Katie's Blog

Thoughts of a PR student

Multi Media Storytelling November 30, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330 — rebekahkatherine @ 4:58 pm

For the last Topic of the Week, I took a course at Poynter University’s website all about muti-media storytelling. Here’s what I learned:

Step One: Choosing a Story

The best stories are multi-dimensional.

Multi-media stories are non-linear.

Before you write a multi-media story, gather all your information first.

Step Two: Making a Storyboard

A storyboard will help define the parameters of your story so that you can best use your resources.

A storyboard will help organize and focus a story.

A storyboard will help identify any holes in your story.

Three concepts:

Define the elements.

Identify the media.

Storyboard the concepts.

Step Three: Reporting with Multimedia

When reporting or writing a story that’s “on-the-scene”, it’s imperative to have all the necessary equipment and to make sure it’s handy and available and easy to transport.

Some essentials:

Extra batteries


Video camera

Lenses and filters





DV tapes

Rubber bands

Pocket knife



Duct tape

Step Four: Editing for the Web

After you’ve finished shooting your story, it’s time to edit it for the web. It’s important to evaluate your footage to determine what should go into the story.

Videos should be only approximately 3 minutes long and “talking heads” should be no more than a few seconds.

Use only high quality video and no background music unless it contributes to the story.

Include lots of photos.

Use text only for what you can’t put in video or photos. Use all multi-media before resorting to text.

Step Five: Producing the Story

Templates will help organize your story and produce it quicker. A web designer will serve as your editor since they are knowledgeable about what looks good on the web.


Ten Ways PR Professionals Drive Journalists Crazy

Filed under: PRCA 3330 — rebekahkatherine @ 12:55 am

As noted in Chapter 11 of Public Relations Writing and Techniques, there is often a lot of friction and tension between PR professionals and the journalists they try to court in order to advertise their product or business. It’s certainly a love/hate relationship since both rely on each other for stories and for media attention. However, in order for PR professionals to work as well as possible with the journalists, they need to know what drives them crazy in order to prevent those incidents from happening and to have better working relationships.

1. Public relations people are unfamiliar with editorial requirements and format. Always be familiar with the framework and the requirements that the journalist must work within and make sure that your story can cater to what they can write.

2. Journalists hate when PR professionals bug them with too many phone calls/faxes/emails about a story. They have a deadline. The story will be done by then and if you provide adequate information, the story should be good.

3. Journalists don’t like when the PR professional doesn’t understand the product or service. Before you “sell” it to the media, become an expert on what you’re “selling” in the first place. The less knowledgeable you are, the worse you look.

4. When someone isn’t available to answer questions. In order for the story to be as accurate and informative as possible, you need to be available to answer any questions the journalist might have. When someone isn’t available to answer a question, they assume you don’t really care and they can feel free to toss the story and run another one.

5. Not meeting publication deadlines: journalists’ lives are dictated by deadlines and if PR professionals can’t be kind enough to work with these deadlines, then the journalist won’t be kind enough to run the story.

6. Using excessive hype: every PR professional overhypes their product or service and sometimes journalists aren’t impressed that something is “new and improved” or “sophisticated” because everyone says the same thing. Try to find a new angle to sell your product or use words that the journalist doesn’t always see.

7. Use proper grammar and AP style. As a PR professional and someone who does a writing for a living, you should be familiar with AP style and the basics of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. If these aren’t used correctly, the journalist won’t take you seriously.

8. Lack of sources or contacts: In order for the journalist to write the story correctly, they need to have sources or contacts other than you so that the story is well-rounded and accurate. Not providing this won’t get the story published.

9. Be straight forward with your press release: Journalists want to get to the point of the story and “beating around the bush” won’t make any journalist happy.

10. Use the technology that suits the journalist. If they’d rather meet face-to-face, then do that. If they prefer email or even Twitter or Facebook, do that. Cater to them and they’ll write a story. It’s as simple as that.


Podcasting 101 November 29, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330 — rebekahkatherine @ 11:07 pm

I’ll admit that I’d never listened to a podcast before this class. I’m very tech savvy and I always jump on any social media bandwagon, but I’d never bothered to listen to a podcast and I really have no idea why. But after listening to the one I did for this post, I want to listen to so many more. The one I listened to was the one for Wednesday, November 10 at http://www.insidepr.ca/and the three speakers talked about something that is so important for PR students. Their topic was what they would do differently in their careers if they had the chance. One of the speakers, Joe, talked about not having any regrets in his career choices. I’m pretty sure that’s something every person would love to say about their career, but I doubt many people can say that. Gini said that she wished she’d taken advantage of all the resourceful people around her, not just people who could help her at her current job, but people she could learn from for future endeavors.

