Press kit example

Hi all!

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of traveling down to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility for the grand opening of its new drone runway. The Virginia governor was there. It was a good time. Here’s my report.

I wanted to share some pics of the press kit they handed out so you can see what one looks like. It’s not the only way to present one, to be sure. But it’s a way.

First, the outside. It’s a little hard to tell, but it’s a clear plastic folder with an aerial photo of the facility facing the outside.

The outside

Here’s the inside. You’ll note both sides have paperwork facing out. Now, in your cases, you’ll want to stuff your individual reviews in there as well just to keep everything together. Don’t worry, I won’t consider them as part of the packet, per se.

The inside.

The first thing is the pamphlet, a tri-folded sheet of glossy paper. This could certainly count toward one of your “extra” items. It was geared toward future customers of the runway (government agencies, aerospace companies), not the media. That’s OK.

Shiny pamphlet

Here’s kind of a backgrounder, again more geared toward future customers than the media but it works for both.


There was another backgrounder, virtually identical to the first. Not sure what that was about. I won’t include it here.

Now, this could have included other information, such as a press release (which was sorely missing, frankly) and a true fact sheet (maybe a history of drone aviation at the facility would have been nice). Anyway, yours will need a couple more items than this had.

I’ve gotten some questions about swag, and I wanted to make sure you all knew that to count toward your grade, it has to pass a two-part test:

  1. You have to create it. Don’t just grab some T-shirts from the group and pass them off as your own.
  2. You have to have enough for everyone in the class. So there must be 20 of said items. Swag, after all, is “stuff we ALL get.”

Here’s the bag containing NASA’s swag. It’s a cloth bag, so it counts as swag itself.

Swag bag

And here’s what was inside: various pens (including a rocket pen!), some pins, a “challenge coin,” a lunch box (formerly containing lunch) and some weird disc of what I’m hoping are breath mints.

Inside the bag

But wait, you say. I thought we couldn’t accept anything from sources, what with ethics and all. To which I say, true. I observe the $5 rule: If it’s more than $5, you can’t keep it.

In this case, I’m keeping the rocket pen and giving it to my 7-year-old. But the rest I’ll give away. Usually, what you do in a newsroom is put it on a table known to be the communal table. Then walk away. When you come back, it will be gone. Because journalists are nothing if not scavengers.

See you Wednesday at 1:30!

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Promo feature tips

Here’s your reminder that the promotional feature is due Tuesday via MyClasses by the start of class (our last one before final presentations!).

Some tips to help you finalize your promo feature:

  1. This is PR, not journalism. Do promote your event/organization.
  2. Write a feature lede, not a hard-news lede.
  3. What makes your event/organization unique or interesting. Highlight that.
  4. Avoid exclamation points!
  5. Read the rubric before submitting. Re-read it. Then read one more time.

See you tomorrow.

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Ready for your presentations

I wanted to share with you some details and reminders for your presentation Wednesday, May 24, at 1:30 p.m.

Your presentation should focus on the organization, promoting it and making us want to join or sponsor or attend its events. Remember to bring your clicker to class to vote on the effectiveness of your peers’ presentations.

When you come to class on exam day, you should have two things to turn in:

  1. Your completed press kit (here is a reminder of the information that must be included and the rubric I will use to grade your group)
  2. Your completed peer evaluation sheet

Your presentation should be 7-10 minutes long. Bring lots of good energy to engage the audience and win your peers over!

See you on the 24th!

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Schedule for rest of semester

  • Thursday: Group work day (no class)
  • Due Tuesday, May 16: Assignment 4 (promotional feature)
  • Last class: Tuesday, May 16.
  • Reminder: Your final presentations and press kits are due Wed., May 24. Class is from 1:30 p.m.- 4 p.m. (unless we finish sooner)
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Promotional feature

Here is the PACE newsletter to help you formulate your promotional feature.

Here is the information you need for assignment four:

  • Gather information for an event your organization will host/has hosted
  • Write a short promotional article on the event (1 page)
  • You will need one-two quotes for your feature
  • Due May 16
  • You may report on the same topic as your group mates, but you must do your work independently
  • If I see two identical quotes or stories that are too similar, I will mark them as plagiarized

Here is the rubric for the assignment.



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Backgrounders and Fact Sheets

Cover letter template

Fact sheet/backgrounder combo:

Backgrounder examples:

Fact sheet examples:

Here are the specifics for the assignment:

  • Write a fact sheet AND a backgrounder about your favorite singer/band (must still be performing together!)
  • No more than one page EACH
  • Make sure the information in each is distinct from the other
  • Information MUST BE factual – do not make anything up!
  • Use websites, blogs, Pandora or any other credible sources to put the information together
  • DO NOT copy & paste – that is plagiarism! (You will get a zero)
  • Think about your audience: If I am a long-time fan, what would I like to know? If I have never heard of the person/group, what would I want to know? What might a reporter writing a story about the group/person want to know?
  • Due Tuesday, May 9, to MyClasses by start of class.
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Press release assignment and press kit primer

Here is the prompt & the rubric for your press release assignment, due Thursday in MyClasses.

Please read this article on press kits. That will help get your ready for your final group project.

Don’t forget to send me which organization your group plans to promote in its press kit. Due by Tuesday’s class. But it’s first-come, first-serve. So to ensure you get your first pick, email me sooner.

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