Simply Shelley


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Topic of the Week category.

TOW– helpful tips

So to conclude my blog for my Spring 2010 PR Writing course, I want to give the next group of “bloggers” that are coming a list of helpful hints that I would have appreciated having before I began my one blog in January. My “top ten” list is not going to make blogging a breeze or anything, but I hope that it will give a little insight and let others know that it is NOT impossible, even though it can be stressful and even annoying at times.

And so my top ten list begins:

  1. Try to do all your blogs every Monday. Or you could pick any day out of the week, Monday was just the day that I picked because it was easy to remember and then you did not have to think about blogging for another week!
  2. Watch or listen to more news and read up on some PR websites. Doing this helped me a lot when writing the PR Connection blogs.
  3. READ THE CHAPTERS! it makes writing the key point blogs easier, and it is also a plus for when you have to take the RATS online!
  4. When blogging, really try to learn instead of getting the blog out of the way.
  5. Do not procrastinate. I know that it is hard not to, but make yourself do everything before a new week starts.
  6. Learn how to put in hyperlinks, pictures, and that kind of stuff into a blog early into the semester because it makes blogs more fun to read and to write!
  7. Get together with people in your class to agree to comment on each others’ blogs weekly. This gives you more experience when commenting and it is an easier way to start commenting.
  8. Learn to love your blog!
  9. Make blogging fun! This will make more people want to read what you have written
  10. Stay ahead of schedule, it makes things a lot less stressful!

TOW — NewsU

For this week’s TOW (Topic of the Week), we had to enroll in a course at NewsU called Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling. This course went over five sections: choosing a story, making a storyboard, reporting with multimedia, editing for the web, and producing the story. At the end it gives examples and resources for further knowledge. I prefer these course because it gives you the opportunity to learn, while not wasting any time like some classes do. At first I thought that these course would be boring, but there are not because of the interactive side of the course.

What did I learn?

  • I learned that a lot more goes into making a storyboard than I thought. I did not realize that a storyboard rough draft includes a home page, the quest, a bio, rocks, and a racetrack playa. That is a lot of planning, but it is ok, because I am good at planning and organizing.

What surprised you?

  • Like I said earlier, I am an extremely organized person, so it surprised me that I could put it to good use when working with a multimedia story.

What I would like to know more about?

  • I would like to know more about how people come up with ideas for multimedia stories. I might be an organized person, but I am slightly lacking on the creative side. I wish that they had put a section in the course about how to brainstorm and be more creative when making stories.

Overall, I enjoyed this course. The activities that were in certain sections really made me think and spend more time when reviewing everything in this course. I feel like I have learned the most from this course out of any other that we have done. Here is the link to the NewsU’s Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling, https://www.newsu.org/node/338.


TOW Week 13

I thought that this was such a funny topic to write about when I first read the assignment because before I changed my minor to Communication Studies, I was majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Journalism. Ironic, right? So this blog is all about how public relations professionals can drive journalists crazy, and what we can do to prevent this from happening in the future.

10 reasons why PR professionals drive journalists crazy:

  1. Using excessive hype about a topic — In this case the PR professional should tone down whatever is being written, if that is possible.
  2. Not doing necessary “homework” — PR professionals should make sure to do proper research before anything else.
  3. manipulation of the media — PR professionals should be honest and open with the media. Trust is very important.
  4. Taking work away — PR professionals should be more understanding of journalists feeling not needed.
  5. Scheduling a news conference — PR professionals should schedule these at the most convinent time for the reporter/journalist.
  6. Choosing a location — same reason as #5.
  7. Sending Invites — invitations should be sent to any potential reporter/journalists so that no one feels left out.
  8. Handling a conference — PR professionals should keep it short and sweet so that journalists can only get the most important facts.
  9. Acccessibility after a conference — a PR professional should be available after a conference to be interviewed more by the reporters.
  10. Making Journalists sound boring — A PR professional should not put down the work of any journalist.

To sum all of this up, I really think that PR professionals and journalists should be considerate of each other. Isn’t some of this what we learned in kindergarten (sharing, playing “nice”, etc…)? Hope this is helpful! I had a hard time coming up with 10 reasons, so if anyone has any other reasons, I would love to hear them!


