This page gives some examples of good, bad, and ugly
PSAs to help you as a potential PSA submitter understand what you should do and not do when creating your PSAs. If you haven’t done so already, you should read through the main PSA page before reading this page.
Good PSAs are good because they give the facts – what, when, where, who, why – with a minimum of fuss. Good PSAs are almost always selected by the PSA directory to be included in the PSA book.
Except for the occasional grammatical slip, the Fernbank Science Center writes good PSAs:
During April, the Fernbank Science Center greenhouse will feature Lantana variety “Miss Huff.” While supplies last, each visitor may take a plant home. Except for April 11, these Victorian greenhouses will be open to the public on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.
The number for more information is 404 378 4311.
The Goethe Institute also writes good PSAs; the only problem is they don’t tell you how to pronounce “Goethe”:
The Goethe Institut celebrates the 250th birthday of Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Germany’s most famous poet and writer, by presenting a series of six feature and four documentary films on Goethe’s life and works. The films are shown at 7 p.m. on Wednesday
nights at the Goethe Institut; the series runs now through May 19.
More information is available from the Goethe Institut at 404 892 2388.
PSAs from the High Museum tend to be a bit too coy, as suggested by the start of this next PSA, but are otherwise good:
Spend a day with Monet. Make an impression as a volunteer at the High Museum of Art during the largest European Impressionism show ever presented in the southeast. Volunteers are needed for day and evening shifts and can see the exhibition the same day. The show is on view now through May 16. To sign up, call 404 733 4521.
An excellent PSA – short and to the point:
Hemophilia of Georgia needs male volunteer counselors, 18 years of age or older, for their overnight summer camp to be held July 3 to July 9 at Camp Twin Lakes. To register, call Stephen Crysler at 770 518 8272.
Bad PSAs may be bad in form (for example, be too long
or violate too many rules), or content (for example, be an advertisement) or both. Bad PSAs are almost never selected by the PSA directory to be included in the PSA book.
In addition to being sizable (140 words), this PSA isn’t really about anything:
More jobs and an improving economy may result from the teaming up of two economic powerhouses. That’s the message from the
recently concluded European Union-United States Summit which was
held in Washington D.C. The European Union is an economic alliance
designed to promote trade and economic development among the 15
European countries that are members. In January the European Union
introduced a new common currency, the Euro, which will eventually
be used in eleven of the member states. Officials from Austria led
the delegation to Washington. Austria currently holds the
Presidency of the European Union. The president’s office rotates
among the member nations. Brussels, Belgium is the permanent
capital. The agenda of the Washington meeting focused on a new
transatlantic economic partnership, known as the TEP, which will
promote trade between the US and the members of the European
Any PSA starting off along the lines of “A recent study,
sponsored by the Society for the Advancement for X,
demonstrated the superiority of X over Y. . .” is
thrown away without further reading.
If “what’s for dinner” is the last thing on your mind,
you’re not alone. According to a recent national survey by Nestle
USA, nearly half of working women don’t start planning dinner until
after four o’clock. And by six p.m., an equal number believe it’s
getting too late to begin preparing a meal using fresh ingredients.
So what’s a guy (or girl for that matter) to do? Look to your
grocer’s freezer. New products such as Skillet Sensations, are a
complete meal with meat, sauce, vegetables and starch. All you need
to do is cook it up in the skillet with an occasional loving stir.
Dinner in under fifteen minutes has never been this easy. But, if
you need to maintain your reputation as a careful planner, just
don’t let on that you picked up these products by Stouffer’s and
Stouffer’s Lean Cuisine on the way home.
This PSA, like the previous one, is a thinly veiled advertisement.
Advertisements themselves are not objectionable as PSAs, but
advertisement-writing (that is, vague and unsupported claims,
references to un-named studies, specious arguments, and cutesy
You can take the plunge into healthier eating this year
by choosing satisfying seafood. Low in saturated fats and calories,
while high in protein, seafood can be a delicious way for everyone
to eat smarter and healthier. A diet low in saturated fat and high
in fish, research suggests, can also help reduce the risk for heart
attacks and health problems for some people. And according to a
1996 study, fin-fish was rated as the second most satisfying food,
second only to potatoes. The Virginia Marine Products board invites
you to make a splash at your next meal. Dive into good taste with
Virginia seafood – so good, so satisfying and good for you, you’ll
soon be an afficionado.
This last bad PSA is bad because it mentions price and contains
calls to action. Because that’s pretty much all it contains,
rewriting the PSA didn’t make much sense and it was rejected
Tee off on lung disease with the Golf Card from the
American Lung Association for only $25.00. Enjoy free or discounted
greens fees at over 600 golf courses in Georgia, Florida, Alabama,
and Mississippi. Buy three cards and get the fourth one free. Call
the American Lung Association for more information at
Ugly PSAs fall between good and bad PSAs: they’re not
as hopless as bad PSAs and, with some work, they could become good
PSAs. Depending on the number of good PSAs recently received and
the amount of work it would take to turn an ugly PSA into a good
PSA, the PSA directory occasionally accepts ugly PSAs for inclusion
in the PSA book, but it would be a mistake to rely on this to get
your ugly PSA accepted.
