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Public Relations Writing
Summer 2016 Lesson Schedule

Week One May 23 - May 29

Lesson One: PR Writing Basics

Journalistic writing and "news style," the 5 W's, the inverted pyramid, identifying the facts of the story... the challenge of writing for "three masters"... the role of PR in today's information marketplace. Assignment: Press release for "Westland" assignment due Sunday, May 29; feedback/edits returned Wed.

Week Two May 30 - June 5

Lesson Two: Writing for Editors

The news angle... the role of the editor... importance of narrative... what do editors look for in a story? the press release and media alert format... The Message Planner: pre-writing, writing, and re-writing. Assignment: Press release & Message Planner for "Evita" due Thursday, June 2; feedback/edits returned Fri.

Lesson Three: Pre-writing and Planning your Message

Exploring the message planner... outlining, clustering, organizing the information... "Why," "How," and the Key Ideas... where do quotes come from? ... Types of lead paragraph: the "delayed lead" ... Assignment: Press release & Message Planner for "Feature" due Sunday, June 5; feedback/edits returned Mon. or Tues.

Week Three June 6 - June 12

Lesson Four: Types of Press Release

Various types of press release, and how they work together ... press campaigns promoting arts and other events... focus on the special requirements of the Product Release. Assignment: Press release & Message Planner for "Natgo" due Thursday, June 9; feedback/edits returned Thurs.

Lesson Five: Pitching the Story

Memos, pitch letters and confirmation letters... Doing your media personality research... How you might manage to "script" the print or broadcast interview... Personalizing your contact with the media. Assignment: Pitch Letter & Confirmation Letter (with Message Planner) due Sunday, June 12; feedback/edits returned Mon. or Tues.

Week Four June 13 - June 19

Lesson Six: Broadcast Release & PSA

Four principal vehicles for broadcast publicity... differences in writing for the ear vs. the eye... basic principles of writing for the ear, and formats for the broadcast release & PSA. Assignment: PSA & Broadcast Release (with Message Planner) due Thursday, June 16; feedback/edits returned Thurs.

Lesson Seven: Video News Releases and Radio Actualities

VNRs, filmscripts, presentations, visual treatments... how do news outlets use your PR submissions.. new technologies in PR. Assignment: Script treatment and Working Script due Sunday, June 19; feedback/edits returned Thurs.

Week Five June 20 - June 26

Lesson Eight: MIDTERM

Students should review past work, and the Press Release Checklist, before doing the midterm exercise. This exercise is essentially just another release assignment (the last one in the semester, not counting the final exam.) Doing this assignment within a self-monitored three-hour deadline will help students do well on the final exam in July. Assignment: Midterm release plus two delayed leads & Message Planner due Thursday, June 23. feedback/edits returned as soon as possible.

Begin Rewrites: Westland & Media Alert rewrites will be received Wed., June 22. Evita rewrites will be received Sun., June 26.

Week Six June 27 - July 3

Lesson Nine: Alternative PR Channels & Techniques

Soft news and buzz... spreading the word through varied channels. Assignment: Feature (Lowden Park) rewrites will be received Wed., June 29. Also: read assigned online text material and be prepared for quiz/exam testing.

Lesson Ten: Research and Fact-Finding

How public relations professionals are using the Internet... Web-based challenges and opportunities. Writing for Web sites. . Assignment: Product (Natgo) rewrites will be received Sun., July 3. Also: read assigned online text material and be prepared for quiz/exam testing.

*Week Seven July 4 - July 10

Lesson Eleven: Planning Memos, Backgrounders, & other PR Communications

Public relations writing for internal audiences. Writing backgrounders, position papers and other longer pieces for different publics. Also, discussion of advertising for the PR professional... developing a concept and a visual... stages of creativity. Assignment: Midterm rewrites will be received Wed., July 6. also: read assigned online text material and be prepared for quiz/exam testing.

Lesson Twelve: Speeches and Presentations

Types of speeches... the mechanics of organization... making brief remarks, presentations, formal speeches. Assignment: PSA rewrites will be received Sun., July 10. also: read assigned online text material and be prepared for quiz/exam testing.

Week Eight July 11 - July 17

Lesson Thirteen: PR Writing and the Web

How public relations professionals are using the Internet... Web-based challenges and opportunities. Writing for Web sites. Assignment: Pitch Confirmation rewrites will be received Wed., July 13. Also: read assigned online text material and be prepared for quiz/exam testing.

Lesson Fourteen: Public Relations Campaign Design

Developing the outline of a PR campaign and communicating your ideas to different publics... different types of media kit. Assignment: No rewrites necessary for Video News Release, a pass/fail assignment; just include your last best version in as part of your portfolio. Now, Prepare for Final Exam.

Final Exam July 15 - 17

Lesson Fifteen: Final Exam

Multiple choice test based on readings and a writing exercise. Online students will be allowed three hours to complete a timed exam, Saturday or Sunday morning, as you prefer. Assignment: complete the final exam within your final deadline (three hours after your start time. Email final portfolio documents (not including Final Exam) no later than midnight Sunday, July 17.