PR Writing Post 10

Reflect upon the semester and your growth as a PR writer. Read your response from Post 1. Have you changed? In what way? What did you take away from the class? What techniques will you bring with you as you continue on your educational journey into a career?

There are 38 comments

  1. Raven Gardiner

    Oh my!!! I have definitely changed. This semester has been a roller coaster of stress but it’s absolutely worth it. In my earlier post I wrote about being scared of press releases and blog posts. I feel so much more confident writing press releases. The format and wording gets easier with the more I write. I’ve also realized that they are easier to write if I’m passionate about the topic being written about.

    The editing videos and photos still scares me but I’ll get through it. I’ve had some fun editing pictures but the hardest part would have to be the restrictions that certain photo services place. There is a difficulty because I have to go around the features that I can’t use. Videos seem to be more difficult because the apps don’t allow too much freedom. I’m sure I’ll get to play around with them more.

    My favorite thing this semester would have to be the websites though. It was rough at the beginning of the semester because I didn’t like the template but the one I switched to seems more “me”. It’s nice to create a web page about me. A certain level of passion comes when I actually like the topic that I’m creating something for.

    With the many events I’ve attended and the assignments I’ve completed, I have grown to become even fonder of this field. I’m happy I have found it! Since I was a little girl, I’ve loved learning and to realize that I can learn everyday both in class and out in my career, helps me know that I’ve decided the right career path for myself.

    1. leahprodriguez

      Raven,

      I agree this semester was probably the most stressful thus far, but I’m glad we all were able to learn and collaborate in our learning through class discussion and were given great feedback on our writing. I agree with you when you say it’s easier to write if you’re passionate about the topic. I find myself struggling with my writing if I’m not interested in what I’m writing about, it helps to narrow in on the “so what, who cares?” when we care ourselves. Videos were more difficult for pictures for myself because like you said, there are restrictions on the apps. I find it even more difficult to create videos from scratch, especially ones that are supposed to display our own creativity and personality in 30 seconds. I look forward to beginning a career in the next few years and I’m glad we were able to learn so much about our field through this course.

    2. Carmen Bojanowski

      I agree with your point about editing photo and video being a bit daunting. For being in this industry, I’m not very technologically advanced. I know that that’s something that I have to focus a lot of my time into learning because I don’t catch on quickly with things like that. But I do know how useful of a skill it is, and how much more useful I’d be to a company with those skills. In order to bypass restrictions from apps, if you’re planning on using photo editing programs a lot, it might be beneficial for you to invest in Photoshop and become well versed in that, rather than use apps.

      1. Raven Gardiner

        Photoshop might actually be a great idea. Even if I continue to use apps, then the Photoshop experience would only be more beneficial and make me more marketable.

    3. Chelsea Idzior

      Raven,

      I know what you mean with the stress! This semester has been a crazy one for me as well. In terms of what I learned this semester I, like you, feel much more confident about press releases and find that they get easier the more that I write them. I agree with you that the restrictions of certain video and photo editing programs can be a challenge. It can be discouraging when you have a vision for something and can’t follow through with it because of a restriction.

      I am also enjoying working on my website. It helped that she let us use WordPress because I am much more familiar with it, and I also already have an online portfolio started on WordPress. I am glad that you found a template that works for you. I think that is the most important thing when creating your website. You need to find a style and format that fits your personality and works with your specific content.

    4. ginaluttrellphd

      I love looking back and seeing personal growth. Everyone in the class has grown so much- the way I have the class set up I want you to push your own boundaries and personal limits. Writing everyday makes you a better writer. That’s why we write soooooo much in this class 🙂

    5. Ben K. Media

      Hay Raven,

      Photo editing is just something that takes a little time. For me it was finding my style as a photographer both with the camera and in post production editing. I am not saying that one has to find the inner artist in the medium of photography to be any good at it at all. It is the same as it is with your writing, you just have to do it and find that passion that works.

