Working for University News, I often am tasked with announcing new academic programs and initiatives offered by the colleges I cover. I recently set out to write a press release about a new bachelor’s degree in journalism, which is offered through the Department of Communication.
Now, when I first learned about this I did not think I would have much luck getting publicity for the program. Traditional journalism—writing for newspapers and magazines—is not considered a growth field and stories usually focus on how the profession is declining. However, in studying the degree more closely I learned that the coursework and cooperative-education assignments through the program would include a wide range of skills from writing for the Web, Web design, editing and video production. Here was the hook: RIT was looking to transform graduates into multi-media journalists who could write and produce content for a host of media, both on and off line.
I ultimately got several reporters interested in covering the program and continue to pitch the story to additional writers covering new media and Internet business. The experience showed me that a key to being successful in public relations includes letting go of prejudices and reframing stories. By doing this, it will be easier to engage the public and get them interested in what you are publicizing, whether it’s degree programs or the newest automobile.
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