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~Top 10~ Things I learned in COMM 4333

10 Things I learned in COMM 4333:

AP Style is the most widely recognized and used style out there.  Though there are many, many others, sometimes even styles specific to a news agency, AP style is the industry standard.  It isn’t always self-explanatory, and will require things that seems arbitrarily decided, but you’ve just got to do it.  It also varies overseas; AP style in the US is different from Europe.

Getting to know a journalist prior to sending them a press release is very important.  Especially if there is an embargo date on the material you are sending, which must be communicated beforehand, as journalists are not required to respect embargo dates.

There are “stock” images people use in press releases, like the classic “grip and grin”.  Despite their popularity, they are POOR images.  Use the rule of thirds, more naturally emotive imagery, and unique perspectives to get a better picture.

Journalists may use your material and not make any reference to your authorship.  Feels like you’ve been cheated, but you’re client is still getting posterity and that’s your job!

Keep your eyes and ears on the news.  Reading and watching it can help your write for print and broadcast, not to mention it’s just a good idea to know what’s going on in the world.  The podcast “Wait Wait!…  Don’t tell me!” and it’s lightning round revealed to me how little news I’m actually aware of!

Blogs are a LOT of work, that is, if you want them to be popular and entertaining!  It’s not a casual thing you do on the side, it’s a dedicated hobby, and for some, a full-time job.  They are however, a powerful and versatile system for expression, communication, and for the reader, learning.

Don’t bribe a journalist.  You may think giving them something for free is a courtesy, heck, you might even think it’ll get your company a good review, or in the paper faster, but it only serves to frustrate and journalist, may damage your relationship with them, or even exclude your client from publication.

There are average words used in everyday language that are trademarked.  Things like Kleenex, Jell-O, and Crock-Pot are all licensed, and must be used correctly, if at all.

If we’re talking important things we learned in general, not just facts, then how to write a News Release and Personality Profile are on the top of my list.  These things are versatile and important not just for PR practitioners, but everyday folk and business owners and associates who might want to get into a publication.

Networking is the most important thing for a PR practitioner, and it is the most important thing in most industries for that matter.  It’s how you get jobs, have the connections you need to perform your job superbly, or just get the opportunity to fulfill the dream of sitting shotgun in a car race.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Chapter Reading Notes 5 -13

Chapter 14 Notes:

Things to consider before writing a proposal:

  1. What is the purpose?
  2. Who will read the proposal?
  3. What are the pertinent interests and values of the reader(s)?
  4. What specific action can be taken on the basis of the proposal?
  5. What situation or problem does the proposal address?
  6. What is the history of the situation?
  7. How much information, and what kinds of information, will make the proposal persuasive?
  8. What format is most effect for the proposal?
  9. How formal in format, tone,, and style should the proposal be?

Chapter 12 Notes:

Tips for posting on websites:

1. Write the way you talk.

2. Limit each page to a single concept.

3. Use lots of bullet points and lists.

4. Make sure each page provides context.

5. Limit the use of italics, bold face, and capital letters.

6. Don’t overuse hyperlinks.

Chapter 11 Notes:

Some tips for handling conferences and interviews:

  1. Deliver your message sincerely.  (Don’t be Tiger Woods)
  2. Know your facts!
  3. Rehearse the message, a mirror often helps.
  4. Stay alert, don’t stray off topic.
  5. Participate in the discussion.
  6. Don’t get angry.
  7. Don’t look at the camera.

Chapter 10 Notes:

Distribution channels at your disposal:

E-mail – Good for pitching to journalists.

Online Newsrooms – Good for journalists to attain information about a company or event.

Electronic Wire Services – Best for sending things to large news organizations.

Feature Placement Firms – Good for reaching suburban papers and weeklies.  As the name implies, best for feature stories.

Photo Placement Firms – Best for distribution of routine materials.

Mail – Good for sending CD’s, DVD’s, and PR/Media kits.

Fax – Good for breaking news and advisories.

CD-ROMs – Good for background material.

Chapter 9 Notes:

Tips for writing for Broadcast:

Topicality – Sometimes a topic that is just too hot not to touch will get airtime.

