Tracking the journey of PRCA 3330

Fox’s The Simpsons has never been discreet when it comes to weighing in on current events. But it is quite unusual for a network to allow one of their shows to bash them on the air. There has been a lot of controversy about Fox’s views lately, but I think the creators of the show have crossed a line. And apparently so does a fellow Fox employee, Bill O’Reilly. He has lashed out on his own show about the opinions displayed on the cartoon.

I applaud Fox for not having censored The Simpsons yet, but I can’t help but wonder when they are going to decide enough is enough. Disagreement among the creators of different shows is somewhat to be expected, but on air bashing is just plain tacky. And I’m sure I’m not the only viewer who feels this way. Drama like this should be behind the scenes. I’m not sure if Fox’s take on this incident is any press is good press, but for me it is a complete turn off to the network.


After a lot of thought, I decided to write a list of helpful hints for anyone looking to PRCA 3330 with Professor Nixon in the future. I wish I had some advice before taking the class, so I hope this helps!

1. STAY ON TOP OF YOUR ASSIGNMENTS! Generally speaking you are able to set your own pace in online classes. This is not the case with this course. There is a schedule put in place for YOUR benefit. Setting your own pace often leads to waiting until the last-minute to complete classwork.

2. Look to your classmates blogs for ideas. You are all in the same boat and can be each others best resources.

3. With that being said, don’t get too personal. A blog should be interesting and informative without being a tell all about your life.

4. Cite your sources! The internet makes it way too easy for people to claim work on their own (even on accident). Do yourself a favor and record where you get your information from. WordPress makes it so easy! Take advantage of it!

5. Be conscious of your spelling and grammar when blogging. It is easy to fall into the habit of using slang when you’re posting online, but it makes it really hard for your readers to follow what you are saying.

6. Blog about things that happen to you throughout the course of your day on campus. Chances are, your classmates will know what you are talking about and comment on your post!

7. Follow people outside of your class as well. Experienced bloggers will be able to give you helpful hints about how to make your blog better.

8. Do not bash other people’s posts. If someone took the time to write it, you need to respect their opinions and beliefs.

9. Make sure that your theme allows for easy reading. No one wants to squint to read your posts!

10. Have fun with it! This assignment can be fun if you let it be!

Traditionally PR professionals have released information using press releases, but because of all of the different forms of media online, the changing needs of the end consumer, and increasing ease of use for the media, a new format for releasing information was needed. Journalist Tom Foremski also pushed for a new form of releasing information with his now infamous blog post titled “Die Press Release, Die Die Die.” No longer were PR professionals targeting just journalists; but they were pitching to journalists, bloggers, publishing companies, and the general public. To fill this need, a new format of releasing information dubbed the Social Media News Release (SMNR) was created.The SMNR can be traced back to around 2006 when PR Squared released their first template for PR professionals to use (see the original SMNR 2006 Template here).

A SMNR contains graphics, videos, audio and hyperlinks pertaining to  the information in the release and  or links leading to more in-depth  information. SMNRs are versatile enough that information can be displayed in the “traditional narrative” style or displayed so that the core facts, quotes, contact details and boilerplate are all separate and allow for users to easily highlight the information they need.

According to a blog posted by Real Wire, the use of the SMNRs as opposed to traditional news releases results in achieving around double the editorial coverage and up to four times as much on blogs. This video from Real Wire highlights key features of a SMNR and talks about the advantages offered by an SMNR.

The benefits of SMNRs to PR professionals are far-reaching. A social media news release has the ability to be published on search engines allowing for increases interest and feedback.  Social media components can also be incorporated into SMNRs.  Facebook, Twiiter and RSS components can be a part of the SMNRs.  RSS feeds can allow people to follow the press releases on either the same topic or ones released by the same company/organization. I had a hard time finding any serious disadvantages to the SMNR aside from the time it takes put one together well.

SMNRs are really versatile and can be used in many different situations. Any time that you are preparing to pitch an idea that would benefit from multimedia coverage it is best to pitch with a SMNR as opposed to a traditional press release.

In a blog post by Brian Solis you can find out how to make sure your SMNR is properly indexed by search engines, you can view a simple example of how your SMNR should flow, and learn how to make a SMNR work the best for you

Another great post to read when researching SMNRs is Copyblogger’s How to Write A Social Media Press Release. There you can find the following alternate strategies to make your SNMR stand out from the pack: a sure-fire headline structure, a strong opening that uses an anecdote that paints a relatable picture, and content that utilizes all the laws of persuasive blogging.

