Public Relations & Journalism

Chapter 10: Distributing News to the Media

Book: Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques (Sixth Edition) by Dennis L. Wilcox

  • Selecting the right channels of distributing to the media is key to guarantee that your work is reaching the correct media and the correct audiences.

Media Databases vary but they do have five things in common that provides essential information:

  1. Names of publications and broadcast stations
  2. Mailings Addresses
  3. Telephone & Fax numbers
  4. E-mail Addresses
  5. Names of key editors and reporters
  • Editorial Calendars– where trade publications and business periodicals tend to operate.
  • Tip Sheets– is a way to find media personnel who might have an interest in your material
  • “Online news rooms are part of the organizations website, which is now a primary source for journalist seeking late breaking news and other information about an organization.”
  • Key words are important with search engines optimism(SEO). Publicist must use key words that is helpful in use to search for information.
  • Camera ready features are widely used by newspapers and other media outlets because they reduce staff cost and fill spaces.

Chapter 11- Getting Along with Journalist

Public Relations professionals and journalist have had a long love-hate relationship. With this in mind, two-thirds of journalist do not trust public relations people, but there is also the realization that they are mutually dependent on each other.

In a sense, media depends on public relations professionals.  In most mass communications, reporters and editors spend most of their time processing information and not gathering it.

Fun Fact

PRWeek conducted a national survey of Journalist and found that almost 60 percent used news releases “all the time” or “often.” Thirty percent acknowledged that they relied more on public relations sources than they did 5 years earlier.

The purpose of public relations is to inform, to shape opinions, attitudes and motives.

Giving gifts such as coffee mugs or T-shirts are Gimmicks that reporters and editors does not easily enjoy receiving.

The major complaint about journalist is that they are sometimes sloppy and they aren’t accurate, nor take the time with their homework.

The bottom line in effective media relations is being accurate, truthful, and providing outstanding services.

NOTE: Don’t irritate reporters by asking, “Did you get my news release? Also, don’t ask to see an advance copy of the story or when a story will be published.

For related information on PR VS Journalism: Take a look at 10 ways that PR people can sometimes drive journalists crazy.


Writing for Radio & Television

Writing for Radio & Television

Book: Public Relations Writing & Media Techniques (Sixth Edition) by Dennis L. Wilcox

Radio is not the first mass medium when it comes to advertising for campaigning, events and etc., It lack the glamor and visual fun that television offers.

According to Michelle Wallace, She says, “Radio is the medium the demographics of age, gender, economic standing, and Ideology.”

Radio is based upon sound. So, every radio release must be written for the announcer to easily pronounce and also for listeners to easily comprehend.

Differences between a news release and a radio release are:

  1. In radio release’s, you have to use all caps is the standard way of writing with a double-spaced format. Indicate length of announcement.
  2. News Release’s you have the standard format but not all caps. Also, you do “not” have to indicate the length (30 or 60 sec).

Television is a great way of communication because it gives and shows great elements for sight, sound, motion, and color.

Key Terms

Audio New Release (ANRs) – are more interesting because they include soundbites, music, and sound effects.

Public Service Announcements (PSAs)– are short broadcast announcements used by nonprofit groups and public agencies.

Radio media tours (RMTs)– are a cost-effective way to reach many stations with an exclusive interview over a wide geographic area.

Video news releases (VNRs)– are widely used by TV stations and cable systems

Satellite Media Tours (SMTs)- are widely used in the broadcast industry. For setting up interviews at locations to reinforce a story.

10 Ways PR Practitioners Can Drive a Journalist Crazy

Journalism & PR Practitioner: Soul mates

Many people see Journalism and PR Practitioners as enemies when really they are people who have to learn how to work hand and hand. But there are some iffy situations where PR Practitioners can bug the Journalist.

Here are 10 Ways they drive Journalist Crazy:

  1. PR Practitioners tend to not have enough background information when it comes to representing a product or service. This confuses and frustrates the journalist while trying to edit and complete the publishing factor.
  2. Journalist believe that PR Practitioners have no clue on what’s “newsworthy” , because they often write about whats in the job description instead of writing whats current and relevant.
  3. Journalist get annoyed with hype words that are unrealistic for news release such as “one of the Best”, they tend to think that PR Practitioners are incompetent and not capable of producing good news.
  4. Journalist also think that PR people have a tendency to twist their story. They forget to sell the story but instead they sell whatever to fit their agenda.
  5. When trying to contact for information or questioning, Journalist notice that PR people are never available and/or they never have a comment.
  6. Deadlines: When publishing a story, journalist have to have a story before the deadline just in case there are needs for rearranging or changing up a story.
  7. Calling: PR people tend to annoy Journalist with repeated phone calls asking why there story was not published.
  8. Gifts can become annoying.. more like “persuasive gimmicks”, that is attached with there news release kits. Seems more like a bargain than presenting a great story.
  9. Over obsessive: Faxes & emails are unnecessary when asking about your news release being published.
  10. Last but certainly not least, Journalist would like PR Practitioners to write the story, not by overly using words, but by giving the meat of the story.


What are some of your thoughts on this?

Five Steps to MultiMedia Storytelling

Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling

In this course, taken at, you will learn the basic steps of telling your story with multimedia.

What I learned

By taking this course I learned how multimedia story telling uses certain ways of illustrating a multidimensional graphic. This uses strengths of each medium to tell a story in a way that draws the readers.  In order to do this, you have to use quotes for audio or video, that comes across in still photos etc… One example of this was Death Valley National Park. In this example, they used “dancing rocks” as a nonlinear format that readers can control how the story may go or how they read the story.

