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The Maranda Writes

You HAVE the Right to know!!

TOW 2

Grammar is hardly my forte. I think because my teachers did not enforce all the grammar rules that all my peers seem to know. I was never much concerned with the technical part of writing, I was more into the fact that it gave me an avenue to express my feelings.

But after receiving back multiple papers throughout my college career,  I have come to see that I am horrible with grammar. Everyone knows writing is a major part of what public relations practitioners do. So this is something that I am going to have to work hard on.

 You might wonder if grammar even matters, but it is the one to others a few misspelled words and comma splices and your labeled a baboon. Grammar Girl offers a lot of advice about style, word choice, grammar, and punctuation rules in blogs and podcast .. here are a few that stood out to me…

 Effect/affect

Whats the difference?  This ranks as one of the highest errors I make most frequently while writing. I have even learned how to rephrase my sentences so that I can I do not have to even use the word. Grammar Girl offers these friendly tips…

 Affect with an a means “to influence,” as in, “The arrows affected Ardvark,” or “The rain affected Amy’s hairdo.” Affect can also mean, roughly, “to act in a way that you don’t feel,” as in, “She affected an air of superiority.”

 Effect with an e has a lot of subtle meanings as a noun, but to me the meaning “a result” seems to be at the core of all the definitions. For example, you can say, “The effect was eye-popping,” or “The sound effects were amazing,” or “The rain had no effect on Amy’s hairdo.”

 

But there are some things that I learned may have been myths in my grammar classes

-irregarless is a word! Although it is a “bad” word that should be used sparingly.

-E. g. means example and i.e. meand “in other words” . They are not the same!

For more tips on how NOT to sound like a bafooon go to Grammar Girl site, that Girl has got all the info!

You have the right to know!

TOW 3

Blogging is interactive. Meaning that you have to be involved in the community to have a an affective blog, creating blogs is just as important as commenting.

Yes this can be a little time-consuming, but if you spent all night writing a blog wouldn’t you want to get appropriate feedback from your subscribers. 

While I have been commenting I learned a couple of thing that I have found useful in commenting.

  1. Be respectful – no matter of the subject matter, or how much the topic may have offended you, be respectful.  You can let the writer know how you feel without having to insult them or make them feel inferior. You would want the same respect.
  2. Watch your grammar Remember that after these comments are posted and approved, you cannot edit them. A couple misspelled words to the public could quickly have you labeled as someone who clearly is uneducated, and decreases the validity of your response. 
  3. Acceptable word length – a sentence is ok, if the blog post was short. But strive for 35 – 50 words if at all possible
  4. Appropriate feedback – be sure to carefully read the post and instead of simply writing about how you agree with the topic include information that the reader has not already stated. Give your opinion while adding information to what was already stated.
  5. Reading is key – Be sure to carefully read the blog in its entirety before commenting. If you respond to something that has already been said , or make a false comment then your comment is no longer valid. 

Commenting is a good way to get your blog recognition. But be sure not to blog for this reason only. Treat others as you would want to be treated. With that begin said, Comment away my friends!

You have the right to know!

 

TOW 4

 Before my junior year in college I had no idea what AP style was. Before all we did was use MLA, and even that was not strictly enforced. I started to see the this is something of the past after I failed my first paper simply off of AP style errors. 

I still don’t see a need for AP, I mean really how many PR professionals have ever had to write any kind of document with AP style. However unless you are striving for your masters degree or a publishing research papers, as a regular college student you will need it to complete college.

AP stands for Associated Press,  which is a rule book of ways to make papers uniform no matter the region.  It is used particularly in journalism and other research fields.

I recommend that you actually purchase the book, new versions are made every year almost so be sure to stay accurate on the latest rules. It could result in a deduction on a paper, Im sure because it has happened to me!

But if you do not want to purchase the book, or funds are low, there are a couple of websites that you can visit that offer some helpful tips.

 

After you remember all of the AP style tips, writing a paper becomes simple, and most importantly you get a good grade on your work.  Good luck!

TOW 5

 Each year millions of people tune into the Superbowl, not for the death match between the two teams but for the commercials, duh!

Commercial spots can run into the millions for spots starting at 3o seconds. Companies spend months crafting a commercial that will make it into Monday morning’s favorite picks from Sunday nights game.

My favorite commercials are usually the ones made by beer manufactures. I do not drink beer personally but I think that their commercials are usually the most creative and noticeable every year. From the Budweiser frogs, that were a major campaign success. Or to the extremely attractive men that are featured in the commercial.

