PROJECT #3: Memo and Newsletter Piece

PROJECT #3: Memo and Newsletter Piece
Orientation

Various institutions, companies, and agencies sponsor newsletters (internal or external) to
transmit information to particular constituencies. Although certain individuals may be primarily
or solely responsible for the creation, organization, and publication of a company or agency
newsletter, there may be opportunities for participation by other members of the professional
entity in question (firm, agency, institute, association).
Some newsletters are largely promotional, focusing on achievements, e.g., sales, promotions,
within the organization. Some incorporate opportunities for more personalized items by
including profiles, notice of birthdays, and the like. Others, more expansively, may go beyond
typical newsletter highlights to create a publication more akin to a newspaper, usually with a
corporation or agency slant and addressing interests, possibly including recreational ones, with a
particular readership (internal and/or external) in mind.
This assignment permits you to complete a piece of work within such generous parameters—a
newsletter piece for the imagined newsletter of a real or imagined company or agency. It means
that the article itself can be a fiction while presented as if real; e.g., a new product unveiled in-
house, a company picnic, a restaurant review with corporate clients in mind.
Because such work for a company newsletter might be accompanied, behind the scenes, by one or
more memos discussing aspects of the journalistic task performed, the opportunity for including
an additional piece of writing in memo format (as distinct from the news item) also presents
itself.

Assignment

As indicated by the foregoing, the assignment consists of two parts:

(1) A news item;
(2) A cover memo acknowledging and identifying the attached news
item, and describing how the news item came to be written.
The second component (the memo) combines material discussed in class regarding the
composition of memoranda, while the first component provides the opportunity to contribute an
imagined newsletter piece or a real article for voluntary publication in an actual campus
newspaper.
Although the memo will most likely need to be composed after work on the news item is
completed, it will be considered first in the more detailed discussion below.

The Memo

As a cover memo (or memo of transmittal), this document is meant to acknowledge and identify
the news item accompanying it. That is, it should refer to the article and indicate what kind of

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article it is; e.g., news item, feature story, editorial, personnel profile, activities feature, and the
like.
Ordinarily, such a memo should be addressed to the company’s or agency’s newsletter editor.
The newsletter editor’s name (the “To” line) can be as fictional as the newsletter and the article
written for it.
Just to be clear:
 Your TO: line will look like this. John Doe [pick a name], Editor, The General Motors
Newsletter [or whatever you are going to call this real or fictitious newsletter].
 Your FROM: line will feature your name [as an employee of the company—not an
owner].
 Your DATE: line will use the date when this project is due.
 Your RE: line will include the word “article” and can be as simple as Article Submission.
 You will not be using a CC: line for this memo, because you are not sending the memo to
anyone else, but only to the newsletter editor. However, skip two spaces below the last
line of your last paragraph to provide an Enclosure line.
 Keep in mind that you are submitting an article for publication in a company newsletter,
to be selected, if at all, by the newsletter editor to whom you are writing. That is, you are
not submitting a newsletter, which would make no sense, nor do you have any responsi-
bility for the newsletter as a whole. Nor is it your job, as part of the assignment to create
a whole company newsletter, but just the one single article for it.
 Remember, too, that the memo content itself has no salutation. That is covered by the
TO: line. In the memo content itself, you are still just writing to one person, the editor.
 Remember that a memo has no signature block. That is covered by the FROM: line.
 Do not be quick to assume that your article will be selected. The following material is
what you should write about in your memo—identifying the type of article, its subject,
your credentials for writing it and your preparation in doing so, and your justification of
why it should be published.
 Even if they are short, your memo should have at least three single-spaced paragraphs,
double-spaced between.
To repeat, aside from acknowledging and identifying the news item, the memo should describe
what you did to obtain the information needed to write the article. For many kinds of articles,
that often means interviewing one or more persons to obtain factual information or to corroborate
facts already gained from other sources. If the piece is an editorial, you need to discuss what you
observed on campus or in your fictional company that induced you to write about a particular
concern and the approach that you took in addressing it. If you engaged in a particular activity
needed to write the article, discuss your preparation, i.e., what you did to enable you to undertake

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the work in question. In short, your cover memo anticipates queries that an editor might make to
clarify what you wrote and how you came to write it.
Your memo should use one of the acceptable formats for this type of document, as discussed in
class. Use at the top of the memo a logo or letterhead that identifies the fictitious company or
agency for the newsletter version. You may initial your name on the memo (by your printed
name).

The News Item

What kinds of articles are there? A news item may take one of several forms, all of which will be
considered in the paragraphs that

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