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Chapter 1 - Communication Theory and News Values
Despite the changes which have occurred in news reporting during the past 20-plus years and the challenges they present for today’s media writers, there remain basic principles that govern how a message is communicated and received. After reading the chapter, you should have an understanding ofbasic communication theories that impact the communication process. You should also come away with an appreciation of the importance of communication in today’s society and the mix of factors which go into information gathering and dissemination in today’s 24/7 media environment.
If you’re not already a news consumer, start now to read a newspaper daily and tune in to radio and television news to get a feel how news is written and stories are selected for presentation. This chapter deals in communication theory, but theory is not an abstract. Think about the ways in which these various theories go into news reporting and the impact they have on your life, too.
Questions to Consider:
- What has been the impact of what your text calls the New New Media and why is it important to print and broadcast journalists, as well as public relations professionals?
- Is Lasswell’s theory of the surveillance, correlation and transmission function of the press still valid, more than 50 years after it was first formulated? Explain.
- Which press theory is “best”: libertarian or social responsibility? Why?
Define and explain the importance to media writers of two of the following terms:
- Cognitive dissonance
- Perceptual distortion
- Individual differences theory
- Selective processes
- Wants and needs gratification theory
- Agenda setting
- Status conferral
- Issue attention cycle
- So, why don’t people like the media? What can be done about it?
Getting Started - In the Beginning is the Lead
Probably the most important paragraph in a news story is the lead. It must tell the essentials of the story and be written in such a way that entices the reader to read on. But how are those decisions made regarding what information goes into a lead? This chapter opens by defining the elements going into the definition of news, discusses the logic of the inverted pyramid story structure, and lays out the fundamentals of writing a lead paragraph. The summary lead that succinctly summarizes newsworthy information is the basic form of lead, but there are a variety of others, not only for print but for broadcasting and public relations as well. After reading this chapter, you should have an understanding of the criteria for news and be able to identify various lead forms and how they may most effectively be used.
Learning the techniques of journalistic writing is akin to learning the structure of a foreign language. While we will tell you that writing should “read” well and be conversational, there is still a subtle difference between news writing and the spoken word, or news writing and literature. One of the best ways to become a proficient news writer is to read what others have written. Start with leads: read a newspaper every day and study how writers lead into various stories. Examine how information is organized, words and phrasing polished. Watch television news and see how reporters pull readers into the story with a well-crafted lead-in.Remember, too, that good writing means re-writing. Thus, in doing assignments, don’t just be satisfied with the first draft. Smooth, polish, and make sure what you have written says what you want to say.
Questions to Consider:
- What are the different ways news is defined for print, broadcasting and public relations?
- Look at the definitions of what makes news. Is anything missing? Do these classifications guarantee that what is important will be covered?
- How is the inverted pyramid structured?
- What elements should be part of the print journalism lead?
- What are the different types of print journalism leads? Broadcast journalism leads?
- What factors determine whether a name is used in a lead, or delayed?
- What are things to avoid in composing print journalism leads? Broadcast journalism leads?
Chapter 3 - Legal Considerations in Media Writing
The chapter seeks to provide a primer on libel and defamation as applied to the mass media.By the chapter’s conclusion, you should be able to explain the elements of a legal definition of defamation, libel and invasion of privacy and show familiarity with the basic facts of foundational and current cases involving defamation. Other objectives are to develop an understanding of the differing standards related to defamation for print and broadcast journalism, an awareness of limitations of the Freedom of Information Act, and a realization of regulatory differences between print and broadcast journalism.
The unique quality of our system of government is its adherence to a set of laws, the most vital being the legal protection for freedom of speech and the press. Look at what authoritarian governments do to those who want to exercise the equivalent of our First Amendment rights. Visit the websites of the Committee to Protect Journalists (cpj.org), Reporters Without Borders (rsf.org), Human Rights Watch (hrw.org) or Amnesty International (amnesty.org). It’s a sad litany: political dissidents are jailed and tortured for speaking out against dictatorships or political oppression; newspapers and broadcast outlets are arbitrarily trashed or shut down for investigating graft, corruption or cronyism; reporters and editors are jailed, ambushed by gunmen, or simply vanish into the night and fog, never to be heard from again. If our First Amendment freedom of speech and the pressis allowed to be whittled away, there ultimately goes freedom of political thought, action, and our democratic system. While speech and publication may at times be hateful or obnoxious, it is the price we pay for liberty.
