TOW 6: What Makes a Story Newsworthy?

In a day and age of Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of the ever evolving social media in order for something to be dubbed newsworthy there are many different things that a story must include.

1. Creativity

In an age of technology beyond anyone’s wildest imagination I believe that it is necessary to make a story as creative as possible. There are so many resources today that help enhance a story, especially a story posted on the internet, and make readers want to continue reading. In a day and age of BOLD WORDS and hyperlinks it is easy for “scimmers” to get the entire message of the story.

2. Drama

People like drama! It is just nature for humans to be drawn to things that seem to be dramatic. Why do you think people watch movies, reality television, or other television shows? Because it is intriguing to be caught up in drama. It is important to be careful when adding drama to stories though because people do not like to be lied to or mislead. There is a difference between embellishing/dramatizing and lying. It may be a very thin line, but a line nevertheless.

3. Relativism

It is important for a reader to be able to relate to the topic at hand. Humans are selfish by nature in the fact that if they feel like something has nothing to do with them they usually ignore it. If you can make someone feel like they can relate to the characters or the situation in a story it can be considered newsworthy in the eyes of the reader.

4. Factual

Reporting the facts is never the wrong route. When you report the facts with sources to back it up people will read your stories and they will be seen as newsworthy.

All of these things help enhance how newsworthy a story is. By implementing these things into a story it helps turn the writing into news instead of just a regular story. I believe the audience have a huge influence on what is considered newsworthy and things that are considered just stories. In most cases the old saying “the customer is always right” is correct. If your story can keep your audience entertained and  informed it will almost undoubtedly be newsworthy


Event Planning

As a public relations major one thing that I am interested in that is not focused on much at Georgia Southern is event planning. I pride myself on being the most organized, unorganized person that I know. I find that I work well under pressure and time constraints. I am very good at delegating tasks and making sure that people are doing what they are supposed to be doing when they are supposed to be doing it. In my family I am the person that coordinates family outings, trips, and other things like that. (It may be an easy job when you are dealing with a family of 4-5 people, but when dealing with 30 plus individuals this can become a real task)

Two weeks ago my boyfriend turned 21. About three months ago his friend offered him an opportunity to throw  a joined birthday party with her at her fathers expense. Of course my boyfriend hopped on top of the opportunity to have a free birthday party and without much delay party plans were underway. The plan was for the party to start off at Retrievers Bar here in Statesboro, but because of date issues the venue was changed to ULounge club which is also here in Statesboro.

Everything seemed to be going as planned until about a week before the party. Firstly, there were no hand bills for us to pass out because the people responsible for making them did not give them to the girl on time. We did not receive the hand bills until the night before the event. Secondly, between my boyfriend and his friend they were only allowed to have 20 V.I.P guests and all of the other guests were required to pay a fee. Third, although the girls father had paid for the venue another entertainment group was given permission to promote for a different party on the same night as their party. and lastly, the guests of honor were charged for parking.

Needless to say this was a poor business deal and it should not have been done. Unfortunately, I did not have much hand in helping planning this event because I believe that certain things would have been handled differently. As a PR major I have learned many things about contracts and business deals from an even standpoint that definitely would have come in handy during this instance. The people of the ULounge were very unprofessional and had the business been handled correctly all these things could have been fixed and/or avoided.

It goes without saying that I don’t recommend the ULounge as a venue for anyone to throw an event. The “business” people running the facility are unprofessional and very rude. There was no accommodations for the paying guests of honor and there were no apologies received after the terrible experience.

Bishop Eddie L. Long

The pastor of New Birth Christian church in Atlanta Georgia, Bishop Eddie L. Long, has been accused of having sexual realtions with multiple young men. These alligations came out to the public in late September. Bishop Eddie Long has been preaching at New Birth Christian Church for over 10 years and has gained many faithful members and followers in his congregation. The young me alleged that Bishop Long took them on trips and put them up in fancy hotels under various aliases, bought them expensive gifts, and introduced them to infamous people (such as Tyler Perry) in exchange for sexual favors. Although the allegations never hinted towards sexual assault some of the boys were minors when they first started having these relations with the bishop.

