Immigrants Eager to Vote Obeyed All the Rules. It Didn’t Pay

immigrantsImmigrants Eager to Vote Obeyed All the Rules. It Didn’t Pay. – as published on The New York Times on Sep. 30, 2016

This article reports that there has been an extraordinary increase of legal immigrants applying to become American citizens in the last year. This increase can be linked to the election year and presidential candidate Donald Trump, who is highly unpopular among immigrants. According to the article, last year, almost a million legal immigrants applied for naturalization and half a million applications are still waiting to be examined. The article featured a few people who applied as early as January who do not think they will be able to become citizens in time to register to vote. What is supposed to usually be a 6-month process, has been dragged out because the immigration agency is taking its time to avoid any oversight instead of speeding up the process for these people’s voices to be heard.

This is an important story because it tells the other side of the story about legal immigrants. We usually hear about immigrants as if they are criminals or just as a community. We don’t hear their stories or how they are marginalized individuals. It is also an important story because of the voting aspect. Our history has shown us that the government creates obstacles and hoops for people, especially minorities, to vote or register to vote. As of right now, the Black community is fighting to restore the Voting Rights Act that helped to eliminate these kind of obstacles. These stories are important because it sheds light on the other side of our “democracy.”

This story is newsworthy because it is of human interest and contains conflict. It shows a bit of bias against Trump through the quotes. However, the quotes and the stories of these individuals helps to evoke emotion and adds interest to the story. Overall, this is a well-written article.

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Largest Prison Strike in U.S. History

Nationwide Prison Strike Launches in 24 States and 40 Facilities over Conditions & Forced Labor

This article is not written in any journalistic style because it is an independent news source/blog and it is just an update on a story that does not have much more information because of the lack of mainstream coverage. The Intercept covered the story last week in more detail here: The Largest Prison Strike in U.S. History Enters its Second Week. This was the most recent update of the story that I could find. Meanwhile, many citizens do not know what is going on because the mainstream media does not want to do any investigative journalism or possibly get their hands dirty with this story (as some prisons are privately owned).

U.S. airstrike threatens Syria ceasefire

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Syria war: US airstrike on Syrian troops threatens ceasefire deal, Russia says – as published on INDEPENDENT on September 18, 2016

U.S. airstrikes near ISIS territory accidentally kills 62 Syrian soldiers in Deir-ez-Zour. This mistake may threaten the ceasefire agreement that the U.S. and Russia have established with Syria, which was made early last week. Russia asked for an emergency council meeting at the United Nations to discuss the matter. Conflict ensued during the UN meeting between the UN Ambassador, Russia, and the U.S.

This story is important to know because if Syria decides to react, it could put an end to the ceasefire in Syria and possibly mean war on the U.S. The recent New Jersey and New York explosions and the Minnesota stabbings come at a very questionable time now. Although these attacks were not claimed to be acts of terrorism, they have been labeled as “intentional.” It is important to know what is going on with the U.S. abroad so we can put these attacks into context or be cautious of what may follow.

This story demonstrates conflict, human interest, and timeliness. However, the story is organized strangely as I did not learn how many Syrian soldiers were killed until near the end of the story. While this story highlights the conflict between U.S. and Russia, it is still important to know the reason behind it. I got this story from a news source outside of the U.S. and Russia so I could get a unbiased representation of the story.

Updates on North Dakota Pipeline

U.S. Suspends Construction on Part of North Dakota Pipeline – as posted on the New York Times on Sep. 9, 2016

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After protesters demonstrate against the Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access oil pipeline, the U.S. government intervenes by temporarily delaying any further construction. While Energy Transfer Partners claim that the pipeline will help the economy by creating more jobs and “providing a reliable way to transport oil” from North Dakota to Illinois, many people are concerned with how it could affect the water supply and sacred ground it would be built under. The Standing Rock Sioux, a Native American tribe in North Dakota, are the main people who are fighting agains the company’s construction as they protect their water source, Lake Oahe. Over the past several days, there has been tension between the protesters, construction workers, and the company’s private security. The government halted the construction 40 miles around Lake Oahe but there is no indication of how long the delay will last or if the company will abide as they have not issued a response. Energy Transfer Partners has spent $3.7 billion on this pipeline and claim that they tried to meet with the Standing Rock Sioux to discuss the matter of building under their land but the tribe refused to meet with them. Despite the company’s inability to meet with the tribe, it had acquired all of the proper licenses and approvals to build the pipeline – or so they thought.

This is an important and interesting story to follow because these protesters are engaging in the democratic process as the exercise their right to demonstrate against what they believe to be wrong. It is important to know that is how our government is supposed to work. The article mentions that the Standing Rock Sioux did not expect the government to step in – let alone take their side in the matter. They were ready to file a law suit but their concerns were heard. Citizens have more power than they know and this story is a perfect example.