But this years favorite will go to someone else …

 Another one of my favorites was the Snickers commercial featuring Betty White. I am  a huge fan of Golden Girls, ditzy Betty White is actually one of my favorite characters on the show (although I love them all). I was happy to see her featured on Television; she is a great comedic actress that gets overlooked in my opinion.  This ad obviously was targeted towards men and women.  Men play football and rugged sports, so they can identify with that.  But most men don’t watch Golden Girls, women watching the commercial would immediately know who the frazzled woman was. I think it was ingenious of Snickers to merge both male and female demographics. 

Due to the overwhelming reception from audiences Snickers has continued to run the commercial.

 Want to see more good ads from the superbowl visit this link

You have the right to know!

 TOW 6

What makes a story newsworthy, well a number of things. Newsworthy stories are those that are good enough to run in   paper for others to see. In order for a story to be considered newsworthy it has to qualify under this criteria.

 Timeliness

The word news means exactly that – things which are new. Topics which are current are good news. Consumers are used to receiving the latest updates, and there is so much news about that old news is quickly discarded.

A story with only average interest needs to be told quickly if it is to be told at all. If it happened today, it’s news. If the same thing happened last week, it’s no longer interesting.

Significance

The number of people affected by the story is important. A plane crash in which hundreds of people died is more significant than a crash killing a dozen.

 Human interest

Human interest stories are a bit of a special case. They often disregard the main rules of newsworthiness; for example, they don’t date as quickly, they need not affect a large number of people, and it may not matter where in the world the story takes place.

Human interest stories appeal to emotion. They aim to evoke responses such as amusement or sadness. Television news programs often place a humorous or quirky story at the end of the show to finish on a feel-good note. Newspapers often have a dedicated area for offbeat or interesting items.

 Prominence

Famous people get more coverage just because they are famous. If you break your arm it won’t make the news, but if the Queen of England breaks her arm it’s big news.

 Proximity

Stories which happen near to us have more significance. The closer the story to home, the more newsworthy it is. For someone living in France, a major plane crash in the USA has a similar news value to a small plane crash near Paris.

Note that proximity doesn’t have to mean geographical distance. Stories from countries with which we have a particular bond or similarity have the same effect. For example, Australians would be expected to relate more to a story from a distant Western nation than a story from a much closer Asian country.

This blog was created using the blog found at http://www.mediacollege.com/journalism/news/newsworthy.html 

You have the right to know!

 TOW 7

Never have I felt so connected to the world than when I am tweeting. I am a Twitter addict.

I should probably enroll myself in classes, for TA (Twitters Anonymous) ..

In true Maranda Writes fashion this is not going to be a regular blog about Twitter.

I first heard about Twitter when I was interning. I love that you are able oto get news instantly, stay updated on what  your friends are doing. It basically like Facebook but better. I have a couple of people that I love to follow on twitter.

I know they say it is best to follow people who are in your career field. But right now in my life I like to follow my friends mostly. O and celebrities speaking of celebs here are a couple of my favorite people I follow and why..

 

@lilduval – he is a popular comedian from Jacksonville, FL  that has 246,414 followers.  I don’t think that most of his that funny, but I followed him because most of my friends were always retweeting him. So like a true follower, I followed!

He is known for tweeting celebs and saying rude things (but things everyone is thinking all the same). He has a weekly twitter when he recognizes the “best regular looking Gril” of the day. Followers send in pictures and @lilduval gives the best looking regular girl recognition on his page.

I also love following  @barbaranixon… Since I am about to enter the real world I like how she adds links that are valuable and RT postst from other public relations practicioners on Twitter.

You have the right to know!

TOW 8

Leads are important to stories because this is the first thing that audiences read.  This could be the difference of whether they continue to read your story or not. Writers have to be sure to capture the reader’s attention, and there are a number of ways that they can do this.  There are a total of five different types of popular news leads used in writing. 

 Summary leads – are the most popular types of news leads that summarize the entire story.  Audiences reading summary leads are supposed to be able to know what the entire story is about just by reading the first sentence.  This style is used mostly because readers do not have to read the rest of the story to find out what it’s about.  This is a form of a hard news lead, where the who, what, when, where, how and why are explained in the first sentence.

Example: Late Saturday night a dog crossing Brannen street and was hit and killed after a motorist swerved off the road in rainy weather.

 Question lead – This is popular in articles and blogs especially.  The first sentence is formed in a the type of question format. This is used to encourage curiosity from the readers making them read more.  Yes or no questions should be avoided here.

