I spend lots of time escorting media through various facilities here in Iraq, but what you may not know is that I write a fair amount of press releases as well.
Any journalist worth their salt only uses one resource to make sure their articles are up to snuff — the Associated Press Stylebook. It’s the Holy Bible of journalistic style.
On my desk, I always keep the AP Stylebook nearby. When I write a press release, I generally write the story without worrying about style. However, when I get to the editing process, I may notice I’ve done a few things wrong (but would be right if it weren’t a news article or press release).
For instance, it hasn’t been “over 100 years” since the 19th century. It’s been “more than” 100 years. The city of Atlanta stands alone in a dateline, but Reno does not. Also, state abbreviations aren’t the postal kind. I live in Montgomery, Ala. and used to live near Burbank, Calif.
In any case, aside from the media visits I facilitate, I haven’t really talked much about the other parts of my job.
I collect our media queries and file the questions and answers for easy reference. When there’s an interview set up for the general, I prepare a document that contains a profile of the reporter and some expected questions that reporter might ask. That document also includes suggested answers to those questions.
It’s not a bad job, actually. I get to work with some of the world’s best journalists, and every now and then I get quoted in every newspaper in America.
Just in case you’re curious, these are the three most recent press releases I’ve written:
- With Bucca detention closure, U.S. reaffirms commitment to Security Agreement
- Camp Bucca detention facility shuts down operations
- Detainee population falls below 9,000