Integrating Poynter’s NewsU

On December 22, 2009, in PRCA 3330, by Barbara Nixon

For spring semester’s PR Writing course that I’ll be teaching online, I will be augmenting my own content and our textbook with several courses offered by Poynter’s NewsU.

Here are the ones I’m considering so far:

If you’ve used NewsU courses in your college classes, I’d love to hear from you.

And are there additional NewsU (or other source) courses I should consider? I’m really hoping to find a good course on using AP Style, specifically.


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Jumpstart on Nixon’s Spring 2010 GSU Classes

On December 16, 2009, in PRCA 3330, by Barbara Nixon

If you’re looking to get a jumpstart on my classes at Georgia Southern University this spring, here are the books that I will be using. I’ve linked to many of them at, but of course you can purchase them from anywhere you like. I recommend you try the Facebook Marketplace first, so you can get a good deal AND help a fellow student.

For all my classes

  • Reliable Internet access
  • Headset/mic (for interaction in online class discussions)

Social Media for Public Relations (PRCA 3030)

Public Relations Writing (PRCA 3330)

Public Relations Practicum (PRCA 3711/4711)

Making Connections: Facebook and Beyond (FYE 1220)

  • No textbook needed

Questions? As always,

(PS: Syllabi for my classes will be posted in early January.)

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The 5 Rs of Prepping for a PR Writing Test

On December 15, 2009, in job search, writing, by Barbara Nixon

One of my former students at Georgia Southern University found out recently that the job interview she secured also involves a writing test. She asked for some advice on how to best prepare. So . . . here we go.

  1. Read several of the company’s recent news releases to get a feel for the company’s style.
  2. Re-read Strunk’s The Elements of Style. Though it was written long before most recent grads’ grandparents were born, its principles of simplicity and clarity still ring true.
  3. Register for one (or more) of Poynter’s News University courses, such as Cleaning Your Copy or The Lead Lab.
  4. Review your The Associated Press Stylebook 2009, and use Post-It flags to mark sections that are problematic to you. Maybe even take some of the online AP style quizzes.
  5. Refresh yourself on common editing marks. You may also be asked to edit a story someone else wrote.

What additional suggestions would you recommend?


(Many thanks to John Kraft and Sherry Carr Smith for their suggestions.)

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Best Blog Posts from #PRCA3339 Fall 2009

On December 14, 2009, in PRCA 3339, by Barbara Nixon

Italia! by Kaptain Kobold.My Public Relations Publications students have been blogging all semester. Today, I’m taking the time to highlight some of the best blog posts from the semester.

I hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as I did.

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UPDATED 12/5/09 – Scroll to end to see update. [Originally published on 9/2/09]

Working Together Teamwork Puzzle Concept by lumaxart.

“Oh, no . . . you mean we have to work in GROUPS in this class?” Though my PR Research students didn’t lament this out loud, I wondered how many of them dreaded the thought of ever working in a group project in a class. I bet many of them did (or do).

In today’s PR Research class, we collaborated, using Google Docs, on tips for how to survive a group project. Here’s a summary of what our class recommended:

  1. Communicate regularly
    • Mass messages….so all are on the same page
    • Praise often; it will motivate the team to work harder to achieve a common goal
    • Summarize at the end of each team meeting to ensure that each person leaves the meeting knowing what’s expected before the next meeting.
    • Send out a weekly update (with what’s been accomplished and what’s left to do)
    • Communicate as a whole, by using group text messages
    • Form a Facebook group
  2. Ensure that you’re aiming to achieve the same goals
  3. Manage your time.
    • Consider making a group calendar filled with internal deadlines that you set for yourselves. (Google Calendar might work well for this.)
    • Show up on time for group meetings (let people know if you’re running late)
  4. Meet regularly, even it’s only to touch base and confirm you’re where you should be in your project work.
  5. Delegate task based on strong points, and make sure you complete what is delegated to you
  6. Remember the platinum rule: Do unto others as they want done unto them
    • Be considerate of others
    • Be patient with your group members
    • Be flexibile
    • Have a good attitude
    • Be respectful
    • Work together
    • Contributing the same amount of work and time

Finally, before you begin working together in earnest, make an inventory of the skills of each group member. Also find out what each person would rather NOT do, if given the choice. This will help you divvy up the work more effectively. And exchange cellphone numbers, e-mail addresses, Twitter usernames . . . whatever will help you stay in touch effectively.

UPDATE: Ensure that every member of the group thoroughly reviews the entire project before submitting it. (And reviewing is more than simple proofreading.) You don’t want any unpleasant surprises based on information that was primarily written by another group member.

What other tips do you have for working together successfully in teams?