Power of the Written Word

 

Editorial Style

Not every academic area uses the same professional writing style manual (Chicago Manual of Style, Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual, the MLA, etc.). The Office of University Relations adheres mainly to the AP Stylebook in its news releases because most of these go to news outlets familiar with AP style. The main reason for adopting any particular writing style is consistency in the presentation of certain kinds of information: names, titles, addresses, statistics, numbers, etc. Consistency in such things is desirable because it causes readers the least amount of effort and confusion while leaving writers the freedom to be creative and imaginative where it will give readers the greatest benefit.

 

Distributing News

News from Fort Hays State can be anything: student, faculty, staff accomplishments; events and activities; research; personal stories; professional stories; even what-I-did-last-summer/fall/semester/spring break stories. University Relations can distribute news to any newspaper or broadcast outlet in Kansas and beyond and can provide guidance on what news outlets are most appropriate for a given story.

While newspapers are still the bulk of our news distribution, the decline in their readership and the advance of technology is driving a more Web-centric news focus, a change that will only intensify with the university’s move to a revamped and expanded Web presence. The Web is rapidly becoming our primary news focus.

News does not have to be “cleared” through the news bureau of University Relations. In fact, we encourage faculty and staff to develop their own news contacts, but we also urge you to work through our office to distribute formal news releases because of our experience in dealing with media. This also ensures that the news release will become part of the university archives, and it prevents the possible duplication of news releases which can create confusion and ill will at news agencies.

The Office of University Relations has a sophisticated, highly effective system for delivering news releases. News can be submitted to Kurt Beyers, assistant director of University Relations, at kbeyers@fhsu.edu, or by using the form available on the FHSU Web site at http://www.fhsu.edu/news/.

Please make sure the information is complete. Whether or not you use the Web site form, use it as a guide for the information you need to provide. Any pertinent or interesting information should be included – background on the people and organizations involved; quotes from someone on the significance of the event; the hometowns and classifications of any students involved; any special requests for distribution; anything else you think adds to the story. Double check names, dates, times and places.

It is especially important to get names of people spelled correctly and in the form preferred by the owners of the names. The full proper name of any organization involved should be included and designated as such. Do not let it go with the shorthand version used around your office. It is quite likely nobody else will know what you are talking about.

Lastly, allow enough time. University Relations can get information to local news outlets at almost any time, but if you wait until the morning of the day the information needs to go out, your news may fall victim to more urgent priorities. Anything from three or four days up to two or three weeks of lead time will be necessary, depending on the nature of the news. If you have any questions about any aspect of getting your news out, call Beyers at (785) 628-4480 or e-mail him at kbeyers@fhsu.edu.

The news you send to University Relations does not have to be in final form. We prepare it the way news people like to get it, so you can make your submission to the news bureau as chatty and long as you like.