Sandy Kaczmarski – Work History

Brookfield Zoo

bzoo

KEEPSAKE: Frisbee with the dolphins, wolves howling in a silent snowfall, appearing on the Bozo Show with Frasier Thomas, riding in a van with a grass-toothed, farting llama for a Bozo Show appearance

1983-1984

As public relations associate, responsibilities included writing and distribution of news releases to national and international media, escorting wire service photographers through the park, working with volunteer coordinator to organize special events, assist photographer, act as spokesperson for radio and television interviews.

  • Research and write news releases about exhibits and animals at the zoo (zoo births, new exhibits)
  • Design and layout of weekly employee newsletter with updates from zoo departments
  • Escort media through the park and exhibits (coordinate with zookeepers and other staff)
  • Special events planning (coordinate with support staff including zoo police, food service, grounds keepers, etc.)
  • Represent the zoo at Bozo’s Circus scheduled appearances with Children’s Zoo animals
  • Organize media coverage for Olga the Walrus birthday and other events as zoo’s most popular pinniped

Below, a news release featured in the journalism textbook, “Writing the News,” by Anderson and Itule of Arizona State University, published in 1985

WRITING THE NEWS

Douglas A. Anderson, Arizona State University
Bruce D. Itule, Arizona State University

Random House / New York, Page 180

BOILING DOWN A HANDOUT

Here is the press release from the zoo, announcing that turkeys are going to do some gobblings of their own. Assume that a newspaper city editor has asked for a two-paragraph story on it.

As in any press release, at the top is the name of the person to contact if there are additional questions. The words for immediate release tell the media that this information can be used as soon as it is received. All handouts give the release date. Most are “immediate,” but some request a future release date.

News Release

Contact: Sandy Rodman
Public Relations Representative
485-0263

For Immediate Release

THANKSGIVING DAY WITH THE ANIMALS

Instead of being gobbled, the turkeys at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo will do some gobbling of their own during Thanksgiving Day with the animals at 12:30 p.m. in the Children’s Zoo.

Special food pans will be prepared to tantalize the palates of the guests of honor: the turkeys, ducks, and geese. Children’s Zoo visitors will be invited to help serve the holiday feast in this Thanksgiving Day celebration to be thankful for our animal friends.

Children’s Zoo admission is $1 for adults, 50 cents for children (ages 3-11), and 75 cents for senior citizens and juniors (ages 12-17).

Brookfield Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free Thanksgiving Day through December 31. Located at 31st Street and First Avenue in Brookfield, the Zoo is accessible from the Stevenson and Eisenhower expressways and Interstate 294.

FINDING THE LEAD

The first thing to do is to find the lead, the most important point of the story. In only two paragraphs, it is impossible to be as cute as the person who wrote this press release. Look for the who, what, where, when and how, and then build a story around them. Every press release may not contain all of the five W’s or the H, but a news story can be constructed around the ones that are included.

Who: Visitors to the Children’s Zoo.
What: They’ll be able to feed the turkeys, ducks and geese
Where: Brookfield Zoo.
Why: To be thankful for the animals.
When: 12:30 p.m., Thanksgiving Day.
How: With special food pans.

Once the five W’s and H have been identified, the next step is to put them into a news story, in this case two paragraphs. The more space, the more information that can be put in; however, in only two paragraphs, all that can be included are the essential ingredients — the five W’s and the H.

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