Friday, July 27, 2012


Contact: Taft Matney
Date: July 27, 2012
Phone: 864/505-8866

At approximately 8:18 am on July 27, 2012, the Wade Hampton Fire Department received a call reporting a structure fire at 136 Riley Smith Road in Greenville County.

The first engine arrived on scene at 8:21 am.

The homeowner made two calls to 911. The first reported to the Greenville County Sheriff's Office that she saw multiple masked individuals in her garage. In another call minutes later, she reported to dispatchers that her front porch and back deck were on fire.

The fires are under investigation by the Greenville County Sheriff's Office.

No injuries were reported.

In addition to the Wade Hampton Fire Department, as part of a mutual aid Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) agreement, units from Boiling Springs Fire District’s station on Blacks Drive arrived at approximately 8:27 am to assist.

For media inquiries, please contact Taft Matney by e-mail at or by phone at 864/505-8866.


This statement contains or may contain forward-looking statements that are subject to uncertainties which could cause actual results or facts to differ materially from such statements for a variety of reasons. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. Wade Hampton Fire and Sewer District undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's a News Release, Not Rocket Science. Don't Mess it Up for Your Client.

If you aren’t familiar, one of our sister brands is a cloud-based, South Carolina-focused magazine called CRESCENT ( or or or I’m fortunate enough to also serve as its editor.
Although CRESCENT uses some aggregated material, most of it is original. Then there’s that other category – the news release.

As CRESCENT’s editor, I have an advantage over a lot of others in similar positions since not only do I understand what I want from an editorial standpoint, I also understand the life of the PR flack. Because of that, I try to be more open and accommodating in terms of working with PR practitioners. After all, when I’m not editing CRESCENT, I’m one of them – writing news releases and collateral copy, drafting messaging strategies, pitching story ideas to media, figuring new way to get a client’s message heard (I also use these same skills for the governmental affairs side of our business).

Maybe all of that is why I pay additional attention when we receive submissions.

From time-to-time, someone will submit a pitch or a release that’s written pretty well. Every now and then, somebody even knocks it out of the park, but much of the time, I wonder if some of these folks ever took a writing class.

If you write a news release and submit it for editorial consideration, what’s the best case scenario you’re hoping for? This isn’t a trick question. I promise.

You want the outlet to publish your story, letter, op-ed as you wrote it. You don’t want it reworded. You don’t want someone else’s editorial spin thrown in. You want your words and ideas sent to the masses just as you outlined them in your head and on paper.

So, why don’t people write that way, now?

I get it. You want to be cutesy and clever. That’s fine for a media advisory when you’re trying to generate interest to get media attendance at an event, but it’s nowhere close to appropriate for a pitch or news release.

Write like a reporter. Yes. It’s important for you to get results for your client, so do what you know you should do. Tailor the pitch to your audience – in this case, a reporter.

A reporter or editor doesn’t want to read about what you say is the greatest, bestest, most amazingly amazing product/service ever.

I can’t believe I have to say this, but it’s still about the “Who,” “What,” “Where,” “When,” Why,” and “How.” These are universal truths and should be as unbiased as possible. Try to give them an antiseptic quality when you write them.

The personality of your submission should come from the quotes.

Yes. Use quotes. Use quotes from the client. Use quotes from people who used the client’s product or service. Use quotes from an “expert” in the field who can comment on the client’s products and/or services being publicized. Let those people talk about the greatest, bestest, most amazingly amazing product/service ever.

In other words, write the article yourself. No one can speak as knowledgably about your subject as you can, so write it the way you want it to appear in print or broadcast over the air, and if you try to get too editorial and over-adjectived, you run the risk of your piece getting tossed in the trash before it's ever considered.

This isn't rocket science, but it’s apparently a lost PR 101 skill. As noted restaurateur Brad Hamilton advised audiences in 1982’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High, “Learn it. Know it. Live it.”

UPDATE: Oh, and one more thing. If you're promoting an event, please make sure you say when and where it is, whether it's open to the public, and whether there's a cost involved in attending. If I invite you to a party, don't you want to know when it is and where it's going to be? Again, think through the details. Tell your intended audience what they need to know.

UPDATE 2: Really? I actually have to add this? OK. Here goes. When you send a news release, get the recipient's name right. If you get it wrong and then apologize and resend the news release, please, for the love, don't keep getting the recipient's name wrong.

UPDATE 3: Now it's just getting ridiculous. Spell check won't catch all of your mistakes. Read the release before you send it, and if you can't spell or don't have confidence in your grammatical capability, find someone who does, and ask him or her to proofread your piece.

Taft Matney is a partner with TM Public Relations, a strategic communications and governmental affairs firm in Greenville, SC. Follow him on Twitter ( and "like" TMPR on Facebook (

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