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Posts tagged ‘headlines’

What about @irene ?

Everyone knows about Irene. No, it is not a beautiful lady, it is just another hurricane which stroke America. And, of course, Irene is social media friendly, as most of us nowadays. What is really impressing is the fact that not only the hurricane itself posts news and updates, but also authorities and news agencies.  

Twitter hashtags #irene and #hurricane kept everyone on the Eastern Seaboard informed over the weekend on the storm’s movement and the damage it left in its wake. Throughout Sunday, when the storm marched through New York and New Jersey, #Irene tweets came in nearly every second. 

News stations used #irene to pour out news updates and hurricane coverage scheduling. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tweeted Sunday to stay indoors, also offering links to news conferences. 

As the storm hit New York City, Mayor Mayor Micheal Bloomberg offered some edicts, and words of encouragement, via Twitter: 

Sunday, 4 a.m.: RT @NYCMayorsOffice: We are in the midst of the most dangerous period of the storm, so for your safety, continue to remain indoors. #Irene

Saturday, 11 p.m.: Please stay where you are until the storm is over. Look out for one another. We will update you tomorrow morning. #Irene

Saturday, 11 p.m.: It doesn’t matter if you’re in a shelter tonight, or in your home, or staying with friends or family. We’re all in this together. #Irene  

A Facebook community page called Hurricane Irene was established on Aug. 21, when Irene was officially given a name. At the time it was a tropical storm. Leading into Monday morning, the page had grown to 20,000 “likes” and featured hundreds of comments, videos and photos. The Facebook Hurricane Irene “interest” page logged nearly 100,000 “likes.” 

One company, Clean Pro Restoration, used the forum to solicit business — ‎”…….FLOODED??? WATER DAMAGE?? STORM DAMAGE? CALL TODAY” — drawing an immediate backlash from the page’s contributors. The comment was removed. The company’s anemic website offers no information about where the company is located or who runs it. 

Social media also served as an outlet for some to complain about nonstop media coverage of the storm. One New Jersey Facebook poster said:

“Is it wrong to opine that if Hurricane Irene doesn’t level the Statue of Liberty, kill me and allow my wife to cash her $1 million life insurance lotto ticket, or turn Princeton New Jersey into Tripoli, it’ll all be a letdown for the masses minions and television anchors and reporters?” 

Another Tweet said: “Hurricane Irene is Category 1. CNN hype is Category 4.” 

Source: PR Daily.

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News releases – press releases via Public Relations for Dummies


In “Public Relations for Dummies” 2nd edition , authors Eric Yaverbaum and Bob Bly explain extremely simple the basics of PR for everyone who wants to understand the concept and the need of public relations services.oana vasiliu

Eric Yaverbaum has more than 25 years of experience in the practice of public relations and has earned a reputation for his unique expertise in strategic media relations, crisis communications, and media training. Eric has amassed extensive experience in counseling a wide range of clients in corporate, consumer, retail, technology, and professional-services markets and in building brands such as Sony, IKEA, Domino’s Pizza, TCBY, Progressive Insurance, and American Express, among many others.

Bob Bly is an independent copywriter specializing in traditional and Internet direct marketing. He has written lead generating sales letters, direct-mail packages, ads, scripts, Web sites, Internet direct mail, and PR materials for more than 100 clients, including IBM, AT&T, The BOC Group, EBI Medical Systems, Associated Air Freight.

News releases

Editors get hundreds of press releases weekly, all typed in the correct format,  and they throw out 99 percent of them. A professionally prepared release is important — the editor probably won’t read one that is handwritten on a scrap of grocery bag — but content is what makes your release the one in a hundred that actually gets read and used.

The following factors can help your release stand out from the crowd and actually make it into the publication or program:

  • Make sure that the subject of your release is important to the publication’s readers. If you were the editor and you had dozens of releases but could publish only a few, would you select your own release? Are the information and story in your release really important — not to your business, but to the publication’s readers? If not, forget it and look for a new angle.oana vasiliu
  • Make sure that your release is really news and not just an advertisement in disguise. Editors aren’t in the business of publishing advertising. Almost all will immediately discard publicity that is really advertising in disguise. Of course, most publicity has some advertising value or purpose, but write your publicity to give news or helpful information only.
  • Write your release so that the publication’s readers benefit from it. Your publicity will get published more often if it contains important news that will benefit the publication’s readers. This could be new technology that the readers will be interested in, helpful information, or an emerging trend.
  • Keep it short and to the point. Editorial space is very limited, and busy  editors don’t have the time to sort through irrelevant copy and cut it  down to the main points. Write clear and crisp sentences using only the important, relevant information. Tighten the writing. Keep paragraphs and sentences concise. Avoid jargon and repetition. Use strong verbs. Create lively, but accurate, text.
  • Include what the editor wants in your press release. That is, does it have facts to back up your statements? Include the who, what, when, where, how, and why details.
  • Use subheads in longer stories, at least one per page. A subhead is a smaller head that divides documents into sections, as do the smaller subheads throughout this book. Subheads in a press release help the editor grasp the entire story at a glance.
  • Consider adding a tip sheet for details that would otherwise clutter your release. For example, a new restaurant, when sending out a press release announcing its grand opening, included a separate tip sheet listing five specialty dishes along with the ingredients and recipes.
  • Make the release stand on its own. Don’t include a cover letter. If you feel a cover letter is needed to explain why are you sending the release or why an editor should be interested in using it, then your press release isn’t strong enough. Go back and rewrite your press release until it’s irresistible to editors.
  • Get all the facts and establish perspective before starting to write. Adding and rewriting later costs time and money.
  • Keep the news up front, not behind the interpretation or buried in paragraphs of analysis.
  • Cut out puffery; stick to newsworthy information.
  •  Put opinion and interpretation in an executive’s quotation. For example: “Within a decade, file transfer between different computer platforms will be seamless and device-independent,” says Bill Blathers, CEO, MicroExchange Software.
  • Use straightforward headlines. Forget the cute headline that forces an editor to dig through a paragraph or two to discover the who, what, when, where, and why. The headline should summarize the release so that an editor quickly understands your point.
  • Leave plenty of white space (blank space). Doing so is especially important at the top of page 1 because editors like room to edit. Doublespace and leave wide margins. Never use the back of a page.
  • Write for a specific editorial department: news, lifestyles, real estate, financial, new products. Similarly, provide separate story slants (in separate releases) for different categories of magazines. To publicize a directory of free information, for example, press releases could highlight the free information resources of interest to different editors. A press release featuring free information on gardening, real estate, and do-it yourself tips could be aimed at home magazines. A different release featuring free information on starting your own business could target business editors.
  • Create separate, shorter releases for radio and, at minimum, color slides and scripts for television.
  • End releases with a boilerplate paragraph that explains the organization or division. Many press releases include, before the closing paragraph containing the response information, a standard description of the company and its products. This information is helpful for editors who are unfamiliar with you or want to give their readers a little more description of who you are and what you do.
  • Consider editing the news release copy for product bulletins, internal publications, and other uses.
  • Write to gain respect for your organization and your next release. Be accurate and honest. Present clear and useful organization. Deliver value to the reader. Avoid hype and blatant self-promotion.
  • Streamline the clearance process so that only two or three executives approve each release. Doing so saves time and minimizes the chance to muddy the text.

The information is entirely copied from “Public Relations for Dummies” just because I consider it essential for everyone interested in writing not only a press release, but also any type of material for the mass-media.

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Pronunciation and spelling – big issues

oana vasiliuWe have to admit that not everyone has a natural language talent and can pronounce correctly names, places, locations, especially if these aren’t in the native language.

Spelling city offers us some scientific explications, which are extremely useful.

The importance of spelling has been questioned in recent years, as word processing programs are equipped with spell checkers, and some educational reformists have suggested that focusing on spelling holds back the creative processes of writing.  Reading Specialist Susan Jones, M.Ed., has researched how spelling improves reading and writing fluency and how it improves vocabulary and comprehension.  Professor Jones helps Vocabulary and SpellingCity.com as a member of the newly-formed educational advisory committee.  Below is her recent paper debunking some common myths about spelling and helping to establish the importance of spelling in education.

