An Le
Living & Learning

Apr
27

Lindsay Lohan seems to always have some type of trouble brewing around her.  Once again, someone is trying to get her back into rehab.  Lohan’s father Micheal just recently called the cops on her according to FOXNews.  Michael Lohan along with the police came to Lindsay Lohan’s to her Los Angeles home last week.  Apparently Michael Lohan felt that Lindsay as well as his 16-year-old Ali were in danger.  He felt that there was a need for an intervention.  I followed this on the news for a couple days and at times I felt that could possibly be a father crying out to his child or could this be a publicity stunt?  He wanted Ali to be removed from Lindsay’s home.

Throughout the years there has been no doubt that Lindsay and her father have had a turbulent relationship.  Not only that but the relationship that Dina (Lindsay’s mother) has with her ex Micheal isn’t great either.  It seems that they both want to help Lindsay but why always pull the press into it?  I might have believed Micheal’s fatherly helping hand if he didn’t show up at Lindsay’s place with police and the cameras ready.  In all this I almost can’t blame Lindsay for being as rebellious as she is.  Who is she suppose to trust? Who has her best interest?

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Apr
27

Chapter Nine: Writing for Radio and Television

  • Radio and television is very beneficial for public relation writers because it is able to reach many different audiences.
  • A radio can be heard almost anywhere and it reaches large numbers of people in different, ages, ethnicities, and income groups.  For public relations people working on a more local level the radio can serve as  a very cost-effective tool.
  • Radio releases must be written so that an announcer can easily read it and a listeners clearly understand it.  A radio news releases timing is vital.  Messages must be able to fit in the time frame given.  An average announcer reads at a speed of 150 to 160 words per minute.
  • An audio news release also known as an ANR is the most common and effective approach when sending a news release to a radio station.   The message is already a recorded news announcement.
  • A public service announcement also known as a PSA is an unpaid announcement that promotes the programs of government or nonprofit agencies or that serves the public interest.
  • Radio media tours or RMT can be described as a spokesperson conducting a series of round-the-country, one-on-one interviews from one central location.  RMT are relatively low cost and they are convenient because many interviews can be given from one central location.
  • Television  separates itself from other media because of the visual element it provides.
  • There are about 5,ooo video news releases (VNR) that are produced annually in the United States.  The main clients for VNRs are large organizations that are trying to enhance recognition of their names, products, or service but they are not cheap to produce.

Notes and reading are from the textbook Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, Sixth Edition by Dennis Wilcox.

Apr
23

Recently I took NewsU Language of the Image which educated me on the journalistic value of photos and visual language.

  • There are three different photo types:
  1. Informational: An informational photograph is little more than a visual record of a person, place, or event.  It offers nothing more than identification value and has no redeeming story-telling qualities.
  2. Passive: These situations show people whose essential purpose is to have their photo taken for publication.  In spite of its limitations, there are times when passive photography is all that is required of a situation.  It is all that is possible when the event that makes up the action of the story is no longer taking place.  This is when the photographer makes the best possible environmental portrait.  This is legitimate and useful role for passive photography.
  3. Active: These situations show real people involved in real events in real time.  This is far preferable to shooting portraits after the fact because it brings the insight of documentary photojournalism to the daily mix of newspapers and magazines.  It allows photographers to produce images that tell readers about their community and the world in a way that informs, inspires and makes them happy, sad or concerned.  Photojournalism needs to go beyond the surface facts and should try and capture the essence of a situation or personality.

  • There are many different elements in a photo like graphics, quality of light, emotion, juxtaposition, mood, sense of place, point of entry, impact, rule of thirds, perspective, surprise, layering, moment and personality photo.
  • Most images utilize more than one element to enhance their story-telling capabilities.
  • When taking photographs the photographer can use different approaches.

Notes taken from NewsU Language of the Image.

Apr
23

Recently I sat down and listened to a PR Podcast called The Creative Career.  In this podcast Christie Maliyackel is being interviewed by Allie Osmar.  Maliyackel works in a health care consulting firm by day but had a passion in writing.  During her job time she encountered many different situations and she told her friends about it.  These conversations led to the idea of writing these incidents down into a book.  Writing this book became her creative outlet.  She still maintained her job and because she had such a passion for writing she wrote on weekends or whenever she was in a leisurely mood.  Fifty pages into her book what started as a joke became a reality.   Not only did she speak about her book but she offered advice for students who were starting their careers saying people should not go into a job feeling like it will be their dream job.  She feels that people are constantly changing jobs and careers and to focus more on the happiness that you receive from the job and the work environment not the actual workload that they are given.

Listening to this podcast or podcast like this can benefit many PR students and PR practitioners.  I feel that PR podcast are very insightful.  There are many different topics that are discussed and it is very convenient to click on a link and listen to a podcast.  Podcast can be very informative.  Listening to The Creative Career was very inspirational.  I was able to hear about what kinds of things other professionals are doing in their life and with their careers.  Listening to the podcast made me feel that anything can happen and even if your career isn’t going how you would imagine it to go there are endless possibilities.

Apr
23

Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, Sixth Edition defines infographics as computer-generated artwork that attractively displays simple tables and charts.  Infographics are basically a visual explanation that can help a person understand, find, or do something easily.  The use of infographics began with USA Today and now newspapers nationwide use them.

Although they are used for newspapers, infographics are great for publicity purposes.  It can be useful for a client because infographics can dress things up and give it more appeal. Using charts can allow people to easily compare and see what is going on as opposed to reading things that can sometimes seem more complicated in wording than a graphic.

