Events making network news can help your university get big mileage on the local TV station. Working with a university affords invaluable opportunity to showcase your experts to a local and possibly state and national audience. Let's worry about engaging the local media for now. If the local paper or electronic media takes your story, it's picked up by the national wire services or on a network feed, which in turn will give it national exposure (This is a very simple, quick analysis of the process, by the way.). Suffice it to say your engagement should start locally.
Finding a fan of current events will go a long way in getting exposure for a university. Unlike a Fortune 500 company that markets roofing material and insulation, for example, a university is choc full of experts in all sorts of fields. An earthquake in Haiti - get your geography and geology experts lined up. A massive recall by Toyota - get your economy, business, or labor experts on the phone. Newscasts that last at least an hour are great for these experts. The newspaper loves these experts to provide necessary background information.
Watch and read the news, then make your pitch.