A lot of work goes into writing a social media news release. For first timers the task can be a bit daunting. Websites like PitchEngine have been created as a tool to help grasp the concept step by step. For great examples of SMNRs I looked to LiberateMedia. They have an entire post dedicated to showing examples of exemplary SMNRs.

Before I wrap it up, here are a few last helpful tips to remember when creating your very own SMNR.

  • While links can be helpful, don’t go overboard. Too many links can confuse readers and distract from the key messages.
  • Place terms in important positions like headlines and first paragraphs.
  • Use low-resolution images, but high-resolution multimedia.
  • The message is the most important and everything else is supposed to enhance and add to it.

The world of SMNRs, much like all other aspects of public relations, is constantly changing. You can never stop learning and improving your techniques. There is so much information available today that you can always make your work better.

NewsU University’s Clean Your Copy was a really informative course. I really liked that the course began with a quiz. It was helpful to realize my weaknesses in copy writing before I took the course so that I could fully appreciate the lessons.

The style section of was the most helpful one to me. AP Style is something I’m constantly becoming more familiar with, but there are many differences from the formal writing style I learned in K-12 classes, so it has not been the easiest adjustment. The areas that trouble me most are those of addresses, interstates, and time. The online course gave specific examples that made the rules more clear than they appear in the AP Style Handbook. The exercises that followed the rules reiterated the points well.

I also feel like I benefited from the grammar section of the course. Because grammar is something I learned so long ago in school, a refresher is always a great thing. Who/whom has always been a rule that has given me trouble, but the course made it seem simple by breaking it down and providing shortcuts.

When I was first told that I would have to blog for class during my freshman year at Southern, I thought to myself that blogging was way too reminiscent of my middle school days when Xanga was the cool thing to do.  Once I set up my account on WordPress I realized that was far from the case. Blogging with WordPress is complicated. You can’t just have a thought and write about it quickly… It takes effort. Since I’ve always been instructed to use WordPress for my blogging assignments but I’ve always been curious about how it compares to other blogging websites. A blog posted on Behind the Spin by Rosey Stones gave me all of the information I was looking for.

After reading a comparison of WordPress to another blogging site, I’m so glad that this was what my instructors told me to use! While WordPress is more complicated, it provides a more polished and professional finished product. As a soon-to-be graduate, that is of the utmost importance to me. WordPress blogs are also easier for the user to navigate. When a viewer comes to my blog, they can quickly find exactly what post they are looking for instead of having to search and scroll through pages.

Overall, I couldn’t be happier with my experience with WordPress. It is definitely the blog site for me!

It comes as no surprise that people are already worked up about holiday shopping. Holiday shopping has long been  one of the busiest (and most stressful) times of the year, and by the looks of it people are getting tired of it. A blog post by PR junkie discusses the growing trend of online shopping.

When you compare traditional in-store shopping with online shopping the conveniences of one definitely the other. With online shopping you can shop at any time of day or night. No need to worry about a store’s business hours. You also can escape the traffic and crowds that fill shopping centers, malls, and outlet malls during this time of year. I found the list of reasons people are turning to online shopping to be pretty funny, because the reasons I shop online are all listed!

1. Crowds (69 percent)
2. Long lines (58 percent)
3. Having to arrive early to get the best deals (50 percent)
4. Stores under-stocked on hot items (48 percent)
5. Parking lot pandemonium (37 percent)

My holiday season has never been about the presents, but I like to put a lot of thought and time into the gifts I give to my family. But there is something about fighting to buy gifts for your loved ones that just takes away from the Christmas spirit. For me, it’s a no brainer. Online shopping is the way to go!

Chapter 14 of our text by Wilcox talked about the different forms of interpersonal communication a writer has at their disposal. E-mailing and memos are two methods commonly used by PR professionals today. There are certain guidelines that improve effectiveness when followed.

When sending an e-mail it is important to remember that while it is an informal communication, GRAMMAR AND SPELLING STILL COUNT. I cannot tell you how big of a pet peeve of mine it is to receive an email that is poorly formatted.  Also, make sure to remember because a person does not hear the tonality of your voice, word choice is key. Generally speaking, attachments are frowned upon. Unless another document is absolutely necessary to the message do not send one.

A memo (short for memorandum) is a bit more formal than an e-mail. Memos serve a wide variety of purposes within a community but are generally used to distribute information on a widespread level. Proper grammar and spelling are still important, as well as remaining brief. If the memo is being sent via email be sure to include specifics in the subject line to avoid your message being overlooked.


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January 2019
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