Communicate

All things media and comms related

PR v Journalism or PR = Journalism?


“Writing has always been my passion. It’s a way to express myself, my feelings and opinions or I can fully emerge myself in another world through creative writing. When I write it feels like a release of emotions and an escape from everyday life.”

This was the answer I prepared when my journalism lecturer asked in our first seminar this year why we had chosen his unit. It was an honest answer but I dreaded being chosen to answer. This was mainly due to the fact that I didn’t want to announce that I actually intended to follow a career on the other side – in PR.

So why did I choose this unit?

Ever since I was a small child I would write. In my pre-school years I would copy out children’s books and then as I became slightly older I would start to write my own little imaginative stories. I can vividly remember the sense of pride and satisfaction I felt as my parents read and praised my work. But it wasn’t just creative writing I attempted. In my final year of primary school I wrote and edited my very own magazine – my first taste of ‘journalism’. And to cut a long story short, the pattern continued throughout school and sixth form as I excelled in both English and Media Studies.

As you can see through this blog and my work portfolio, I still enjoy writing and I believe that continuing and furthering your writing skills stands you in good stead for whichever career path you choose. For instance, PRO’s are often writing press releases and features to send to journalists or using social media platforms, such as blogs, to publicise their company.

As well as in writing, I have a great interest in the media and its powerful influence on our lives. Being part of that in some way fills me with excitement. Whichever profession in the media you choose surely it makes sense to understand how they all work together?  The journalism unit is vital in my final year of my degree not only to develop my writing skills but to compliment my other units: public relations, advertising and publishing. I would recommend Bournemouth University’s Communication and Media degree to anyone who has a general love for the media. No other degree would give you such a well-rounded understanding of the integrated professions and how they relate to each other.

If I am to employ successful PR practice in the future I need to understand the role of the journalist in order to work beside them effectively. I need to be aware of their pressures and demands, instead of focussing purely on my own, to form a good working relationship with them. At the same time PR involves writing clear and concise press releases with newsworthy angles which will help save a busy journalist time. In my opinion, having a solid understanding of the role of a journalist is key and vice versa.

Check out the clip below which demonstrates the importance of PROs and journalists understanding each other’s job role:

February 4, 2011 Posted by | Blogs, Journalism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Embrace the wonder that is…Social Media


Ever since completing the web communications unit in the second year of my degree I have become fascinated by, and I must admit slightly addicted to, social media.

No, I don’t just mean ‘facebooking’ long lost friends, although this is a great bonus, I mean creating a list of business connections on Linkedin, sharing specialist topics and trends on Twitter, photo sharing on Flickr, video sharing on youtube and blogging about all things media and comms related on WordPress etc. And what’s more linking each of these together to maximise the potential for hits, followers and networking with those in the media industry.

I am particularly interested in how social media can be used by companies to create successful PR and Marketing strategies. Perhaps due to a lack of understanding, many companies seem to be concerned and sceptical about moving from traditional media platforms and into this new realm. 

However, social media doesn’t need to be used as a replacement but instead combined with the likes of print and broadcast media to reach a wide range of stakeholders. They can then be involved in two-way dialogue throughout a campaign as they’re  encouraged to post opinions and feedback. It  is then vital for companies to respond to these posts ensuring that they are seen to be listening to their publics and taking action. In my opinion, engaging with publics is essential to build relationships and create a mutual understanding on a particular point or issue.

If you have ever wondered why everyone claims it’s important for businesses to get on board the social media bandwagon then check out the slide show below. It provides astonishing figures and statistics about the amount of users posting, commenting and connecting online every day. Just ignore the swearing!

February 1, 2011 Posted by | Blogs, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

A Medley of Musical Films


Whilst working at Romley Davies Publicity over the summer I was given the task of writing a series of features to publicise the release of the new film The Concert…

 

To celebrate the release of The Concert on 16th June 2010 we take a look at the top 10 films that are based on up and coming musicians from both reality and fiction.