The Importance of Spelling
by Susan Jones, M. Ed.  2/2009

Spelling over the last few years has been the subject of a commonly mailed piece of Internet “wisdom.” And I quote:

 Aoccdrnig to rscheearch by the Lngiusiitc Dptanmeret at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.Translation: According to research by the Linguistic Department at Cambridge University, it doesn’t matter in what order the letters in a word are, the only important thing is that the first and last letter be at the right place.  The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without a problem. This is because the human mind does not read every letter by itself, but the word as a whole.
This paragraph has been widely circulated on the Internet since 2003, and it is still referred to, either as a point of interest or to defend inconsistent (poor) spelling, or choosing not to teach it. Is it because it rings of the truth that it makes scholars and educators cringe? Hardly. Among other things, there was no such research, and the words in the passage don’t follow the rule of “only the first and last words matter.”  It’s a myth. It is fluent readers who can figure out this highly predictable text – and the path to fluent reading includes a firm foundation in the sounds represented by letters and their spelling .
oana vasiliu

In journalism and PR, these issues are extremely important: your mistakes are seen by thousands if not millions of persons. Some of these mistakes are drastically punished, from cuts of salary to losing their jobs.

Online TV, in the breaking news section, is the most predictable place to make mistakes. You may have a prompter, but transmitting live can be sometimes overwhelming, especially if the subject is very juicy.

Please take a look on Obama vs Osama:

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Crisis management: Titanic case

oana vasiliuIf something can go wrong, it will“, says one of Murphy’s laws.  A crisis is a major occurrence with a potentially negative outcome affecting the organization, company, industry, publics, products, services or good name. A crisis interrupts normal business transactions and can sometimes threaten the existence of the organization.

Almost 100 years ago, in 1912, the British had to deal with one of the well known crisis: the sinking of the Titanic.

As everyone knows, Titanic was one of several ships of the White Star Line. In that time, the first competitor of White Star was the Cunard Line, which had two ships: the Luisitania and the Mauritania. White Star placed itself as the best ship-building company; the size, elegance, sumptuousness and safety were its main characteristics.

In 1910, White Star Line had three ships to launch – the Olympic, the Titanic and the Gigantic. Great publicity was made to promote these luxurious ships. Titanic was called “the largest moving object in the world”. A promotional brochure claimed the Olympic and the Titanic “designed to be unsinkable”.

Titanic personnel were chosen to appeal to a celebrated and wealthy clientele. The Captain, E.J.Smith, was the highest-paid captain on the seas.

With such a fully equipped ship and the best personnel, they didn’t find necessary to develop a crisis management plan (CMP) or a crisis communication plan (CCP). The ship couldn’t sink, as they said, and nothing could possibly happen. There were medical facilities, for a worst case scenario and if help needed, personnel could radio other ships.

What would have happened if it existed that time a CMP ?

oana vasiliuA CMP would have detailed what would be done in the event of fire and other tragedies-how evacuation would take place, how to conduct practice drills for the crew and possibly passengers, who would lower the lifeboats, who would ensure that passengers were guided safely to the closest lifeboats and ships, who would contact persons ashore by radio, when crew members would save themselves, and so on. A CMP would also include making sure effective insurance policies were in place.

The CMP would include the crisis communication plan. This means it would include notification of the home office, where personnel acting as public relations professionals would in turn notify the press, White Star Line executives and employees and passenger’s relatives. The CCP would also include the details about who would be the spokesperson. In Titanic case, Capt. Smith could have been the best person if he had survived, but Smith went down with the ship. However, the managing director of White Star, J. Bruce Ismay, was abroad, survived, and was rescued from a lifeboat sent from the Carpathia.

As media communications, there were two persons involved from White Star. Harold Bride, a radio operator on the Titanic who worked for Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company, one of the survivors picked up by Carpathia. He wrote the first account of the tragedy that he sent to the New York Times by wire from the rescue ship. Phillip A.S. Franklin, who had been hired to head White Star’s New York office, called together a kind of crisis communication team.

Headlines after the tragedy

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The morning before the sinking, New York Times ran a story announcing that the “The New Giantess Titanic” would soon arrive in New York, as part of a PR campaign of brand-awareness.

Other newspapers’ headline indicated that the editors were much less aware of accurate details of the story. Many newspapers assumed that the passengers were rescued, if not everyone, the majority. After the first press conference, the journalists were so amazed of the official news that the Titanic sank, that they all left to call the news and not hear the rest of the details.

Beyond the tragedy and the impressive amount of lives lost in the accident, after 100 years, the Titanic still remains an interesting subject to discuss, from many points of view.

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

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