Peace Love & Sillyness

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.

Here are my notes on what I found interesting and most important from Chapter 6.

  • fact sheets = 1-page background sheets about an event/product/organization; media kit = aka press kit, contains news releases, fact sheets, & photos; media advisory = aka media alert, used to let assignment editors know about a newsworthy event/interview that could lend itself to photo/video coverage.
  • there are several kinds of fact sheets
  • media kits are typically 9×12 inches & has 4 sides (a cover, 2 inside pages, and a back cover w/ the organization’s name, address, & website); usually in an attractive folder
  • “fact sheets, background materials, and other supporting documents should be made available in a format that is easy for the journalist to recognize and access.”
  • Electronic press kits are more versatile than traditional printed media kits bc they can include many pieces of information in a variety of formats.
  • media kits often include a short, personalized letter to the editor that is considered a pitch for using the material
  • researching the pitch is probably the most important component; they need to be customized to a particular editor/publication
  • knowledge of the publication and the demographics of its audience are crucial for a successful pitch
  • the first rule of a pitch is brevity (less than a page or a screen); also your syntax and spelling should be flawless; your pitch should have an enticing lead
  • the majority of pitches are sent via e-mail, so the most important aspect of the pitch is the subject line
  • if you e-mailed, faxed, or mailed a pitch you should follow up; if they ask for more information during your follow up, make sure you send it within 24 hours (you should ask how they’d like to receive the information)

For our TOW #9, we were assigned to sign up on PR OpenMic and explore what all it offers. First off, PR OpenMic is another form of social network for students, professors, & PR professionals.

One thing I really like on the site is the different blogs available to read and comment on. From what I could see, anyone who is a member of PR OpenMic can post on these blogs. I read through a lot of these blogs and read/learned a lot of interesting things about the PR world. Not being a PR major, I think, has been difficult in the class because I almost have to “research” some aspects more than just reading the book.

Another aspect of the site that I really like was the Jobs/Internships. Although I’m not necessarily looking for an internship in the PR profession, some of these links could eventually lead me to other companies that may suit my field. I think that this part of the site will be extremely helpful for classmates/other students at GSU/other friends looking for internships, and even for those who have already graduated that are looking for a job. I also found it very interesting that PR OpenMic had their own view on internships & stated that they believe that students should be paid.

Finally, I really liked the Members tab. Being able to connect with other members that you don’t necessarily know or have to search for is a great aspect. I feel like on some other social networking sites you have to search hard to find people to connect with and in the end are unsuccessful completely or just settle with those that you already know personally.

I don’t know how often I will log on to PR OpenMic, but it will definitely be something I recommend to others that I know are majoring in PR or that may already be working in the field or trying to get into it that don’t know about the site.

I am currently 214 days away from graduating from Georgia Southern. And yes, I did just count all those days on my calendar. But more importantly, I am now 220 days away from boarding a plane and heading to Atlantis (Bahamas) with my parents to celebrate and get some rest/sun/fun/etc. in before starting my internship. I’ve always wanted to go to Atlantis and I’ve seen videos about it’s creation in my tourism classes and seen pictures from when friends have visited. However, I decided tonight that I wanted to get a mini “tour” and so I started on youtube. I found a short video that gave me a look at some things that I have not seen before at Atlantis and now I am more excited than when Mom told me we would be going!

Here are my notes/what I found most important from Chapter 4 in PR Writing & Media Techniques:

  • timeliness may be the most important characteristic of news.
  • if you insist on creating a special day, week, or month for your client (like many causes do now):  do have an educational component or call to action; make sure the campaign has a human element; find credible experts & partners for the media to interview
  • “If a celebrity doesn’t show up to an event or party, what will the media write about?” (well hopefully the event or party will be successful without the celebrity….why are celebrities the most important things now-a-days?!)
  • any situation or event that can affect a substantial number of people is significant
  • special events need interesting photo opportunities (this is especially important for me to know since I would like to be a special events coordinator!..REMINDER to self!)
  • internal news sources = important papers, periodicals, clipping files, or other published materials
  • brainstorming sessions = the point is to encourage everyone to express any idea that comes to mind.
  • it’s less certain what exactly constitutes a “special event” – some can include publicity stunts
  • a good alternative to polls and surveys is to compile a “top 10 list”
  • “you need something that is fun and irresistible to get people’s attention” – Kathy Carliner

Ok, so if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! It’s only the middle of the month, but every week/every day there is something going on to raise awareness. Last week, CRI (at Georgia Southern) and Zeta Tau Alpha hosted “Pilates for Pink” at the RAC. This was an event set up by Shape magazine and gyms across the nation hosted their own Pilates for Pink. I was unable to attend, so I’m not sure how exactly it was set up or anything, but from what I’ve heard from others there was a great turn out.
Since October began, I personally have dedicated numerous facebook statuses & tweets to this great cause and both of my pictures (on facebook & twitter) have a pink ribbon in the bottom right corner. I have always been concerned about breast cancer and have always helped with the cause, but I suppose I have more so this year since my mom was diagnosed last spring. Since being diagnosed she’s undergone many surgeries and seen many doctors and is now in the recovery stage (woohoo!!), but ever since we found out it seems as if more & more people keep popping up in our lives that are also survivors or that have been close to someone (such as a family member or friend) who has diagnosed, as well. It is crazy how many lives breast cancer (and any cancer at that) has affected in recent years. Every time you step in to a store there is something to purchase with proceeds to go the Susan G. Komen Organization; even in near-by Savannah there is a pink firetruck that is for breast cancer awareness that you can sign & take pictures with. (side note: my parents will be visiting this weekend and I fully plan on taking them to Savannah and finding this firetruck.)
So, whether you know someone personally who has dealt with breast cancer, have been diagnosed yourself, or have no connection to it what-so-ever, get out there do something! Help raise awareness and/or participate in some activity related to raising awareness/money for a cure! It’s so easy and probably right outside your door 🙂


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