VA Tech preps students, staff for spike in coverage

BLACKSBURG, VA: Virginia Tech readied staff and students for the press attention they got at the start of the school year by prepping them with expected questions and talking points.

BLACKSBURG, VA: Virginia Tech readied staff and students for the press attention they got at the start of the school year by prepping them with expected questions and talking points.

Larry Hincker, AVP for university relations, said the e-mail briefing sent to the college community was similar to the one issued when school resumed after the April 16 shootings that left 33 dead, including the gunman, Seung-Hui Cho.

"It reminded them to be honest, and we had a little bit of brand messaging in there," Hincker said. "We wanted [to encourage] them to talk about Hokie spirit."

Burson-Marsteller was hired by the school three weeks after the shootings, but the firm did not assist with this outreach.

Mark Owczarski, the school's director of news and information, said the most covered day was August 19, the day of the victims memorial dedication.

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