Of course, living in the 21st century, I got wind of this issue through Twitter. People had turned Eddie Long into a trending topic and the news spread like wild fire. Some people were shocked and appalled that a “man of God” would even do such a thing and other people, such as comedian ‘Lil Duval’, made jokes about the situation. Regardless of  how the message was conveyed, it was definitelyspread throughout the Twitter nation.

When allegations were first released to the media Bishop Eddie Long would not comment on anything. He just simply continued to tell the press that his lawyers suggested that he not say anything at the time. Heading closer into Sunday morning throughout the week the question was if Bishop Long would speak out to his congregation on Sunday morning. There were many speculations that he would have a guest speaker and not even show up to address the people of New Birth, but to much surprise he announced to the public that he would in fact be speaking on Sunday morning.

From a public relations stand point I believe that Bishop Long’s speech to his congregation was horrible. First, instead of holding a separate press conference with the different news stations, he allowed the media to come into his church and film his message. So, although he blocked his normal Sunday morning UStream from his website everyone got to hear what Bishop Long said to his congregation on that Sunday. By allowing the media to invade someones place of worship is simply disrespectful and he came off inconsiderate. Secondly, because the media was there it was obvious that Bishop Long’s speech was very rehearsed and very impersonal. These are people that look to Eddie Long for guidance and counseling and peace of mind and he gave them a dry, rehearsed, cold speech.

I believe that the way the issue was addressed was unprofessional and rude. I believe that because Bishop Eddie Long does have such a strong dedicated group of church memebers that they deserved a proper, intimate explination of the issue at hand. I believe that it was necessary to separate the chrch from the media in the issue of this case.

One thing that will stick with me until this case is over is the fact that the entire time Bishop Long was addressing his congregation, not once did he deny the allegations. When he spoke, he spoke about fighting the allegations and prevailing over the issue, but he never said “I didn’t do it.”

TOW 9: Tips for New PR Bloggers

Coming into this class I didn’t really know much about blogging nor did I want to know anything about it. I have never been any good at keeping up with things such as journals and things like that so I knew that I was going to be bad at this. Blogging was something that was foreign to me and I didn’t think I would ever get the hang of it.

If I had the opportunity to give new PR students that are new to blogging I would tell them NOT TO DO IT!! Just kidding. I would definitely tell them to give it a shot because it is actually something that could help out in the long run. Some of the advice that I would give would be

  1. Make a Twitter and follow as many PR practitioners as you possibly can.

Professor Nixon’s Twitter Starter Pack was an amazing gift! There were a list of hundreds of PR practitioners for us to follow just to get started with Twitter. During the One Week of Twitter experience I learned so much about the PR world, blogging, and Twitter. Yes, Twitter is a great way to connect with friends but it also an amazing way to start your future in Public Relations. One girl in our PRCA3330 class got offered a job from one of the PR practitioners on Twitter. When you know how to use your Twitter it can be a great networking

  1. Read other peoples blogs as much as possible

Reading other peoples blogs is how you learn how to develop your own blog. Professor Nixon’s blog Public Relations Matters is a great blog to learn from. It doesn’t matter what type of blog you read as long as you’re reading them! It is a good idea to read a variety in order to expand your horizons also.

  1. Blog in short paragraphs

People’s attention spans are short and for some reason shorter paragraphs online are easier and more interesting to read.

  1. Keep it conversational

Nine times out of ten the people that read your blog have something in common with you and are already somewhat interested in what you have to say. If you write as if you’re writing to get into Princeton (using huge words you don’t understand and things of that nature) people will be bored by your blog and might take your tone the wrong. It may seem as if you are talking down to people.

  1. Stay on topic

Although it blogs are conversational it is important to stay on your topic and complete your thoughts.

  1. Keep up with your blog

I made the mistake of slacking off on my blog lately and it’s a terrible thing to try and play catch up with. It is a good idea to try and get into good habits from the beginning and stick with them.

  1. Comment on other blogs

The only way that you will gain interest in your own blog is if you comment on others. Usually when you comment on other peoples blogs you have the option to insert a link to your own blog.

  1. Be careful what you say in your comments

Along with #7 it is important to use tact when commenting on other peoples blogs. People appreciate honesty but there is a thin line between honesty and being just plane rude. Learn the difference and adjust accordingly

  1. Blog about things that matter

Use your blog to write things of substance. People usually don’t care that you woke up and did 300 sit ups in the morning unless you add some substance to your post. If you woke up and did some exercise because you read in one of you magazines that increases blood flow in looks is more important. See the difference?

