Archive for February, 2012

How Poynter Can Point You in the Right Direction

My Writing for Public Relations and Advertising (COMM4333) class does quite a bit with the Poynter website, specifically with the News University Courses (see also previous post).  However, there are several additional resources within Poynter along with the NewsU courses that you may find quite beneficial as you begin your career in public relations.

Poynter has the latest news as well as upcoming training and events which include webinars and online seminars.

If you’re not familiar with Poynter’s NewsUniversity, you should definitely check it out. Also see previous posts on my blog about some of the NewsU courses. NewsU has 40 self-directed courses, totally free yet completely worth the time. Not to mention Online Group Seminars, Webinars, Video Tutorials, and many others.

Poynter also has “How To’s”  for news gathering and storytelling, digital strategies, leadership and management and community engagement.  Poynter also has online chats that you can participate in.

You can “Like” Poynter on Facebook

Connecting with PR Pros

Amy Howell gives 14 Essentials for PR Newbies As a PR professional posted on Ragan’s PR Daily. She says “You’re never finished learning, growing, and listening.”

With more than 25 years of PR and marketing experience, Amy Howell serves as CEO of Howell Marketing Strategies (HMS). A version of this story first appeared on the company’s blog

Generation C

Generation C… if you’re between the ages of 18 and 34 that’s what marketers are now calling you.  C stands for CONNECTED.

An article in Ragan’s PR Daily

You know that’s right. With all the technology and social media that’s one of the best ways I think we can describe this generation…and I’m part of it, so I know. There’s not one day that goes by that I don’t use some sort of communicating device. Phone, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, you name it. Our generation uses social media like it’s second nature.

I think the most interesting thing about this generation is that many of this generation can’t remember when there wasn’t MySpace or Facebook or Twitter. It has simply been a part of our everyday lives.

I wonder, what did marketers name the other generations? Our generation is one tough “cookie” to market to…there’s so many outlets.  No longer is there T.V., and radio…now there’s so many things and marketers now have a greater responsibility than ever. Their job is harder than ever.  And it’s not even all that will be out there. Every day ways of connecting and media is changing.  It’s exciting and nerve racking at the same time.

Are you part of “generation C”? I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Feel free to leave a comment! 🙂

Negative Comments not so negative?

I was reading a couple articles from Ragan’s PR Daily.  One was called 7 tips for managing negative comments online.

It had some great pointers on how to respond when someone leaves a negative comment on your blog.

 FIRST: Listen to what is being said.

SECOND: Respond quickly

THIRD: Take it offline

FOURTH: Be apologetic

FIFTH: Know when to walk away

SIXTH: Know when to asks for help

Language of the Image

I recently took another one of Poynter’s (free) News University courses and I must say this was one of the most enjoyable ones I’ve ever done. It’s called Language of the Image.  I enjoyed it because it inspired me to take more beautiful photos.  It made me realize that there is a lot that goes into making a photo memorable. It’s about being able to identify those elements of what makes a photograph stand out, what makes you pause as you’re scrolling through hundreds of photos or stop and gaze at a photo in a magazine.

The course was laid out in four different sections:

Photo types — There’s three types of photos:  informational, passive and active.

Single elements — There are fifteen different photographic elements that help an image tell a story.

  1. Graphic
  2. Quality of light
  3. Emotion
  4. Juxtaposition
  5. Mood
  6. Sense of place
  7. Point of entry
  8. Impact
  9. Rule of thirds
  10. Perspective
  11. Surprise
  12. Layering
  13. Moment
  14. Personality portrait

Multiple elements — Good photographers use more than just one element to enhance an image’s storytelling potential.(In this section you match up which elements are used in each of the particular photos).

Different approach — There are many different combinations of photographic elements that can make an image effective.  For instance, two photographers can go to the same event and take pictures of basically the same things, but the approach in which each one takes (i.e. quality of light, point of entry, rule of thirds, layering, etc) can make the difference between a photo you glance at and that doesn’t catch your eye, and one that catches your eye and keeps you there, makes you think, and provokes emotion.

I highly recommend taking this (short) course as it packed with valuable and easy tips and tricks. Knowing these qualities and considering them when taking photos can enhance the quality tremendously.  I was very surprised by the quality of the photographs.  I would love to learn more about photographs!

AP Style

The Associated Press is the single largest news organization in the world have published set of rules and guidelines for formalized news writing called AP Style. 

The Associated Press Stylebook is what PR professionals and journalists use to ensure something is written the correct way, with over 5,000 entries from punctuation and spelling, to abbreviations and usage.

The thing I find the most difficult when learning AP Style is when to hyphenate.

For instance,

If you’re like me and are having trouble with hyphens, check out DailyWritingTips: 5 Tips to Understand Hyphenated Words.