TOW 12 — For Immediate Release

For our topic of the week (TOW) for week 12 of our semester, we were supposed to listen to at least an hour of a PR/marketing podcast. I decided to listen to For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report. This podcast was downloaded on March 25, 2010 and the title of the blog that it falls under is The Hobson & Holtz Report — Podcast #537: March 25, 2010. This was a 68 minute podcast recorded live from West Hills, California. I had never personally listened to a podcast ever before, so this was interesting and a new way to hear news in PR.When I am chilling in my room, I usually play music, and I had never really thought that instead of listening to music I could put on a podcast and listen and actually lear something instead of hearing the same songs over and over and over.

This podcast was about several different types of social media and communication. The speaker spoke about a conference that he had just been to that was focused on social networking. In the world that we are living in now, isn’t social media so important? I think so. Even though I am not the best at it yet, I am learning through the different activities that we are doing in my PR Writing class. I already had Facebook and email, but I had to start a twitter account and a PR Open Mic account in the last few weeks and that has opened my eyes to what you really can do through the new technologies.

I think that podcasts are great for PR students and professionals as well because it gives news that you would not normally hear on a television news channel. I also think that this is great for discovering new, more creative ways of doing things in your company or organization.

Here is the link to the podcast that I listened to… http://forimmediaterelease.biz/


Infographics — TOW week 11

While I was reading Dennis L. Wilcox’s textbook Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th Edition, I found out a few things about infographics. Infographics are computer – generated artwork that attractively displays simple tables and charts. The use of infographics was first used by USA Today and other newspapers around the nation followed their lead.

These could be helpful to a client because it is more than an everyday picture. It shows information from a graphic  instead of just a photo. The example given in our textbook was a chart that was featured in USA Today’s “US Snapshot” series. It was only a bar chart giving the main reasons why people get stressed about business travel. Number one on the list was “time away from family” with 75% and only 20% reported stress filling out expense reports. This information was needed for MCI’s “Meetings in America” survey. Good to know…

Infographics can be created by using Microsoft Office applications or more sophisticated software from Adobe, such as InDesign or Illustrator. Small dailies and thousands of weeklies lack such capabilities and often are interested in receiving simple, colorful charts in addition to high-resolution photos. Larger dailies usually have their own graphic departments and make their own infographics.

Here is the link to the textbook… http://www.amazon.com/Public-Relations-Writing-Media-Techniques/dp/0205648282


PROpenMic — TOW 9 & 10

PROpenMic is a pretty cool website that our professor asked us to sign up and check out as PR students. This website has anything and everything imaginable for a PR student or professional. There are blogs, forums, videos, pictures, groups, events, opportunities for jobs and internships, and many more things to look at and learn from.

I particularly enjoyed reading a few of the blogs. My favorite blog with a very innovative idea was called ‘Panama City Beach Confused by Publics’ by Emily Hunter. Here is the link to this blog :  http://www.propenmic.org/profiles/blogs/panama-city-beach-confused-by

Since I am a college student who will be doing the whole “job search thing” in less than a year, I thought it was really cool that people could post job and intern openings right on PROpenMic. Even though I am not looking for a job at the moment, it was cool to be able to look through this list. Here is the link to the Jobs/Internship page : http://www.propenmic.org/page/jobsinternships-main

Even though this might sound like a bad excuse, I have a hard time trying to find a lot of news about PR issues and I normally resort to blogging about the latest television show that has some connection to PR. BUT, on PROpenMic there is a link under resources called PR News and it just has a huge list of news that has been going on in the PR world! This is awesome, I finally have more news to write about instead of solely television shows! Here is the link to the PR News site : http://www.propenmic.org/page/pr-news

All in all, this site was really helpful and fun to check out. I think that I will really enjoy going back to PROpenMic to just see whats going on in the world of PR. I’m glad that we had to do this for class!

That’s all for now!!


NewsU – The Lead Lab TOW 8

There was so much information in the NewsU The Lead Lab course that I do not even know where to start! I felt like a lot of the information was stuff that I had at least heard before, and so that made me very happy! Doesn’t it feel good to know that you know something? I think so. But anyway, back to The Lead Lead Lab.

