Maggiecrowley's Blog

Chapter 8

Posted in Reading Notes by Maggie on June 19, 2010

This information is found in PUBLIC RELATION WRITING AND MEDIA TECHNIQUES, 6th edition, by Dennis L.

Chater 8: Selecting Publicity Photos and Graphics

Publicity photos are an important addition to news releases and feature stories because they add interest, variety and often explain things better than words alone.

Components of a good photo include:

  • technical quality
  • subject matter
  • composition
  • action
  • scale
  • camera angle
  • lighting and timing

When working with photographers, it’s important to be sure to find an appropriate photographer, agree to a fair contract, plan a photo session in advance, edit appropriately, and always keep ethics in mind.

When distributing photos and artwork, there are four different formats that offer a variety of options depending on what an editor is looking for.  Remember, the editor is who you’re selling to!


Chapter 7

Posted in Reading Notes by Maggie on June 19, 2010

This information is found in PUBLIC RELATION WRITING AND MEDIA TECHNIQUES, 6th edition, by Dennis L.

Chapter 7: Creating News Features and Op-Ed

A feature story provides background information, generates human interest and creates an understanding in comparison to a news release which only discloses basic information about situation and events.

Feature stories must:

  • provide more information to the consumer
  • give background and context about organizations
  • provide behind-the-scenes perspective
  • give a dimension to situations and events
  • and generate publicity for standard products and services

There are several types of feature stories…

  • Case study- frequently used in product publicity and often tell how individual customers have benefitted from a company’s product or service.
  • Application story- similar to a case study, distinctive in that an application story focuses on how consumers can use a product or a service in new and innovative ways.
  • Research study- uses polls and surveys to provide information about a product or service to readers.
  • Backgrounder- provides some kind of history or evolvement of a product or service
  • Personality profile- used to relate with readers. These features usually “sell” the idea of a profile, make the executive available, provide background information and even arrange photo shoots
  • Historical Piece- focuses on anniversaries, major changes, centennials or other events.

Parts of a feature include the headline, the lead, the body, the summary and photos or graphics. Features can be placed in newspapers, magazines and internal publications.

One Week of Twitter

Posted in Topic of the Week by Maggie on June 17, 2010

Follow me on

I will admit, when I began tweeting in January for a different PR class, I was not enthusiastic. At all! Now, however, my opinion has changed. I am warming up to Twitter! After learning how to use Twitter a little more , and actually having people to follow me, and people who are interesting to follow, Twitter is more fun, more useful, and more effective.

As of today, I am following 94 Twitter profiles– the better news is that 43 people are following me! To me, this is really exciting because until recently I had about 3 followers. In the beginning it was difficult to get involved with Twitter because I felt like it was pointless to be tweeting to no one. In fact, I was reluctant about tweeting at all. Initially, I didn’t like the idea of letting everyone on the internet in on all the details of my day.  Who cares what I ate for breakfast, or even how I did on a test? I think I’m finally getting the hang of Twitter though because now I realize that I was right to begin with. Not many people, unless my mom has just joined Twitter, care about those things. So, tweeting must take some thought and consideration.  Posting links, sharing important news, and educated opinions are all things that are appropriate for Twitter. Letting people know my intimate life details like what I am watching on TV or relationship trivia are not what people really want to read. So learning how to use Twitter has been crucial to my tweeting experience.

One aspect of Twitter that I would help me become even more involved is being able to tweet on the go.  I don’t have wireless capabilities on my phone, so I have to remember to make a point to tweet when I’m on my laptop or at work. Tweeting for a mobile phone or device would increase the amount of times I tweet and my involvement. It would be cool to be able to post pictures of funny or interesting things that I experience in a day. I think that while I will continue to tweet (even though the Week of Twitter is over), I would be tweeting even more if I could do it on the go. It just makes it that much easier.

Overall, Twitter was an engaging and enlightening experience. I have enjoyed learning about social media and I know it will be useful in the future.

