There’s No Reprint in PR

It wasn’t until after I completed the required editing class at the Cronkite school that I became grateful.  As strenuous and tedious as the class was, it taught me how to pay extreme close attention to detail.  The class prepared us to be an editor for newspaper copy, but I think it was valuable for us to be trained to edit everything that we write and release; whether that be photographs of your client’s company, a press release or website copy.  We learned how to recognize common mistakes that people make and errors that the untrained eye may read over and over and still think is correct.

In public relations, a majority of you work is representative of someone else.  You want everyone to be promoted in the most positive light possible.  Even if I am just sending an email to a colleague, I read it over and over out loud and proofread it several times.  Especially as an intern, I know my reputation and credibility is on the line.

Not only is your creditability as a professional on the line in public relations, but you can also influence the credibility of your client.   On the Speak Media Blog, there was a post about proof reading your materials.  Recently PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) released a promotional flyer for the upcoming Digital Impact conference with a typo ironically misspelling the word “relations” in public relations.  With the misplacement of one letter, (realtions instead of relations) the entire organization was open to mockery.  It is rather humiliating that the Public Relations Society of America cannot even spell public relations correct.  To add insult to injury, the word is even included in their organization’s name.

Like we were taught in my editing class, mistakes cost people money, and sometimes their job.  Mistakes in titles, names, dates and numbers are crucial errors and can affect the entire meaning behind what you are writing.  It is so important to take the time to review your work because nothing can repair your reputation or credibility once is has been damaged.

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6 Responses to There’s No Reprint in PR

  1. tmoore says:

    I have to say that I completely agree with you that the editing class for the Walter Cronkite school was indeed quite tedious yet one of the most beneficial classes I have taken yet.

    I took the editing class last semester and although I was dreading it because I had heard it was very strenuous, I learned to pay close attention to the minor details and ALL the details in general, which has payed off more than once.

    Checking everything twice and thoroughly is certainly a sure way to help establish this a habbit and more importantly preserve and establish your credibility and reputation.

    • crandell says:

      I feel that the editing class has not only helped us to pay attention to details in our writing but in everything we do. I think about the structure of things differently.

  2. cmcelroy says:

    I can’t believe that PRSA had a typo in an informational brochure. That is really embarrassing for everyone involved. I remember the first time I went into 201 and my professor told me that one typo or error of fact would result in an E for the story, no matter how insignificant the error might have been. I remember thinking how unreasonable that was, especially because a small error like that would almost certainly be corrected by a copy editor, so I shouldn’t be failed for missing it the first time around. More and more, though, I am realizing how important it is for us to be diligent with proofreading. The PRSA situation just goes to show that even in the most professional of organizations, people can overlook an error, so we should always rely on ourselves to make sure there aren’t any mistakes in our work before it is sent to the next level.

  3. crandell says:

    Again, the intimidation and motivation by fear comes into play with threatening your grade. But did it work? It worked for me. When I got my first E I looked down at the paper and was traumatized. It taught me to fact check and edit things again and again before submitting. It adds to the amount of pride you take in your work.

  4. hmick says:

    Even though my editing class wasn’t as strenuous as yours sounds, I definitely agree that it is beneficial to everyone, no matter what focus they have in journalism, to take the class. I actually saw, on an episode of Kel on Earth the other week, one of the interns misspelled a client’s name wrong. She spelled it “JonathAN” instead of “JonathON.” Her boss immediately went insane when she read over the copy the intern had just sent out and called up Jonathon to apologize profusely and ask if there was anything they could do to make up for it. Not only does it shine a bad light on your company when there are small mistakes like that, but it also makes your client re-think if there are more mistakes that could be in other write-ups about him that could be wrong.

  5. alevy says:

    This is definitely a vital aspect not only for professionals, but also just in general. It is a beneficial skill to utilize for every written task, not just journalism related. I agree with the previous posts about the editing course. I also took it last semester and although it was tedious and I am not interested in designing news spreads, I learned the importance of paying attention to detail and the consequences that can occur from editing mistakes. I received a low grade on one of my assignments due to a misspelling because I had been in a hurry to finish and simply didn’t double check my work. I know that I could have easily prevented this low score by just reading over the article once more. In addition, I think the class helped to mirror the pressure of deadlines because no matter what industry and/or company you work for there will always be important deadlines that must be met as part of your job.

    I think taking pride in your work and allowing time to pay attention to minor details makes you more credible. It can also help to establish and maintain a good reputation for yourself or whatever you may be working for. As you stated about the typo in PRSA, a highly respected organization, it merely shows laziness and can retract from the content of the flyer (in this case). We all make mistakes, but I definitely think it is important to try to alleviate any easily preventable mistakes in our work.

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