Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Planning School of Rock

On Monday night, Instructors Lacey Tauber and Kate Zidar invited me as a special guest to help assist a writing seminar they teach at the Pratt Institue's City and Regional Planning program. The topic? How to write a press release. Tauber and Zidar's dutiful students have been attending community meetings throughout Brooklyn and taking notes in order to better prepare for their assignment. I report on these meetings and receive hundreds of press releases every week so I guess they thought I was an expert. Big mistake ladies.

I was half expecting the class to unfold like a scene from School of Rock. You! Punch up that header! You! Get me a quote from the Congresswoman to spice up that copy! You! Lay down a sweet bass line! Unfortunately, it was a little more staid. We gave helpful feedback such as put the most important information at the top, add quotes and statistics when necessary, and keep things brief and to the point. It's not an article, it's a press release. Also, always mention if refreshments and food will be served because reporters are hungry all the time.

In the end, I think the students learned something valuable and appreciate that they enrolled in planning school and not journalism school. Good luck on those finals, guys!

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