1.The Concert (2010) Thirty years ago, Andrei Simonivich  Filipov (Aleksei Guskov) was the celebrated conductor of the renowned Bolshoi Orchestra. But during the communist era, he was fired at the height of his fame for refusing to get rid of all his Jewish musicians, which included his best friend Sasha. Now demoted to the position of cleaner at the Bolshoi, he learns by chance that the Chatelet Theatre in Paris has invited the orchestra to perform there. Andrei decides to reunite his orchestra and to perform in Paris in the place of the current Bolshoi Orchestra. He wants Anne-Marie Jacquet (Melanie Laurent), a young virtuoso, as the solo violinist to accompany his old Jewish and gypsy musicians. If they all manage to overcome the hardships ahead, this very special concert will be a triumph. 

 

 2.The Pianist (2002) A moving film which follows the experiences of acclaimed Polish pianist, Wlad Spielzman, during WW2. He was born into a wealthy Jewish family and led a successful life until his life changed dramatically as he becomes a prisoner of war and is deported to the ghetto of Warsaw. He manages to escape and has no choice but to live in hiding moving from one abandoned home to another. The film portrays the horrific conditions of war through the musician’s eyes and depicts his struggle to survive and the loneliness he feels due to his family being taken away from him. Ultimately it is his musical gift that helps him to survive as he is forced to play for his life.

 

 

3. This is Spinal Tap (1984)  A mocumentary about English Rock band, Spinal Trap, who go on a nationwide tour starting in America to present their come-back album ‘Smell the Glove’. The first concerts begin but as the film progresses problems start to occur for the band such as concerts being cancelled and distributors refusing to sell the album due to its cover being sexist. Throughout, the film satirises the wild behaviour and musical pretensions of rock and roll stars.

 

 

 

4. Ray (2004) A biographical film which depicts the struggles of Rhythms and Blues musician Ray Charles who despite going blind at the young age of 7 is determined to make a success of his life.  Inspired by his mother who told him never to be a cripple he learns to play the piano and from then becomes known to all as a musical genius and famous singer. However, it is not plain sailing for the man who becomes addicted to Heroin which threatens to ruin everything for him. The story tells of the drive and determination the man has to take control of his life and not be defeated by whatever the world has to throw at him. 

 

 

5. Brassed Off (1996)  A comedy-drama about a close-knit community in Yorkshire where for 100 years the town’s men have been playing in The Grimley Colliery Brass band. On discovering that the local mine is to be shut down the band leader decides to enter into a national championship competition to give some hope to the town’s men once again but with other worries on their minds the men are not focussed. That is until pretty female flugelhorn player, Gloria (Tara Fitzgerald), returns to the town where she grew up and wishes to join the band. This sends a wave of interest back to the players and especially her childhood sweetheart, trumpeter Andy (Ewan McGregor).  

 

 

6. Amadeus  (1984) The film adaption of Peter Shaffer’s play which is based upon the life of the genius musician and composer Wolfgang Mozart told by Salieri, another composer from Vienna who is confined to an Asylum. It portrays the envy and agony that Salieri feels towards Mozart whose music he likened to the voice of God and his failure to understand why God did not pass the gift onto him instead. Throughout the film Salieri cunningly plans to take revenge and conquer Mozart. 

 

 

 

7. The Piano Teacher (2001) Based on Janice Lee’s novel, the highly respected and talented piano instructor, Erika, teaches at a famous music conservatory in Vienna and is known for her strict and disciplined lessons. However, outside of her lessons she has a strong and violent sexual appetite which she finds difficult to control. When a handsome, self-assured student auditions for her class an immediate attraction forms and she invites him into her fantasies and allows him to soften her.  

 

 

 

8. Bird (1988) Clint Eastwood directs the biopic film about saxophone player, Charlie Parker, who travels to New York in the 40’s to establish his career with his new style of revolutionary jazz music. It is a tragic story in which after finding fame he gets caught up in drug addiction and dies at the young age of 34. The film explores his life from childhood through to his adulthood and his marriage to Chan Richardson who was always by his side supporting him. 

