What’s New in the 2017 AP Stylebook

What’s New in the 2017 AP Stylebook
Changes in the Photo Section, Including Style for Caption Signoffs and Handout Photos

There are changes in the photo section of the 2017 AP Stylebook. The changes apply to caption signoffs for photos not taken by AP staff or freelance photographers. The Stylebook also updated their policy on handout photos, with new byline titles and updated language in the instructions field.

The caption signoff for photos from an AP staff or freelance photographer differ from all other photos. The signoff for these other photos is in parenthesis, the photographer’s name followed by a slash, then the source followed by “via AP.” An example of this is (Brian Gottesman/The New York Times via AP).

The AP has two types of byline titles for handout photos, HOGP and HONS. A HOGP byline title is given to a handout photo when it is determined the picture is produced by a government body. A Hons byline is given when the photo is obtained for approved, story-specific use only. This includes family photos and editorial publicity photos that accompany stories about products, movies, books etc.

When a handout photo is given the HOGP byline, the following language should be added to the instructions field:

AP provides access to this publicity distributed handout photo provided by . Mandatory credit.

When a photo is determined as a part of the HONS category, the following language should be used:

AP provides access to this handout photo to be used solely to illustrate news reporting or commentary on the facts or events depicted in this image. This image many only be used for 14 days from the time of transmission; No Archiving; No Licensing. Mandatory credit.

How Globalization has Affected Public Relations

A major social force influencing the future of public relations is globalization. With each passing day, the peoples of earth are being drawn closer. The economies of different countries are inexorability linked. Advances in communications technology allow us to know what is occurring in a country half-way around the world instantaneously. Improvements in transportation have made it possible for you, in mere hours, to travel distances that took your parents and grandparents months and weeks to cover.

As trade expands globally, the most notable audiences drawing the attention of public relations practitioners are in places such as Russia, China, India, Latin America, and Europe. Public relations practitioners must overcome language barriers and social differences to practice culturally appropriate and locally acceptable public relations. Differences in lifestyles, customs, values, and cultures are not the only challenges. Unique aspects of the local political, economic, and industrial structures also are challenges.

Working in combination, these forces have given us a sense of interconnectedness and created a world of opportunities for public relations professionals. Targeting certain audiences and correctly reaching them is easier than ever. Globalization has also caused public relations practitioners to face serious challenges and make difficult choices. Thanks to the global reach of digital communications, crises can now spread instantaneously. The internet makes it possible for anyone with a cause to become a self-publisher. It is becoming more difficult for organizations to identify potential threats.

China is one growing market undergoing revolutionary political, social, and industrial changes. China reopened to Western markets in 1978. The growth in business opportunities in China has been incredible. Despite corruption and government regulations, American and European companies have embraced the Chinese market. To do well, a company must know the local customs and government regulations. In China, personal influence is important in every part of the business, social, and media systems. For example, if a public relations practitioner wants to send out news releases, they may have to know the reporters personally.

Some public relations practitioners see globalization as an opportunity; others see it as a threat, and others see it as both.

Organizational Factors Determine the Role of Public Relations

A blatant example of insulting the customer is Gap, when the company changed their iconic logo brusquely in 2010. Overnight, the classic logo turned to something that felt shabby and cheap. Loyal consumers felt slighted because they thought the new logo insulted their taste and integrity.

The change resulted in the internet being set on fire with criticism from design bloggers, customers, and other reviewers.

“It demonstrated the passion our customers and the community in large have for our brand” was the official company line. That’s another way of saying it sucked. Gap mistook how its loyal customers felt about the logo and brand identity. The company also misunderstood social media, where customers voice their opinions with lightning speed. Did the company spend as much time on the logo as they would on a change in the supply? People will always comment on the new, and Gap should have recognized it and proactively managed that process.

