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Media and Spokesperson Policy


In accordance with its core purpose, mission and vision, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a policy of open, proactive and highly professional communication with the nation's news media to position the Academy and registered dietitian nutritionists as the most credible source for timely, science-based food and nutrition information.

In furtherance of this aim, the Academy:

  • Coordinates all media activity through the Communications Team at the national headquarters.
  • Maintains a network of volunteer media Academy Spokespeople who represent the organization in local and national media markets.
  • Empowers Academy leaders to speak on the Academy’s behalf in specific media opportunities as appropriate.
  • Administers a tiered learning program consisting of media trainings, skills reviews and briefings on nutrition, health, policy, technology and other professional topics.
  • Provides media relations guidance to state media representatives as appropriate.
  • Enforces guidelines to ensure Academy Spokespeople do not have actual or perceived conflicts of interest that may call into question their credibility or ability to serve as unbiased sources of information for the news media.

Guidelines and Procedures for the Spokesperson Program

  1. Qualifications
    In order to be considered for the Program, candidates should:
    • Be an Academy member and a registered dietitian nutritionist.
    • Demonstrate strong communications skills, a positive demeanor and prior experience in working with the news media (television, radio, print, online).
    • Be knowledgeable in evidence-based nutrition and health research, trending food and nutrition topics, and Academy messaging, positions and evidence-based guidelines.
    • Be free of conflicts of interest (see Conflicts of Interest).
    • Have sufficient flexibility in schedule for required media training, interviews, preparation and occasional travel and other assignments.
    • Promote and/or attend local or national Academy events and activities.
    • Maintain a working computer, mobile device with video capability and a private email address (work, school, government or public agency addresses are not permitted).
    • Be proficient in social media best practices and be professionally active on at least two platforms.
  2. Selection Process
    • Spokesperson positions become available annually according to media demand for a specific practice area, topical knowledge or experience in serving or representing diverse communities. Positions are posted in the fall and are open for no less than 2 months. Members invited to join the Academy Spokesperson program are notified in spring.
    • To ensure fairness and impartiality in the selection process, Academy Spokesperson applications are confidential.
    • Applicants are evaluated by key staff and leaders on work experience, professional accomplishments, experience in news media, social media engagement, and capacity to meet performance benchmarks.
    • Applicants are also evaluated to determine whether existing business and professional interests, commitments, obligations and relationships constitute a conflict of interest (or the appearance of one) with the responsibilities of an Academy Spokesperson.
    • Spokespeople are appointed for three-year terms; those who apply for an additional term are evaluated by the Academy Communications Team per success in meeting performance standards.
  3. Performance Standards
    An Academy Spokesperson must meet the following performance standards.
    • Maintain a professional work ethic.
      • Demonstrate integrity in all professional and personal actions per the Code of Ethics for the Nutrition and Dietetics Profession.
      • Project a positive, professional image that uplifts the profession and fellow practitioners.
      • Provide accurate, evidence-based information when acting as a source for the media, the public and Academy members or any other audience.
    • Follow Academy Spokesperson media interview guidelines.
      • Always identify self as an RDN/RD and Academy Spokesperson.
      • Consistently position the registered dietitian nutritionist as the authority on food and nutrition.
      • Convey the Academy’s positive food and nutrition philosophies and messages.
      • Maintain steady level of quality media activity throughout the year, including pitching stories, responding to media requests and completing at least 36 unique placements per year.
    • Perform assigned tasks.
      • Attend and be fully prepared for mandatory trainings and meetings, and make every effort to participate regular professional growth and skill-building activities.
      • Submit media activity reports upon request in a timely manner.
      • Participate in semi-annual performance assessments.
  4. Term
    • An Academy Spokesperson serves a three-year term. A Spokesperson wishing to serve a second term must resubmit an application. There may be occasion in which an Academy Spokesperson is invited to apply for a third term in a distinctive role that recognizes and leverages exceptional knowledge or advanced media skills in niche topics, public policy or research, extending their service for up to an additional three years.
    • No person will continue in the Program beyond nine consecutive years of service unless by special appointment.
  5. Special Appointments
    • At the Academy’s discretion, a former Spokesperson’s representation status may be reactivated to conduct media interviews on behalf of the Academy. In such case, the individual is identified as an Academy Spokesperson for that interview and is bound by the same policies and ethical principles that apply to active Academy Spokespersons.
  6. Conflicts of Interest
    • The public and media must have confidence in the integrity and credibility of the Academy and its Spokespeople. It shall be a conflict of interest for an Academy Spokesperson to:
      • Be a spokesperson for any other food, nutrition or health association, company, product or service.
      • Be quoted in industry press releases, give industry testimonials or promote specific branded products or services via social media, satellite media tours, videos, news releases, presentations or any public forum.
      • Attend industry-sponsored tours, publicity events or trainings without prior, written authorization by the Academy.
      • Work for a public relations or marketing firm, a food producer/manufacturer, a trade association, or any other entity where their responsibilities could expose confidential Academy information, media strategy, or create the perception of bias or divulgence of trade secrets.
      • Accept remuneration or compensation of any kind by any third party for work as an Academy Spokesperson.
    • An Academy Spokesperson must immediately disclose in writing to the Communications team any activity or situation that arises and that which could potentially be considered a conflict. Conflict of interest inquiries will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
  7. Enforcement and Resolution
    • An Academy Spokesperson who violates this policy shall be advised in writing and given the opportunity to respond to the violation and remove the violation within 30 days. The response will be reviewed by the Board of Directors’ Executive Committee. If the violation is not resolved to the satisfaction of the Academy, the Spokesperson shall be removed from the Program by written communication from the Executive Committee.

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