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Writing effective news releases is a very important part of being a PR practitioner. In order to do so you must follow a few strict guidelines, here they are…

It is first important to understand what a press release is.

1.  A press release is an informational piece written in 3rd person in order to display the events of a particular situation.

2. Be sure to write a press release in the correct form. Follow APA guidelines to be certain the piece is in correct form. An example of the correct form is shown below:

3. Remember to write a Headline. Be objective like a journalist. Don’t try to sell anything.

4. After you have included a Headline, include a Sub-head. A little longer than a Headline is the subhead which details the ingredients of the story in a little more detail.

5. Write the press release lead next. This is the meat of the story and is written a lot like a reporter would write a news article. Upside-down pyramid formula is the most effective and easiest to master.

6. One of the most important aspects of a press release is to add a quote. It makes the story much more valid and easier to relate to.

7. Provide contact information. All of the contact information is important: Personal, fax, email, website address, etc.

8. Avoid unnecessary language that could cloud the clarity of the release.

9. Be sure to add a contact sheet with your press release.

10. Last it is important to remember a dateline so the timeliness of your press release is correct.

Information about press releases can be found under the links below:

How to Write a Press Release

10 Tips for Writing a Press Release


Crisis communication is an incredibly important part of PR. When a crisis occurs within a firm the effects can be disastrous if it is not managed immediately and correctly. The easiest example to look at is a very current event happening in the Gulf of Mexico. Major oil players have made massive mistakes and have to publicly deal with the large list of collateral damage that is a result of their negligence. PR crisis communication plays a big role in their social responsibility to deal promptly in a professional manner with this disaster.

The first step is to plan. Have a crisis plan set for certain scenarios. If you are prepared you will loosen the “grip” and allow yourself to make sound decisions that should ultimately save your reputation and a positive relationship with your key public.

There are 3 R’s in crisis communication. Research, response, and recovery. If the three R’s are respected during times of crisis a firm should be able to pull itself out of a mess and make things right. Research the crisis environment: who it affects, why, and what can be done. Responding rapidly, and releasing the correct (truthful) information is key. It is paramount that a PR firm puts all the important information on the line, tell it how it is.

After you have disclosed all pertinent information and fully apologized, get back to work. Strengthen the relationships you still have and create strong, long lasting new ones. The best thing that you can do is resolve the situation and keep moving forward. Don’t act like it never happened but if you let it stop you from moving in a positive direction then you might as well quit.

This has been another TOW by Casey Sherwin.

After watching a short 25 minute video of Dr. Nixon’s interview with Martin Waxman, a PR practitioner and so much more from Canada I have a lot to talk about regarding PR. Mr. Waxman is the Owner/Co-Foudner of Palette Public Relations Inc. He has an extensive history in the PR field and his interview with Dr. Nixon provided our class with a multitude of useful information.

Mr. Waxman focused on the necessary tools used to be a successful PR practitioner. He mentioned understanding social media and how it works. That tools like Twitter and blogs are useful in the field so practitioners can communicate with large groups of people rapidly to provides results. He discusses students digital footprint and how much larger they are becoming because of such social media outlets.

Mr. Waxman took time to focus on his hiring policies. In other words he described what he looks for when a potential employee applies to work at his firm. He stressed the importance of keeping up with the communication world and understand what large media providers are saying. It is important to know how to use tools like Twitter and blog sites but previous history is not necessarily mandatory. He wants to know that his employees have sound basic skills that will help them succeed in the PR field. If you are constantly making grammatical or syntax errors in writing it is not likely that you will find yourself working for Mr. Waxman. All understandable characteristics when you plan to practice a profession that will always involve strong writing skills.

Dr. Nixon and Mr. Waxman’s interview is available under the link provided below-


This has been another Topic of the Week by Casey Sherwin

This weeks topic is focused on discussing recent PR grads next moves. After graduating with a Public Relations degree one must either join the work force or eat Ramen noodles for the rest of their life. I think a recent graduate in these times should be satisfied with a position in either forum. However, it is still useful to understand the differences between both so you can make a healthy decision about your future.