Infographics can be created by using computers and  software programs like Microsoft Office or PowerPoint or for a more advanced person software from programs like Adobe.  Although many large companies have graphic departments to make infographics for them, smaller dailies do not so they sometimes use the simple colorful charts that they receive.


Apr
22

Chapter Eight: Selecting Publicity Photos and Graphics


  • An important component of news releases and feature stories are photographs and graphics which add interests and variety, and at times can explain things better than words.
  • Studies have shown that readers tend to “read” photographs than read articles.   It is important to know what goes into a good publicity photo.  The technical quality of a photograph makes a difference to weather the editor will be pleased or not.  Poor content and technical quality of a publicity photo can result in complaints.  The higher the resolution and the sharper the detail gives the photo a greater chance of being used.  Digital cameras have revolutionized the way that photos are taken and distributed.
  • The elements of a good publicity photo are quality, subject matter, composition, action, scale, camera angle, lighting and, color.  Finding a skilled photographer can help deliver a publicity photo that is high quality which will usually give you better results.
  • Other graphics include charts, diagrams, renderings and models, maps, line drawings, and clip art.  These visuals can be prepared by using different software applications like Microsoft or PowerPoint.

Notes and reading are from the textbook Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, Sixth Edition by Dennis Wilcox.

Apr
22

PR OpenMic was developed by Robert French a professor at Auburn University.  PR OpenMic is a social network geared towards Public Relations professionals, students, and teachers who are interested in networking with others.  There are over 6,000 members worldwide and the number continues to grow as people hear more about this PR social network.  This site offers many helpful tips for a person that may be interested or that is in public relations.  Looking through the site I encountered many different things that caught my eye.  I am aware that there are many social networking sites like Twitter, Myspace, and Facebook but PR OpenMic is different because it focuses on Public Relations.  This site allows its members to connect with other people that are interested in PR and it also is a great learning tool.  The blogs are full of insight from PR students, and professionals.  PR OpenMic allows the member blog from the site instead of having to blog from a separate site.  I found that people blog about different things from current PR mishaps in the news to their own personal stories of things concerning their PR career or life.  This site also allows the members to post videos.  With the growing popularity of YouTube it was nice to see that PR OpenMic had a place for members to explore the latest videos that stand out to other  PR enthusiast.  Not only does it have videos but members can also upload photos which are shared with other members on PR OpenMic.  I personally love looking at pictures.  I really enjoyed looking at pictures and seeing all the amazing and beautiful places that others have traveled to.  PR OpenMic is a site that I would highly recommend to anyone that is interested and wants to go into PR.  The site is a handy tool that offers great insight from other PR professionals and students.

Apr
21

Chapter Seven:Creating New Features and Op-Ed

  • Feature stories can provide additional background information, generate human interest, and create understanding in a more imaginative way.  Writing features requires right-brain skills, like intuition,  image-making, and creativity. Features are considered “soft news” which means  that features are not as time sensitive as the “hard” news.  Features entertain, provide background, and give consumer tips.
  • There are several different types of features that are used frequently which include cases studies, applications stories, research studies, backgrounders, personality profiles, and historical pieces.
  • The different parts of a feature are the headline, the lead,  the body, the summary, and photo and graphics.
  • Feature stories can be placed anywhere from newspapers; general magazines like Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Travel and Leisure, and People; specialty or trade magazines or internal publications.
  • Op-Ed means “opposite the editorial page” which is a concept that originally came from The New York Times in 1970.  Op-ed articles present a variety of views on current news events, governmental policies, pending legislation, and social issues.

Notes and reading are from the textbook Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, Sixth Edition by Dennis Wilcox.

Apr
21

Chapter Six: Preparing Fact Sheets, Advisories, Media Kits, and Pitches

  1. A one-page background sheet about an event, a product, or even the organization is known as a fact sheet. They often accompany a news release or a media kit.  Fact sheets are usually a list of facts in outline or bullet form.  Reporters can use this sheet as a quick reference when writing a story. There are several kinds of facts sheets like writing for an upcoming event, giving key facts about an organization, or simply summarizing a new product’s characteristics.
  2. Advisories are also known as media alerts.  Media alerts let assignment editors know about upcoming events that may be interested in covering from a story, photo, and video perspective.
  3. Media kits are also called press kits.  They are usually prepared for major events and new product launches.  The purpose of the media kit is to give editors and reporters a variety of information and resources that will make it easier for the reporter to write about the topic.  Basic media kits include  a main news release; a news feature; fact sheets on the product, organization, or event; background information; photos and drawings with captions; biographical material on the spokesperson or senior executive; and some basic brochures.
  4. Pitch letters convince editors and reporters to cover an event or do a story.  Publicists spend time researching and finding what kind of pitch would be most appropriate.  Pitches to editors should be brief , to the point, and must raise interest.

Notes and reading are from the textbook Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, Sixth Edition by Dennis Wilcox.

Apr
20

Recently I took the NewsU Lead Lab. While taking this lab I learned many different helpful hints about writing leads.  I learned that when writing an effective lead a person should know the five W’s and a H: who, what, when, where, why, and how.  These questions will let the writer know what the news is and what the story is about.  Putting yourself in the role of the reader or viewer will help write a story and lead that is more appealing for others to read. It is important to state the most important information that the reader needs to know to show what the news matters.

I was really surprised by how helpful the lab was.  I have taken many different classes that require me to write different stories and writing leads was not a strong point for me.  Taking the NewsU Lead Lab helped refresh my mind on lead-writing basics.  I was surprised by how many things I forgot.   The lead lab laid out basic questions to ask yourself and tips to follow when writing a lab.