  1. Have fun with your blog

Don’t look at your blog as a drudging task that you have to do. Look at it as an opportunity to learn more about your field of work and how it all works. Enjoy your blog, embrace your blog!

Is ALL Publicity GOOD Publicity?

The buzz around the news media world this month is the big news of Lindsay Lohan. Yes ladies and gentlemen Lindsay is supposedly going to jail!

E! News did a story on her last day and court and Lindsay Lohan looked terrible. She looked like she was strung out and the new discovery is the message on the her middle finger nail. It simply reads “f*c* you” on both of her middle fingers.

People are trying to read into this as gesture as much as possible. I’m starting to believe that Lindsay is just giving the media something to talk about. She’s acting out against all of her morals and values just to get some attention. I believe that she is going the absolute wrong route.

If Lindsay Lohan doesn’t get her act together quick she will be just another name that nobody remembers. I am not a up and coming PR practitioner that believes that all publicity is good publicity. I believe that there is a such thing as bad publicity and Lindsay Lohan is giving out the best example right now.

The first time Lindsay was caught doing inappropriate things it did get her some attention that she needed but now people are just getting disgusted with her actions. Audiences will only put up with someone doing terrible things for so long before they decide to write someone off.

Lindsay and her PR team better get it together before they all find themselves out of a job. It is not cute to go to jail and it doesn’t gain anyone more friends. The bad girl image has gone entirely too far and it needs to stop NOW!

Chapter 8 Notes

Notes taken from:Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques

The Importance of Publicity Photos

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.

Components of a Good Photo

1. Technical Quality

2. Subject Matter

3. Composition

4. Action

5. Scale

6. Camera Angle

7. Lighting and Timing

8. Color

Working with Photographers

1. Finding Photographers

You should have a file of photographers, noting their fees and particular expertise.

2. Contracts

a.  Any agreement with a photographer should be in writing. A written document helps you to avoid misunderstandings about fees, cost of materials, and copyright ownership of the images.

b. A Contract should cover:

1. What is the photographer’s profession fee for taking pictures

2. How many out-of-pocket expenses

3. What will be delivered upon completion of the assignment

4. Who will supervise the photographer

5. Who will retain the images?

6. Nature of use

7. Photographers

3. The Photo Session

You will save time and money with regard to the photo session if you plan ahead

4. Cropping and Retouching

a. The two primary techniques for editing photos are cropping and retouching.

b. Cropping is editing the photo by cutting off parts of the picture that you don’t want

c. Retouching is done to alter the actual content of the photo.

Writing Photo Captions

Caption: A brief text under the photo that tells the reader about the picture and its source

5. Ethical Considerations

Chapter 7 Notes

Notes taken from:Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques

Planning a News Feature

1. Conceptualize how something lends itself to feature treatment

2. Determine if the information would be interesting to and useful for a particular audience

3. Be sure that the feature helps achieve organizational objectives

Types of Features

1. Case Study

2. Application Story

3. Research Study

4. Backgrounder

5. Personality Profile

6. Historical Piece

Parts of a Feature

1. The Headline

2. The Lead

3. The Body

4. The Summary

5. Photos and Graphics

Placement Opportunities

1. Newspapers

The primary use of features generated by public relations personnel is in the special sections of daily newspapers

2. General Magazines

Usually have their own staffs and regular freelancers who write features, but they do rely on public relations sources for ideas and information

3. Specialty/Trade Magazines

1. 2 Types of magazines:

1. Ones that serve particular interest and hobby groups

2. publications that serve a particular industry

4. Internal Publications

Chapter 6 Notes

Notes taken from:Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques

Fact Sheets

1. A list of facts in outline or bullet form that a reporter can use as a quick reference when writing a story.

2. Often accompanies a news release or a media kit

3. May form the basis of a whole story for a reporter, or the reporter might use just one or two of the facts provided to supplement the information in the news release

Media Advisories

1. They tell assignment editors about upcoming events that they might be interested in covering from a story, photo, and video perspective

2. The most common format uses format uses short, bulleted items rather than long paragraphs.

Media Kits

1. Usually prepared for major event s and new product launches

2. Purpose is to give editors and reporters a variety of information and resources that will make it easier for the reporter to write about the topic

3. A basic media kit may include:

1. A main news release

2. A news feature

3. A fact sheet

4. BAckground information

5. Photos and drawings with captions

6. Biographical material on the spokesperson or senior executive

7. Some basic brochures

Electronic Media Kit

1. Advantages

1. More versatile than traditional printed media kits, because they can include multiple pieces of information in a variety of formats

2. It expands the potential audience. It has the potential of reaching a wider audience of consumers, bloggers, online forums, and other websitesvia social media tags and RSS feeds.

