Ten things you could learn from PR Writing

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Ten Things Learned From PR Writing

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Tapping the Web and New Media

Chapter 12

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

  • The worldwide adoption towards Internet and the World Wide Web takes less than the adoption of any other mass medium in history.
  • The World Wide Web is the first medium that allows organizations to send controlled messages to a mass audience without the message being filtered by journalist and editors.

The new media & Web have unique characteristics, they are:

  1. Easy updating of material
  2. Instant distribution of information
  3. An infinite amount of space for information
  4. The ability to interact with the audience

“Publicizing and promoting a website are necessary to generate traffic. Print and Internet advertising, e-mail, hyperlinks, and putting the URL on all printed material are some ways to promote a site.”

Blogs have become mainstream in terms of numbers and influence. There are three kinds of blogs, coming from a Public Relations standpoint:

  1. Corporate
  2. Employee
  3. Third Party

Myspace and Facebook are the most popular for social networking sites.

Public Relations professionals need to understand that “traditional” media and “new” media are not mutually exclusive categories.

The traditional media is still alive and well. Regardless of the new media in public relations. The content is in traditional media and it often makes people aware of new products and services.

For more information on “New Media”  Go to this Hyperlink: What is NEW MEDIA?

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.

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.

Preparing Fact Sheets, Advisories, Media Kits, and Pitches

Chapter 6- Preparing Fact Sheets, Advisories, Media Kits, and Pitches

Link to Public Relations Writing & Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox

  • Facts Sheets area brief outline of an event, an organization, or a new product. The purpose is to place basic and supplemental information at the editor or journalist’s fingertips.
  • Media Kit– frequently called a press kit, contains a variety of materials, such as news releases, fact sheets, and photos.
  • Public relations professionals also need to know how to create a media advisory, also called a media alert, which is used to let assignment editors know about a newsworthy event or an interview of opportunity that could lend itself to photo or video coverage.
  • Pitch– making an appeal to an editor or journalist to do a story on your product or service.

Advisories are also called media alerts because they tell assignment editors about upcoming events that they might be interested in covering from a story, photo, and video perspective.

  • EPK’s, or e-kits, are also more versatile than traditional printed media kits, because they can include multiple pieces of information in a variety of formats .

The purpose of a pitch letter is to convince editors and reporters to cover an event or do a story

Avoiding Legal Hassles

Book: Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques

Author: Dennis L. Wilcox

  • Conspiracy- PR can be held legally liable if they provide advice or tacitly support a client or employers illegal activity.
  • According to the AP Stylebook, “Libel is injury to reputation. Such as words, pictures or cartoons that expose a persons to public hatred.”
  • The term libel was a printed falsehood and slander involved an oral communication such as speech or a broadcast mention.
  • Defamation, a term used as a collective term.
  • Fair commitment privilege- truth is the traditional defense against libel charges, but opinions also have a degree of legal protection under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects the freedom of speech.
  • PHOTO RELEASES: A PR practitioner doesn’t need a signed release if a person gives “implied consent” by posing for a picture and its told how it would be used.

PR departments should take a precaution of three things:

  1. Filing all photographs
  2. Dating them
  3. Giving the context of the situation
  • Misappropriate of Personality– the use of persons image, particularly a popular personality, without permission
  • Copyright– means protection of a creative work from unauthorized use.
  • Copyright Issues: The downloading of copyrighted material & The unauthorized uploading of such material.

The Protection of Trademarks

  1. Trademarks are proper adjectives and should be capitalized and followed by a generic noun or phrase. For example, Kleenex tissues or Rollerblade skates
  2. Trademarks should not be pluralized or used in the possessive form. Saying ” American Express’s credit card” is improper.
  3. Trademarks are never verbs. Saying “The client FedExed the package” violates the rule.

The “fair use” doctrine allows limited use of copyrighted material if it is properly attributed and quotation marks are used.