Posted in Blog Comments by Maggie on June 16, 2010

To: Ashely

I love your display! It’s very cute, and very you. I am very passionate about the Special Olympics, I am flattered that you remember one of the speeches from Ms. Groovers class! I use many opputunities like that to explain the organization and it’s benefits. I have read through many of your posts and they are great! I really enjoyed this one.  I agree with you– I began tweeting in January for a class and was totally turned off. I didn’t like it at all! Now, however, is a different story. I actually enjoy it. I know that very few people benefit from my tweets, but hey, I like to get out there are let everyone know what I’m doing! It’s a fun tool to spread to word.

Two of My Favorite Things…

Posted in PR Connections by Maggie on June 16, 2010

As much as I LOVE the World Cup, it just got better!! The Special Olympics organization has announced teaming with the Coca-Cola Co. and FIFA to present the first ever Unity Cup.  Special Olympics athletes will play alongside soccer legends and other celebrities in friendly competition.  The games will be held in Cape Town, South Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup Games!

The Unity Cup will be hosted in Green Point Stadium which is one of the several World Cup facilities.  The game will be played on the same field as the quarterfinals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup game and only hours before!  Some participants will include South African president Jacob Zuma, former South African national team captain Lucas Radebe, South Africa’s former national women’s team captain Desiree Ellis, and Clarence Seedorf of A.C. Milan.

The Unity Cup is being held in support of the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.  This is the first soccer game of its kind and is a celebration of the progress of recognition and well-being of the athletes and population with these disabilities.  The Special Olympics is so proud to have a world audience for these athletes and so am I! 

I am so proud and excited for this game. While I’ve been watching the World Cup feverishly so far (bracket in mind), I cannot wait for the opportunity to watch this inaugural event. Please join me in watching and let me know what you think!


Chapter 6

Posted in Reading Notes by Maggie on June 12, 2010

This information is found in PUBLIC RELATION WRITING AND MEDIA TECHNIQUES, 6th edition, by Dennis L. Wilcox

Chapter 6 Preparing Fact Sheets, Advisories, Media Kits, and Pitches

Here are several key terms that are important found in this chapter:

  • Fact sheets– one page background sheets about an event , a product, or an organization.
  • Media kit (press kit)– kit containing materials like news releases, fact sheets and photos.
  • Media advisories (media alert)- used to let assignment editors know about a newsworthy event or interview opportunity that could be helpful for photo or video coverage.
  • Pitch effective memos and e-mails that are meant to persuade reporters and editors to cover a product, service or event.

In order to pitch a story effectively, it is important to:

  • Research the publication that is being sought. Pitches are not meant to be “one size fits all”, pitches must be customized individually to an organizations.
  • Prepare the pitch appropriately according to who and where it’s going.
  • Keep it short! “The first rule of a pitch is brevity” (page 156).
  • Use succinct sharp wording for effective sentences.
  • Have an enticing lead to attract editors and ‘gatekeepers’.
  • Follow up! It is always important to follow up after sending pitches to media outlet editors. Whether by phone, email or mail, an effective follow up can make or break chances of a successful pitch.

Chapter 5

Posted in Reading Notes by Maggie on June 12, 2010

This information is found in PUBLIC RELATION WRITING AND MEDIA TECHNIQUES, 6th edition, by Dennis L. Wilcox

Chapter 5- Writing the News Release

This chapter of discusses the basics when it  comes to writing a news release. A news release is, or press release, is the backbone of most publicity plans. Shockingly, studies have shown that between 55-97% of all news releases intended for media use are never even used!   In order for a news release to be considered by media outlets, there are three criteria that must be met:

  1. A standard format must be used
  2. Information provided must interest the audience
  3. The material must be timely

News releases are important because they help organizations achieve objectives of many kinds.  Another reason why news releases are so prevalent is because they are so cost-effective. Also, in contrast to advertisements,  news releases seem much more credible.

