Topic of the Week #8 – COMM 4333
I always recommend these NewsU courses because I just have enjoyed them and gotten a lot out of them. I would love to describe my reaction to the NewsU the Lead Lab I took last week. This course focused on the basics.
What did you learn?
I think this was a great confirmation and reminder on the basics because I was able to practice writing the leads for a story. This was very beneficial because it sealed into my understanding by applying what I had just experienced. One of the best aspects of these mini classes is the interactivity because I learned the information of the lead through writing it and was fully involved the entire time. I also learned the different ways to write a lead and the styles for each one. This was a great exercise for me also since I have not learned many lead differentiations and now I have a bunch of references and can write them better than before NewsU lab.
What surprised you?
A lot of the details I learned in the lab were just confirmation from other communication seminars and classes. I was not aware of all the leads mentioned and I was surprised that I could really enjoy writing the leads. I improved through this practice and really loved getting all the ideas for leads.
What do you want to know more about?
I want to see more examples of the different kinds and from people’s feature story writings. I should look up all types so that I can make sure it has all the necessary elements for a great lead. Many time I get into a rut and only right the most direct lead, but taking some time to brainstorm would make my story that much more intriguing for the reader. It is always important to cover all basis in the lead, since it will make or break the story.
Reading Notes #8 – COMM 4333
Selecting the appropriate publicity photographs and graphics are important to portray a certain image. I have been able to work on this skill a lot this semester by choosing blog photos. Although it can slightly differ, either for blogs or for print, photographs will speak volumes to anyone viewing your piece.
They add interest to the piece, instead of just words. We love visuals, and this is no exception to that rule.
Good photos are based on technical quality, subject matter, composition, action, scale and many other aspects because it needs to have all elements included.
Contracts are written document helps you avoid misunderstandings about fees, costs of materials, and copyright ownership.
Questions for the Photographer
- Do you shoot digital?
- Can you show me your other work and photos you have taken?
- What contacts do you have with the media?
- how will you help me distribute the photo once it has been shot?
Reading Notes #7 – COMM 4333
We all have gotten through quite a few Communications courses to find ourselves here. Therefore, we have a basic idea of the fundamentals needed to write a feature story, or soft news.
Feature stories differ from the regular “hard news” stories because most have more human-interest and are less focused on the time frame because the stories are not about todays robbery but cover last weeks community event.
A feature story has several parts to follow. A headline, lead, body, summary, and photos with captions.
Types of Features
- Case Study
- Application Story
- Research Study
- Personality Profile
- Historical Piece.
Reading Notes #6 – COMM 4333
Preparing Fact Sheets, Advisories, Media Kits, and Pitches is all covered in chapter 6 of
Fact sheets come in all different forms, including event information, new product details and for corporate profiles.
A fact sheet is a one page background sheets about an event, product, or the organization.
A media advisory is also known as an alert and it lets the press know about a certain upcoming event and should try and persuade them to cover the event with publicity. The key to this is showing the press multiple reasons of why they should be involved and how it can also benefit them!
Media (press) kits are a wonderful tool to assemble in time for a product launch or a major event.
They include the fact sheets for the specific event or product, along with the main news release and a news feature. Background information about your product needs to be in the kit also so that the reader will be able to know about the organization.
Photographs and captions should be inside the presentation and a short bio on the spokesperson allows an inside look for all the press agents. Brochures can show a different side of the project including some of the testimonials or pictures of prior events. All of the information we compile for the media kit is to give them a better idea of who we are and our purpose.
Never neglect the visual aspect of it because the receiver will always want a professional and neat presentation; therefore, the kit should be placed in a new folder with the organization name written on it.
Preparing a perfect pitch is a process and the key to persuasion is tailoring it to the specific client. Find out how they like to be contacted and build a mutual trust between you and the reporter because the networking will prove to be very beneficial.
Reading Notes #5 – COMM 4333
Start writing a news release by asking the important questions, the basics.
This will allow you to decide who the audience is, the purpose, and which key messages should we highlight through the release.
The audience needs to be catered to, they are the receiver of the information and therefore, it is imperative that they are intrigued and then persuaded that this is an important event, and to get involved.
A news release is the backbone of any publicity event. The release is extremely cost effective, has great credibility and it assists with the objectives your company has for its event, product or client.
Each successful news release will be organized as follows: First comes the letterhead, contacts, and headline which are all on the top portion of the paper. Then they have the dateline which can either be a real date or “for immediate release”. Lead paragraph will introduce the purpose and a summary, body of text is self-explanatory but at the very end the writer should have a short summary of the organization for the reader.
Types of News Releases
- Spot Announcements
- Reaction Releases
- Bad News
- Local News
P.S – DO NOT FORGET TO END THE PAPER WITH “###” OR “-30-” TO LET THE READER KNOW THE OFFICIAL END OF THE RELEASE.
