On July 31st, Denterlein hosted eight high school-aged students part of the WriteBoston Program, a nonprofit literacy organization that serves students, schools, districts, and educational organization across Massachusetts. The program, organized by the Teens in Print Summer Journalism Institute, allows students to visit three Boston-based companies over a three-week period and provides them with tools to elevate core writing skills for career exploration and potential future jobs. Here are the takeaways:
1. Strong writing skills
Founder and CEO, Geri Denterlein, kicked off the morning emphasizing the importance of the written word. She highlighted four skills that must be mastered in order to communicate effectively: be a strong writer, be present when communicating orally, understand the community to understand society, and listen intently to figure out the deeper message. One of the bigger takeaways from Geri’s presentation was that although quick communications can be beneficial, it is important to remember that our words make an impact on the world and are not to be “thrown away” – as Barack Obama once said, “words matter”.
2. Good elevator pitch
Account Director, Jayda Leder-Luis, helped the students develop their own elevator pitches. Jayda explained that an elevator pitch is the portrayal of a person’s own story told in a very short amount of time, and helped the students create their own by breaking it up into three categories: basic information, activities or involvements, and the themes that connect the pieces that form who they are.
3. A successful media pitch
Senior Advisor, Peter Howe, talked about how to write a successful Media Pitch explaining that they are essentially asking reporters to do a story. He describes a media pitch as a presentation of the story, that it should explain what it’s about and why someone should care about it. Peter wrapped up his session asking students to brainstorm on how they might pitch a story about Teens in Print to the Boston Globe.
4. Take advantage of social and digital media
Vice President of Digital Media, Paul Doyle, shared insights on how the social and digital media of the present day have impacted PR. He highlighted the numerous opportunities these newly developed technologies have brought to PR and provided the students some quick tips on how to spread their ‘written’ ideas to a broader audience.
To conclude, a student expressed how media literacy and strong writing skills gives them an opportunity to speak for the “voiceless,” to which Geri responded with a quote from Ayanna Pressley, “the voiceless are not voiceless, they are just not being heard.” It is evident that these students love providing the perspective of the younger generation and doing so with the written word is the perfect way for them to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the world.