Reflecting on Public Relations Writing

Before I took this class, I didn’t have that much experience or knowledge about the elements of public relations writing. I have now learned how to properly write press releases, media advisories, position papers, feature stories, PSA’s and more. Learning the knowledge behind these things has already helped me in my professional career and has allowed me to build my personal portfolio.  I feel like all the fundamentals I learned have allowed me to excel as a writer. I also have picked up on how to properly get the right sources and express my writing in a way that attracts the audience.

My early days in this course started off a little rough. I feel like I didn’t manage my time very well and I rushed through some of the earlier assignments at the beginning of the semester. Although, I did the best I could and received a decent grade, I wish I could go back and put more effort in. I felt a little intimidated because these assignments require a little bit of creativity, and I felt like I lacked that in the beginning. However, after writing more and having more practice opportunities, I feel confident with many of the public relations fundamentals. I feel like I can take what I have learned and practice it successfully in my future career.

I feel like I turned the corner after the media advisories, media pitches, backgrounder and fact sheet assignments. I love writing, but this was a new style of writing for me. I had to open up and not let myself be scared of being creative. Once I got the feel for how things were supposed to flow, I felt more confident. I also had to get used to the online style of the class and keeping up with the assignments. Once I learned that, I managed my time well. I know how important making sure your facts and grammar are in this profession, so I gradually got better at proofreading and looking for errors before I turned an assignment in.

I really enjoyed writing the position paper. I put in a lot of effort and time and I was happy I received such a good grade. I wrote about why the Tipton Children’s Home was a good alternative to the foster care system. I felt like I was more prepared for this assignment, because I had someone read over my work and I was able to catch errors early. I also really enjoyed the topic and was able to put passion into my writing. I felt like my research was very thorough and I was able to back up my facts very well, which I think made my paper seem more credible.

I think if I could go back, I would have given more effort on the picture slideshow and caption assignment. I feel like I gave myself the least amount of time to finish and proofread this assignment, so I wish I would have put more effort in. I had a hard time with trying to find a topic to capture pictures of that was of interest to the OU community. The captions were also hard to write because I didn’t check to see if I used the correct grammar style. I went back and read the rules of writing captions, so now I have a better understanding of how to properly write them.

Overall, I feel like after reading through all the lessons and getting to practice writing like a public relations professional, I was able to really grow and excel as a writer. I can personally tell that my writing has grown stronger and that I can understand the specific fundamentals and writing styles/rules to public relations writing. I loved this class because I have gotten to actually take what I have learned and apply it to my job that I have now. I feel more confident when writing press releases and having to collect facts or create a story that appeals to my audience. I will continue to take what I have learned and use it throughout my life and professional career.

Reflection Post Unit 4.2

For Unit 4.2 I learned and watched a video about caption writing and the components that go with it. Next week, I will pick a story that is related to the campus community and that I can visually tell a story through. I will do this by making a PowerPoint slideshow.

I really enjoyed this unit, because I have a lot of interest in creative writing and photography. At my job now, I am in charge of posting clever social media posts for the company I work for, so I am familiar with trying to attract the reader’s attention. However, I am used to writing long posts or captions, so I can now pick up on how to properly get my point across by keeping captions short and direct. I also learned that in terms of caption writing, you must write in an active voice and present tense. News and feature are the two types of caption writing, and I can now pick up on how to properly place and arrange their components in order to improve the photo’s appearance and effectiveness.

I would like to know what type of photos and photo captions are most appealing to consumers and how to construct captions that are easy to read by the consumers.  I would also like to see an example of a bad cutline, in order to see what to avoid.

I think that this particular skill set fits with my expectations of a public relations professional because they must be able to attract their audiences attention through controlling a story, while making their information clear, direct and understandable.  It is their job make the consumer read the caption and see the picture in a new way. They have to be able to convey an important message to consumers, while only providing brief sentences that also contain the most important details.

I think this will help me in my career because I now know what it takes to write an effective caption. I can apply this to any journalistic opportunity I may have. It will also help me in my work with social media, because it is important to provide pictures with conveying captions to appeal to your audience and grow as a successful writer and professional.

