P​‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‌‌‌‍‍​roject 2 Instructions Please read instructions thoroughly, all documents needed will be uploaded. Title all documents accordingly Contents of project: • Pitch letter: 550 words or guidelines of your chosen U.S. newspaper, AP format, must use Pitch Letter Template provided in uploads. At the top of the op-ed, include a short note about what you wrote and why. Include a link to the submission guidelines of your chosen U.S. newspaper so that the professor can check that you followed them appropriately. • Op-Ed with News hook: 825 words, AP format, must use Op-Ed Template provided in uploads • 4 Op-Ed series Plan: a 1 document plan for four op-eds; In a new document, create a neat and clear plan for a 4 op-ed series. Note (4) possible dates for submission for each of the 4 Op-Eds, (4) topics or theses for each of the 4 Op-Eds, and (4) the news hooks (25 to 40 words each) you will employ for each of the 4 Op-Eds, and identify a subject matter expert of influencer for each op-ed • Discussion: “Where Are You Submitting?”: 

1 page apa format (Questions to answer are below) • Discussion: “What’s Your News Hook?”: 1 page apa format(Questions to answer are below) • Discussion: “Project 2 Reflection: Parabolic Lounge”: 1 page apa format(Questions to answer are below) 9 pages in total Project 2: Op-Ed Start Here Gavin liked the news release and media kit you put together for the Commission on Public Relations Education (CPRE)*. He wants you to move on to a new deliverable for the client: writing an op-ed to be published in a major newspaper. As you recall, the news release was one tactic, or product, in CPRE’s media relations strategy. CPRE wants to gain support from industry partners and nonprofits to fund a new study on writing in the United States. Whereas the news release and media kit you produced were intended to reach the news media, this op-ed, which is another tactic in the media relations strategy, will help you reach those industry partners and nonprofits. 

As promised, Gavin sends you the details. Email FROM: Gavin Hanson, account executive TO: You SUBJECT: CPRE op-ed Here’s some more info on the op-ed; I think you’ll enjoy this. Client: Commission on Public Relations Education (CPRE)* Briefing: Our client is concerned about the state of writing in the communications field (and in the general US population) and wants to re-release the results of a 2009 study (check the uploaded document “CPRE client article”), this project is in reference to this article “CPRE client article”. Here’s what CPRE wants us to do: • choose the newspaper you want us to submit to—check out the options and review submission guidelines; • find a news hook for the op-ed; • write the op-ed to the specifications of the newspaper; • write a cover letter to the editor, and include your news hook—basically, figure out what will appeal to the editor the most about this topic at this time and use the letter to “pitch” the op-ed. FYI: We’re still working out some details with CPRE, but this op-ed might be the first in a series. 

This would give you a golden opportunity to do some planning as well as writing—identifying submission opportunities, an angle for each submission, experts to consult, and more irresistible news hooks. We’ll know more in a week . . . I’ll ping you as soon as I hear anything. Get in touch if you need anything! A Little More Context In Project 1, you wrote the news release, backgrounder, and fact sheet to inform; this op-ed, and the accompanying cover letter (pitch letter), are great ways for you to persuade a target audience, or public. Making an argument always involves articulating a thesis and supporting it; persuasion in strategic communications also means figuring out how to reach and motivate a target public to act or to change a viewpoint. Y

ou’re not trying to sell a product or service, and you’re certainly not trying to advertise anything; you’re drawing attention to an issue in such a way as to affect perceptions and ethically influence the behavior of a specific group toward that issue. Your op-ed will accomplish this, and so will your cover letter to the editor, which will include a news hook, or a stimulating piece of information related in some way to the news of the day to maximize interest in publishing the piece. Make sure to spend some time on the pitch letter; it’s as vital as the content and quality of your op-ed to getting the piece published. Note that although you’re the author of this op-ed, the name in the byline will be a major figure from CPRE, probably one of the chairs. You’re essentially ghost-writing as CPRE, something to keep in mind as you compose the op-ed. 

