SPJ was invited by PRSSA, Public Relations Student Society of America, to do a mock press conference on October 29th, about the previous weekend’s arrest for the Athens Annual Halloween Block Party.
The press conference was for SPJ to test PRSSA on their PR skills and them to test us on our reporting skills in return and was broken up into parts:
- 6 p.m. General PRSSA announcements
- 6:15 p.m. introduce SPJ exec board and put up the scenario on the overhead.
- 6:20-6:35 Give both SPJ and PRSSA members time to prep statements and questions for the “mock press conference”
- 6:35-6:50 Act out the press conference with prepared material
- 6:50-7 p.m. Discuss feelings and feedback on the mock press conference
The topic of the meeting was the recent arrest rate of the Athens Halloween Block Party the previous weekend. PRSSA put up an actual Associated Press story of the even and gave each side fifteen minutes to prepare. Then, PRSSA sent up their representative to act on part of Interim Vice President for Student Affairs, Ryan Lombardi, and we were left to ask him questions.
For SPJ’s fifteen minutes, we wanted to make sure we prepared enough questions so that nothing about the story would be left to question afterwards.
Some of our questions were:
- Of the 80 people arrested at the Halloween Block Party, how many were students?
- What precautions were taken to make sure this Halloween was safe for students?
- How did Athens County and Ohio University communicate throughout the night of the Block Party?
- What will Ohio University do to make sure that the number of student arrest will go down next year?
- Besides shutting down the Block Party all together, what are your thoughts on how to make it a safer environment?
It was important to us to focus our questions on what the public would want to know, and not just ask questions that we could easily predict what the representative was going to say.
All in all, the fake press conference was a great way for the member of SPJ to brush up on their reporting skills.
A big thanks to PRSSA for inviting us!