On Wednesday Oct. 14 members gathered in Franklin Hall with their laptops to learn helpful tips on writing a press release. Professor Tim Roberts led the session by explaining the importance of getting your message across and the basic structure of a news release.
Professor Roberts’s first PowerPoint explained two types of messages public relations people focus on when writing a news release, core messages and secondary messages. Your core message should be the most important message you want your publics to remember or the key take-aways. Professor Roberts provided two examples of secondary messaging, perceptional and defensive. Perceptional messaging’s sole purpose is to improve the image of an organization. Defensive or pre-emptive messages counteract anticipated negative reaction or diffuse a negative situation.
Professor Roberts told the room it is important to make your messages clear, concise and to the point because “your client is going to forget about 95 percent of the things you say the next day.”
During the workshop Professor Roberts reviewed news release basics, which many attendees remembered from their multimedia newswriting class. Press releases, like any news release story, are written in subjective inverted pyramid style. Professor Roberts explained that this is because the more conformed your stories are to journalistic style, the less chance of a reporter or editor cutting it.
Professor Roberts explained that press releases should be written in the following format:
Some key points he stressed to keep in mind when writing a press release were:
At the end of the workshop students were given an assignment to help practice writing press releases. Students interested in doing the assignment or any other questions regarding this workshop can contact Tim Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org