Today in my PR, we discussed the “bakers dozen” of what is on a typical news release, or also known as the press release. A press release is used to announce an event, new product, or maybe even a new position in a company. They are written either for immediate release, or for something up and coming that can be sent to the media or newspapers to send out to the public. We are studying these in my journalism class at the same time, and we had to write an example of one with an event going on with a group on campus. I wrote one about my sorority’s paintball tournament coming this Saturday. It was interesting writing this first one, I felt as if I got a glimpse at what would be a major part of my career in public relations. I used our crest for the letterhead, and including the slug -###- to finish the product.
I learned something new today about the press release, that the editor could use their name instead of the authors if it makes it seem more believable to their audience. Also, they can alter the headline to fit their space in their finished product. The most important thing in a press release is to get down the important details. Editors don’t have time to read all the fluff, so make sure to include important points. Things like quotes and pictures can add some life to the press release. Sometimes, PR reps have to write a quote for a press release that they think is something their superior would address to the public. I thought that was kind of funny.
Today in class…we talked about what we, as individuals thought that “news” was as a whole. In my opinion, news is anything new as far as a current event that is updated to the public. I think that the media puts news out for their audience because it is something of importance that is necessary for we citizens to be aware of. I liked the fact today that someone in the lecture hall stated that news can be anything new. Stating a fact, is a fact but not something that is just being introduced. I also considered that the angle of the news differs from news station to station. Each one has a different political view that directs to those who follow. Personally, I favor the way Fox News delivers their breaking stories.
We talked about upcoming assignments, and the newest things on Twitter. Apparently, Oprah is a new member and is getting a ton of messages from people who are in desperate need of help. Prof Nixon said there were people tweeting about ruined marriages, and hardships that people are expressing to her. She also learned the protocol from Shaquille O’Neal when she posted a tweet in all caps. I thought the competition between CNN and Ashton Kutcher, competing for who could get one million followers first was funny. Kutcher said he would donate about 10-20,000 mosquito nets to help the spread of malaria.
So we had the assignment to take on Twitter for a 48 hour period, to see it we could learn anything. Some people in the class have been hooked on Twitter since we began it earlier in the semester. After we finished the Twitter “chapter” I wasn’t very frequent. I did sign on a few times, just to check out some of the things about Michael Phelps, and what Ashton Kutcher had to say, but nothing to in depth. But this time, it was interesting how much easier it was for me to navigate the Twitter website. A big group of people were waiting in line to follow me, including my step mom and childhood friend which I thought was the coolest thing. Since last using Twitter, I could now understand how to send direct messages, and finally understood how to read messages from one person to another.
I think that now I will definitely be a more frequent “tweeter”. I don’t know how but this time it naturally clicked. Maybe it was because before it was an assignment, where this time I could take it into my own account. I like the simplicity Twitter’s site has to offer. If you pay close attention, the new Facebook layout follows a similar design to the way Twitter displays tweets. Now that Twitter has become also a big phenomenon in the PR world, I think I would benefit by using it more often.
On Wednesday in PRCA 2330 we were graced with the presence of two former GSU students who have now gone on to work for a PR, advertising, and marketing agency called Three. Lauren Crawford and Jeremy Estroff enlighted the students about what to expect when venturing into the PR field. They gave us plenty of tips, especially what to have in our portfolio. For example, future employers really want to see what kind of work a hopeful employee has available. They don’t have enough time to mess around, and want to get straight to the point. It would be wise for a portfolio to have press releases whether they are real or examples, papers related to the subject, good writing samples, and of course a resume. The two made a good point that a resume is one piece of paper, but that doesn’t sum up all that the individual has done. When going to an interview, I learned I needed to go in with experiences to share, and work to show. Usually with these types of speakers, I get very overwhelmed, feeling like I need to go out and join like 50 clubs and start doing a ton of charity work. But in all actuality, the speakers really put into perspective what needs to be taken care of to go out into the PR field.
I like the way Estroff explained the difference of corporate PR and agency PR, all the way down to the wardrobe. I thought that was kind of funny. I thought the carpet campaign he produced was also fabulous!
On Wednesday, Prof Nixon opened the lecture with a delightful video of the recent Domino’s Pizza catastrophe. Two, now former, employees made a series of gag videos about them tampering with the food that would be delivered to customers. The entire class was repulsed. The woman employee recorded the male employee sticking cheese up his nose, and passing gas on the salami. Need less to say, I don’t think I’ll be ordering any Domino’s for a while.
The point to this video was about the PR response to the public. First of all, it took the company 48 hours to make a statement. Then in groups, we had to think of ways to repair the damage done by this stunt. Apparently, the workers claim it was only a joke and the food that they messed with was never actually delivered. My group came up with things like: where was this Domino’s located? How long have those employees been working there? Who were the unlucky customers? Also, to put the public at ease Domino’s should maybe put all employees through a course of the importance of sanitation. They should also issue a statement to the public reassuring that the situation was taken care of, and the customers need not to worry. Waiting 48 hours after this video made the internet surely made a significant amount of damage. Domino’s is most likely looking at a legal situation with those customers who’s food was tampered. I think that their PR department should pay closer attention to what’s being said about them in the news for the next week. After all, the news already made it to London.
Monday in my wonderful Intro to PRCA 2330 lecture with Professor Nixon, our class discussed the topic of public relations “when in a crisis”. Before coming into this class, and the public relations major, I think I had a different conception of the job title all together. I, like Nixon explained, am also a glass-half-full kinda gal, and would probably have a hard time seeing the downfall in specific situations. Nixon went into detail about her time in the field, and how beneficial it was to have one person that was able to see the darker side of things. The trick to using them to their best ability while not letting them see that you use them for their negativity is one that we students would have to learn. This came up in topic because Nixon explained how certain companies, like airline agencies, have to plan for a bad reputation when something tragic like a plane crash occurs. Clearly they jeopardize loosing business, so the company must come up with strategies to maintain their good image with the public.
We then talked about the different kinds of crisis, and the importance of having a 7-step plan. While listening to Nixon continue with the lecture, my mind wandered into my future. I wondered if I would ever be working with a company that would be stuck a severe rut in the media. I think that this lecture, as well as the course, will thoroughly help me get a clearer in my future. No matter what company any person may be involved in, it will not always be smooth sailing. Be prepared for anything to show up in the path.
Today in our PR class, we started off with a word cross where it listed common ad slogans and we had to figure out what company or brand that it stood for. It brought back memories of a lot of commercials I saw as a kid. For example:
“Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids”
“Kid tested. Mother approved”
or the ever so popular Frost Flakes jingle, “They’re Grrrrrreat!”
Those would always get stuck in my head as well as common commercials for State Farm, Verizon Wireless, and even Budweiser. After doing that exercise, it showed me a different side of public relations. To me, this aspect had a lot to do with marketing and advertising. It helped me to understand the significance about how to market a product, and give it a positive image. When a consumer can relate a catchy slogan or song with a well-liked product, they will be more influenced to buy it.
I also benefited from our blog discussion towards the end of class. I have been so confused recently with all the little quirks of this blog, but I left the lecture today with some peace of mind. Now I finally feel I have a grasp on the assignment, and plan on making a list of what I need to catch up. Classmates asked some really intelligent questions, which gave me some clarity. I am not too tech savvy, especially on the blogging scene, but Prof Nixon really put the importance of having a blog into perspective. It’s a good way to manage your reputation.