Football and Cover Letters?

January 22, 2010 at 12:53 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I began working on this post a few days ago, but as always I find that I am working on now; a few hours shy of the deadline.

So, what is a cover letter? My understanding of a cover letter is like this, it is your personal statement for why you are the best applicant for that position. Wikipedia states that it is your introduction to your potential employer, explaining why you would be suitable for the job.

Many of the sites I perused expressed that employers most likely wouldn’t even look at your resume unless it had a cover letter. Other sites said that in today’s world a resume without a cover letter is just lazy.
For my internship, it was required by my professor that I write a cover letter. To me the cover letter is one of the most daunting pieces of the application puzzle (it’s all really challenging). “If I write this does it make me sound too eager,” or “What’s the best way to say this to get them to call me back,” even; “Should I say this tastefully provocative statement that would pique their interests or will it cause me to go in file 13?” These were just a few of the questions that flew through my mind.

To make writing your cover letter a little easier here are a few tips and sites that I found to be really helpful.

1.Research. I know that many PR students dread research, but it pays to know. Knowing more than just the basics about the company and the job you are applying for puts you ahead of the competition that didn’t do their research. Know and understand the company’s needs. Through researching the companies mission, goal, founder, current standing in the market place, even members of their board; you have a better understanding of the company’s culture. The time you put into research shows your desire for wanting to work for the company. Ultimately, just be familiar with who you’re dealing with.

2.Determine your selling points. Craft your top 5 best attributes that suit what they are looking for.

3.Review. I have now made it a personal habit to have 1-3 other people read over my cover letter to tell me what they think. If I’m nervous about saying something, but I’m confident in what I wrote, I send it. If they don’t extend the invitation to interview, I accept the possibility that they felt that I wasn’t the right fit for their company. Hey, they know their company dynamics, right?

~ Cover Letters That Sell

~ Cover Letter Help From About.com

Thinking about your cover letter in terms of football might make writing your letter easier (it is the South’s unofficial religion, right?).

You know what you have, but do you know what your opponent (employer) has? Players and coaches watch hours and hours of film, this is their research. They come up with a plan that best suits that particular opponent (job). If you know your opponent has a weak run-game, you play to the advantage that you run like the wind (determining your selling point). Tell them why you would make their game better.
Review; after the game review the tape to see where you missed your cover. Have your coaches (professional) critique you. The more time you spend practicing, reviewing, and working out strong the player. The more time you spend making your team better (you) the better your chances are at winning the Super Bowl (Job!!!)

Here is a little motivational quote from Og Mandio:
“Each failure to sell will increase your chances for success at your next attempt.”

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A Transistioning Me

January 15, 2010 at 5:52 pm (Assignments) (, , , , )

Hi! I’m Shannon, I also call myself the “Southern Girl,” because of a new blog that I started over the winter holiday. Instead of shutting down this blog that was originally created for my PR Publishing class I’ve decided to transition it into my Practicum blog.

Here’s why I’m the “Southern Girl,” I was born and raised in the South (30mins from Florida), I attend Georgia Southern University, and I love the University of Southern California Football.

Currently, I am the Marketing Intern at the Atlanta History Center. You should come by, we would love to have you. We are working on so many exciting exhibits this year. Check out my other blog(mentioned earlier to see how the internship is going).
In May I will be graduating with my frist degree in Public Relations, then starting my second degree in Spanish. One of my dreams is to work for the Disney Corporation.

I’m really excited about the information Prof. Nixon has asked us to blog about.

~ Shannon

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Top 10 Things I learned in PR Pubs

December 2, 2009 at 1:36 pm (Uncategorized)

I was mistaken in my last post, this is officially my last post for the semester. Now it’s time to focus on finals, packing, and the holidays. Here is my list of the 10 things I learned in PR Pubs.

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It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Green

November 30, 2009 at 2:42 pm (Uncategorized)

Well, this is my last official post for the semester. It has gone by so quickly. Seeing that foliage is changing to the festive colors of fall I decided to write about my favorite color GREEN!

What comes to mind when you think green? Kermit the Frog, hybrid cars, Oz, money? Well, for many it envokes the feelings of serenity and friendliness. It symbolizes envy and jealousy.

Green just so happens to be a complimentary color of red. It is exactly opposite of this color on the color wheel and is created by mixing the other two primary colors together.  It seems that nature had it just right when it created green to be the companion of red, especially now, considering that we are only a few days past Thanksgiving and the Christmas decorations of red and green have alreadygone up.

I bet you’re wondering what is difficult about green. Well, it is at the center of the light spectrum (the center of it’s own light world) making it the least arousing of all the colors. Or the fact that if you wear red with it you atomatically look like one of Santa’s elfs. Case in point, would love to wear my green shirts with my red Toms, but I can’t too close to elfin. Although these are the funny little difficulities with green it does have its redeeming qualities; which are:

  • it works weel with white, and looks good grayed, warmed or cooled
  • Muted shade of green attract readers eyes better than bright shades
  • Green tint screens hold pages down
  • Green bars work well around photographs with green in them
  • It works best when you want readers to fulfill an exact task.

