Mallory Boulware

This is a blog for PR Writing

Chapter 10 Reading Notes April 20, 2010

Filed under: COMM 4333,Reading Notes — mbboulware @ 3:11 pm

These notes come from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox

1. Media databases usually provide:

  • names of publications
  • mailing addresses
  • telephone and fax numbers
  • e-mail addresses
  • names of key editors and reporters

2. An editorial calendar means that special issues have a special editorial focus

3. Tip sheets are weekly newsletters that report on recent changes in news personnel and their new assignments, how to contact them and what kinds of material they are looking for

4. Today’s primary distribution channels are:

  • e-mail
  • online newsrooms
  • electronic newswires
  • mat distribution companies
  • photo placement firms

Chapter 9 Reading Notes

Filed under: COMM 4333,Reading Notes — mbboulware @ 3:06 pm

These notes come from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox

1. An ANR is an audio news release. It can be in the form of an actuality or a soundbite.

  • Format for a 60 second one: should include a soundbite of 20 seconds or less.
  • Start with a script, then record the words.
  • Next notify the news department that an ANR is available.

2. Public service announcements are unpaid announcements that promote the programs of government or nonprofit agencies or that serves the public interest.

  • They can be 60, 30, 20, 15 or 10 seconds long.
  • Standard practice is to include multiple PSA’s of varying lengths (usually 15-30 seconds long).
  • Many have background music.

3. A VNR is a video news release.

  • Standard length is 90 seconds.
  • Usually requires trained professionals.
  • Should include 2-3 minutes of B-roll (background pictures and soundbites).

Jump on the Wagon with Wonka and Hallmark April 19, 2010

Filed under: COMM 4333,PR Connections — mbboulware @ 9:50 pm

Have you ever wondered if there was a website out there to help you create social media news releases? Well now PitchEngine, has made it easy. Companies such as Hardee’s, Krispy Kreme, Radisson Hotels, Wonka, Hallmark and many others have already found out about this service.

These companies are currently using PitchEngine:



Filed under: COMM 4333,T.O.W. — mbboulware @ 9:42 pm

A social media news release is a news release designed specifically for online use. The idea was created by a man named Tom Foremski in 2006 when he made public his dislike of traditional press releases. He said that PR practitioners should come up with something that is more practical and useful in place of the straight-forward news releases that were usually sent to the press. Unlike traditional news releases, social media news releases target an audience of more than just the press. They are geared for journalists, bloggers, publishers and anyone else who is interested. It can be shared within these people and commented on like a blog. They sometimes can include links to other websites, videos, pictures or audio clips. The reason these are so valuable is because they go above and beyond a traditional news release. More people can see them, they are more user-friendly and still offer a wide range of information. You can include the regular style of narration or just have facts and straight information.

Foremski said that traditional news releases were “useless and artificial.” Social news releases thus grew out of his challenge to PR Practitioners to be more innovative and interesting. He wanted them to contain information about the product or service, quotes from the CEO of the company as well as customers and analysts, financial information and links.

More and more people are beginning to use the web to receive information. This is why PR practitioners should use social media news releases. PR people, more than almost anyone in any other profession, are responsible for staying on top of social networking and things of that nature. A social news release provides an easy way for web-users to access information and images that help build the idea that is trying to be conveyed.

Check out these sites for more information on SMNR’s:


TOW 14: 5 Steps to Multimedia Storytelling

Filed under: COMM 4333,T.O.W. — mbboulware @ 8:49 pm

When taking the NewsU course, 5 Steps to Multimedia Storytelling, I was surprised at how un-interactive it was. Usually, these courses take at least an hour, if not two. It seemed like the only thing to do in this one was to read information. I’m not saying I learned absolutely nothing, I just was a little surprised at the amount that I learned versus my expectations.

One of the things I did learn about was the idea of creating a storyboard. It is not an artistic drawing but rather a simple scribble of the basic components of the article or paper. You can change it as you go along. It is basically just a rough guide for you to keep so you keep focus.

I learned some other valuable things including picking out the type of media to use for your publication. If you are going to use video, it should be short. A 1-2 minute video would be ideal but if it  must go longer, it is important to make sure it does not exceed 4 minutes.  For audio, make sure it is high-quality. Unless it is really old and is supposed to have the scratchy noises, make sure it is a pure, clear sound. Also, background music will only take away from the story unless it is completely essential to your piece. That makes sense because if music is too loud or overbearing, people will become more interested or distracted by that rather than the main focus being your story.

Photos are always a good thing to have, so it is important to always add some that are pertinent to your story. I thought it was neat that a photo replaces roughly 1,000 words because people “read” pictures. I never thought about that but photos are incredibly helpful to any story I read. It helps to break up the monotony of the text.


Guest Speaker Jeff Houck April 13, 2010

Filed under: COMM 4333,PR Connections — mbboulware @ 2:50 pm

Last week in our PR Writing class, we had a guest speaker come in. Jeff Houck writes for the Tampa Tribune and shared some very interesting things with us. Some of the things I learned included:

  • The best way to connect with someone is to meet them face-to-face
  • Journalists are annoyed my embargo dates
  • Journalists want people to sell them a story- not a product
  • Four Square is yet another social networking site

TOW 13: How to Annoy a Journalist

Filed under: COMM 4333,T.O.W. — mbboulware @ 2:16 pm

I researched where/when/why and how PR people can sometimes drive journalists crazy. I found a blog that a technology columnist posted about the same topic. He mentioned these things:

  1. Rude responses when asked questions– If a PR person is concerned about the reason the question is being asked, they should respond politely but showing that they are still professional.
  2. When people need to “verify credentials,” meaning, they don’t want to look it up on their own– Instead of asking them in response, PR people should try “Googling” them to find out themselves.
  3. When someone asks how the review of their products/services are going– PR people should give journalists time to write them instead of questioning them and wasting their time.
  4. When people do not think about timezones– Always check to make sure you are not calling someone in the middle of the night!]
  5. When PR people ask to review their documents before they go to press– Trust the journalists!
  6. When PR people make “deals” with journalists about giving them exclusive news if they publish their story– Don’t do that!

Another Blogger from Project PR said these things:

  1. When they do not “do their homework” to find out what types of stuff the company publishes– Never assume anything, always read up.
  2. Generic press releases– Journalists see so many press releases so it is important to make sure yours sticks out from any other.
  3. When they have never even seen a copy of the company’s publication– Don’t be stupid. Again, read up.
  4. When they don’t know who the publication’s readers are– Find this out before you contact any journalist or you will look stupid and really annoy them.

Hopefully now we can all know the basics of what NOT to do to get under a journalists skin!