Paranormal Journalism

Today’s lesson, I’ve been lied to my entire life.

Focusing on ghost writing today, our assignment is to find both an effective and ineffective example of ghost writing and elaborate on what we’ve learnt.

It is said that the author of my favourite childhood books R.L. Stine’s “The Goosebumps series,” overseen a group of ghostwriters, how fitting. As a journalist, being unaware of this is disturbing. I have read a lot of those books in my childhood and never noticed an inconsistency in writing styles. Perhaps that makes this example effective. However, the lack of transparency makes me feel betrayed by an author who I thought I could trust.

Articles, books, newsletters, scripts and lyrics are not the only thing being ghostwritten. An unknown communications company admitted to ghostwriting pharmaceutical studies regarding the effectiveness of Tamiflu! According to the Los Angeles Times this resulted in a lawsuit against Genentech Corp, (the company that holds marketing rights to Tamiflu). Conning the public regarding the matters of health and wellbeing makes this a very ineffective example of ghostwriting.

The entire ghostwriting concept makes very little sense to me. As if there was not enough uncertainty in the world.

My opposing professions

Crossing over to other side of the interview has provided me with what many would consider challenges. However, I see it as opportunities to learn, grow and advance.

Having a background in photojournalism, I have the necessary skills to conduct an effective interview. Currently, enrolled in Loyalist College’s public relations class, I have found that being on the other side of the recorder is a completely different ballgame.

A journalist must thoroughly know their angle, have a good understanding with regards to what they want the subject to portray and be able to guide them. Journalist must ask the right questions and enough questions in order to have a well-rounded story to tell. They cannot hesitate to ask the best, most efficient questions and at the end of the day, it’s all up to the editor.

A public relations professional, has to know the brands key messages inside and out. Regardless of the questions being asked during an interview, those messages need to be loud and clear (strategies such as bridging statements are used to make this happen). Every word that is spoken must be valuable to the brand and must not be perceived the wrong way.

Commonly recognized as two opposing professions, public relation professionals and journalists are both the same and complete opposites. The most substantial similarity is that both professions must confirm with their moral and ethical obligations. Perhaps the largest difference is their desired outcome.

The message is key!

Without key messages, what you’re doing is pointless.

We have been learning a lot about the importance of key messaging in the public relations program offered at Loyalist College. This week’s assignment is to find and analyze an example of poor or strong key messaging.

I have decided to analyze the article titled “Petition captures unexpected support” published in the Belleville Intelligencer on February 9th, 2015 and written by Jerome Lessard.

The article has provided pull-quotes from two interviews, allowing a well-rounded story that has been approached from all sides. The prominent key messaging has been used strategically. The primary key message portrayed by the first interviewee, Valeria Strain, is that baited kill-traps should have legal restrictions with regards to being placed near public, multi-purpose trails.

The second interview was with Stirling-Rawdon Police Chief, Dario Cecchin. His primary key message was regarding safety. Keeping your dog on a leash and trappers, understanding and obeying obligations outlined under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.

These messages are prominent and therefore making this strategic key messaging, strong and influential.

A New Angle

For this week’s assignment in the Loyalist College’s public relations program, we are to find an article that interest us and develop a new angle for the same topic. I always find Valentine’s Day articles interesting because, I am always looking at new ways to celebrate it, without all the cheese and corn.

For this assignment I decided to develop a new angle for an online article published on thestar.com under the “world” category. The article titled “U.S. inmate makes Valentine’s escape, caught trying to meet girlfriend” is pretty self-explanatory.

There is a multitude of angles that could be taken regarding the topic of Valentine’s Day, including date and tourism suggestions, best and worst gifts received and relationship advice from experts, to list a few.

One unique angle begins with a Q&A asking the public “to what extent would you go to, to be with your significant other on Valentine’s Day?” With the results of the Q&A, I would compile multiple far-fetch, creative plots into a strategically crafted article. Another idea is to take on a historical and educational angle depicting the history behind Valentine’s Day.

Pretend Pitches

Our assignment this week in the public relations program at Loyalist College is to find three local media outlets and create unique pitch ideas for each outlet.

These pitches will be created from the perspective of the United Way of Quinte because this is organization in which I will complete my 140-hour internship.

The first local media outlet I choose to use is the County & Quinte Living magazine publication. My idea for this particular pitch is to feature a local family that has benefited from the initiatives from the United Way of Quinte.

The second media outlet I chose to pitch to is Country Roads magazine. This pitch features a variety of visuals that depict local areas, buildings and people in which have been positively affected by the trusted community partner, the United Way of Quinte. Alongside these visuals is an academically crafted articled that focuses on thanking both, specific and general members of the community who have contributed their time and effort

Lastly, I choose to use the primary local news publication, The Intelligencer. This will consist of charts and graphs that depict the impact in which the United Way has had on the communities surrounding its many locations throughout Ontario. More specifically for the Belleville area, the article will inform the public of key areas within the local community in need of improvement.