Although, green is probably the least liked color I hoped this post caused you to realize the wonderous beauties about the color green.

Wishing you happy holidays and a Grand semester

Shannon M.

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The Meat of a Magazine

November 30, 2009 at 2:09 pm (Assignments) (, , , )

I mentioned in the previous post that I would give more details about certain parts of the magazine. I came across information about the front cover and the back cover; and I thought this look ridiculous if I posted about that, so, I’m not. What I wanted to write about were the inside and outside pages.

Inside Pages

These are pages that carry feature articles and are often designed as spreads. The features found on these pages are editorials of information that are relevant to the events occuring in society. The placement of these articles is what differentiates them from other pieces in the magazine. Another aspect of the feature is that it ties the textual message with a visual message to explore a topic or tell a story.

Spreads
Most features are spreads. Spreads are two pages of a publication that are designed as one visual unit. These two facing pages allow for increased design options. With these increased design options are the ability to break and bend design principles like keep white spaces to the outside and consisten spaces beetween related items. There are two types of spreads a photo spread which is mainly photographs and an article spread which is primarily text.

Grids
Grids are used by designers to provide a structued but varied look to the layout of a finished magazine.  Linda P. Morton states that grids are advantageous because they do not require that individual pages be redesigned from issue to issue. One of the best uses of a grid is the baseline grid. The grid is set to your text’s leading size or half of it and then locked in place so that items align horizontally.

Outside Pages
These are pages that are toward the front and back of the magazine, they surround the feature. Readership is improved with these pages because the reader has to pass through these pages to get to the feature and they typically are similar in each issue. For instance, I know that on the page opposite the back cover of every Sports Illustrated there is an editorial piece that is  brief yet extremely insightful.

Front Matter Pages
Simple enough, these are the pages cloeset to the front of the magazine. Commonly found amongst these pages are title pages, table of contents, letters from the editor and the like. The title page is that long list of names and job titles as well and publisher’s name found after the first few advirtisements and the table of contents. The letter from the editor could be considered the preface, it explains why that particular publication was written and produced.

Black Matter Pages
These are the pages closest to the back of the magazine. The items most commonly found in this matter that is undetectable by its emitted radiation (astro humor).  Maybe it’s called black matter pages because people don’t always think to look at or for them in a magazine. What you would find here are all the things found in the back of a book like the appendix, bibliographies, glossaries, indexed, directories, and all that other fun stuff that gets lost in space.

My favorite part of a magazine used to be the feature, now it’s the black matter pages. (in the magazines I read that’s were all the information about designers and pricing of clothing is found)

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Magazines

November 30, 2009 at 8:24 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Over the Thanksgiving break my mother and I went to the mall to just window shop. We shop like we’re still in a recession, but we’re not. Although I do have to take into consideration my pending move to Atlanta for my internship with the Atlanta History Center. Since window shopping was a bust mom and i headed over to the Barnes and Nobles. We always automatically go over to the magazine section. It always amazies me; the amount of magazines that are available to the consumer to suit their fancy. I usually go for Time or ReadyMade but  this time I picked up Inked.

 

Linda P. Morton states that magazines are a hybrid of newspapers, booklets and advertising. The great things about magazines are that they provide relevent information with better picture quality (Nat Geo), with advertising that is at times pretty cool. Magazines, like newspapers are divided into the categories of speciality and employee. Speciality are targeted toward consumer with a shared interest like Inked.  This type of magazine often targets young affluent readers in need of a diversion or enterntainment. Maybe that’s why I picked up Inked for the first time last week. That and the cover was amazing and I’m considering a tattoo. (It’s okay, I’ve already told the moms). Employee magazines are geared toward internal publics who shared characteristic is their employer. Here employee issues are covered more indepth.

Magazines use better quality paper, more art and color, and special printing processes are what makes the magazine one of the most expensive strategic publications.

Here is an outline of the publication process of a magazine.

Format
~ 10.5 x 13 inches is considered by many designers easier to design for than 8.5×11 or 5.5 x 7.5 inches.
~ pages are influenced by the advertisements that will fill the pages of the magazine.
~ page sizes should conform to advertising standards.

Pltacement
~
This is where advertisements, feautures, departments and other content find their place in the magaizine. Morton states that this is called “breaking the book.”
~ The pacing of the magazine must be considered while the content is being placed. Pacing is what helps a reader move through the magazine.
~ Most magazines are read front to back (unless you’re in Japan than it’s back to front).
~ For front-to-back  readers the most impact for readers is found on the right page. It is opposite for back-to-front readers.

