Amber Laurin's Blog

PRactice makes perfect… my first blog!

TOW 14: Multimedia Story Telling December 1, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 12:59 pm

This week I took the NewsU: Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling course.  I found this course to be extremely helpful and user friendly.  The lesson provided a look into the making of a Dancing Rock’s multimedia webpage.  Here are the five steps that I learned about:

  • Step 1: Choosing a Story- Stories should be multidimensional and nonlinear.  The course explained that while you are picking your story avoid thinking in chronological order i.e. first part, second part, end.  After deciding on a story it is important to do background research the course explained that this  means “conducting preliminary interviews with sources, getting a basic idea of what to expect in the field, and looking up anything the sources have published in print or on the Web. Collect visuals — photos, videos, maps and graphics — from your sources or from the Web to get an idea of potential story components. Track down any previous stories on the topic — print, video, radio or Web.”
  • Step 2: Making a Story Board- There are three parts of creating a story board.  These include defining the elements, identifying the media, story boarding the concept.  First divide the story into its nonlinear parts, then decide which parts of the story work best with each media, and finally on a sheet of paper draw your final story including the different medium used.
  • Step 3: Reporting with Multimedia- This section explained everything that you need to bring with you into the field to conduct your research.  Things included obvious things like camera, recording device, and laptop as well as unusual items like rubber bands, plastic bags, and a pocket knife.  This section had a game where you were able to “pack your bag”.  You matched different necessary items with descriptions of different things you could use them for.
  • Step 4: Editing for the Web- ” Once you’ve finished your fieldwork, refine your storyboard. Evaluate your information, figure out what has changed from your original version of the story, and map out which media you have and what should appear on each page.”  The course then included guidelines for several types of media.

  • Step 5: Producing the Story- During the final stage, your relationship with a web designer is crucial.  The course said think of them as your editor.  The course also recommended using templates, which allows users to use pre-made set ups so that you don’t have to start from scratch.

The course also gave several great examples of other multimedia examples:

Media Storm
Digital Artwork: Losing Louisiana- Landloss on the Coast


TOW 13: Why can’t we be Friends?

Filed under: PRCA 3330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 11:13 am

Public Relation Practitioner drive journalists crazy in a variety of ways but I have created a list of 10 ways that I think are most prevalent and important.  Above all it is important for journalists and PR people to get along because neither profession would excel without the other.

  1. Name Calling The excesses of hype and promotion have causes many journalists to openly disdain public relations as nothing but covert advertising, deception, and manipulation. Journalist often refer to PR people as “flacks”, while others refer to reporters as “hacks”. In order for both professions to work in harmony, school yard name calling must stop.
  2. Not Meeting a deadline on time. Journalists are all about deadlines, getting a story in, out and on to the next one. It is crucial that PR Professionals make sure to have all the information for the journalist or vice verse on time. Deadlines are everything in the world of journalism
  3. Telling the journalist what to do how to do it. PR professionals and journalists need each other to get a job done. PR professionals need to stick to what they know and let the journalist do their work. It will cut out bickering and fighting in the long run if both people just do their own jobs and then meet in the middle.
  4. Don’t pitch a story to a journalist, if you haven’t considered all its angles first. Before you pitch a story idea to a journalist, make sure it is newsworthy and is the right story for the information you are providing to the journalist. You need to make sure the information you provide is relevant to your client and issues at hand.
  5. No one likes to feel obligated to someone else, just because they are presented a uncalled-for/unexpected gift. Sending gimmicks like T-shirts, coasters, discounts/coupons, or any other kind of “freebies”, though a nice gesture, is not always appropriate.If you want to send “freebies” to a reporter or journalist AFTER they have worked with you, as a thank you, that can be appropriate sometimes, depending on the situation. However, sending gimmicky items with your PR Media Kit, is essentially a no-no. It can come off like you are trying to buy the reporter into covering your client.
  6. Miss-communication. When the PR professional thinks that they are supposed to do one thing and in reality they were asked to do something completely different. This could lead to problems because if the journalist expects something and then gets a completely different thing it could get them in trouble by someone higher up.
  7. Repeated calls and follow ups from PR professionals. PR people can overdo it with the follow up calls. They should call once to make sure that the information was received and then leave it alone. Too pushy could ruin chances in the future.
  8. PR professionals calling the journalist about something that was not published. When something that the PR person thought was going to be published and was not, the PR person should not call the journalist to figure out why. If it was not published there was a reason and just because you call does not mean it will be published.
  9. Sending invites. PR professionals going beyond there job and actually inviting specifics to press conferences and events that the journalists are in charge of arranging.
  10. PR use excessive hype in writings, journalists consider it to be poorly written. PR people could change their use of words to try to accommodate the journalist style.


TOW 12: Podcast November 30, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 4:09 pm

I chose to listen to The Creative Career’s, Generations in the Workplace, which was originally posted on May 26th, 2010.  The podcast was an interview with David Stillman coauthor of The M Factor: How the Millennial Generation is Rocking the Workplace.