Obviously, brands must stop and reconsider strategies. Gap’s North America President, Marka Hansen, said their company was changing their products, and the new logo was a part of that. Gap’s iconic line of clothing wasn’t changing drastically. The Jeans and T-shirts hadn’t been reinvented. So why the mega logo change? Why lose sales from customers? Logos have value. Since the logo was the only change to the company, customers felt confused, not enlightened. A change in logo should be researched and appeal to consumers.

On October 11, 2010, a few days after the change of the logo, Gap announced a reversal to the original immediately. This was due to customer backlash. Between the fracas the new logo created and the decision to pull it, Gap also tried to get customers to submit their own designs for a new logo. A strategy that also failed.

Gap didn’t communicate they were going to change their logo beforehand. These changes are generally preceded by research or groundwork and launched with media coverage and advertising.

To no one’s surprise, Hansen was replaced, and there was a lot of reshuffling, specifically Gap’s creative team.

The debacle serves as a reminder to check in with your audience. A logo for a brand as large, prominent, and consumer-oriented as Gap is very important to its brand and audience.

 

When Change Becomes a Public Relations Crisis

A blatant example of insulting the customer is Gap Inc., when the company changed their iconic logo brusquely in 2010. Overnight, the classic logo turned to something that felt shabby and cheap. It insulted loyal consumers, who thought the new logo insulted their taste and integrity.

The change resulted in the internet being on fire with criticism from design bloggers, customers, and other reviewers.

“It demonstrated the passion our customers and the community in large have for our brand” was the official company line. That’s another way of saying it sucked. Gap mistook how its loyal customers felt about the logo and brand identity. The company also misunderstood social media, where customers voice their opinions with lightning speed. Did the company spend as much time on the logo as they would on a change in the supply? People will always comment on the new, and Gap Inc. should have recognized it and proactively managed that process.

Obviously, brands must stop and reconsider strategies. Gap North America President Marka Hansen said their company was changing their products, and the new logo was a part of that. Gap’s iconic line of clothing wasn’t changing drastically. The Jeans and T-shirts hadn’t been reinvented. So why the mega logo change? Why lose sales from customers? Logos have value. The logo, as the only change to the company, made customers feel confused, not enlightened. A change in logo should be researched and appeal to consumers.

On October 11, 2010, a few days after the change of the logo, Gap announced a reversal to the original immediately. This was due to customer backlash. Between the fracas the new logo created and the decision to pull it, Gap also tried to get customers to submit their own designs for a new logo. A strategy that also failed.

Gap didn’t communicate that they were going to change their logo beforehand. These changes are generally preceded by research or groundwork and launched with media coverage and advertising.

To no one’s surprise, Hansen was replaced, and there was a lot of reshuffling, specifically Gap’s creative team.

The debacle serves as a reminder to check in with your audience. A logo for a brand as large, prominent, and consumer-oriented as Gap is very important to its brand and audience.

 

How Overpromising Causes Public Relations Disasters

Organizations shouldn’t overpromise as an alternative to the risk of losing a customer, employee, deal, flattering article, or favorable analyst rating. Overpromising may buy time, but it almost always comes to haunt the organization in the long term. Not delivering on expectations is dangerous for the future of the organization. Honesty is a better alternative to overpromising.

Another, maybe better, way to put it: It is better surprising people with good news later than giving them unrealistic expectations too soon.

An organization builds trust, not just by fixing things before they break, but by consistently being honest on what they can or cannot do. Even though this seems simple, many companies overpromise in many ways.

Let us talk about a wide range of exaggerations, unfairly raised expectations, and outright deceptions.

The job with the biggest amount of overpromising is a salesman. The salesman will promise everything to make a sale. He/she will make the sale and worry about how to keep the sale only after they landed the business. Companies rationalize this pitch six ways from Sunday. They tell everyone that everyone exaggerates to make a sale. That behavior is expected in sales. The truth is customers expect companies to keep their promises and hold them accountable for delivering what they guaranteed in their presentation.