Departments
~
These are outside pages that carry regular editorials or letters from issue to issue of serial publications.
~Departments utilize standard deparment titles like Executive of Community Events; bylines, mug shots and other similar items.
~ Make the information found here abstract so that it does not need to be changed with each issue.

Inside Features
~ No feature is ever alike
~ When the relevance of a feature is less obvious more design may be needed
~ Vertical orientations may be provided to guide reader’s eyes down the page

Spreads
~ These are facing-page features
~ A psychological and physical barrier is created by the gutters
~ A photograph can be used to brigde the gutter
~ Distortion can occur. To limit distorition Morton suggests placing display text so that the gutter falls between words

Art
~
The most prominent art item is considered primary while the rest of the art is considered to be secondary.
~ Place primary art in the top-half of the layout. Placement at the bottom of the page can make it look “bottom heavy and poorly balanced”
~ Select all art critically
~ Arrange art so that it tells a story

Text
~ Text occurs in the feautre as well as the captions on all art that is not symbolic
~ Each art piece needs its own caption
~ Captions should be kept away from other text

These are the basic items that comprise a magazine. The next post will focus on other aspects of a magazine.

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What does the sky have to do with the color of publications? Nothing really.

November 30, 2009 at 6:03 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

This post is inspired by the changing colors of the environment. The sky has faded from a bright cheery blue, speckled with white clouds (the sign of a perfect beach day); to a dull gray cloudless sky (winter is hear). So it was do the colors of the sky have to do with publications? Well, not much; unless the colors of the sky are inspiration for your publication. Color has a certain amount of power that plain old white just doesn’t have. Strategic Publications by Linda P. Morton states that color enhances design in five ways:

  1. Adds information about items as perceived in nature.
  2. Distorts nature to alter perceptions and influence emotions
  3. Helps readers to distinguish between items
  4. Aids the visual balance of design
  5. Helps to establish a mood or to add excitement

Colors are broken down into primary, secondary (complementary), and tertiary (intermediate) colors. In this post we will only be discussing primary colors. Primary colors are red, blue and yellow. They cannot be mixed together or you will get brown and they cannot also be mixed. 

Red happens to have the longest wavelength of light that is discernable by the human eye. It evokes passion and heritage, red is also enraging, fierce, intense, lively, and stimulating. Morton suggests using it for secondary emphasis rather than primary emphasis because it is so strong. Have you noticed that every time you went to a fast food restaurant you became hungrier? Well before the great shift of fast food restaurants from hard plastic seats and glaring lights to plasmas TVs and earth tones, the color red was everywhere. Scientists have discovered that red actually makes you hungrier. Other points about red are:

  •  It attracts readers better than any other color.
  • Has the potential to make readers tense
  •  Active readers prefer it, but all readers seek this color when they are bored.

 

Blue is considered to be a cool color. It portrays authority, seriousness, sincerity, trustworthiness and high quality. Morton states that the color blue calms the reader so much that the reader feels that they have spent more time looking at the publication than they really do. Here are some other points about the color blue:

  •  Most readers site blue as their favorite color
  •  It is liked more as a dominant color’
  • Blue is considered a “safe” color to use in publications
  • Readers feel that pages that utilize spot blue are more important and believable than other colors or black-and white.

 

Yellow is the color of the sun and this is what readers think when they see the color yellow. It is preferred by “high-minded people.” The general appearance of yellow is sunny, incandescent, and radiant. The objective impressions that yellow gives off are cheerful, inspiring, vital, and celestial. This particular color is reflective; it takes on the tones of other colors. Finally here are some points about yellow:It is best for attracting readers’ eyes

  • It can overpower items in other colors
  • Items appear to move “forward and ‘jumps’ at the reader.”
  • Bright yellow is better than muted yellow for publications

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“The Language of the Image”

October 19, 2009 at 1:30 pm (Assignments) (, , , , , , )

Photojournalist Dirk Halstead (left) and David Hume (right) in Vietnam

Photojournalist Dirck Halstead (left) and David Hume (right) in Vietnam

For class this week we have to blog about the “Language of the Image,” from NewsU.org I underestimated how long this course and the blogging would take (course is about two hours). So, I have decided to give myself a little pre-test to see what I know on the subject the “Language of the Image,” before I take the course and quiz this afternoon. Shall we begin?

  • Images are timeless
  • Odd objects in photos look more appealing than even. A vase of five flowers is more appealing than a vase with only four or six flowers.
Chelsea, Aunt Michelle, Mom

Chelsea, Aunt Michelle, Mom

  • Items in the picture should be balanced. If something is physically taking up one side of the picture the other side should be balanced by a similar object or smaller objects that balance out the picture.
polar bear in the city

polar bear in the city

  • Photographing with a light source behind the subjects will put the subjects in a shadow. Ever have everyone and your cousin in a photograph, have a perfect shot only to find out after it has been printed that you can barely see anyone’s faces? The culprit to this photo disappointment could have been the light.
GUS and I

GUS and I

Once I finish the course and the quiz I’ll let you know how I did and what I learned!

