Subscribe to SLJ
Follow This Blog: RSS feed
Connect the Pop
Inside Connect the Pop

Pop Culture Press Releases: Use These Real-World Models as Prompts to Writing and Critical Thinking

Want to support the persuasive writing skills of young pop culture geeks, and have them gain some media literate insights into entertainment marketing?

Of course you do.

All you need to do is share the below recent professional models of press releases, and then have students write their own based upon actual media products. After all, they certainly know which movies, comics, and YA books are due for release later this year or in 2013—that’s what makes them geeks. This way they can anticipate/predict some of the content (using existing teasers, book trailers, etc., for clues), summarize it, practice efficiency/brevity in writing… and perhaps later compare how their made-up press releases compare to the real thing.

Here are some things you’ll probably want to draw attention to:

  • Common elements. Precise release dates and contact/company/product information are provided. Formatting is also important, with centered text, large heads, and special symbols (e.g., “###” means “end of text” in journalism). A summary of the actual content is always provided, although in some cases it is more vague than in others.
  • Structure. The classic “inverted pyramid” of expository writing is used: broad strokes are provided at the outset, followed by an increasingly fine level of detail. Each press release is composed to read (almost) like a news story itself.
  • Persuasive elements. The tone is invariably upbeat, leading to a subtle bandwagon approach–you’re invited to join in the fun. Also typically cited: previous (and related) media products, awards, prior credits of the talent involved, blurbs/testimonials.

 

Press Release #1 (movie production)

 

NEWS RELEASE                                            FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

DISNEY ANNOUNCES START OF PRODUCTION ON “MALEFICENT”

ANGELINA JOLIE STARRER SET FOR MARCH 14, 2014 RELEASE

 

Burbank, CA  (June 19, 2012) – The Walt Disney Studios announced today that production began Wednesday, June 13th, on “Maleficent,” starring Academy Award®–winning actress Angelina Jolie.

Directed by two-time Oscar®-winning production designer Robert Stromberg (“Avatar,” “Alice in Wonderland”), in his directorial debut, and produced by Joe Roth, “Maleficent” is written by Linda Woolverton (“The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast”) and executive produced by Angelina Jolie, Don Hahn, Matt Smith and Palak Patel.

Co-starring in the film are Sharlto Copley (“District 9”), Elle Fanning (“Super 8”), Sam Riley (“On the Road”), Imelda Staunton (“Vera Drake”), Miranda Richardson (“The Hours”), Juno Temple (“Atonement”) and Lesley Manville (“Secrets & Lies”).

This is the untold story of Disney’s most beloved villain, Maleficent, from the 1959 classic “Sleeping Beauty.” The film reveals the events that hardened her heart and drove her to curse the baby, Aurora.

Behind-the-scenes talent includes Academy Award®–winning cinematographer Dean Semler (“Dances with Wolves,” “In the Land of Blood and Honey”), production designer Gary Freeman (“Saving Private Ryan,” “The Bourne Supremacy”), two-time Oscar® nominated costume designer Anna B. Sheppard (“Schindler’s List,” “The Pianist”) and seven-time Academy Award–winning makeup artist Rick Baker (“Planet of the Apes,” “Men in Black”).

“Maleficent” is scheduled for a March 14, 2014 release in 3D.

[the only text below this is Disney legal; no contact information is provided, possibly because it’s assumed one would contact the sender of this emailed press release]

Press Release #2 (graphic novel release)

 

Contact:

[XXXXX]    

VIZ Media                        

[XXXX]@viz.com

(415) XXX-XXXX xXXX

PRESS RELEASE

[Logo here]

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VIZ KIDS DEBUTS WINX CLUB GRAPHIC NOVEL SERIES THIS MONTH!

 

A Group of Fairy Friends Practice their Powers at a Magical School While Fighting Evil Witches!

 

San Francisco, CA, July 5, 2012 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, presents Winx Club, a brand new graphic novel series inspired by the hit international animated TV series currently airing on Nickelodeon. WINX CLUB Volumes 1 and 2 will be published under the VIZ Kids imprint, and are available now in stores; Volume 3 will be available on September 4th. Each volume is rated ‘A’ for All Ages and will carry an MSRP of $6.99 U.S. / $7.99 CAN.

The WINX CLUB graphic novels follow the magical adventures of five best friends— Bloom, Stella, Musa, Tecna and Flora — at Alfea, a school for fairies in the amazing dimension of Magix. With powers of sunlight, science, music, nature, and flame, the girls learn together even as they regularly battle their rivals, a trio of witches known as The Trix.

 

WINX CLUB: Volume 1, Bloom’s Discovery:  Meet Bloom, a normal teenager whose life becomes extraordinary when she discovers she’s actually a fairy, and befriends four other fairies to form the Winx Club. In her first days at school, Bloom has to fight the wicked powers of Icy, Stormy and Darcy – the rival club known as the Trix!

WINX CLUB: Volume 2, Secrets of Alfea: Alfea throws a big party for new students — but how will Bloom find her way out of a Trix trap to join the fun?

WINX CLUB: Volume 3, A Job for Bloom: Bloom makes new friends and discovers ancient enemies when she gets a job at a happening restaurant on the lakefront of Magix!

 

“WINX CLUB is all about friendship, fashion and fun—what could be better than that?” says Traci Todd, Senior Editor, Children’s Publishing. “Bloom and her friends are bright, beautiful, powerful fairies, and we’re thrilled to welcome them to the VIZ Kids family! Fans of the TV show will certainly enjoy these new books, as will anyone who loves fairies—and who couldn’t use a little magic?”

