Public Relations Writing: Lesson #6 - p. 3

The PSA and the Broadcast Release

PSAs and broadcast releases have almost nothing in common -- except that each is written for broadcast, and each fits on one page. Public service announcements are openly promotional pitches, submitted to radio and television broadcasters in the hope that they'll be aired as a public service. Broadcast releases, like other press releases, are news items, to be treated journalistically (objectively), with a strong news angle (and yet, also, an eye for entertainment value -- an important consideration for broadcasters.)

There are also format differences -- Take a look at these two examples here. I've found that it's useful to show students an overview, as well as detailed information, so you know how to spot the difference between a PSA and a broadcast release at a glance:

[PSA image] [Broadcast release image]

Notice some similarities and differences between these two types of broadcast writing

Characteristic Public Service Announcement Broadcast Release
One page Yes Yes
Doublespaced Yes/No* Yes
Paragraphs One solid block of text Yes
Caps/Lower Case Caps Only Caps/Lower Case
Begin/End* Yes Yes
Written to be read Yes Yes
Timing provided Yes No
Writing style Almost ad copy Journalistic
Call to action Always Implicit

Go on to the next page for more information on the contents of this chart. In addition to basic information, there are some ambiguities (marked with an asterisk*) that I'll clarify for you.

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