Questions to Consider:
- Why do we need libel laws? Shouldn’t the “marketplace of ideas” provide enough of an opportunity for truth to emerge? Explain.
- The “chilling effect” of threatened lawsuits “means the public does not get the news and information it should have.” But should that be the role of the media? Should the press instigate exposes, or just report the news? Explain your answer.
- Analyze the conflict between the First and Sixth Amendments. Is there any way to resolve the legitimate differences between the media and the courts without sacrificing press freedom or a fair trial for the accused?
- Should there be shield laws for journalists? Analyze the pros and cons.
- What is the Freedom of Information Act, and why is it important to journalists and the public they serve?
- Given the number of cable channels on the air, is the “Doctrine of Scarcity,” which justifies governmental regulation of broadcasting, still valid? Explain.
Chapter 4 - Ethical Considerations in Writing and Reporting
The goal of this chapter is to help you begin to develop a sense of media ethics. They do not exist in abstract, however, because any set of ethical values is merely another aspect of your nature. Woven throughout this chapter, then, are ethical considerations to help you begin to develop a set of professional ethics of your own.Realize, though, that ethics often collide with the realities of the media marketplace, especially in these lean economic times. This chapter discusses some of the shortcomings of the media, actual and perceived, notes similarities in the standards of the various professional codes of ethics, and looks at how journalism could be made better. The chapter concludes with an admonition about plagiarism.
“Media ethics” is not an oxymoron, no matter what the critics say.This is not to deny that, for seemingly good reasons, politicians and a large segment of the public are angry at “The Media” because they don’t like what they are being told and are increasingly dissatisfied with the quality of news and information they receive. That anger is unfortunate because most of those who work diligently in print, broadcasting and public relations have high personal and ethical values and take seriously their responsibilities in the information process. Economic realities can intrude on the highest of ethical principles, however. Periodically, television stations decide to go back to “real news,” then watch their ratings drop precipitously before returning to the previous vapid format. Newspaper circulation, in free-fall is doing whatever it can to attract readers. Those are not factors conducive to a free and responsible press. Your challenge will be to provide meaningful news and information for audiences despite those pressures.
Questions to Consider:
- What is the ideal relationship between news reporters and sources? Why?
- News reporters and public relations practitioners subscribe to codes of ethics. Why? Why at times do some appear to violate the standards of those codes?
- Surveys show there has been a decline of hard news during the past 30 years. Is that merely evidence of changing priorities on the part of audiences, or are the media contributing to a cultural decline that is reflected in criticisms of the press?
- What should citizens expect from the press? Are the principles expressed by the Committee of Concerned Journalists valid, or are they increasingly irrelevant in this fast-paced, 24/7 multimedia environment with hundreds of “information distribution portals”?
- “Individuals [should live] up to his or her personal standards and code of ethics.” But is that enough in this increasingly economics-driven media environment? Explain your answer.
- What are some of the ways to avoid inadvertent plagiarism?
Chapter 5 - Fundamentals of Writing and Editing
Media writers seek to inform, motivate and persuade. To accomplish this goal, they use simple, everyday words in original combinations to create rich understandings and new insights for their readers. The objectives for this chapter are to enable students to effectively use standard conventions of the English language, to construct simple and understandable messages, to enhance the meaning words convey, and to avoid biased language.
The best way to master the written language is to read. Read novels. Read magazines. And, since you are aspiring to go into the communication field, read newspapers and magazines. In that way you will learn the nuances of the English language and become more expressive in your writing. But, read!
Questions to Consider:
- What are the principles of standard usage?
- What are the principles of simple language?
- What are the principles of meaningful language?
- What are the principles of inclusive language?
