Chapter’s 7 & 8 Reading Notes

June 19, 2010 StormAshley

This information is based upon my reading from “Public Relations Writing And Media Techniques,” 6th ed. by Dennis L. Wilcox.

Chapter 7 focused on discussing Creating News Features and Op-Ed. During my reading I learned that unlike news releases that emphasize the timely disclosure of basic information about situations and events, feature stories provide additional background information, generate human interest, and create understanding in a more imaginative way.

Features are considered “soft news” rather than “hard news.” Feature stories come in all different shapes and sizes. All of them have potential to:

  • provide more information to the consumer
  • give background and context about organizations
  • provide behind-the-scenes perspective
  • give a human dimension to situations and events
  • generate publicity for standard products and services.

Evidence suggests that feature stories are on the rise and becoming increasingly popular with newspapers and magazines. There are different types of features such as:

  • Case study
  • Application story
  • Research study
  • Backgrounder
  • Personality profile
  • Historical piece

I learned that Op-Ed pieces provide an excellent opportunity for individuals and organizations to reach an audience of readers that will tend to be “influentials.” Some tips for writing the perfect Op-Ed include:

  • Concentrating on presenting one main idea or a single theme.
  • Don’t ramble or deviate from your principal points. An op-ed is not an essay that slowly builds to its point.
  • Be timely. The article should be about a current social issue, situation, or news event.
  • Query editors before sending an op-ed; it will save time and energy.

Chapter 8 dealt with Selecting Publicity Photos and Graphics. I learned that components of a good photo include, technical quality, subject matter, composition, action, scale, camera angle, lighting and timing, and color. I learned that it is important to use a skilled photographer with professional experience.

I found it surprising to learn that a portrait photographer may not be good at photographing special events. I also found it surprising that the book stated that photographers, even for publicity, are not advertising. make sure you identify the news value of the story you want to illustrate. After reading both chapter’s I would have liked to learn more about photo’s and what components make the “perfect” picture.


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