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Chapter 15 Reading Notes April 25, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — sarahgricius @ 7:34 AM

Speakers and audiences are a fundamental part of human communication around the world. Indeed, speechwriting and presentations are important tools in public relations to reach key publics on an interpersonal level. It’s easy to understand the demand for or good speechwriting. More than ever, we recognize the importance of giving large organizations a human face, desirably a face that is trustworthy, competent, friendly, and coherent. During the career as a public relations practitioner, you will be asked to write speeches for executives, prepare visual aids, conduct speaker training, get executives on the agenda of important conference, organize speaker bureaus, and publicize speeches.

1. Reading the audience and the speaker. If you are given a speechwriting assignment, the first step is to find out everything. To find out any answer to a question, you should talk with the organizers of the event or meeting. Don’t accept vague answers, keep asking, follow-up questions until you have a complete picture. You also need to learn everything you can about the speaker. Listen to the speaker talk, and see how his or her mind works, what word phrases are favored, and what kinds of opinions are expressed. In addition to listening , it is a good idea to go over material that the client has written or, if written by others, that the client admires in terms of style and method of presentation.

2. Laying the groundwork. A writer should have lengthy conversations with the speaker before beginning to write a rough draft of the talk. In a conversational setting, you and the speaker should discuss the speech in terms of objective, approach, strategy, points to emphasize, scope, and facts or anecdotes the speaker would like to include. Indeed, before you start writing a speech, you should have a thorough understand of three aspects of the speech – the objective, the key message, and the strategy approach.

3. Writing the speech. This is a multiple process involving a finely honed outline and several drafts. There needs to be an opening that is part of the speech that must get the audiences attention, establish empathy, and point toward the conclusion. The body of the speech presents the evidence that leads to the conclusion. The outline should list all the key points. The conclusion summarizes the evidence, pointing out what it means to the audience. Finally, the outline should be submitted to the speaker, and once it has been approved, you can go on to the next step.

 

Chapter 14 Reading Notes

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — sarahgricius @ 7:16 AM

The public relations writer doesn’t always communicate with a large, impersonal audience. He or she also communicates on a more personal level through e-mail, memos, letters, phone calls, and face-to-face communications. But in many cases, public relation writers are major contributors to information clutter, because their jobs involved the writing and dissemination of so many messages. The problem is writers waste too much time producing texts that waste even more time for readers. And the solution, is to write smart, simple, and short. Some basic guidelines in all your writings should be:

1. Completeness. You must be certain that the writing contains information needed to serve its purpose. As the writer, ask yourself why you are writing and what your reader wants or needs to know. If more information will aid the reader’s understanding, provide it- but don’t give your reader a mass irrelevant material. An outline will help to ensure that your message is on target and complete.

2. Conciseness. Conciseness means brevity and less is better. The objective is to be as brief as possible because people don’t have the time or patience to read through long messages. Which means you need to carefully select words that convey ideas and thoughts in a concise manner.

3. Correctness. You must be accurate in every single thing you write. If an item in the mass media contains an error, the blame may be spread among many people. An error in a personalized communication, however, reflects solely and you and your abilities. Be accurate and you will get credit for being a professional.

4. Courtesy. Personal names are used extensively, and both senders and receivers have considerable interest in the material. You might think it advisable to make the messages as personal as possible, but don’t go overboard. The writing should be polite, but no effusive, personal, but not familiar.

5. Responsibility. Think about how your communication will be perceived by the recipient. A letter or e-mail is a highly visible record of what you say, so be careful about setting the right tone. You are representing your employer or client, so your communication must be in accordance with the organization’s policies and procedures.

 

Chapter 13 Reading Notes

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — sarahgricius @ 7:01 AM

Print publications will continue to be produced in vast quantities for several reasons. Many organizations, for example, still find them to be the most efficient method of reaching their entire workforce. This is particularly true of many companies that have field staff and plan workers who have limited access to electronic communications via computer. Another reason why print newsletters and magazines continue to thrive is that a print publication is unique; employees can hold it, touch it, mark it up, pass it around, take it home, and refer back to it. And indeed the number one advantage of a print publication is its portability.

