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Exercise 10-3
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Expanding on Your Reading: Playing at PR


A. Your client has just designed a new sugar substitute that, in the right measure, also serves as a daily multivitamin. The product is called "Completely Sweet." Design a media kit to send out to food writers in conjunction with the product launch. Name and describe five items you might include in the media kit.

B. Spherul Industrial Inc. made an error in reporting its quarterly earnings and has issued a release beginning with the following paragraph.

PALO ALTO, CA, JULY 7 // -- Spherul Industrial Inc. (Nasdaq: SPHU), a leading provider of digitized farm products, today announced that its projected revenues for first quarter of 2007 will be approximately $32 million, compared to previously projected revenues of $36 million to $38 million. On the other hand, deferred revenues at the end of this quarter are expected to have increased by over $2 million compared to December 31, 2006.

From the perspective of a public relations specialist, what are the advantages of beginning the release this way?


C. Assume you are a public relations professional. What should you do in the following situation?

Using public money, the city (your client) commissioned a survey of city employees' attitudes. The results were mostly positive, but heavily laced with negative aspects. The seven members of the city council, all of whom have a copy of the report, are nervous. What advice would you give to your client? Support your answer with a reasoned argument.

  1. Bury the report.
  2. Release only the positive parts of the report.
  3. At a press conference, have the mayor publicly release the entire report along with a news release emphasizing its positive aspects.

D. Your client, a local hospital, is changing its name from Acme Hospital to Acme Regional Medical Center as part of a plan to improve the facility's image in your local and neighboring communities. It's taken for granted that you'll be writing a news release to spread word of the name change. But your client is looking for a more sophisticated PR strategy to help in the makeover. What might you do in the following areas to help achieve that result? Select three tactics from "Written communications" below and three from "Interactive PR options," and explain how each would function in your campaign. (You are unlikely to find that all are appropriate.) What, precisely, would you do?

1. Written communications

  1. Newsletters
  2. Pamphlets, brochures and manuals
  3. Position papers
  4. Byliners
  5. Op-ed pieces
  6. Web sites

2. Interactive PR options

  1. Speeches
  2. News conferences
  3. Special events
  4. Exhibits
  5. Lobbying

E. Visit the Public Relations Society of America on the Web (, and follow the "Awards" link until you get to the winners of the Silver Anvil Award, given to "organizations that have successfully addressed a contemporary issue with exemplary professional skill, creativity and resourcefulness."
  1. Search the site's previous-winners database for stories of exemplary public relations campaigns, and select one you'd like to explore in-depth.
  2. In 100 words or less, summarize the challenge that required the PR campaign.
  3. In 100 words or less, summarize the campaign itself.

F. Conduct an informational interview with a local news editor or news director in which you ask about how his or her newsroom processes news releases. What kinds of releases are ignored? Which formats are most effective? (Consider pursuing this as a group project to reduce the number of journalists impacted by your class.)

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