On the road, Levin pitches aid upgrade

Yale may seem to be a magnet for media attention, but seducing that media is not easy.

In the cases of Yale’s endowment announcement last week and for its financial aid announcement on Monday, the University did not merely send out a news release to reporters. Yale President Richard Levin also hit the road to stump for coverage from some of America’s largest newspapers, traveling hundreds of miles for the cause.

Last week, because the endowment announcement was of particular interest to many in the financial sector, Levin traveled to New York to meet with editors and reporters at the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News and The New York Times as he unveiled his announcement, officials said.

Then, this weekend, Levin traveled to Washington to talk up the financial aid announcement. This time, he met with editors and reporters at the Washington Post and USA Today.

The Washington audience was important, officials said, because of the pressure American universities have received in recent months from Congress, which has pushed schools like Yale to spend more of their endowment riches on financial aid. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the leading force in Congress on the issue of aid, released a statement praising Yale’s announcement less than an hour after the University unveiled its initiative.

That was not a coincidence, Director of Public Affairs Helaine Klasky said. Yale officials had reached out to his office, too, before the announcement.

Two days after the announcement, the University is not finished with its efforts to spread the word about the financial aid news. A news release about the changes is in the process of being translated into several languages, Klasky said, so that more foreign news outlets will be able to pick up the story.

Why all the effort? Simple:

“This was a really important announcement,” Klasky said.

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