Press release is considered to be a tested method to get free publicity quickly. Organisations, including universities, worldwide hire the best hands to produce quality press releases to pitch their products or highlight milestone events in the media.
If a well written press release can bring applause, a poorly drafted one can bring disrepute, reflecting badly on the outfit issuing it. For universities the task is crucial as a blooper will tarnish their image and their capability to teach students will be questioned.
The case in point is a press release issued by Jamia Millia Islamia on the Republic Day. Jamia’s media cell has two of the best minds of the media industry: Professor Iftekhar Ahmed, Director, AJK MCRC, and globally acclaimed journalist M Shakil Ahmed, former PTI staff. Both are from Bihar. Media icon Dr Saima Saeed, who teaches students at Jamia’s Centre for Culture, Media and Governance, is Honorary Deputy Media Coordinator.
The press release is given below with some of the shortfalls highlighted.
Media Coordinator’s Office
Jamia Millia Islamia
January 26, 2017
Jamia Millia Islamia celebrates 68th Republic Day
New Delhi, 26 January. Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) celebrated the 68th Republic Day to mark the adoption of the country’s Constitution. (Dateline missing; the day when it was held)
Prof (uniformity issue, in some places full stop is given after Prof and some not) Talat Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, JMI who was the chief guest on the occasion, was given a ceremonial salute and guard of honour by NSS cadets. (Parenthetical clause missing; comma after JMI. Also, the short form has not been introduced earlier)
Pro-Vice Chancellor, Prof Shahid Ashraf, Registrar, Mr. A. P. Siddiqui, OSD to VC, Prof. Sharfuddin Ahmad, Controller of Examinations, Deans, Heads of Departments, Directors, Principals of Jamia Schools, faculty (happier usage is faculty members) and staff of the university attended the colourful function.
The unfurling of the national flag by Prof. Ahmad was followed by the singing of the national anthem at (it is always on the premises, not at as mentioned in the release; preposition issue) the premises of the Jamia schools (why is schools in lower case here and upper case in the paragraph above [line 3 and other places]?) which were decorated with balloons and the tricolour.
Dr Muzaffar Hasan welcomed the guests at the colourful function (redundant, these words are mentioned in the last line of the third paragraph also) that witnessed school children perform a patriotic group song and speak about the freedom struggle, the Constitution and its salient principles.
Prof Talat Ahmad congratulated the students on the occasion of the Republic Day and asked them to “aim high, go for the best higher education and contribute to the progress of the nation”. He reminded them about the role of Jamia in the freedom struggle and thereafter, citing how Dr Zakir Husain, one of the Vice Chancellors of Jamia (comma missing) went on to becoming (it should be become; sentence needs rephrasing, it is convoluted as too many thoughts are expressed in the paragraph which is poor writing style) the President of India.
He expressed the hope that the values students learn at JMI will help them become good human beings.
Prof. Ahmad reminded the school students that in an age of intense competition it was imperative that they prepared themselves for national level examinations (there is nothing like national level examinations) and were inducted in Administrative and Civil Services, asking them to learn from the example of Registrar, JMI, Mr. A. P. Siddiqui who has been conferred with the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service on the occasion of Republic Day 2017. (Sentence convoluted)
“Education, especially that of girls (comma) is essential for the progress of a society (no need for a before society) and nation,” Prof Ahmad said.
Dr Abdul Naseeb Khan, Vice Principal, Jamia Schools, proposed the vote of thanks. (Currently, Khan is in-charge Syed Abid Hussain Senior Secondary School self-finance)
CAPTION: Photo by JMI