TOPW5A: A PR Practitioner’s Best Friend

Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is an online service catered to journalists to gather fast feedback from the public. HARO works as a middle person between journalists and sources such as experts, and others alike. The system sends out a number of emails a day notifying experts of journalists who are seeking their sources. This enables the journalist to quickly gather information to add perspective to their story. HARO was founded as a Facebook group in 2008 by Peter Shankman and was later acquired by Vocus. Inc.

HARO benefits not just journalists, but also public relations practitioners and their clients alike. As HARO works in a two-way system, a PR practitioner may enquire others about news or sources related to the clients’ wants and needs, and at the same time be able to spread information to other journalists and PR practitioners. Also, HARO can be used to source niche news sources. This would be beneficial to find news on competitors and those in similar industries.

PR practitioners may also pitch their news stories to journalists in HARO. By doing so, practitioners are  able to personally choose which media they want their client to be featured in.  Furthermore, PR practitioners are able to build professional relationships with the journalists on HARO for future use.

Using HARO would be a priority for small and start-up businesses as creating a good marketing image is a necessity. HARO is cost-effective as all communication is done online via the website or emails. This removes the need for PR practitioners to find journalists through other sources such as newspaper or magazine agencies. It removes the agency as a barrier between the PR practitioner and the journalist.

As HARO becomes more and more of a norm for journalists and PR practitioners to communicate, it becomes a necessity for both ends to use HARO to compete in the industry to gain information.

By Iyesha


PR Buzz: Arianna Huffington – Behind The Post

Ariadni-Anna Stassinopoulous, better known today as Arianna Huffington, has well become a name among households and professional environments alike. Graduating from the University of Cambridge, she saw herself an author in London in her earlier years, before moving to New Yok in 1980 to further make a name for herself. In the present, we know of Arianna Huffington best for being the founder as well as Editor-in-Chief of America’s top media aggregator The Huffington Post. The site was launched in 2005, and was soon acquired by AOL for USD$315 million. Shortly after in 2012, The Huffington Post became the first commercially run American digital media company to win a Pulitzer Prize.

What most of us don’t know about Arianna Huffington is that she has been an active author since the 1970s, voicing out her concerns on politics, feminism and showcasing her interests in classic arts through works such as The Female Woman, and a biography of Pablo Picasso, titled Picasso: Creator and Destroyer.

Arianna Huffington rose to prominence in the United States through her association with then husband and Republican politician Michael Huffington. She also became known as a writer on Emmy-nominated late night political talk show Politically Incorrect. Since then, Arianna has made herself a public personality, usually discussing her evolving and sometimes controversial views on politics, environmentalism and liberalism.

In 2003, Arianna found herself an independent candidate running against crowd favorite Arnold Schwazenegger in the California recall election. She dropped out of the competition, likely due to her inability to garner public favour for her candidacy. Arianna’s foray into the Internet saw the rise of the Huffington Post, which placed her No.12 among Forbe’s list of The World’s 20 Most Powerful Women in Business. The Huffington Post continues to be one of the Internet’s most viewed sites, offering a plethora of content in the ever evolving online news landscape.

Tory Burch: From Art History to Public Relation and Fashion.

Tory Burch was born in 1967 in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and graduated in the Pennsylvania University majoring in art history. However, her first job was in the field of public relations with famously fashion labels such as Ralph Lauren and Vera Wang. However in 2004, without any knowledge in the fashion industry Tory Burch had successful launch her very own label.

After a year of struggling, she was recognized by Oprah Winfrey and was invited to her show. As a matter of fact, anyone who is lucky enough to be endorsed by Oprah Winfrey must be one of the most influential women in the world. After the interview, Tory Burch’s website had hit 8 million viewers and had made orders for the brand.It all started few years ago when an advertisement had caught her attention in the 9/11 incident. In the advertisement, it wrote, “follow your dreams” and it had been stuck in her mind over and over again. As a result, she decided to give fashion a shot with the financially help from her ex-husband Chris Burch. Everyone went ballistic especially towards her signature pieces, which are the Reva ballet flats and tunics.

