ENGL393 Assignment – Press Release


The goal of this assignment was to choose a somewhat recently release journal article related to something in my major and write a press release that a journalist could then take and adapt into an article. This is representative of the traditional role of a technical writer in many organizations.

I chose a journal article about how researchers in Pakistan have been improving rain water capture methods by digging a special trench near the crops they want to keep alive. These trenches are called microcatchments and they are surprisingly effective at keeping water where it’s wanted despite abysmal soil conditions.

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I wrote a draft of this, turned it in for feedback – and then almost completely rewrote it for the final version. I looked back at what I had written and immediately decided that I was presenting too much of the wrong information in the wrong order. 

It took me a long time to figure out which information my audience would be interested in. Initially I presented some of the science near the top. This tends to make eyes glaze over. During revisions, I switched to explaining why there was a problem, and why conventional solutions couldn’t be used by relating the situation of the research’s target population to an American.

I kept in mind rhetorical elements such as purpose, point of view, and tone. I tried to frame the development as something people should be excited about, even if it wasn’t personally useful to them. A US citizen probably does not know (nor care about) the rainfall conditions of every country in the world, nor the general infrastructure grade, so I included just enough information to make the point that the research was significant. Lastly, I kept in mind my purpose – to hook a journalist and give them enough information to write a feature.

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A direct link to the document as a pdf is available here.

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