Monday, February 29, 2016

Class on 2/29/16

After the current events and grammar quizzes, we began class by discussing chapter 15 of the textbook, Public Relations. We talked about PR writing in comparison to news writing. Some key points from the discussion were:

  • PR writing can be more subjective, but must be credible 
  • Find balance between omitting opinions but still having style and character in writing
  • PR is about projecting a certain message/image rather than simply spreading information
  • PR involves having a significant audience in mind, as well as a specific goal
Professor Piacente then handed out a supplement to the textbook reading which discussed what PR is and what PR isn't. He made the point that, as a PR practitioner, you are ultimately answering to the client.

Professor Piacente then brought up the newer concept of brand journalism, which is essentially a social media-based idea that cuts out the reporter as a middle-man. 

We then received a press release formatting sheet. As we went over it, Professor Piacente identified a few key things about press releases.
  • "For immediate release" (on the sheet) is the embargo of the press release
  • The difference between a headline and a title/label is that a headline has an active verb; it should be short (less than a sentence) and snappy
  •  The lead in a press release does not need an attribution because you are the source
  • Continue to use AP style in press releases because it is important to speak the same language as the journalists who are using your information
  • You are the company, so make it look good
Then we wrote our first press release on Glamour, Inc. Professor Piacente also noted that while you don't (shouldn't) include negative information about the client in a press release, a smart PR rep would be prepared with an answer or comment to the negative information at at press conference.

After the break, we began discussing our reactions to "The father of my country was a slave" by Jeff Blount. Professor Piacente surprised us all by bringing in Blount himself to discuss the Post article and his writing process with us. Some key points from the discussion with Blount were:
  • The Post article was written as a cathartic piece for him
  • Wanted to show that he is not blind to the lost history of slaves who built our country and show the pride he has for them
  • Before writing this article (or any piece), he carries the subject around with him for awhile, brainstorming ideas when he can, ultimately finding his main point
  • The Post wanted to make certain word choice changes, but he refused because he didn't want a journalistic tone to the article
  • Knew the possible outcomes of publishing the article, also knew everyone would be reading it
  • New story coming out on RG3, writing for new African American History Museum
  • "People who can write are the stars."   
Homework for 3/14:
  • Find 3 stories/instances where there is a violation of the Code of Ethics 
    • include the headline and explanation of why/what it violates the code
  • Next current events quiz will cover 3/7 - 3/14
  • *optional* Consider using old fact sheets to practice writing full stories (not graded)

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