Example: Are supporters of Obama happy about his policies now?

 Factual lead – Use statistics and other figures in the first sentence to entice readers.  This could be interesting if the facts are outrageous and abnormal.

Example: 60% of mothers in America are addicted to pain killers.

 Quotation Leads – Use quotes from a number of sources in the first sentences.  This can be any quote that the writer feels will draw audiences into the story.  This is one of the most creative leads.

Example: “A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar” Mark Twain

 Whichever lead you choose don’t forget about the fundamental elements for the rest of the article.  The lead can draw the reader in, but a sorry bad body on a story could lose the reader along the way also. 

 You have the right to know!

Tow 9 and 10

PR Open Mic is a site specifically for Public relations professionals that has blogs, chat forums, internship and job opportunities, and networking capabilities for registered users.  PR OpenMic defines itself as a social networking site for public relations students and professionals.

The best thing about PR OpenMic is that it is completely free to users.  I am not a big fan of PR OpenMic, I rarely visit my profile after creating it.

I found PR OpenMic a little hard to navigate the page when I first joined.  Other than adding a little information to my profile and personalizing my picture little work has been done.  But I definitely advise all public relations majors to create a page.

 

Even if you are not going to be active on the site daily it is good to have a page for image purposes if anything.

The site does have valuable information for public relations practitioners if you investigate the links.  As you know public relations is all about networking, and there is not better place to network now than social media sites.  In the PR arena you have to be active or at least involved in as many social media sites as possible. 

Now of course you can not be completely involved in all social media sites and still have a life outside of the virtual world.  But you cannot deny its importance to communication. 

http://www.propenmioc.org

so go ahead and join don’t be afraid!

You have the right to know!

 Week 11

Information graphics, or infographics, are visual representations of information, data, or knowledge.  They are used primarily to condense complex information into one simplified graph or table.  They are used extensively in the math and science fields but they are also useful in the communication and writing fields also. 

Inforgraphics are all around us today used throughout the media although some signs may not be apparent to us.  For example when you have to put together some furniture a diagram may come in the instructions to show you how to assemble it.

They can be useful to public relations clients because they can visually demonstrate complex theories or elements of the persuasive appeal.  They can also demonstrate communication channels in the dialogue process. 

The infographic below is a demonstrating the custom content development process.

 

Infographics can be used in presentations to condense research information about demographics and sociographics of your publics.  Instead of explaining this in long drawn out sentences that can be repetitive, a PR practitioner might choose to show the information using infographics.  Infographics can also be used to demonstrate the channels on communication in a campaign from company to audience.

Infographics can be used in a number of ways for compressing extravagant information.

You have the right to know!

 TOW 12

Podcasts are a series of digital media files, released in a series fashion similar to TV episodes.  Podcasts are convenient because they can be downloaded easily from your computer at home.  Podcasts can be about a number of subjects in public relations.  Podcasts can be about anything, they can be about how to use a new social media site or friendly tips from public relations professionals about a new campaign. 

 You do not have to be a trained professional to create a podcast, you just have to have the right equipment. 

Interested in how to find podcsats in other ways outside of typing podcasts into the Google search engine?  There are a number of  sites that are good for finding podcasts. 

Apple I-tunes has a page dedicated to podcasts specifically.  You can search the podcats by popularity and subject for easy browsing and download most of them for free. I think this is one of the best places to download and find podcasts because of their selection.  Itunes is easily adaptable to computers other than those that are MACS.

Don’t have ITunes or you have no interest in downloading the program.  Podcast directory is another popular site for finding podcasts.  You can find less popular blogs on this site. they are also organized into categories for easy searching.

 you have the right to know!

TOW 13

Although public relations professionals and journalists intersect duties often, we are both founded in writing. A lot of current public relations professionals come from journalistic backgrounds.  But there can be certain instances when the relationship between the two can be sticky and result in an uncomfortable situation. Below are 10 ways that pr professionals can annoy journalists. Below are some tips to avoid these deathly mistakes!