Chapter 6 - Basic News Stories
News is a combination of what people want and need to know. But in what way should this information be prioritized? What goes where, and why? This chapter introduces the fundamentals of print reporting and explains what information should be included in everyday news stories. Its discussion of inverted pyramid organization, the importance of style, and avoiding legal pitfalls will enable you to write effectivenews, accident, fire and crime stories.
The chapter also examines the structure of three distinct types of stories: obituaries, rewrites and roundups. Goals for this chapter include developing the ability to write accurate, complete obituaries, and to demonstrate an understanding of some of the issues of ethics and good taste related to obituary writing. You will develop other skills, including the ability to rewrite news stories for later editions or follow-up articles, updating and localizing information, and to rewrite news releases, as well as prepare roundups and news briefs in a manner appropriate for newspaper publication.
In Chapter 2, you learned about summary leads and the basics of structuring a news story. The current chapter seeks to flesh out those concepts with information that will be of value to you if you work on your campus newspaper or take a summer internship at a small-market newspaper. Again, read and study how news stories are composed and developed. In many respects, journalism is a language in and of itself that skillfully packages the who, what, when, where, why and how of a news event into a logical order. Study how it’s done, then adopt those techniques into your writing.
Questions to Consider:
- What are some basic commonalties between accident, fire and crime stories?
- How do you avoid libel problems in writing crime stories?
- Why might a story be written with a chronological, narrative structure instead of the traditional inverted pyramid?
- Why are obituaries important, even though they may seem to be routine?
- Which elements are included in an obituary?
- When does news judgment come into play in writing obituaries?
- What questions need to be asked before beginning the rewrite of a news service story or news release?
- Give some examples of cosmetic changes that can be made in rewrites.
- What are second cycle and follow-up stories? Enterprise stories?
- What are the differing roles of the public relations professional and journalist in preparing news for publication?
- What are the hazards of working with news releases supplied by persons with no journalistic background?
- What writing and editing cautions should you exercise in the preparation of roundup articles?
Chapter 7 - Interviewing: Gathering Information from People
Whether you are interested in becoming a print or broadcast journalist or a public relations practitioner, interviewing is at the heart of most of what you will do. While there is no such thing as a “standard” form of interview, this chapter seeks to developin you an understanding of the characteristics of a good interview. The goal is to enable you to recognize the kinds of research important in developing interview questions, as well as to give you the opportunity to demonstrate an ability to write appropriate questions for various types of interviews, to select interview subjects, and to handle sensitive or difficult interview situations.
One of the best ways to begin developing your skills as an interviewer is to read and listen to interviews and analyze how they are structured and handled. Often, print interview stories appear as sidebars to the main story: a political figure expands on a policy issue; a financial analyst explains the impact of the latest decisions by the Federal Reserve; a witness to a dramatic weather even explains what it was like as the tornado came closer. Read the Q and A interview format and analyze its strengths and weaknesses. Watch local and national television and see how reporters and correspondents conduct interviews. Listen to National Public Radio, which often features in-depth interviews with newsmakers and interesting people. Then, think about what you’ve read and heard and begin applying those concepts into development of your own interviewing skills.
Questions to Consider:
- What are some of the characteristics of a good interviewer?
- What are the three main types of interviews and the two main classes of interviewees?
- How do you decide who to interview?
- How do in-house public relations interviews differ from mainstream journalistic interviews?
- How can you get a reluctant interview subject to talk to you?
- Why is research important prior to an interview?
- Why is it important for the journalist to control an interview?
- Differentiate between off the record and not for attribution. When are they used? Are there any drawbacks to their use?
- Distinguish between open-ended, closed-ended and loaded questions. When is it appropriate to use each type?
- Explain the broad differences in style, content and purpose between interview questions for print, broadcast and public relations.
- How important is personal interaction between interviewer and subject? How can this interaction be enhanced?
Chapter 8 - Research in Communication
Research and analysis plays an important role in media writing, especially with the proliferation of thousands of Websites filled with information of all kinds. The chapter provides a primer about online research techniques, with several exercises designed to make you comfortable using this new technology. It introduces basic research methodology and offers guidelines for critiquing surveys and interpretation of simple statistics.
