Press releases — things to improve!

Follow directions! Did you double space the print version? Did you include the About section? Did you include 2 embedded links on the blog? Did you have a dateline and make it the due date? Did you list yourself as the contact person?
Fact check!
AP style!
Edit ruthlessly for style, grammar, punctuation.
Attribute quotes at the end, not the beginning.
Provide specific details.
Don’t just spell check, fact check and copy edit!

And edit this…

There’s no better time to indulge in scary movies than the weeks approaching Halloween. However, there comes a time for every fright flick fans when they’ve made their way through most of the well-known genre favorites. Let’s face it: “Halloween,” “Psycho,” and “The Exorcist” are classics, the best of the best. But they’re also the movies anyone getting into horror films watch first. So, what happens when you’ve made your way through the greatest hits from Carpenter, Romero, Craven, and Hooper? Head to the horror graveyard and dig up some flicks that aren’t as famous. Here’s a list of ten movies from throughout horror history to keep you scared all the way up to October 31st.

Lewis Allen’s “The Uninvited” (1944, and not to be confused with the mediocre 2009 remake) ranks among the spookiest haunted house films of the Classical Hollywood era. Starring Ray Milland as a composer who moves into a haunted seaside estate, fans of the “Paranormal Activity” series will appreciate the thrills derived from the things which go unseen.

Influencing both “Night of the Living Dead” or David Lynch’s “Eraserhead,” Herk Harvey’s “Carnival of Souls” (1962) is a black and white nightmare that makes up for its low-budget and thin plot with a creepy, haunted pavilion setting, and a truly spooky specter. Concerning a young woman’s descent into madness following a car accident, the film has a delightfully cheap charm, with the director himself playing the aforementioned ghost.

As Halloween director John Carpenter has said, “Horror is a universal language,” and indeed, many frightening films have come from across the globe. Mario Bava’s 1963 “Black Sabbath” is a fun collection of three short spooky stories (“The Telephone,” about a woman harassed by strange phone calls, is a clear influence on 1974’s “Black Christmas”), and features genre legend Boris Karloff. Juan Piquer Simon’s “Pieces” (1983) is a classic of another kind. Featuring some truly questionable acting and downright ridiculous voice dubbing, the absurd slasher movie offers as many laughs as it does scares.

Canadian auteur David Cronenberg is well known as a director of body-centered horror. Perhaps no other film exemplifies his icy, disturbing view as well as 1983’s “Videodrome.” Starring James Woods as a seedy cable programmer who gets in over his head when he tries to find the origins of a show featuring torture and murder, the film is full of nightmarish imagery, and stuns with an epically downbeat ending.

2007’s “Inside” is possibly the most horrific of the new wave of French horror films. Alone on Christmas Eve, the pregnant Sarah (Allyson Paradis) is stalked by a mysterious stranger (Béatrice Dalle) who says she will leave on one condition: she gets Sarah’s baby. The film unfolds in increasingly shocking acts of violence, and expectant mothers would do well to avoid it.

“Let The Right One In” (2008) was one of the more popular foreign horror films in recent memory. The Swedish vampire coming-of-age story is charmingly chilly, boasting stellar performances by its two young leads. The American remake (renamed “Let Me In”) unfortunately failed to retain what made the original special, and aside from a few well-handled set pieces, was mostly a waste of time.

Ti West’s modern masterpiece “The House of the Devil” thrives on its deliberate pace, creeping along until it reaches its bold, blood climax. From the moment our heroine Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) agrees to a babysitting job the night of a lunar eclipse, we know things will not end well. “The House of the Devil” may test the patience of some viewers early on, but those who persevere are in for one hell of a finale.

“The Woman” (2003), the latest from genre master Lucky McKee turns the idyllic northeast mountains into the scene of unspeakable horror. When a feral woman is captured by an average family man, he decides to “civilize her,” the implications of which become increasingly disturbing as the film builds to a blood-soaked finale.