The Millenial Generation includes the generation between 1982 and 2000.  Stillman explained the main factors that have shaped this generation and how the workplace is changing.  The main drivers he discussed were:

  1. The Role of Parents. Parents (the Boomer Generation) have become more involved with their children, from middle to high school, college, and now in the workplace.  Companies now have to work with parents as well as new employees. 
  2. Entitlement. General belief about this generation is that this generation has a sense of entitlement.  New workers go into jobs looking for a corner office and more responsibilities.  In a national survey, he found that sixty-one percent of Millennial’s said they were very optimistic that they could find a job if they needed to.  This generation is constantly looking and asking to get further ahead in the job, and working to getting their job done more efficiently. 
  3. The search for meaning. Generation who is showing up and want work that has meaning from the beginning.  They want to know that the work they are doing is making a difference.
  1. Great expectations. The workplace is no longer confined to a cubicle in an office, rather more people are working from home and on the go.  Millennial’s need to make sure they keep in constant contact with their managers and other generations so that they are aware of their mobile work.
  1. The need for speed.
  2. Social networking. Millennials are taking the lead in using social networking for research, reaching out to new resources and getting PR.  Millennial should keep in mind, blurring the lines between personal and professional.  More than 70% of bosses said that personal behavior on social networks effect hiring, and promoting. 
  3. Collaboration. In order for the workplace to be successful, Millennials and other generations must work together. 

I found this podcast extremely interesting and helpful.  I am a part of the millennial generation and will be graduating in a year.  I plan to take his advice when looking for a internships and jobs.  The best advice I got from Stillman was to study the workplace that you’re going into.  PR podcast are extremely beneficial to PR students and new practitioners because you get an inside look into the head of seasoned PR professionals.


TOW 11: Infographics

Filed under: PRCA 3330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 3:59 pm

Infographics according to Search Engine Land “are visual devices that communicate information or data in an easily digestible manner.” They have been used by computer scientists, mathematicians, and statisticians for many years to ease the process of communicating conceptual information, support it, strengthen it and present it within a provoking and sensitive context. Infographics are image-based and usually contain very little text. Images speak a thousand words especially when images are used together to visualize an architecture of information.

Infographics would be useful in creating a story for a client because it provides a visually appealing and neatly organized presentation to viewers. If your piece is not appealing than social media users will be less likely to read information or view your page. They also have the power to make dull data more interesting. Search Engine Land says that, “This is important in capturing a user’s immediate attention and directing their eyes through a visual flow of information in a timely fashion. Infographics have a higher chance of becoming viral and being shared with friends online.”

Sites to help you create an infographic:

Here are a few examples of infographics that I found online.  Each of these is very different in purpose and presentation of information but is also very appealing to the eye.


TOW 10: WordPress Site Stat Page

Filed under: PRCA 3330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 3:17 pm

This week we were asked to review the site stat page of our personal blog. Below I have attached a picture of my site stat page.  I will be describing the different sections that are viewable from this page.

Total number of visitors: This section allows users to see how many people are viewing the blog by days, weeks, and months.  PR practitioners would benefit from this because it allows them to track the traffic at their blog.  This would allow companies to alter their blogs to make them more user friendly or advertise their blogs in high traffic areas.

Referrers:  This section allows users to see where their blog is being advertised and who is referring your blog to others.  My personal blog has been referred to other users by both my professor and other students in my class.

Top posts and pages: This section allows users to see which posts have been viewed the most in the last day, week, or month.  This section would be most beneficial to company blogs because they can see which posts are most popular with customers or consumers.

General: This section allows users to view basic facts about their blog including total number of posts, comments, categories, and tags.  It also includes information about subscriptions, spam, and shares.

Incoming Links: This section shows users links to which their blog is featured on.  My blog receives direct links from my professor’s blogs.

Search Engine Terms: This section shows users which search engine terms link audiences to your personal blogs.

Site stats are important for both personal and company blogs.  They provide the creators with an in-depth look inside of their blogs.  Company blogs can use the site stat page to alter their blog in a way to increase stats or as a pat on the back for a popular blog.


TOW 9: PROpenMic November 29, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 2:36 pm

I am actively involved in several networking sites including Facebook and Twitter. I recently joined PrOpenMic and so far have enjoyed exploring the site. This is an excellent networking site created for PR professionals, students, and recent graduates. Here are few sections that I found most interesting:

1. Jobs/Internships: This area is most beneficial to recent graduates and PR students looking for internships. There is an area to search recent postings, links to jobs/internships resources, and other helpful information.

2.Blogs: This section was the most interesting to me. It lists recent blog post by members. This area provided me with several resources for my PR Writing class in particular. I was able to comment on other PR student and professionals blogs and also network.

3. Forums: I found this area to set PR OpenMic apart from all other networking sites. Members are able to post discussion questions and other users can reply or post additional questions. I saw several members who posted links to survey’s for their PR classes or businesses. This sparked an interest because for my PR Research class this semester we had to give a survey out about inadequate exercise, if I would have been more familiar with the site I could have posted it in the forum and received responses from students and professionals from all over.

Overall I am extremely impressed with the layout, ease of use, and features of PROpenMic. I will definetly be using this to network with professionals and students from all over the US.


TOW 8: NewsU The Lead Lab

Filed under: PRCA 3330,TOWS — amberlaurin @ 2:15 pm

This week I took the NewsU The Lead Lab.  Throughout college I have taken various journalism  classes where I have learned the basic of writing stories.  This course was an excellent refresher as well as a source of new information.

The part of the course I found most beneficial was the section about creating good leads.  Leads are very important because they are what starts out your article and draws the reader in. If you have a bad lead you could potentially lose many readers. One tip to follow is the “read aloud” rule. You should focus on the following elements when following this rule:

  • Can you say it in a single breath?
  • Do you stumble over the words?
  • Does it sound like something you’d tell a friend over the phone?
  • Does it put you to sleep or confuse you?

By answering all these questions, you can determine if you have a good, persuasive lead or if it needs to be revised.

While taking this Lead Lab I also learned the “Seven Hot Spots.”  They are:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • When
  • Where
  • How
  • Why
  • So What

The best part of the course is the ability to work at your own pace.  Students can spend as much or as less time on certain areas of the lab.  It also had graphics that kept students interested and allowed those who took it to get feed back about their leads.