Today’s media writers must possess a broader knowledge base than ever before, due in part to the proliferation of data and information and the changing nature of the information business. Now, news sources, public relations professionals and journalists are becoming more proactive by digging, investigating and asking more questions than ever before. But with the increased complexity in which media professionals will be working comes the risk of being manipulated by forces that want to set the news agenda their way. Thus, you need to develop a critical thinking mindset that allows the development of inquiry, research and analysis skills.
Questions to Consider:
- Why do we need research in media writing, and how important is research to the journalist or public relations professional?
- Why is “objective” reporting impossible? Or is it?
- Differentiate between primary and secondary sources. Why are they important in beat reporting?
- What is CAR? What has been its impact on journalism? Has this impact been good or bad?
- What are some of the cautions media writers should use in analyzing the results of polls and surveys?
Chapter 9 - Using Quotations and Sources in News Stories
Much of the work of reporters is based on interviews and analysis of documents, information which is woven into the traditional inverted pyramid structure. The goal for this chapter is to help you develop an understanding of what material is best quoted and how it should be written. You should acquire the ability to punctuate quotations and use attribution correctly, and to effectively write speech coverage, interview, survey, and government document news stories.
In your reading of news stories, observe how much of the information presented comes either from quotations or from documents. Analyze how it is used and organized. And, are you ready for a challenge? Watch a television newscast and try to take notes from the various sound bites that are used. Or, watch a speech, news conference, or hearing and take notes that you would use in writing a news story about the event. It’s not easy, is it? That’s a case where practice makes perfect.
Questions to Consider:
- What is attribution? When is it necessary to use in a news story?
- Under what conditions should indirect and direct quotes be used?
- What are the rules for placing speech tags in a news story?
- What are the guidelines for using commas and other punctuation marks in conjunction with quotation marks?
- What is the format for a speech story?
- What is the general structure of an interview story?
- What cautions should be observed in assembling and writing interview, speech, survey, or official document stories?
Chapter 10 - Features: Alternative Story Types
In today’s competitive media environment, newspapers increasingly publish alternative-style features, stories written with a variety of writing styles, structures and subjects. The goal of this chapter is to introduce feature writing in order to help you develop an understanding of alternative writing styles for print journalism.At its end, you should be able to write a feature lead and be able to demonstrate an understanding of the characteristics of narratives, color and human interest stories, brights, how-tos, profiles, backgrounders, and anniversary stories.
Read some feature stories that interest you. Read an advance interview done with a rock star or band that you like coming into your area, thenread the review of their performance. Check the sports pages for features about sports figures, look at the financial pages for profiles about business people and companies. Read Sunday paper magazines and explore the variety of features covered, from short vignettes to in-depth investigative pieces that go beyond the level of a traditional news story. Read and read and read. That’s the way to become a good writer.
Questions to Consider:
- What is the purpose of feature stories?
- What are some of the characteristics of features?
- How is a feature lead constructed as compared to a traditional news story lead?
- How is a narrative treatment used in a news story?
- What elements are present in color stories? Human interest stories?
- What is it about the personality profile that distinguishes it from other forms of journalistic writing?
- Why are backgrounders important, and how are they written?
- What traits do you need to develop to become a good feature writer?
Chapter 11 - Preparing Broadcast Copy
An introduction to broadcast newswriting, this chapter builds on the concepts of news and good writing developed in the print writing chapters, then moves on into the differences in writing for broadcast news. Goals are for you to be able to write in formats appropriate for the preparation of radio and television copy, to exhibit an understanding of the difference between writing for print and broadcasting, to demonstrate an ability to write various types of leads and make effective word choices, and to develop an understanding of news judgment in handling news bulletins and assembling stories for newscasts.