Step 1: Learn About Op-Eds and Persuasive Writing in Communications In your last project with Gavin and the CPRE team, you produced several documents for the news media in order to spur interest in the state of writing in the United States. Now, you’re going to write an op-ed to persuade a wider audience, or public, that your topic has merit and that action should be taken. Before you begin, check out the Op-Ed Template(check document uploads) that you will use. Conduct a search for op-eds in your favorite newspapers—or other publications—to read examples. What do you believe makes for a high-quality op-ed? What makes you want to read an op-ed, and to keep reading? As you saw in the packet, many “big name” op-eds aren’t written by those individuals at all, but are ghost written, the same way your op-ed will be. How did the author capture the “voice” of the titled individual or organization? Finally, it may help to review Gavin’s notes on persuasive writing in strategic communications. 

Whether or not you’ve engaged in persuasive writing in the past, your position at Parabolic necessitates a more strategic approach than you may have employed in other situations. In addition to making a convincing argument, you must ensure that your op-ed fits into the whole of CPRE strategy: You’re working as part of a multifunctional team, in concert with other personnel at Parabolic to persuade the industry to contribute money to support future research. To give you a sense of perspective on your op-ed and where it fits in with the larger CPRE strategy, Gavin sends you a document: “Parabolic CPRE Strategy Overview: What We’re All Doing” (This document has been uploaded) You’ll want your op-ed to be aligned with the work other Parabolic departments are doing, aligned with the aims and goals of strategic communications, and aligned with ethical principles relating to persuasion in communications. Knowing the strategic communications objective is paramount. As is the case with many op-eds, your objective with the product you’re writing is an outtake objective. 

Step 2: Research Your Newspaper Your next task is to choose your newspaper. You may have some favorites—perhaps you spend your Sundays curled up on the couch with the New York Times, or maybe you break up your workday to browse the Washington Post. Research major publications, not just in your area, but in cities across the United States. As you research newspapers, locate information on reader demographics. Find examples of the op-eds and see if the writing style would be a good fit for both CPRE and you as an author. Finally, access the newspapers’ guidelines for submitting op-eds. Note that you’re researching print publications only. Your goal in this research is not only to identify the publication you believe would be the best vehicle for your op-ed, but also to consider how to tailor your op-ed in terms of reaching the typical reader and adhering to the paper’s style and guidelines. Discussion: Where Are You Submitting? 

You’ve researched and identified your target newspaper. Share your choice with the other junior account executives. Why did you pick this particular publication? Did you use Meltwater? If so, what​‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‌‌‌‍‍​ were your findings? Did the tool help? Provide a basic reader profile. How are you framing your op-ed so as to appeal to the readers of this publication? To the editor? How will the guidelines of the newspaper influence your writing (word count, approach, etc.)? Step 3: Identify Your News Hook You’ve chosen your newspaper, profiled the typical reader, considered the timing of the op-ed, and read the submission guidelines, so you have a good handle on the parameters of your project. Now, you’re going to consider how to spur the keen and unflagging interest of your reader. In identifying the news hook, consider what will draw the reader to your op-ed. You’ve got the “what”; now you need the “so what.” Is something happening in the news that you can tie in with CPRE’s concerns? Is there a cultural connection you can make? Is there a startling and counterintuitive fact you’ve found that will make the contents of your op-ed compelling? 

The news hook could even be an upcoming holiday or seasonal event—or a date connected with a historical figure. Remember that you’ll use the news hook not only in the article itself, but as part of your pitch letter to the editor, which you’ll write in Step 7. Step 4: Write Your Op-Ed You’ve researched your target publication and identified a scintillating news hook for your op-ed. Now, you’re almost ready to start drafting. Before you write your op-ed, review the guidelines of the newspaper and your source material: the backgrounder and Cole et al. article (check the uploaded document “CPRE client article”). Reference for CPRE client article: Cole, R. T., Hembroff, L. A., & Corner, A. D. (2009). National assessment of the perceived writing skills of entry-level PR practitioners. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, 64(1), 10–26. doi:10.1177/107769580906400102 Draft an outline of your op-ed. Think about your news hook, what argument you will make, and how you will support your argument. Making a convincing argument is a skill you’ll need as a strategic communications specialist. As you consider CPRE’s mission, organizational objective, and the strategic communications objective of this op-ed, also think about how to most appeal to your publics. Given the typical reader of your chosen publication, what kind of argument will gain the most attention and have the most impact? Do you want to use emotional appeals, facts, anecdotes, statistics, even humor?

