Design Journal 7:
After reading Jaclyn Bell’s article on PSA creation, I have a more in depth understanding of the intricacies that go into making an effective PSA. For me I feel as if the hardest steps in creating a PSA will be in my ability to concisely convey my information. I have had a tendency ever since grade school to be overly wordy in my writing, a tendency that does not bode well for developing a short but effective PSA. In order for me to do this I will need to make sure that the topic I chose is broad enough to have enough information on it, but focused enough to where I will not get sidetracked and ramble on about the topic.
In order to effectively win over your audience, the NPR video and Community Toolbox article provided some insightful tips on how to do so. The NPR video outlined how people do not like to be told how to live, which is a critical idea to keep in mind while outlining your PSA. The video also brought up the issue that a lot of the time unsuccessful PSA’s will normalize the negative behavior that it is seeking to eliminate. This in turn makes it seem as if the negative behavior is common place and will prompt more people to follow said action. To promote the actions that the PSA designers want to see, the video recommends that an effective PSA should not directly mention the negative actions but instead directly state the positive action that they wish to see their audience perform. The Community Toolbox article touches more on how to build an effective PSA, namely with the dialogue being used. The authors stress that you must have a clear, concrete goal that you wish to accomplish in your script. From there it is important to use simple, but vivid language to convey your message. This becomes easier when you are able to develop a creative hook to your PSA that draws the viewers in. Finally, it is important to call for a specific action be taken by the viewers by the end of your PSA.
This simple PSA is intended to raise awareness to the issue of citizens being vigilant in protecting against terrorism. The “If you see something, say something” tagline encourages people to speak up to law enforcement if they ever encounter a situation in which they feel uncomfortable or recognize suspicious activity. Based on the factors that go into an effective PSA, this example hits all of the critical points even in its short 15 second run time. The footage is of one environment that the viewer can easily identify with and relate to. There is also minimal dialogue used that could detract away from the main message, instead focusing on the primary message of speaking up. This also highlights the point that the PSA encourages the audience to do the concrete action of speaking up if they find themselves in a suspicious situation. The ending of the PSA is also effective, as it provides contact information for the audience to use if they find themselves in suspicious situation which allows them to easily take action.