 

After The Quiz

After taking this only course I’ve learned quite a bit more about photojournalism than I did before. Before, all photos were seen through the perspective of what I liked not necessarily the composition of the image. There are three distinct types of photos, informational, passive, and active.

Informational photos don’t tell a story they provide visual record of a person, place, or event taking place. An example of this type of image would be a speaker at a conference.

 USC's coach Pete Carroll leading the "Trojan Walk"

USC's coach Pete Carroll leading the "Trojan Walk"

Passive photos are primarily publicity photos. They have staged by the photograph and are noticeably static. NewU states that passive photos should never be passed off as active photos. An example of this would be some of the billboards in Las Vegas advertising shows.

publicity photo for Bette Midler's show in Las Vegas

publicity photo for Bette Midler's show in Las Vegas

The last type of photograph is considered to be active because it shows situations that are occurring to real people in real time. Images rescue works going into the flood zones of Hurricane Katrina would be considered active photographs.

Some of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Some of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

The most interesting thing I learned from the course was the point of entry. This is the particular angle at which a photograph is taken. You may have the same subject but a different arrangement of the subjects changes the mood and emotion of the photograph. The example used in NewsU was that of a baby being born. One point of entry was the baby’s birth and the other was the emotion on the fathers face.

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Font-tastic!

September 28, 2009 at 1:05 pm (Assignments) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

rihanna typefaceHow much time do you spend thinking about fonts? If you’re like most people you only think of fonts when you’re typing up documents on the computer.  Honestly, the most I ever think of fonts is when I’m looking for the tab in Microsoft Word to change the font from Calibri back to Times New Roman.  Or the time I spent about 45 minutes trying to set TNR as the default. That little quest was a fail (if you know how to make another font your default please let me know).

There are people who spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about fonts, I mean how we would have gotten those great sites with millions of fonts? My focus isn’t on how the create the font, but the many factors that go into a designer choosing a font for a publication. Linda P. Morton’s book Strategic Publication: Designing for Public Relations describes fonts as a family of type styles that share the same name and distinct characteristics.

In class one day we watched a great video about the different personalities of fonts.

Other factors go into choosing a font besides its personality. The designer must be able to answer questions about the organization’s mission, dominant attitudes, core values, as well as the key message they want to communicate with the font. Two factors that should also be noted are the type of publication the font will be used for.  Whether your publication is online are a hard copy effects how it will be received by the publics. Morton mentions how italics don’t “reproduce well on computer monitors,” but works well in print and should be used only for emphasis; or how a reader’s computer may default to a more common font if it doesn’t have the publications specialized font.

For print publications like business cards fonts should range in size from 7-8 pt for the address and 9-12 pt for your name and 12-15 pt for your organization’s name. The fonts for brochures should range between 12 pt for body text with the headline text set at 14 pt.

Now you know some things to consider when choosing font but do you know where to go to get those great fonts just waiting to be chosen? Dafont.com is a great site that has free fonts. This link also has easy steps on how to download the fonts to Windows Vista.

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Reaching My Publics

September 21, 2009 at 1:44 pm (Assignments) (, , , , , , )

The question was, how would I segment my clients publics? Well, to get to that answer we have to take a look at the client.

backpackbuddies

Backpack Buddies is a national program that was created by the Second Harvest to feed school children over the weekends. Without daily school meals many of these children go hungry on Saturday and Sunday. The beauty about Backpack Buddies is that many communities around the nation are working together to end hunger for these kids. Statesboro happens to be one of those communities. While there are two known locations in town operating a Backpack Buddies, one being the First Baptist Church and the other being Pittman Park United Methodist Church, this brochure will focus on their  partnership with the Episcopal Campus Ministries at Georgia Southern University.

With these many differnt groups working together to eradicate hunger, a few types of publics will have to be segmented to to best reach the program’s objectives. There are several ways to figure out segmentation because there are three types of public characteristics as outlined by Linda P. Morton in her book Strategic Publications. The first is demographics, things that you can not change about yourself like your age, race and gender. Second, psychographics; these are your personality and psychological characteristics. Lastly, sociographics are the groups that you belong to; this characteristic also influences how you perceive visual messages.

Taking these characteristics into consideration I have decided to segment my public by life stages. Life stages are the particular points of progression in the human life that are mainly identified by age. I want to focus on the provisional adulthood stage (18-29) and the second adulthood (55-85+).  The brochure design will be a challenge since both groups like markedly different things as far as information presentation is concerned. In this challenge maybe two brochures will have to be used.

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