Sit down and critically examine some television news broadcasts, both local and national. Listen to a local news radio station if there’s one in your market, or National Public Radio for their in-depth pieces, as well as news on the hour. Listen to the words and phrasing. How are leads written? Do they adequately set up the information that follows? Can you hear the punctuation? How are quotes delivered outside sound bites? How well do the words flow? Are field reports or audio cuts integrated smoothly into the news report? Become a regular news listener and viewer because it will help you in your writing and make you a more informed person.
Questions to Consider:
- Radio-TV copy is written for the ear, not the eye. What are some of the rules for writing good broadcast copy?
- Differentiate between a single act lead, the umbrella or comprehensive lead, and the chronological narrative lead. When and why may each be used?
- What is a soft lead and why is it used in broadcast news copy?
- What are the guidelines for use of names and numbers in broadcast copy?
- What are some of the ways to add strength and clarity to broadcast copywriting?
- How does punctuation used in radio-TV writing differ from that of print?
- The use of quotes and attribution differs from print in what way?
- Why is it important to rewrite and freshen news copy?
- Why do news producers build “peaks and valleys” of information into newscasts? What opportunities does this format present for the public relations practitioner?
- “Don’t editorialize.” Why?
Chapter 12 - Reporting for Radio and Television
This chapter, while continuing the introduction to broadcast copywriting, concentrates more on applications of writing, and points out the importance of prior planning and the team components of a broadcast news operation. The major jobs in the organizational structure of the typical newsroom are identified, and it is explained how a news staff works together to produce a daily radio or television newscast. The various types of script formats and production techniques are described, as are the main concepts in working with sound inserts in broadcast news reports. After reading, you should be able to exhibit an understanding of the essentials of video logic and composition in the production of a television news report, have the ability to explain the difference between sports and weather reporting and other newswriting forms, and have an understanding of the process of preparing public affairs programming, editorials and commentary.
Start watching television news with a more critical eye toward how visuals are integrated into a newscast. While writing is paramount, notice how copy is meshed with visuals to tell the story. Critically examine the field reports and live cut-ins. Does the on-site report aid understanding, or could the information more properly be condensed to an in-studio script?Look carefully at those visuals. Do they follow the pattern suggested in the text? If not, is their technique more or less effective in communicating information? The creation of a broadcast news program is a team effort. The profession is also a great way to make a living!
Questions to Consider:
- What are some of the jobs in a typical television newsroom? Which position would you like to fill, and why?
- What are some of the script formats? Which is most effective in reporting the news?
- How do sound bites influence how scripts will be written? What are the characteristics of a good sound bite?
- What is a lead-in and how is it used?
- Is radio merely television without the pictures? How do you write good radio copy and present an interesting newscast?
- What is basic video logic in covering a fire, accident or similar breaking action story?
- How do you avoid visual dissonance in television?
- What are some of the rules to follow in covering dangerous breaking events?
- How do you deal with advertisers who want you to do stories or who threaten to pull advertising if you run stories they don’t want aired?
- How does sports and weather reporting differ from traditional news reporting? Or does it?
- What are video news releases and why are they controversial?
- What is the role of public affairs broadcasting, editorials and commentary in today’s deregulated broadcast environment?
Chapter 13 - Writing and Reporting in the New New Media
This chapter is written with the realization that much of what is here will have either been outdated or replaced by newer aps or technologies by the time you read these pages. Writing skills for the various media are discussed, and you should be able to exhibit an understanding of the differences in writing for the traditional media, online, and the various social media, and how to use each effectively. The chapterends on questions with which you will have do deal: How do you cope with the plethora of information? How do you make sense of it and convey that information to widely differing audiences? And how do you avoid the burnout that is the inevitable by-product of the 24/7/365 intensity of today’s media?
You should come away with an understanding of how revolutionary this new new media is, and its potential to change the world for good or ill. As suggested with the broadcast chapters, explore the ways in which the new media are being used to convey information. Look at newspaper Websites and see how they have integrated video and links to other sources. Go onto Facebook and see how reporters use it as a way to generate feedback and gather news. Finally, remember that while there are ways to effectively use these new forms of media to communicate information and ideas, there are also social issues that must be considered, as is the case with any technology, new or old.