      If you or anyone else wants to play around with some advanced photo editing and not spend the money for stuff like Photoshop check out either http://pixlr.com/ or http://www.gimp.org/

      Pixlr is a web based program that you don’t have to download to use, just upload your photo and edit away. It has many tools from the basic to advanced. Gimp is an open source photo editing program that is much like Photoshop only FREE! Once downloaded you can find all sorts of plug ins for the program, one that even makes it a Photoshop clone that is very similar to PS in look and feel.

      If you do want to pay for something check out Adobe Lightroom. I have seen the old version selling online for a student price of about $30 from time to time. No need for the new version unless you are way into photo editing. Not much difference between edition 4 and the new 5 except for some fancy tools that the casual user would not even notice or use.

      Hope this info helps!

    6. DanitaTatum

      Raven,

      We’ve had some similar struggles. I’m still struggling with the website, but I know what I’m doing now so it isn’t as bad. I use PicsArt to edit pictures and they don’t charge anything. You can get the app on your phone and if you have Google Chrome on your computer, you can download it to Google Chrome so it’s always there.
      I’m really glad that you were able to take so much from the class and that you got to participate in the PR events. One of my goals next year is to go to more PRSSA events and become more involved with the organization.

    7. rosedinardo

      Raven,
      I too feel way more comfortable with my writing skills but I know it’s going to take some time to get used to doing it without constantly looking at old papers for a template. It has definitely been beyond stressful this semester but I know that it will all be worth it in the end. I hope that I can find a template for wix that feels more “me” or just that I can get more comfortable with it for my final project. That is what I am most worried about more than anything but I think if I can master wix I can master other programs.

  2. Chelsea Idzior

    I definitely think I have changed this semester. I have learned how to write so many genres of PR writing that I had no clue even existed before this semester. One thing I feel I have particularly learned a lot about is writing media pitches and how to correspond, in general, with journalists. It was emphasized throughout the semester how important media relations is, so I am definitely happy that there was a strong focus on this topic. Much of what I pulled away from this class comes from discussions we had in which I would randomly learn little bits of important knowledge about PR. For example, I didn’t know that many companies had an inactive website or webpage in case of a crisis. It was also very helpful to learn about different programs that can help me, such as PicMonkey (which I have been using at work to spruce up our social media posts!).

    The interview with Shannon was also very informative, and it was great to have the opportunity to ask her questions and listen to her perspectives on certain aspects of PR. I also believe that Test 2 really helped me grow as a writer. I really enjoyed learning about the different types of features (I had no idea there were so many!), and having to come up with angles for each one was challenging. I felt like having to think quickly and come up with angles on the spot, like we did during the test, was very representative of how it would be in the PR field. Learning how to come up with angles for features and email pitches is something I now feel comfortable with after this semester.

    This class has made very excited for the possibility of pursuing a career in public relations. It has also made me want to apply some of what I’ve learned at my job. The company I work for has never had a person who specifically manages their social media or does PR-type work, so it would be awesome to possibly do some positive things for the company by applying what I’ve learned. Since I began this class, I am working on getting our staff to film a series of informative YouTube videos, and we will be sending out a newsletter this week which I entirely wrote the content for.

    1. leahprodriguez

      Chelsea,

      I feel the same way about our interview with Shannon. I am amazed by all the opportunities this program has to offer other than class learning. We are able to learn from people in our field through speakers inside and out of class, and through PRSSA. Test 2 gave all of us a chance to know what it’s like to have to write on deadline, something I’ve NEVER done before outside of high school journalism. The pressure is something I think is stressful, but could also give opportunity to show our work ethic. I agree that this class has helped me outside of school with my job, because we have social media but it isn’t as effective as id like it to be. I have knowledge in what makes social media successful so I will share it with my company. Its awesome that you’re sharing the knowledge you’ve obtained and putting it to use in your job, I’m sure this is just the first step for you to becoming a great PR leader!

