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?


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.

Creating News Features and Op-Ed

Chapter 7: Creating News Features and Op-Ed by Dennis L. Wilcox

Book: Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques – Sixth Edition

Feature Storyprovide additional background information, generate human interest, and create understanding in a more imaginative way.

Features are considered “soft news” rather than “hard news.”

Feature stories come in all shapes and sizes which all have the potential to:

  1. Provide more information to the customer
  2. Give background and context about organizations
  3. Provide behind-the-scenes perspective
  4. Give a human dimension to situations and events
  5. Generate publicity for standard products and services

The concept of publishing consumer tips and “news you can see” is referred to as service journalism.

Camera ready news releases and features already formatted in column format. Editors insert the material into the layout and prepare the page for offset printing. Camera-ready copy also is called a repro proof.

A Proposal Outline that explains why the magazine should publish the entire article, should include this: 

  • Tentative title of the article
  • Subject and theme
  • Significance. Why is the topic important? Why should readers know about it?
  • Major points.
  • Description of photos and graphics available.

Case study– frequently used in product publicity. They often tell how individual customers have benefited from a company’s product or service or how another organization has used the product or service to improve efficiency or profits.

Application story– focuses on primarily on how consumers can use the product or a service in new and innovative ways.

Research Study– about some aspects of contemporary lifestyles or a common situation in the workplace.

Backgrounders– compliance of information about an organization, a problem, a situation, an event, or a major development. It is given to media to provide a factual basis for news to be published or broadcast.

Personality profiles– in feature writing, a story that focuses on a person of public interest to stimulate reader awareness of that person and/or the organization, product, or service the person represents.

Historical Piece– is a 200-word feature distributed by Fisher Nuts title “The Humble Peanut Has History as Essential Food.”

THE LEAD: News releases usually have a summary lead that tells the basic facts in a nutshell. The name of the organization is in the lead, and readers will get the key information even if the summary is all they read.

Infographics- computer generated artwork used to display statistics in the form of tables and charts.

Finding & Making News

Chapter 4

Link to Book: Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques

Author: Dennis Wilcox

The Challenge of Making News

  • Many purposes of public relations programs is to provide information to the media in the hope that it will be published or broadcast, the resulting coverage is called publicity.
  • Publicist– public relations writer who writes and places stories in the media.

Effective publicist need to know three things:

  1. They must be thoroughly familiar with traditional journalistic news values.
  2. They must know where to find news and how to select the angle that will be most interesting to journalists and the public.
  3. They must be problem solvers and come up with creative publicity tactics that effectively break through a forest of competing messages.
  • Media gatekeepers– they decide what information is newsworthy and what is not.
  • Hometowners– stores custom tailored to a particular newspaper or broadcast station by focusing on the local angle in the first paragraph of the news release.
  • Judging Significance in making news: You must know not only how many people will be affected but also who will be affected.
  • First step in finding news is to become familiar with the organization you represent. The Public Relations Campaign Strategies; this involves looking at variety of sources, including the following: Important papers, periodicals, clipping files, other published materials.
  • Pseudoevent: to describe events and situations that are created primarily for the sake of generating press coverage.
  • Public Relations firms such as Ketchum generate creative ideas by conducting brainstorming sessions.
  • Soundbites– a statement or quote from an individual, which is inserted into audio and video news releases.
  • SMT(Satellite Media Tour)- is essentially the process of placing a spokesperson in a television studio and arranging for news anchors around country to do a short interview via satellite.