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Public Relations Writing: Lessons

Online students: your lessons are posted at http://prwriting.columbiacollege.net

      Lesson One: Press Release Basics

      The basics of journalistic writing - the 5 W's, inverted pyramid ... the importance of story in PR writing... analyzing the elements of a news story... For next class, read Chapter 1 and 9.

      Lesson Two: Writing for Editors

      The news angle... the role of the editor... what do editors look for in a story? the press release and media alert format... the use of direct quotes... For next class, read Ch. 5, and "Qualities of Good Message Design," pp. 268-270.

      Lesson Three: Pre-writing and Planning your Message

      The importance of the writing process... outlining, clustering and other ways of organizing information... crafting the message... the importance of revisions and redrafts. For next class, read Ch. 11, and the beginning of "The Creative Process," pp. 256-258.

      Lesson Four: Features

      Discovering feature material, placement of ideas... Other uses of PR writing for feature stories. Also, press releases for arts events and similar activities... the relationship of the press release to the press kit, and the press conference... For next class, read Ch. 2.

      Lesson Five: Pitching Stories and Interviews

      Memos, pitch letters and confirmation letters... "scripting" the interview... how to meet the media. For next class, read Ch. 3.

      Lesson Six: Press Release Enhancements

      Different ways to diversify your style and make your copy more compelling.... different types of press release lead. For next class, read Chapter 6.

      Lesson Seven: Midterm Exam

      Multiple choice test and a writing exercise. Students will be given a total of two hours to complete the exam. Over the semester break, read Ch. 10.

      Lesson Eight: Broadcast Release & PSA

      Four principal vehicles for broadcast publicity... differences in writing for the ear vs. the eye... basic principles of writing for the ear, and formats for the broadcast release & PSA. For next class, read Ch. 11.

      Lesson Nine: Video News Releases and Radio Actualities

      VNRs, filmscripts, presentations, visual treatments... how do news outlets use your PR submissions.. new technologies in PR. For next class, read Ch. 14

      Lesson Ten: PR Writing and the Web

      How public relations professionals are using the Internet... Web-based challenges and opportunities. Writing for Web sites. For next class, read Ch. 4.

      Lesson Eleven: Research and Fact-Finding

      Fact-finding, newsgathering, organizing your information... essentials for interviews... research tools. For next class, read Ch. 8 and Ch. 17.

      Lesson Twelve: Newsletters, Backgrounders and Position Papers

      Public relations writing for internal audiences. Writing backgrounders, position papers and other longer pieces for different publics. Also, discussion of advertising for the PR professional... developing a concept and a visual... stages of creativity. For next class, read Ch. 16.

      Lesson Thirteen: Speeches and Presentations

      Types of speeches... the mechanics of organization... making brief remarks, presentations, formal speeches. For next class, read Chapter 15.

      Lesson Fourteen: Public Relations Campaign Design

      Developing the outline of a PR campaign and communicating your ideas to different publics... different types of media kit. For next class, re-read Chapter 6.

      Lesson Fifteen: Final Exam

      Multiple choice test and a writing exercise. Both in-class and online students will take the class in the classroom. Students will be given a total of two hours to complete the exam.


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