    2. Carmen Bojanowski

      also believe that Test 2 really helped me grow as a writer. I really enjoyed learning about the different types of features (I had no idea there were so many!), and having to come up with angles for each one was challenging. I felt like having to think quickly and come up with angles on the spot, like we did during the test, was very representative of how it would be in the PR field. Learning how to come up with angles for features and email pitches is something I now feel comfortable with after this semester.

      I agree that Test 2 was very useful. It wasn’t the kind of “cram the night before and memorize everything you can just to forget it after” kind of test. It was the kind of test that allowed us to actually apply what we’ve learned into the atmosphere that we’ll be working in one day. Deadlines are crucial in this business, and we have to make them, regardless of how much information we have or how easy the release is to write. Actually, as someone who works better under pressure (I’m a terrible procrastinator…) I think this was a great exercise and got the best work out of me.

    3. ginaluttrellphd

      Oh Chelsea, I have seen your work from your job and it’s AMAZING! I’m so happy that you use so many of the tools used throughout the semester. PicMonkey is an all time favorite of mine.

    4. DanitaTatum

      Chelsea,
      The interview with Shannon was really informative. It’s great that you’re excited about applying what you’ve learned. A YouTube series is always a great way to reach a large audience and making YouTube is always fun, in my opinion. I’m currently working with my boss, so that we can figure out a way for me to use some of the things I’ve learned to help get our name around a little more. I believe I’ll be working on their Facebook page, which is a start. For me, Test #2 was a big indicator to me that I was capable of having a career in PR and being good at it. I was constantly second guessing myself until I got that test back and then I realized that I could do this.

    5. rosedinardo

      Chelsea,

      I couldn’t agree more on all of the things you were talking about that you learned! I have grown so much this semester and it seems that every class, assignment, and test has helped me. I loved the interview with Shannon, she just had so much real world experience and it was inspiring to see how successful she was. Test 2 made me surprised at how much that I actually remembered and that I did so well! It was nice to gain some confidence as a writer when it really came down to the wire.

    6. lydiaseale

      Chelsea,

      I totally agree with you about learning how to write many other genres of PR writing. The VNR was probably the most surprising. I was also happy to be able to hone my skills in press release writing. There were so many different formats and other suggestions about how many pages to write, where to put headers, where to put contact information, and other small technicalities. I learned what was and wasn’t acceptable and was able to find what best fit me. It was cool to be able to develop my own kind of template for being able to draft news releases for my own events.

      I’m also with you about learning about how to communicate with journalists. I’m not so sure how much of it I’ll be doing in full time ministry, but I know that it will be a great skill to have under my belt if I begin my own nonprofit.

      -Lydia

    7. Sophia Williams

      Chelsea,

      I agree with you when it comes to learning about the different aspects of public relations. I didn’t know that companies had an interactive website in case of a crisis either. It amazed me how much I didn’t know about public relations. I am glad that in this class we not only worked on our writing skills but we talked a lot about the different factors that go into public relations.

      I too enjoyed talking with Shannon. It is always great to get a different perspective. I think she had some really good advice. It shows you that public relations can be whatever you make it. In her case you can do it all at home. What ever style you prefer you can make it happen; this is one of the reasons I like this career choice.

      Working with journalists is a large part of public relations and I also learned a lot about communicating with them. Shannon gave us some good advice on how to keep that relationship and to always build on it. I think this is advice that I am going to remember throughout my career.

      Sophia

  3. leahprodriguez

    My writing has definitely improved over the course of this semester. This class has helped me to understand finding the “so what, who cares?” and I’ve learned how to make stories newsworthy. I have changed my knowledge and understanding of PR writing as a whole, by learning the many techniques and tools available to get the news out there. I understand the value and importance of our relationships with journalists, and how it is a two way street in order to get our stories to the right audience. Another important aspect I took from the class is the affect of social media. Although we did not dive deep into this topic, the class discussions about Twitter and Facebook have really affected my views on social media, and how to write for blogs. With today’s society, social media has become a key component in sharing and releasing news and through this class; my use of these tools has become a daily routine. In my first post, I expressed my anxiousness for learning the importance of PR writing, the lack of knowledge I had between the difference of PR and journalistic writing and my excitement to learn about how to become a persuasive writer. I have confidence going into my next courses and as I apply for internships, that I did not have before taking this class. Although challenging at times, I feel I am a better writer and my strategies towards writing have improved from the lectures and assignments that were given.

