Beginner Rules of AP Style

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Image via apstylebook.com

The Associated Press Stylebook is a manual that both journalists and public relations practitioners follow. AP Style includes rules and formatting suggestions for written documents. Journalists use it in articles, while PR practitioners use it in press releases. The stylebook changes a bit every year, sometimes to reflect cultural terms or new words. In general, there are few easy rules for journalists and PR practitioners to remember.

1. Numbers one through nine are spelled out, while numbers 10 and above are typically represented as numerals. Example: “I have three pets at home.”

2. Percentages are always represented as numerals, while the word “percent” is spelled out. Example: “I give 100 percent of my attention to this job.”

3. Ages are always represented as numerals. Example: “She is 25 years old.”

4. Dollar amounts use the “$” sign and express the amounts as numerals. Example: “You have $12,000 in the bank.”

5. Dates are represented as numerals. The months of August through February are abbreviated, and the months of March through July are never abbreviated. “Th” is also not used when mentioning the month. Example: “I have an appointment with the doctor on Dec. 6.”

6. Farther means physical distance, while further is an extension of time or degree. Example: “You walked farther than your friend” or “I will look further into the issue.”

7. Street addresses are expressed as numerals. If terms like “street”, “way” or “road” are paired with a number, they are abbreviated. If not, they are spelled out. Two exceptions are “route” and “road”, which are never abbreviated. Example: “You live at 546 Sycamore St. Her work office is on Holmes Road.”

8. United States and U.S. are used in different cases. United States is used as a noun, while U.S. is used as an adjective. Example: “I live in the United States. I live on U.S. territory.”

9. Job titles are capitalized before a person’s name, but lowercase after the name or independent of it. Example: “President Barack Obama is in the White House. The president is speaking.”

10. Media titles, like those of films, books and songs, are capitalized and put in quotation marks. Quotation marks should not be used for reference books, magazines or newspapers. Example: “I saw the movie ‘Frozen’ last week.”

Interested in knowing more about AP Style? The stylebook can be purchased online for multiple devices. To purchase the AP Stylebook, click here.

Five Apps for PR Professionals

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Image via socialmediatravelers.com

There are apps for everything, including the public relations field. Some PR apps can help with interviews and writing. Others can manage work files and social media. PR Daily has a list of 50 apps they recommend. However, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start.

For practitioners new to apps, here are five of my favorites. I’ve summarized their names and features in this post. While laptops and desktops are preferable, these mobile apps can give practitioners a leg up while working outside the office.

  • Call Recorder. This app allows busy practitioners to tape interviews over the phone. Say you need to get a quote from an executive for a press release. You can easily call them and record their quote. It’s a great method for getting the precise wording from a phone interview.
  • Evernote. Evernote works on both mobile devices and on computers. It’s a workspace that you can use on either technology. It stores notes and to-do lists for the busy professional. It’s an especially helpful app for staying organized.
  • Adobe Photoshop Express. Free for both iPhone and Android users, this app offers on-the-go photo editing. Users can crop and adjust colors on the image before sharing it on various sites.
  • Facebook Pages Manager. Many PR practitioners specialize in social media. Since social media runs round the clock, it’s important to have access to it on a smartphone. The pages manager app gives practitioners flexibility to answer messages and make posts on their phone.
  • Pulse. Pulse keeps practitioners up-to-speed on news, blogs and social media. It gathers all new information into one place. It’s a popular way for PR people to keep up with trends and important news updates.

What apps do you use for public relations? Share your picks in the comments.

Buckle Down for Learning

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A new semester has begun. I’m already into a week’s worth of spring schoolwork. Based off initial impressions, this semester will be more difficult than last. For one, I’m taking an additional class. I’m also taking a graduate statistics course that counts as a cognate. But with everything on my plate, I think I should manage. Last August, my classwork was overwhelming at first but eventually I settled.

I’m still in the settling phase, but I’m starting my assignments for each class. I’ve already started a project and completed a paper and a lab. I’ve also read chapters for most of the classes. I’m not complaining though. If anything, I’m thankful that I have classes and work to keep me busy. I prefer being productive over idle. It’s a bonus that I’ll learn at the same time.