Reflection Post Unit 4.1

This week I reviewed the fundamentals of writing a PSA and next week I will get to put those skills to the test. I am excited about getting to write a PSA because it is not meant to be invasive, but rather raise awareness about a topic and try and change the public’s opinion through persuasion.

I have written a PSA before, but I didn’t get understand all of the aspects behind it like I do now. I think I can pick up on being better at knowing who my audience is when I am writing. A PSA is basically a conversation with yourself so it is important to know how they will respond and how you can connect with them. Also, I think I am able to personalize my messages better because that is key when it comes to relating to your audience.

I think I would like to know more about how to really develop an opening statement and message that will catch their attention and appeal to them. I would also like to ask PR professionals what types of call-to-actions the audience likes and interacts with the best.

I think this skill set meets my expectations of a public relations professional because they need to understand their audience and know how to appeal to them before they create their message. PR professionals want to make sure they are getting their message across but not taking too much attention away from what is most important.

I think this skill set is a good one to have because it teaches me good written and verbal skills, which will be a great aspect to have in my future career. I also think that it will help me when trying to narrow down important topics and deciding how the message should reach certain target audiences.

 

 

 

Reflection Post Unit 3.6

I think my last reflection post was supposed to cover what I was doing this week, so I am going to reflect on writing a feature story (3.5) and Op-Eds and letter to the editor (3.6). This week I wrote a feature story about the advantages and disadvantages of unpaid internships. I interviewed a couple students from OU and did some research over the topic. Out of the list we were given this was the easiest to write about because I have experience with unpaid internships and I know how they can seem unfair. Next week, I will write an opinion editorial and a letter to the editor. I think these two assignments will be more interesting to write about because you can choose something that you are genuinely intrigued by.

I had never written a feature story, so trying to learn how to format one and find the right information was challenging. However, I can now properly use quotations and know where they need to be placed in order for the story to be compelling. I also feel like I have a better understanding of how to present a story to an audience. For next weeks assignments, I feel like I will be able to pick up on how to get your message across using short sentences and using my own voice in my writing.

For feature stories, I would like to know more about the proper headlines and format. I would also like to learn more about the APA writing rules because I struggled when trying to properly use them. For next week, I would like to know if there are any specific rules that you must avoid when writing over an  opinion based topic.

I think that featured stories meet the expectations held by a public relations professional because they know how to present a story in order to meet a certain criteria and meet the standards that are required in order for the audience to find your story compelling. As far as opinion editorials and letters to the editor, I think that these also fit the role of a public relations professional because it is their job to get information out to the public. They also need to keep track of important issues that are affecting the public and that need to be addressed.

Overall, I think that feature stories will help me in my career someday, especially if I am asked to cover a specific topic and include certain sources. I think that opinion editorials and letters to the editor could also help me in the future by teaching me to get my point across with fewer words and helping me build confidence when I need to voice my opinion.

 

Reflection Post Unit 3.5

This week I was asked to write a position paper on the efficacy of The Tipton Children’s Home as a viable option to the Oklahoma DHS foster system. Through different statistics, credible sources and additional information, I was able to write a paper on why Tipton Children’s Home is the best option for youth. Although it was challenging I feel as though I gained a lot of knowledge on how to successfully write a position paper.

I think some things that I can pick up on now that I couldn’t before is to see how the different aspects of the paper come together. When I first began writing the paper I felt lost because I was nervous that my work wasn’t going to flow together, but in the end it turned out to be a pretty solid paper. After actually getting to write the counter-argument portion, I think I have a better understanding of how it is supposed to be presented and what information needs to be included.

I would’ve liked to actually had a full example of a position paper. I would still like to learn how to properly format a position paper.  I was a little confused on how to format the paper when I was writing it and there were a lot of different approaches the internet had examples of. I also would like to know what sites are considered more credible than others, and if that plays an important role in communicating your message effectively.

I think that this skill set fits my expectations of a public relations professional because they have to make sure their research is accurate and what they are presenting in their paper is valid. It is their job to persuade and make something sound good, so the skills of writing a position paper relate to how crucial it is for them to successfully convey their input on an issue or situation.

Finally, I am glad I was able to write this paper and see how it is formed. I think this particular skill set will help me in my career as far as conducting important research. It will also help me develop strong written skills and enhance my ability to form a valid argument.

