Category Archives: Topic of the Week: PRCA 3330

Together as a class, we will come up with a topic (or topics) each week for you to write about. You should have 15 of these before the end of the semester.

PRCA 3330: TOW #15

Just what is a “Social Media News Release”?

According to Public Relations Writing and Media Teachniques 6th ed., a Social Media News Release (also known as a Smart Media Release) uses major electronic distribution services to embed a news release with high-resolution photos/graphics, video, and audio compnents.  They also use popular search engines to acheive the maximun exposure of the news release. 

When should a PR practitioner use a SMNR rather than (or perhaps in addition to) a “regular” news release?

PR practitioners should use an SMNR instead of or in addition to a news release when they want to convey thier message to the online community.  The Definitive Guide to Social Media News Releases covers pretty much everything a PR practitioner would need to consider when deciding to use a SMNR.  The major advantage they point out is that using an SMNR allows for two way communication between the PR practitioner and the target audience.  Why Use Social Media With Your Press Release highlights two motivating factors to use SMNRs: The changing needs of the end consumer and increasing ease of use for the media.  How to Write a Social Media Press Release compares an SMNR to the traditional news relase and offers tips on how to make your SMNR more effective than the news release.

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PRCA 3330: TOW #14

News University: Five Steps to MultiMedia Storytelling

What did you learn?

  • Before taking the course, I had no idea there was a different process in multimedia reporting than in other reporting methods. There are five steps that are crucial when multimedia storytelling that are clearly outlined throughout the course: choosing a story, making a storyboard, reporting with multimedia, editing for the web, and producing the story.  Each of the steps have distinct elements that need to be included in order for the multimedia report to appeal to audiences and be newsworthy.  When choosing a multimedia piece, it is essential for it to have an action, process and a person who can give strong quotes. I also found it important to know the guidelines for using different media in multimedia storytelling:
  1. Video: Keep videos short, keep talking heads to a minimum, use effective b-roll, avoid action shots with a lot of movement
  2. Audio: Use only high quality audio, use subtitles, avoid background music
  3. Still photos: use to replace words not accessorize words, put text directly on photos if wanted
  4. Graphics: make them interactive, animate them
  5. Text: Save for what is left after you’ve put as much information as possible into other media, use for display type

What surprised you?

  • The major thing that surprised me is the part of the course explaining how to make a storyboard and it became clear to me how much work has to be put into a storyboard.  In movies I have seen in the past, I thought I was familiar with what a storyboard was, but it consists of a lot more elements than I thought it did. First, you have to divide the story into logical, nonlinear parts.  Different elements of the storyboard may include a nut graph, profiles of main characters, pros and cons, the main event, and so forth.  The next step is identifying the media to use for each element and figuring out which medium(video, audio, text, etc.) works best for each part.  The last step is actually sketching the storyboard which clearly organizes the story.

What do you want to know more about?

  • I would like to see a lot more examples of multimedia storytelling because it seems like it is complicated to learn.  It would be easier for me to understand the process of multimedia reporting by seeing them instead of reading about them!


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PRCA 3330: TOW #13

10 ways that PR people can sometimes drive journalists crazy

  1. Sending irrelevant press release after irrelevant press release.  The PR professional should make sure their news release is correspondent to the public that the journalist writes to reach.  This could mean that the news release is slightly tweaked depending on what media contact will receive the news release.
  2. Distributing a press release that is written like an article.  Writing the article is the journalists job.  Instead of sending a press release that closely resembles an article, the PR professional should stick to press releases consisting of clear facts and concise information.
  3. Not providing a journalist with something they asked for when they needed it.  Like PR, journalism is a fast-paced business and time is crucial when writing stories.  A PR person who ignores a journalist’s request will probably ditch the story all together.  The PR professional should listen closely to what the journalist needs from them and in return the PR professional will get what they want from the journalist.
  4. Sending long and drawn out press releases. The PR person should remind themselves when writing a press release that journalists often just scan press releases and will become uninterested or miss an important part of the press release if it is too long.  The PR person needs to provide as much information as possible in the beginning of a press release and keep it as short as they can.
  5. Providing in depth and not important information during phone pitches.  Journalists aren’t interested in being talked at and will lose interest in what you’re pitching if it takes too long.  The PR person needs to simply tell the journalist their idea, briefly outline the story, and tell the journalist who will be interested and why.
  6. Not following up.  Letting down journalists will give them a bad impression of you and won’t make them very interesting in helping you in the future.  The PR person needs to make sure they always follow up with journalists after inviting them to attend an event, etc.  This will also help create a beneficial and trusting relationship with the journalist.
  7. Using quotes without identifying who said it.  The PR person must only use quotes from identified people because it they don’t they will lose legitimacy in what they are trying to promote in their press release.  An audience won’t trust an unknown source as much as they would if a name is provided.
  8. Sounding like an advertisement. Journalists get annoyed when PR people talk to them like they are reading a script. To avoid this, the PR person should try to speak conversationally as well as professionally.
  9. Using hype words in press releases. The PR person should stick to clear cut facts rather than trying to be creative when describing events, products, or services.
  10. Spinning stories to make them more interesting.  Journalists only want the information that they need to know.  When PR people spin stories, it can be misleading to journalists.  The PR person should provide an unbiased press release.

Thanks in large part to Publicity Heaven and AB Words Blog


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PRCA 3330: TOW #12

Inside PR #199- Wednesday, April 7, 2010 Podcast (Click the link to listen to it!)

Explore where PR is and where it’s heading weekly

Discuss interview with Dave Senay

-Thought a tweet saying he is “out of touch” because he doesn’t tweet and admitted to sometimes using a ghost writer on his internal blog was unfair.

