CH. 12-14 Reading Notes

Ch. 12 Tapping the Web and New Media

Top Sites:

  2. MySpace. 
  3. Facebook. 
  4. Twitter. 
  5. Blogger.
  6. Technorati.
  7. YouTube.
  8. Flickr.
  9. Wikipedia. 
  10. Digg.
  11. Second Life.

Two things that are unique about the web is that it is interactive and can be updated quickly.

Ch. 14 Writing E-mail, Memos, and Proposals

The four different purposes of email are to:

1.      Reduces the cost of employee communications
2.      Increases the distribution of messages to more employees
3.      Flattens the corporate hierarchy
4.      Speeds decision-making

Things to make sure of when writing:

completeness-make sure you have all of your necessary information

conciseness-be brief, less is more

correctness-be accurate-make sure to have all names, places, quotes, etc. correct

courtesy-be courteous, some relationships are personal, others not so much

All informatin can be found here:


Ch. 10-11: Distributing News to the Media and Getting Along with Journalists

Ch. 10

Media Databases vary in their formatting and shape.

They do have a fes things the same such as:

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

This is useful for finding media to distribute to

Editorial calendars will tell you when a trade publication or other media may be doing specific articles on a certain topic. So, if they are doing a special issue on laptops in April, and you work for a laptop manufacturer then you want to advertise in it.

Tip sheets are weekly newsletters that report on recent changes in news personnel and their new assignments, how to contact them, and what kinds of material they are looking for.

The main ways of distributing media materials are:

  • E-mail
  • online newsrooms
  • electronic wire services
  • feature placement firms
  • photo placement firms
  • mail
  • fax

Ch. 11

Two-thirds of journalists don’t trust public relations people, but 81% say they need them anyway.

Reporters and editors spend most of their time processing and sorting information not gathering it. They deal with public relations people who provide constant news releases, tips, features, and planned events.

Only around 25% of  1,200 New York Times and Washington Post articles were the products of investigative journalism.

Then you have the fact that the public relations people rely on the journalists to get the information out in their newspapers and magazines and various other media.

Some areas of friction are there however, journalists generally do not like the way public relations writers use words. There are too many “hype” words like “unique”, “revolutionary”, “state-of-the-art”, etc.

Other complaints about public relations personel are:

  • there are too many unsolicited e-mails, faxes, and phone calls
  • personel don’t know the product or service
  • repeated calls and follow-ups
  • spokespersons not available
  • don’t meet publication deadlines

Ways to work with journalists are through:

  • media interviews
  • news conferences
  • teleconference and webcasts
  • media tours
  • previews and parties
  • press junkets
  • editorial board meetings

all information from

Ch. 9 Writing for Radio and Television

Radio releases are different from television because there is not picture or people to be seen, only heard.

Announcements for radio need to be around 30-60 seconds. 30 seconds is about 75 words, 60 seconds is more like 150 words.

For radio a conversational style of writing is usually used and there is emphasis on strong, short sentences (kind of like blogging huh?)

For a video news release you should have four components:

  • 90 second news report with voiceover narration on an audio channel separate from that containing soundbites and natural sound
  • Extra soundbites and B-roll
  • Clear identification of the video source
  • Script, spokespeople information, media contacts, and story background information provided electronically

VNR’s are not inexpensive, they cost a minimum of 20-50K to produce and distribute. Radio releases are usually around 4K to produce and distribute.

PSA’s (public service announcements) are unpaid announcements that promote programs of government or nonprofit agencies that serve the publics interests.

All info from:

Ch. 8: Selecting Publicity Photos

There are many components of a good photo.

Technical Quality- photos should have a good resolution to begin with as they will most likely be resized, also there should be good contrast and sharp details

Subject Matter- there are static photos like of execs and then there are photos of things like ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings

Composition- usually photographer should move in closer to the main subject eliminating background that is not essential to the photos message

Action- action is important because it gives the reader the idea that something is happening right then and there. Someone talking, gesturing, laughing, running, etc. generates more interest than a picture of someone just sitting there.

Scale- with inanimate objects the picture should contain something that is of known size for reference

Camera Angle- interest can be achieved through unusual camera angles too. Starbucks shooting pictures for them carrying Naked juice from inside the refrigerator created interest because it was unusual.

Lighting and Timing- indoor pictures often need flash to turn out correctly. Photographers often will use supplemental lighting to get the desired effect.

Color-Sometimes images look better in black and white and sometimes they look better in color. With the technology today it is simple to take a color image and make it black and white/ grayscale.

All information from this book :

CH. 7 Creating News Features and Op-ed

The types of news features are:

  • case studies
  • application stories
  • research study
  • backgrounder
  • personality profile
  • historical pieces

A good feature story requires right-brain or creative thinking.

 Letters to the editor can be used to add addittional comments, information, or rebut an article or editorial that has been previously published.

Articles intended for a magazing should include:

  • tentative title of the article
  • subject and theme
  • significance
  • major points
  • description of available photos and graphics 

All of this information can be found here

CH. 6 Preparing Fact Sheets, Advisories, Media Kits, and Pitches

All information from Public Relations textbook

A fact sheet should include:

  • the name of the event
  • its sponsor
  • the location
  • the date & time
  • the purpose of the event
  • unusual aspects (if any) of the event that make it newsworthy

Fact sheets accompany news releases.

Journalists prefer electronic forms of press kits over printed kits.

Media advisories/alerts are used to inform the media of any upcoming events that they may want to cover.

CH. 5 Writing the News Release

A smart media release will include things like high-resolution photos and graphics, video, and audio components.

There are 5 types of news releases:

  •  announcements
  • spot announcements
  • reaction stories
  • bad news
  • local news

The traditional e-mail news release is about 400 words, but the new standard for e-mail release is fewer than 200 words. Shorter news releases have a better chance of making it past the editor without getting changed too much.

When you’re planning a news release you should ask these basic questions:

  • What’s the subject
  • Who is the message designed to reach
  • What are the potential benefits and rewards
  • What’s the goal of the organization pursuing
  • What do you want to achieve with the news release
  • What key messages should this news release highlight

All information from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, 6th ed.