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Archive for September, 2010

My curiosity about the store Forever 21 peaked a few years ago when I noticed something printed on the bottom of my bag from the store.  It read, “John 3:16.”  I don’t exactly go into stores expecting scriptural references, so you might understand my surprise when I saw the verse on the bag.  At that moment, my loyalty to the company grew quite a bit.  I didn’t look into the reason the verse was printed on their bags until recently.  I searched online for PR stories related to Forever 21 and found a fascinating story by Radar Magazine.  According to the article, the company was founded by Do Won “Don” Chang and his wife Jin Snook, a couple who emigrated from South Korea to California in 1981.  The article makes claims that the couple is extremely “religious.”  I love to see Christian people gain success in business.  The fashion industry seems to stress such “worldly” points, that when I see Christians in an industry like that, I hope they can succeed and maintain a firmness in their faith.  According to Radar Magazine, Forever 21 posted over $1 billion in revenue for 2006.  Is God blessing their business or are their business techniques just working very well?  I don’t know, but both seem like possible conclusions.  Either way, with its bags stamped with “John 3:16,” Forever 21 continues to grow in popularity among my friends, which translates into sales for the company.  I look forward to seeing if the company will maintain their low prices as demand increases.

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Let’s Get Creative

Reading notes for chapter 3:

  • Using news clips to track coverage is acceptable, but distribution of clips to a large audience is a violation of copyright.
  • A person’s work is protected, but there is an exception in the situation of work for hire.
  • Trademarks are proper adjectives and should be capitalized and followed by a generic noun or phrase.
  • You can use information from government studies, but you should be careful not to manipulate the information to show the government showing preference toward a certain product or service.

Information provided by Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques from author Dennis L. Wilcox.

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First of all, when you really consider the repercussions of plagiarism, why would you do it?  I guess some would do it to get ahead in their career, but it could very easily ruin it as well.  One thing that every human being wants is respect.  If you build your career with writings developed from your own thoughts, you will gain respect that is genuine, not based off of the work of another person.  People spend their lives trying to gain respect, so it makes sense to gain success in an honest way.  Besides, which is God more likely to bless?  The answer to that seems rather apparent to me.  So, as we strive to achieve success with honest practices, here are some tips I think are useful in avoiding plagiarism from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques.  Something that I hadn’t thought about but realized after reading is that there are still strict copyright laws for content on the internet or World Wide Web.  Just because it’s easily accessible doesn’t mean it’s alright to use original material as your own.  Also, if you want to reprint material in a large quantity, you need to contact the publisher and ask permission.  An example could be if you needed to copy music for many of your friends and family.  You would need to first contact the publisher for permission.  However, keep in mind that there are different regulations set for use in the area of education.  If you want to use information from the government study, that is acceptable.  But you need to make sure you aren’t manipulating the information to persuade in opposition or support of a particular product or service.  Also, you cannot copyright an idea, but if you were to express the idea, the content would be protected.  Another trap to avoid is showing a news clip to a large crowd.  If you were to show your two best friends a news clip that you found interesting, that would be fine.  But for example, if you were to show a news clip at a school rally that had thousands of students, you would need to seek permission before showing the clip.

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NewsU Cleaning Your Copy

1. In the area of grammar, I learned that which words you choose to use in a sentence is crucial if you have a specific point to convey.  And if you use incorrect grammar, it may give a different perception than what was originally intended.  AP style seems very hard to memorize.  I learned ways to write addresses properly with some abbreviations.  Punctuation can have a very negative impact on a message if you use it incorrectly.  A letter could literally mean the exact opposite that you wanted it to mean if you switch around some commas and periods.  I realized that there are some common words that I don’t spell correctly, either because I didn’t know or I simply got accustomed to spelling it wrong and never changed the habit.

2. I was surprised when I spelled some words incorrectly.  I assumed I was a fairly good speller.  Taking the quizzes in the course showed me some words that I will need to use in a professional setting.  It will be important to use good spelling in order to avoid an unprofessional appearance.  I was surprised at the number of differences there were in contrast for how I’ve used abbreviations in the past and what they are within AP style rules.

3. I want to learn more about AP style, especially because that is most likely the way I will be writing throughout my career.  I need to know common mistakes so I can avoid them.  Having the 2010 AP style book will certainly help me avoid mistakes, but the key will be learning how to find things easily within the categories listed in the book.  I also want to know a little more about how to use punctuation to convey a sentence as if I’m saying it in person, with more feeling.  I want to learn how to write in a way that provides a more vivid picture of the content for the reader.

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Spice of Humor

Comments are an integral part of blogs because feedback is important.  Some people may blog just to process their thoughts, but others also want to know what people think about the thoughts they’ve posted.  Every human being wants validation for what they feel.  Some people may get validation through comments that are left on their blog.  Also, someone may be able to expound on the original blog, which might help the original blog writer learn more about a subject.

Blog comments are also important because it’s nice to know that someone is actually reading your blog.  It’s more rewarding when you know someone may be gleaning from what you’re spending your time writing.

Some advice I offer may be general, but it’s important.  First, make sure you are spelling words correctly.  Incorrect spellings may cause the person commenting to lose credibility if they misspell multiple words in their blog comment.  Also, use punctuation to properly convey what you want to say.  Depending on how you use punctuation, what you write could be perceived on two opposite ends of interpretation.  Try not to insult the writer of the blog you choose.  When reading your comment, they might shut out everything you have to say if it’s done in an insulting manner and tone.  You can provide criticism with grace or with harshness.  If the desired end result is for your opinion on the blog to be considered and respected, make sure you are appropriately polite when giving your viewpoint, especially if it’s contrary to that of the blog writer.  No one wants to be attacked verbally, so I will also assume that no one wants to feel ganged up on virtually.  Lastly, be creative.  Adding some humor may help with the connection between the person writing the blog and the person commenting on the blog.  Finding common ground in the lessons learned from a blog creates an atmosphere of acceptance and healthy intellectual conversation.

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1.  I felt like I was reminded of things I already knew rather than learning something I have never heard.  But I did appreciate seeing different examples of how to avoid writing run-on sentences.  Run-on sentences seem to be prevalent to me when I read work done by my colleagues.  It’s probably one of my biggest pet peeves.  I lost some respect for the material if the writer continually uses run-on or fragmented sentences rather than using proper punctuation.  I did learn how to connect two complete sentences in different ways, depending on the feeling and rhythm that you want to achieve through your sentence.  Sometimes when I write long sentences, I worry that I’m writing a run-on sentence.  But just because a sentence is long does not mean it is a run-on sentence.  I will be more confident now when I write longer sentences because I won’t feel like length equals error.

2.  What surprised me was Grammar Girl’s example of a run-on sentence written by someone in the workforce.  The run on sentence in the blog “What Are Run-On Sentences?” read, “I’m a woman I am a truck driver.”  Sometimes when I write long sentences, I worry that I’m writing a run-on sentence.  But just because a sentence is long does not mean it is a run-on sentence.

3.  I want to know more about how to use punctuation to help me create a distinct writing style.  I’m fairly confident in my writing style, but I would like to be shown differing examples of writing styles by authors I recognize.  Many times when I’m reading a book, I realize that I’m enjoying the book because of the writing style of the author more than the actual story they are trying to convey.  I don’t want to copy a style from another writer, but I would like to get a more distinct opinion on which styles I like the most.

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The Persuasion Begins…

  • Persuasion is a large part of Public Relations.
  • There are two kinds of audiences: passive and active.
  • When persuading, it’s still important to maintain ethical behavior.

Information provided by Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques from author Dennis Wilcox.

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