What surprised me

I was surprised at how stories can be interpreted and how they can be presented digitally. Most times when telling a story in a multimedia form we tend to get sidetracked by the actual message. Multimedia is more than a digital story, it’s a new way of going beyond print reporting.

I want to know more

I want to know more about the educational advantages of using  multimedia storytelling. How effective is it? Due to our reading habits as Americans, how will this help us to enhance our capabilities to want to read more books or even want to research more. Other than that, this is an amazing course at

~I advise anyone to take this course~

Jeff Houck with Pitching to the Media

Jeff Houck from Tampa Tribune

Jeff Houck is a food writer for Tampa Tribune and food blogger at The Stew on

On Tuesday, April 5th, I was privileged to hear Jeff Houck speak in my PR Writing Class about “Pitching to the Media’. His experience and knowledge with journalism has helped me to look the “fun” aspect of journalism. Not many people can say how effective and how fun journalism can be. Jeff Houck is a humorous and truthful person whose knowledge towards pitching to the media was very insightful.

Ten things when Pitching to the Media:

  1. Relationships are key: having strong relationships with people will get you far. Why? Because these people may become your future clients or they may help you land a great job.
  2. Bad Language: when having a pitch, make sure it is clear and straight to the point. If there is too much going on, chances are that your story will not be published.
  3. Pitching Errors: Before submitting a story make sure that there are no errors. Make sure you proof read your story several times (have a second eye also) before submitting. This will make the process easier for you and the journalist to submit the story.
  4. Deadlines: Not many people are cautious of the time. Deadlines are extremely important and you have to submit the deadline as soon as possible, even weeks before can be better. This will give the journalist time to edit and possibly submit the story even sooner.
  5. Honesty: When receiving information, know that everyone is not going to be honest. Have a back up plan when you decide to do the “pitch”.
  6. Selling the Story: Know your story but not too much that you have to over sell it. “Don’t sell the product, sell the story.”
  7. Headlines: When writing your headline, keep it short, simple and catchy. “Cut to the chase”
  8. Title your Email Correctly: When emailing a news release or trying to consume some information, make sure your email is professional including the title. This will help you to quickly achieve your goal and it helps your email to not be thought of as spam.
  9. Ask the Journalist: Before you do anything on sending information to a journalist, make sure you ask what would they like to see and what are there pet peeves. This will make it less stressful while trying to release your story.
  10. Have fun with pitching: Love what you do while doing it. This will insure that your work will come out greatly. Pitching can be easy, simple, and fun if you follow all steps.

Follow: Jeff Houck on Twitter


Thank you to Barbara Nixon for having Jeff Houck speak in our PR Writing Class at Southeastern University.

Follow: Barbara Nixon on Twitter

Podcast: Have you tried?

Public Relations/Marketing Podcast

What are podcast?

Podcast- is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released periodically and often downloaded through web syndication.

Where can you listen to Podcast through: You can listen to podcast through your computers media player, Apple I-tunes even through your blackberry.

  • Some podcast are 2 minutes long to 20 minutes long. It all depends on what your interest of podcast is.
  • These podcast have great insight from politics, to breaking news and, of course, to great public relations information   ” THE NEED TO KNOW BASICS OF PR.”

Listening to these podcast will benefit PR Practitioners and PR Students because of many different reasons:

  1. Listening to Podcast as a PR personnel, helps you obtain customer support. Podcast gives one the upper hand in knowing things that are not usually said through networking, internet and radio.
  2. Being a PR Practitioner- podcast can help market press release information for your organization (if it is non-profit).
  3. For PR Students– listening to podcast can help you obtain the newest information on product development and product launching that may affect or benefit your life as a pubic relations writer. For example: Listening to Grammar Girl has helped me to Digitally market myself by using Twitter. Twitter is fast, efficient and a quick communicator to other sources.

While listening to other podcast such as NPR, it has helped broaden my insight towards politics and marketing. In the podcast under “It’s All Politics”: It has made me laugh, and even wonder why do we involve ourselves in such chaotic confusion. This particular podcast goes in details about Presidency; such as Barack Obama and many other political candidates like Sarah Palin.

If you have not started listening to podcast, your missing out on this exciting new trend. Try it, you’ll love it!

Selecting Publicity Photos & Graphics

Chapter 8- Selecting Publicity Photos and Graphics

Book: Public Relations Writing & Media Techniques- Sixth Edition
By: Dennis L. Wilcox

In this chapter, you can explore the elements that make a good publicity photo or graphic and it also will help explain how to prepare the material for media consideration.

Photographs and graphics are important components of news releases and feature stories. They add interest and variety, and they often explain things better than words alone.

The adage says that a picture is worth a thousand words. A picture in a newspaper or magazine often takes the same space as a thousand words, but it has much more impact.

Digital cameras are now used for publicity photos; such photos can be taken and distributed almost instantly.

A public relations writer should be familiar with the elements of good publicity photo: quality, subject matter, composition, action, scale, camera single, lighting, and color.


Action is important because it projects movement and the idea that something is happening right before the reader’s eyes. Photos with action and informality are more interesting than rigid, posed shots.


  • Caption all photos sent to the media need a caption.
  • Photo news releases-(PNR) a photograph with a long caption beneath it that tells an entire story
  • Clip art line art and other graphic designs that can be used in public relations materials. Clip art is available on CD and online.

Know that:

Crop photographs to remove clutter and get a tighter focus on the main subject.

Photo captions are short, use present tense to describe the action and provide context.

Charts, diagrams, maps, etc., should be simple, colorful, and uncluttered.