Stick with me. I have a purpose behind my “back in my day” lecture.
For nearly 20 years, I’d sat down in front of the television with my family at 6 p.m. We’d click the dial on the TV to CBS where Walter Cronkite would tell us “…and that’s the way it is..” each weekday evening.
Unlike you, I only had a few sources for television news. There was Cronkite on CBS and Huntley and Brinkley on NBC. Over at ABC Frank Reynolds and Howard K. Smith anchored the news. I didn’t watch them much, because we didn’t have an ABC affiliate in the Yakima Valley until I finished junior high.
Making it easy as pie for the media to cover your story
For a fun-filled year I worked as a program coordinator for the Clean Plant Network (CPN).
The program focuses on testing and cleaning up viruses out of fruit trees, hops and wine grapes. Sexy, huh! Well, actually, it is… in an economic impact kind of way.
Let’s say a grower plants a couple hundred acres of new apple trees. It’s going to take five years for those trees to get big enough to produce apples. After the five years the grower goes out to harvest but finds out his apple trees have a virus the impacts the taste and the look of the apple. Goodbye apples!
But we’ve just started with the economic impact. The grower has to bulldoze the virus infected trees out, comb through the soil to pull out any remaining root that can spread the virus to new trees. Then they use chemicals to clean out any leftover virus in the soil. In some cases, the soil has to sit dormant before new trees can be planted.
The grower has lost time and money. And it’s going to take more time and money to get that orchard planted and producing again. (This time, hopefully, with “clean,” virus-free trees.)
News release. Media release. They’re the same, right?
Well, that depends. Some people use the terms interchangeably. In their world the two terms mean the same thing.
Other people differentiate between news releases and media releases. A news release is something you write in hopes it will get printed or posted with few, if any, edits. For this group, a media release entices the media to cover your story.
Terri, can you give me an example to better define the difference between a news release and a media release?
How a red-neck Alabama sheriff made hard-hitting journalism possible
Once upon a time, actually covering the news often landed you in court. During the Civil Rights movement Southern government officials had a clever way to control the press. They’d sue them. If the New York Times covered how police set dogs on protesters, government officials would sue the New York Times claiming libel. When a network newscast showed video of police using fire hoses on Civil Rights marchers, local government officials filed libel suits.
While these nuisance law suits may not slow down big news agencies like NYT, the threat of lawsuits could and did influence how or whether news organizations would cover controversial issues. The threat of a lawsuit acted as a chilling effect for some organizations to cover the news. Then New York Times v Sullivan came along.
It started with an advertisement in support of Martin Luther King
In the 1960s Martin Luther King and other Civil Rights advocated for voting rights, the right to ride a bus or go to a restaurant or bathroom without being segregated. Many times MLK got arrested for fighting for these rights. While chilling in a jail cell, supporters created and bought ad space in the New York Times trying to raise money for MLK’s legal fund.
I believe there’s a big difference between hearing someone and actively listening to that person. You can physically “hear” sounds, but you have to actually pay attention and work to actively listening.
I’m not alone in thinking this. You can count me among the wise and wonderful who believe in the art of listening.
Monroe is the genius behind Monroe’s Motivated Sequence, used in business and professional communication to persuade audiences. While there’s no 100% guarantee, I think you can see how following this sequence can increase your chances of persuading others. While in the future you may or may not follow MMS step-by-step, you should identify persuasive elements or concepts you can use in your future speeches, pitches and presentations. (Note: You MUST follow the sequence for your persuasive speech. Failure to do so will cost you BIG points!)
BTW – I had a student who challenged me about Monroe’s Motivated Sequence. He said Winston Churchill did have to follow MMS to influence his English countrymen during World War II. Frankly, I didn’t know if Churchill used MMS or not but I took the student’s statement as a challenge. I analyzed a couple of Churchill’s speeches including his Iron Curtain speech.
While it didn’t follow MMS in lock step, I could identify the basic MMS structure, the use of pathos and logos examples, along with other MMS elements in Churchill’s words. So there, smarty pants student! (I thought about using a more descriptive way of describe my smarty pants student, but this is a PG rated blog!)
At Purdue Polytechnic Institute an engineering professor wanted his students to become better presenters. . He wanted them to get better at pitching the project. He wanted his students to have the tools to persuade future clients to buy into their proposed projects. So, the engineering professor wandered over to the Communications Department and knocked on the door of Dr. Alan H. Monroe.
Monroe took on the challenge and developed Monroe’s Motivated Sequence. It’s basically a template where you plug in the right information and you end up designing a persuasive speech or argument.
The thing is, this happened back in the 1930s. Yet today at Purdue, all students who take freshman communication classes learn Monroe’s Motivated Sequence. Today, Purdue professors expect seniors to use MMS when presenting their senior projects.
“Students are expected to use Monroe’s Motivated Sequence heavily for their final project according to new curriculum in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute.”
Yes, there are other persuasive techniques but I like how Monroe maps out his persuasive method. Also, a majority of the students in COM 345 come from electrical, engineering and safety related majors. I thought if it works for Purdue engineers, it’s good enough for CWU’s engineers!
A man of mystery
Take a look at a speech textbook. You’ll probably find Monroe’s name in there somewhere. Even though he died in 1975 he’s still listed as one of the authors of Principles of Public Speaking textbook. Purdue offers scholarships in his name. Mention Monroe’s Motivated Sequence to anyone who teaches rhetoric and they’ll immediately know what you’re talking about.
I remember listening for my favorite songs on KENE Radio. I even won a contest for the best joke of the day. (I remember the joke. I have no idea how I won.)
Your generation, Millennials and Gen Z, spend about 18 hours a week listening to audio. Like me, your first choice is radio, but you also use audio sources like Spotify and Pandora, in addition to podcasts. Bottom line, in my day you I listened to radio on a radio. In your time “radio” doesn’t have to come from a radio. You can listen to audio on you iPod, your computer or your smart phone. You don’t get to hear the static as you tune a station in for the evening.
They say radio is dying. In my mind, radio is like a cat… it has nine lives. Everyone thinks it’s going to die, but then radio reinvents itself over and over and over again.
A little radio history
There was a day and time where people would actually gather around a radio set and “watch” radio. When radios first moved into our homes they were a bit clunkier. As you can see in this picture, the radio was slightly smaller than today’s big screen TVs.
Whenever your program came on, you ran into the living room, sat down in front of the radio and watched it as you listened to the drama of Little Orphan Annie, the comedy of the Jack Benny Show or the soap opera The Guiding Light.
Question: What impact did the Gutenberg press have on society?
Answer: A lot. A whole bunch of a lot.
When Gutenberg invented the press in the mid-1400s, it made information accessible to the masses. The technology made sharing uncensored ideas with your neighbors, the village down the road, or even the world, possible.
Before the Gutenberg press, only the rich could afford books and manuscripts. In fact, books were so rare that most churches did NOT have a copy of the Bible under its roof.
According to a web article posted by the University of Texas, it’s estimated you could only find around 30,000 books in all of Europe before the Gutenberg press. Fifty years later, 10 to 12 million books circulated throughout Europe.