 What writing style should you adopt? Consider word choice and tone; given that you have a finite number of words in which to get your readers to care about your issue, what is the best way to approach this? Remember to use AP style; also, that you’re writing as one of the chairs of CPRE. At the top of the op-ed, include a short note about what you wrote and why. Include a link to the submission guidelines of your chosen newspaper so that Gavin can check that you followed them appropriately. Step 5: Plan Your Op-Ed Series You’re taking a stroll around the building on your lunch break, admiring the beautiful yellow blooms on a tree, when Gavin approaches. “Good news!” says Gavin. “Remember how I told you we might have the opportunity to run an op-ed series as part of the CPRE strategy? Well, leadership wants us to have a proposal in place in case this first op-ed is successful. If you can tackle this, I’ll be able to have it in my back pocket for the next client meeting.” “What I want you to do is to come up with a plan for four more op-eds. Look at a calendar and identify four additional opportunities to submit, taking into account holidays, historic events, or other dates that could serve as a news hook. Identify a topic for each op-ed. Then, come up with a news hook for each op-ed. There’s a fair bit of juggling to do, but it’s a creative challenge.” “Finally,” says Gavin, “I want you to identify a subject matter expert (SME) to consult with on each of the op-eds. This will necessitate some research. Think of who would lend credibility to each op-ed: Whom could you interview or consult with to give your article a voice of authenticity? Whom would your readers trust? This could be a single individual or a role.” In a new document, create a neat and clear plan for your op-ed series.

 Note (1) possible dates for submission, (2) topics or theses, and (3) the news hooks you will employ. Discussion: What’s Your News Hook? Coming up with a news hook for an op-ed submission—or any submission—is an opportunity for creativity and ingenuity. What will best whet the appetite of the reader, given the timing of the submission and the topic? Share one of the hooks you’ve identified for your four proposed submissions. Why did you choose this hook? What research did you conduct, and were there other, competing hooks that you rejected for this one? What influenced your decision? Step 6: Identify Experts You’ve outlined a neat and clean op-ed series proposal to present to the editor of the newspaper. Now, you’re going to add the missing piece: the SME or influencer you’d like to employ in drafting each op-ed. Note that you’re not actually writing the four op-eds or reaching out to the experts, just coming up with a plan. 

Gavin sends you a link. New Conversation: Gavin Hanson Just dug this up from one of our many onboarding folders: Working with Influencers and Experts to Ensure Credibility. Read this before identifying your SMEs—it will give you a sense of whom to look for. Consider the thesis of each of your proposed op-eds and reflect on who would be the best expert or influencer to quote from, consult with, or interview for the piece. You might find yourself re-focusing a few of your topics as you research. There a lot of ways you can conduct your research. In addition to using analytics tools, you can always try out Google searches. Look at blogs, chat rooms, speakers’ bureaus, and so forth; use a combination of keywords and common sense. Your subject matter expert (SME) can be actual people, or you can identify roles. 

For example, you could list “Dr. Piper McGowan of Stony Creek University” or “a US senator who sits on the Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety within the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.” For each influencer or expert, briefly describe why you think that person will lend credibility to your op-ed. Step 7: Revise Your Op-Ed and Write Your Pitch Letter (Submission) You’ve drafted a proposal for an op-ed series for Gavin. You’ve also received his comments on your op-ed. Now, you’re going to finalize both of these documents and draft a third document: a pitch letter to the editor of the newspaper. The pitch letter is for your written op-ed only, to introduce it to the editor of your chosen publication. The op-ed series proposal is solely for Gavin’s eyes at this point; he’ll share it with the client following his own review. 

Phone Call With Gavin “Let’s talk pitch letters,” says Gavin. “To write a letter that will really reach the editor, read our Parabolic guidance: Use pitch letter template (check uploaded documents). Keep your letter professional, short and sweet, and as compelling as you can make it. Basically, what would make YOU want to publish this op-ed, given the mission and readership of your paper? The editor doesn’t want a synopsis of the article, only the briefest of descriptions and a good reason to care. Remember your news hook!” Armed with Gavin’s advice, write, polish, and perfect your three documents. Step 8: Reflect Discussion: Project 2 Reflection: Parabolic Lounge Reflect on your experiences writing the op-ed. Were you able to craft a message tailored to the readers of your chosen publication, and for that publication’s editor? Was it difficult to find the news hook, or to identify SMEs or influencers? What were your challenges in this project, and how did y​‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‌‌‌‍‍​ou meet them? What discoveries did you make about Meltwater and its uses?


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