Step 6: Write your press release
Checking the Send to Hometown Newspapers box on Step 5 will open up Step 6 of the Merit achievement workflow. This guide will walk you through turning your Merit achievements into press releases for local newspapers.
Upon opening up the workflow, you'll see your default contact information and dateline. The contact information saved inside your account will appear here automatically, but you can make any necessary changes.
After that, you will see an interface for editing your press releases. The online story that you created in Step 3 will appear here by default, but if you need to edit it, you can. Add additional placeholders using the dropdown boxes and Insert Placeholder buttons.
Group Press Release
If multiple students from your achievement are local to any one newspaper, you will be prompted to draft a version of your press that can be used for that paper. We call this version of your story a Group Press Release. When this happens, the press release section will be broken up into two tabs: One for an Individual Press Release, and one for a Group Press Release.
Newspapers will receive one or the other of these two stories. When exactly one of the students in your list is from their coverage area, they will get an Individual Press Release about that one person. When multiple students from your list are of interest to a paper, they will receive a Group Press Release that lists all of their local students.
Group Press Releases
Click on the Group Press Release tab to view and edit your stories. This section will be broken down into 4 sections: A headline, opening, repeating and closing. The headline, opening and closing will be the same for every newspaper. Only the repeating section will vary. For each newspaper, it will build a list of local students.
When you first visit the Group Press Release tab, you will see that your Headline and Opening were automatically created for you using the achievement title and summary you wrote during Step 1. We recommend changing these to provide a local angle to the press releases that you send.
The opening will lead directly into a local list of students, so we recommend ending with a line similar to what you see above. (i.e. "The following local students were recognized:") The repeating section is the only area that you can include placeholders, so all of your personalized content will appear here. Merit gets you started by automatically inserting the basics for you - students first and last names, hometowns and zip codes.
Note: Write your Repeating section as if it's about one person. The content there will repeat as needed for each newspaper, automatically building a local list of students for them.
The closing section is the same for every newspaper and lets you round out your press release in any way you'd like. The boilerplate saved inside your account will automatically be inserted here, but you can add as many additional paragraphs as you may need.