Here are categories on over-promising

FINANCIAL FORECASTS – Wall Street is unforgiving when a company’s promise never materializes. Many CEOs talk about the upcoming quarter in a good way when cushioning a current dismal quarter. They may do a good job at convincing analysts of an upswing. When an upswing doesn’t materialize, analysts are furious. Wall Street hates surprises, and it hates unnecessary surprises even more.

EMPLOYEE RETENTION – To keep good employees, managers will often guarantee them promotions, raises, and bonuses. Sometimes, employees make these promises during a busy time. In other instances, they make these promises, knowing they are unlikely. In either situation, word spreads quickly among organizations when these promises are broken. If this practice is allowed, explicitly or implicitly, it causes employees to doubt everything management says.

RECRUITING GUARANTEES – This can be a great temptation for companies looking for “hot” candidates for top positions. Knowing these superstars can have their pick of jobs and they probably have other offers, organizations will offer many perks and promises. Their rationale is, once the employee is on board, he will not leave if the company doesn’t deliver on all these guarantees.

DEADLINES – Companies will tell federal and state legislators they’ll meet their requirements by a certain date; they tell their customers they’ll have the order delivered to them by a certain date; they insist to the financial community they’ll be profitable by a certain quarter. For all these groups, dates are important. They are counting on deadlines being met, and when they’re not, they feel deceived. The feeling of deception is even stronger when it seems organizations had no intention of meeting the goal. Too often, we underestimate the importance of due dates. Individuals being late by a day may not matter in the grand scheme of things. But, for companies, it sends a clear message they aren’t honest. If a company isn’t serious about its deadlines, then what else don’t they care about?

DEAL NEGOTIATIONS – Some organizations, known as great deal negotiators, may not be known as honest or fair negotiators. In mergers and acquisitions, in labor negotiations, and in joint ventures, some companies consider themselves great bargainers because they cut good deals. They will say anything to close the deal on favorable terms. They paint rosy pictures to a company, while they cut 25% of the company’s employees.

MEDIA INTERVIEWS – It’s astonishing to see otherwise intelligent leaders get carried away in a media interview. They say how great the company’s prospects are, and before you know it, they painted an unrealistic picture of their prospects. Stories like these, not only unfairly raise an audience’s impression, but they also mislead reporters. When reporters find out their published article is inaccurate, they feel burned and don’t trust that CEO and organization, and their following articles reflect that.

 

 

 

 

Simplifying the Complex

 

The need for clear and simple writing has never been greater. With email messages flashing through cyberspace and faxes going around the globe, your prose will be translated and interpreted in many cultures and experiences.
If you remember to write in simple language, you can write about the most complex ideas. This is important because the world has become exceedingly complex.

Public relations professionals are called upon to translate complex ideas into simple language. Nothing is simple about many industries PR professionals work in. These industries include nuclear power, pollution chemistry, or petroleum economics. Yet, such issues are becoming more important to the average citizen. Public relations practitioners must be able to explain the implications of government or corporate interferences in these areas and to interpret latest research findings in these industries. Public relations professionals usually use authorities to check the final drafts to be sure the translations are accurate.

Many people demand scientific explanations. If your company is building a chemical plant near a town, you better be able to explain to the people who live there what the plant will do and how its safety system will work.

Conflicting scientific advice also gets into the public agenda, leaving people confused about what to believe or do.

A solution for PR writers of health, disease, and treatment issues is to use a system of getting a diversified panel of experts, internally and externally, to develop a document called a position paper. Position papers then provide a launching pad for all public statements on an issue about a product, service, or project.

And if the public doesn’t ask technical questions directly, newspaper reporters and electronic journalists will. Today, all media deal with more technical subjects in greater detail than ever before. When reporters, freelancers, or bloggers working on such stories don’t understand something, they often go to PR people for explanations.

 

Is the Job a Good Fit

Our core beliefs come from our personalized belief system. Our Personalized belief system is influenced by our family, friends, education, and our faith. Our personalized belief system isn’t tested as much as in the work place.

