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School on Integrity - Words that work

How to use the media to get your message across - press release scenario

Thomas Coombes

on 14 August 2014

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Transcript of School on Integrity - Words that work

After head of unit, director and director-general approve
2. Expert re-writes press release
4. Press officer's boss approves
3. Expert's boss approves PR
5. Boss of expert's boss and PO's boss approves
9. Cabinet of Commissioner approves PR
7. PR of spokesperson of Commissioner re-writes PR
8. Spokesperson re-writes PR
6. PO makes changes and sends to spokesperson
1. Press officer writes press release
Luis Suarez dog in stable condition
1. Action first
- check your verbs
2. So what soundbite?
context & big picture
3. Simple language
- words with impact
-long sentences in the "passive" tense
-use jargon
-hide key message in big blocks of text
P1 Action
P2 Context
(sub heading)
Hard facts
Who is to blame? What caused this?
Who pays the price?
Who needs to act?
"The Gerardi case was complex and bewildering.
[The] failure to cultivate relationships with Guatemalan journalists, to help them understand how the case had been assembled, was a costly mistake"
Francisco Goldman, the Art of Political Murder
The soundbite
"The cancer of corruption"
"We must stop the corrupt hiding behind secret bank accounts"
"The crisis is a wake-up call for more transparency"
"This is an example of..."

"If the government fails to...then..."

"People want to see..."

"This is not about... it is really about..."

"In the long term...."

"Those who say that ..."
Typical PR language
The big picture - appeal to shared value
Government needs to fix the rails
FIFA must start to reform
Clean up the sport of football that supporters love so much
Politicians should publish asset declarations
For democracy to work, people have a right to know where pols get their money
Make it safe for people to take a train
Full transcript