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School Publicity Training Workshop Hosted by Susan Hale, Communications Department 404-763-6830 or Housekeeping Start on time = end on time Bathroom locations Cell phone on silent or vibrate Materials online (booklet has URL) Ask questions at any time

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school publicity

School Publicity

Training Workshop

Hosted by Susan Hale, Communications Department

404-763-6830 or

  • Start on time = end on time
  • Bathroom locations
  • Cell phone on silent or vibrate
  • Materials online (booklet has URL)
  • Ask questions at any time
  • Name
  • School
why you are here
Why you are here
  • Nearly 100 schools and growing
  • Geographic distance and travel time
  • Limited staff resources
  • You – already there and have a unique perspective!
why you are here5
Why you are here

In a nutshell, your role is to…

  • Collect good news about your school
  • Send it to the news media
  • This is a “do-it-yourself” role
understanding the news media
Understanding the News Media
  • Newspapers, TV and radio stations are considered “mass media”
    • They communicate to the masses
    • They focus on what is new, unique or has impact
  • They provide a community service, but…
    • Are also driven by the bottom line…profits, market share and ratings

Understanding the News Media

  • It is news if…
    • It has significance to the general public
    • It is timely
    • There is human interest
    • It is unique or it is something new to the area
    • There is nothing else going on that day
your role
Your Role
  • Collect and send out school news
  • Find newsworthy items
    • New, unique programs
    • Stories that are unusual or quirky
    • Student and staff awards/recognitions
    • Activities that tie in with holidays, historical events, milestones or current events
your role9
Your Role
  • Collect news from school staff and school leaders
    • Create an easy way for them to contact you
  • Encourage colleagues to give you good news and achievements
    • Make sure they know you’re “The One”
    • Establish a process
your role10
Your Role
  • Develop information to be released
    • Rewrite information if necessary
    • Check for “understandability”

(no educational jargon or unexplained acronyms)

    • Proof for accuracy, missing information and correct spelling/grammar
    • Include a contact name and phone number
your role11
Your Role
  • Alert media of good news and events
    • News releases
    • Photos and captions
news release
News Release
  • Benefits
    • More descriptive
    • More formal
  • Disadvantages
    • More work to write properly
photos and captions
Photos and Captions
  • Benefits
    • Easy to write
  • Disadvantages
    • Have to name those in the photo
    • More work to write properly

Seaborn Lee partners with Kellogg

Seaborn Lee Elementary School has partnered with Kellogg for the Great Reading Challenge, a program designed to promote reading for students grades 3-5.

Students will read to reach reading goals and be rewarded with prizes provided by Kellogg. The reading kick off was held September 26. This is also a partnership with Atlanta Cares and National Cares Mentoring Movement co-chaired by Susan Taylor, Editor Emeritus of Essence Magazine, and Tommy Dortch, Chairman Emeritus of 100 Black Men of America. 

Seaborn Lee will serve as the national model school for this corporate mentoring program.

Pictured in this photo are…

formal vs informal
Formal vs. Informal
  • Information can be formal or less formal
    • News release vs. paragraph
  • However, it should never be “informal”
    • Don’t forward others’ emails to the news media
    • Rewrite the information into a new message
  • Why?
    • Can appear sloppy and unprofessional
    • Can negatively affect impression of your school
writing tips
Writing Tips
  • Writing for the media is very different than creative writing
    • More focus on facts
    • Less focus on style and emotion
    • Describe it through facts, not feelings
writing tips16
Writing Tips
  • Answer the 5 Ws and 1 H

(Who, What, When, Why, Where and How)

  • Be as brief as possible
  • Proofread and re-check your information
  • Write as though your audience has never heard of this topic before
writing tips17
Writing Tips
  • Don’t:
    • Abbreviate school names (BES, OES, PES)
    • Leave off Elementary, Middle or High
    • Leave out first names (Miss Hale)
    • Use unexplained acronyms (AYP, IEP, EIP)
    • Use educational jargon
    • Forget to give a contact name and phone number
writing tips18
Have you explained what these mean?Writing Tips












































