You should already have chosen an event, started to learn about it and contacted key people to interview. If you haven’t, or if your event has fallen through for one reason or another, here’s a way to salvage the assignment: find a local farmer’s market. They’re all over the place, and very trendy as people look for local, fresh food. If it’s a weekend farmer’s market, go to this weekend’s event to experience it and talk to participants: buyers, sellers, organizers. Gather the info you need for your press release. Then, go back next week to cover it as a news story for the next assignment. Your press release can include information (from good web sources) about the growth of farmer’s markets, local food sourcing, etc.
Now, let’s talk about actually writing the assignment.
We’ll start with the basics. You will be writing PR -public relations – rather than news. In news, you are expected to be objective, telling good and bad, not taking sides. In PR (and advertising) you take a side -you represent your client or employer. In most circumstances, that means accentuating the good about what you are promoting and generally not talking about the bad. So, you’re telling one side of a story.
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First, read the tips on the page. Note that you are to refrain from hyperbole (This is the greatest thing ever! Everyone will love it! You have to attend!) Just give the facts.
Next, click on the link to the sample press release template. You are welcome to use this template as you craft your assignment.
Of course, you can’t write a press release until you learn everything you can about the event. That’s why the assignment (pasted below) requires you to quote at least two people whom you interviewed. (More is always better.)
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For your event coverage exercise, you have pitched one event that you can cover as both a journalist and a strategic communications specialist. This week, you are previewing the event in a press release. Assume the person or organization putting on the event has hired you to build interest. Your job is to serve the client’s needs and wishes.
• Answer who, what, where, when, why and how. • Preview the event in a way that will build interest and participation in it. • Interview people you don’t know. • Your paper should include at least two human sources. Be sure to include their complete names and titles. • This assignment must be written in third person. • Length is 300 to 400 words. Include a word count. • Correctly attribute facts and opinions. • Continue to use AP style. • Write for the client. • Turn in interview notes. You may hand in notes by (a) typing them up and adding them at the bottom of your essay, (b) scanning them in and including that electronic document with your essay, or (c) photographing them and submitting the photo(s) with your essay.