Public Relations firms are business set up for the sole purpose of contracting for Public Relations services. The company is hired by another party to provides sound Public Relations advice/work for the client. This is a great place to begin your career if you want to deal strictly with PR. The alternative is working in a PR department. A PR department is located internally within an existing firm and provides useful PR services for the good of the company as a whole. The most important aspect of an internal PR department is to provide the boss with some sort of proof the the PR service has a beneficial impact on the bottom line. PR is often looked at as unnecessary or expendable when it comes time to cut costs, so in the event that these times occur the PR department must be able to prove their worth.

Here are links to two websites that make understand PR firms and departments easier. Good luck with your job hunt and career as well.

1. Wikipedia Describes PR

2. The Best Site for PR Practitioners to Know

PRSA is the ultimate tool in PR. The organization provides members with all the tools they need to become strong practitioners. Their website is the portal through which to find all these tools.

This has been Casey Sherwin with the TOW.

1. One of my favorite lessons this year had to be connecting my personal profile to LinkedIn. I have found boundless reasons to use LinkedIn. This website is the key to connecting with professional all over the world. The site allows you to upload your resume, create a detailed profile that has much more information than a basic resume would have and helps professionals connect with each other. I just received my first recommendation, very exciting. People who you connect with have the ability to write recommendations about you on your profile. This could prove very helpful in the future. Check it out at

2. Resume writing is one of the most important tools a will come out of this class with. During the course we spent a lot of time studying the necessary parts of resumes, how to format resumes, how to print and present resumes. All of these details are very important because this simple piece of paper is your ticket to a job. Employers will judge you solely on this piece of paper. Thats scary! So take your time, do you homework and create a resume that represent who you are and the accomplishments that you have completed.

3. I read a book for this course that included tips for the Twitter user. The books was titled Twitter Power, by Joel Comm. I created a presentation for my class and introduced the book. It is a great source for information on how to use Twitter to sell your product. Twitter is a great tool for communication on a second by second basis. Firms can quickly communicate with their clients and stay on top of the game by ensuring the success of their products.

4. Interviewing procedures. Ahhh, the interview. This is not the time to be afraid of an interview people. If you are prepared and know what you are doing you will be very successful. The important thing to know is that preparation is a must. Study the company you are interviewing with so you sound like you’ve been doing your homework. Prepare a portfolio to present to you prospective employers. Bring business cards, and resumes to give to the people interviewing you. Have questions ready to ask, because you will be asked if you have any questions, don’t stumble here just have some ready in your head. Dress to impress, wear clothes that are professional and simple. Do not over do scents either. Last but not least, turn your damn phone off. Leave it in the car, if you must leave it at home so it has no possible way of going off while you are in an interview.

5. Using Twitter to stay connected with people. Twitter can be used for professional reasons as well as recreational purposes.

6. ProOpenMIC–  A true PR Practitioners tool that can be used for anything PR related. Another one of the great social media networks now available, PrOpenMIC allows its users, who are mostly professionals in the PR world to connect and stay connected. The site has multiple forums that can be used. Such forums include internships, lessons, videos, groups, events, and a resources page. If you are planning on working in PR as a profession, Propenmic is a must.

7. I conducted an informational interview with a friend in New York city, who works as a publicist for People Revolution. I learned a lot about the ins and outs of her job and came to realize that I might not be working in a conventional Public Relations position after  I graduate.

8. Creating a portfolio. If you are planning to impress your future employers you must have some proof of works completed in the past. This is why you create a neat, organized portfolio that will showcase the hard work you have done in the past. Keep it simple though. Bring a few small publications that can be easily handled and fit nicely into a briefcase of some sort. If you have a lot of work you would like to showcase, create an online portfolio using SlideShare and give your interviewers an address to your digital portfolio.

9. Job searching, look to all of your resources., the newspaper, firm’s websites,, and numerous other outlets that allow you to look up job wanted ads.

10. Be careful with Facebook, we all know what it is. It is capable of so much, both good and bad. Don’t let Facebook be the reason you are not successful in getting a job.


Casey Sherwin



Commenting on blogs is something that I used to hate doing. That is until I started to post more and more blog posts of my own. These blog posts regularly we not being viewed by my peers or anyone else for that matter. I decided that if I wanted people to read my blog more and more I should pay other bloggers the same respect. So I began to read more blogs written by authors other than myself. The math is simple. The more I pay attention to others work, the more I can expect others to pay attention to my work.