Timeliness – Like a news release, if it’s not timely, it’s not newsworthy.

Localization – Like a news release, having it affect the local populace is always a better story.

Humanization – If people are involved, personality profiles of sorts, people are always more interested.

Visual appeal – Successful stories must be visually appealing, or graphically unmistakable!

Chapter 8 Notes:

The importance of Photos:

They add interest, explain things better than words.

They add emotion and impact.

They can describe something in greater detail, and quicker, than a description.

They can show statistics, and visualize things otherwise hard to grasp.

Chapter 7 Notes:

Types of features:

Case Study – details how particular people have benefited from a company’s products.

Application Story – Describes how consumers can use the product or service in a new and innovative way.

Research Study – Often detailed by statistical data, research studies show how the product or service benefits a person epmpirically.

Backgrounder – Many types, one of which focuses on a specific problem, and how the company or it’s product overcame the problem.

Personality Profile – Highlights a key person somehow affected by the company and gives a biography.

Historical Piece – Details the history of the company.

Chapter 6 Notes

Types of Fact Sheets:

1. Basic one written for an upcoming event, which consists of the name of the vent, it’s sponsor, location, date and time, purpose, expected attendance, and a list of prominent people attending.

2. Corporate Profile, which includes the organization’s name, the products or services provided, the organization’s annual revenues, the total number of employees, the names of the top executives, the market served, and the position in the industry.

3. Summary of a new product’s characteristics, potentially including: The nutritional information, the production process, the pricing, availability, convenience, and how it serves a need in it’s consumer.

Chapter 5 Notes

Basic Questions to consider when writing a news release:

What is the Subject?

Who is the message designed to reach?

What is in it for the audience?

What goal is the organization pursuing?

What do you want to achieve through the release?

What key messages should this news release highlight?

Categories: Chapter Notes

Comments

Comment 20:

Hahah!  That was cute! 😀  Wish they had more visuals though than just the bird though.

Did you know you can display the video right in your post?  Just click on the “Add Video” button above “numbered list” function when posting you blog, and select a video from a url, and then paste the link, or type And insert the address after the =’s sign. 🙂

Comment 19:

Oh my goodness, I hate spam in all it’s forms, including that unidentifiable meat product.  Especially here on WordPress, I found this whole blog that just copied everything I wrote and pasted it on theirs as a quote, and made some dumb illegible comment, linking it to some completely unrelated website. I was like, really?  Technically that’s a “spider” but it’s still annoying along the same principals of spam.

What does a PR practitioner do about it?  Well luckily most places are having more difficult mechanisms put in place to black spam, including most e-mail accounts, but in case your pitch ends up in the junk heap, I think putting a unique and interesting title will help, or having contact the person before and letting them know you’re sending them something.

Comment 18:

I found the list of words that are actually trade-marked fascinating, and a bit scary.  We use them all the time, and some of these inventions are so old and well known that I feel they shouldn’t even be able to claim trademark anymore.  Especially if the invention is so unique, we have no other name for it.

It’s like if someone trade-marked the name “basket ball”.  There isn’t another word for it!  What would we call it?  A big orange ball with black elliptical stripes?  Capitalism Fail.

Comment 17:

I disagree with your suggestion to spell check it.  On the contrary, radio and television writers often purposefully misspell words for phonetic purposes.  Reading a name like…oh I don’t know… “Aanahaljime” might be hard, but if I write out “Anna Hall Jime”, you’ll understand and read the name correctly on air.  And it’s not just true of names.  You spell it the way you have to when it’s going on hair.

This writing for broadcast tip has been brought to you courtesy of another wonderful class taught by professor Langley at Southeastern University. 🙂

Comment 16:

Oh come now, I don’t think it’s that big of a travesty.  Basically they’re just putting it out there that they are putting out a product that is identical to a McDonald’s product.  If they hadn’t went ahead and made the commercial imply that they stole it, people would have accused them of it.  At least this way, there is no shame to be had, they simply admit, “yes, we stole the idea, enjoy”.