For more information on WINX CLUB and other VIZ Kids properties, please visit www.VIZKids.com.

About Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon, now in its 33rd year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 100 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for 17 consecutive years. For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIA.B).

 About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga (graphic novel) publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan’s largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa and is a global ex-Asia licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including the popular monthly manga anthology SHONEN JUMP magazine, graphic novels, and DVDs, and develops, markets, licenses, and distributes animated entertainment for audiences and consumers of all ages. Contact VIZ Media at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone (415) XXX-XXXX; Fax (415) XXX-XXXX; and website at www.VIZ.com.

 

###

Press Release #3 (TV broadcast)

 

For Immediate Release                                                                                   July 2, 2012

 

BIRDERS: THE CENTRAL PARK EFFECT,

REVEALING THE HIDDEN WORLD OF URBAN BIRDWATCHING,

DEBUTS JULY 16, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO

 

Each year, more than a million birds make a migratory pit stop in New York City’s Central Park – and they don’t go unnoticed. The revealing documentaryBIRDERS: THE CENTRAL PARK EFFECTchronicles one year in the life of the extraordinary array of wild birds that grace Manhattan’s celebrated patch of green, and the equally colorful New Yorkers who schedule their lives around the rhythms of migration, when it debuts MONDAY, JULY 16 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO. The debut of the Oscar®-nominated documentary short “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom,” whichshows how nature can be a rejuvenating as well as destructive force, follows at 10:00 p.m.

Other HBO playdates: July 19 (5:00 p.m.), 21 (10:00 a.m., 5:20 a.m.), 24 (11:30 a.m., midnight) and 29 (2:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: July 18 (8:00 p.m.), 22 (5:25 a.m.) and 26 (8:00 a.m.)

HBO Documentary Films presents another weekly series this summer, debuting provocative new specials every Monday through July 30. Other July films include: “Hard Times: Lost on Long Island” (July 9); “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom” (July 16); “Vito” (July 23); and “About Face: Supermodels Then and Now” (July 30).

Devoting equal time and affection to birds and birders, first-time filmmaker Jeffrey Kimball explores a distinctly New York phenomenon, telling a story of humanity, nature and the precarious balance between the two. BIRDERS: THE CENTRAL PARK EFFECT captures an astonishing number of species – from hummingbirds and herons to owls and hawks – with stunning HD photography that does justice to the birds’ amazingly diverse patterns, hues and personalities. The film also celebrates devoted NYC birders who find a paradise within the urban chaos, among them author Jonathan Franzen and Starr Saphir, the “matriarch” of Central Park birdwatching.

It’s springtime in New York City, and the city’s biggest park is hosting a community of several hundred birders. As veteran birder Lloyd Spitalnik notes, “If you get tired of looking at the common birds, you might as well just pack it in.” Chris Cooper says his friends don’t see him from April 15 through Memorial Day; if they question his annual obsession, he counters by rattling off his “seven pleasures of birding.” Anya, a 15-year-old birder, wants to protect birds because they are “so alive, active, varied and beautiful.”

As the birders describe their passion, the pleasure they derive from the birds is both contagious and poignant. To a birder, finding a feathered friend is like a celebrity sighting. Scientists call the concentration of birds funneling into this oasis of nature amid a sea of steel and cement the Central Park Effect.

Septuagenarian Starr Saphir, who has been giving bird tours almost daily for 20 years, was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer a few years ago. She talks about her heightened joy in birding, which eases her pain, and shares lists of birds she’s seen, which she has kept in journals every day since she was a child, looking at them fondly like a photo album or scrapbook. Jonathan Franzen says that when he began birding, it was like an addiction; a morning without birding gave him a sense of unease that could only be fixed by the first spotting of the day, like a smoker craving a cigarette.

Central Park is a magnet for millions of birds who need a rest stop as they migrate along the Eastern Seaboard twice a year, in spring and fall. While this migration is a dangerous process, during which millions of birds die each year, many survivors remember stopovers in the fall and return to the Park, where devoted birders await them.

By early June, all the migrants have passed through New York City, but a couple of dozen species linger. Birds have adapted to human urbanization, and though Central Park is entirely man-made, it appears no different to birds than most natural parks in the country, which are also managed landscapes. Unfortunately, notes birder Jonathan Rosen, the Effect can lead some to believe that the world and the environment is doing just fine.

In winter, species that tend to migrate north in warmer months often fly south to Central Park. At the annual Christmas bird count, citizen scientists help produce the official “Birds in Decline Report” by going out in teams and counting every bird in the Park. Though a seemingly impossible task, patterns can be found in the results. One depressing statistic for bird lovers is that nearly a quarter of all species have had a 50% decline.

Sitting on a park bench the next spring, Jonathan Rosen says he doesn’t think of his birding as a hobby “any more than raising my children would be considered a hobby.” Perhaps, he concludes, as all sorts of animal populations slowly diminish, people are hungry to touch something that may be slipping away.

A 2012 SXSW selection in Documentary Feature Competition, BIRDERS: THE CENTRAL PARK EFFECT is directed and produced by Jeffrey Kimball; executive produced by Pamela Hogan and Tom Casciato; edited by Daniel Baer; co-produced and co-edited by Nick August-Perna; cinematography by Tony Pagano, Nick August-Perna and Chris Dapkins; bird and nature cinematography by Jeffrey Kimball; music by Paul Damian Hogan.

###

Contact:

XXX XXXXX

XXXXX PR/Consulting

[email address]

 

 

 

Share
About Peter Gutierrez