I tend to get so confused at times between what I learn for my communication studies research papers, my journalism news stories, and my pr news releases and such! They all have things in common but they seem different at the same time.

I learned that you can actually start a lead with quotations. Who knew? I sure did not. I thought that was very cool because it allows you as the writer to add variety to your news release.

One thing that surprised me was when it said that when writing a news release, you should put yourself in the shoes of the viewer or the in the audience role. That is a really neat concept to me because you have to be other-oriented when writing as well as focusing on your own goals.

I would like to know more about the actual “set up” of a news release. I am a very organized and I really like to have a certain structure that I must use at all times. I know that it sounds like I just want it to be easier for me, but the truth is that I just want it to be right.

That is all for now!

here is the link to NewsU The Lead Lab … http://www.newsu.org/courses/lead-lab


My Twitter Experience

I have to say that when I first heard about our twitter assignment, I was not excited, at all. I have always heard that people either obsess about it or do not like it at all. I am not the best with the computer, internet, new things, etc, as bad as that sounds, so needless to say, I was extremely nervous. It literally took me forever to set up everything and figure out the ins and outs of twitter. I did eventually learn and I think that I became much better at it by the end of the week. I did struggle with little things such as shorting a website to post, and the retweets, and I never really figured out the number signs (#) with letters after them. I know that I probably sound like such an old woman, but I really was trying. I actually replied more than was necessary just because I liked it. I like that Twitter offers the availability for people to share ideas and help each other out, even if they do not really know each other that well. Obviously, it is GREAT for social networking.

What I got out of it? I learned that learning new things on the internet is okay. I also realized that it is a really neat way to share thoughts and ideas and have people to reply to them.

I think that it is a good idea to continue my twitter account for several reasons. Since I will be graduating next spring (yay!) I think that it is good for me to have a twitter just to know what is going on in the PR world. I have actually learned a lot from it in the next few days. I also think that it is fun and a good way to keep in touch with friends!

link to my profile, check it out! http://twitter.com/shelleylmartin


TOW week 6

So the topic of this blog is “what makes a story newsworthy?” I think that there are many different factors that are involved in making a story important to the people who are reading it. Some factors that make a story newsworthy to me are proximity, timeliness, prominence, significance/impact, and unusualness.

  • Proximity – If I am going to read an article, I am going to want to know how close whatever it is that I am reading is to me. I think proximity is so important because people are not going to want to read about news that is not relevant to their own city. For example, my hometown newspaper would give news from other parts of Georgia and people would always complain that they did not care about those things.
  • Timeliness – If an event or accident happens, I believe that the story should be written about it within a day or two. If too much time goes by, then it will not really be relevant to the reader.
  • Prominence – People love reading about famous people, look at all of the tabloids. It makes sense because readers like it.
  • Significance/Impact – When I start to read a story, I usually start thinking, “what am I going to get out of this story?” If the answer is nothing, I do not keep reading.
  • Unusualness – Readers do not want to always hear about the same old stuff, so when you can tell them about a rare occurrence, that’s awesome!

That is all for now! I hope it’s helpful!


Snickers for Everyone!!

I think that I would have to say that my favorite commercial during the Super Bowl was the Snickers commercial with Betty White in it. How cute is she?! I love to watch her, she has such personality especially for an older actress. She seems to fit right in with the young and upcoming actresses. Not to mention, her Lifetime Achievement Award speech at the SAG Awards was just so simple and perfect. So not only am I a fan of Betty White, but I am also a HUGE fan of Snickers. What can I say, they are one of my biggest weakness (especially the ice cream snickers), but we need to stop talking about that before I get hungry!

I was impressed by this commercial because of how it was not only targeted at young, male football players. Even though that was the main target of the commercial, I do not think it was the only one though. It shows that even “older” people like snickers and need one every now and then! But then it does not only show young football players and “older” people, it also shows a young woman, so therefore young women can have Snickers too!

So in my opinion, I think that this commercial really is targeted for the majority of people. Young, old, men, women. So what does this tell us?When you are hungry or need a “pick me up”, grab a Snicker!

here is the commercial for you on youtube… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1Sv_z9jm8A