Effective blog comments come in many forms. However, I think it is important to be truthful. Tell the author how you really feel about their work and why. It is not helpful to read a comment that is completely fabricated for the purpose of pleasing the author. They would likely not return the favor. I also think that a comment should include some useful information that you learned from reading the authors post, so you can show that you took a sincere interest in the information.

I’m including two links that I found interesting. They provide useful information for bloggers who want to understand the process of commenting more effectively.

1. Traffic Via Blog Comments

An interesting blog post that provides readers with useful information about why commenting effectively can boost traffic to your blog. If you spend the time to read the information and comment on the post thoroughly with attention to detail you can expect to see a return on your time investment.

2. 10 Reasons Commenting is Good for Bloggers

This blog post has a list of reasons why commenting is an important part of blogging. The list includes reasons such as: It is the right thing to do, as well as you get what you put in.

This has been Casey Sherwin with the TOW.


Le scaphandre et le papillon aka The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, is a unique story told with incredible artistic motives. A French film about Jean Dominique Bauby, the late editor of Elle. Tragically paralyzed after suffering a terrible stroke, Bauby was further diagnosed with “locked-in syndrome.” Bauby is aware and awake, but can no longer communicate using traditional means. He is forced to communicate with a series of blinks which parallel the alphabet and in turn can be used to form words.

The film itself was very interesting. The French culture was clearly identified and I felt it gave an accurate representation of the Bauby’s experiences. I have not had the pleasure of visiting France, but  I have studied French language and a small amount of French history. I think the characteristics of French society were accurately portrayed given the fact that the story is entirely about a French citizen.  This film says a lot about the importance of family and wholesome living, as Bauby was cut off from his family in a sense. His methods of communicating had to be completely revamped for both his family and himself. The film reminds me of Helen Keller, or Christopher Reeve.

I was glad to have the privilege of attending this unique screening. I would definitely attend this event again, however I would want to bring more people along with me. I have looked into other films by director Julian Schnabel. He has directed films such as Berlin, and Before Night Falls.

Recently I read an article regarding listening and hearing what matters. The article was titled “The New Communication Tools.” I have taken from the article a good bit of new philosophy to live by. The article investigates listening and understanding. It is important to understand that listening is the key to success in public relations. There must be an understanding on all levels of the task at hand. The practitioner must understand that he will not be understood unless the public has heard him properly, but he must also understand that it is not always easy for the public to listen to certain messages. I have learned that providing a clear, concise message to the public is paramount. The public has every right to ignore and disapprove of your message. So in order to ensure that your message has been properly communicated to the public you must do research and try to understand what it is that the public needs to hear. I think that the article is important because it is not easy to market a message without the proper preparation. You must be prepared to deliver a message that is relevant to your market in order to succeed. It is often the mistake of practitioners to deliver a message to the public that is not relevant and therefore the public will be resistant to you message.

Another important subject that this article focuses on is attempting to provide helpful messages to you society. It is crucial that practitioners strive to help their clients by providing messages that are meaningful. You want to provide a decent message that ensures a clean public image and keeps in mind the reputation of the client you are working for. In doing so you can be sure that future projects completed by you and your clients will continue to occur. Helpful message include those that aim to solve a problem. Something along the lines of a public service announcement is usually the path taken when professionals make mistakes. In order to clarify the misconception he practitioner can react using the media to help correct a situation.

I now understand more about the strengths and weaknesses of effective communication. People want to be heard and understood. And practitioners want to provide concern for their clients needs. The only way practitioners can ensure the message provided in their work is professional is to remain clear and honest. The practitioners must be as clear as possible in order to avoid misconception of the subject matter. The public does not like to be the receiver of false information and if false information is provided there is the potential for poor reputations to follow.  I feel that practitioners who listen and try to perfect understanding their client’s needs will be far more likely to succeed than those who do not. The practitioner must research and study the needs of there publics and then provide strong effective messages that can be easily understood, along with messages that pertain to the culture of the particular public.