This semester I’ll be taking:

  • Graphic Communications. In this course we’ll be learning the basics of design software. We’ll also have a few design projects of our own, which I’ll most likely share on this blog.
  • Applied Statistics. This is an important class in terms of graduate education and research. I usually struggle with math, so I hope I’ll make a few breakthroughs this spring.
  • Public Opinion. This is a course taught through the journalism school at UGA each year. A number of journalism, advertising and public relations students take it since the topic has to do with their future careers.
  • PR Topics. This topics class specifically focuses on health communication. We’ll be looking at real world examples and creating health PR campaigns of our own.

Happy New Year!

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Image via messagesquotes.com

It’s a brand new year, folks. December 2014 did a number on me. I wrapped up my first semester of grad school, made gifts on a shoestring budget and caught a severe case of the flu. This only gave me more reason to put down blogging for a bit. I’ve come back with some gusto though. I’m ready to post on a (somewhat) regular basis with writing stories, thrifting ideas and PR tips.

I’m not a huge resolutions person. I make goals for each year, but I try to be realistic about them. Instead of losing weight, I try to lead a healthier lifestyle. Instead of simply saving money, I try to budget better and spend less on things like coffee trips or restaurant outings.

So for this year, my main goal is to try and slow down. I often work hard and burn out fast. I need to be better about pacing myself, especially since I’ve got plenty of years of work ahead. For 2015, I want to take things as they come. I want to naturally enjoy what happens in this new year. Details of this adventure to come.

 

December 2014 Social Media Roundup

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Image via projectsocialize.com

High schoolers wise up about social media when applying to colleges via CBS News

Tennessee town bans negative comments on social media via The Tennessean

15 Social Media Companies to Watch in 2015 via Forbes

NBC Universal Offers Social Media Guarantees to Advertisers via Ad Age

4 Free Must-Use Analytics Tools for Social Media Marketers via Entrepreneur

Why You Are Wasting Your Time on Social Media and How to Fix It via Huffington Post

Sydney siege: Social media could hamper police operations via ABC Online

Meet Branden Hampton: The Largest Independent Social Media Publisher in the World via PR Newswire

Sourcing Feedback from Social Media via Washington Post blog

 

One and Done

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In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve neglected my blog. And for good reason too. I hit the period of final exams for my first semester of graduate school. These last few weeks have been some of the most intense that I’ve experienced.

And to risk sounding cheesy, I believe I’ve learned a number of things. These are both about the specific program I’m in and about myself.

1. I’ve re-affirmed why I’m in graduate school. I want to get my master’s degree so I can one day be in a management position in the PR and communications industry. As fun as school is, I’m on a professional track and will end classes when I graduate.

2. I have to get things done early (when I can). My stress tends to accumulate over time. I’m much happier when I complete assignments earlier. It’s difficult and sometimes impossible, but I prefer to complete tasks early.

3. I need to relax a bit more. I’ve been so tense the first semester because I’m still getting settled in the program. Next semester I’d really like to get out more and go to cultural events in the school and community. I want to be more engaged with what’s going on around me.

4. I have to budget more effectively. At times, my checking account has dwindled to a dangerously low level. I need to prioritize my spending so I can have more financial cushion.

5. I’m still not a statistician. I like to pretend that I can do in-depth research, but I don’t have the skills (at least not yet) to run real analyses. I’ll be in a stats class next semester, so hopefully I can improve my skills a little more.

There are plenty more lessons, but these five stand out the most. Even though school has been crazy, I’ve still managed to work on a few creative projects, like a short book and a feature length script. It’s challenging without a doubt, but grad school hasn’t gotten the best of me yet.

November 2014 Social Media Roundup

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3 Reasons Why Relying on Social-Media Marketing is a Losing Strategy via Entrepreneur

Facebook finally put its privacy policy in plain English via Mashable

In Social-Media Era, When is Free Speech Illegal? via Washington Post

Top 25 Restaurants on Social Media via Forbes

Social Media Deepens Partisan Divides. But Not Always. via New York Times

How to achieve fundraising success on social media via The Guardian

Social media posts from the streets of Ferguson via Atlanta Journal Constitution

Russian radio station forced to impose social media rules via The Telegraph

Why and How to Shop Locally on Small Business Saturday via The Huffington Post

Space, the Final Frontier (for Social Media): Talk to Astronauts with This New App via Vogue