PR exam 4

  1. News
    • What the media publish and broadcast
    • The report of an event or situation that has significance or interest or both
    • Hard news: information that has an immediate impact on the audience; news audiences need rather than news audiences want
    • Soft news is the opposite
    • ie: corporate takeover = hard news; swimming program at YMCA = soft news
  2. Newsworthy factors
    • Conflict: an event that demonstrates antagonism, opposition, or disturbance of the status quo; includes controversy
    • Magnitude: large events (the more people it affects, the more money it involves); ie: earthquake affecting all San Francisco
    • Oddity: something unusual enough; "If a man bites a dog, that's news"; ie: random hot air balloon
    • Proximity: the closer the occurrence is from where media reports from, the more likely it will be covered; national event may be reported first, then media will put a local angle on the event
    • Prominence: well-known persons tend to have activities covered, and coverage confers status on those covered
    • Timeliness: things that happen close to a medium's deadline usually get preference over earlier occurrences (latest breaking news)
    • Consequence: stories that educate and inform or relate to audience lifestyles (ie: how to avoid cons that can lead to identity theft)
    • Interest: stories that are entertaining such as human-interest features
  3. Media are not out to get you or your organization -- necessarily
    • Journalists want to be first with the news, revelations, or judgment
    • Media is a business; product = information and entertainment; raw material = your firm
    • Don't let dumb things happen (ie: Goldman Sachs' CEO announcing their ibank made more than competitors during mortgage crisis)
  4. Be available to the media
    • Make sure the media can reach you anytime, anywhere, if they've contacted you
    • News does not stop after you leave work
    • Reporters checking late-breaking news or calling from different time zones should be able to reach you
    • Must be available in whatever means the media prefers (even when on vacation)
  5. Meet reporters' deadlines
    • Never call/contact a reporter on deadline (unless it's critical information related to that day's news)
    • Doing so reveals inexperience and is unprofessional
    • Morning papers want all but major news in by 2 or 3 p.m. the afternoon before
    • Weeklies (usually published on Wednesdays or Thursdays) have deadlines a few days before press day
    • Television shows - morning or afternoons are better
    • Radio - less particular; reports news around the clock
  6. Don't argue with the media
    • Don't argue with people who buy ink by the barrel, because they always have the last word
    • Don't threaten to withdraw advertising because you believe there's biased reporting; reporter doesn't care and will write about you trying exert influence
    • You need the media to tell your story as much as they need you to tell theirs
    • Handle errors graciously (most errors nonsignificant in context of overall story)
    • Writing to the editor should be a last resort
    • Don't ask publication to print a correction unless error is serious (ie: misquote in stock price)
    • Don't try to argue your point, take questions and answer with solid facts (you represent co., don't get yourself in more trouble)
    • ie: Nixon and Clinton
  7. Complaint to radio station
    • Station will ask permission to tape you over the phone to present your side
    • May use comments live (if show has call-in format), or may broadcast tape later
    • Before calling: write down two-three key points you want to make
  8. If the error is yours
    • ie: sent media alert/news release with factual error (misspelled name)
    • Notify every reporter who received release, apologize, and correct mistake
    • Send revised release with words "corrected version" at top of first page
  9. Avoid "No comment"
    • Will arouse suspicion and causes reporters to turn to other sources
    • Reporters love reasons -> tell them why you can't discuss matter
    • ie: involves proprietary info that could help competitor, event too soon and don't want to speculate, legal issues)
    • If reporter wants to use your "I can't comment", insist he/she quotes you exactly (ie: Anderson declined to comment consistent with his practice of not commenting on rumors)
    • Can say no if you cannot confirm free-lance writer is on assignment for particular medium (usually "fishing" for info"
    • Decline interview, call assignment editor to verify assignment
  10. On the record, off the record, on background, on deep background
    • On the record: anything you say may be used and attributed to you
    • - everything is on the record

    • Off the record: nothing you say may be used
    • - use sparingly and only if you know intimately well
    • - if reporter can get info from any source, he/she free to use it (as long as you're not identified)
    • - if you're a valuable source, they should know that if they quote you, you may get fired. they lose inside source of info

    • On background: what you say is directly quotable, but may not be attributed to you
    • - ie: "According to a source close to the White House)

    • On deep background: reporter uses your information as if it comes from his/her own knowledge, or treats it as common knowledge
    • - ie: "rumors around town..."

