What is a Social Media News Release?

•April 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

A social media news release is basically a news release posted online. SMNR’s are made for online media outlets. They usually have a main story set up like a traditional news release, but they use high resolution photos/ graphics, video, and audio components to accompany the story. A PR practitioner should use a Social Media News Releases when they want to incorporate different media into their story. There are so many more options when it comes to SMNR’s. A regular news release only gives you the option of adding pictures or other graphics. But that’s really it. Also a PR practitioner should use a Social Media News Release if they want to reach a bigger group of people. Chances are more people will see something posted online versus just having a story posted in the newspaper.


Redeem the Shadows! Stop Human Trafficking!

•April 22, 2010 • 7 Comments

Tonight I went to an event called Wide Awake. This event was to bring awareness to the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children, men, and women around the world. It really changed me and moved my heart. My heart breaks for all the millions of individuals who are slaves around the world. Those people who are raped and abused numerous times a day, and have no way out. Over 2 million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade.  32 billion dollars is made every year off the bodies of young girls and women in sex trafficking. Over 12 million people worldwide are trafficked for forced labor or sexual exploitation. If these statistics don’t break your heart, then I don’t know what will. What breaks my heart almost as much is how very few people in the world are informed. People don’t know that this is taking place right now all over the world. If people don’t know that this is happening, then how can we put a stop to it? It is our job as Public Relations practitioners to bring awareness to issues, and let people know that they are going on. There are so many ways to get the word out, and who better to do it than individuals who are going into a field that is all about communicating with people. PR practitioners have access and connections to media outlets and people that the average person does not.  So why not use this advantage to change the world? There are so many issues like slavery that need to be addressed, and that people need to be aware of. So we need to take action now! Even if you are not going into Public relations there is still so much you can do. You can do many things personally, like giving your time or money to organizations, you can tell the people you know and bring awareness about issues, or you can contact a PR practitioner and get them to spread the word. If you want to help stop this sickening tragedy, there are numerous organizations you can get involved with. Some are Redeem the Shadows and Stop Child Trafficking Now. Get involved and change the world!

Interviews, and leaving your mark!

•April 20, 2010 • 2 Comments

With summer upon us, and even graduation for some of us, finding a job has been something on everyone’s minds.  With the odds against us because of the economy, there is so much more pressure on us. Looking for a job can be overwhelming and difficult, and there is so much pressure to land a job if you are lucky enough to get an interview. Interviews are nerve-racking, but it is something everyone has to go through to get a job. Being prepared for an interview will definitely increase your chances of getting a job. Since you will probably have more than one interview in your life, you should start preparing now, because everything you learn today will be applicable to every interview you have in the future. Here’s a video I found that had some pretty good tips. I know that you have probably heard of some of these tips, but I encourage you to watch the whole video anyway. Rich Alexander said some things that I previously never thought about. Here are the ten points he covered:

1) Arrive early

2) Know the position

3) Listen carefully to questions

4) Always be positive

5) Tailor your resume

6) Delay salary discussions

7) Make the interview a conversation

8) Know what the next steps are after the interview

9) Complete your notes

10) Send a follow-up letter

                The tip that stuck out most to me was #7, make the interview a conversation.  I think that the majority of us are so nervous, and focus on strictly answering the questions during an interview that we fail to show our personality. You have to remember that the person giving the interview is a human being too, and you should think of an interview as simply talking with someone. Thinking like this will automatically help with nerves. Another thing to remember is to simply be yourself. Let your personality shine during an interview, because a big part of the interview process and landing a job is being remembered!


Reading notes Chaps 10-16

•April 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Chapter 10 Reading Notes

  • Media directories, whether print, CD-ROM, or inline, are essential tools for compiling media lists and distributing information


  • Media lists and e-mail addresses must be updated/ revised on a regular basis!


