I am well into my second week with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) as a communications intern. So far, a great deal of my work with PBOT is helping develop press releases for the public. These releases usually involve upcoming events throughout the city relating to transportation, speaking engagements with our city officials, and project completions. Here is an example.
Essentially my position as intern at PBOT is to help the Public Advocate in disseminating the messages of PBOT to the greater public. The challenge and contrast between these press releases and advisories compared to other businesses is that not everyone agrees with what you have to say. With one company you might be releasing an upcoming product release. For this you would suspect to have open minds and open ears because it is not controversial. But with the government, not everyone agrees with what you have to say. This forces you to look at how you word these releases in order to avoid unnecessary confusion and complaint.
I am not saying that you do not need to think hard about other releases; instead I am saying that all press releases you create will not be the same. In order to create a powerful press release, you must start from scratch and ask yourself who the audience is, what you want to share with them, and how to word it so it minimizes confusion and potential backlash. Here is a link on “How to write good press releses.”