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Is it an Announcement or is it an NIU Today story?

September 28, 2017

Sharing your information through the right channels for the most impact

This fall, we undertook a concerted effort to create a clear delineation between the purposes of the Monday Morning Announcements email and NIU Today, with the latter being more narrowly defined as feature stories that celebrate and highlight the people, places and things that make NIU an amazing place to work or pursue a higher education.

NIU Today stories showcase initiatives and developments that relate to values in support of the university’s mission and vision; outstanding research by faculty and students; and major all-university events such as Homecoming and the Diversity Dialogues. NIU Today stories usually feature quotes from an NIU administrator, employee or student about the impact of the program, event or initiative.

We often hear that employees want to know our latest points of pride or what their “elevator speech” should be. What should they say to someone who asks, “How do you like working at NIU?” or “What’s new at NIU?” With that in mind, we began emailing NIU Today to all employees twice a week, and each issue includes stories as well as information we can all be proud of, found in Accolades, NIU in the News, Huskie Spotlight, Applaud a Colleague and more.  We added a social sharing mechanism at the top of each post to make it easier to share with friends and followers through social channels.

We also removed NIU Today as an option in the Clearinghouse so that stories and story ideas can be submitted directly to our editors through [email protected].

If there’s a person or a program on campus that you think we should profile in NIU Today, let us know. We’re always looking for story ideas. You don’t have to write them; just bring them to our attention, and we’ll take it from there. We work closely with the college communications managers and directors who are professional writers. They regularly submit stories to NIU Today, and you can contact them if you have a story idea to pitch from their area.

If you submit a story for NIU Today that doesn’t meet these new criteria, we will recommend that it run as an Announcement or we will advise on – or offer to – further develop the announcement into a full feature story for NIU Today.

Announcements are just that. They provide a formal notice of an event, deadline or service. Announcements should be 200 words or less, feature a title, one paragraph of information and a link for additional information on a website or the NIU calendar. Monday Morning Announcements are submitted through the NIU Clearinghouse and are due by 4:30 p.m. the Thursday prior.

To give announcements a home outside of your mailbox, we started posting them on the Web & Internal Communications website. You can now find Announcements for the entire semester at

Later this semester, we will launch a new NIU online calendar that features a better design and organization. The new calendar will be easier to use to share and find information about your events through your website, the Announcements and the featured events in NIU Today. Once the calendar is live, we will no longer run paragraphs of text about events in the Monday Morning Announcements. Instead, they will be included in a “Featured Events” column so that all of the relevant information about those events exists in one easy-to-update location and is just a click away. All of the events in the current calendar will be migrated over to the new calendar. We’ll keep you posted on the timeline for that transition.

We realize that there have been many exciting changes, and we’re happy to provide further clarification or discuss the right channels for your information. We also welcome the opportunity to talk to departments, programs and organizations about all of the channels available for promoting your specific services and events on campus. For more information, contact Jennice O’Brien, senior director for Web & Internal Communications, at [email protected] or (815) 753-1682.