During a professional development discussion, Army Capt. Chad Cooper, 35th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade, public affairs officer, spoke with communication and journalism majors of Augusta University Nov. 21, at the universities Allgood Hall located in Augusta, Ga.
The class was learning how to formulate leads and the importance of organizing their thoughts and materials to communicate a well put together piece.
During the conversation Cooper shared his experience and guidelines for writing leads and different ways to express the emphasis of their work as well as a look into the mind of an editor when it comes to correcting or enhancing a product.
"Mass media is a part of our daily lives, and a powerful tool we use to share stories externally. You want to intrigue your audience within the first few sentences," said Cooper an Illinois native. "Communications have changed how information is delivered and how people, organizations, and government entities communicate. If your lead doesn't draw any interest within the first few seconds of reading it, generally speaking, they'll stop reading and find another article that's more captivating.
Also helping with career incite was Mr. Brad Clark, 908th Airlift Wing, deputy chief of public affairs. He spoke more to the five W's (who, what, when, where and why) emphasizing the why. "My rule of thumb is you want to let the reader know why this piece is important or why they need to continue reading," said Clark. "Now more than ever the reading public is concerned with 'how does this affect me', if you state that earlier in your work your readers will understand why it's important to them."
Furthermore, the class instructor Mrs. Debbie Reddin Van Tuyll asked Cooper and Clark to look over some of the students work and advise them how they could improve their leads, going desk to desk to help all students get a firm grasp of the concept they spoke.
"The students had everything they needed within their papers for a strong lead to captivate their audiences," said Cooper. "The biggest issue I saw was how they organized their leads most of them had pertinent information further within the work and not directly upfront in the article. All easy issues to tackle at the end of the day you want the eye raising moment in the beginning of an article if possible as it helps us to create meaningful connections with our audiences."
"I think the students took to their suggestions well," said Reddin Van Tuyll. "It's a difference between me telling them how I usually develop my products and giving normal instruction versus people from within the mass media field giving them incite to their experiences and what their thought process is while developing their products."