PRTools: Three Really Important Writing Tips, One Cliché — and an awful news release

In this new PRTools press release recap, there are several important writing tips, a really poor @catalyst_ca news release and an obvious cliché from @brandzrankings. These suggestions and many others can be found in my writing manual: How to be a better online writer overnight(amazon.ca). The topics covered are: 

  1. Remove location markers, like ‘in’ or ‘at.’
  2. Avoid word repetitions and pay attention to ‘second references and titles, like Mr. or Ms. 
  3. What to do about cliches in headlines. 

Newswire story #1

Here we go. 

Original headline

Catalyst Names New Executive Director in Canada

Better PR Writer edit

Catalyst Names New Canada Executive Director 

Or

Catalyst Names New Canadian Executive Director 

“In” describing some locale should always be reconsidered. Move Canada before the title so it’s new Canada or Canadian executive director, depending on whether it’s specific to the place or person.  

Think of these Better Writer tips.

  • The building in Toronto/The Toronto Building
  • The bus stop at Yonge St./The Yonge St. bus stop

Avoiding word repetition and paying attention to ‘second references’ is also important. ‘Catalyst’ is repeated four times and that’s a warning sign. When a person’s full name is mentioned then the next or ‘second’ reference does not use a title. it’s Vandana Juneja and then ‘Junega.’ 

Original Lead

TORONTO, Oct. 27, 2020 /CNW/ — Catalyst President and CEO Lorraine Hariton and Beth Wilson, CEO of Dentons Canada LLP and Catalyst Canada Advisory Board Chair, are pleased to announce the appointment of Vandana Juneja as Executive Director of Catalyst in Canada. Ms. Juneja brings more than a decade of experience in leading diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at Catalyst and around the globe. 

Word repetitions

Better PR Writer Edit

TORONTO, Oct. 27, 2020 /CNW/ — Catalyst President and CEO Lorraine Hariton and Beth Wilson, Dentons Canada LLP CEO and the Catalyst Canada Advisory Board Chair, have appointed Vandana Juneja as the Company’s Executive Director. Juneja, for more than a decade, has led  Catalyst’s global diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. 

Breaking down the edits: 

  • Are pleased to announce the appointment/ have appointed
  • Executive Director of Catalyst in Canada/ Company’s Executive Director
  • Ms. Juneja brings more than a decade of experience/ Juneja, for more than a decade, has led
  • Around the globe/global

Original second paragraph

In her new role, Ms. Juneja will lead the growth of Catalyst in Canada, working closely with CEOs, senior executives, and supporter organizations across the country to accelerate progress for women through workplace inclusion. 

‘New role’ is not necessary as the release is about a new role. Also get rid of the ‘growth of Catalyst in Canada.’ It’s already been said that it’s a Canadian appointment and eliminating ‘of’ is also wise. Just that she will lead ‘Catalyst’s growth.’ 

Better PR Writer Edit

Juneja will lead Catalyst’s growth, working closely with CEOs, senior executives, and supporter organizations, accelerating women’s progress through workplace inclusion. 

‘Across the country’ was removed and ‘to accelerate’ was changed to ‘accelerating,’ making a more concise sentence. 

Last call – should you use a cliché and if it’s quote, should it be identified?

Original headline 

Canada’s leading brands show grace under pressure in BrandZ™ Top 40 Most Valuable Canadian Brands 2020

Two edits

  1. Canada’s leading brands show ‘grace under pressure’ in BrandZ™ Top 40 Most Valuable Canadian Brands 2020
  2. Canada’s leading brands show courage in BrandZ™ Top 40 Most Valuable Canadian Brands 2020

The widely quoted phrase ‘grace under pressure’ has even more currency due to its use as a Rush album title. It originated with the great writer Ernest Hemingway in a letter to fellow writer F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby) and was later repeated in a celebrated Dorothy Parker New Yorker profile. Hemingway there said it meant guts and admitted it could also be ‘courage.’

In this headline, the phrase is used as though it’s original. It should appear in single quotes to indicate it came from somewhere though maybe the writer was unaware of its provenance or had never heard of Hemingway. However, as it has become a cliché, it’s stronger as courage, as in the final edits. 

Thanks for reading. Happy to make these edits for you too. Contact me through www.theprwriter

Author: rotmanprwriter

PRWriter, Copy Doctor, Humber College PR and writing Prof

Leave a Reply