Amber Laurin's Blog

PRactice makes perfect… my first blog!

Dancing with the “so-called” Stars? September 21, 2010

Filed under: PR Connections,PRCA 3330 — amberlaurin @ 2:49 pm

The hit TV show Dancing with the Stars pairs professional dancers with celebrities in an all out dance competition in which the viewers decide the winner.  As the ratings of many reality competition shows drop, Dancing with the Stars continued to dominate Monday nights.  According to TVOverMind, DWTS averaged over 20 million live viewers over its 2-hour premiere.  I have not always been a fan of the show but have watched it time to time and decided to see what the line up was like this season.  After seeing the lineup I was excited about some names and then surprised about others.  Since when does teen pregnancy/and being a politician’s daughter make you a star?  The show which prides itself on having popular “celebrities” learn how to dance from professionals definitely did not impress me.  The reality television stars that were chosen to compete weren’t even as well known as others on their show, and maybe it is because I am female but I have never heard of either athletes picked.  Of all of the performers there I believe there was only one that is truly a celebrity and deserved to be there…. Jennifer Grey.  Even though viewers expected this Dirty Dancing beauty to excel, I think she did better than anyone could have imagined.


TOW 4: NEWSU Cleaning Your Copy September 20, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 2:09 pm

This past weekend I participated in the NewsU Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style, and More! course. This class focused on four separate areas including grammar, AP style, punctuation, and spelling.  I found this class be extremely helpful because I have not reviewed grammar, punctuation, or spelling in a few years.  I also found that I was making common mistakes quite often.

Grammar: I found the sections c0ncerning who/whom and lay/lie to be most helpful in my writing.  I realized that I have been making these mistakes in my writing for as long as I can remember.  NewsU made it simple by describing that who is a subject and whom is an object.  The differences between lay/lie are a tad bit more difficult.

AP Style: AP Style is something that I have struggled with since it was first introduced to me at the beginning of college.  The information given in the course as well as Professor Barbara Nixon’s presentation, Flagging Your 2010 AP Stylebook, provided me with more understanding and confidence in using the stylebook.

Punctuation: Punctuation is another sticky topic.  Although I know the basics sometimes I find myself adding too many comma’s.  This section of the course set out specific instructions on how to use the correct punctuation in many cases.

Spelling: Misspelled words are one of my biggest pet peeves.  Especially when a dictionary or spell check is readily available to most people.

I found this course to be helpful in improving my writing, as well as in recognizing certain things I need to be more aware of when writing.


TOW 3: Blog Comments

Filed under: PRCA 3330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 1:52 pm

Blog comments are an integral part of blogs because they allow feed back in the virtual world.  Readers are able to express their views and opinions and blog writers are able to see that people actually do read their blogs.

Blog comments can encourage blog writers to improve or add to their existing blogs.  They also create a blog community where conversation, wisdom, and ideas are shared. says,

Finding out what readers think, learning from different peoples perspectives, and hearing how much you appreciate what we do is a real boost of energy and your comments inspire bloggers tocontinue providing their readers with news, fascinating content, and unique opportuni-ties to be part of a thriving and united community.

However blog  comments can not be an integral part of blogging without being effective and compelling. Mack Collier, a social media consultant, speaker, and trainer, lists six basic steps to making your comments more effective.

  1. Add something to the conversation.
  2. Comment Early.
  3. Don’t over-promote yourself.
  4. You can disagree, without being disagreeable.
  5. Ask Questions.
  6. Know why you are commenting.

If blog posters remember these simple steps when commenting on blogs, blog comments can be an enjoyable and useful thing for everyone.


Chapter 4: Finding and Making News

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — amberlaurin @ 1:41 pm

Chapter 4: Finding and Making News

What Makes News?

  • Timeliness: Most important characteristic of news.  News must be current.  A publicist can make a story angle timely in four ways: 1) Announce something when it happens 2) Providing information or story idea that relate to an event or situation that is already being extensively covered by the news media 3)Relate the organization’s products or services to another event that has national recognition and interest 4) Offering information linked to events and holidays that are already on the public agenda.
  • Prominence: News media rarely cover the grand opening of a store or anything else unless there is a prominent person with star power involved.  Ex.  Beauty queens, actors/actresses, rock stars and professional athletes.
  • Proximity: News releases most acceptable to media gatekeepers are those with a  local angle. These stories are often referred to as hometowners (custom tailored for an individual’s local newspaper or broadcast station by emphasizing the local angle in the first paragraph of the news release).
  • Significance: Any situation or event that can affect a substantial number of people is significant.
  • Unusualness: Anything out of ordinary attracts press interest and public attention.
  • Human Interest: People like to read about other people.  This is why news media focus on the lives of the rich and famous.
  • Conflict: When two or more groups advocate different views on a topic of current interest, this creates news.
  • Newness: Constantly search for something “new.”  Any news release announcing a new product or service has a good chance of being published.

All information in this blog post can be found in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th Edition


Chapter 3: Avoiding Legal Hassles September 12, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — amberlaurin @ 1:35 pm

Chapter 3: Avoiding Legal Hassles

Libel and Defamation: According to the AP Stylebook, “Libel is injury to reputation.  Words, pictures or cartoons that expose a person to public hatred, shame, disgrace or ridicule, or induce an ill opinion of a person are libelous.”

Juries award defamation damages to the extent that the following four points can be proved by the injured party:

  1. The statement was published to others by print or broadcast
  2. The plaintiff was identified or identifiable.
  3. There was actual injury in the form of monetary losses, impairment of reputation, humiliation, or mental anguish and suffering.
  4. The publisher of the statement was malicious or negligent.

Invasion of Privacy: An organization’s treatment of its employees in regards to privacy is one area of possible liability and potential lawsuits.  These include:

  • Employee newsletters
  • Photo Releases
  • Product Publicity and Advertising
  • Media inquiries about employees
  • Employee blogs and virtual communities.

Regulatory Agencies:

The Federal Trade Commission: ensures that advertisements are not deceptive or misleading.  They also have jurisdiction over product news releases and other forms of product publicity, such as videos and brochures.

The Securities and Exchange Commission: closely monitors the financial affairs of publicly traded companies and protects the interests of the stock holders.

Other Federal Regulatory Agencies include: The Federal Communications Commission, The Food and Drug Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

All information in this post can be found in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques: 6th Edition