Bay Watershed Education and Training Program Communication Toolkit materials
The news blast guidance provides tips for publishing updates on project activities. The example template provided would be appropriate to insert into existing organization communication outlets such as weekly/monthly newsletters or website updates. The news blast template provides a format to add both concise and brief facts about your project or add more details on project specifics for this news blast to become a full news article or story. Example B-WET stories featured on the NOAA website may be found here: http://www.noaa.gov/topic-tags/b-wet. Please feel free to fill in or edit the placeholders as appropriate to tell your story.
How to use these materials: When text added to the news blast template is brief and concise, it is suited for email updates to distribution lists, website blurbs, or inclusion in other news-focused outlets. When more details on project specifics are added to the template, the news blast is suited to submit to a program or community e-newsletter that reaches audiences who would be interested to know more about the participants’ activities—for example, local educators and parents. The news blast can also be used as the basis for web stories to be featured on NOAA’s Office of Education website.
General tips for writing news articles:
- Tell the numbers, i.e. number of students/teachers impacted, number of NOAA scientists involved.
- Try to address who, what, when, where, why, and how
- Be sure to include where your program/activity takes place.
- Use the format: relevance, response, results. NOAA encourages the use of this format to help structure your news blast.
- Begin your news blast with “relevance” – what is the initial problem, need, issue, or opportunity?
- Then you tell your “response” – what you did to address the initial problem, need, issue, or opportunity.
- You end with “results” – what happened as a result of the project? Who benefited and how?
- Be sure to acknowledge NOAA. When possible, say how NOAA is included in your project (e.g., through using NOAA field sites, education products, or working with NOAA scientists).
- Create an attention grabbing headline! Use action words to highlight what you are trying to convey. Examples include:
- [Local Area] Students to Study in Hands-on, Living Classroom with NOAA Scientists
- NOAA B-WET-funded Project Helps [#] Students Experience Watershed
- Include quotes. Quotes are a great way to share information and convey buy-in from others. Consider getting quotes about your program from B-WET staff to give national or regional context. Quotes should be no more than 2 sentences each. We recommend using at most 2 quotes.
- Include photos or photo decks that can be used by media.
[Local Area] [students/teachers/other audience] to [do what?] with NOAA
In [local area], there is a [state the problem/ need for project]. [Organization] is helping/has helped address this problem through the project, [state project name/details].
As part of this project, [tell what you are going to do or have done, what you have or will accomplish].
With support from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) [insert appropriate region] Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program, in [give time frame], the project will/has [Include project impacts].
[Insert a quote(s) from organization leadership, project participant or beneficiary, and/or national or regional NOAA B-WET program staff. For example, “We are excited to launch this project, which will get our students out investigating their own backyard, using rigorous protocols while also taking care of their own place,” said Springfield Principal Skinner. If a project participant or beneficiary does not have to time to develop their own quote, you can draft a quote and then get their approval.]
The NOAA B-WET program is a competitive grant program that promotes Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences: activities driven by rigorous academic learning standards that aim to increase participants’ understanding and stewardship of watersheds and related ecosystems. To read more about the NOAA B-WET program, please visit http://www.noaa.gov/office-education/bwet.