 

 

 

9. The Soloist (2009 ) Another true life story in which journalist, Steve Lopez, discovers cello prodigy Nethanial Ayers living in squalor on the streets as a street performer.  Although he had attended Julliard Music College for two years and was known as one of the most gifted students his future was doomed as he battled with schizophrenia. As the journalist gets to know the man behind the mental illness the respect he has for him grows and he is determined to help Ayers gain the recognition he deserves. In order to help him, as well as the other under classed, to have a better quality of life he writes a series of articles about the extraordinary talent the homeless man has.  

 

 

10.Walk the line (2005) Based on Johnny Cash’s autobiographical works, the film traces the life of the country music legend (Joaquin Phoenix) and reveals all of the poignant moments of his life which inspired and led to his fame. It relives his troubled childhood through to his experiences in the armed forces and then his attempts to start a music career. His love life with June Carter (Reese Witherspoon) is of particular focus and its tragic ending resulting in his fatal drug addiction. 

 

September 5, 2010 Posted by | Features, Portfolio | , , , , | 1 Comment

A Love Affair with Paris


Whilst working at Romley Davies Publicity over the summer I was given the task of writing a series of features to publicise the release of  the new film The Concert. Here is one I wrote about films that use the  beautiful  and romantic city of Paris as their setting…

 

To celebrate the release of The Concert on 16th June 2010 we take a look at the top 10 films from the past twenty years where filmmakers have fallen in love with the beautiful and intriguing city that is Paris. With its romantic atmosphere and striking architecture it is the perfect setting for so many fascinating films.

1.The Concert (2010) Thirty years ago, Andrei Simonivich  Filipov (Aleksei Guskov) was the celebrated conductor of the renowned Bolshoi Orchestra. But during the communist era, he was fired at the height of his fame for refusing to get rid of all his Jewish musicians, which included his best friend Sasha. Now demoted to the position of cleaner at the Bolshoi, he learns by chance that the Chatelet Theatre in Paris has invited the orchestra to perform there. Andrei decides to reunite his orchestra and to perform in Paris in the place of the current Bolshoi Orchestra. He wants Anne-Marie Jacquet (Melanie Laurent), a young virtuoso, as the solo violinist to accompany his old Jewish and gypsy musicians. If they all manage to overcome the hardships ahead, this very special concert will be a triumph. 

 

2. Amelie (2001) A romantic comedy in which a young woman, with a highly active imagination and sweet, romantic nature, is on a quest to fix and bring happiness to the lives of those around her. Amelie is aware, more than most, of how cruel life can be with her mother dying in a car crash when she was six, a lack of contact with a father and a heart complaint that meant she couldn’t be brought up at school. So after hearing the news that Princess Diana has died in a car crash she sets of on her mission. But amidst her attempts to please others can she make herself happy and find the man of her dreams in the romantic city?

 

 3. Moulin Rouge (2001) A beautiful and tragic love story between theatrical prostitute, Satine (Nicole Kidman), and English poet, Christian (Ewan McGregor). The poet has set out to establish himself as a playwright in Paris yet he soon gets mixed up in the Bohemian underworld of sex, drugs and musical theatre. The infamous nightclub setting, along with stunning cinematography, emphasises the glamour and euphoria that the film presents.

  

4.  The French Kiss (1995) In this romantic comedy Kate’s (Meg Ryan) fiancé is sent to Paris on business and whist there becomes obsessed with French beauty Juliette. After he calls off their wedding Kate is determined to win her lover back by travelling to France. With the help of thief Luc Teyssier, who she meets on her journey, she sets out to prove herself to her ex but it would seem that unexpected feelings begin to emerge between her and the Frenchman. 

 

 

 5. Paris, je t’aime (2006) A unique film about falling in love in which five-minute slots are allocated to some of the best acclaimed filmmakers and directors to declare their adoration for Paris, the City of Love. Each transition links to each other by starting with the last shot of the previous film resulting in a build up of intensifying emotion.