Reflection Post Unit 3.4

This week we were asked to watch a video about how to write a position paper, because next week we will be writing one on our own. In the video, I learned what a position paper was. It is similar to a thesis. In a position paper you must take a position and then broadcast an opinion. There are 4 parts to a position paper. The first part is the introduction which includes the thesis and summary. Next, counter arguments are included and evidence to support the thesis. The last part of the paper is the conclusion, which is a summary of main points or reasons.  Next week, we will write a  paper on the effectiveness of The Tipton Children’s Home as a viable option to the Oklahoma DHS foster system.

I haven’t had a lot of experience writing position papers, but after watching the video I feel confident that I can write one. Since we have been working with the Tipton Children’s Home, I feel confident with their information and can write a good opinion paper over the issue. The parts of a position paper are pretty similar to other papers, but I think writing the counter-argument will be the most challenging. Tipton Children’s Home provides a lot of information and there is a lot of information over foster systems, so I feel confident that I will be able to argue my position.

I would like to see more examples of position papers, to see how the counter-argument section is supposed to be written and how you can convince the audience that your opinion is valid. I also want to know if there is an easy way to research information and evidence that is relevant for your topic.

I think that this skill set fits with my expectations of a public relations professional because their job is important to making sure that the audience listens to what they have to say and finds them credible. They have to make sure that their research is thorough and convincing, all while staying organized.

I see this skill set helping me in my career because to write a position paper, you must stay organized and be able to find credible research information in a timely manner. For position papers you must believe what you write and that is an important asset to have in the professional field.

Reflection Post Unit 3.3

This week was definitely more challenging than any of the others. We were asked to create a backgrounder and fact sheet for the Tipton Children’s Home. We were given specific directions to follow in order to complete the assignment. For the fact sheet we were asked to write down the key facts about the program and create a one page presentation for it. For the backgrounder assignment, we were asked to write an in-depth information sheet over a specific issue.

The backgrounder assignment was much more difficult than the fact sheet. I have had experience making fact sheets in the past, and it was pretty easy to pick up on how to format it properly and make it unique. However, I learned that trying to word information that is presented in a fact sheet takes time and consideration. Since I have had no previous experience with creating a backgrounder, I did not know how to properly format it. I now realize the importance of backgrounders, because they help present information over an important issue in a clear and easy way to understand.

I would like to know more about all the different ways you can get creative with fact sheet and backgrounder formats, while still presenting the information in a professional manner. I would also like to learn more information on how to address the issue in a backgrounder.

I think these skills are important for a public relations professional because they need to be able to organize information about their client or company in a timely and professional manner. It is important for them to make sure they have their facts straight, because they need for their readers to be able to easily understand the information and not be confused after they read it.

I think these particular skill sets will help me in my career because they have taught me the importance of being consistent and thorough. This is an important skill to have because you need to be able to gain trust with people reading your information. I now feel prepared to research information and present it in a unique and logical way.

Reflection Post Unit 3.2

This unit was the most fun for me because I got to experience with a lot of hands on public relations material. This week we were asked to create two media pitches and two media advisories. I wrote the media advisories over an open house at Tipton Children’s Home and the Tipton Children’s Home Bikeathon. For the two media pitches, I created one pitch to a reporter from The Lawton Constitution about the bikeathon, and the other pitch was written to a reporter from The Altus Times regarding the Tipton Children’s Home organization.

Since I am not a public relations major, I had a difficult time trying to create the pitches and advisories. I understood the importance of trying to convey the most important material with the least amount of words. I also learned how to incorporate the 5W’s into a media advisory. I also know how to properly format a media advisory now, but the media pitches were a little more difficult since I didn’t have a format to look at.

I would like to know more about how to properly format a media pitch and how to go about doing your research to make sure you send it to reporter that will be worth your time and that will cover your event in the best possible way. I also feel like I still struggle with what information to put into an advisory or pitch. I would like to learn if there is an easy way to detect what important information must always be presented and what information must always be left out.

I think that these skill sets line up exactly with my expectations of the responsibilities of a public relations professional. It is important for them to know how to format these particular media pieces. They write a lot about events and stories for their clients, so having knowledge about how to properly recognize the most important information and using proper formatting skills is a good ability to have.

