Academic service learning intro to writing for the media wri 142 and riverlink
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Academic Service Learning: Intro to Writing for the Media (WRI 142) and RiverLink

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Academic Service Learning: Intro to Writing for the Media (WRI 142) and RiverLink

Objective: To provide students with an authentic experience and context for public relations writing; to provide RiverLink with PR materials to use at its discretion. *Students will visit the RiverLink office at the beginning of the project period to get an overview of the agency’s work. John will design a writing assignment based on this visit.*Hartwell and Kathryn will select five projects (including a non-staff contact for each) that need public relations material produced. This material could be webpage copy, brochure copy, press releases, or the like. John will work with Hartwell and Kathryn to make project deliverables as consistent/equal as possible among the five student groups. *Hartwell and Kathryn will visit class to discuss the five projects and deliverables with students.  *After projects are completed, the deliverables will be sent to Hartwell/Kathryn, who will return to class for a presentation/feedback session. (JB will design a form for Hartwell/Kathryn to use when evaluating the students’ written work.) Twenty percent of the group’s grade will be based on Hartwell/Kathryn’s evaluation.

Group 1: RiverLink Bus Tours

  • Students will take part in a RiverLink bus tour and produce three communications pieces.

  • 1. Fact Sheet containing up-to-date information on the bus tours

  • 2. News release for local media announcing bus tours

  • 3. Feature-oriented news release describing the bus tour

  • Sources: RiverLink website, Riverlink volunteers, bus driver and tour participants’ survey results

Group 2: RiverLink Blog

  • Students will create several blog entries for the RiverLink blog (

  • Remember that the writing style for blogs is more informal than with most other public relations writing. Entries can be in first or third person, depending on the topic.

    Possible topics include:

  • *Adopt-a-Stream teams and other community service/volunteer programs

    Sources: RiverLink website, AAS Team Leaders- contact Volunteer Coordinator Kathryn Blau at [email protected]

  • *Development, growth, and water quality

    Sources: RiverLink website

  • *Stream restoration- history, facts, benefits, case studies

    Sources: RiverLink website

  • *Greenway development- history, facts, benefits, case studies

    Sources: RiverLink website

  • *Environmental protection and economic development – how they are balanced in Asheville and elsewhere. Can include case studies, local development/growth issues and impacts on water quality.

    Sources: RiverLink website, Susan Kask, ELC

Group 3: RiverLink tabloid

  • Students will write a detailed article (1500 word minimum) on how WRI 142 has partnered with RiverLink to help produce communications pieces for their ongoing efforts.

  • The article will be published in RiverLink’s bi-annual tabloid published in the Asheville Citizen-Times.

    Sources: Students in class, John Bowers, Kathryn Blau, Hartwell Carson

Group 4: Wilma Dykeman tribute webpage

  • Students will create webpages to be housed on RiverLink’s website about the life and legacy of Wilma Dykeman (1920-2006).

  • The pages will include:

    • photos

    • a timeline of her life and involvement with conservation

    • other information compiled from articles published about her legacy after her death

      Sources: RiverLink website, local print media

Group 5: Press packet

  • Students will create a package of material with general information about RiverLink. Contents will include the following:

  • 1. RiverKeeper fact sheet

  • 2. Volunteer programs fact sheet

  • 3. Economic development/conservation fact sheet

  • 4. News releases on two of RiverLink’s ongoing programs

    Source: RiverLink website, other groups in class

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