 

  1. Journalists are in the business of revealing the true story, while publicists try to conceal or mask the truth. – although you have to keep your client first and respect their confidentiality at all times. Be aware how how journalists view publicists, and be careful not to encourage this emotion.  If you have the chance to be honest while respecting your client do so.
  2. Constantly contacting journalist about press releases that they sent – If they wanted to follow up on the story, most of them would have. Instead include your contact information at the bottom and if they do not contact you. You can follow up one time if you really want the story. And if not be sure just let it go. But DO NOT become a “Bug-a-Boo!”
  3. When publicists do not investigate the magazine appropriately Nothing will make you sound worse than calling or e-mailing a magazine and you are not even completely sure what kind of magazine it is. This shows when you first contact them.  Do adequate research before contacting a magazine.
  4. Long drawn out pitches that no one really wants to read – Although you want to pitch your client or event to a magazine, be careful not to over do it. Be brief and to the point. Journalists don’t want to read through a stack of papers to find out if they are going to call you back or not.
  5. Long press releases! No one wants to read a 30 page document – Again, keep it short and to the point. Think back to your PR classes, most press releases do not exceed 2 pages.
  6. Asking for a list of upcoming feature stories for the upcoming issue – Do you want to give a list to someone every time they ask what you are doing for the week? Didn’t think so. Most journalist do not know what they will be publishing until the day before. So don’t even waste your time, unless you and the paper have a very personable relationship.
  7. PR people who hard to contact and tie down for an attention span longer than 30 minutes – Give journalist the respect of hearing them out when they take time out of their schedule to meet with you. If you said that you can meet for 30 minutes, meet for 30 minutes.
  8. Telling a journalist lies, or portions of the truth – This could destroy your credibility with the medium if you are saw as a liar. And destroyed credibility could result in loss of exposure for your client.
  9. Writing  a press release in an article format – A press release is just that. Be sure not to trump on the journalists toes with your pre-made story.
  10. Journalists are automatically weary of public relations professionals automatically. The are sensitive to the fact if you are just using them for a story or not – Yes, they have been around the block long enough to know your dirty tricks!

 You have the right to know!

 TOW 14

A multimedia story is some combination of text, still photographs, video clips, audio, graphics and interactivity presented on a Web site in a nonlinear format in which the information in each medium is complementary, not redundant.

 Different parts of a story are told using different forms of media. this is a creative way of showcasing a story instead of using the traditional story formats.

Multimedia sites incorporate

  • They have video clips.
  • They have audio.
  • They have still photographs.
  • They have interactive graphics.

Multimedia stories are applied mostly to stories that are displayed via the web. Which allows you to embed different things and links to make it more interactive. This is defined as the story “shell” because the main story is layered under different links and other multimedia on the page. 

Here is an example of a multimedia story…

 Sites such as CNN, the Washington Post, NPR and MSNBC.com are multimedia sites.

Multimedia stories might include video clips of the actual instance for reference instead of words and still photographs. 

Not all stories are fit for multimedia stories. Choose stories that are multidimensional meaning you can include an array of multimedia with them.  These make the best stories. For instance instead of choosing a story about a new policy passing in a town that you do not even live in, choose a story about a local event where you have access and can take video clips and other things. 

This information was found on the site.

You have the right to know!

 TOW 15

A social media release is a press release that is tailored for social media sites. Of course press releases released on social media sites will follow a different format as to how they will be used. These releases are perfect for web sites and blogs.  Releases that have been tailored for social media sites are “optimized.”  Meaning that certain key words have been highlighted so that it will register higher on search engine results.

 

Below are three reasons why traditional press releases will not work for social media releases. These along with other social media tips can be foudn here.

1. They have the wrong singular focus, which is on the company issuing the release.

2. They are full of marketing-speak that inherently engenders mistrust in the eyes of the social media audience.

3. They don’t have a specific audience in mind, and are written broadly and presented blandly.

Social media releases can be used in conjunction with traditional releases such as press releases and news releases. But they are effective in reaching a broader range of people since they are for the online community. 

Is a link to a website that has social media release templates for easy making.

http://www.pr-squared.com/index.php/2006/05/the_social_media_press_release

You have the right to know!

TOW 16

Blogging is a great way to brand yourself and get your voice heard in the digital community.  As a blogger there are a couple of tips that I find useful.

  1. Blog consistently
  2. Be sure to proofread for spelling and grammatical errors before publishing
  3. Comments are important to bloggers. So don’t forget to network
  4. Visit other blogs to get tips on how to make your blog better
  5. Acknowledge people that give you comments. If you like their comment visit their page and add a comment yourself
  6. Add pictures and other multimedia other than text. That can be boring.
  7. Personalize your blog instead of using the traditional format
  8. Use catchy titles to draw the reader in.
  9. Use tags when posting blogs for organization purposes
  10. Include information on your blog about how you can be contacted

You have the right to know!

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