1. The balancing act of editors. You must produce a newsletter or brochure that advances and promotes management’s organizational objectives and, at the same time, provides information that isn’t boring to the audience. In addition, you have a responsibility to serve the interests of the employees or other constituents. Indeed, editors need to balance the needs of management, the interests of readers, and their own journalistic standards. Some never do solve the dilemma and stick to folksy stories that please many and offend none. Actually, the balancing act can be done if the editor is able to understand that all three are interrelated.

2. A mission statement gives purpose. The best editors, the one who regularly win awards, seem to understand the purpose of their publications and the interests of their readers. One technique is to develop a concise, simple mission statement of approximately 25 words that helps both editors and management understand the purpose of the publication. The statement should cover the publication’s general content, its audience, and its strategic role.

3. Editorial plan. It is a good idea to prepare an annual editorial plan that maps out what kind of articles and other material you will prepare for the entire year. This enables you to develop story ideas that complement the organization’s objectives for the year. Some good devices that organizations use to communicate their core strategies were to highlight boxes, bullet point, special column headings, graphics, and pull quotes to emphasize key strategic information.

 

Chapter 12 Reading Notes

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — sarahgricius @ 6:43 AM

College students have grown up with the Internet, and its difficult to imagine life without it. For centuries, the mass media controlled the flow of information. The new media characteristics involve widespread broadband, cheap/free, easy-to-use online publishing tools, new distribution channels, mobile devices, such as camera phones, and new advertising paradigms. The Internet, for the first time in history, has caused the democratization of information around the world. In brief, the internet was created as a tool for academic researchers in the 1960s and came into widespread public use in the 1990s.

1. Writing for the web. Two basic concepts are important when writing for the Web. First, there is a fundamental difference between how people read online and how they read printed documents. Internet readers can scan text online instead of reading word-by-word. Second, the public relations writer needs to know the basic difference between linear and nonlinear styles of writing. Printed material usually follows a linear progression; a person reads in a straight line from the beginning of the article to the end of it. Nonlinear means that items can be selected out of order; a person selects a note card out of a stack.

2. Building an effective website. You have 10 to 12 seconds to hook an Internet surfer onto your website, or else they’ll click onto something else. For this reason, considerable attention is given to Web design so a site can compete with the thousands of other Web pages that are readily accessible with the click of a mouse. The idea is to create a website that is attractive and easy to navigate and that offers relevant information. Marketing your website and thinking about your potential audience and their particular needs are important factors to consider.

3. Making the site interactive. A unique characteristic of the Internet and the World Wide Web, which traditional mass media does not offer, is interactivity between the sender and the receiver. One aspect of the interactivity is the “pull concept”. The Web represents the “pull” concept because you actively search for sites that can answer your specific questions. At the website itself, you actively pull information from the various links that are provided. In contrast, the concept of “push” is information delivered to you without your active participation. Traditional mass media- radio, TV, newspapers, magazines- are illustrative of the “push” concept, and so are news releases that are automatically sent to media. So are e-mails sent to you. Another dimension of interactivity is the ability of a person to engage in a dialogue with an organization. Many websites, for example, encourage questions and feedback by giving an e-mail address that the user can click and then send a message.

 

Chapter 11 Reading Notes

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — sarahgricius @ 6:14 AM

Media relations is the core activity in many public relations jobs. In essence, public relations personnel are the primary contact between the organization and the media media. Public relations professionals and journalists have long had a love-hate relationship. There is friction and distrust, but there is also the realization that they are mutually dependent on each other.

1. The media’s dependence on public relations. the reality of mass communications today is that reporters and editors spend most of their time processing information, not gathering it. Although many reporters deny it, most of the information that appears in the mass media comes from public relations sources which provide a constant stream of news releases, features, planned events, and tips to the media. Another indication of the media’s reliance on public relations source is the extensive use of “spokespeople” as primary sources in news stories. Journalists often use “spokesman” or “spokeswoman” as a code word for public relations personnel who provide information.