You can also listen to Grammar Girl::Hyphens::Quick and Dirty Tips podcast.

By the way…you can find the AP Stylebook on Facebook!

The News Release

In this post I’m going to cover some points in Chapter 5 “Writing the News Release” in the book Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox including…

1. What a news release is.

2. Parts of a news release.

2. What it looks like.

3. What the components of it are.

1. What is a News Release?

A news release, AKA a press release.  A press release is a short, compelling news story written by a public relations professional. It answers all the questions: Who, what, where, when, how, and why.  It is sent to members of the media. The goal is to pique the interest of a journalist so they can write a news story off of it.

2. Parts of a traditional News Release (You have six basic components):

  1. Letterhead
  2. Contacts
  3. Headline
  4. Dateline
  5. Lead Paragraph
  6. Body of Text

(A seventh element is optional and it is a short summary of the organization.)

It looks something like this:

There are different types of News Releases:

  1. Announcements
  2. Spot Announcements
  3. Reaction Releases
  4. Bad News
  5. Local News

Blog Comments: Professional COMM4333

Here’s a list of comments I leave on PR professional’s blogs

1. 10 content ideas that generate comments and shares, Gini Dietrich February 2012

This is great advice. I find that I like to read more if it’s a debate or if it’s some sort of list or ranked lists. If I get to the end of a blog and it had some rather good content AND it was enjoyable to read I am definitely inclined to leave a comment or join in on the conversation. Thanks for the advice!

2. 7 tips for managing negative comments online, Yvette Pistorio February 2012

Great article! This has a lot of good points in it. I think some customers may “attack” back online because of the way they feel they’ve been personally mistreated or misunderstood. They may also have a pre-conceived notion of what the blogger’s response to them may be. I think in that case it’s smart to roll with the punches. If someone seriously disagrees with you, ask them to share their thoughts and don’t just shut them down. Thanks for the article!

3. Nielsen: Millennials are now called Generation C, Kevin Allen March 2012

I wonder, what did marketers name the other generations? Our generation is one tough “cookie” (pun intended) to market to…there’s so many outlets.  No longer is there T.V., and radio…now there’s so many things and marketers now have a greater responsibility than ever. Their job is harder than ever.  And it’s not even all that will be out there. Every day ways of connecting and media is changing.  It’s exciting and nerve racking at the same time.  Thanks for posting.

4. 14 essentials for PR newbies, Amy Howell March 2012

Hi Amy! This is some of the best tips I have read on going into the PR industry.  I especially like the part about being dedicated to learning. Today we’re expected to begin working and already know how to do mostly everything. There is not nearly as much on-the-job training as there was 10 years ago. In order to get ahead we must take initiative to do more and learn as much as we can…for ourselves! Thanks for posting.

5. Quiz: Determine whether you have a ‘can do’ or ‘can’t do’ attitude, Lorra Brown April 17, 2012

Thank you for this. This is definitely a unique article. I have the same problems with classmates sometimes. It’s very bothersome to work with people with little or no drive at all, no motivation, and a “can’t do” attitude. That’s definitely one of my pet peeves. What can help change this lack of drive?

6. 4 places to find blogging inspiration, Mark Schaefer April 17, 2012

This is so true, and it’s basically all right here at our fingertips. In my PR class we just recently learned how to utilize the stats on our blog. I had no idea that it would give you the searched key words people did in order to find your blog. These are all really great tips! Thanks for posting.

7. Why 2 million brands should shutter their Facebook pages, Arik Hanson April 17, 2012

I think it should be all or nothing. Whenever I go on a fan page for an organization, it looks worse that they don’t keep it up than it does if they don’t have one at all. I agree that it’s better to shut them down. I think that is a large reason why people do not visit fan book pages on Facebook a lot because sadly the majority of them aren’t much of anything. Thanks for posting.

8. Live Conference Blog:35 quick tips for a powerful speech, Samantha Hosenkamp April 17, 2012

Wow, nice conglomeration of tips you have here. Thank you so much for putting this together. Simple, straightforward and easy things to implement into a presentation that will increase audience participation and attention.



Blog Comments: Peer COMM4333

Here’s a list of comments I leave on my peer’s blogs in COMM4333.

