Public Relations and AP Style Writing

Last week in my introduction to public relations class, our professor discussed the importance of using Associated Press style writing. Throughout the class I have realized that writing is one of, if not the most, important aspects for a public relations practioners to possess. Also, in my news reporting and writing class I was taught the basics of Associated Press style and taught that journalists are required to use this method unless writing a feature story. It was not until last week that I became aware of the fact that publicists should use this method as well. One of the most important aspects of this writing style is the inverted pyramid. This is the basic formula used to structure your entire news release. The inverted pyramid is simple actually, you begin the story with the most important information including the who, what, when, why and how of the story. You then continue the article giving supporting details to the main subject. This is employed as a way to get your point across quickly to journalists whose time is precious. I was very happy to see that the AP style writing is something I will be using in the my professional future because I spent a lot of time in my journalism classes perfecting my usage of it.


May 1, 2009. Responses. Leave a comment.

The Anatomy of a News Release

Last week in my Public Relations class, we were all asked to bring in a hard copy of a news release to dissect. Anyways, my professor provided the class with some very important information about news releases. This being very important because as a hopeful publicist I am going to writing a lot of these. Here are thirteen things you will find in most news releases:
1. Letterhead with address
2. The words NEWS RELEASE
3. For Immediate release or, Embargo ( this means to hold until the specified date)
4. Media contact information
5. Headline (subhead)
6. Dateline
7. Lead
8. Quotations
9. Body (written in Associated Press format)
10. Page Slugs (moves one page to the next)
11. Additional contact information
12. Boiler Plate
13. ### (End sign)

My professor also made sure to let us know how important a compelling subject line was!

April 29, 2009. Responses. Leave a comment.

“Getting into the News”

Today in my public relations class, we discussed how to get into the news and how to do it correctly. My professor, Barbara Nixon, spoke about many different aspects but I am going to focus on a few that really stood out to me. The entire slide show from my class can be found on Ms. Nixon’s blog.

We were asked at the beginning of class to define what we thought news to be. My definition was as follows, “Information that is pertinent and interesting to the public and provided through a mass medium”. I think I did a pretty good job summing “news” up but one crucial part of the definition I left out is timeliness. This is very important because in the incredibly fast paced world we live in something that happened 18 hours ago can be completely “snoozable”.

I really liked the way Professor Nixon defined a Press(or News) Release as a story that you write in hopes to get it published in a mass media outlet. That about sums it up perfectly in my opinion. The trouble then is, how exactly do you do that? This is where the concept of pitching comes in. Professor Nixon said that this is where you as a PR person is trying to convince journalists that your story is something THEY want. I kind of took this to mean “selling it”.

This lecture was very helpful and made me excited for my PR writing class I will be taking this summer!

April 20, 2009. Responses. 2 comments.

Employees of the THREE speak for my PR class

Last Wednesday, two Georgia Southern University alumni came to my public relations class and spoke. Lauren Crawford and Jeremy Estroff are both employees at the respected Advertising, Public Relations, and Direct Marketing firm Three. Three works with Simmons, Waffle House, and Children’s Health care. Both Lauren and Jeremy have done very well for themselves in the PR field which, as a public relations major at GSU, was incredibly encouraging. Jeremy discussed one of his most rewarding projects to be the launch of a new model of Mercedes(really cool!). They both let the class know that writing is one of, is not the most, important part of being in the industry. They advised us to proofread our work multiple times. Many students asked what their company looked for in interns and the advice Jeremy and Lauren gave was to build a book, get experience, create credibility by working, and have a great resume. Jeremy really focused on viral marketing and how it is becoming such a HUGE part of public relations. All and all, the presentation got me really jazzed to jump into the field. I still have a year of school left but I can’t lie, I’m chomping at the bit to get right on in there!

April 20, 2009. Responses. 3 comments.

Public Relations During Times of Crisis

On Monday in my Public Relations class, we learned about different types of crises and what to do about them.
The four different types of crises are: Meteor, Predator, Breakdown and Lingering.
There are different ways to spark a crisis and these include: Environmental, Technological, Terroristic, Criminal Misconduct, Managerial, and Accidental.
There are various benefits of planning for a crisis such as reducing stress, flow of information, and business continuity.
Professor Nixon gave us 7 must have elements in your Crisis Communication Kit:
1.) A list of members of the crisis management team
2.) Contact information for key officers
3.) Fact Sheets on the company
4.) Profiles and bios for each key manager
5.) Copies of company logos, press release format, and the scanned in signature of our CEO on disk
6.)Pre-written scripts answering key questions that you have generated through your crisis scenario analysis.
7.)Contact information for key media contacts

This information was very interesting because I would like to possibly work in the crisis control area of a P.R. Firm.
You can find the full slide show from my class on Monday at Professor Barbara Nixon’s blog: Public Relations Matters

April 8, 2009. Responses. Leave a comment.