I think that learning the basics of the media pitches and media advisories will really help me become an established writer in whatever career I pursue. It is important to know how to take information given to you and highlight the most important aspects of it. I think creating and understanding a media pitch will help with developing good communication skills.

 

 

News Release Markup

For this assignment I found a news release from the company Nordstrom and pointed out the important fundamental elements the statement. Below is the picture of the marked up news release and the different elements I pointed out.

Headline

Nordstrom Announces Relocation Of Oak Park Mall Store To Country Club Plaza

Dateline with Lede 

SEATTLE, Feb. 2, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Nordstrom, Inc. today announced plans to relocate its Oak Park Mall store in Overland Park, Kansas, to Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. The new, approximately 116,000-square-foot store is expected to open in 2021. Nordstrom will continue serving customers at its current location in Oak Park Mall until it relocates.

 

Body

“We’ve been fortunate to be able to serve our customers in this market at Oak Park Mall for the past 20 years and look forward to offering them a new shopping experience at Country Club Plaza,” said Jamie Nordstrom, president of stores for Nordstrom. “Kansas City continues to be a terrific market for us. We want to grow our business here, which means we need to invest in bringing our customers the best we have to offer when it comes to both our digital capabilities and our physical locations. By building a new store, we’re excited to provide a new experience that makes shopping with us even more convenient.”

“The addition of a new Nordstrom store advances Taubman and Macerich’s promise to create a modern, point-of-difference experience on the Plaza,” said William S. Taubman, chief operating officer, Taubman Centers, Inc. “Exciting new retail and dining will ensure the district’s future success and that it remains the crown jewel of the market.”

Taubman Centers, Inc. (NYSE: TCO) and The Macerich Company (NYSE: MAC) jointly own and manage the 15-block, 1.3 million-square-foot, mixed-use retail and office property located in Kansas City.

Nordstrom’s Oak Park Mall store opened in 1998 and was the company’s first store in Kansas. Nordstrom currently operates 18 Nordstrom stores and 44 Nordstrom Rack stores in the Midwest.

Boilerplate

About Nordstrom
Nordstrom, Inc. is a leading fashion retailer based in the U.S. Founded in 1901 as a shoe store in Seattle, today Nordstrom operates 366 stores in 40 states, including 122 full-line stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico; 232 Nordstrom Rack stores; two Jeffrey boutiques; two clearance stores; seven Trunk Club clubhouses; and its Nordstrom Local service concept. Additionally, customers are served online through Nordstrom.comNordstromrack.comHauteLook and TrunkClub.com. Nordstrom, Inc.’scommon stock is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol JWN.

End-of-Story Symbol 

There is no end-of-story symbol on this news release but this would be an example of one:

###

Contact Information 

MEDIA CONTACT:
Jennifer Tice Walker
Nordstrom, Inc.
Jennifer.ticewalker@Nordstrom.com
1-877-746-6228

Reflection Unit 3.1

This week we worked more on identifying news releases. For this week’s assignment we were asked to find a news release from the organization of our choice and markup their news release by pointing out the specific parts of it. Next week, I will get some practice of my own and write news releases for the Tipton Children’s Home and the Tipton Home Bikeathon. I am excited to be able to practice and test my knowledge and skills over news releases.

Using the knowledge I learned last week, I was able to attack this assignment with more ease. Last week, I was still a little unsure about identifying the parts of a news release. However, I think that getting to find a news release myself as well as hands on experience with picking out the specific parts,  helped me understand all the individual fundamental elements. I also now understand and know all of the specific names of the parts of a news release such as the  lede, boiler plate, dateline and end-of-story symbol.

I would like to know how much a news or press release costs for an organization. I would also like to know more about how well news releases have functioned since technology has advanced. I am interested to see how it will evolve over time and what kind of changes we can expect.

I think this skill set is one of the most important things for a public relations professional to understand. If you are in this field, you will most likely be the one who releases news statements, so it is really important for any public relations professional to understand how to properly format one.

I think this skill set will help me in my career whether I choose public relations or any other career path. If I were to work in public relations, I would feel fully prepared to write and properly format news releases. However, I also think it is important for anyone to understand the basic fundamentals of how to write a news release because it can help someone in their career with proper grammar, format and writing technique.