    • Let reporter know each time you choose to talk on background or off record (never assume)
    • Agree in advance on ground rules for an interview
  11. Other general points about media relations
    • Don't inundate the media with news releases
    • - daily routine occurrences not newsworthy; journalists know this, don't try to convince them otherwise
    • Always be honest
    • - hard work to build credibility; can be lost in a moment if you lie, mislead, or stonewall
  12. Preparing news releases in traditional format
    • News release is written just like a journalist news story; publicity only difference (angle that is written about your organization, client, or cause)
    • Typing: typewritten (no cursive unless it's thank-you note); one side of paper; double-spaced
    • Address block: upper-left hand corner of first page; name and address of organization, your name, how to reach you at and after work
    • Dates: release should be dated so editor knows it's current and so it can be identified at later date
    • Sample headline or title: simple, direct, active voice; intended to give editor a capsule phrase that summarizes the essence of the release; emphasize local angle
    • Lead and body: inverted pyramid form; answers six major questions of all news stories
  13. Release date
    • Release date precedes body copy and sample headline
    • Used to ensure all media receiving release can use it at the same time
    • Right hand margin lower than bottom of address block
    • For immediate release (For release on receipt) - means medium can use release as soon as received
    • For release: Mon., May 17 - release may not be used before this date
    • For release: Mon., May 17 or thereafter - release is still newsworthy and usable after date indicated
    • For release: Mon., May 17 after 12:00 noon (Hold for release, Mon. May 17, 12 p.m.) - news may be used in afternoon broadcasts and evening news programs and papers
    • For release: Mon., May 17 a.m. papers - allows use in morning papers dated May 17, even if they're distributed on preceding evening
    • Embargo: set date to release press release
    • - journalists under no obligation to follow embargo; but typically will wait and asks questions about upcoming event
  14. Lead and body
    • Inverted pyramid: begins with most important details and ends with least important
    • Facilitates editing from bottom up ("boiler plate" - info about org or person - may be edited out first)
    • Lead paragraph no more than 25-30 words
    • Lead sentences no more than 16-17 words
    • Six questions of news: who, what, when, where, why, how, and "hook" (angle about organization; "publicity")
    • (try to answer by fourth paragraph)
    • Body should expand upon lead (inverted pyramid)
  15. If story runs longer than one page
    • Page 1: type "MORE" at bottom of first place in brackets or within dashes
    • Page 2: "slug line" followed by dashes and number 2 at top of page, flush left or right (Xxxx---2; Xxxx--Add One)
    • Release ends with: --30-- or ### (centered and carried immediately after last sentence); 30 = telegraphic symbol for end of transmission
  16. Exclusives and specials
    • Exclusives: news release intended for only one paper or publication
    • - reporter entitled to exclusive on story he/she discovers/develops
    • - you should not tell other reporters about it
    • Special: news release written in a certain style or for specific publication, but is released to other media
    • Both designations should be noted immediately below release date
  17. Blogging
    • Blog generates content that is disseminated through the blogosphere; one long web page by a person
    • RSS (Really Simple Syndication) delivers content to your computer
    • Wiki: collection of web pages edited by an online community; multiple pages created and edited by several persons/international PR team collaborating on client's problem
    • "wiki wiki" = Hawaiian for "quick (old days: it was a shuttle that took travelers from Honolulu Airport to downtown)
    • Blog & identity; sociological, part of our daily lives
    • Blog is a sociological phenomenon, quite natural to blog bc it is like communicating. It has revolutionized the business of public relations
    • Internet gives people voices; publics become publishers & will talk about your company -> consumers now part of building your company (can't control your brand anymore); listen to what customers are saying
  18. "blog influence"
    • Google says: hyperlinks are votes of attention
    • Links show how many documents link to a page
    • Get general idea how important or relevant that document/subject is
  19. To be a good blogger
    • (1) Be honest/transparent - only you write on your blog, stand up for what you say, we're held accountable for what we say
    • (2) Be prolific - write often, but not every day or multiple times a day
    • (3) Link to them & agree/disagree with other bloggers (gets people to pay attention to you; engage convo with people you respect)
  20. David Sifry
    • Founded Technorati (blog) - website that index’s any kind of blog imaginable by number of hits or links
    • Two podcasts developed by Ketchum PR for client "The Economist" magazine; help adjust to relatively new digital environment
    • Not ranked according to links on Technorati (bloggers weren't writing about the magazine)
    • 7000 posts a day
  21. Chris Anderson (editor of "Wired" magazine)
    • Long tail theory
    • Explains why there appears to be an endless demand for products in digital space/online
    • ie: Music
    • Businesses used to believe "hits" sold the most, but fount out demand for digital music is endless
    • Aggregate sells as much as "hits" do
    • Tail of demand curve seems to go on forever
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PR exam 4
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