The reason is that organizations, like individuals, develop around a core set of values. Often, you can find these sets of values on the mission statement or even a formal statement of values. In finding a place to work, you must look at companies’ core set of values to see if there’s a fit. Companies also look for a “good fit” when hiring.

Even when there is a “good fit,” initially, situations change and so does your comfort in the workplace. One way to understand ethical responsibility is to look closely at the changes in personal and professional behavior.

 

Social media regulation leads to issues

The nature of social media makes it difficult for public relations professionals to manage the medium. Certain sectors, such as finance and pharmaceuticals, are heavily regulated, making it difficult for PR professionals to know what they should put online. Even third-party posts on a company’s social media platforms can raise legal issues.

The federal regularity agencies that regulate industries monitor social media but are slow in guiding many sectors on appropriate uses of social media. Companies can get stiff fines from these agencies. The financial and health sectors are heavily regulated and are wary of social media. This frustrates public relations professionals and consumers.
According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 8 out of 10 internet users search for health information online. It’s important the FDA makes timely and relevant guidelines for social media use to healthcare companies.

One challenge is knowing whether a consumer’s post on a company’s website or social media is considered company communication. This could be troubling, for instance, if a consumer posts a non-recommended use of a drug.

In the financial sector, FINRA recommends not posting anything about an investment unless approved by leadership of the firm.

 

Persuading & The Process to Adoption

The goal of a message is to get a reaction from it. Public Relations personnel communicate messages on behalf of organizations to persuade.

Here are five factors affecting Persuasion:

• Relative Advantage – The degree to which an innovation is seen as better than its replacement

• Compatibility – The degree to which an innovation is consistent with values, experiences, and needs of potential adopters

• Complexity – The degree to which an innovation is seen as difficult to understand or use

• Trialibility – The degree to which an innovation is experienced on a limited basis

• Observability – The degree to which an innovation is visible to others

Getting people to act on a message is not a simple process. The Five-Stage Adoption Process shows how people accept new ideas or products. Here is the module organized from being introduced to the idea/product to accepting them:

1. Awareness – A person learns of an idea or new product, often with an advertisement or a news story.

2. Interest – The individual seeks more information about the idea or the product, perhaps by reading an in-depth article, researching the product, or visiting the Wikipedia page of the idea.

3. Evaluation – The potential consumer seeks information on the product or idea regarding his specific needs and wants. Feedback from people fits into this part of the process.

4. Trial – The person tries the product or idea through using a sample, witnessing a demonstration, or making positive remarks of the product or idea.

5. Adoption – The person introduces the product to use regularly or embraces the idea.
The process works differently for each person. Many don’t go through all stages for a product or idea. The process could end at any step. Many people will be introduced to the process, but only a few will get to adoption.

 

Corporate Vs. PR Firm

Recent college graduates often explore the pros and cons of joining a corporate department or a public relations firm.

A corporate department will give the recent graduate a depth of experience:

• Getting a corporate job is hard without experience. The job duties are narrower.

• At times, there is little variety at entry level.

• Growth may be limited unless switching employers.

• May be slower-paced.

• Heavy involvement with executive staff. The impact of your work is seen instantly. You are an important staff member.

• Expected to be skilled in all areas. Peers have little time to train you.

• At times, there will be too much time being spent on work for networking.

• Working with the same “client” all the time. An advantage of this is you’re familiar with the client. A disadvantage is it gets boring.

• There is less pressure. The work is for long-term results.

• Less turnover.

• There are more available resources.

• Higher salaries.

• Benefits are usually good.

• Position allows for more managerial and strategic planning.

A PR firm will give the recent graduate a breadth of experience:

• Experience is gained quickly.

• There is in the work and an opportunity to advance rapidly.

• Fast-paced and exciting.

• You don’t see the results of your work usually.

• Abilities get honed and polished.

• Networking, which can provide better job opportunities.

• Learn skills, such as budgeting, presentations, and establishing deadlines.

• High pressure to receive huge results on billable hours.

• High employee turnover.

• Limited budget and resources.

• Low entry level salary.

• Benefits are minimal.