However, the most important thing I think was said during the podcast was by Joe, who said that young people in their early twenties should take advantage of the mobility they have to move to cities to cater to their careers which is so true. When I’m in my twenties, before I get married and have a family, I know I’ll be able to live in whatever city I need to and work long hours without feeling indebted to anyone else. When I get older and have a family, that might not be so easy. That was the biggest thing I took away from this podcast.

Another cool thing about this podcast was that Victoria Evans and Mrs. Nixon were both mentioned. The speakers mentioned Victoria at the beginning of the show as a PR student who listened to this podcast. Victoria is my roommate and best friend so it was cool to see her and the professor mentioned. It was total coincidence that I chose this podcast but I’m glad I did because I got to tell Victoria that she was mentioned.


All About Infographics November 7, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330 — rebekahkatherine @ 10:17 pm

Infographics are graphic visual presentations of information. Basically they are signs or maps with information on them. An infographic for my client for PR Writing, which is the Georgia Southern University Residence Hall Association could be a map of GSU’s campus complete with buildings and residence halls and the features of those buildings that could be useful to sudents, such as restaurants, computer labs, and available classroom or meeting space. Also, RHA could use a graphic showing participation by students in the organization or how much money they raised during a philanthropy event. Infographics are easy ways to show information to an audience in a way that is easy to understand and comprehend. Combining both words and graphics makes it easy for any audience to get.


How Site Stats Help

Filed under: PRCA 3330 — rebekahkatherine @ 10:01 pm

On the Dashboard link of each WordPress blog, is something called Site Stats which have proved to be very useful to me. I get to see which of my posts have garnered the most traffic, as well as when people are looking at my blog the most. To be honest, most of the time I get a lot of blog traffic is right before a blog check when people are trying to get the assigned comments in on other people’s blogs so most of my blog traffic was the middle of October when the second blog check was due. But occasionally, I’ll have a few views other times as well. I think Site Stats is very useful for PR practitioners. To be able to tell what posts are the most interesting to viewers and what’s successful on your blog is so important. Site Stats definitely can help a PR practitioner gauge feedback on a blog.


PR Open Mic October 11, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330 — rebekahkatherine @ 11:03 pm

This week, I created a profile at propenmic.org. PR Open Mic reminds me a lot of Facebook, in that you can create a profile, upload pictures, add friends, and network through the site. It also lets you update a status like Facebook or Twitter. I would describe PR Open Mic as a Facebook for PR professionals. To use the site, you can either be a PR student, teacher, or practitioner. One of the coolest parts of the website for me was the chance to look at internships and jobs in PR. There are also forums and places to post videos and other things letting other people in PR know what you or your company or school is up to. The blogs are also useful and are even places I can go to for my PR Connections for this class. All in all, I find that propenmic.org will be a great tool for me as both a PR student and and eventually as a PR practitioner myself.


The Lead Lab October 4, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330 — rebekahkatherine @ 7:00 pm

I recently took the course The Lead Lab from News U and I found it very informative. I definitely feel more confident about writing an effective lead for a story.

Four myths about leads that I learned:

1. A lead must never begin with a quote.

2. Leads must always contain attribution.

3. A good lead is never more than three or four lines long.

4. A lead must sum up the story in the paragraph.

I also learned that there are two types of leads: direct and delayed.

The effective elements in writing a lead are: who, what, when where, why, how, and so what.

In the Lead Lab course, I also learned that I should always read any lead aloud to make sure it sounds okay. I should also revise, revise, revise. And I should remember the basics and abide by AP style.

Other important things I learned in the Lead Lab were to remember the basic w’s and h’s. I learned to zero in on two basic questions: what’s the news and what’s the story about. I also learned that I should try and put myself in the position of the reader. If they hadn’t done the research on the story that I had done, would they understand what I am talking about? Part of that is interviewing my best source: myself. I also learned not to spend all my time on the lead and go back to it if I’m still having trouble later.

I also learned that I need to find tension and that a good lead provokes a question.

The Lead Lab was definitely a useful tool in my public relations writing and I found the tips and tricks I learned during the course to be very helpful.