CMCN 321 Midterm, ULL, Auverset

Creative Writing

Emphasizes an imaginative, artistic, and innovative writing style.
Example: fiction, peotry, letters, etc..

Functional Writing

Emphasizes a purposeful formatted writing style with a clear objective
Example: class assignments, emails, job applications, etc..

Active Voice

Emphasizing the doer of an action.
Doesn't work with "by zombies

Passive Voice

Emphasizing the receiver of an action.
Works with "by zombies


social overturns or emotional meanings


the explicit meaning or definition

What is the primary purpose of public relations writing?

To communicate clearly with your target publics

Hard News Story

stories of a timely nature about events or conflicts that focuses on immediacy and impact

Soft News Story

news that entertains or informs with an emphasis on human interest and novelty

Fact Sheet

Bits of strategic and newsworthy information that public relations writers give to reporters to provide a basis for stories the reporters will write

News Fact Sheet

provides information to the press in a format that is quick and easy to read
Answers the basic questions of "who, what, when, where, why, & how

Background Fact Sheet

a brief bit of information about an organization and/or the programs or issues it deals with
Goal is to simplify complex information

Event Listings

brief announcements of upcoming activities in various types of community calendars or community bulletin boards
A good opportunity to publicize your organization/event with your key publics

Media Advisory

a straightforward memo notifying the media about an upcoming newsworthy activity related to your organization
Goal is to simply inform the press that an event or something newsworthy is going to occur

Public Advisory

a direct announcement in which an organization matter-of-factly warns media audiences of potential or imminent harm

Story Idea Memo (tip sheet)

used to invite editors and journalists to develop a feature story around interesting people associated with your organization
Story idea memos are subtle

Pitch Letter

directed at media gatekeepers to entice them to do a story or interview on a specific aspect of your organization.
Pitch letters are direct

Double Speak

language that obviously and sometimes deliberately obscures the meaning of real words


unethical, immoral, self-serving, nonresponsive, and manipulative communication

What is a media directory & why is it important?

Collections of data related to newspapers and magazines, radio and television, blogs and social media, telecommunications, advertising and other media-related areas.
These are vital tools that help writers identify media contacts and develop stories

Planning Sheet

An outline of what you should think about to make your writing planning more effective

Elements of a Planning Sheet

1. public relations situation
2. analysis of key publics
3. core news statement
4.benefit statement
5. tone of message
6. intended outcomes
7. action statement
8. readability range

Public relations ethics

1.Serve the public interest
2.Exemplify high standards of honesty and integrity
3.Build mutual understanding and credibility
4.Adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth
5.Deal fairly with clients and employees as well as competitors and media

What is the first stage of the public relations writing process?


Key Publics

specific publics that you identify as being most important to your writing activity

Target publics

the audience that your organization targets as a whole

Cognitive Dissonance Theory

Focuses on the confusion that arises when information is out of step with a person's attitude

Expectancy Value Theory

Observes that people make media choices based on what they want, what they expect from the media, and how they evaluate the ability of the media to meet those expectations (Fishbein)

Uses and Gratifications Theory

Examines the ways in which media consumers choose specific media to meet specific needs

Dependency Theory

States that audiences, the media, and society all influence communication with the other

Social Learning Theory

The theory that people learn by observing others
a.k.a "modeling

Agenda Setting Theory

Predicts that the amount of attention given to an issue in the media affects the level of importance assigned to it by the public.

Diffusion of Innovations Theory

Predicts that different types of people will adopt new ideas at different times.

Cultivation Theory

Predicts that the media shape how people view the world.
Predicts that over time, media use will "cultivate" a particular view of the world within users.

Individual Differences Theory

Predicts that people with different characteristics will be affected in different ways by the mass media.

Cumulative Effects Theory

The theory that media have profound effects on the public, over time, through redundancy.

Hypodermic Needle/Magic Bullet Theory

Media goes directly to the audience

Two-Step Flow Theory

media goes first to opinion leaders, then to general audience members

Multistep Flow Theory

a new media direction following the two-step flow theory
a complex interaction of media effects
most accurate theory model of the flow of information in media today

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Survival/ psychological needs
Security/safety needs
Belonging/social needs
Esteem/personal needs
fulfillment/self-actualization needs

Media Effects

a term used in media studies, psychology, communication theory & sociology to refer to the theories about the ways the mass media affect how their audiences think and behave
Powerful, Minimal, Mixed

Powerful Effects

Predicts that media will have swift and potent influence on its audience.

Minimal Effects

Predicts that media will have very little influence on behavior.

Mixed Effects

predicts that media can have a combination of influences


A person who controls the flow of information
EXAMPLE: editor of newspaper; a radio or television director


a person's innate desire to help others
Important to public relations writers involved with volunteers and fundraising

How is Altruism used in PR?

The task of the public relations writer preparing organizational appeals may be to give readers an opportunity both to help others and to exercise their own altruistic needs.


Biggest, first, unique, only, etc.
Avoid these subjective words when writing

Speech Tag/Speech Attribution

Used with direct quotes and paraphrasing

Rules of Speech Attribution

1. A full sentence quote always begins as a new paragraph
2. Attribution should follow a full sentence quote
3. Attribution can interrupt a longer, multi-sentence quote
4. Attribution generally comes before a partial quote
5. Attribution is only to people


Gathering information secretly, such as taping a private face-to-face or in-person conversation without permission


Using a person's name or image for commercial purposes without permission

Why is it important to have credible sources in your writing?

Because if you don't get your information from a credible source you risk publishing information that isn't true or has been twisted

What is the best protection against a charge of invasion of privacy>

Truth & Permission

Explicit Permission

a written statement to allow the publication (consent release)

Implicit Permission

a person implies permission by participating in a news interview, a television broadcast, or a posed photograph


communication that reasonable and average people in the community believe impugns "the honesty, virtue, or reputation" of a person, who is thereby exposed "to public hatred, contempt, and ridicule


oral defamation


written or broadcast defamation

What is the most important or number one rule in public relations?


3 C's of Effective Communication

credibility, charisma, control


possessing the expertise to speak about a particular subject, recognized status, prestige, and a competence to communicate effectively with honesty, sincerity, and a lack of bias.


being likable, familiar, or similar to your audience.


demonstrating power or authority over the audience, or who is in a position to examine and pass judgment over the audience.