Public Information and External Relations

Rev. 07/11
  1. Public Information and Media Relations
  2. Use of Laboratory Name in Advertising
  3. Use of Photographs in Laboratory's Image Library Web Site
  4. Laboratory Tours and Visits
    1. General Public and Organization Tours
    2. University and High School Tours
    3. Distinguished Guests
    4. Employees' Guests
  5. Federal, State Government, and Community Relations
  6. Contacts with State and Federal Officials



It is the policy of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) that its scientific achievements and associated events and accomplishments are an important source of news for communicating the value, identity, and visibility of the Laboratory. This information is made available to the media and to internal and external audiences, including the general public, through the Communications and Media Relations (CMR) unit. Public information documents prepared for general audiences about or on behalf of the Laboratory should be developed in consultation with CMR to maintain accuracy and coherence in representing the Laboratory.

Laboratory divisions and employees who identify items of potential public interest should contact CMR to discuss their prospective use for news or promotional purposes. CMR will propose appropriate vehicles for dissemination and prepare the information materials accordingly. CMR disseminates news about the Laboratory to external audiences through news releases, brochures and leaflets, and the online sources. Information for employees is furnished internally through the Berkeley Lab News Center and Today at Berkeley Lab. A specified approval process is followed for news releases to ensure accuracy and validity, including final approval by division directors and the Laboratory Director. For more information, contact the Department Head of Public Affairs.

Laboratory contacts with the news media should be coordinated through CMR, which handles requests for information and interviews from print, broadcast, and online media; arranges special media events (i.e., news conferences, photography, TV/radio coverage); and originates or coordinates media-related contacts for Laboratory activities. CMR may arrange for media representatives to interview Laboratory staff directly, in which case a communications specialist may be present or may participate.

Laboratory staff who are independently approached by reporters should advise CMR before the interview. Questions regarding the appropriateness or content of an interview, or requests to set up such an interview, should be forwarded to the Manager of CMR. When employees give opinions as independent professionals, they must state clearly that they are speaking for themselves and not on behalf of the Laboratory or the University of California. Official statements to the media on behalf of the Laboratory as a whole should be developed in coordination with CMR. The Manager of CMR serves as the Laboratory spokesperson or coordinator for official public announcements.

Specialists from CMR are also available to assist in preparation and training for news interviews, to assist with the development of materials for public interest and public presentations, and to review the design of general-interest publications.


Commercial firms serving the Laboratory often request permission to use the name of the Laboratory in promoting their products. The Laboratory follows University and Department of Energy policies and California state law, which restrict such use. All such requests should be referred to the Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Companies that have licensed Laboratory intellectual property such as patented inventions, software, or biological materials sometimes make similar requests. Laboratory license agreements contain specific provisions governing a licensee's use of the Laboratory name. All such requests should be referred to the Head of Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Management.


The photographs in the Laboratory's online Image Library may be downloaded for use by the news media or for educational or scientific purposes. In all cases, published credit must be given to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

These images may not be used for commercial purposes, except as referenced above. The Laboratory will consider and respond to written requests for specific usage. Queries regarding prints, permission, and acceptable usage of these images should be directed to the Manager of CMR.


Visits on Laboratory official business are arranged by the host departments or divisions. Site Access must be informed of all guests.

1. General Public and Organization Tours

The Laboratory hosts unofficial visits from educational, scientific, and technical groups. These may be arranged by individual departments or divisions with the Department of Public Affairs. The Department of Public Affairs also arranges tours for the general public on a regular basis. All visits must be scheduled and conducted in such a way that they do not interrupt Laboratory work.

2. University and High School Tours

Tours for schools are scheduled through the Center for Science and Engineering Education (CSEE) and are conducted to minimize interference with Laboratory work. Tours for school groups are limited to middle and high school students and are arranged with CSEE staff by the teacher or another school official.

3. Distinguished Guests

Arrangements for a tour of the Laboratory for distinguished guests are generally made by the Department of Public Affairs Protocol Officer with assistance from senior staff members. CMR should be informed before the visits so it can plan for internal or external publicity, if appropriate.

4. Employees' Guests

Employees are permitted to guide small groups of relatives or friends (preferably not more than five) through the Laboratory as long as their visit will not interfere with employees' or Laboratory work. These visits should be scheduled on a weekend or holiday to minimize disturbance of Laboratory operations. It is preferable that children not be brought to the Laboratory. When this is not avoidable, however, the children must be kept with the party and under strict control.


  1. Public Participation. Berkeley Lab encourages open and honest public participation and an informed public to foster public trust, develop credibility, and ensure public involvement in its decision-making process. Public participation is enhanced through open communication and participation in state, national, and international activities.
  2. Community Involvement. The Laboratory supports and encourages its employees to be involved independently in community and civic activities. Employees wishing to explore opportunities should contact the Department of Public Affairs.


Employees may not act or give the appearance of acting on behalf of the Laboratory or the University when communicating with state or federal officials unless they are authorized to do so.

When corresponding with state and federal officials, Laboratory employees may use Laboratory letterhead only when the writer is authorized to represent the Laboratory or the University of California. Letters expressing personal views must be written on personal stationery using non-Laboratory resources. If Laboratory letterhead is used for corresponding with principal state and federal officials (including Executive Branch appointees, members of Congress, the state Legislature, and their staffs), copies of the correspondence must be sent to the appropriate division director and the Department Head of Public Affairs.

When employees give opinions as independent professionals, they must state clearly that they are speaking for themselves and not on behalf of the Laboratory or the University of California. See Section A (Public Information and Media Relations) above.

Printed . The official or current version is located in the online LBNL Requirements and Policies Manual.
Printed or electronically transmitted copies are not official. Users are responsible for working with the latest approved revision.

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