Archive for the ‘PRCA 3330 Reading notes’ Category

Chapter 14 Writing E-mail, Memos, and Proposals From: Public relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th Ed. by: Dennis L. Wilcox


Invented in 1971 and was widely adopted in the late 1980s.  In 2008 the average number of corporate emails sent and received per person on a daily basis was 142.  The four different purposes of email are to:

1.      Reduces the cost of employee communications

2.      Increases the distribution of messages to more employees

3.      Flattens the corporate hierarchy

4.      Speeds decision making


Is a brief written message, usually a page or less in length.  Today the standard method of delivery is by e-mail for routine methods and on occasion they can be distributed in hard copy if they contain important information about employee benefits, major changes in policy, or other kinds of information that an individual should retain for his or her records.  The purpose of a memo is that it can serve almost any communication purpose.  It also can ask for information, confirm a verbal exchange, ask for a meeting, schedule or cancel a meeting, remind, report, praise, caution, state a policy, or perform any other function that requires a written message.


Public relations firms usually get new business through the preparation of a proposal offering services to an organization.  A typical public relations proposal might include a few sections such as: Background a capability of the firm, client’s situation, goals and objectives of the proposed program, key messages, and basic strategies and tactics.  The purpose of a proposal is to get something accomplished, and to approve and authorize some important action that will have a long-lasting effect on the organization or its people.


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Chapter 12 Tapping the Web and New Media from: Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox


  1. Centralized
  2. Cheap/free, easy-to-use online publishing tools
  3. New distribution channels
  4. Mobile devices
  5. New advertising paradigms

The World Wide Web

  • Allows you to update information quickly, without having to reprint brochures and other materials
  • Allows interactivity
  • Online readers can dig deeper into subjects that interest them linking to information provided on other sites, and articles.
  • A great amount of material can be posted
  • It is cost effective
  • You can reach niche markets and audiences on a direct basis without messages being filtered
  • Information can be accessed 24 hours a day

Tracking Site Visitors:

One of the most important parts of site maintenance is tracking visitors to your site.  One main term is called hit which describes the number of requests a Web Server has received.  Two other terms are called page view or page impression which refer to the number of times a page is pulled up.  Another term that is rarely used is called  Unique visitor which refers to the first-time visitor to a site.

Social Networking Sites:

Myspace and Facebook have established early leads in popularity among social networking sites and have experienced astounding growth rates.  In 2008 alone over 500,000 people joined these two sites on a daily basis.  Currently 70 percent of Americans ages 15 to 34 are currently actively engaged in some form of social network.


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Chapter 11 Getting Along with Journalists From: Public Relations writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox

in many public relations jobs and is the number one activity performed by corporate public relations departments.

Areas of Friction are : name calling, sloppy/biased reporting, and tabloid sensationalism.

Complaints are near the top of the list and some different types of complaints that are reported are:

  1. Too many unsolicited e-mails, faxes, and phone calls
  2. Don’t know the product or service
  3. Repeated calls and follow-up
  4. Spokesperson not available
  5. Don’t meet publication deadlines

Media Interviews:

Most interviews are set up in advance and you can pitch a possible interview, or one can be requested by a reporter who is looking for credible experts to fill out a story.  First, if a reporter calls to request an interview, you should interview the reporter first.  Some common questions are:

  • Who are you?
  • What is the story about?
  • Why did you call me?
  • What are you looking for from me?
  • Who else are you speaking with?
  • Are you going to use my comments in your story?
  • When is the story going to run?

junkets– are a variation on the press preview is the press tour.

Fam trips- are similar to press junkets but are within the travel and tourism industry.

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Chapter 10 Distributing News to the Media From: Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th Ed. by Dennis L. Wilcox.

ary in format and scope.  However they provide such essential information as :

  1. Names of publications, and broadcasting stations
  2. Mailing addresses
  3. Telephone and fax numbers
  4. E-mail addresses
  5. Name of key editors and reporters

Tip Sheets-Are another good way to find media personnel who might have an interest in your material.  These are weekly newsletters that report on recent changes in news personnel and their new assignment, how to contact them, and what kinds of material they are looking for.

Distribution Channels

Today’s primary distribution channels are:

  1. E-mail
  2. Online Newsroom
  3. Electronic News wires
  4. Mat distribution Companies
  5. Photo Placement firms

Keywords are important for search engine optimization.  Publicists must use keywords that consumers will likely use to search for information.

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Chapter 9 Writing for Radio and Television from: Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th Ed. By Dennis L. Wilcox

In this chapter the book discusses how to write and broadcast for radio and television.


On a local level radio is a cost effective way to reach large numbers of people in various age, ethnic, and income groups.  It is the only mass medium that can reach millions of Americans as they commune in their cars.  There are approximately 13,500 radio stations on the air in the United States.  They are increasing their audience reach through the internet in which they can broadcast and Web cast their programming.

Audio News Release (ANR)

Is when a company sends a radio station a recording of their news announcement.  There are two forms of ANR’s: The first is for someone with a good radio voice to read the entire announcement which is called an actuality. The second is when you use an announcer and a soundbite from a satisfied customer, celebrity, or company spokesperson.  The preferred length of an ANR is around 60 seconds, including a soundbite of about 20 seconds or less.


What seperates television from other traditional media and gives it such impact is the visual element.  There are around 1,500 television stations within the United States, and there are numerous opportunities for the placement of public relations materials at the local level.

Video News Releases (VNR)

There are more than 5,000 VNR’s produced annually in the United States.  A typical VNR, costs a minimum of $20,000 to $50,000 for production and distribution.  Since the cost is so high, you must always carefully analyze the newsworthiness of your information and consider whether the topic lends itself to a fast-paced, action-oriented visual presentation.

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Chapter 8 Selecting Publicity Photos and Graphics from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th ed. by Dennis L. Wilcox.

In this chapter the author discusses how to select photos and graphics to use in your writing and other media methods.

There are many different components of a good photograph.  The book gives several examples which are:

  • Technical Quality
  • Subject Matter
  • Composition
  • Action
  • Scale
  • Camera Angle
  • Lighting and Timing
  • Color

When finding a photographer to work with it is very important to use a skilled photographer with professional experience.  One downside to hiring a professional photographer is that it will cost more money than using someone from within.  In order to find a professional photographer you should have a list of local photographers on file, noting their fees, and particular expertise.

There are two different techniques that can improve the quality and composition of photos which are cropping and retouching.

  • Cropping- is editing the photo by cutting off parts of the picture that you don’t want.
  • Retouching- is usually done to alter the actual content of the photo.

Photo captions– this is the brief text under the photo that tells the reader about the picture and its source

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Chapter 7 Reading Notes: Creating News Features and Op-Ed from: Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th Ed. by Dennis L. Wilcox

In this chapter the book discusses news features and Op-Ed’s.  A feature story can provide additional background information, generate human interest, and create understanding in a more imaginative way.

Feature stories can provide five different aspects to your writing:

  1. Provide more information to the consumer
  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

There is no formal classification for feature stories and no practical limit to the variety of stories that can be written .  There are six frequently seen and used feature stories:

  1. Case Studies
  2. Application Stories
  3. Research Studies
  4. Backgrounders
  5. Personality profiles
  6. Historical pieces

The term Op-Ed means “opposite the editorial page.” The purpose of op-ed articles is to present a variety of views on current news events, governmental policies, pending legislation, and social issues.

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