Friday Morning Post
We started class by going over the homework. First, we talked about wordiness. From this, we learned that tense and titles should never be cut because they are very important pieces of information. Additionally, Professor Piacente pointed out that the errors involved in wordiness are much easier to see in examples than our own work. The next assignment was an Op-Ed about Sean Spicer in which most of the class expressed very negative opinions.
The next activity was writing a PR lead for a story about the passing of Little Mikey, the National Zoo’s oldest giraffe.
Key learnings from this:
1. PR should address the way the organization is handling the issue
i.e. “The National Zoo mourns…”
2. Empathy is key. PR professionals should look to create empathy
3. We all need to remember that “when” should be placed within the sentence
To see an example of poorly done PR, we looked at the Exxon Valdez oil spill that occurred off the coast of Alaska in 1989. This further reinforced the value of getting empathy from the audience. In an interview following the incident, the president of Exxon did not even apologize for what he did, nor did he understand the plan that was recently published to deal with the issue. His body language gave the impression he did not care and he spoke with a condescending tone. Overall, this was a disaster that should be looked to for what not to do in an emergency situation.
Before he came in to talk with us, David Culver of NBC4 asked Professor Piacente to show the work he had done Wednesday throughout the day on the Metro.
Professor Piacente then began a discussion of our favorite speakers. For those who enjoyed Krista’s talk, they said they liked that she traveled some and had a connection to the non-profit world. Some students even have meetings coming up with her. For those who liked Dan’s talk, they said his career was something they could see themselves doing in the future. A few students were just excited for David Culver.
David Culver came in for the second half of class and told us about his experience
Lessons from Culver
1. “if you see something, you’ve got to say it” This referenced the importance of pairing voiceovers with video. Broadcast news
should be engaging and make use of airspace.
2. While networking often gives each party a colder feel, Culver recommended that we look at it rather as relationship building.
He cited many stories of how his connections allowed him to get a leg up over his colleagues.
3. When talking about how to work with a microphone on camera and use your voice effectively, he referenced tips he got from a
voice coach he saw a few times in New York. First, breathe. Take a minute to calm down and organize your thoughts. Second,
trust the mic. Even in loud situations, you do not need to yell into the mic. This distorts your voice and makes it harder to
4. He has had to report on rather dull topics and has to appeal to a very broad audience, so he recommends focusing on the
characters of a story as much as possible. Getting the human piece of a story and how people feel will make the audience
5. NBC4 is rather unique as a new station because it does not look to its peers for a standard of comparison. When covering
each story, Culver first looks to his connections and then to his own creativity to cover all aspects of the story. If he does not
have the same sources as another network, he works with what he has. Additionally, he has found that reporters will generally
help each other with getting interviews.
6. Finally, he gave us one last bit of advice: “Surround yourself with decent and good people. It will serve you well.
Homework due Friday at 5 pm:
Write a PR press release for the information in section 1 of the worksheet we got in class
(Remember what we learned about leads from the Giraffe story)
Homework for next week:
Exercise 10.15 on the Bank Robbery
Do number three from the information sheet. The directions say to fix the issues with the press release.
Read the Journalism Code of Ethics and find a current story that possibly violates it
(Optional) Use number two from the homework sheet to write a news story. (This will not be in the grade book but can be sent to our professor for feedback.)
That’s all for this week!
Posted by: Meghan Howie