  • Mailing labels must be accurate; they should be very specific


  • E-mail is now a popular way of communicating with reporters and editors about possible story ideas


  • Online newsrooms, have become the primary source for journalists seeking late-breaking news and other information about an organization


  • Keywords are important for search engine optimization


Chapter 11 Reading Notes

  • Journalists depend on public relations sources for receiving most of their information


  • Gimmicks are not well received by reporters and editors


  • Spokespersons for an organization should prepare carefully for media interviews


  • Press tours, often called junkets, should be used only if there is a legitimate news story or angle


  • A meeting with a publication’s editorial board is a good way to establish rapport and long-term relationships


  • When conducting effective media relations be accurate, truthful, and provide outstanding service


Chapter 12 Reading Notes

  • The worldwide adoption of the Internet and the World Wide Web has taken less time than the adoption of any other mass medium in history


  • PR practitioners  are heavy users of the Internet and the Web


  • The new media, including the Web, has unique characteristics. 1) easy updating of material 2) instant distribution of information 3) an infinite amount of space for information 4) the ability to interact with the audience


  • Written material for the Web should be short, and in digestible chunks. 2-3 paragraphs is ideal for news items


  • There are 3 kinds of blogs. They are: corporate, employee, and third-party


  • The second generation of the Internet is called web 2.0


  • RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication, and this allows organizations to monitor blogs and other websites that may mention the organization’s products or services


  • Myspace and Facebook are the most popular social networking sites


Chapter 13 Reading Notes

  • Printed materials, such as newsletters, magazines, and brochures, are still important communication channels in the Internet age


  • 2 strengths of print publications are that they can feature in-depth stories and they can reflect the “face” of the organization. They are also portable and have an extended shelf life


  • Every publication should have an overall mission statement.


  • The newsletter is the most common organizational publication, and magazines are usually the most expensive publication


  • Headlines should be written in active voice and provide key messages


  • Writing and designing a brochure requires you to know its purpose, the target audience, and the most cost-effective format


  • Write brochures in simple sentences, informative headlines, short paragraphs, and liberal use of subheads


  • Prepare a dummy or mock layout of the brochure before you begin writing


  • Offset lithography is the most versatile and popular form of printing today


Chapter 14 Reading Notes

  • Keep messages simple, short, and to the point. Limit messages to only those who are in your key audience


  • E-mail is rapid and cost efficient


  • E-mail is less formal than a letter, but more formal than a telephone call


  • Memos should be one page or less and state the key message immediately


  • A memo has 5 components: (1)date (2) to (3) from (4) subject (5) message


  • Proposals must follow a logical, well-organized format


Chapter 15 Reading Notes

  • Writing and giving speeches are outstanding public relations opportunities for organizations to increase their visibility and reach key publics


  • Speechwriting requires clear objectives, effective organization of relevant key messages, knowledge of the audience, and a close working relationship with the person who will be giving the speech


  • A speech is a powerful communication tool. It must be prepared for listeners, not readers!


  • Nonverbal communication is very important in a speech


  • 20 minutes is the recommended time for a speech, so it would be about 10 pages double-spaced


  • Speeches should have 1 -3 key messages


  • Audiovisuals dramatically increase the ability of audiences to retain and understand information


Chapter 16 Reading Notes

  • Direct mail can be an effective public relations tool to inform, educate, and motivate individuals
  • Three major advantages of direct mail are 1) ability to reach specific audiences 2) personalization of message, and 3) cost


  • The direct mail package has 5 components: 1) envelope 2) letter 3) brochure 4) reply card, and 5) return envelope


  • Direct mail envelopes attract more attention if they use commemorative stamps instead of metered postage


  • The headline and first paragraph, as well as the postscript, get read the most in a direct mail letter


  • Advertising can be a useful tool in a public relations program


  • Major advantages of advertising are:  1) ability to reach specified audiences, 2) control of the message 3) frequency of the message and 4) control of the timing and context


  • There are 5 kinds of public relations advertising: 1) image building 2) financial 3) public service 4) advocacy/ issues and 5) announcements


source: Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques sixth edition by: Dennis L. Wilcox

TOW Week 14

•April 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

TOW Week 14

        I learned a lot from the Five Steps to MultiMedia Storytelling course at News University.  I learned that the best multimedia stories are multi-dimensional and also nonlinear. I also learned that before you go out to report a story you should make a storyboard. A storyboard is a story outline that lays out the multimedia possibilities. Creating a storyboard is done in 3 parts:

1. DEFINE the elements

2. IDENTIFY the media

3. STORY BOARD the concept

Once your fieldwork is done, refine your storyboard. Evaluate your information, figure out what has changed from your original version of the story, and map out which media you have! Here are some general rules about media that I learned:

  • keep videos short, between 1-2 minutes, and definitely no more than 3-4 minutes
  • use high-quality audio only
  • definitely include photos when using the web. Use photos to replace 1,000 words, not as accessories to words
  • graphics can be the centerpiece of a story
  • text works best for first-person stories, political stories, analysis, op-ed pieces and short updates.

