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Linda M. Perry
lmperry@ ufl.edu


 

 

© Linda M. Perry
2015

Managing Communication Campaigns > Lectures > News Media & Media Relations


News Media and Media Relations

  • Mass Media: Agenda Setting
    • Media influence is cumulative and long-term
    • Agenda-setting: the media set the public agenda
      • For issues of the day:
        • what we think about and talk about--McCombs and Shaw (1972)
      • Make us aware of issues, ideas, products, services
      • Vital as a first step in decision-making
    • News media report based on news values.

  • Agenda Setting & PR
    • Research shows PR often sets the agenda that the media then adopt, ultimately impacting what audiences think about. -- Curtin, Qi Qiu and Khiousis

  • Uncontrolled messages
    • Publicity—News that appears in the time or space reserved for news copy or programming.
      • Objective: to make something or someone known.
      • The content and absorption affects public opinion—not the amount.

  • Framing
    • “To select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation and / or treatment recommendation." --Entman, 1993
    • Selection and presentation influence how the audience thinks about an issue

    • Media framing helps publics make sense of complex issues
    • Influences publics’ perception and attitudes toward issues -- Jee, 2001

    • Framing Examples
      • Presenting a healthcare news story in an ethical frame that emphasized rights and morals can cause an audience to utilize the same frame in interpreting other stories on healthcare issues. (Shah & Domke, 1995)
      • Gain-framed messages are more likely than loss-framed messages to encourage prevention behaviors. (Gallagher & Updegraff, 2011)
  • Question of credibility
    • Perceived value of information decreases when we suspect source to be self-serving.
    • This leads to sources hiding their identity or disguising the nature of their interest
                      • --Gandy, 1992
    • Issues
      • Ethics (fake news)
      • Originator not identified
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  • Media Relations
    • Adversarial; gatekeeping
    • Gatekeeping theory
      • Power to make the initial judgment as to whether a story is important
                        -- Lewin 1957; White 1950

  • News Values
    • Impact
    • Timeliness
    • Proximity
    • Conflict
    • Novelty
    • Prominence
    • Currency

  • Newsworthiness
    • Relevance
    • Usefulness
    • Interest
  • ABCs of News Stories
    • Accuracy
    • Brevity
    • Clarity

  • Press Releases
    • Make them easy to understand
    • Make them easy to use
    • Tailor to the medium
      • To extent possible, tailor to each outlet
    • Write to achieve objective(s)—listed in plan book

    • Who, what, when, where, why & how.
    • Inverted pyramid or first 5 paragraphs.
    • Compelling lead
    • Tailored for medium
      • Broadcast: more conversational
      • Throwaway first line.
    • Content:
      • Accurate, truthful, complete
      • Facts support lead

    • Press Release Format
      • Source of press release
      • Release time
      • Headline
      • Lead
      • Sources of information
      • Nut graf (essential paragraph)
      • Quotes (within first five paragraphs)
        • Introduce speaker first, with transition sentence
      • Background
      • End
      • Contact info

      • Typed, double-spaced, wide margins, in print.
      • I.D.: Source name, address, phone number
      • Contact name & number for more info.
      • Release date (usually IMMEDIATE).
      • Follow style of medium:
        • AP, Reuters or UPI style for broad applicability
        • Or adapt to style of outlet
      • Photo if relevant
      • Put boilerplate at end; keep up to date

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    • Press Release Content
      • Write from audience's perspective
        • not organization’s
      • Accurate, truthful, complete yet concise
      • Easy to read and use; avoid wordiness
      • No jargon, inside language
      • Compelling lead
      • Facts support lead.
      • Concise, clear, direct sentences.

    • Active v. Passive Voice
      • Active voice: emphasis on subject (actor)
        • Subject, verb, object
          • The thief stole all her money.
        • Most common in media writing
      • Passive voice:
        • The recipient of the action is the grammatical subject.
          • All her money was stolen by the thief.
          • The victims were taken by ambulance to nearby hospitals.
        • Most common in academic writing
          • Based on notion that  focus should be shifted from human agency to the actions, processes, & events being described
      • Cambridge Grammar of English (2006)

    • The Lead
      • Unifying theme of story
        • Set by lead
          • Sets tone and direction of story
          • Pulls reader into story
        • To find theme, ask:
          • What happened (or is going to happen)?
          • Why does it matter?

    • Hard Lead
      • Readable, straightforward statement
        • Information the writer has decided is most important
        • Usually answers some of 5 W’s & H.
        • Tells reader why story is being singled out for news coverage.
        • Try to limit to 30 words.

    • Constructing a Lead
      • Choose the most important or interesting information
        • List the 5 Ws and H of the story (likely won’t use all).
      • Build into a single core sentence
        • Subject, Verb, Object
          • Klugh pleaded guilty
      • Flesh out the bare-bones core so it reads well, adding significant detail.
        • Professor N.O. Klugh pleaded guilty in superior court Wednesday to reckless driving.

    • Avoid Dangling Leads

      The BUF Student Senate voted 10-9 Wednesday to suspend student body president I.N. Trubbelle pending an investigation into charges that she violated campaigning rules to get elected.

      The Senate also authorized $100 for flowers for graduation ceremonies in May.

    • Headlines
      • Skeletonized sentences in present tense
      • Subject, verb, object
        • Most articles dropped (the, a, an)
        • Conjunctions dropped for comma

        Storm knocks out power, transportation in Miami

      • Quotes in headlines are rare
        • Said dropped for colon or dash
        • Single quotation marks
          • President Machen: ‘I quit!’
          • ‘I quit!’ – President Machen
      • Slug or label – used on second page, if any


    • Developing the Story
      • Build the story, paragraph by paragraph, from most important information to least important.
      • Link each paragraph with transitions

    • Establishing the Thread: Building Transitions
      • Transitions establish relationships between pieces and the central theme
        • Connectors: mostly conjunctions
        • Hooks: repeated words or phrases
        • Pronouns: he, she, it, they, that, this
        • Associations: different words for one idea
        • Chronology: timeline or references
        • Enumeration: number items (First, second)

    • Direct Quotes
      • Correct order is quote, speaker, verb.
      • Introduce speaker first, so the attribution is said simply.
        • Then follow the quote, speaker, attribution order


          .....Daphne Rose runs a bed-and-breakfast in Glastonbury.
          .....“I love doing this, because I meet so many interesting people who come from all over the world to visit the Glastonbury Tor,” Rose said.

    • Attributions: Said
      • Said is most common, preferred: modest
        • Explained (made more understandable)
        • Related (absence of opinion)
        • Pointed out (call attention to FACT—not opinion)
        • Stated (formal, speeches or announcements)
        • Declared (formal)
        • Added (Afterthought)
        • Revealed or disclosed (something previously unknown or concealed)
        • Exclaimed (surprised or emotional)
        • Asserted (formal and intense)
        • According to (documents)
        • Continued (continuing quote)

    • Conclusions
      • Avoid unjustified viewpoint ending

    • Writing Your Press Release(s)
      • After all that research (interview, quotes from source, background research)
        • Put down your notebook
          • Ask what is worth telling
        • Without notes, write quickly (xxx for details)
        • Organise this core (list): Put “nut graf” up high (the lead)
          • Best in transition from the introductory section, lead
        • Then use notes
          • Add quotations, examples, anecdotes to support points
          • Add details you couldn’t remember without notes
          • Correct spelling, grammar
      • Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite!

  • Fact Sheet
    • One page, bulleted list of key supporting facts about issue and action being taken.

  • Backgrounder
    • A brief summary, including the history, of the issue, organization and campaign.
    • Has information not included in the press release.

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