Keeping up-to-date with the latest trends and regularly providing unique and valuable story ideas to multiple media channels, gives organizations and businesses a better chance at success. This technique provides opportunities to reach a targeted audience, ultimately providing exposure necessary in the development of any business or organization.

Be PR smart!

In terms of permission marketing with regards to converged digital marketing tactics, email has always been the “killer” Ap.

At 91 percent of email recipients, an astonishing amount of consumers use their email daily. Thus, making this tool a crucial marketing tactic. It is important that the company or organization gain customer permission prior to sending them emails. By allowing fans/customers to opt-in, gives the company permission to send emails based on the fans/customers permission preferences.

Email subject lines have potential to be extraordinarily effective. Stated in “50 email marketing tips and stats for 2014,” published on ExactTarget.com, 33 per cent of email recipients open emails based on the subject line. This means, time is well spent developing and creating an appealing subject line valuable for marketing emails.

Email marketing can become dangerous when the companies email subscribers deem the emails as spam. Also published in “50 email marketing tips and stats for 2014,” 69 per cent of email recipients report emails as spam based on the subject line alone. Having these emails marked as spam can deter the credibility of the company or organization. There are many tactics that are often used in the business world that help prevent the marketing emails from being deemed as spam. These tactics can easily be researched using a search engine.

Email is a primary worldwide communication medium. With over 1.23 billion Facebook users according TheNextWeb.com, 284 million Twitter users according to Twtter.com/company and 2.5 billion email users according email.about.com, it is obvious that email marketing is really worth it.

Overall email, when utilized appropriately and respectively is an effective marketing tactic.

Brand Journalism – Red Bull

Brand journalism is a public relations trend and tactic that continues to rise in popularity. It utilizes a style of journalism to tell a company’s story and to give the company value in the eyes of its target audience.

A genius example of brand journalism is when Red Bull, in 2012, partnered up and sponsored Austrian skydiver, Felix Baumgartner and his jump from 39km-high at the edge of space, talk about giving you wings. The campaign titled “Red Bull Stratos,” provided the public with an interactive website, featuring tools such as interactive info graphics, social media data share, a live stream, timeline and a TV documentary, to list a few. Also provided to its audience was a final YouTube video of Baumgartner’s jump.

Getting involved by sponsorship and utilizing all of these tools while entertaining its target audience, was a smart move for Red Bull. The company became both a media brand and a newsmaker by marketing its own daredevil stories.

The skydive event and the campaign received an abundance of news and media coverage from contextual features, TV, news updates and more, ultimately allowing a bounty of public relations coverage.

Online Media Kit Analysis

Canada’s Electricity Association has released an online media kit to the public for its “Power for the Future” campaign.

The purpose of this media kit is to inform Canadians about the facts behind sustainability and electricity. Within the downloadable tools are three well-crafted informational documents including an advertorial, a brochure and the company’s vision outline, titled Vision 2050.

Canada’s Electricity Association has provided media professionals with an abundance of information ultimately making the journalists job simpler. The provided information consists of photography, media contacts, electricity headlines, charts, graphs and other valuable resources.

Personally, I enjoy the separation of information throughout the advertorial and the strong element of design is rather eye catching and flows nicely. From the blue and green bolded text to the pricing comparison chart for Ontario, I find the advertorial visually pleasing.

All of the provided documents work in conjunction with one another using the same colours, photos and typography.

In each document is a photograph of power lines against a blue sky. Within the advertorial and brochure, the same photo is used and strategically placed at the top of the document as a header. In the companies vision outline is a very similar photo, with the same concept and it is used as the title page.

Overall, I believe Canada’s Electricity Association has stayed professional and implement creative eye-catching elements, ultimately getting the message out there.

Spelling/Grammar Hang-up

I’d like to blame auto-correct for stunting my spelling skills, but in reality the onus is on me.

I believe the English language should simply be a consistent language like any other. However, unfortunately this is not the case.

Canadian English spelling is slightly different than American English spelling. If I had to admit to struggling with an aspect of English, this would be it.

I do not understand the need for English language spelling variations dependent on the country in which the product is being produced. Writing produced in America is read in Canada and vice versa, therefore I believe the variations are unnecessary and illogical.

Despite auto-correct not always being correct it can be of significant value, but it can also be used as a lazy crutch.

For years, I used Microsoft Word and utilized the auto-correct feature, little did I know I was using the American spelling settings. Not being corrected until college, I tend to naturally use the American version of English spelling.

Since being corrected and educating myself, I do my best to catch and correct these mistakes.

I believe that my work was left uncorrected throughout high school, because both spelling variations are accepted by the average reader.

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