    1. Raven Gardiner

      Leah,

      I would definitely have to agree with the part about the writing improving. Gina has us not only understand the theory, but also put it into practice. Not many professors do that and it really helps me understand what exactly to do. Creating the writing pieces that we will have to create in the field helps us understand what to do and also fills our portfolios. It’s nice to say “I can do this for you because I’ve done it before”.

      This class was definitely challenging but the skills we learned greatly benefit us. I agree with you again about feeling more prepared as I apply for internships. It’s scary to know that I could be doing this for a company but it’s also comforting to realize that I’ve done it before and can continue to do it. I’ll only get better with more practice. I’m happy to see that other people feel like they have benefited as much as I have!

      1. ginaluttrellphd

        Yes, Raven I strive for exactly what you said: “I can do this for you because I’ve done it before”. I want each of my students to walk into any job interview or internship interview and be able to say exactly what you wrote!

  4. Carmen Bojanowski

    I definitely think I’ve grown as writer this semester. I had a very vague grasp of public relations after taking Intro to PR, and this course cleared a lot of it up. Though I plan to pursue journalism rather than PR, I understand the relationship between journalists and PR professionals a lot more now. My experience writing for Real Detroit Weekly and the contact that I’ve had with PR agents through that has helped me a lot too. In my first blog response I said that I wanted to learn more about press releases, and both this class and what I’ve done with RDW has helped me with that. I now know as a journalist, what I’m looking for when I read a press release for a story, so that helps me know what information is most relevant to include when I’m writing a press release myself. I also said that I wanted to get more comfortable with blogging, and I have. I’ve updated my personal blog so much more this semester than I have in the past. No matter what career I end up with after graduation in April, I know that things I’ve learned in this class will help me.

    1. Raven Gardiner

      Carmen,

      I’m so happy that those things have benefited you! In my Undergraduate Symposium presentation I talked about how the relationship between PR folks and journalists would be made better if we learned both sides. I believe what you’re doing is directly effecting that and it’s amazing. Many journalism majors are scared of PR but it’s nice to see that some are taking the leap into the classes. These are great skills that are decently transferable between the two fields and anyone can benefit greatly from them.

      I wanted to do more personal blogging but unfortunately that didn’t happen for me. I just found myself having less free time this semester than the previous ones. Maybe you could share your blog URL to have more viewers. I’d love to check it out!
      Congrats on graduations!! Do you have an idea on what you plan to do in the future as a career?

    2. Chelsea Idzior

      Carmen,

      I agree with you that this class really helped me understand the relationship between PR professionals and journalists. Before this class, I found this relationship confusing and wasn’t really sure how much they interacted and what the nature of their interactions was like. This class really spelled that out and also provided knowledge on how to associate with a journalist— from a PR professional’s perspective—and how to associate with a PR professional—from a journalist’s perspective.

      I think its great that you took this class even though you are a journalism major. I, too, am a journalism major, and I think it is very important for journalists to understand public relations because they interact with PR professionals so frequently. It’s also good that this class inspired you to write on your personal blog. As we’ve learned, blogging is something that potential employers often look for, and it is also just a good way to get writing practice.

    3. ginaluttrellphd

      The whole complex and interdependent relationship between PR and Journalists is one I hope all students grow to understand Carmen. To be good at either profession you need to understand what the other does. I think it’s brilliant for PR folks to take Journalism classes and Journalist students to take PR classes. Make you better at your craft.

