1 Story, 5 Steps

Posted in PRCA 3330, Topic of the week on December 1, 2010 by mrtarplin

Step 1: Choosing a Story

– include strong quotes in the text

– include videos when available

-still pictures are best when they capture powerful emotion

– soundbites can be used also if emotion is easily relatable

-collect preliminary information and assemble a conceptual storyboard

Step 2: Making the Storyboard

-give a brief background of the story

-discuss the main events

-mention major pros and cons

-mention other issues that may be effected by the event

-use whichever of the multi-dimensional medias is best for the given story

– these will be the blueprints of the project

Step 3:  Reporting with Multimedia

-bring the basic equipment every where you go

– bring a bag  big enough to fit ALL of the equipment simultaneously without damaging anything

-when traveling, never check your equipment bag always carry it with you

Basic needs for going out in the field include: a pocket knife, rubber bands, energy bars, duct tape, lens cleaners, plastic bags, backpack vest, water bottle, pens, and a notebook.

The equipment bag should hold: cables, laptop, headphones, manuals, video camera, tripod, microphone, batteries, and lenses and filters.

Step 4: Editing for the Web

– Keep videos short less than 4 minutes

-In the video only use talking heads for a few seconds then use b-roll

-Use high quality audio

– If audio is unclear, use subtitles

-Use photos to replace words

– photos can be used individually to introduce a section of a story or collectively to tell a story as a “slide show”

-use flash to animate graphics

-text is used best to type headlines and make photo captions

-text works best for first person stories and short updates

Step 5: Producing the Story

-the web designer for the site will serve as editor

-make a few template designs that you like so you don’t have  a predictable format

-with templates, more effort can go into reporting because you don’t have to create a new layout from scratch


Journalize This!

Posted in PRCA 3330, Topic of the week on December 1, 2010 by mrtarplin

This blog will be a list of 10 ways to NOT stay on a journalists’ good side.

1) Be unfamiliar with the media – not knowing deadlines, news formats, audiences, and necessary tools.

2) Sending information that is not newsworthy

3) Using gimmicks- don’t send t-shirts, teddy bears, balloons etc. to get the journalists’ attention

4) Being unavailable- key reporters should have your office and cell numbers. As the spokesperson, you should be ready to talk at any time day or night about your product.

5) Not returning calls- reporters understand that you may not ALWAYS be able to answer your phone, but they do however expect you to return their call at a reasonable time-frame

6) Not answering questions- if you dont know at the time say “I don’t know but I’ll get back to you within an hour.” “No comment” is unacceptable

7) Ruining exclusives- if a reporter has found a story, don’t give it to anyone else.

8) Forgetting deadlines- deadlines are important to everyone, so if you forget one, its going to mess up the journalists’ chances of making theirs.

9) Irritating phone calls- much like you are expected to return contact in a reasonable amount of time, you can expect the same from a journalist if they are interested in your information. Don’t call and ask if they got your news release.

10)Inappropriate requests- don’t ask the publication of broadcast to send you news clippings or broadcast segments. Go to a clipping service or a broadcast monitoring firm.

Inside PR Podcast

Posted in PRCA 3330, Topic of the week on December 1, 2010 by mrtarplin

I visited Inside PR to listen to a few podcasts, and I was really surprised by the experience. On the first podcast I listened to, I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew the general concept of a podcast was to put out a video with the same basic format on a weekly basis. I had no clue what that format would be or what the topics that a Public Relations practitioner would have to talk about on a weekly basis. During my visit to Inside PR I learned the answer to all of these questions as well as the answers to questions that i may not have ever considered to ask.

The first podcast I listened to surprised me within the first 30 seconds. I was not expecting an introduction of the topic and theme music. This made me feel comfortable because I can relate that to the snippet of a TV show before the theme song. I also think its pretty cool that the hosts are in two different locations– Canada and Chicago.

They discussed the moderation of comments on blogs. This means comments aren’t posted where everyone can see it without my first approving it. They go into a lot of detail about how their blogs are much more effective because they have links to their other social media accounts specifically twitter and facebook.

GAP changed their logo and the twitter and facebook communities started vocalized that they didnt like it, so GAP changed their logo back to the previous design. They later found out that only 17 percent of the population even knew they had changed it at all. I thought this was pretty impressive to see that social media has this much attention when they provide feedback to companies. While we don’t know if  the new GAP logo may have been well accepted, we know that GAP wasnt confident in its ability to grow on people as they changed it at the first sign of resistance.

Didnt You Get the Memo

Posted in Uncategorized on December 1, 2010 by mrtarplin

Chapter 14

Guidelines of clarity

-Completeness – make sure it contains all the information necessary to serve its purpose

– Conciseness – objective is to be as brief as possible

– Correctness – be accurate in everything you write

– Courtesy – find the balance between polite and overly familar

– Responsibility – think of how your communication will be perceived by the recipient


– reduces the cost of employee communications

– increases the distribution of messages to more employees

– flattens the corporate hierarchy

– speeds up the decision making process

– helps keep up with upcoming events

– simplifies making arrangements and appointments

– grants access to reviewing and editing documents

Memos Requirements

– Date

– Recipient

– Sender

– Subject

– Message


– can carry any sort of message that requires a written record

-most important part is first paragraph

– commonly written to thank  a customer for writing

– apologizes for any convenience

– replace the product or provide a coupon for the future

Public Relations Proposals

– the background and capabilities of the firm

– the client’s situation

-goals and objectives of the proposed program

– key messages

– basic strategies and tactics

– general timeline of activities

– proposed budget

– how success will be measured

– a description of the team that will handle the account

– a summary of why the firm should be selected to implement the program

Tapping the web and New Media

Posted in PRCA 3330, Reading notes on November 30, 2010 by mrtarplin

Chapter 12

Traditional characteristics of the media

– it is centralized, having a top-down hierarchy

– it costs a lot of money to become a publisher

– it is staffed by professional gatekeepers known as editors and publishers

– it features mostly one-way communication with limited feedback channels

Mediasphere & Blogosphere characteristics

– widespread broadband

-cheap/free, easy-to-use online publishing tools

– new distribution channels

– mobile devices, such as camera phones

– new advertising paradigms

It takes 50 percent longer to read material on a computer screen than it takes to read the same message in traditional print media.