Obama defends Colin Kaepernick

Obama: Colin Kaepernick ‘exercising constitutional right’ – as posted on CNN on Sept. 5, 2016

After a huge debate broke out in the media about San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick not standing for the pledge of allegiance at a football game, President Barack Obama came to his defense on Monday during a news conference at the G20 summit in China. Obama said that it is Kaepernick’s constitutional right to protest and speak his mind. The article also states that this was not the first time that Kaepernick did not stand for an American salute. By not standing up he is acknowledging police violence against African Americans in the U.S. – it’s called civil disobedience!

This article is important because Obama is stressing that by not standing for the pledge of allegiance, Kaepernick is using his constitutional freedom. I think this is especially important for millennials to read because Obama was highlighting that this is one of the many ways that young people can be engaged in the democratic process. Kaepernick’s actions sparked a worldwide political argument and it also started some conversations about issues in the U.S.

There are many spelling and grammatical errors in this story as if the reporter was writing too fast. It takes away from the story.

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PR Chronicles: Ferguson

 

Image Taken from stlpublicradio.org
Image Taken from stlpublicradio.org

I cannot be a PR scholar and simply not respond to the events that unfolded last night:

Black people all over the country have been protesting and rioting for months after Michael Brown was fatally shot by Officer Darren Wilson. The Black community wanted to see Wilson go to trial but instead there was a secretive grand jury decision made. More than that, the Black community not only wanted justice for Mike Brown, but they wanted justice for all Black lives. That decision yesterday made it clear that Black lives do not matter.

As I sat there watching the news, I wanted to curl up into a ball and cry. Law enforcement officers are supposed to serve and protect the PEOPLE, not themselves. Your life feels threatened because you have been raised to fear Black men? The news keeps showing the city of Ferguson burning but what about the faces of my Black people who are weeping in pain and disappointment?

Our nation is crumbling. Black people are not safe here. No one is safe here. While our President is fighting for immigration reform, he is virtually abandoning the Black community. When are people going to realize that Michael Brown is our symbol for justice and equality? If he could have received justice, that could have been one step forward for the entire Black community. More than that, Mike Brown is the symbol of our movement. And I vow that I will use all of the knowledge that I gain to advance my people and assist this campaign for justice and equality.

Fresh Off the Press Release

Photo Credit: Johan Larsson via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Johan Larsson via Compfight cc

Knowing how to write an effective press release is a necessity in today’s age of public relations. While there are so many opportunities for free publicity through social media one must still write press releases to have a story run by a prominent media outlet. In my PR class, we are practicing how to write press releases so we can start writing real ones for the organizations we are semester project where we create a PR campaign for a local organization. In order for a press release to be of any use to journalists and reporters it must contain key elements.

IS IT NEWSWORTHY?

Before you start writing a press release for an event or organization, make sure that it is newsworthy. If something is newsworthy then it means is interesting enough to the general public to warrant reporting. In other words, simply ask yourself, “Why should anyone care?” When asking yourself if something is newsworthy, make sure you refer to the eight news values. News values are general guidelines that determine the prominence of a story. The seven news values include impact, timeliness, prominence, proximity, bizarreness, conflict, currency, and human interest. If your press release contains one or more of these news values then you are definitely on the right track.

NOW, FORGET EVERYTHING YOU LEARNED IN ENGLISH 101

The first time I wrote a press release for my media writing class I was shocked to find that I lost multiple points due to grammar and punctuation issues. That is because media writing requires a different style of writing, contrary to what you might have learned in your English classes. In order to make sure your press release is fit for media outlets, you must obtain The Associate Press Stylebook on Briefing and Media Law, commonly known as the AP Stylebook. The AP Stylebook is a style and usage guide that is used by journalists.

CREATE A HEADLINE THAT DEMANDS ATTENTION

Your headline is located at the top of your press release and should be in all caps. It should capture the most important pieces of your press release.

CONTENT OF YOUR PRESS RELEASE

You do not want a lengthy press release because journalists and reporters do not have time to read a 5-page essay about your organization. Your press release should consist of five solid “grafs” and include your contact information just in case they would like to contact you for more information. You do not want your press release to exceed three pages. In the body of your press release you should include quotes from the president or an executive of the organization to add some personality to your story. You can also include a customer or analyst’s quote to add a bit more newsworthiness. Do not forget to add any important dates and times of events or openings.

CREATE YOUR TARGET PRESS LIST AND DISTRIBUTE YOUR PRESS RELEASES

This is when your relationships with local journalists and reporters come into play. If you have relationships with people who are in the news industry then you can count on them to at least read your press release and hopefully get it broadcast. You should also send your press release out to virtual news outlets.