Category: Comments About Text


Millions of people (mostly women) are swooning over Pinterest. If you have never visited this site, Pinterest is best described as a virtual pin-board where users find photos and videos on the site and “repin” them to be on their “boards.” There is a wide variety of pins for people to see; from fashion, art, home decor, weddings, and beauty.

A screen shot of a user's home page Pinterest. (Source: http://www.ladyandtheblog.com)

I have been an avid Pinterest user for about 5 months, but I have problems with it. Big problems.

Pinterest does not have pins for real people. Being in my early 20s, I have some really big dreams. I yearn for the day to marry prince charming, start my own family, own my own house, and have as much jewelry and clothes as I can fit in my warehouse-sized closet. I am not the only one my age who would love to have all of these things some time in my life, but Pinterest gives women my age a whole lot of pressure.

This site makes me feel like life isn’t as great with love handles and a small choice of pumps. I’ve spent way too much time oodling over pictures of “perfect bodies” which have almost convinced me that my assets just aren’t up to par. Almost. 🙂

Comparing life to the mansions seen in the southern Hamptons, and the designer clothes models are wearing can really take a toll on women.

Such a small percentage of people will be able to afford such a wedding. Why do weddings have to be such a huge deal? Why is long hair all the rage when short hair is just as beautiful? I don’t understand why a site like this is so popular when it’s so hard to relate to. Maybe it’s the jealousy that women are so attracted to.

What’s the deal with all of these women pinning dainty recipes and nifty tricks for cleaning the house? I think it’s complete bull that gender roles are reaching back into our society. Relationships are very different today than they were when Mrs. Clever was around, thank goodness. We love our stay-at-home dads and same-sex marriages. We can’t get enough of our CEO moms and famous cake baking dad’s, right? We have come so far from gender inequality, why are we going backwards again?

 

 

 

 

 

I am putting Pinterest in the dog house until further notice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

News features require intuition, image-making, and conceptualization.

A good feature writer is curious and asks many questions. They are able to see possibilities for the development of a feature article.

Curious George would be a feature writing guru.

There are several types of features! Some of them are even a blend of different types. I put some of my own commentary in there for some further understanding.

  • case study- “Even if you are about to be evicted and a horrible baby daddy for your kids, you can still get this useless online degree! It worked for me!”
  • application story- “indulge in this big, meaty, juicy burger at your own risk of leaving your wife for it”
  • research study- “35% of men secretly watch Gossip Girl out of their own free will. It must be good!”
  • backgrounder- “Plastic surgery has increased by $500 million in the past 3 years! Look at how much we’ve evolved!”
  • personality profile- “I don’t always agree to interview for personality profiles, but when I do, I make sure to get real personal.”
  • historical feature- “Let’s do a feature on the wheel’s anniversary of being invented! Thank you for the 5,000 years of service, Wheel! Much appreciated.”

“Feature news has an indefinite shelf life, and can be used by the media when it’s needed, not just when it’s distribute.” Business Wire

Eerily reminds me of Spam. It’s used during events such as Spam carving competitions and Spam eating contests, and it has pretty much indefinite shelf life.

woof.

My previous post discussed news releases and how brief they must be in order to even be considered. There are other basic publicity tools that are also regularly distributed for media coverage.

Fact Sheets- What do you think a fact sheet is? You guessed it. A fact sheet is a sheet with some facts. It’s really a simple concept. A list of facts in bullet form (not lethal bullets, silly goose) that reporters can uses as a reference when writing a story.

There are also the media kits (also known as press kits). These contain a variety of materials, such as photos, news releases, fact sheets, etc. It’s like a first aid kit, but for news!

I was googling some sort of first aid kit and stumbled upon a band named First Aid Kit. OH MY GOSH! AM I A HIPSTER?!

Media advisories (also known as media alerts) are used to tell assignment editors about upcoming events that they might find interesting to cover from a story, photo, and video perspective. These usually use bullet points, too! I love bullet points! So precise, and NO FLUFF!

I think... I'm turning into a PR nerd. I'm getting way too excited about the death of fluff

All they want is something easy! No, no not like that, pervs! Just write with minimal words, get the point across, and make sure it is precise.

 

News releases are tricky. We are taught to “fluff” our essays with B.S to fill up space and please our professors with a heavy load of words. I will never know why teachers enjoyed doing that to not only us but to themselves as well. I am pleased that I’m involved in PR so I don’t have to read material and then vomit everything back out on Word.

What's a better way of illustrating fluff than a child puking colorful paint? There isn't one.

Wilcox writes, “The best releases are the briefest. Too much initial data can be a turn-off. If more is wanted, it will be requested.” I believe that this is one of the most important points that I read in chapter 5 of Writing for Mass Media.

How often do you skim the newspaper or online articles and only read the headline and maybe the first paragraph? Ron Consolino, columnist for the Houston Chronicle said, “Aside from the news item itself, the most important parts of a news release are the headline and the first paragraph.” Well of course! People just don’t have time to read full stories anymore! (They do, but they wont admit it because everyone thinks their life is busier and way more difficult to handle than everyone else’s). On that note, less is more when it comes to news releases!

