Thursday, October 18, 2012

Media kit review: The Nonprofit Association of Oregon

I became slightly obsessed with Portland, Ore., last winter. I stayed up all night watching the entire first season of a sketch comedy about the city. One of my closest friends and I decided we wanted to go to Portland for spring break our senior year. I found a graduate school in the area that had the program I wanted. I was given a book that happened to take place in Portland. The city just kept showing up.
I typed “nonprofit press kits” into the Google search bar on my computer this week. As I scrolled through the results, I noticed one from The Nonprofit Association of Oregon. I became more excited than a reasonable person should ever be about a media kit. I could not contain my excitement. The kit was about Oregon and nonprofits.

As excited as I was to find the media kit, I was disappointed by its contents. The news release and other components did not follow AP style rules. The different components also continually used acronyms for at least three different organizations involved. I understand not wanting to write out long organization names more than once, but as a reader I found myself unable to remember what the acronyms stood for.

The only quote I found in the entire media kit was buried in a paragraph of the news release. Because the quote did not stand alone in a paragraph, I almost forgot the news release contained one. There were also inconsistencies in the style of writing that were distracting for me as the reader.

My six-week journey of reviewing ends with this post. These six weeks of using my blog to review writing styles has shown me the value in critically looking at the work of others. The Lord has used what I looked at as just an assignment to grow me in more areas than writing.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Advertisement review: charity: water

I have been wanting to blog about charity: water for quite some time. The nonprofit started back in 2006 and raises money to build wells in countries lacking clean water. It’s not an organization I know a lot about, but I enjoy following the communications and campaigns it does.

The first print advertisement for charity: water was seen in i-D magazine in 2007. The magazine advertisement is simple yet effective. The ad does an excellent job connecting visuals and text to create a unified message. The left side uses a picture with multiple people to illustrate that more than a billion people do not have clean water. The right side uses a close-up picture of one person to bring the message to a more person level.

The advertisement has a clear call to action. The audience is told to start making a difference by helping one person get clean drinking water. The organization's website and logo is placed near the call to action. The advertisement grabs and keeps attention because the message is easy to read and moving. In two sentences, the audience knows the problem and what the advertisement wants them to do.

Sometimes we just stumble upon things in life. I honestly can’t remember when or how I learned about charity: water, but as a communications major, I love that the work is clean, concise and creative. I am inspired by ads such as the one done by charity: water.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Feature story review: Vision statements

I first read Oklahoma Gazette for an assignment in my persuasive writing class. I had never read the publication before, and what I read in class made me want to read more. One article I read recently was about Oklahomans Without Limits summer camp held during the summer. The camp pairs blind or visually impaired youth with someone who has sight. Those with sight help campers experience museums, art and other activities.

"Vision statements" by Moose Tyler is a great example of a feature story that keeps readers interested by dropping interesting quotes throughout the story. The article leads with questions prompting the reader to think about how they would explain everyday things to someone who could not see. A nut graph explaining the camp follows.

Readers are encouraged to continue reading to get to more quotes from campers and helpers. The writer does a good job incorporating descriptive information that helps the reader understand the personalities of those interviewed. I loved when the writer says that a camper wasn't as enthusiastic about being interviewed after learning the interview wasn’t for TV.

Reading feature stories about nonprofits makes me excited about the possibility of doing communications for a nonprofit. I know the Lord will lead me where he wants me to serve him in my future, but I’m still enjoying exploring the possibilities my future holds.