In the public relations courses that I’ve taught over the years, it seems as though one of the biggest struggles for the students is writing using Associated Press style.
Why is learning AP style so important? PR practitioner Sandra Hernandez offers this:
PR writers really need to know the things that make them effective. I learned to write in AP in college, because it was necessary to pass the class. I continued to write in AP because I found that what I send to media had a better response rate when written in AP.
To help students learn more about AP style, I sought feedback from a variety of public relations practitioners and faculty members, trying to come up with a list of what PR writers REALLY need to know (cold, without even looking in the AP Stylebook) about AP style.
The most helpful advice came from colleagues on PR OpenMic, a social network for PR students, faculty and practitioners. (See the individual responses I received in the PR OpenMic PR Writing Discussion Forum.) Additional helpful advice came from colleagues on Twitter, including Kristie Aylett and Claire Celsi.
The most important (and sometimes confusing) parts of AP Style for PR writers are:
- dates (especially when to abbreviate)
- addresses (especially when to abbreviate)
- names (when to use titles, etc.)
- numerals (when to spell out, when to use digits)
- datelines (which cities need to be identified with their states)
Many PR writers can also benefit from brushing up on standard grammar. My favorite site for general grammar advice is Mignon Fogarty’s Grammar Girl. Consider subscribing to Grammar Girl’s podcast through iTunes.
Cancer is affecting hundreds of thousands of lives. I lost a very good friend, Theresa, to cancer on Saturday. My mom is a breast cancer survivor, yet is struggling with a second bout of lung cancer now. And my friend Tom is fighting cancer now, too.
Because of all this, I’ve joined Team Tommy, and I will be walking in the ACS Riverfront Fun Run next week. My husband Kevin and I will fly up to Green Bay so that we can support our friends and family members with cancer.
If you’re interested in sponsoring me for the ACS Riverfront Fun Run on May 2, please visit my Team Tommy page. So far, our team has received 95 gifts, raising nearly $4,000. Let’s try to get those numbers up . . . and help our friends fight cancer.
As we discussed in PRCA 2330, I will begin evaluating your blogs as of midnight on Thursday, April 30. Here’s a copy of the rubric (grading form) I’ll use when I review your blogs: Blog Rubric (Grading Form).
Please complete this final blog checklist to be sure you’re on track and have all the required elements in your blog. (It’s fine to complete the form more than one time.)
In today’s Introduction to Public Relations class, we watched a classic episode of the classic 1970s TV show “WKRP in Cincinnati” :: “Turkeys Away.” Though I paid to download the episode from iTunes, I just discovered it’s also available for free through Hulu.
In this episode, which was based on a botched promotion from a radio station in Atlanta, live turkeys dropped from a helicopter. Chaos ensues.
What can we learn about how NOT to do a promotion from Mr. Carlson’s fiasco? I’ll get the list started:
- Communicate with your entire team before launching a promotional campaign (or a turkey).
- Do your research! It’s best to learn ahead of time that turkeys don’t fly.
- Get permission before doing a stunt.
- Know what is considered news in your local market. Giving away turkeys for Thanskgiving wasn’t news. (But watching live turkeys plummet from a helicopter probably would be news.)
- Brainstorm for what could possibly go wrong before you proceed with a promotion.
What would you add to this list?
If you haven’t heard anything about Domino’s Pizza in the last week, you must have been taking a media and social media vacation.
Three reviews of how Domino’s reacted to this crisis are worth listening to (or watching, in Gary V’s case).
Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz discuss Domino’s for nearly half of their latest For Immediate Release podcast (The Hobson & Holtz Report – Podcast #441). Their commentary on Domino’s begins near the 13:00 mark.
Gary Vaynerchuk, in his inimitable style, shares his reaction to Patrick Doyle, President, Domino’s U.S.A.
What else needs to be said about Domino’s crisis?
In Monday’s Introduction to Public Relations course, we will discuss getting into the news via news releases, media kits and more. Here are the slides I’ll use:
Using the same social media tools that harmed them earlier this week (regarding the “Disgusting Domino’s People” YouTube video), Domino’s is fighting to earn back the public’s trust via YouTube and Twitter.
Here’s a video from Patrick Doyle, President, Domino’s U.S.A., responding to “video of (now former) Domino’s team members.” The original “disgusting video” is no longer available on YouTube due to a copyright claim from Kristy Hammonds Thompson. The offending and offensive former employees have been arrested and are facing charges.
UPDATE (April 16, 10:20 a.m.) Though Doyle’s apology sounds sincere and I believe it is sincere, I do have to wonder what he was looking at during the filming of the video. A TelePrompTer, perhaps? Eye contact with his audience, like David Neelman’s in his Jet Blue apology video from two years ago, goes a long way to help us relate better. (Thanks to Scott Monty for suggesting a comparison of the two video apologies.)
Now, if only Domino’s can regain the Twitter accounts of @dominos and @dominospizza; both of those accounts have apparently been twittersquatted.
DISCLOSURE: I worked at a Domino’s franchise in Auburn, AL, while I was in college.