I also learned about packing when going out to do research. Make sure you have all the equipment you need, so pack in advance and pack light. All main equipment should fit in a camera/computer case, one that resembles a backpack would probably work best. And if you’re flying, never check in your camera bag, always carry it with you! Also buy a tripod that will fit into your suitcase! These are definitely some useful tips.

I was really surprised when I read about the sliding rocks of the racetrack Playa. I had no idea that such a thing existed and I thought the topic was really interesting. I would definitely like to learn more about these rocks!

What I Learned from Jeff Houck

•April 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Last Tuesday we had a guest speaker in my PR writing class. His name is Jeff Houck and he’s a journalist for the Tampa Tribune. He talked about his profession and gave us tips about writing. He also gave us valuable information, advice, and insight to the world of journalism and public relations. Here are about ten things I thought were really interesting, and things I think everyone should know.

1) Form relationships.  This is probably the biggest thing I took away from his whole speech. Get to know people, because they could be a connection to a future job/story/interview in the future. Also don’t just form professional relationships with people you work with, actually befriend them. Jeff said to go out to lunch with them, or call them up and talk to them about something completely not work related. The more you get to know someone, the easier it will be to work with them.

2) Don’t put embargos on stories, it makes journalists mad.

3) Make pitches short and sweet. Your headlines should be less than 30 words, and your pitches should not be titled “For Immediate Release.”  This is what Jeff prefers anyway.

4) Always be open to finding a better story, but always have an idea of a story before an interview or before you do any research.

5) Not everyone you talk to is going to be honest.

6) Don’t try to sell a journalist your product, sell them your story!

7) Try to give journalists about two weeks to write a story. They are busy and have other deadlines and stories they’re working on. 99% of the time you are not going to get your story written and published a day or two after you give them the information.

8) Don’t make errors! Always double and triple check your work! Errors are unprofessional and make everyone related to the article/ story look bad.

9) Make it easy for a journalist to do something with the information you give them. Give them organized and complete information!

10) Whatever you write about, make sure you are passionate about it!

11) Write as if you would say it. Don’t use complicated sentence structures or expansive vocabulary.

I thought these points were really interesting and good to know. I feel like I learned a lot from Jeff, and I definitely enjoyed hearing his prospective on Journalism and PR.

Tow week 13

•April 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

10 ways PR people can drive journalists crazy

1) Putting embargo’s on stories.

If you send a journalist a story and want them to write it for you, it should be allowed to be published right away.

2) Having a story, but not giving a journalist organized information. 

You should always make it easy for journalists to write stories by giving/ providing them will enough accurate and organized information, especially if you want the story published.

3) Not giving a journalist accurate information, such as names, etc.

If you don’t give a journalist accurate information and the story gets published, it makes everyone look bad.

4) Making Pitches too long or complicated.

Short and simple is best when it comes to pitches. Highlight the main points of your story, but don’t get too complicated or too in depth.  A pitch is like a blueprint of what the story will become, it is not a final draft.

5) Not giving a journalist enough time to write the story.

 Don’t expect to a journalist to write and publish a story in a day, or even a week after you give them the information. They have other deadlines and stories their working on, so give them time in advance.

6) Do not make errors. Double check your work. No spelling, or grammatical errors should be found. Also make sure everything is in AP style.

If you make errors, it looks bad. People will not take you seriously and they will discredit your work.

7) Getting mad at journalists for making someone look bad.

Their job is to inform others of what happened. They cannot be blamed for telling people the truth, or making someone look bad. If a person looks bad, it’s their own fault for making the decisions they did.

8) Not getting back to a journalist in a timely manner, or being impossible to contact/get a hold of.

It is so important for a journalist to be able to get a hold of you. If it is too much of a hassle to get in contact with you, the journalist won’t write your story plain and simple.

9) Promoting or trying to sell a journalist a product.

Don’t try to sell journalists products, sell them your story!

10) Not having good relationships.

PR people and journalists need each other, and need to be able to work together. Once they get to know each other better and how they each work, it will make both their jobs easier.