Reducing a lead by nearly 24 words or 21 per cent, and switching paragraphs one and two for clarity

wTrMdTEk_400x400.jpeg

#humberpr @ralphgoodale #prwriting #prfail

In this news release from Ottawa, heralding a multi million dollar awareness campaign, the first two paragraphs should be reversed to avoid burying the news. Talking about ‘drug-impaired’ driving on the rise is well and good but it isn’t what the news story is about. If it were, then it would be justified as the lead but the news comes in the second paragraph—launching a public awareness campaign. This is also reflected in the headline, which is about the campaign.

The best news stories proceed from the headline to the lead amplifying the same information. The lead explains the headline. In this one, the headline correctly asses the news, then it reverts to the background. My revision will be followed by the original, with commentary.

PR Writer/Of Is and By revision

Don’t drive high: public awareness campaign launches today

Hon. Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, launched a new public awareness campaign communicating the risk associated with driving under the influence of cannabis and other drugs. Canadians will soon see ads in public spaces, on social media, on television and in movie theatres with evidence-based information about hazardous drug-impaired driving. 54 words

Since Canadian police-reported data became available in 2009, drug-impaired driving has been clearly rising and significantly contributes to fatal road crashes. Young people, the largest group dying in vehicle crashes, also most often test positive for drugs. 37 words  (91 words in total)

Original

OTTAWA, Dec. 5, 2017 /CNW/ – Drug-impaired driving has been on the rise in Canada since police-reported data became available in 2009 and is a major contributor to fatal road crashes in Canada. Young people continue to be the largest group of drivers who die in crashes and test positive for drugs.  46 words

Today, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, launched the Government of Canada’s drug-impaired driving public awareness campaign to communicate to Canadians the risks associated with driving under the influence of cannabis and other drugs. Canadians will soon see ads in public spaces, on social media, on television and in movie theatres. Public awareness efforts will include evidence-based information on the risks of drug-impaired driving. 69 words (115 words in total)

Other thoughts:

  1. Ralph Goodale Even ‘Hon.’ isn’t strictly necessary except to plump up the minister. ‘The Honourable’ is overkill.
  2. Government of Canada’s  Canada is sufficient and shorter.
  3. Drug-impaired driving public awareness campaign to communicate to Canadians Or: launched a new public awareness campaign communicating the risk associated with driving under the influence of cannabis and other drugs. The revision moves the campaign’s rationale closer to the news, and in a news release from Ottawa from a minister hardly needs to explain that it’s communicating to Canadians.
  4. Young people continue to be the largest group of drivers who die in crashes and test positive for drugs.  Or: Young people, the largest group dying in vehicle crashes, also most often test positive for drugs. Use those comma clauses and get rid of ‘continue’ wherever possible.

 

Author: rotmanprwriter

PRWriter, Copy Doctor, Humber College PR and writing Prof

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s