This year, Ben Wheatley’s “Kill List” has proved to be an unmatched cinematic nightmare. The British film begins as a straight-ahead thriller about a pair of hitmen, but quickly goes off the rails in the best way imaginable. A brutal assault on your senses with a pitch-black comedic streak, the ending of “Kill List” will leave you shaking.

October is winding down, but you still have some time to pop some popcorn, have a few drinks, and enjoy a horror film you haven’t seen before.

First person example

One of my favorite stories. Only time I wrote in first person for the AP as a full-time reporter.

PR assignment for Stratcomm class!

Follow proper format/style for a release as identified in book and class examples.
Must directly quote as least one member of the group. (No friends, etc.)
Must include at least 2 embedded links in the blog version.
Print version must be 2 printed pages or less.
Your goal is to help this group recruit new members.
AP style counts in the body of the release.
“Opinion” is OK, but still must be accurate and supported.
Have fun.

Paid comms internship!!

Company Background:
The Ohio Technology Consortium (OH-TECH) seeks a communications intern to assist with a
variety of resume-building tasks and projects. Google “OARnet and 100Gig” for an example of
the types of projects for which we need help.

Located on the west campus of The Ohio State University, OH-TECH functions as an umbrella
organization for Ohio’s statewide technology infrastructure and provides services for Ohio
higher education, K-12 and state and local government. Consortium members include the Ohio
Supercomputer Center, OARnet, eStudent Services, OhioLINK and the Research and Innovation

Summary of Duties:
Working closely with Outreach staff the student assistant will:
• Write news releases and event descriptions
• Complete copywriting and editing tasks, large and small
• Update the website with news clips, copy, events, etc.
• Assist with writing and producing promotional materials
• Provide support for special events and meetings
• Implement social media strategies for OH-TECH organizations
• Other duties as assigned.

Experience/Education & Specific Knowledge/Skills:
• Sophomore or higher in communications, public relations or journalism preferred but not
• The ideal candidate must have strong writing skills. Familiarity of AP Style, graphic design
programs and/or web and content management systems are beneficial.
• Knowledge of and practical experience with Windows and MAC operating systems.
• Strong problem-solving skills, initiative and willingness to learn required.

Primary business hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. To apply, send your resume, cover
letter, and three writing samples to Susan Mantey at Work-study status is
not required.

Communications Intern


Stratcomm — Let’s get into some PR!

Some examples of press releases for various things. Notice what they have in common: headlines/formatting; easy to find contact information; informative “About” sections; multimedia elements; timeliness. What else do you see?

This is pretty interesting. What do you think?

Edit this–Lantern people

Fantastic in-depth, multimedia storytelling here from the NYT. And all about a town in Ohio.

With their music speaking louder than words literally, the Neil Cowley Trio will be performing their brand of “poetic jazz” at the Wexner Center for the Arts at 1871 North High Street in Columbus, Ohio on Oct. 13.

This will mark the bands first time in Columbus, as they begin to build a new fan base in America with The Face of Mount Molehill U.S. Tour which supports their fourth album release “The Face of Mount Molehill.”

“In the United States we’re really a new band, we want to keep expectations low for the support we may get in the U.S. like we did in the U.K. since we’re showing off our music to a brand new audience,” said Neil Cowley, the lead pianist of the band. “Making it in the U.S. is the goal of any band and we’re putting in the hard work now. In other countries we’d have nice hotels but now it’ll be back to sleeping on my friends couch.”

The bands recent release “The Face of Mount Molehill” was inspired by multiple bands Cowley was listening to at the time, bands like Can, Kraftwerk, and Cluster. Also, Cowley wanted to experiment with strings for this album and created a string quartet to create the “big and dramatic” sound he wanted for the record.

“We have firm ideas of music we want to create before we head into the studio and that’s because we record in very expensive studios that have the best sound quality. We spent a week in RAK Studios to achieve that level of high quality sound and we recorded as one unit. We usually have three to four takes for recording a song, and if it’s a difficult song to perform it’ll be 10 takes,” said Cowley.

