Posts filed under: ‘Reading notes‘

Chapter 14

Chapter 14 discusses Writing E-mail, Memos, and Proposals. I  learned that public relations personnel spend a large percentage of their working day engaging in interpersonal communications. I found it surprising that it takes a lot of time to just read all the messages that inundate us, considering all the technology that public relations professionals have access to.

It is important to follow the guidelines when writing e-mails, memos, and proposals that are set, which include:

  • completeness
  • conciseness
  • correctness
  • courtesy
  • responsibility

I learned that a memorandum also known as a memo, is a brief written message, they are usually a page or less in length. When writing memorandums it is important to have a purpose, and it be specific and to the point. The first paragraph of a memo should contain the key message that would be most of interest to the reader.

I learned that as a public relations professional you will write two kinds of letters, a personal letter and a less personal letter. Letters are commonly used to give information, ask for information, to motivate, and many others. the most important  part of any letter is the first paragraph . It should state exactly what the purpose is that the writer is trying to get across.

Proposals are commonly used to provide information on offering services to an organization. An informal proposal consists of  four components, they include:

  • introduction
  • body
  • conclusion
  • transmittal
  • table of contents
  • tables and exhibits
  • summary
  • introduction
  • body
  • recommendation
  • exhibits and bibliography

I found it surprising that public relations writers, often, author position papers for organizations.  Some tips for writing a position paper inclide:

  • on a cover page, use a title that tells exactly what the paper is about
  • use simple graphs, bar charts, and pie charts to present key messages
  • avoid overt marketing and promotion for the organization’s services or products

I wish the book would have provided more examples of proposals that i could see.


Add a comment July 8, 2010

Chapter’s 11 & 12

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

Chapter 11 discussed Getting Along with Journalists. In this chapter I learned that media relations is the core activity in many public relations jobs. I found it surprising that public relations professionals and journalists have long had a love- hate relationship.

The relationship between public relations and the media is based on mutual cooperation, trust, and respect. Areas of friction between them include:

  • hype and news release spam
  • name calling
  • sloppy/biased reporting
  • tabloid journalism
  • advertising influence

I learned that media etiquette is crucial to public relations professionals. Failure to follow media etiquette often leads to poor media relations. They include:

  • Irritating phone calls
  • inappropriate requests
  • lunch dates
  • gift giving

Chapter 12 discusses Tapping the Web and New Media. I was surprised how big of an impact the internet has on our lives. The World Wide Web has traditionally had the following characteristics:

  • it is centralized, having a top down hierarchy
  • it costs a lot of money to become a publisher
  • it is staffed by professional gatekeepers known as editors and publishers
  • it features mostly one-way communication with limited feedback channels

Some advantages of the world wide web include the ability to update information quickly, it allows interactivity, inline readers can dig deeper into subjects that interest  them by linking to information provided on other sites, other articles, and sources.

There are some important tips that a public relations professional must follow when writing for the web. These tips include:

  • write the way you talk
  • limit each page to a single concept
  • use a lot of bullet- point lists
  • make sure each page provides the context readers need
  • limit the use of italics and boldface
  • don’t overuse hyperlinks within narrative text
  • make sure your hyperlinks are relevant
  • provide feedback options for readers

I found it surprising that the world wide web acquires a unique characteristic that traditional media does not, it is interactivity between the sender and the receiver.

Add a comment July 8, 2010

Chapter’s 9 & 10

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

Chapter 9 discussed Writing for Radio and Television. In this chapter I learned that radio and television offer many opportunities for the public relations writer who wants to reach both mass and specialized audiences effectively. I found it surprising to learn that radio reaches about 94 percent of adults over the age of 18 on a daily basis, with an estimated audience of 225 million.

Unlike traditional news releases, radio news releases are based on sound and every radio release must be written so that it can be easily read by an announcer and clearly understood by a listener. Some tips for creating a radio news release include:

  • Topicality
  • Timeliness
  • Localization
  • Humanization
  • Visual Appeal

I learned that public service announcements are defined as an unpaid announcement that promotes the programs of government of nonprofit agencies or that serves the public interest. I found it surprising that profit-making organizations do not qualify for “free” PSA’s despite the “public service”nature of their messages.

Chapter 10 discussed Distributing News to the Media. In this chapter I learned that media databases usually provide such information as:

  • names of publications and broadcast stations
  • mailing addresses
  • telephone and fax numbers
  • e-mail addresses
  • names of key editors and reporters

Tip sheets are another good way to find media personnel who might have an interest in your material. I found it surprising to learn that tip sheets increase the odds of getting a media placement for a public relations professional.