That goes for lip enhancements as well, JESSICA.

The Art of Publicity

According to Wilcox, there are three magical rules of powerful, sufficient publicity.

They must perfectly understand traditional news values.

Second, publicists must know exactly where to look for news and how to go about making it interesting to the public. Listed below are some various tactics for making news.

1. special events- Vegas, baby!

2. contests- American Idol or Coca-Cola Idol?

I get a kick out of the famous Coca-Cola cups on American Idol

3. polls and surveys- Domino’s recently switched up its style after finding out its sauce tasted like ketchup and cheese tasted fake. They even admitted it in their current ad campaign.

4. top 10 lists- The Food Network has brought me to some mouthwatering burger joints!

5. stunts- Red Bull Flutag. Risky stunts with unquestionable marketing.

6. product demonstration- Midnight viewings of Twilight/Harry Potter always made me want to lock my doors.

7. rallies and protests- Occupy Wall Street. Where hippies gather

8. personal appearances- If the Kardashians fail to show up at this new LA club, no one will write about it!

9. awards- This is where E! finds their coverage.

Third, they must be able to envision creative publicity tactics that overpower all other competing messages. With that, publicists must have a knack for problem solving. Judith Rich, now a Chicago-based creativity consultant (represent!) and former VP of Ketchem gave some tips in PRSA’s The Strategist. She seems pretty darn cool after reading some of her work.

  • My personal favorite tip from Judith Rich: Draw heavily on personal resources- remember the content of your dreams. Your unconscious may sometimes solve your conscious concerns.

Preach it, Judy!

Avoiding Legal Hassles

Since studying public relations, I’ve considered attending law school. Anyone who knows me would probably start laughing after reading that, but PR and law go hand-in-hand. I could easily write a statement that could lead me to a costly lawsuit if I didn’t understand the legalities behind it.

 

I have also considered cosmetology for those in need of a little TLC

 

I have since crossed law school off of my bucket list, but that does not mean I can float right by the jurisprudence boat and remain in calm waters. Let’s be “honest” here…

Flip on the news any given day and you’ll see politicians, lobbyists, athletes, and CEO’s deteriorate their name for what ever reason. Let’s talk Enron. Their major execs, including their director of investment relations, were thrown in prison for fabricating their company earnings on public media. Those jerks made the company completely collapse and cost thousands of people their money and jobs.

 

 

NBC sure made an uproar when General Motors (GM) filed a multimillion-dollar defamation suit against them after Dateline carried a story on their program about GM’s gas tanks exploding on their pickup trucks in side-impact collisions. It turns out the explosions were actually caused by the producers rigging the trucks with toy rocket “ignitors.” NBC ended up airing a 9-minute apology and also paid GM $2 million to reimburse the costs of its legwork. Nice going, NBC!

Even with all the ruckus the producers of NBC put us through, I will forever be reminded of Chris Hanson’s To Catch a Predator on Dateline. I mark my calendar when they list marathon dates.

 

Persuasion

I am a strong believer in the accuracy of source credibility. Wilcox mentions Steve Jobs and his passion for Apple Inc. He says, “In countless news articles and speeches, he also comes across as a personable, laid-back, ‘geek’ who really believes that the MacBook, iMac, and the iPhone are the best products on the market.” I, being a part of the “dark side” of Apple and a die-hard fan of Steve Jobs agree with Wilcox’s statements. The credibility of Jobs is what makes Apple successful. Rest in peace, my friend.

Close to 14 million people have viewed Jobs' commencement speech at Stanford University on YouTube. No really, I just checked.

I am intrigued by today’s level of semantics. I relate this type of appeal to certain stereotypes that society holds. Semantics play a large role in politics by differentiating Democrats from Republicans. One may be “pro-choice,” but an avid “pro-lifer” may call this person “pro-abortion”. The issue is a matter of how you frame it.

The controversy over political correctness will always have different connotations with different people.

*All of the posts in this category will be my thoughts based on the book “Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques” by Dennis L. Wilcox.

Maybe it’s just me, but when I began studying public relations 3 years ago I had no idea how much my writing skills were a factor in my success. Luckily, I was born with what my father kindly puts, “a colorful mind.” I can use my creativity to set myself apart from others. Creative writing and unique style is essential to public relations.

 

"Countless client surveys and interviews with PR employers confirm that good writing is at the top of their list of expectations" -Wilcox

 

Wilcox talks about how vital AP style is to form proper technique and delivery. This is something that I will continue to practice until I master it.

It is no surprise that the media has drastically changed over the years. Google, Yahoo!, and MSN are vital to my research. Not only can I find credible information in seconds, but I have access to full-text articles and information I would not be able to find otherwise.

 

Google is the most widely used search engine.

 

With tools such as search engines, I have the ability to do extensive research for my clients. In a crisis situation, all I would have to do is pull up saved background information and research new data. Research is 25% of the public relations process. Without the Internet, I would not be able to cater to my clients as effectively.