 

 

 

 

6. The Davinci Code (2006) The film begins in a Paris art gallery where a man lays murdered on the floor underneath Leonardo Davinci’s painting of The Mona Lisa Smile. The film continues with cryptologist Robert Langdon’s (Tom Hanks) pursuit to find clues in order to piece together the mystery which proves to be larger than imagined.

 

 

 

7. Chocolat (2000) Mysterious Vianne and her daughter move to quiet, rural France and cause a stir by opening a chocolate shop across the road from the church where lent is about to begin. Officials try to get her thrown out of the village but many of the locals begin to take warmly to her and especially her secret ingredient in her chocolate that adds a little guilty pleasure to their lives. 

 

 

 

8. Phantom of the Opera (2004) Set in the Paris Opera House, a hideous musical genius known as ‘The opera ghost’ gives vocal lessons to a young chorus girl, Christine, and becomes besotted with her. However, whilst he is terrorising the cast into giving his pupil lead roles she is reacquainted with Raoul who she has known since childhood and falls in love with him. In anger the Phantom kidnaps Christine and intends to make her his eternal bride. Luckily, Raoul is prepared to go to extreme lengths to save his lover. 

 

 

 

9.  Ratatouille (2007) Taking French Cuisine to new levels, the children’s film stars a rat named Remy whose dreams of becoming a culinary marvel come true as he pairs with a young chef with no talent who needs his help. Together they make some delicious dishes but they are constantly watching their backs…if the rat is spotted in the kitchen it will be the end of the road for both of them! 

 

 

 

10.  The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) 15th Century Paris is the setting for the Disney film where puppeteer Clopin tells the story of the hunched back, unsightly character, Quasimodo, who spends his days hidden from the world in a bell tower by his evil master Frollo. During the Festival of Fools, Quasimodo’s gargoyle friends encourage him to go and take part and enjoy himself. Amidst the festivities he meets beautiful gypsy girl Esmeralda and falls in love with her. Throughout the rest of the film he sets out to protect her as they fall under the rage of Frollo.

 

September 5, 2010 Posted by | Features | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Website analysis: Max Clifford’s successfully simple website


Max Clifford's Successfully Simple Website

From first impressions Max Clifford’s website has a simple and perhaps slightly plain design, yet its layout means it is easy to use and navigate around as well as appearing professional.

Searchability

When searching for ‘Max Clifford’ the website is the first result on all of the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Ask Jeeves. Also, when Max Clifford’s clients are searched with regards to PR the website tops the search engines, for instance, it is the first result when searching ‘Simon Cowell PR’ on google.

Design

The minimalist theme of the website is clearly noticeable from the moment the user enters it. The home page is bare with very little information displayed on a white background.  There is a navigation bar across the top of the home page with 9 options for the user to choose from. The simplicity is continued with a blue and grey colour scheme used rather than bright colours. Underneath the navigation bar  is another panel with a small black and white picture of Max Clifford in the left hand corner, a box with a flashing testimonials in the right corner and in between these is a one sentence statement summarising him:

‘Max Clifford has been in the business of public relations, protecting and promoting a wide variety of clients for well over 40 years’.

These features appear on each page throughout the website as well as contact details for his company Max Clifford Associates along the bottom of the website.

User Generated Content

Contacting the company would appear to be an important aim of the website as dominating the home page is a newspaper with a caption ‘click here to tell us your story’. The image flashes breaking news headlines and attracts users due to it being bold and in colour which is unconventional for the website. Gaining user generated content benefits Max Clifford Associates Limited as they can receive free stories.

Navigation

Although there is little information on each page the website includes many hyperlinks to where information can be found. On both the MCA staff page and Case Study page photos are shown with a panel of  hyperlinked names directly to the right of them. This means that the pages aren’t cluttered  and overloaded with information about each person or MCA’s clients but instead a separate page about each of them can be navigated to.

Navigation to other sites associated with Max Clifford’s work can also be found on his website. Under the page named ‘News’ there is a link to his monthly column at Surrey Life Magazine. This use of Hyperlinks helps traffic to be directed to the website and also its searchability.

February 3, 2010 Posted by | Website Analysis | , , | Leave a comment