  • Argues Sinay knows what he is doing because he has a global job of running one of the biggest PR Firms in the world (Fleishman-Hillard)
  • He always rewrites his blog posts made by the ghost writer
  • He doesn’t use Twitter because he doesn’t consider it helpful to him
  • Argues there is nothing wrong with editing blog posts/making writing better

-Recite interesting quotations from Sinay in the interview

  • Look for new ways/services to expand PR
  • Elaborate on not worrying about what is news today will not be tomorrow because there will be another big thing to focus on
  • Understand what is going on, make good decisions and move quickly
  • So much excitement in PR, he (Sinay) would trade places with a 24 year old entering the PR field

-Encouraged by Dave Sinay’s insights from the interview

Three tips to students and new PR grads about reaching out to professionals

  1. Do your research. Is this the right organization for you? Are you passionate about what the firm/organization does?
  2. Make them take notice.  Too many generic applications. Stand out!
  3. Leave your ego at the door. Be politely persistent.

Managing staff

-Outline goals for the year

-The objectives have to be specific and measurable

Listening to PR podcasts is definitely beneficial to PR students and PR practitioners.  After listening to the podcast, I want to listen to more! I think that they provide great tips to PR students who are about to enter the PR world, especially during the segment in the podcast I listened to.  They also provide up to date news specifically on what is going on in PR and allows students as well as practitioners to stay up to date.  In a field like public relations it is essential to constantly know what is going on as we have previously learned.  They can benefit PR practitioners because I think they give good advice on employee relations among other things. I am going to make a point to listen to at least one PR podcast a week because I think it will help raise my awareness to real world PR issues that I wouldn’t know about by just attending my PR classes.

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PRCA 3330: TOW #11


What are they?

  • Infographics are defined by Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th ed. by Dennis Wilcox as being computer-generated artwork used to display statistics in he form of tables and charts.

How could one be useful in a story for your client?

  • They make information easy to process and absorb
  • They turn data into information
  • They convey concepts
  • They can immediately explain what data means

How do you go about creating one?

  • Microsoft Office applications
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Illustrator

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PRCA 3330: TOW #9&10

PR OpenMic? Next obsession.

What did you learn?

  • I learned that there is actually a social networking site just for PR people.  Throughout the semester, the assignments for joining WordPress, Twitter and Pr OpenMic have continued to open my eyes to the wide world of public relations.  There are so many people to connect with that share the same interests in image management, promotions, and event planning. I am learning that it is never too early to network with PR professionals because they are always available to give advice to PR students. The amount of effort people already working in this field put in to educate and network with young people is outstanding!

What surprised you?

  • Upon joining PR OpenMic I was surprised to see how similar to Facebook it appeared to be.  It mimics the concept of Facebook heavily which made it easier for me to use, unlike when I started blogging and using Twitter.  I had no idea there was a networking website that focused solely on PR professionals, professors and students before this assignment.  I consider myself lucky that I have the opportunity to use PR OpenMic because I feel as though most other fields of study don’t have the support from other people in their line of work as we do in public relations.  It continues to surprise me the amount of help and advice PR professionals are willing to give students majoring in public relations.

What do you want to know more about?

  • I definitely want to take more time to explore PR OpenMic and network with a lot of other people in the PR field.  There are a million more things for me to be taught before I will be able to become a successful public relations professional that I can learn using PR OpenMic. This website will prove to be a great tool for me to find internships and be notified with job opportunities… once I figure out how to navigate the website more efficiently!  I plan on building an impressive profile and I am committed to dedicating more time to PR OpenMic for the remainder of the semester and into the years to come!

Things I encountered:

  1. The groups/events section of PR Open Mic was very useful.  I was able to join groups for students in PR majors all over the country.  This will help me connect with other people studying in this field and gives me another outlet for networking.  I also was able to join groups based on cities I am interested in working in. Groups/Events on PR OpenMic.
  2. I was really happy to see a section on PR OpenMic for jobs/internships.  When it comes time for me to start looking for a job, this will be the first tool I use.  It also showed me different PR Firms that exist for me to explore and find out more about to see if I would like to work for them in the future. Jobs/Internships on PR OpenMic.
  3. PR News was also a helpful aspect of joining PR OpenMic.  Using this part of the website will provide me with news of what’s going on in the PR World.  It will give me more information to blog and tweet about. PR News on PR OpenMic.

Add me as a friend on PR OpenMic!

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PRCA 3330: TOW #8

NewsU-The Lead Lab

What did you learn?

The first thing that was really helpful in learning more about how to make a lead was “The 4 W’s and an H”. These 5 questions are essential to writing an effective lead:

  1. What happened?
  2. Who did it happen to?
  3. Where did it happen?
  4. When did it happen?
  5. How did it happen?

These question show that there are a lot of facts that you must know about a story in order to be able to write about it in an accurate way.

Another interesting part of the course was learning how to revise you lead once you have already written it.  Although it may sound very elementary, but you should be able to read you lead out loud in order to make sure it makes sense.  Out of the three revising guidelines, this one struck me as the most important because if you think your lead sounds weird, your audience will too.

What surprised you?

The writing myths they talking about in the lab surprised me the most because I was not aware that any of the things they mentioned were able to be used  The 4 myths were:

  • Leads must never begin with a quote
  • Leads must always contain attribution
  • A good lead is never more than 3 or 4 lines long
  • A lead must sum up the story in a paragraph

What do you want to know more about?

I was a little confused being able to distinguish between a delayed and direct lead.  I will need to look more into their differences and practice determining different types of leads.

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