Mark in Munich

What advice do you have for Americans seeking employment in Germany?

Public Relations has a very large impact in Germany. Mark had a lot to say about the job market in a large city like Munich. Famous musicians and actors are found throughout Munich constantly for numerous reasons, usually an event that they are part of. Restaurants and bars are very prominent throughout Germany. Hotels are almost constantly overbooked. Octoberfest too is a huge part of Germany’s culture and draws millions of visitors every year making headlines throughout the world.

What do you think is negative about American communication?

Mark had a very interesting perception of our mass communication culture. The media seems to be very involved in choosing a side and trying very hard to prove that they are what the masses should believe when what they are saying may not always be true. I’m sure everyone has watch CNN or FOX news stations which seem to both have completely different stories when talking about the same subject, it is kind of amusing. Mark feels that the average American would not be educated enough to Make his/her own decision about political decisions and would most likely go with the information they found watching television or listening to the radio, rather than trying to find truth and make an educated decision. Mark also spoke about the reality television that is so prominent in America, he says that Germany does not care about what someone else’s life is like, they find this information useless. I agree Mark I hate reality television.

What publications do you read in Germany?

Let me just start by saying that Mark is what American’s might call “fly.” He chooses to read GQ (Gentleman’s Quarterly) and finds that the production is very skewed based on where it is being sold. He really enjoys reading the information about what is popular in American culture, German culture, and European culture in general. Mark finds that in Germany GQ might have an entirely different idea about what is trendy or popular than what America thinks. He stated that when he went home this past summer and purchased a GQ in Germany, after buying the American GQ he found striking differences in the subject matter. This is interesting, it shows how popular trends are accepted by different cultures.

What is different about tennis in the United States than in Germany?

In Germany people still like to think of tennis as a classic sport, that involves tradition and pride. The sport is still very competitive and requires a lot of skill to succeed but all the less still a way to enjoy yourself. Mark made sure to say that this is not unlike the United States, however there are still differences in the tennis culture in America. Mark plays for the team at Georgia Southern University and has a ton of talent. He feels that the innovations in equipment technology have brought tennis to a whole new level. He believes that tennis is much more like a show, or a product to be sold rather than a humble tradition. Mark claims that dedication seems stronger in Germany than it does in the states. He made sure to say that he knows plenty of Americans who had proven him wrong on this matter, but he sees the big picture this way.

How did you feel initially when you moved to an entirely different culture?

Mark claimed that he felt very comfortable. In Germany most people speak English his communication boundaries would not be an issue. The states are seen as a very big deal in Europe and he wanted to embrace moving here to go to college. Mark finds that Hollywood, Las Vegas, and New York all seemed very interesting to him moving from Munich, Germany. I have to say, I’m just as interested in Munich after speaking with Mark.

What surprised you about cultural differences b/w America and Germany?

Americans are much more open and welcoming. In Germany people are not necessarily mean or hateful but would rather be truthful when interacting with one another. Mark claimed that Americans are not very truthful in face, meaning that their true emotions is not their strong suit. In Germany if people do not like you, you will be told just  that. It is not considered disrespectful or rude but considered normal. Lets face it, Mark and I live in the South, as do the students in my class; this can be a difficult place to transition to if these are the cultural characteristics you are used to.

What is your view of business in Germany?

Germany is very resourceful and plays a large role in global business. Munich has the 14th busiest airport in the world. Hamburg is an impressive transportation port. The amount of business being done in Germany is infinite. The people of Germany see their country as “The Engine of Europe,” and have found that their presence is very important.

How does the media operate in your country?

The media is much less discerning when it comes to covering events that occur in Germany. They will openly lash out against politicians and leaders. Openly demanding answers and verbally abusing public figures is not rare in Germany. People want to know the truth and not been left wanting answers. Mark feels like the media is very different in Germany and for their culture it works well.

I would like to first thank Mark Paetz for taking time out of his busy schedule to meet with me. I enjoyed speaking with him and learned a lot about a foreign culture.  I appreciate the cultural differences more now and I have a stronger understanding of how media operates outside the states. Once again, thank you Mr. Mark Paetz.

Mark’s Georgia Southern Profile can be found here:

-Casey Sherwin