PR….to the next level

This story from The Washington Post about the aftermath of the Newtown shootings is tough to read. But pay special attention to the PR strategy/coaching details in it.

Some good advice here for those interested in PR. All about trust and relationships.

Edit this press release

COLUMBUS, Ohio, July. 10, 2012— Are you witty? Do you act on a whim? Do other people laugh at your jokes besides yourself? If this sounds like you, 8th Floor Improv Comedy Group could be what you need to develop your natural talent and have fun doing it.

Other than being hysterically funny and extremely well known on Ohio State University’s campus, 8th Floor Improv offers students the opportunity to practice comedy live. ‘Improv’ stands for improvisational comedy, which is a type of comedy where the people in the group act or speak based on their immediate response or how they feel in the moment.

 

 The group currently has 15 members, but holds open auditions in early fall and spring for students interested in joining.

 

“I was a little bit afraid to audition in the fall of my second year, but I went for it,” said Rainey Fleming, a fourth-year student in strategic communications and member of the group. “During auditions, we look for people who are having fun up there and can laugh at themselves.”

 

Auditions are open to anyone to try out and no experience is necessary. Even most of the current members had never practiced improv until their auditions.

 

“Making the group has given me a great opportunity to expand my horizons in comedy,” said Flening. “If I hadn’t finally auditioned, I probably would still just be talking to my friends about how I wanted to do comedy instead of actually doing it.”

 

From witty banter, to skits and suggestions from the audience, 8th Floor Improv keeps their fans continuously laughing when they perform once a month in the U.S. Bank Conference Theatre in the Ohio Union. The shows are a must-see for any student interested in pursuing comedy.

 

“We offer something that no other group in Columbus or Ohio offers in terms of long-form improv,” said Eddie Greenblat, a 4th-year student majoring in history and president of the group. “Every time you come to a show, you will see different material.”

 

Aside from laughs, Eighth Floor Improv frequently travels to locations across the country to demonstrate their talents, including Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New York City and more.

 

“The group has changed my life by offering me so many different opportunities,” said Greenblat. “It’s an absolute blast, I love it.”

 

About:

 

8th Floor Improv Comedy Group was founded in the winter of 2004 and is now a leading comedy group in Columbus, Ohio. The group is comprised of Ohio State University students who all share a passion for comedy and making people laugh. The group performs monthly in the U.S. Bank Conference Theater of the Ohio Union. The group frequently travels across the country to participate in improv festivals and demonstrate their talents. The group currently has 17 members and is always eager to find new talent.

 

Contact:
Jane Doe

8675309

 

PR time!!

Some examples of press releases for various things. Notice what they have in common: headlines/formatting; easy to find contact information; informative “About” sections; multimedia elements; timeliness. What else do you see?

This is pretty interesting. What do you think?

Broadcast assignment specifics

Due Monday, July 8.

Full script written in broadcast style must be on your blog.

Must come in between 55 seconds and 1:05 to receive full credit.

Must either read it live in class or provide a link to video on your blog. If you choose the recorded version, you must let me know in advance and be prepared to talk about the process of making it.

Must touch on at least 3 of these areas: politics, weather, sports, entertainment, national news, international news, local OSU news.

Must be real and factual. Nothing made up.

Include transitions. Have fun with them, but remember: boring and accurate is better than sensational but wrong. Here is a list of ways a consultant says TV news can capture attention.

Give credit where it is due if you cite an exclusive story of some kind.

Pronunciation counts! Be sure to pronounce all names, etc. correctly. Failing to do so is like spelling the name wrong in print.

Focus areas for Profile re-writes! B-cast writing basics.

Interesting profile here about a young skateboarding/X Games/endorsement magnet. What is it really about?

Rewrites can be 600-700 words.  Must have 4 sources in story and at least 3 must be quoted directly. Don’t forget 2 printed copies on Monday!

1. Get rid of opinion.
2. No first- or second-person writing. That means don’t use I, me, we, our, you, us, etc. unless in a direct quote.
3. AP style.
4. Follow directions.
5. Avoid this construction: When asked about….When asked why.  Turn the sentence around to state the fact and the avoid the long wind-up. Readers know you asked questions, they want answers.
6. Attribute everything!
7. Edit ruthlessly. Way too many errors in fact.
8. Make sure profile focuses on the main person, not a couple or a business or a team or anything except the main person.
9. Spell checking is NOT editing. It “defiantly” is not editing!

10. You are all nice, smart people, BUT GET RID OF ALL OPINION LIKE THAT IN YOUR PROFILE RE-WRITES.

These are very basic rules for broadcast-style writing. As you’ll see, many of them have been adopted when different people and groups write for the Web, blog, etc.

1. Use active, strong verbs and the present tense is OK if it flows properly in context.

2. Attribution comes first. Joe Doe says….. In print style, we usually put attribution at the end: Blah, blah, blah, said Joe Doe.

3. Phonetic spellings of complex names/words. My last name might look like this on a broadcast sheet: Kat-er-in-eek-ee-uh

4. Short, simple sentences. Even more important in broadcast because someone is reading these words/sentences aloud on camera, into a mic, etc.

5. Rarely use direct quotes. If you must, keep them short, even 2-3 words instead of a complete sentence.