Questions to Consider:
- What are the implications of Twitter and other social media replacing traditional broadcasting, print and wire services as a source of breaking news?
- Is information via the new technology a radical departure from the past, or merely yet the latest advance in the capability for faster and more widespread news dissemination?
- Examine the print and online versions of a news event. How does online writing differ from newspaper writing? How is it the same?
- What are some of the rules for effective blogging for journalists and public relations practitioners?
- Twitter sets a limit of 140 characters. How effective can a reporter be when faced with that limitation? How can information be maximized with those constraints? Or is that the objective?
- How do you use Facebook in spreading news about your activities? Are there parallel applications for news reporters? Explain.
- The text says: “It seems obvious that this additional pressure on communications professionals (caused by the new technology) cannot but have a negative effect.” Agree or disagree. Explain your answer.
- “Anyone can become a publisher or broadcaster,” the text says. Is this a good development, or do we still need a structure where there are gatekeepers, journalists and editors?
Chapter 14 - Writing News Releases
Competition for media time and space is keen, and the rewards for publicity are fewer than in the past. Yet some public relations practitioners are more successful than others in getting their message out via the media. This chapter seeks to apply the concept of news to public relations writing, discusses ways an organization can make news, and introduces you to the basic public relations writing formats used in media contacts. Its goal is to enable you to write news releases through an understanding of the standard conventions used in writing them. The chapter also touches on the ethical issues governing the symbiotic relationship between journalists and public relations practitioners, offers tips on effectively using op-ed submissions and letters to the editor, and examines the potential offered by the Internet and social media in creating an online newsroom to bypass traditional media gatekeepers.
Carefully examine a newspaper or watch a television newscast and consider how many stories involved input from a public relations person. That news story from a state or federal agency probably started with a news release. Those quotes from the state regulatory agency and the utility company in the story about electric rates were arranged by a PR practitioner. And that report from Afghanistan with the network correspondent in helmet and flack jacket, it was set up by a military public affairs officer who not only provided background and arranged interviews but provided security for the correspondent while they were in front of the camera. Public relations is more than news releases, but that’s often where many stories begin.
Questions to Consider:
- In what ways do today’s news media present fewer opportunities for organizations to disseminate their messages.
- What are some ways to make news for your organization? Do you have any ethical concerns about doing any of these? Why?
- The news release is the most commonly used tool for media relations. What is it, and how does it differ from a traditional news story? How do you write a successful news release?
- What role does the public relations professional have in creating quotes for their organization? What are some strategies to developing effective quotes?
- Why are letters to the editor good vehicles for organizations wishing to provide their comments and viewpoints on issues that concern them? What are some considerations to be taken into account when writing letters to the editor?
- In what way is there a symbiotic relationship between journalists and public relations practitioners? What should public relations writers do to ensure the best possible relationship with journalists?
- What are social media releases, and how do they differ from traditional releases for print media?
- Why are news releases rewritten?
- Three things are necessary to be successful in public relations. What are they?
Chapter 15 - Writing for Organizational Media
Public relations professionalsare responsible for much of organizational communication today. This chapter examines how public relations differs from print and broadcast journalism and explores the role of the public relations practitioner in developing and enhancing mutually beneficial relationships among various publics. You will be introduced to the concept of a planning sheet that aids in the development and implementation of public relations objectives.
Commonly usedcommunications vehicles are discussed—fliers, brochures and newsletters—that require not only writing competence, but imagination in devising page layouts that will effectively communicate an organization’s message. The impact of Internet and social media technologies is examined, with writing tips and an analysis of their advantages and drawbacks. At the conclusion of this chapter you should: have a better understanding of the public relations profession; be able to differentiate the relationship among publics, markets and audiences; demonstrate an ability to prepare an effective flier, outline a brochure and sketch out a newsletter; and be aware of the potential the new technology offers the public relations professional.
