Public Relations Writing: Lesson #10 - p. 5

Take a fresh look at any one of the Message Planners you've done for this course.

Does it include all the elements? -- in other words, not just the Key Ideas we've been talking about here, but the 5 W's, Angle, Message and other essentials? Some students have not done a full-fledged Message Planner.

Are the Key Ideas relevant, well-sourced, complete, organized? If not, you need to spend some time completing your research -- it's more than a matter of throwing some facts in the air.

What's the headline? Give this some thought -- it can help you 'spin' the story to have a sense of the headline as you work to develop your message.

What's the visual? Do you have a clear idea of what you'd like to see on TV in connection with this story... or as the photo on the front page?

Finally, remember, we want to make news!    We know we're going to be in the business or education section of the newspaper with the "Flipped" story -- and that's good, because we want to attract entrepreneurs (even though that's not the principal objective of the Product Release). The "Evita" opening will get into the showtimes, of course. But that's easy. The point is, we also want to attract general readers -- the people who are going to be buying that natural gas for their cars, or tickets to the play. That means it's not enough to get into the business section or the amusements pages -- any secretary can send a note around to the media with a press kit and do that -- we want to get onto the front page... and that's going to take a sharp news angle, and a fresh, compelling message.

For this lesson I want you to do some basic research to help inform your press releases. Your choice – pick "From the Heart," or "Jessica Haddaway," or "Evita" or the "Flipped" release – and craft a paragraph based on original research for that subject. Perhaps it will be statistics on the number of homeless in the U.S., or in the state of Illinois... perhaps a comparison of the country's largest philanthropic institutions (where does the fictional Armitage Hall rank?)... perhaps current information on natural gas... You can weave the new paragraph into your rewrite for any one of the releases, but what I want you to do this week is send me the research data you have found, along with a citation (Web link).

Keep up the good work,

Alton Miller
amiller@colum.edu

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