Johns Hopkins Medicine Media Relations and Public Affairs group. The reporter asks Dr. Major for an interview after the presentation and writes a story. After the story is published, ABC News contacts Media Relations and Public Affairs and asks to interview Dr. Major for an unrelated story on autism research done at Stanford.

Analysis: The New York Times interview was appropriate, as was the follow-up request from ABC to interview Dr. Major.

Decision: Media Relations and Public Affairs staff coordinated the ABC interview.

Inappropriate use example
The request:
A multinational pharmaceutical company launches a new product to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and as part of its promotional activities organizes print, Web-based and broadcast press interviews for consumers to "educate" them about therapeutic options. The company engages a public relations firm that asks Dr. Suarez, associate professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins and an expert on ADHD, to participate in the interviews.

Analysis: Public relations firms hired by pharmaceutical companies frequently present such opportunities to Johns Hopkins faculty as educational activity and may or may not offer payment, travel expenses, honoraria or a donation to the faculty member's lab or gift fund for participation. The companies also may organize seminars for financial analysts. They may tell the faculty member he need not mention the name of the product or company during the presentation. There may indeed be an educational aspect to such an activity, but no matter how the company couches this activity, it constitutes promotion of the new treatment and the company. The presence of Dr. Suarez constitutes an implied if not explicit endorsement of either the treatment for ADHD or the company's business operations. News media are generally very aware that these activities are paid for and organized by the pharmaceutical company and are skeptical of faculty willing to participate in them. There are myriad ways for companies to provide information to the public without using the "Johns Hopkins halo."

Decision: This use of Johns Hopkins faculty and name were not permitted.