Mock Press Conference
Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine Arts
Title: Mock Press Conference
- How does a reporter, faced with limited time, prepare a useable set of questions that includes research into the topic?
- How can a reporter use a press release to prepare for a press conference?
- How can reporters get their questions answered during a press conference?
- How can a reporter write, edit and revise copy, and submit same, when working under time constraints?
- Students create a set of questions to be used for a mock press conference, including research into the topic.
- Students strive to get their questions asked or answered during a press conference.
- Students compile useable notes in order to write a rough draft.
- Students edit and revise copy, and submit a near- or publishable story under time constraints.
- Students should conduct research and prepare questions for a mock press conference in a limited period of time.
- Students should take sufficient notes during the mock press conference to be able to write a story, including quotes, that accurately reflects what has taken place.
- Students should edit, revise and produce a near- or publishable work under time constraints.
Performance of Understanding, Rationale and Timeline
This exercise is useful for assessment purposes, is excellent as an exam in itself, or as one component of a semester or final exam. Students, who assume the role of competitors, are given a teacher-written press release on a mock company or organization which is purposely incomplete. Students then prepare a set of questions to ask at a mock press conference. Question preparation can include doing research into the topic and then writing questions. The teacher assumes a persona for the press release and either sets a time limit for questioning or allows questioning to run its course. Students/competitors then independently write, edit and revise work, with the goal of turning in a near- or publishable work, depending on their skill levels. Depending on skill levels and desire outcomes, students can be allowed one-to-three days to complete this assignment.
Examples of topics used:
First person to scale Mt. Everest alone.
Leader of a scientific expedition which found a new species of tree.
President of a company which makes sleighs for Santa Claus.
A university scientist who has created a special grape which will be used to make juice for babies.
President of an online store which sells traditional foods for a holiday (customized for local customs).
- Activity 1
Students and instructor discuss expectations of exercise. Instructor distributes mock press release.
- Activity 2
Students research topics and create questions under a time constraint.
- Activity 3
Students in the guise of competing reporters question the subject, the teacher who is also assuming a fictional role.
- Activity 4
Students take enough notes during a mock press conference to accurately write about the event, including the use of quotes.
- Activity 5
Students should revise, edit and produce a near- or publishable story under time constraints.
- Activity 6 (optional)
Students should be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their final drafts in small or large groups.
- Activity 7 (optional)
Students can assess papers written by students in other classes, or each other’s work.
One or more ways to assess students’ work:
- The instructor can use a rubric to grade stories.
- The instructor can audio- or videotape the press conference and play back to allow for discussion and student self-assessment.
- Students can compare their notes and stories with tape and each other.
- Students can assess papers written by students in other classes, or each other’s work.