According to John Elsasser, editor of PRSA’s flagship publications the Strategist and Tactics, the publications have started to offer some of its content online on the PRSA homepage.
One of the newest is by June Casagrande, a journalist and former Business Wire editor.
While the PR Blogoshere debates the usefulness of the traditional press release, June gives us some great tips to make them better. Of course, none of this helps if the release doesn't include real news, but her tips might help to make sure your news release isn't the laughing stock of the day.
- The jilted comma. In other words commas always come in pairs.
- “The wicked ‘which.” The difference between “that” and “which” can be vague until you get the hang of it. “That” is essential and “which” isn’t.
- The bait-and-switch “whom.” When do you use them and what if the common rules don’t help you?
- “Everyday” is an adjective. “The store offers everyday values.” But it's never a noun. That’s why the same store offers values “every day.”
- Brain-numbing clichés. Need I say more?
- Danglers. What’s wrong with the following sentence? “Writing press releases, danglers are always a hazard to you.”
- The “John and” I or me conundrum. Drop the John and you have the answer.
- Hyphen chaos. This one is, like its title, too chaotic to summarize and it is one I have struggled with as an editor the most. June does a good job of dissecting it.
- Prickly pairs. If a reporter writes “it’s” in place of “its,” “who’s” in place of “whose,” “their” in place of “they’re,” or “let’s” in place of “lets,” people assume it’s a careless mistake. But PR writers don’t get the same benefit of the doubt. Remember the audience for a press release is decidedly hostile.
- Possessives ending in “s.” June says stick to the AP Stylebook.
Italics are my take and the entire gist of each error can be read in the original article.
If you live in Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Tampa, Washington D.C., New York or Chicago, you can meet June as she tours to promote her new book, “Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language for Fun and Spite.”
I have put it on my reading list, which is getting WAY to long. I should share it at some point when I have time to put it together.