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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.

Categories: Uncategorized

Chapter 2 Reading Notes

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Chapter 2 Reading Notes: Persuasion

  • Sender – From where the message originates
  • Message – The information trying to be propagated
    • When planning your message, consider your organization’s objectives.  Determine what the audience knows, and what you want them to know or believe.
    • Channel – The medium used to carry the message.  Determining what medium is best for the message and audience is key, and whether or not it will require more resources such as visuals.
    • Receiver – Also known as the Publics, this is the group which will be receiving the message.
      • Consider the Stakeholders – anyone who can be affected by the organization’s decisions.

Theories and techniques relating to communications worth considering:

Cognitive Dissonance – The condition in which an individual will not accept a message contrary to their beliefs unless the sender can offer information that challenges those beliefs.

Framing – How one portrays the story or information being presented.

Diffusion and Adoption:

Awareness: The person discovers the idea or product.

Interest: The person tries to get more information.

Trial: The person tries the product or idea.

Evaluation: The person decides whether they like the product or idea.

Adoption: The person incorporates the product or idea into their everyday lives.

Diffusion and Adoption Considerations for Sender:

Relative Advantage: Is the idea better than the one it replaces

Compatibility: Is the idea consistent with the person’ existing values and needs?

Complexity: Is the idea difficult to understand or use?

Trialability: Can the innovation be used on a trial basis?

Observability: Are the results of the innovation visible to others?

Source Credibility: Ensure the message is believable with sources

Consider Audiences Needs:

General Tips:

  • Appeal to the audiences interests.
  • Make the message Clear
  • Time the message and place it in it’s appropriate context for maximum impact
  • Use symbols, slogans, and acronyms
  • Beware of semantics, what means one thing to one individual means something else to another
  • Suggestions actions related to the product or idea
  • Structure your content in creative and interesting ways
  • Offer Statistics, like surveys and polls, examples, testimonials and endorsements


  • Do not use false or fabricated information, and do not misrepresent truthful information
  • Do not use poor logic
  • Do not represent yourself as an expert
  • Do not misdirect your ideas onto psychological or spiritual roots
  • Do not deceive your audience with an ulterior motive
  • Do not use emotional appeals
  • Do not oversimplify situations
  • Do not feign certainty
  • Do not advocate something you do not believe in

Taken from:

PR Book

Chapter 1 Reading Notes

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Chapter 1


  • The PR writer’s purpose is advocacy, not accuracy.  Persuade and motivate, not inform.
  • Traditional Journalists write for one audience, PR writers however, often write for numerous, and radically different audiences.  Journalist is broad, PR is refined and specific.
  • PR writers not only pick the message, but the medium, sometimes many mediums.
  • Up-to-date information is key.  Blogs and news site watching helps, and is imperative.
  • References: Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, and other scholarly sources such as databases, are extremely useful to have around.
  • An active voice should be used.  That is to say, present-tense, and avoiding overused nouns and adjectives.

Tips for Success

  • Be Clear
  • Use action verbs
  • Use active voice
  • Avoid Jargon
  • Focus on People
  • Don’t neglect the first paragraph
  • Include quotes
  • Write for the ear
  • Allow for mistakes
  • Take chances

Taken from:PR Book

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

Who’s who?

January 23, 2010 Leave a comment

To whom may it concern,

At least, that was the topic of Grammar Girl’s December 11th, 2009 episode, exploring the advanced proper usages of “Who” and “Whom”.  According to the podcast, though there had been multiple episodes concerning “Who” and “Whom” in the past, the topic was still causing her readers and listeners trouble, and I can’t say I’m a master of these two words either.

In my writing I’ve tended to use the words “Who” or “Whom” based on a blind, almost gut instinct of which word I feel fits the sentence, and in most cases I think I do fairly well.  I say blind however because I’m not sure I know the reasoning behind my uses, or at least, I don’t recall them.

As unfortunate as it is however, the podcast didn’t help me resolve my issue much.  Being that I haven’t taken an English course which focuses on grammar for several years, explaining the usage of “who” or “whom” with the words “predicate” and “object”, though it may have rang some bells, went largely right over my head.  Grammar Girl (Mignon Fogarty) did a great job of explaining the usage in those terms however, and for someone knee deep in grammatical studies, I’m sure it would be a great benefit.

It also seemed to go a bit too fast, and I found myself pausing and re-listening to portions frequently.  The intangibility of the words she spoke made it difficult to follow along, and I found I understood best when I read some of the excerpts posted on the webpage as she spoke them.  If I learned anything from the podcast, it’s that I’m a very literal learner, which is quite surprising to me. Luckily for me however, Grammar Girl also posts written blogs explaining some of these concepts along with her podcasts.

At least in the future I’ll know not to just listen to something and expect to understand it.

Categories: Uncategorized