  5. rosedinardo

    Well I just got done reading my Post 1 and I have definitely learned a lot since then. I think I have most improved upon my press releases but still would like to feel more comfortable with my AP style. I think I will need to purchase the manual so that it’s easier for me to check my work. I learned a lot about the importance of word choice and keeping things direct and not over crowded with too many words to confuse the reader. My confidence in writing for PR has improved and I now feel more comfortable writing. Writing is so essential and important in PR that its imperative that you are a good writer or you will not succeed. That is why potential employers always ask for a sample of your writing, because you can’t fix a bad writer. I will bring these new skills for all different formats of writing from newsletters to press releases and email blasts, I’m so glad I got this exposure to these types of writing so that I will feel more prepared for a real job.

    1. ginaluttrellphd

      So often I hear that writing doesn’t matter. I’m happy to see that you are all walking away with a very different perspective on this. Writing does matter and it matters tremendously in our profession.

    2. Ben K. Media

      I hated having to learn AP style when I was starting out working on my journalism associates degree. Just as soon as I had MLA format hammered into my head as the way to write in college along comes the actual journalism classes and a new format.

      Getting a style guide is the best thing you can do for yourself. I have had one on my desk now for a few years and still go to it often. I am far from an expert but part of learning is making mistakes. I have found keeping the style guide next to me when writing is a constant reminder. It did not take long for me to start to pause and think if I was writing something correct. At this point it is more of a feeling than knowing.

      I also would suggest reading newspapers. For me that was very helpful and still is. When you see something written that just does not look right and grabs your attention I bet dollars to doughnuts that you just found who to write something in AP style.

  6. Ben K. Media

    Reflecting back on the class I have to say that I feel improved. Learning formats is something I was looking forward to. Knowing how to make a page look the way it should is just as important as the words on it in my opinion.

    I felt confused at times when I found conflicting information on how to do something but trust in what I am learning and know some differences will be had in the real world. I had to get over my thinking that only one way is the right way when it comes to format.

    I will for sure remember more than I have in the past the importance of knowing who I am writing for. I believe I was in the rut of writing for myself and not thinking of the reader too often. This has been something I have worked on in the past and it was good to revisit it yet again with this class.

    Leaning not to be a journalist when I write is also something that I struggled with. After being trained to think like one then changing gears and thinking as a Public Relations Specialist is still something I have to remind myself to do. Writing a one sided story and not wanting it to sound that way is how I have found to deal with the situation.

    Last I will take with me that this is an industry of passion. Every example of someone in the field that was brought into class, either from Skype or questions Gina posed online to others was filled with passion to me. This is not just a job to the real professionals, it is a way of life.

    1. ginaluttrellphd

      Ben, I think you hit the nail on the head. Yes, people in PR, and especially those I’ve built relationships with throughout my career, are passionate about what they do. They truly love it. My hope is that each of you love it as well – be that through writing, photos, events… whatever you path you choose. The passion never ends once you are bitten by the PR bug.

  7. DanitaTatum

    I think I learned a lot this semester. One of the things I discussed in the first blog post was writing emails and that was one of the first things we learned. I am a little more comfortable writing an email pitch, but I think my strategies could use some work because I still have a hard time with that first sentence. On the plus side, I learned way more than I anticipated. I was thinking we would focus on press releases, email pitches and writing up plans, we did so much more. I’d never heard of a VNR before taking this class and now I can write a decent one. I also knew nothing about taking pictures or how professional ones should look. I’m still a little reluctant to dive into the picture editing area because I’m never too sure if I’m doing things correctly. I now know the importance of following up and working with journalists to the best of my ability.
    I think this class has really helped me with my understanding of what a PR practitioner does and why certain strategies are considered better to use than others. One of the things I realized I need to work on after this class is being more social and really learning how to talk to people. I have a hard time when it comes to meeting new people and breaking the ice. In order to be a successful PR practitioner, I think I need to become a better communicator in those aspects. This class has also helped me grow social network wise, I actually have a Twitter that I use (on occasion) and I’ve found a PR blog that I read regularly.