This PSA is ugly because it’s a press release and not a PSA.
Hands On Atlanta is producing the largest and most
important fundraising event of its kind in the Southeast., The
Atlanta Cares Dance-A-Thon & Groove Bazaar. Hundreds of
corporations, college/university and community organizations across
Metro-Atlanta will gather at the Atlanta Apparel Mart in an
unprecedented demonstration of commitment in the fight against
AIDS, hunger, and homelessness.
The Atlanta Cares Dance-A-Thon is designed to serve two primary
goals: To raise urgently needed dollars to support Hands On Atlanta
and other outstanding service and education providers, and to bring
together a broad spectrum of young adults, creating awareness and
service opportunities for thousands of men, women and children.
What is the Dance-A-Thon? On Saturday, May 8, The Atlanta
Apparel Mart will be home to the largest and most exciting dance
party in the Southeast. Hot music, decadent lighting and a huge
dance floor will set the stage for more than 6,000 people to
experience pure excitement. A roaring crowd will dance the night
away, have a fabulous time and raise money to address critical
issues of AIDS Support, Animal Support, Children & Youth,
Conservation, Disability Awareness, Homelessness, Housing, Hunger
and Literacy. This spectacular event will feature exciting
performances, celebrity hosts and 5 hours of music from today’s
hottest music artists. The Dance-A-Thon is not a marathon;
participants may rest at any time and complimentary food and
beverages will be served throughout the evening.
Event Title: Atlanta Cares Dance-A-Thon & Groove Bazaar
Date: Saturday, May 8, 1999 from 6:00 p.m. – midnight
Benefiting: Hands On Atlanta, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Atlanta
Interfaith AIDS Network, Big Brother-Big Sisters and Habitat for
Humanity in Atlanta
Venue: The Atlanta Apparel Mart
Anticipated Number of Participants: 8,000 – 10,000
Anticipated Dollars raised: $750,000
Past Performers of similar Dance-A-Thons in San Francisco, Los
Angeles and New York: Madonna, Salt N’ Peppa, P.M. Dawn, Vanessa
Williams, CeCe Peniston, The Village People, Queen Latifah, Naughty
By Nature, Kristine W., Crystal Waters, SWV, and Evelyn “Champagne”
To register yourself, your company, school or organization Call
If you submit a press release, you’re at the mercy of the PSA
director as to whether or not your press release gets rewritten as
a PSA; in this case, Hands on Atlanta also submitted a PSA,
avoiding the issue. Generally speaking, however, the PSA director
will not rewrite press releases to be PSAs.
The next PSA is ugly because it doesn’t give any contact
information (and, it turns out, the dates were confusing):
The Georgia Tech Society of Black Engineers would like
to announce its 22nd Annual Career Fair. A corporate reception will
be held on Tuesday January 26 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the
Bill Moore Student Success Center. The career fair will be held at
the Student Center Ballroom from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
These problems were easily fixed, to produce the following good
The Georgia Tech Society of Black Engineers is holding
its 22nd Annual Career Fair. On Tuesday, January 26, a corporate
reception will be held at at the Bill Moore Student Success Center
from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. On Wednesday, January 27, the career
fair will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Student Center Ballroom.
More information is available at email@example.com or
404 894 2444.
One common cause of ugly PSAs is late submission. This PSA, in
addition to being verbose, was received the day before the
Dr. Jean-Lou Chameau, dean of Georgia Tech’s College of
Engineering, cordially invites you to participate in the webcast of
“Beyond the Endless Frontier: The Future of the American Research
University,” a presentation by Dr. James J. Duderstadt, President
Emeritus and University Professor of Science and Engineering at the
University of Michigan. The webcast will take place from 2:00-3:30
PM, Thursday, March 4, 1999 at www.news-info.gatech.edu/index.html
The presentation will be hosted live at Georgia Tech in the
Georgia Center for Advanced Telecommunications Technologies
Normally a PSA this shaggy and late would be thrown out, but
because this was a Georgia Tech PSA, it was rewritten and added to the PSA book by Wednesday night.
The Georgia Center for Advanced Telecommunications
Technologies (GCATT) at Georgia Tech presents Dr. James J.
Duderstadt, President Emeritus and University Professor of Science
and Engineering at the University of Michigan, speaking on “Beyond
the Endless Frontier: The Future of the American Research
University.” The speech takes place in the GCATT auditorium at 2
p.m. on Thursday, March 4, 1999; it will also be webcast from