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The Media Alert

    You prepare a media alert to notify assignment editors of a press conference, or any other event that you believe will generate news for the media to cover. It is always one page, brief but compelling, and sufficiently informative to arouse interest, usually (but not necessarily) without giving away the story. It should make clear that there are visual opportunities for TV cameras and print photographers.

    New PR students often make the mistake of writing a press release that announces an upcoming press conference, instead of "reporting" on the press conference. Keep these distinctions in mind:

    • A media alert will trumpet an upcoming event (press conference, grand opening, groundbreaking, significant speech, photo op, etc.). Naturally, you would never distribute a media alert at a press conference -- the media is already there with you!
    • A press release is written in the style of news coverage, as the story you would like to see written after your media event has taken place. Its lead is, essentially, the sound bite you'd like to hear on the afternoon drive-time radio... and on the TV news tonight. If you could have your wish, the press release is the story that would be featured on the front page of tomorrow's newspaper, with a big fat photo. It is always written from the point of view that the announcement has already taken place, or that the news event is now ongoing. Thus --
      • Mayor Cline today announced a new initiative ... or
      • The Cline administration is taking legal action to ... etc.
    • A press release is always wrong if it says something like, "Mayor Jimmy Cline will appear at a press conference today where he will announce..." Remember, the press release is what you distribute at the press conference -- the reporters are already there in the room with you.

Media Alert Format

(leave room for your letterhead)

Media Alert

Who Mayor Jimmy Cline, together with Dr. Arnold Bevins, Commissioner of Economic Development and Bernard J. Haskins, Chief Architect and CEO of the architectural firm of Ogilvy, Wollman and Hubben

What The mayor's economic development team will make a major announcement concerning development of land formerly owned by the county at Two Day Road and I-69, just within the city limits.

Where The announcement will be made on site, on the north end of the parcel. Those using I-69 exit 405 (approaching from north or south) will see the colorful green and white tent on the left (south) side of the ramp past the toll booth. Those approaching from town on Two Day Road will see the tent on their left. Parking will be clearly marked. Note: no electric power is available on site.

When Monday, March 6, at 11:00 p.m. A luncheon buffet will be served from 11:00 to 11:30. The press conference will begin at 11:30 promptly. The mayor and other participants will be available for live TV and radio interviews beginning at about noon.

Why Mayor Jimmy Cline was reelected on a platform of development. His "Blueprint for Progress" included plans for expansion of light industry and retail commerce from the Orizon River to the interstate. This press conference will be the first in a series of important announcements concerning progress in this effort.

Contact Press office: Jennifer Burton, Press Secretary, or Hugh Stevens, Depty. Press Secretary, at 309-345-8900