Press Release Checklist Item #7

This short item is from the Press Release Checklist,
a list of common problems with PR writing assignments.

Baskerville Old Face #7

A message that isn't complete -- I can always tell when a student hasn't been paying attention when I read a partial message on the Message Planner. The whole point of the Message Planner, remember, is to focus your message. By the time you get to the end of your pre-writing you should have a message of two sentences (but sometimes three, and occasionally just one) that says it all. The test of a good message is that it contains all the information you would expect to hear in a succinct radio news summary. That means it will include most or all of the 5 W's, and it will emphasize the angle -- whatever makes it news and not simply information. You can't assume the reader (or the listener) knows anything about your story, so you have to simultaneously tell them what it's about and also why it matters. If the 5 W's are the essential facts, the message is the complete story in a nutshell. Do it right, and your lead paragraph will write itself. Do it wrong, and you'll be limping all the way.