Saturday, April 26, 2014

Class Notes by Lisa Beck


Danielle Davis, the communications manager of the National Cherry Blossoms Festival came to talk to the class.  This festival is a year-long planning process.

The Cherry Blossom Festival:
-       non profit and the money used is through sponsors
-       1.5 million visitors came in all
-       Rained two days including the rain date but the heavy winter probably helped numbers

Social media and PR numbers
-       51,895 Facebook likes (44 % increase)
-       7,830 Twitter followers (33% increase)
-       $15 million + PR and Promotional
-       178+ million Nielson audience
-       Time Square audience = 1.5 million daily

Danielle Davis’s perspective:
-       Best part of job is the gratifying aspect of it
-       Skill sets include writing pieces quickly and accurately
-       Tough part: adapt writing for different channels
-       Important in field: time management, learning to prioritize
-       Her advice is to keep in touch with employers

Press Release

Glamor Inc.
Jane Doe

For Immediate Release

Headline: no longer than a line, active verb

Graf 1: strong lead
Graf 2: Details
Graf 3: More background

put quotes by themselves


-       Same format
-       No headlines
-       More creative freedom
-       Present tense: police say, officials say, etc.
-       Back story in past tense
-       Make it easy for anchor

Don’t forget -30-

Thursday, April 10, 2014

4/10 Notes - Emily Ambach

Broadcast Writing:
  • Write as if the anchor is reading. There are no video clips.
  • Write for the ear not the eye:

o   Satisfying: Use strong words, “paint pictures with words”
  • Use present tense:

o   Example: A Washington man is dead tonight after his car flipped on I-495.
  • Leads can be more flexible:

o   It’s ok not to say exactly what happened
  • Put the attribution before quotes:

o   Example: GOP leaders say the Craig scandal could cost Republicans the senate.
  • Use short, simple sentences:

o   Example: Thousands marched in peaceful protest against war. Police said there were no arrests.
  • Use active, not passive voice:

o   Example: Obama charges the Republicans with sabotaging the bill.
  • Avoid using numbers when possible and round them when you can.
  • Don’t use abbreviations
  • Writing should be brief
  • Print that is more in depth than broadcast

  •  New York Times, Fox News, and NPR story coverage

  1. Pick any three print stories we’ve written this semester. Rewrite the lead, converting from print to broadcast. DUE: Saturday at 3 pm, email to Professor Piacente
  2. Read about the Exxon Valdez and imagine you were in charge of PR for Exxon at the time. Write three bullet points for your CEO to use in his first TV interview after the accident. DUE: Bring typed to next class (4/17)
  3. Read Chapter 13 Social Media in the book
  4. Pick a trending story on Twitter. Find three tweets you think are interesting, funny, informative, or creative. DUE: Bring three typed tweets to next class (4/17)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Carol Buckland: Grammar Bootcamp

Carol's Grammar Reminders, By Grace Ries

·      subject-verb agreement
            single subject- single verb/ plural subject- plural verb
·      active vs. passive voice
            active- subject does the action/ passive- subject receives the action
·      parallel structure
            repetition of a chosen grammatical form within a sentence
·      dangling modifiers      
            groups of words that add description, but are found away from the noun          they are modifying- can become confusing
·      comma splice
            Two independent clauses connected by a comma

Common Usage Errors

·      It’s = it is, its = possessive
·      lay, must have object
·      lie needs no object
·      affect almost always a verb
·      effect almost always a noun
·      there = place
·      they’re = they are
·      their = possessive

Writing for Broadcast Tips

·      If you can take words or phrases out without changing the fundamental meaning- THEN DO IT!
·      examples:
                  - redundancies
                        - circumlocutions “beating around the bush”
                        - gratuitous intensifiers/ qualifiers

·      Broadcast writing is writing for the ear, however pictures always trump words. Keep it simple and conversational.
·      Broadcast writing is in the present tense- says vs. said
·      Attribution comes at the start of the sentence
·      Use a lead in sentence to alert viewers or listeners that the story is beginning and prepare them for what is to follow.
·      Writing for copy:
                  - all capitals
                  - can underline, use elipses
                  - spaces between sentences
                  - one syllable words as much as possible
                  - word play is tacky and unoriginal
Analyze how FOX news, NPR, and The New York Times cover the same story (it is student's job to pick the story). Oral presentation next class.