    1. lydiaseale

      Danita,

      Photography is probably one of my favorite parts of PR, and it was most definitely the most fun part of the class. I really enjoy photography and didn’t know that it was even an aspect of becoming a public relations professional. I like to make an effort to take photographs of interesting subject from unique angles. I am taking a photography class in the fall, which should give me even more insight on photography.

      It’s also pretty interesting to see everyone having similar views on the video news release project. I liked the assignment because it allowed me to write script for the subjects, which is something I have had some experience in. I really enjoyed that part and wouldn’t actually mind working in audio and video production on the writing side.

      -Lydia

    2. ginaluttrellphd

      Danita, I love so much about this class, but the photo experiment is by far one of my favorites. As practitioners we are storytellers. Photos tell so much and as practitioners we need to understand how to tell the story with only an image and very little words. It gets easier the more photos you take 🙂

    3. Sophia Williams

      Danita,

      I feel the same way! We have done so much this semester that I wasn’t expecting. I too didn’t know where to begin with a VNR but I am now confident in writing one. When I first began this class I wanted to know more about email pitches and we worked on this quite a bit. I am still unsure about it sometimes but I think I have gotten better than I was. We touched on so many things this semester I hope that I can now focus on these skills and be able to utilize them in my profession. I was surprised that we worked on pictures I was expecting only to focus on writing. I am so glad that we talked about it since this is a large part of what we do. The applications are easy enough to use and I am excited to start using them at my internship as well as my student organizations.

      Sophia

  8. lydiaseale

    Oh my goodness! This is the hardest class I’ve ever had! I expected this class to be challenging, but I didn’t expect to develop personally as much as I have. In my first response I talked about wanting to know more about the mechanics of messages sent within organizations. I learned that the mechanics of the messages are almost always determined by the identity of the organization. A company’s objectives, mission, purpose, and vision completely define the modes and methods of communication that it takes to communicate the messages. I also never expected to do the video news release. I did a bit of audio and video work at my internship last summer, but had no idea that actually creating original video was something that public relations professionals did.

    I really appreciated the dialogue that we had in class as well. It’s great to have people in a class that are open and independent thinkers. I really appreciated all of the great conversation and hope that you all continue to be awesome and fantastic.

    I think the most significant way I’ve changed is that I have a much clearer vision of the way my PR background can help me in my music and ministry careers before I start my own organization. I think that analyzing publics and tailoring writing style and communication methods to make sure that the messages are being communicated efficiently and effectively is so important in both fields and I’m ready to be able to apply what I’ve learned to my careers.

    1. ginaluttrellphd

      What a great take away Lydia. Yes, the identity, personality, brand of an organization drives the messaging. My hope is that each of you can walk out of our class in the next couple weeks and be stronger writers. That’s why we write so much. It’s the backbone of our craft after all.

  9. Sophia Williams

    This semester has been crazy for me but I have taken away valuable information from this class. I enjoyed making my own website the most. I didn’t know that we could do this so easily. I took a web design class last semester and it was mostly coding. This scared my but helped me when it came to using wix. I am going to utilize this the most. It is an easy way to be able to showcase our work. I like that we can put our personality in it. I am going to use this as a portfolio for future internships and jobs.

    I think my writing has improved a lot. I especially liked the workshop we had on making our writing more concise. This has helped me be more effective when writing and get my point across in a better way. I am able to edit my work better than before I had taken this class.

    I also liked that in our writing assignments we were exposed to so many different styles of public relations writing. I am hoping this will help me in my future when I start an internship. I would like to have more practice with this style of writing.

    This class has helped me with more than just writing. It has helped me think like a public relations practitioner. In all the writing assignments we were to do what we will be doing in our jobs some day. I like that it gave me exposure to this style of writing.

    Sophia

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s