A quiz for students of PR

Dear students of public relations:
Maybe you can help me out.
I received an email today that began like this:

Princeton, N.J. (November 13, 2007) -Educational Testing Service (ETS) and Certiport today announced an agreement to create a solution leveraging their assessment and certification programs around digital literacy and critical thinking with regard to information and communications technologies (ICTs).

Can you help me with this?
When someone ‘announces an agreement,’ is that a big deal?
What does it mean to ‘create a solution’?
What does it mean to ‘leverage programs around’ something?
Are the the programs ‘with regard to’. . . or are digital literacy and critical thinking ‘with regard to’ . . . ?

And, finally, why did they send this message to me?
If you have some clues, please let me know.



4 Responses to A quiz for students of PR

  1. Bill Sledzik says:


    Thanks for a priceless example I can take to class with me this week. I hound my students about clarity precisely so they can steal jobs from boneheaded writers like this one.

  2. paul says:

    I can understand if this was written by someone at Certiport, but if it comes from ETS I am going to jump out a window.

  3. Dave says:

    Your real question, of course, is “does this press release suck?” The answer, of course, is yes. I don’t understand why some PR people fill press releases with good feelings and buzzwords when the intended audience (usually news reporters, investors, or other professional stake-holders) really just wants the information. Use the good feelings approach for other ads.

  4. paul says:

    And we communicators must constantly guard against becoming so familiar with insider lingo–whatever industry we’re in– that it becomes transparent to us. Thank goodness I have some people willing to review my stuff before it goes out the door. Otherwise I’d write in Edspeak, and that’s not a pretty sight.

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