Four Fort Hays State University faculty members from the Department of Communication Studies gave a presentation to the Kansas Association of Public Information Officers (KAPIO) recently at Hays Medical Center.
Titled "Writing News Releases That the Media Will Actually Run," the presentation focused on effective ways to write, format and distribute news releases to the print and electronic media.
Presenting was Linn Ann Huntington, associate professor, Jennie Straight, assistant professor, Andy Stanton, assistant professor, and Marcella Marez, instructor.
Huntington's session dealt with how to organize a news release for print or Web media, Straight discussed the proper way to format a news release and localize it. Marez spoke about news releases for the broadcast media, and Stanton focused on distribution and resources available to help public information officers.
KAPIO is a statewide organization of communication professionals working for a government or quasi-government agency in Kansas. Members handle communication for fire departments, sheriff's offices, county health departments, hospitals and other agencies. The group holds quarterly meetings.
According to the Web site, www.kapio.org, the organization was created "after several public information officers and communication specialists carried out public information duties in Hancock County, Miss., following Hurricane Katrina. Those who served in Mississippi found no statewide network of communication professionals to tap into for 'everyday' assistance," the Web site said. After returning to Kansas, these individuals helped form KAPIO.
Mike Hall, Olathe, president of the group, contacted Dr. Patty Griffin, interim chair of the Department of Communication Studies, in October to see if FHSU faculty could present a professional development program to the group.
Griffin said the department was happy to oblige. "The development of crisis management and communication plans across our state and the country are vital for informing our constituents in a timely, responsible manner. The faculty in the department are taking an active role in assisting organizations in the process," she said.
The faculty members said they received a very positive response from the group. "The public information officers in attendance said they learned more about writing news releases during our 90-minute workshop than they have learned at their own conferences," said Straight. "We gave them a tremendous amount of information to digest in a short period, but they were very appreciative."