The Top 5 Posts in 2010

On December 29, 2010, in blogging, journalism, public relations, social media, by Barbara Nixon

Image Credit: "Logo Top 5 de las 5" by Alberto Carlos Diéguez

The traffic at my blog Public Relations Matters ebbs and flows, much like with most blogs. When my classes are in session, I know for sure that certain posts will gain hundreds of hits, because I post all my assignments on my blog. For the purpose of today’s Top 5 post, I am not counting class assignment posts. Below you will find my five posts that had the most traffic in 2010.

  1. The ONE job interview question: I asked Phil Gomes from Edelman what the ONE job interview question was that he tended to ask in almost every interview for a public relations position. He gave me his choice, in video form, and proceeded to interview several colleagues at Edelman for their choices as well. I show this short video in my classes each semester when I discuss job interviewing.
  2. Five Ways to Keep Current in Public Relations News & Trends: Occasionally, my students ask me how I know so much about what is going on in the world of public relations. It’s simple: I actively try to stay up on news and trends. This blog post explains how I do it, and how PR students should do it, too.
  3. How NOT to Hashtag in Twitter: In early December, the person running the CNN’s Breaking News Twitter account chose to use some tasteless hashtags in a tweet about the murder of a child. I contacted a CNN producer about it. Then I blogged.
  4. AP Style Bootcamp :: Flagging Your 2010 AP Stylebook: Whether you are a journalist, PR pro or student, sometimes it’s hard to find what you are looking for in the AP Stylebook. In this post, I shared my strategy for using Post-It Notes to flag the book for easy use.
  5. 10 Tips for Polishing Up Your Blogs, Fall 2010 Edition: Students in all my PR classes blog as part of the course requirements. I’ve read hundreds of student blogs over the past few years. Students typically make the same mistakes from semester to semester. I thought writing a post with the 10 most common mistakes would help my Fall 2010 students. Sigh. If only all of my students had taken the tips I shared to heart.

Are there other posts that you read at my blog in 2010 that resonated with you, but aren’t listed in the “most popular”?

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Get out your 2010 AP Stylebook, Post-It notes and a pen and get ready for a short bootcamp by Barbara Nixon. Learn what the five most important things to know about AP Style are, and even get a bonus at the end. Flag your book as you go along, pausing the Prezi below when you need to.

If you have the 2009 AP Stylebook, then see the Prezi I created earlier this year for the 2009 edition.

Want a PDF of the 5 Things and their page numbers that I refer to in the Prezi? Here you go:

AP Style Bootcamp 2010

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A - elisA, boathouse sign, by Eva the Weaver

After reviewing all the first news releases in PRCA 3330, I am generally pleased with what I saw, considering it is the first news release you have written. Many of the news releases were spot-on; they were newsworthy and clearly written. You must have remembered what you learned in your Intro to Journalism class!

Here are some common errors I saw:

  • Improper use of commas (either too many or not enough)
  • Puffery (making statements in the news release that don’t seem newsworthy. Some of these would be okay as part of a quotation, however.)
  • Format (forgetting to put an embargo date or For Immediate Release, end sign, page slugs, letterhead with mailing address, etc.)
  • Calling women “girls” or “ladies” (even though it’s common in sororities to do this, AP Style calls for the use of the word “women” when you are writing about female adults)
  • Abbreviating the word Georgia as GA, rather than Ga. as AP Style calls for
  • Using “we” or “our” when it’s not part of a quotation (a news release needs to sound like a story one would read in an impartial newspaper, not in a company newsletter)
  • Improper formatting on dates, times, numerals, etc.

Be sure to avoid these errors when writing your Personality Profiles that are due next week.

To learn how to see my specific feedback for you in GeorgiaVIEW, see this short video below.

View on screencast.com »

Questions?

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Please take 45 seconds to watch this video I created as part of my Genghis Grill Health Kwest. Thanks!


To help you get used to AP Style before we have any “official” quizzes (via GeorgiaVIEW or BlackBoard), please try your hand at determining which of the sentences in the PDF below have errors in them. It’s easiest if you print the PDF and work on it as a hardcopy.

Correct all the AP errors you find, then watch the video to see how well you did.

The Quiz

AP Style Quiz

The Answers

Note: All page numbers referred to in the screencast below are from the 2009 edition of the AP Stylebook.

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View on screencast.com »

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Get out your 2009 AP Stylebook, Post-It notes and a pen and get ready for a short bootcamp by Barbara Nixon. Learn what the five most important things to know about AP Style are, and even get a bonus at the end. Flag your book as you go along, pausing the Prezi below when you need to.

Want a PDF of the 5 Things and their page numbers that I refer to in the video? Here you go:

AP Style Bootcamp Handout

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[Updated from a blog post from April 2009]

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)

Now you have choices about how to access the AP Stylebook. You can purchase a hardcopy of the book, buy an online subscription to it, or download the app from iTunes for use in your iPhone or iTouch.

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.

Additionally, I found several websites that help my students with AP Style see my Delicious bookmarks on AP style and other posts here that I’ve categorized with AP Style Bootcamp.

So, PR pros and journalists, what would you add? What can help PR students understand what they REALLY need to know about AP style?

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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.

Additionally, I found several websites that help my students with AP Style see my Delicious bookmarks on AP style, and I posted a Quick Guide to Associated Press Style

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