(Pictures taken from and ,2014)

What makes her different from others is that Burch believes that her designs could fill the whole market where she combined classic American sportswear that is hip and simple as it is very affordable.Unfortunately after awhile, she got divorce with Chris and many people argue that she was only using Chris for her business. Despite the negativity that hits her, she was determined to strive harder and channel herself with positives activity and build her own foundation. It was her dream to have her own foundation before she started venturing in the fashion line. Nevertheless, the main purpose of her foundation was to help people out there with the economic stability growth especially women. It is because generally women can relate to her as she faces many struggles to climb towards high accomplishments.


AMEX OPEN Forum and Tory Burch Foundation CEO Bootcamp for women, 2014

Tory Burch’s business goal is clearly to respond towards the social responsibility. However, some people cannot see eye to eye with the concept that she proposes which is business and social responsibility as one. It is a fact that in the business world, people don’t take responsibility towards their investments. All they think and care about is to gain profit whereas it can create circumstances rather than building good relationship with others. As for Burch, not only she’s a multibillion fashion designer but also owns great foundation in order to sustain the country’s economy.

By Adlin Fazlinda

Public relation in-house Versus agency

Public relation is a communication process between an organizations and stakeholders. The goal of a public relation is to create a positive corporate image as well to handle any business issues. However, a good public relation practitioner requires varies skills in order to be beneficial such as social media knowledge skills and abilities. Some of the examples of social media skills are strategic thinker, versatile writer, relationship builder, advance researcher, technological thinker and also risk management. In order to develop multi talented skills, many universities offer public relation subjects such as public relation writing, media writing, public relation and campaign and etcetera.

After graduate, a public relation practitioner has too considered working either involves themselves with a specific company or in house communications that suits their skill and personality. First and foremost if you decide to work at an agency, you will have the opportunity to meet more clients at a time. There will be ranges of projects as well clients that you will meet during work. In this case, the number of contacts and experiences may increase which indicates with will enhance on your personal skills such as writing and issuing a press release, dealing with media enquiries, pitching for news coverage or promoting messages on social media.Secondly, working for an agency requires working at a fast and smart pace since they will be juggling with many projects and clients. It is because they will be jumping around from one project to another before datelines. Next, working in an agency gives you more exposure to enhance your abilities such as different public relation techniques, campaign elements that lead you to a better learning process.Last but not least, working with agencies is much flexible since there is always different opportunity to work on an exiting account or change into a different field. Moreover, it helps you to expose and gain additional knowledge from time to time.

On the contrary as for a public relation practitioner that decides to work with an in-house department will only have a one scope of responsibilities whereby they meet and deal with only one client at a time. It is a fact that they will be responsible and give more attention to a client rather than juggling around. Generally, they are set to make the final call for any project which make in-house as a tasked manager. Despite of having a one client at a time, public relation practitioner should have the ability to understand as well highest interest of the work. They will have full ownership of the project as to complete it as whole. Last but not least, it is a fact that hiring another employee will be a little costly and it will create a small environment which leads to inexperience employee. Although in house department lacks of man power but the quality of the work are strong enough in managing corporate goals.

One of the examples of the disadvantages working in an agency is that they will face unpredictable long hours of working. Most agencies will expect for you to reply at all the time. As a result, there will be constantly pressure towards limited time where they are expected to produce a quality work within shortest period of deadlines. Other than that since they’ll be juggling around with many different clients will create an internal emotion. Such emotions that will create from both parties are dissatisfaction in time and quality of work since there is consistency. It is a fact that since agency does not have superior time to focuses on one employee, the quality of work tends to be more on the sales. Lastly, working in an agency is very stressful that can interfere with daily lives such as imbalance family, health and etcetera.

On the other hand, the disadvantage of working with in-house department requires starting working alone from a lower point of description. It is because in-house departments tend to have a smaller environment which leads to repetitive in outsourcing. It is viewed as avoiding with the real world for it is only focuses on one subject matter. It is believed that one person is responsible to complete any task even though they might not have any experience in that field. As a result, the quality of the task may be appreciable since resources are very limited.