PR Connections #7 – COMM 2322 and 4333
After 20 years of experience in the Public Relations scene, Tara Mullaney walked into a little Lakeland restaurant down the street from her hotel room. Spreading her papers on the table, she was ready for a long night of writing and revising, preparing for an important meeting. Without even glancing at the menu, she begins to write. When I approached the sophisticated agent, I was anxious to find out her career- but instead I only got her drink order, unsweetened iced tea. I was so happy so hear that she was a fellow PR sister, and was more than happy to answer all my questions. After 3 hours of talking and refilling her iced tea, I felt very blessed that she crossed my path, even if only for that one night. Tara Mullany serves as the director, strategic development PR agent for Community Health Services. They are concentrated in Franklin Tennessee, but they have clients all around America and Puerto Rico.
–What do you do to keep current in the PR industry?
I read a lot. I am always reading the newest blog, website, manual for our companies during my flights and waiting periods it actually comes in handy. My title is the strategic developer PR agent because I am the one coordinating the expansion of the media coverage of a new project. (among many other things, of course.) So I my job really counts on me to keep updated on everything happening in the PR world, both corporate and for my person growth. I also listen to many podcasts each week to keep updated and current.
–How does social media play into your position?
Well, the most interesting part about my job is that we work with physicians and professionals; therefore, we are meeting on a local, more centralized outlet. That has saved me from having to learn and keep up with the new social media frenzy. Our corporation would have to create a new position and small department just to handle our social media affairs, it’s a lot. This doesn’t fit into our purpose as much as a mainstream company would need that angle but nonetheless we are very involved in PR
–What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR?
How crazy my schedule would be. Between the 24hr days and the many hotel rooms, I was unaware of how much it would demand from my personal life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and am grateful that I do what I love everyday and work for a company I believe in. It is just difficult when I travel for my job, because having a ‘normal’ social life and calendar is nearly impossible for me.
–How important is writing in your career?
Writing is extremely important, style and grammar will be the make or break of your success with all aspects of the job. For example, I’m sitting in this restaurant writing a News Release, knowing the correct way to format the news release and being comfortable with the grammar will make a 7 hour process a much more tolerable duty; that is just one example of how precise it needs to be. An example of how important writing is to a PR agent would be that I have to write my own presentations and proposals, which means I have to make sure that I it to evoke a response, while having my form, style, grammar and punctuation perfect. No firm will respect any reports that aren’t close to perfect; it’s our job to make sure we are submitting professional work every time.
–What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?
Find what area you are most looking for, and find a way to plug into it. It is important in the Public Relation industry to work in ‘your niche’. Then you will enjoy the process of coordinating, writing, and reading because you are working in the aspect you most care about; you end up representing some thing or some one you believe in. Also, don’t be afraid to travel, it can open the most adventurous doors for you personally and for your career. Before you have a family, or any serious ties to one place, just go. All I am saying is don’t pass up the opportunity if you ever come across it. The most important tips I can provide, has to start now – not once you graduate. That is to get a mentor. Find someone local and who has experience and is willing to talk to you, answer questions and just guide you in the right direction. If you can grasp the advise and then start applying it to your young career, then you will be that much more affective. Get a mentor who has time, and after learning and listening for a while you can even volunteer your hours to shadow them, which will always be beneficial.
–When your company is hiring for an entry-level PR position, what makes a candidate stand out?
Applications pour into our offices at all times. We read applications every time they are submitted but do not hire 97% of them. Our PR department is small so we have our own reasons for limited hiring, but those who are chosen will have already established their knowledge of this fast paced career. We also will prefer an impression internship, hands-on experience, and someone who is ready to keep up. That stands out above college courses and graduating GPA’s are almost never considered after you have gained minimal experience. I know this doesn’t apply to my specific company or position, but recently having extensive social media usage is required for many companies. Especially at the age of entry-level, newly graduates are expected to know exactly how social media works and spend time keeping up with that.
–After interviewing this person, are you (the student, not the practitioner) more or less likely to want to have a career in PR? Why?
After talking with Ms. Mullaney, I am more likely to pursue a career in Public Relations. She highlighted many of my favorite parts of the industry like the opportunity to travel and their role for the media. They are the inside scoop, the middle men between the public and the media, I love everything about that.
PR Connection #6 – COMM 2322 and 4333
Blogging has been a great experience this semester because it has shown me another form of social media that has proved to be very informational and educational. I have learned to love blogging and learning from all my classmates’ blogs also. There are new lessons to learn and my classmates have helped my experience with blogging because we are all participating on a similar subject. there are many classmates in my PR Applications class that I enjoy keeping up with, they are able to communicate a real message to me during my busy day. I even rely on these student blogs many times to inform me of different events taking place locally and nationally.
Out of all the great blogs I have glanced at and commented on, my favorite blog is amandajaidynne. I love the simple background she has with lots of great information in the texts. Amanda also does a great job at finding random pictures in her posts that are perfect for her “nature” themed blog. She has a lot of information on the blog about entering the world of public relations since this is her first formal introduction to the industry. Amanda uses all the various elements of writing and personalization, that I love to read her blogs. One of the best blog she has written was the Resume and interview tips, Stand Out. This will help many graduating seniors because she took time to write all the information presented by Professor Nixon, and other great resources that really gave me a lot of insight. This blog post has helped me already because I have applied some of her ideas. Topic of the Week is another great category in her blog to read because she is always updated on them and she takes her time to write a really great paper, really helpful and encouraging to the other students trying to work as hard as possible and create interesting posts.