Comment 15:

Haha!  I’ve heard horror stories about food service providers, especially fast food chains but I agree with you, this seemed just like a slow news day.  Besides, I think the whole video was staged.  It was just an attention-getting thing in my opinion.  Two kids wanting to have some fun.

I doubt that half of what the video shows actually occurs on a regular basis, and if it does, then it’s bad management, but not at the Corporate level, so having the president address the issue is useless.  If his employees don’t think the customer’s trust is “sacred”, then it doesn’t matter what he thinks.

Comment 14:

While I agree that there is a potential for the head covering to obstruct her vision, it is also rather true that a motorcycle helmet might do so worse.  Unless it statistically becomes a problem, I see no reason to make her take it off, especially given her religious convictions.

I wouldn’t immediately call it discrimination however, as there is good reason to believe it might cause problems, so unless this is a frequent occurrence, I see no reason to bring her religious convictions into it.

Comment 13:

I don’t think it’s necessary to show the footage, but at the same time I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to show it either.  It’s certainly gruesome, and I personally wouldn’t show it, but clearly, by the fact that it’s on Youtube, it’s available anyway… so no more harm can be done than has already occurred by it’s internet syndication.

Since it’s silent and not too bloody…I would show it if I was told too, otherwise no.

Comment 12:

Um, yeah, what the heck?  I heard it from another student days after it occurred.  If they want us to be safe, the least they can do is tell us what to expect?  I never dreamed anyone on campus would even be held at gunpoint.

On that note, I don’t even bother opening half the e-mails SEU sends out, because most of them are irrelevant, repetitious, or useless to me.  It seems this one was no exception, seeing as how it was ambiguous and unrelated to what happened.  “Look out for suspicious activities.”  Really?

Comment 11:

Wow I never considered time zones…  I guess it’s important too, if you’re pitching to a larger, distant publisher.  Also, pitching things too early caught me off guard.  I suppose it’s quite possible they might also simply forget about the pitch in the time between.  Similarly, it reminds me of Jeff’s visit to our class when he explained that if he gets it too late, it’s just trashed.

Comment 10:

What is most awful about this in my opinion, is that we hear hardly anything about it in our media.  Also, it’s not just girls, there have been male trafficking syndicates since even the times of the early Church.  Many speeches were given and written condemning the practice.  It’s a shame our Church is so concerned with harmless things like gay marriage, when people are out there being sold for sex. Sickening.  Thank you for raising awareness.

Comment 9:

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely agree that we should support starving or homeless children, but I can’t stand the advertising companies use for this kind of thing.  It’s always the most miserable child or family they can find, looking dumbly (in the proper sense) at the camera, with their head slightly tilted up so you can see their big eyes.  It’s so staged it makes me want to puke.

Comment 8:

I dislike Apple, but I’ll admit, the technology has come a LONG way.  I always watched Star Trek when I was younger, and they had these huge bleeping, shiny, computer things, and today’s cell phones and ipads put them to shame.  It’s quite sad actually…

Comment 7:

I LOVED this test.  I saw it several years ago when a friend in England sent it too me.  I don’t remember if I saw the bear, but I’m fairly certain I failed also. XD  It was an extremely effective advertisement.  I wonder though, if they hadn’t said, “count the number of passes” we would have seen the bear?

Comment 6:

Oh I forgot, I also wish we had looked more at Delicious and other ways to get our blogs “out there”.  If not for this class, for personal blogs and future marketing strategies.

Have you found anything useful about Delicious?

Comment 5:

You’re the first person I’ve seen mention Google Analytics.  It’s a pretty neat piece of software I wish we had looked at in class.  I actually discovered it myself for my private blog shortly after we began class.  It’s a lot more in-depth than the standard WordPress statistics features, but imagine trying to set it up would be a hassle.  Besides, only big companies would probably care to use it.  Small, privates blogs have no use.

Comment 4:

I love your list.  I think numbers 10, 3, and 2, all go hand-in-hand.  Wordy things are often boring, and they inherently never get to the point, and I bet number 1 could even be thrown in their too.  Nothing is so boring as repetitiously plugging your product every other thought, but at least those kind of people are straightforward…

And Fact Errors, oh my goodness.  I just recently read a news article that made a simple tweet out to be a product boycott.  Quite an embarrassment.