who gets it
Who Gets It?
  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    • Daily newspaper
    • Also has “Good Works” and “News for Kids” features
    • AJC rarely uses submitted photographs but sometimes will
who gets it20
Who Gets It?
  • Community Newspapers
    • “Neighbor” newspapers, Alpharetta Revue, Johns Creek Herald, Roswell Beacon, Sandy Springs Reporter, etc.
    • Published weekly
    • Smaller staff; not always able to personally attend event
    • But happily accepts submitted photographs
who gets it21
Who Gets It?
  • Television stations
    • Stories are generally 30 seconds to 1½ minutes
    • News topic MUST be visual AND timely
    • Ask yourself:
      • Is this best communicated by TV?
      • Ask yourself: Will your audience be home to watch the 5, 6 or 11 o’clock news?
who gets it22
Who Gets It?
  • Other media
    • Radio
    • Rapport Online (FCSS employee news only)
    • School/PTA newsletter
    • Business Partner newsletter
    • School web site
    • Fulton County Schools web site
who gets it23
Who Gets It?
  • Your school’s web site vs. FCSS web site
    • Goal of publicity is to build relationships
    • Your web site should be an information resource for parents and community
    • Communicate with parents and community first
    • Communicate with the rest of the world second
who gets it24
Who Gets It?
  • Criteria used for the FCSS web site
    • Similar to how news media selects their stories
    • Is it unique? Or does every school do it or have it?
    • Is there a good, eye-catching photo?
    • Does this story positively represent FCSS?
    • What will posting this story accomplish?
      • “feel good” vs. “relationship-building”
who gets it25
Who Gets It?
  • What gets posted on the FCSS web site
    • Stories that relate to the system as a whole
    • Stories with GREAT photographs
    • Stories and photos that convey “school life”
    • Generally active for 7 days, then archived
  • What doesn’t
    • Individual student or staff news
how to send it
How to Send It?
  • Email
    • Most common method used today
  • Phone calls
    • Good as a follow-up to see if information was received
email etiquette
Email Etiquette
  • Put text of article INSIDE email message
    • Cut-and-paste from Word document
    • Or, type information directly into message
    • Makes it quicker and easier for reporter to read
email etiquette28
Email Etiquette
  • Attaching photos
    • Select 1-2 of the BEST photos
    • no more than 3 per message
    • Attach in original JPEG format
    • Donot “imbed” or insert photo into Word document
      • Renders the photo unusable
    • Be mindful of photo size (i.e. how many KB, MB)
email etiquette29
Email Etiquette
  • Give message a catchy subject line
    • Make them want to read your message first
    • Example
      • “Hale Elementary School sends students into space”
  • Avoid generic subject lines
    • Doesn’t generate interest; easily overlooked
    • Examples
      • “Article from Hale Elementary” or “School News”
email etiquette30
Email Etiquette
  • Create an email distribution list
    • Newspapers, TV and radio stations
    • School newsletter editor
    • School webmaster
    • Business partner CEO or PR contact
    • Your principal and administrative team
    • Area Superintendent and Board member
    • Communications Dept.(
    • FCSTV(
  • Newspapers
    • 5-10 days before event
  • Television
    • 2-3 days before event
    • Email first, but follow-up by calling or faxing information the day of event
3 times for news
3 Times for News
  • Before the event
    • Send out information
    • Be mindful of deadlines and give leadtime
  • During the event
    • If the media doesn’t show, grab your camera!
  • After the event
    • Rewrite the information into the past tense
    • Write a caption for photos, if you have them

A Recap

  • Your role:
    • Collect news from staff and school leaders
    • Develop information to be released
    • Encourage colleagues to give you good news and achievements
    • Alert media of good news and events


  • Send information early and frequently
  • Include the 5 W’s and 1 H
  • Send 1-2 good photos
  • Observe email etiquette for news media
  • Be respectful of deadlines
  • Be persistent but not aggressive


  • Use jargon or unexplained acronyms
  • Leave out first names or full school name
  • Leave off subject line in an email
  • Imbed/insert photos in a Word document
  • Send 30 photos in an email
  • Attach photos that are 1 MB or larger (or 1,000+ KB)
just remember
Just Remember…
  • Just because you like it, doesn’t mean everybody will
    • You can only do your best
  • All schools have carnivals and fundraisers
    • Find a way to make yours seem different
  • News media don’t RSVP
    • They either show up or don’t
    • Be prepared to take your own photos if they don’t