2. Public relations’ dependence on the media. The purpose of public relations, is to inform, to shape opinions and attitudes, and to motivate. This can be accomplished only if people receive messages constantly and consistently. The traditional media, in all their variety, are still cost-effective channels of communication, even in the Internet age. They are multipliers that enable millions of people to receive a message at the same time. It is important to public relation professionals because the media, by inference, serve as third-party endorsers of the information. Media gatekeepers give the information credibility and importance by deciding that it is newsworthy.

3. The areas of friction between the relationship of public relations and media is based on mutual cooperation, trust, and respect. Certain actions compromise the relationship. On the public relations side, these actions often involve the use of excessive hype, not doing the necessary homework, and making a nuisance of themselves. And on the journalistic side, these actions include name calling, sloppy/ biased reporting, and tabloid sensationalism. Both groups face the issue of improper advertising influence, which tends to undermine the credibility of the news coverage.

 

Chapter 10 Reading Notes April 24, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — sarahgricius @ 2:06 PM

A number of distribution methods can be used. Although, there are numerous complaints of editors, the questions is how do you find the right medium and the correct, current contact person. Finding media, their addresses, and the names of editors would be nearly impossible if not for the existence of media databases in print and electronic form. Thus the basis of all distribution channels is an up-to-date database.

1. Media databases vary in format and scope. However, a common denominator is that they usually provide such essential information as names of publications and broadcast stations, mailing addresses, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail addresses, and names of key editors and reporters. Many directors also give a profile of the media outlet in terms of audience, deadlines, and placement opportunities. Many professional publicists, in order to ensure accuracy, also take the time to call the media outlet and double-check an editor’s name before sending out an important news release.

2. Editorial calendars not only help you find the names and addresses of media gatekeepers of media gatekeepers, several of them also tell you when to approach publications with specific kinds of stories. Periodicals often set their editorial calendars from a year in advance, and many keep the same special-issue calendars from one year to the next. And a major duty for a client or an employer is to review editorial calendars of various publications to determine stories and features that might be submitted to coincide with the editorial focus of a particular issue.

3. Tip sheets are another good way to find media personnel who might have an interest in your material. These are weekly newsletters that report on recent changes in new personnel and their new assignments, how to contact them, and what kinds of material they are looking for. Public relations professionals considerably increases the odds of getting a media placement. Tips sheets allow you to use the rifle approach, instead of shot-gunning material all over the country in the hope that some editor, somewhere, is interested in it.

 

Chapter 9 Reading Notes

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — sarahgricius @ 1:22 PM

Writing and preparing materials for a broadcast outlet require a special perspective. A public relations practitioner should study media outlet format and submit material suitable to it. Radio news releases are sound based and every radio must be written so that it can easily be read by an announcer and clearly understood by a listener.

1. In terms of the format of a radio news release there are several major differences between a radio release and a news release prepared for print media. The timing is vital, because broadcasters must fit their messages into a rigid time frame that is measured down to the second. In a radio release, a more conversational style is used, and the emphasis is on strong short sentences.

Audio news releases or features in broadcast style can be mailed or faxed to radio stations for announcers to read, the most common and effective approach is to send the radio station a recording of the new announcement.

2. The format of an ANR is 60 seconds, including a soundbite of 20 seconds or less. It is advisable to accompany any sound tape with a complete script of the tape. This enables the news director to judge the value of the tape without listening to it.

Public service announcements are another category of material that public relations writers prepare for radio stations. PSA is an unpaid announcement that promotes the programs of government or nonprofit agencies or that serves the public interest. As part of their responsibility to serve the public interest, radio and TV stations provide airtime to charitable and civic organizations, although there is no legal requirement that they do so.

3. The format of PSAs, like radio news releases, are usually written in uppercase and double-spaced. The most popular length, according to a survey of stations conducted by Atlanta-based New Generation, are PSAs between 15 and 30 seconds in length. The standard practice is to submit multiple PSAs on the same subject in various lengths. The idea is to give the station announcer flexibility in using a particular length to fill a particular time slot throughout the day.