The Pitch

‘1. The purpose of a pitch letter is to convince editors and reporters to cover an even or do a story.

2. Pitches to editors must:

-be brief, raise interest, and come immediately to the point

3. Pitch letters a re customized to each editor based on the publication’s content, demographics, and circulation.

4. E-mail pitches must have succinct creative subject lines.

BET Awards 2010

I am very late about posting this but, I just watched the BET Awards tonight and I believe that I MUST speak on one performance in particular: Chris Brown’s tribute to Michael Jackson.

For those of you that do not know 18 months ago Chris Brown beat up his ex girlfriend, hip hop sensation, Rhianna on their way to an awards show. The news went wild with this story painting Brown as a monster woman beater. Once pictures of Rhianna’s badly bruised face hit the media Chris Brown’s fans and supporters started dropping like flies. He lost his endorsement deals and other music moguls such as rapper Jay-Z and Kanye West refused to work with him ever again. Needless to say this incident seemed to have killed Chris Brown’s career.

On June 27 loyal Chris Brown fans were pleasantly surprised that his fall from grace was very short lived as Brown lead the one year tribute to the King of Pop Michael Jackson. The performance was EPIC! No one was expecting what BET had in store for us that night! Even more shockingly Chris Brown started to break down in sobbing tears in the middle of his performance.

The question of the month from critics all around is “Were the tears genuine or was it a publicity stunt?” Well I’ll tell you this much, if it was a publicity stunt, IT WORKED! I do not believe it was a publicity stunt. Chris Brown has expressed his love and adoration for The King of Pop way before his incident with Rhianna and I believe his emotions were 110 percent genuine. Did it work out well for his image? Yes. But I personally believe that that was just an added bonus for Chris Brown’s PR practitioner.

Chris Brown also won the Viewers Choice Award that night and I believe it was well deserved. It is time for the Hip Hop world to move on with life and forgive and forget. There is no doubt that what happened in the past was wrong and very upsetting but that does not change the fact that Chris Brown is a phenomenal artist. Everyone deserves a chance to make things right and I believe it is about time the media give Chris Brown a break! Lastly, KUDOS to Chris Brown’s PR practitioner if that was a publicity stunt because it was beyond believable!

Fundamentals of Multimedia

For Term B of summer school I registered for Fundamentals of Multimedia (Jour 3631). Just like any other Public Relations students close to the end of there college career I was looking for something new and exciting to take that would help with my major but also be outside of the everyday PR classes that I am used to taking. Not once did I even think about the prefix for this class which CLEARLY states that this is a JOURNALISM class!

When I got to class the first day and Professor Boyter passed out the syllabus and told us that we would be multi skilled journalist red flags just went off in my head! “Not another journalism class!” is what I was thinking. At that point I wanted to run out of the class and never return. I am a PR major and I’m sick of writing news articles. My job is to write press releases and media releases, NOT journal articles.

It took me about two days to realize that my Fundamentals of Multimedia and my PR Writing classes go hand-n-hand and both have been wonderful classes for me to take. In Jour3631 I actually had to create a news website using Google Sites and it is just like creating an SMNR! The site that I created The Make-Up Artist Corner incorporated APA Format, hyperlinks, tags, and tons of other things that are discussed in my PR Writing class.

I am amazed at how much I have learned with these two classes and how much they overlap. Both classes stress APA format which has helped me enhance my writing skills. It is interesting to see how far the media has come in such a short period of time. The things that Public Relations practitioners and journalists can accomplish are amazing. Technology is opening all types of doors for creativity in the news world and creating more opportunities for college students to have a job.

Through these two classes I have realized my passion for my PR major and I am excited to go out into the real world and start applying my techniques. It is exciting to learn something new and be inspired everyday and that is exactly what these two classes have done for me!

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