Tag Archives: journalism

Good Press/Bad Press is there really such a thing?

photo 4“Never worry about bad press: All that matters is if they spell your name right.” -Kate Hudson

This summer when I was working in parliament, the deputy I was working for received some bad press. It wasn’t the truth. While the newspaper apologized and fixed it, my boss said this: “if they are saying something bad about you, you know you’re doing something right.”

Good press/bad press, is there really such a thing? I’m serious. I’m going to be flat out honest and say I truly don’t know. I just started a media ethics class this semester so I have no idea. I thought I did but after my second class I wasn’t so sure.

People normally perceive the media as dishonest, their version of the truth, etc. I can tell you right now that isn’t always the truth. Did you know the New York Times has an ethics code over 140 pages long? Yes, most ethics codes are not even near that. However, it doesn’t mean the media is a cesspool of sleazy journalists. We went to college people! We studied the art of journalism for four years! Was it easy? No. I am a junior and I went to bed at 2 a.m. last night because I had class until 9 p.m. It was also the second day of class.

Ok, paparazzi are one spectrum. They follow important public figures around and try to find dirt because it sells. Be honest, most Americans love a scandal. It’s what some people thrive on. Sad? Yes, but you can’t change people.

If you look back at the 20s and 30s, that was sleazy journalism. Remember yellow journalism? Journalists today are much, much more ethical than they were back then. Are we saints? No. Do I have a conscience? Yes. The point of all this is, publicity can be good or bad. I do agree with my boss in the way that even though you are doing something right as a public figure, the press will still find something. Not all journalists are sleazy. It’s not the only field with sleaze-balls in it…. Wall Street, lawyers…. there are sleazy people everywhere and in every profession. Your job as a reader? Determine who is who, once you do that correctly you’ll see the beauty that is journalism.

These flats are ruining my feet because I am tripping every five seconds. I swear the bricks on college green move! However, I am not walking around a cobblestone campus in heels… that would hurt more.

x KMSH

You have a voice but use it wisely

When you’re an intern, most of your internship will be listening and learning. Internships are for you to learn new things and hone your skills, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a voice. Because I am the only intern in my boss’s office, my boss likes to “pick my brain” as he would say. During your internship you may be asked to give an opinion, idea, etc. but give it wisely. Your voice is very important, especially in the journalism field. Does it mean that you should give your opinion all of the time? No. You don’t want to be the intern that steps on people’s toes or is constantly making comments about every single project and every single task. You’re an intern, embrace it!

I have observed my boss’s social media pages for weeks now and I  have some ideas on how to improve them and gain more followers. I have been a little hesitant but all I have to do is ask if it’s okay to email the two people who do his social media, giving my feedback. Now, I am not going to be rude and say “this, this and that are all wrong. It’s supposed to be this way.” I have experience dealing with social media so I feel like it’s okay to give my opinion and throw out some ideas, but I’ve waited. I could have started off right away throwing out my social media ideas and what needs to be changed. However, I waited till my last week because I was able to make fully observe and take note of what I noticed. I took my time and now I can give strong, credible recommendations on how to improve his social media pages.

“You don’t want your credibility banana to turn brown, but you do want to speak out about what you believe in.” -Bradley Whitford

As you grow as a professional during your undergrad and post-grad years your voice will grow and your opinion will gain value. At the beginning it’s always best to listen, observe and learn about what’s going around you. As you gain more experience you gain the ability to give your opinion and feedback. Your voice will start off shaky but experience helps you hone your voice and figure out what that voice says. Remember though, there will always be someone out there that is smarter and better at their job than you. It’s okay, you have a voice and they have a voice. In journalism, that’s what counts.

Press Releases: A Work of Art

mona lisaWhen on LinkedIn you put press releases as a skill, when in reality it should be a work of art that is displayed. I have written many in my few years at OU and it truly is an artwork. Now I could make this into a press release “how to” but instead I’m going to just say a few things that are key when writing a press release.

The 5 W’s: All journalists should know what this means. Who, what, when, where, and why? In the first few words of your press release you should have most if not all of these covered.

Keep it concise: Do you know how many press releases reporters/editors get on a daily basis? I don’t know either but I have a feeling it’s almost unimaginable and reporters/editors don’t want to read a press release that is longer than it should be. Remember they are going to write the story, not you. Word to the wise: just give the basics and let them do the rest of the work (It has worked so far at my internship).

Fresh and new is better than conventional: I am a firm believer in this notion. Your language shouldn’t be boring, blah and conventional. The language in the press release should be fresh. If I was a reporter and had to read the, “I’m the same thing every time press release” every single day, I’d probably throw your press releases in the rubbish bin. The format should be conventional but as long as you get the information across in a concise manner and is received well; you did a good job.

Always edit at least 3 times: Editing is KEY. If there is a mistake… rubbish bin. If you are in journalism or public relations you should know how to edit and understand you have to do it over and over again. Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes can be costly. If you hate grammar like I do, just use your AP Style Book… which you better have in your desk drawer.

These are just a few things I recommend. Is it everything that I could have said, no. I do believe press releases are a work of art because the first one I wrote was similar to a 5-year old’s stick figure drawing. Practice makes perfect, so if you want to write the Mona Lisa of press releases, remember these tips and practice.

P.S. Going to Northern Ireland this weekend, should I pack my heels? I just might…

P.P.S. I took the picture of the mona lisa when I was fourteen, needless to say it was difficult and I had to crawl under people.

x KMSH