There are several different ways that materials are distributed which include;

  • e-mail
  • online newsrooms
  • electronic newswires
  • mat distribution companies
  • photo placement firms

I found it surprising that there are firms that specialize in strictly the distribution of publicity photos and captions. I also found it surprising that although the internet is widely used snail mail is still popular among public relations professionals. I would have liked to learn more about photo placement firms, since I have an interest in photography.

Add a comment July 8, 2010

Chapter’s 7 & 8 Reading Notes

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.

Add a comment June 19, 2010

Chapter’s 5 & 6

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

Chapter 5 discussed how to properly write a new release. A news release, also known as a press release, are known to be the backbone of almost all publicity plans. There are three essential thing’s that you must do while creating your news release if you want it to be published. First, you must follow a standardized format. Second, you must provide information that will interest the audience. Lastly, your material must be timely.

The primary reason for news releases is to help achieve organizational objectives. News releases are also know to be cost effective. When planning a news release, there are many thing’s that have to be planned out beforehand. the book discusses the selection of paper, fundamentals about word processing a release, and the style you should follow.

I found it surprising that the spacing and margins differ among the different types of news releases.  Double-spacing is standard for printed news releases distributed via fax or regular email. If you are distributing news releases via e-mail and the internet, single-spacing is the standard format.

Chapter 6 discussed the preparation of fact sheets, advisories, media kits, and pitches. A fact sheet often accompanies a news release or a media kit. A fact sheet is a list of facts in outline or bullet form that a reporter can use as a quick reference when writing a story. There are several kinds of fact sheets.

Media advisories, also known as media alerts, tell the assignment editors about up-coming events that they might be interested in covering from a story, photo, or video perspective. The most common format uses, short, bulleted items rather than long paragraphs.

Media Kits are also called press kits. they are usually prepared  for major events and new product launches. Its purpose is to give editors and reporters a variety of information and resources that make it easier for the reporter to write about the topic.

Add a comment June 11, 2010

Chapter’s 3 and 4

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

I found chapter’s three and four very interesting. I took Intro to Public Relations last semester and we learned a little bit about avoiding legal hassles and finding and making news. I enjoy learning all about Libel and the use of celebrities in advertisements because the majority of the time it turns out to be a controversy. According to the AP Stylebook, “Libel is injury to reputation.” Traditionally the word libel was a printed falsehood and slander involved an oral communication. I found it surprising that the same rules apply to corporations, because they are considered “public figures.” They are considered public figures because they engage in advertising and promotion , they are often involved in matters of public controversy. Corporations also the resources for regular access to the media that enables them to respond and rebut criticism.

The Fair Comment Defense protects the critical comments of an organizations executives. The key phrase in avoiding defamation suits is to “watch your language.” Its also a good idea to avoid unflattering comments or accusations about the competitions products or services. However, an organization can offer the opinion that a particular product or service is the “best” if the content clearly shows that the communication clearly is a statement of opinion.

There are many factors that make news worthy, they include; timeliness, prominence, proximity, significance, unusualness, conflict, newsness. when creating news, it is important to brainstorm, stage special events, host contests, and conduct polls and surveys. When creating news, it is important to come up in a timely manner, and have news value, and fit the needs of the organization. The research firm should be one that has credibility with journalists. The survey questions should be framed to elicit newsworthy findings. A good alternative to polls and surveys are simply “top 10 lists.”

Add a comment June 4, 2010

Reading Notes for Chapter’s 1 and 2

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

The first week of class we focused on chapter 1, Getting organized for Writing and chapter 2, Becoming a Persuasive Writer. Here are some things that i found most useful and important to remember:

Public Relations writing is part of the communication component, which only occurs after research has been conducted and extensive planning to formulate the goals and objectives of a campaign have taken place (page 1).

Public Relations writer’s are usually employed by an organization that wants to communicate with a vaiety of audiences, either through the news media or through other channels of communication (page 3).

Imagery is crucial when it comes to writing in public relations. Strong visual descriptions are better than generated statements (page 25).

Major error’s to avoid are Gobbledygook and Jargon. These terms represent roadblocks to effective communication. A public relations writer has the obligation to educate executives and engineers of the need to provide message context and easy-to-understand analogies to explain technical concepts (page 27). A public Relations writer can ruin the credibility of the message by using exaggerated words and phrases, known as hype (page 29).

In order to comminicate and make the message well known- to project ideas into the minds of others, the process depends four elements: a sender, a message, a channel, and a receiver (page 35). Stakeholders are groups of people who can be affected by the actions of an organization (page 36). Publics in a marketing purpose is often defined as a market segment- a group of people who have comparable demographics (page 36).

Framing was used to describe how journalists and editors select certain facts, themes, treatments, and even words to “frame” a story in order to generate maximum interest and understanding among readers and viewers (page 39).

The Diffusion Theory has five steps: Awareness, Interest, Trial, Evaluation, and Adoption (page 40).

Add a comment May 25, 2010






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