With their first album as a band “Displaced” in 2006, the band recorded the record in two days and ultimately earned the band a BBC Jazz Award for Best Album in 2007. Cowley said this was an utter shock to him and his band mates since they were relatively new in the music scene as a band.

Band member Cowley is also known for working with a then unknown British singer named Adele which he helped work on “Hometown Glory,” providing the piano play for the song. Cowley said he met Adele and her producer Jim Abbiss through a string of musical contacts within the U.K. in which he was asked to help record Adele’s record at the time “19.”

Cowley said in meeting Adele that she was a very humble and down to earth person within the studio.

Cowley continued work with Adele, providing piano play for her smash hit single “Rolling in the Deep” off of her breakthrough album “21” which garnered numerous music awards and much critical acclaim.

“We have a commitment to jazz innovators and also regularly sponsor international artists in all disciplines. Neil and his band fit both categories,” said Chuck Helm, a director of performing arts at the Wexner Center for the Arts. “I’m hoping that fans of music like this will enjoy the Neil Cowley Trio and that that will include Ohio State students.”

Tickets are $13 for students, $16 for members and $18 for the general public. They can be purchased at the box office at the Wexner Center for the Arts or online, at

“By hosting the Neil Cowley Trio onstage here at the Wexner Center for the Arts we’re continuing our commitment to bringing talented musicians from around the world here to Columbus,” said Jennifer Wray, a marketing and media assistant for the Wexner Center for the Arts. “They’re a high-energy group with rollicking, powerful melodies, and their instrumental work is such that even if your tastes run more to indie rock than to jazz, you’re sure to hear something you like.”

Cowley ultimately enjoys the independent music market and hopes to continue performing music for the rest of his life. He also feels that music without words is way better than words.

“I think music speaks louder than the words, I think it gets deeper with music, the music isn’t telling you what to feel, it’s up to you to make that interpretation, music without the words is the ultimate,” said Cowley.

Broadcast assignment for StratComm class

Due next Tuesday, Oct. 16.

Full script written in broadcast style must be on your blog.

Must come in between 55 seconds and 1:05 to receive full credit.

Must either read it live in class or provide a link to video and/or audio on your blog. If you choose the recorded version, you must let me know in advance.

Must touch on at least 3 of these areas: politics, weather, sports, entertainment, national news, international news.

Must be real and factual. Nothing made up.

Include transitions.

Give credit where it is due if you cite an exclusive story of some kind.

Social media stuff for The Lantern class

NYT freelancer gets into it with critics via Twitter. NYT public editor responds with column/links/Storify. Your thoughts?

One paper bucking the trend and investing in….print????

Editors are important. Really, really important.

Experts assess impact of social media on journalism.

Is the press more critical of politicians than social media users???

Media outlet in the UK is working to train its journalists in social/digital media.

Broadcast writing basics and Stratcomm homework!

Take the role of either a spokesperson for Romney or Obama after last night’s debate. Using the basic b-cast writing rules below, your text and your knowledge, put together a roughly 30-second summary “spin” that you could deliver on-air if some of the networks found you after the debate. Write it in b-cast style and post to your blog before Tuesday’s class.

These are very basic rules for broadcast-style writing. As you’ll see, many of them have been adopted when different people and groups write for the Web, blog, etc.

1. Use active, strong verbs and the present tense is OK if it flows properly in context.
2. Attribution comes first. Joe Doe says….. In print style, we usually put attribution at the end: Blah, blah, blah, said Joe Doe.
3. Phonetic spellings of complex names/words. My last name might look like this on a broadcast sheet: Kat-er-in-eek-ee-uh
4. Short, simple sentences. Even more important in broadcast because someone is reading these words/sentences aloud on camera, into a mic, etc.
5. Rarely use direct quotes. If you must, keep them short, even 2-3 words instead of a complete sentence.