Comment 3:

Despite how destructive volcanic eruptions seem, and the damage they may cause, they are quite beautiful, if a bit violent.  In any case, I despise Twitter….but it does occasionally have it’s uses.

However, I can’t imagine this is anything more than a fluke.  With how many times I’ve seen the “fail whale” because twitter is down, I can’t imagine that in a larger emergency, Twitter would be useful in the least.

Comment 2:

Oh wow! I just have to say that when I came to this blog I was thoroughly impressed even by my first reaction. The incorporation of images, word wrapping, and image choices are phenomenal. Not to mention the amount and quality of substance.

While others, myself especially, struggle to update our blogs, yours is full of abundant, professional content. I just wanted to express my congratulations on doing an excellent job!

Comment 1:

It was completely and utterly scripted, and he’s a poor actor to boot.  The entire speech meant nothing in my opinion.  Whether or not he’s sorry about what he did is undetermined; I would assume he is, but nothing in that video said so.  Personally, I’m tired of hearing about him, so I wish he would have done this for real.

In short, yes, it was scripted, and poorly acted.  Despite the fact that he’s never been known for his public speaking abilities, I still think it’s a shame, and the whole fake made me sick.

Categories: Comments

Bush, The Comeback

Of course Bush’s reputation might be on a rebound. With Obama failing miserably to make good on his promises, it’s not surprising we might look back in retrospect and appreciate the older model. Mind you, I’m not a big Bush fan either, and I don’t hate Obama either, but name something good, something significantly good, he’s done since he’s been on office?

Last I checked we ran up the deficit in the first four months more than Bush has in the last four years, and passed a health care bill that even the Canadians are crying about. It better be worth it. Of course the article is not near so biased, but in any case, Bush is looking good. With a candid book on the way, and a war that’s slowly being resolves with the results Bush intended, he may not go down as the worst president in history.

Categories: PR Connection

Invasion of Androids.

I wanted to comment on this article because I’ve seen a number of these phones popping up lately in place of the Iphone. Cheaper, and more capable than the Iphone, it’s no wonder their market share is increasing. I am NOT a big Apple person, and their perpetuated ban on Flash drives me bonkers.

I hope the Droid, or some other rival CRUSHES the Iphone. Sorry fan-boys, but Apple is just using you anyway. They don’t want Flash operable because it extends their phone’s application farther than they’d like, which cuts down on their market for charging you for apps, and the next version. 😉 Don’t buy the lie about security, Flash is safe, and as long as phones like the Droid enable it, Apple is not.

Categories: PR Connection

Blue Skinned and Blue Ray Problems

April 30, 2010 2 comments

Apparently, the blue-skinned characters of Avatar aren’t fairing well on Blu-ray discs. In fact, a strange glitch on some consumer’s Avatar discs are preventing the movie from playing, causing quite a consumer upset.

“”When 3 out of 3 players in my house (Denon, Samsung and PC) won’t play it, then 20th Century Fox should be slapped with losses on this one,” said one irritated customer. “

Simply put, I agree. 20th Century Fox should, as a show of good favor, reimburse the afflicted consumers, because that is one BIG glitch. From a legal standpoint, the product is not operating as advertised, so purchasing contracts are invalid, which could spell troubles even for the retailers.

Categories: PR Connection

Twitter’s Done it Again!

This article was quite humorous. Apparently Arizona Iced tea is not based in Arizona, but New York.

Rumors swept the news channels about people ready to boycott Arizona Tea as a result, but upon tracking the source, it seemed to originate with one small tweet, said in jest, about boycotting the product.

First, not being a big twitter fan, I found that hilarious. One day Twitter is going to cause mass mayhem, and I’m gonna be there to see it. Secondly, that people actually believe it? Sure, sarcasm doesn’t transfer very well through text, but to report on it? This is why we need stricter professionalization in Journalism.

Categories: PR Connection