In conclusion public relation practitioners have to consider both advantage and disadvantages of working with either agency or in-house department. I personally believe that working with an agency is more beneficial due to the positives impact such as spreading knowledge as well relationship with others.

By Adlin Fazlinda

TOPW 4B: How To Comment Like a Good Human Being on the Internet

Lets face it. The present Internet thrives on User-Generated Content (UGC) and its subsequent feedback. People crave feedback so much that UGC platforms now have various different ways for other people to express their feelings about content, through likes and dislikes, upvotes and downvotes, and of course everyone’s favorite source of drama and humour: the comment section.

Feedback is instant and depending on one’s demographic, targeted or otherwise, can be widespread and vary to a large degree. Successful bloggers will often advise that in order to grow one’s readership, it is imperative that writers be able to recognize comments that are productive to those that aren’t. One of those ways, is to first know how to comment effectively, and still remain a decent human being by the time you hit “send”.

  1. Recognize your motivations

Know your reason for commenting. What is it that you feel so strongly about that drives you to want to to be heard? Is it something you agree or disagree with? Do you have constructive advice on how the blogger can improve his/her content? Do you think the pictures can be prettier? Do you want the blogger to know that you can relate to the article and offer your gratitude and admiration? Is your goal to drive more hits to your own blog through another blogger’s success? Knowing your reason for commenting will help you determine exactly what to write, without digressing and losing the opportunity to be heard.

  1. Context

When commenting, it is possible that your comment gets lost among the sea of other comments and a variation of context. Provide references to what exactly you are commenting about, because even though you know what you are referring to doesn’t mean that other people will.

  1. Be specific

We have all seen comments that offer opinion without reason. For example, a crowd favorite would be “This is stupid” or “You suck!”. But why? Always state your reason for your feeling a certain way. If there is something you love about the blog post, don’t just say you love it, tell the blogger what he/she did right with the post.

  1. Be Respectful

Keyboard warriors are well known throughout the Internets as people who have no regard for the feelings of others and responsibility for their own actions. Don’t do that. Be kind and respectful while commenting on a blog, which is pretty much an extension of another human being’s personal space. Even if you don’t agree with something or think that said blogger is a waste of time, comment as if you are speaking to someone face to face. If you shouldn’t be rude when speaking to a person, then you shouldn’t be rude when interacting with a person in any other way.

  1. Know Your Stuff

When commenting, you get brownie points for knowing your material well. Understand the content and its context, and offer your opinions in accordance. Add value to the piece by validating the post with your knowledge and experience in the topic at hand. If your expertise tells you that the blogger is wrong, then state so while offering the correct information in a respectful manner. Have an upvote if you provide credible resources along with your comment.

  1. Keep It Brief

Don’t drag on a comment with anecdotes and an essay on your opinions. Chances are nobody is going to finish reading it.

  1. Don’t get too personal

Refrain from personally attacking bloggers and writers just because they have views that differ from your own. Being able to agree to disagree is the highly valued mark of maturity and will not only earn you the respect of the blogger, but also those who will read your comment.

So, what are your comments on comments?

by Sandra Woo

[TOPW2 #2] 90s – the dawn of PR

If I could time travel, I would love to go back to 90s which is the dawn of new PR era in my opinion.
The 1990s were a time of globalization which economic, technology and science notably growth. New internet technology & social media websites affected PR strategies and tactics. Public Relations’ old strategies and methods were expired and they were replaced by the new schemes with the involvement of high technology. For example press release, which was mostly unchanged for more than a century, began to integrate digital feature; in 1997 Business Wire firm introduced the “Smart News Release” which incorporated audio, video, and images. The emergence of social media and internet technology changed the traditional public relations into the new platform. With the dawn of a new century, technology became a major aspect of everyone’s lives. The field of public relations felt the effects of this technology boom as well. The media was formerly a monologue with messages going out. With email and now various forms of social media, communication is a dialogue. For the PR world this meant that instead of placing positive stories in the media, the practitioner had to establish a conversation with the public to harbor trust in a company.
PR in the 1990s is not simply seen as a propaganda tactic that popularly practiced during the war and political crisis time; indeed it became a strategic counsel as PR is recognized as major corporate decisions and monitor public response. Public relations people were no longer news paper writers or dealing with the media, mostly newspaper writing, and also putting on events that were generally stunts to get publicity for products like in the old days. However, public relation practitioners in the 90s were often the leaders of the company as people believed that leaders’ image could influence perception of their companies and stock price if they were known to be decisive and respected. With so much attention drawn to CEOs at this time, they began to make public relations a part of top management.
It must be better to practice PR during this 90s decade as the sources of information were cleaner and more oriented. Since the basis of public relations is about people & the relationship, it would be easier to gain the trust of the public through direct meeting and reliable medium/information channel. Regardless technology nowadays has created many new ways of relating to the publics a practitioner tries to reach; it has caused many practitioners to blast information out in a way that he feels could be perceived as spam. Yet I would not have to face this problem, if I practiced PR back in the 90s. I would not face many troubles about invalid and false information at least because audiences didn’t doubt much about the information that given or released to the public. Therefore it’s the reason PR in the 90s intrigued me the most