There are several types of news releases:

  • Announcements- announce personal appointments, promotions, new products or services, reports of sales, contests, anniversaries, openings, etc.
  • Spot Announcements- used to announce some outside action or influence that effects an organization.
  • Reaction Releases- used when an event or situation has an impact on the organization
  • Bad News- used to confront issues that reflect badly on an organization.
  • Local News- used in weekly newspapers, and local writing to give “hometown” news to locals

There are seven elements to a traditional news release:

  1. Letterhead
  2. Contacts
  3. Headline
  4. Dateline
  5. Lead paragraph
  6. Body of text
  7. Summary of organization

Leads are most important because they attract and entice readers to a story.  When it comes to writing a news release, PR practitioners must remember to use factual information, be professional, and keep the story interesting.


Posted in Blog Comments by Maggie on June 10, 2010

Comment #1

Tabatha, I have really enjoyed reading your blogs for the past couple of weeks! You have some great ideas here from D’Souze- especially for our class, PR 3330. I have skimmed the article, but your summary really highlights the key points that I’ve noticed so far. I look forward to your future posts!
Maggie Crowley

NewsU Lead Lab

Posted in Topic of the Week by Maggie on June 10, 2010

Check out this link to a class I took online!

As an assignment for class, I was asked to take a class via Poynter’s News University. The class, titled, The Lead Lab, helps writers and journalists, at any level, improve the leads of the stories they’re writing. The class took about an hour to complete and allowed students to refresh the basics of lead writing, read leads written by others, and improve leads submitted to the program.  Although I had my doubts when I began the class,  it actually turned out to be pretty helpful!

In the class, I learned several important things worth noting. For one, in the lab, there is an item that can be clicked to reveal the myths of lead writing. One myth I found especially helpful is that a lead should never be more than 3-4 lines long. Growing up, we are taught that leads are short, sweet, and to the point. Another lead myth that is mentioned is the fact that leads should summarize the entire story. If this is true, then why do we need to read the entire story?

Altogether, I was surprised at how helpful and timely this online course turned out to be. Students can really benefit from the course because of the unlimited amount of practice and information available. Unfortunately, when I think of classes like this one, I instantly assume that is it busy work that the instructor has assigned. The Lead Lab was a great surprise in that I found it very helpful.

What do I want to know more about? The first idea that comes to mind is that I need more practice to improve my leads even more. The good thing about that is that I now know one resource that I can use over and over from now on! In order for journalists and writers to become successful we need to be good at our job. There are hundreds of writers out there, and the competition is tough. For writers to succeed we need to continue learning and improving our skills. Kudos to the NewsU Lead Lab for helping me do just that!

Blog Comments

Posted in Topic of the Week by Maggie on June 3, 2010

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines a blog as, “a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.”  As part of social media, blog comments are one of the most important parts of blogging! As a novice blogger myself, I am still adjusting to blogging on a regular basis and finding people who share some of my interests to comment on my blog.  Honestly, right now, the only comments I’ve received are from my mom, ha ha! Reciprocally, I rarely find myself commenting on others blogs. While I have begun to regularly post blogs on my own page, I am now interested in  reading others blog more. So, in order to become a more involved blogger, my new  plan of action is to begin commenting on other blogs and attentively respond, should someone comment on my posts.

To gain the whole experience of blogging, comments are an  integral part of the entire blog process. After all, what is the point of sharing thoughts, ideas, and opinions on the internet if no one else is reading it?  So far, as I’ve been blogging, I feel as though I’ve yet to really benefit from the experience because it has been a one-sided conversation with myself.  Comments allow readers and bloggers to respond and further communicate about common interests, or differing opinions.  When fellow bloggers write comments, it turns the entire situation into more of a conversation than a monologue. Comments on blogs can help develop relationships between strangers and open minds in everyone.

So, with my new resolution, I’m looking forward to furthering my education and involvement in blogging. I hope that eventually, even after this class is over, I can blog regularly. That said, I also hope that I can entice readers with clever and meaningful conversation, and reply with comments that spark interest and thought.  Comments can turn blogging as a chore, to a something fun and enjoyable!

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