Peace Love & Sillyness

Archive for November 2010

These notes come from ch.9 in Public Relation Writing and Media Techniques

  • radio reaches about 94% of adults over 18 on a daily basis
  • local television news still attract about 150 million viewers on a daily basis


  • radio lacks glamour, so it’s not always the first medium PR professionals think of when planning an information campaign
  • on a local level it is a cost-effective way to reach large #s of people in various demographics
  • it is the only mass medium that can reach millions of Americans as they commute to and from work in their cars
  • approximately 13,500 radio stations are on the air in the U.S.
  • about 2,000 stations now have an Internet presence
  • Different stations have different formats, such as: “top 40” (for teenagers), all-news stations (for commuters), classical stations (appealing to older & better-educated groups), etc.
  • for radio news releases, write in all UPPERCASE LETTERS and double-space & give length of release

Audio News Releases

  • aka ANR
  • a simple approach is for someone with a good radio voice to read the announcement
  • preferred length is 60 seconds, including a soundbite of 20 seconds or less
  • should accompany a sound tape with a script of the tape
  • producing ANRs is rather cost-effective, but you should still be selective about distribution

Public Service Announcements (PSAs)

  • defined as: an unpaid announcement that promotes the programs of government or nonprofit agencies or that serves the public interest.
  • can be 60, 30, 20, 15, or 10 seconds long
  • submit multiple PSAs on the same subject in different lengths
  • adding sound effects can make a radio PSA more interesting
  • almost any topic/issue can be the subject of a PSA, but stations seem to like particular topics
  • “speak to the common man….make it as simple as possible.” – christine arbesu

Radio Media Tours (RMT)

  • a spokesperson conducting a series of round-the-country, one-on-one interviews from one central location
  • interviews are conducted over the phone with DJs, news directors, or talk show hosts
  • relatively low cost & convenience are the major selling points


  • is the primary source of news, information, and entertainment for most people
  • almost as many tv stations (1,500) in the US as daily newspapers (1,532)

Video News Releases (VNRs)

  • more than 5,000 are produced annually in the US
  • large organizations seeking enhanced recognition for their names, products, services, & causes are the primary clients
  • a typical VNR costs a minimum of $20,000 to $50,000 for production & distribution
  • a basic VNR includes:
  1. consultation on story concept and news positioning
  2. production
  3. script, 1-day shoot, edit, & voiceover
  4. distribution
  5. distribution to newsrooms, satellite feed, & 2 days of pitching assignment editors to use it
  • standard length is 90 seconds
  • VNR package should include 2 or 3 minutes of B-roll (background pictures & soundbites)

Satellite Media Tours (SMT)

  • the television equivalent to the RMT
  • prebooked, one-on-one interviews from a fixed location via satellite of tv journalists and talk show hosts
  • started in the mid-1980s when companies started putting CEOs in front of tv cameras
  • today, SMTs are a staple of PR & the tv industry
  • a basic SMT costs $10,000 to $25,000

Talk Shows

  • there are now more than 5,000 radio talk shows in the US & more than 20 nationally syndicated talk shows and a countless # of locally produced shows
  • talk shows book guests 3-4 weeks in advance

Product Placement

  • often called plugs, are negotiated by product publicists and talent agencies
  • product placements have become a major part of the tv and film industry
  • should always be alert to opportunities for publicity on tv programs and upcoming movies

These are my notes on Chapter 7:

  • a features story can provide additional background information, generate human interest, and created understanding in a more imaginative way.
  • features are considered soft news; they all have the 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.
  • good features writers ask a lot of questions
  • news events/issues can trigger ideas for features stories
  • once you have your feature idea there are 4 ways to proceed:
  1. write a general feature & distribute to a variety of publications (most common)
  2. write an exclusive feature for a specific publication
  3. don’t write the feature at all. give a journalist your idea that they may/may not want to develop on their own
  4. post the feature on your organization’s website for possible downloading by journalists & consumers
  • There are many different types of features, including: case studies, application stories, research studies, backgrounders, personality profiles, & historical pieces.
  • formatting for a features is similar to that of a news release
  • you can use an informational headline or one that uses a play on words, alliteration, or a rhyme
  • the purpose of the lead in a features story is to attract attention and get the reader interested
  • the body usually includes:
  1. direct quotes from people
  2. concrete examples and illustrations
  3. basic statistics or research findings
  4. descriptive words that paint mental pictures
  5. information presented in an entertaining way
  • photos & graphics often accompany a features story to give it more appeal
  • Placement opportunities include newspapers, general-circulation magazines, specialty/trade magazines, and internal publications. (broadcast & online media are also an option)
  • op-ed means “opposite the editorial page”; it is to present a variety of views on current news events, governmental policies, pending legislation, and social issues
  • “the whole point of the op-ed is to illuminate the issue in a new way. it isn’t just opinion; it’s an opinion grounded in facts, data, and research”
  • the op-ed pages in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Washington Post are the best known/most prestigious (in terms of placement).
  • the next best thing to an op-ed is a letter
  • letters should be short, temperate & factual, identify the subject in the opening paragraph, state the theme in the second paragraph, have several other paragraphs, & a closing.

The topic of the week this week was to take a look at my site stats on wordpress under my dashboard. Under stats I was able to view many different things. What I found to be the best feature was being able to click on the specific days that I had created a new post and got individual stats about that day (how people got to the posts, how often each one was viewed, etc). It was nice to also see how many times my blog has been viewed overall and how many times on this particular day it has been; I was surprised to see that my blog has been viewed many more times than I thought. Honestly, I didn’t really find the site stats feature to be of much help, but I think for a PR professional or for an organization it could definitely be helpful. Being able to see how often your blog/site is being viewed could definitely give you somewhat of an insight of whether or not you should be updating as often as you are. The feature of seeing which posts have been viewed the most could give the PR professional insight to what their customers are most interested in and which they could care less about. I think it’s also helpful for the professional to be able to jump back to old posts without having to go through the entire blog.


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