By Cindy Do

[TOPW2 #1] Ghost Writing – a Great Investment

‘I write and ‘they’ take the credit’

What is the term – Ghost Writing?

A shadowy and invisible force who is hired to write works with no official credit and remain anonymous. This is a common practice for many years that people were employed to write speeches and letter for their leaders since time immemorial. Until today, it is customary for leaders and presidents to give public speeches and to respond to letters to citizens in the name of the president, but by ghost writers.  This has reached out to many other areas especially in the world of journalism.

Image Credit :

Ethical?  or Good Investment?

Is this wrong? or can we say that this is a form of plagiarism? Why not explaining this further with examples…?

Ethical and Legal Problems?!?!?

In medical journals, it could raise many issues and this is due to the fact that pharmaceutical companies and the industries may frequently distort the results produced by clinical trials. The articles, which are written by ‘them’ and sent to commercial journals with a high impact factor – this is more attractive to put their names for their own careers.

The ghostwriters are not detected by the reviewers and they are not easy to detect. A pharmaceutical company pays a ghostwriter to write an article in support of a drug, which then gets published in a major journal with a high Impact Factor. Then, if there is a lawsuit which goes to court, the lawyers present those articles as scientific evidence, thus closing the case.

And, how often has this, ghost writing, been practiced and making it a matter of concern?

  • A New York Times study in 2010 found a level of ghostwriting in the world’s principal medical journals (JAMA, Lancet, PLoS Medicine, New England Journal of Medicine) of between 4.6% and 10.9% of articles published.
  • A paper published by PLoS Medicine showed that only 13 of the top 50 US medical journals have clear policies against ghostwriting.
  • Close to 50% of the publications on drugs used in psychiatry that are still under patent were written by ghostwriters.          from

Is it wrong to use a ghost-writer? Is it wrong to be a ghost-writer?

Let’s take another example of ghost writing : the relationship between President Kennedy and Ted Sorensen. Sorensen was not merely President Kennedy’s ghostwriter, who was responsible for so many of Kennedy’s most famous phrases. Sorensen was one of Kennedy’s key advisors. According to a speaker, author and integrity expert Dr. David Gruder, Phd, DECP (pic below),

“President Kennedy appears, from my own recollections and insider accounts that I’ve read, to have spoken what was authentically true for him even when the perspectives and the words he used to express them were written by Sorensen. Kennedy also did not keep it secret that Sorensen was one of his key advisors and his chief speechwriter. So, it seems reasonable and ethical to me that even when Sorensen wrote the words, Kennedy rightly claimed Sorensen’s as his own because the words reflected his truth. What makes this ethical behaviour is that he was transparent about Sorensen’s role in crafting the words.”

Everyone can be and is a publisher, especially in the new world of communication. AND if someone directly asks you whether you write your posts—or any content with your name on it (original contents)—you should be transparent and frank about the process. In the age of social media, the truth is accepted and a must.

In summary, the ethics of ghostwriting is clearly a complicated question that is difficult to divide into a single black and white choice. Transparency is a virtue, and great communicators and writers are happy to give credit or buy others’ contents with confidence and certainty of action.

– written by Grace Cho