10. Hello, Future Bloggers!  By Annalee Cole  April 14, 2012
This is a really great list of tips for bloggers. I was impressed with these very much. Basically to do everything you can to be involved and make the most of your blogging experience is what this is about. Blogging is an amazing opportunity to truly show and express your thoughts in such a manner that can really reach people and make a difference. I love blogging!!! Thanks for posting. :)
9. Twitter Chatting By: Cynflynn91, April 14, 2012
This is cool..I haven’t yet participated in a Twitter Chat, however, it sounds interesting.I think it would be intimidating, especially being a student and realizing I know very little about the PR industry still. – To ask questions, though, is how we learn and I think PR professionals also have a love for learning and communicating what they learn to other people. Great post. Thanks!
8. PR and Gendercide  By: seravirginia, April 14, 2012
Wow, thank you for writing this post. We take for granted life and freedom to have children here in America. What mothers would do to be able to have a girl– to keep their child. But they are forced to abandon their child. Here, people get rid of their babies because they are inconvenient. What can we do to stop this? What can we do to help save these little girls’ lives?
7. And the award goes to… By ertelg, April 14, 2012
Thanks ertelg for your post. I like what you wrote in the beginning — “Although some weeks are better than others, I try to keep up with reading some of my favorite blogs on a regular basis so I don’t lose my love for what I am pursuing.” I think this is an important concept to realize…that we can lose our motivation at times, but that that is okay and should be expected in order to not be discouraged. And beautiful blog by the way too!
Christina Miller
This is one thing I love about Pinterest is that it is different than Facebook and Twitter. I see it more like a vision board. Instead of seeing a picture you like or something and printing it out, just stick it on Pinterest. It’s so easy to pin things too. Yay for Pinterest. Thanks for posting!
5. Why podcasts are awesome, Jumping In:Melanie Shoults April 7, 2012
This is great! I listened to the same podcast and this was one of my favorite ones. Stever Robbins had some great advice, some of which I definitely will try to implement into my daily habits. Technology (emails, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) can unintentionally take up a large amount of time. So it is important to be intentional and recognize if when our time is slowly dripping away from us. Thanks for posting. I enjoyed reading this!
4. Writing Your Own Introduction, Writing for PR Blog:  April 7, 2012
Great tips from Lisa B. Marshall! Building rapport helps connect the audience to the speaker and prepares them to listen. If they don’t know why or who they are listening to, it sometimes won’t matter what the speaker is saying. I also like the part of being open and conversational. Thanks for posting!

Christina Miller

3. Kisses from Katie, learning how to relate to the public…:seravirginia  February 5, 2012

Wow, thank you for posting. I went to her blog and I was captured at the first paragraph. This is awesome the way God is moving her and using her for his glory in this world and how much love she has in her heart.  I can’t imagine what kind of life she has that is so worth it because she’s living out the call of God on her life. I will definitely be revisiting this blog time and time again. Thank you so much. Can’t wait for her book to come out!

Christina Miller

2. i Wish this Writing style was Consistent., Trial & Error in PR:Mylon Bunce  February 5, 2012

I love writing but I haven’t used the AP Stylebook until just recently.  It’s a lot harder now to write freely. At least it will be until I master the AP style. For now I will just have to continue looking up everything. I actually like that it is much different because then it gives us something to master. Thanks for posting!

Christina Miller

1. From sweats to skirts, Jumping In:Melanie Shoults  February 5, 2012
I enjoyed reading your post. I dislike wearing heels as well. They look good but can be very uncomfortable and can just be a hassle if you’re not accustomed to wearing them. My advice for dressing professionally would be to wear things that cover and that aren’t too form-fitting (ladies). Thanks for posting!

Christina Miller

Finding and Making News

As a public relations professional, a large part of your job will be to write and place stories in the media on behalf of an employer or client.  But, it’s not that easy.  There are obstacles one must learn to navigate through called media gatekeepers. According to the book Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox, there are 5 things to keep in mind that will help you meet the requirements of media gatekeepers.

1) Understanding news values

2) Targeting the right media with your information

3)Thinking continuously about the interests of the readers or listeners

4) Keeping in mind the objectives of the client or employer


5) Exercising creativity in thinking about how to present information that will meet the requirements of the media gatekeepers

In order to generate the type of media that catches the of media gatekeepers, you must be familiar with traditional news values such as:

Timeliness — One of the most important characteristics of news. In media timeliness is considered “immediacy”

Prominence — Using prominent people to attract media coverage. Movie stars, rock stars, professional athletes, a governor, astronaut, etc.

Proximity — An event may be of interest to local readers because it happened in or close to the community.

Significance — Any situation or event that can affect a substantial number of people is significant.

Unusualness — Out-of-the-ordinary events, a bizarre or rare occurrence, or people engaged in unusual activities are considered newsworthy.

Human Interest — People like to read about people and like stories about people who have special problems, achievements or experiences;profiles of people who have overcome difficulties or who seek to improve society inspire readers.

Conflict — Stories involving conflicts that people have with government or other people are often newsworthy, especially when the conflict reflects local problems.

Newness — Any news release announcing a new product or  service has a good chance of being published if you can convince a journalist that it is truly “new”.



Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox

Writing and Reporting News: A Coaching Method by Carole Rich