To gain a fuller understanding of some of the concepts in this chapter you need to engage in some advance preparation. While we can tell you how to write and prepare fliers, brochures and newsletters, you need to examine how they are written and produced to most effectively convey information. Stop by your community visitor’s center and pick up a half dozen brochures. Think about what makes them effective, or what could be done better. Read newsletters of interest to you. Do they convey information you want to know? Go onto Web sites and social media venues of organizations or businesses and see how they use this technology. If you get into the public relations field, these are skills you will need to develop in order for you to succeed as a professional.
Questions to Consider:
- What are the functions of a public relations practitioner within an organization?
- Differentiate between advertising, marketing, and integrated communication.
- Differentiate between publics, markets, and audiences.
- What are the major differences between fliers and brochures? For what purposes are they used by businesses and organizations?
- What are some of the guidelines for designing effective fliers and brochures?
- What elements lead to effective newsletters?
- What are some guidelines for online writing for public relations purposes?
- From a public relations perspective, what are some advantages and disadvantagesofinteractive Web technology?
Chapter 16 - Advocacy and Speechwriting
While possession of solid writing skills is the major requirement for a public relations professional, another important role is that of an advocate and counselor for the organization, presenting information, interpreting facts, and steering a business or organization toward successful course of action. This chapter explores two aspects of that process:position papers and speech writing. At the conclusion of this chapter, you should be able to exhibit agreater understanding of the role of persuasion in public relations writing, demonstrate the capability of conceptualizing an effective position paper, and have the ability to plan a speech or presentation to an audience.
Plan to take a basic public speaking course during your academic program, as well as an intermediate or advanced speech class. Speaking in public is part of the job description for a public relations professional, so if you are uncomfortable speaking in a group setting, take steps to remedy your discomfiture. You need to develop critical thinking skills, too. The chapter discusses conceptualizing a position paper, as well as organizing a speech. While following a planning sheet helps begin the process, you must fill in the blanks with your best assessment as to how an issue is to be approached. It’s a skill that takes time to develop. Finally, a public relations professional not only needs to become a good counselor, he or she needs to know everything that is going on related to the organization and be aware of outside forces that may have an impact. There’s a public affairs adage that says there’s no such thing as a pleasant surprise. My, is that ever true!
Questions to Consider:
- How is persuasive communication helpful to society? How might it be harmful?
- How does critical thinking help writers avoid making logical errors in discussing controversial issues?
- What is a position statement? How should one be used by a public relations practitioner?
- What are the elements to be included in a position statement?
- What is the relationship between position statements and scripts or notes for speeches?
- One of the steps to successful speechwriting says, “Know the audience.” What does this entail? What factors will you consider?
- The introduction of a speech is analogous to the lead of a feature story. Why? What makes a speech effective? What elements can be in the conclusion of a speech?
- Good speechwriting is similar to broadcast copywriting in what ways?
Chapter 17 - Advertising Copywriting
Increasingly, advertising has become a vital component in an organization’s public message. The goal of this chapter is to illustrate that dynamic and to introduce you to howpublic relations is increasingly fused with advertising and marketing to carry out integrated marketing communications campaigns, where messages have a common voice and theme in order to encourage audiences toward a particular attitude or action. This chapter explores the relationship between advertising and public relations, identifies the various types of advertising available, presents steps in writing effective print and broadcast advertisements,provides tips for effective social media advertising writing, and suggests guidelines for effective appeal letters.
Advertising is often dismissed as background noise, something you go past in reading a newspaper or hit the mute switch when one comes on TV. Advertising, however, is carefully crafted to reach potential consumers and is often paired with public relations campaigns. Study some print ads that you find appealing and consider to whom they are directed and why they are effective. Go online and see how products are advertised, especially for automobiles, appliances, or luxury cruises. Look at advertisers’ Facebook pages and see how this newest of technologies is proving to be just as important as traditional public relations and advertising venues.
Questions to Consider:
- How does advertising differ from public relations?
- How does consumer advertising differ from public relations advertising?
- What are some of the guidelines for developing an effective visual message for print and broadcast advertising?
- What are some of the benefits of advertising in social media?
- What are some of the techniques used in writing successful appeal letters?