When writing for the web…

-write the way you talk

-limit each page to a single concept

-use a lot of bullet-point lists

– make sure each page provides the context readers need

– limit the use of italics and boldface

– dont overuse hyperlinks with narrative text

-make sure your hyperlinks are relevant

– provide feedback options for readers

The 3 top media for triggering online searches

1) magazines

2) reading an article on the product

3) TV

Other highly ranked sources included

– broadcast TV

– cable TV

-face-to-face communication

– newspapers

Getting Along with Journalists

Posted in PRCA 3330, Reading notes on November 30, 2010 by mrtarplin

Chapter 11

Media relations ins the core activity in many public relations jobs. Public relations professionals and journalists have had a love-hate relationship for a long time.  Two-thirds of journalists say they dont trust public relations people, but 81 percent of journalists admit that they need the PR people anyway. Journalists often use the term “spokesman” or “spokeswoman” to describe public relations personnel who provide information.

Basically, public relations materials save media the time, money, and effort of gathering their own news. In return, the exposure that journalists provide for public relations professionals increases their ability to inform, shape opinions and attitudes, and to even motivate audiences more consistantly. Media gatekeepers give public relations professionals credibility and importance by deciding that its newsworthy. The internet has made public relations professionals less dependent on traditional media because they can now reach literally billions of people while bypassing  traditional mass media gatekeepers.

Common problems journalists have  with PR people

– unfamiliar with editorial requirements and format

– too many unsolicited e-mails, faxes, and phone calls

– don’t know the product or service

– repeated calls and follow-ups

-spokesperson not available

– don’t meet publication deadlines

Frank Rich, a columnist for The New York Times used the following terms to describe public relations “propaganda” “sloganeering” and “lacking in principles and substance” in the textbook.

4 steps to reduce sloppy reporting

– Educate executives about how the media operate and how reporters strive for objectivity

– Train executives to give 30-second answers to questions

– Provide extensive briefing and background material to reporters who are not familiar with the topic or organization

– Familiarize executives with basic news values

The Role of a PR Firm

– schedule appointments with key editors

– conduct media training for the organization’s spokespeople

– prepare an outline of key talking points

– make airline, hotel, and local transportation arrangements for each city

– prepare a briefing book about the background of the editor and the publication that will be visited

Media Relations Checklist

– Know your media

– Limit your mailings

– Localize

– Send newsworthy information

– Practice good writing

– Avoid gimmicks

– Be environmentally correct

– Be available

– Get back to reporters

– Answer your own phone

– Be truthful

– Answer questions

– Avoid “off-the-cuff” remarks

– Protect exclusives

– Help photographers

– Remember deadlines

– Praise good work

– Correct errors politely

Social Media News Releases

Posted in PRCA 3330 on November 30, 2010 by mrtarplin

A social media news release is a new release that has the capability to include high resolution photographs, video, and audio components. Also commonly referred to as multimedia news releases or smart new releases, these releases are shared through electronic distribution services. To maximize the amount of exposure that a news release receives, many are now associated with search engines including Google, Yahoo!, and MSN.

Michael Lissauer, executive vice president of Business Wire said “The most important thing to our client is seeing their news release on the search engine” in the textbook. The social media news release will have hyperlinks to the organization’s website, blog, online news room, and even a comments page.

One advantage of using a social media news release is that more of your company’s information can be bundled and shipped in a single message. Rather than sending many separate messages with attachments, one document can be distributed that contains hyperlinks to provide information about their client.

A disadvantage however is that documents with too many links can confuse journalists and take attention away from the key message.

An ideal time for a Public Relations Practitioner to consider using a social media news release is when a client has a big event coming up in the near future. The social media news release can remind the audience of their previous enjoyment of their product, and then introduce them to the modifications and adjustments that have been made to improve the old product.

Here are a few links to website that can help create social media news releases.

PitchEngine PRXbuilder

And here is a social media news release that is based around Coca Cola.

Tips for Social Media News Release creation

–          Start with planning worksheets

–          Answer the five W’s and H, but not all in the lead paragraph

–          Use Associated Press style writing

–          Have at least one high resolution photo to accompany the story

–          Have links to pages where key words and phrases reinforce your message

–          Strategically lay out the message.

–          Keep information factual, avoid puffery and hype

–          Place terms in key positions, like headlines

–          Use at least two relevant quotations from your interaction

–          Use at least two relevant hyperlinks

–          Provide boilerplate information about your client

–          Insert tags that will help describe your release and your client


The social media release has pretty much rendered the press release of last century obsolete. The social media news release is a great way to get publicity and gain exposure to many people because of their interactive qualities.

Newsworthy, timely, well written releases get the most space and time in their medium. The more aware a public becomes to a given product, the more influence is has on their decision making. Any contacts that you list on a media news release should be knowledgeable about the topic and available to provide reporters who call with more information

News releases shouldn’t be written to please the client or employer. They should please editors and the audiences. News releases distributed via internet should be about five paragraphs, single-spaced. The subject line should spark immediate interest. A link to the organization’s website should be provided in case they need additional information.