Friday, October 26, 2012


By Kelsey Granlund

Crisis Communications

How to correctly respond to anything that is deemed a “crisis” to the media and general population is critical. Advance planning and brainstorming is necessary before going out and addressing the public to avoid any sense of a cover up or a bad imagine. Remember the video in class of the Exxon CEO? That was pretty bad communication. Here’s the checklist of key points to remember about crisis communication:

-       Break your own bad news first.
-       Be aware of all the fact before speaking
-       Have a strategy for each audience
-       Develop factual message that are understood by everyone
-       Don’t neglect the employees, it doesn’t look good to have your own employees find out the bad news through the media.
-       Discuss the solution to the problem and how it will be done quickly and as openly as possible. Being honest is key, if anything is hidden it will be discovered and it will destroy a reputation.
-       Use all tools at your disposal such as a web site, public relations service, and social media.
-       Be consistence in communicating with the general public.
-       Learn from experience and always plan for future scenarios

We also had a guest speaker for a half of the class, Danielle Piacente, who is PR manager for the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC. She gave us a good insight on what I was like to work for PR for a good event.

-       Have a sort of “cheat sheet” with you that helps keep everything in order so you don’t forget a certain event or such.
-       Be sure to not delay in getting information to someone who needs it.
-       Be creative in how to promote an event and having certain back up plans in case of a problem.

Write the press release for the polar bear story and email it in by Sunday at 12:00
Do exercise #3 on the same hand out

Friday, October 19, 2012

Notes from Eighth Class

Midterm Review:
-Determining the correct lead. Don't put previously reported news in the lead. Stress the new info.
-News judgement. Deaths are the most important. Everything else is always secondary.
-Stress the WHO in the lead. Precision and clarity in the bulldozer story.
-Utilize quotes that create a vivid picture in the reader’s mind, as well as unique and unusual quotes.

Review of Press Releases:
-Make sure to follow AP Style in press releases
-Capitalize every word in headlines except prepositions
-No period at the end of headlines

Homework: Gorilla Press Release-Due Monday (10/22) at 5 p.m. Also, research the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Bring two questions to related to PR for the festival to class. The questions will be handed in.

Journalism Ethics and Editorial Decisions-How would you run a sensitive story, or not run it at all?
The class broke into small groups and analyzed seven cases.

Case 1 dealt with a Child Protection Services Director whose husband was convicted of child molestation in Oregon, but failed to register as such upon their arrival to Virginia. The victim is their daughter. The Director used her former position in the Oregon Human Services Department to get lenient treatment for her husband upon his conviction.

Do you do a story? Why or why not?

Case 2 concerned a popular Sheriff in a small town who made sexist comments about female prison inmates during a public meeting. When asked to clarify his comments, the Sheriff responded with more misogynistic remarks.

Do you do a detailed story that tells all? Why or why not?

Case 3 concerned a well-known special education teacher who was found hanging from a tree in his backyard. Rumors are swirling around the small town. It is revealed that the man died from autoerotic asphyxiation.

Do you do a detailed story that tells all? Why or why not?

In Case 4, the paper has run a story honoring a 17-year-veteran of the fire department who died fighting a blaze. It is revealed that he was very drunk when he arrived at the fire, and that his intoxication played a role in his death, as he walked into a marking meter, fell over, and was promptly crushed by falling debris.

Do you run a detailed story that conflicts with your earlier praise of the firefighter? Why or why not?

Case 5 concerned a veteran police officer. Early reports say that he was killed in the line of duty. It is revealed through an autopsy that the officer committed suicide. He was under investigation for embezzlement of authority funds at the time of his death. But, you also learn that he was a father of four whose family had been devastated by death, illness and mountainous financial problems in the months prior to his suicide. If the story gets out that it was sucide, the family will be denied a $225,000 death benefit awarded when an officer dies in the line of duty.

Do you do a detailed story that tells all? Why or why not?

In Case 6, you get a call about a local family saddled with huge medical bills. The parents are unemployed, there’s no insurance, and their four-year-old daughter has a rare form of cancer. A fund drive is being planned. You write and run a story. But then, the phone rings again. Another family in a similar situation wants you to write a story.

Do you say “yes” to one stricken family and “no” to another? If “yes” to the story, what should it say? Should you give uniform play to all similar future stories?

In Case 7, you are sent out to do the annual story about the first baby born in the New Year. The mother tells you that she is single, lives upstairs from her parents, receives welfare checks, and wouldn’t change the situation for anything. She says “I don’t have anything else to do. I’m not married and I don’t work and I love kids, so why not have a second baby?”

Do you run a detailed story that includes the facts about the mother? Why or why not?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Notes from Seventh Class

 October 11, 2012
By Haley Holtzscher

1.     Bring completed press release in electronic form to be shown in class (the 19th)
2.     Find an example of a company or someone (celebrity, sports person, government official) that took a hit of bad publicity and assess how they responded in a half-page analysis. Recall the KitchenAid example as reference.

Weekly news quiz was taken
Midterm was administered (5:45-7:20)

Topic: PR (public relations)
1.     Unintentionally Funny Headlines
2.     Press Release Formatting Guide
3.     PR Homework Fact Sheet
·      Representing a person with a point of view (biased)
·      Advocates action
·      Encourages loyalty
·      Powers of persuasion
·      Serves the client

Ultimate goal: good press, make the client happy
·      Fair to both sides
·      Values independence
·      Avoids taking sides
·      Passive
·      Serves the public

Ultimate goal: to inform the public

PR representatives communicate via many different sources/outlets:
            Newsletters, speeches, releases
*All press releases MUST have a headline and an active verb in the headline*

Embargo: when the press can publish information
            Ex. “For media release” or “Embargo until [insert date]”
We v. they
            As a PR rep, you are part of the group you are working with
Bad background info: Where does it belong? Does it belong?
Bottom line: leave the bad information out but be prepared for a press conference

Friday, October 5, 2012

Notes from the Sixth Class

Notes from Sixth Class (10.4.12)

-       Rebecca talked about her experience at the DNC
o   Talking points
§  to help you stay on message
§  precise and concise
§   statements that can’t be misinterpreted
§  get information out quickly
§  ability to prioritize information
o   “Skills that go into basic leads transcends basic leads”
-       Blogs
o   Opinion drives the piece – share it! What do you think?
o   Not a rigid format like news pieces
o   Goal: people to buy into what you’re saying/ follow you/ think you’re worth listening to
o   ex: everywhereisit, AU Dems, HerCampus, Cupcakes and Cashmere, etc.
o   How do you get followers?
§  Go to another blog – comment with your link
§  Social media – Twitter, Facebook (create page), Pinterest (pictures link to blog)
-       Self –publishing
o   Technology allows for anyone to publish their work
o   As a result, everyone is self-publishing
o   This creates clutter in the marketplace
-       Next Week’s Schedule:
o   5:30pm: Current Events Quiz
o   5:45pm – 7:20pm: Midterm (3 fact sheets, write 2 stories)
o   7:30pm – 8:00pm: PR
-       Homework for Next Class:
o   Read for Chapter 12 – Writing for PR
o   Prepare for Midterm
o   Do page 12 – 1.14 Wordiness and bring in hard copy – typed

By Nicole Charpentier