The Office of Strategic Communications encourages our schools and departments to actively engage their communities in outreach activities that are designed to provide information about services, programs, opportunities for partnership, and accomplishments that impact the public. This page has been designed to assist school and department staff in identifying such outreach activities.
There are many platforms for public information and education. These can range from press releases issued to area newspaper, TV, radio and online outlets, to story ideas discussed with specific members of the media, to web postings and special events. The Office of Strategic Communications provides counsel and support to individual schools and departments in the generation, design and delivery of communications products, and has the primary responsibility on behalf of the division for interacting with the media.
School and Department Leaders: Interested in publicizing an upcoming event or story?
Submit a Publicity Request here »
News Release, Media Advisory, PSA: What's the Difference?
The Office of Strategic Communications interacts with the media using one of three press release formats:
- News Release
- Media Advisory
- Public Service Announcement (PSA)
A news release is an effective resource for informing media and local communities of significant, actual news. Examples of appropriate news release subjects include:
- Major School Board decisions, appointments, procedural changes, or new initiatives
- Student, staff, school or departmental awards or achievements
- Activities with community partners
- First-time or significant school or division events
- Interesting, innovative and impactful programs
A news release should provide every piece of information a reporter needs to write or broadcast a story about your news tip. A news release is written like a brief article, including background information and quotes.
A media advisory generally is shorter than a news release and is used to announce an upcoming event you would like the media to cover. A media advisory provides the title, date, time and location of the event, along with a brief description including key details.
Examples of appropriate media advisory topics include:
- Academic, athletic or cultural events
- Visits by local officials
- Special events, such as field trips or assemblies
The division issues a public service announcement, or PSA, as a short script or ready-to-air audio or video tape in order to bring attention to or raise awareness about a particular issue or event. Examples of appropriate PSA topics include:
- Closings or schedule changes
- Teacher appreciation
- Upcoming events of broad public interest, such as Kindergarten Registration
Guidelines & Tips
Guidelines and tips for writing effective press releases can be found on pages 26-27 of Albemarle County Public Schools' Identity and Communications Standards Manual.