... there's no one correct way, but here’s one I like:
It's visual, not text-heavy.
An alert is meant to make room on a reporter's calendar. It's a "save the date." The little text there is should help the reporter see why it matters, from the reporter's perspective.
Honestly, reporters don't care about format. They will appreciate a message in crayon on the back of a napkin if it's relevant to their work on deadline.
The sample above is from Bob Crawshaw, a PR pro in Australia. Here’s his full profile on Google Plus and here he is on LinkedIn. I found him while scanning for less than 20 seconds on this array of images in a Google search.
I didn’t scrutinize the text for news value. I chose this sample for its visual clarity and ease of use.
If you want to know about AP style for formatting in general, here are a few suggestions:
- Sentence case for headlines (Bob’s example is all caps, though.)
- New rule this year: Spell out rather than abbreviate state names
- Single quotes if you need to use quote marks in a headline (or for a quote within a quote)
- VP is OK in a headline, but vice president is AP style in body of text
- Abbreviate months other than March, April, May, June and July when they are with a date, but spell out all months if they stand alone or with a year only.
- Capitalize the R in Room 2.
- 11 a.m., not 11:00 a.m.
- a.m., not AM
- noon or midnight, not 12 p.m. or 12 a.m.
- AP style on time zones is difficult because it requires you to know whether it’s standard or daylight-saving time, and different regions do it differently. I suggest using a service like http://www.worldtimebuddy.com/est-to-pst-converter to make sure you’ve got it right. AP style is EST, EDT, etc.
If you are using a media alert as a "mini press release," rather than a "save the date," consider using a blog post or email instead. Or write a short press release -- there's nothing wrong with brevity!