Media Literacy School for a Public Relations Manager

November 13, 2008

Every now and then public relations managers face challenges in creating a useful, accurate and interesting press release. No doubt, a thoroughly-written release can dramatically increase the sales, expose your company to the masses, and greatly enhance the image of yourbusiness or product. They say a professionally written press release can make the difference between a successful one and an utter failure.

But what do we actually call a press release and what is a public relations manager?

Communication and mass media are, beyond all doubt, integral parts of any business, which means that a successful communication is the first step for a successful business. Any executive, journalist or public relations manager is in this or that way involved in the process of mass media communication and in order to perform the communication efficiently has therefore to be lexically literate in the PR field.

Any specialized form of discourse has its own unique language and mass media discourse is no exception. Even experienced people who every day deal with media are often bewildered by the seemingly interchangeable terminology used by writers and speakers in the field of mass media. The onrush of new types of mass media has recently had a great impact on the language with a lot of new words created or adopted. Due to these trends more and more problems spring up during the process of professional communication. One in business should always be open to new novelties and tendencies in the language. With this article we would like to share our experience in handling modern conventional terminology on mass media relations. Please find some basic terms below.

Analog Media

An analog medium is the medium that has a physical presence.


Audience or target audience is the group of consumers the media is aimed at. Basically, depending on the audience the format of the text and the way of its presentation is constructed. Different audiences require different approach.


A lot of people are actually confused about what a blog is, so let us dwell upon this term more deeply.

There are a number of ways we could answer this question ranging from the broad to the highly technical meaning. However a blog is a web-diary containing chronologically arranged ‘posts’ (or entries). The author of a blog is called a blogger.

Nowadays blog is considered a mass medium since some of blogs manage to get huge popularity and become a means of influence on the audience.


Briefing is a meeting at which detailed information or instructions are given.

Normally, during a briefing an official goes out to the press to make a statement or tell something as opposed to press conference when questions are prepared beforehand.

Actually to 'brief' means to tell important, essential, crucial information needed to the person for his further actions. A briefing may last as long as it is necessary. A briefing can be held in a press conference hall, but generally a briefing can be held anywhere - to the convenience of the both parties - the briefing and the briefed.


Case-study or a success story is an act or an instance of analyzing one or more particular cases or case histories with a view to making generalization.

As an example you can view the case studies by our company Latte-PR at


Consumers are people that use a product, commodity or service. Consumer usually acquires goods or services for direct use or ownership rather than for resale or use in production and manufacturing.

Covermount CD

First of all, let us distinguish what is a covermount in general. Covermount (sometimes written cover mount) is the storage media (that contains software and or audiovisual content) or other products packed together with a magazine. Thus a covermount CD is a disc that is packed together with the magazine.

In regard of computer-oriented mass media covermount CD usually include a trial or a demo version of a game or software.


Literally a “forum” is a public meeting place for open discussion on different topics. Online, a forum may also be referred to as a bulletin board.

Every forum has its own moderators who are in charge of all the posts. Usually many mass media web sites contain forums as it is the best way to express your personal opinion.

Today, due to a huge amount of people, forums became not only a mean of communication but also a source of mass media.


Basically, an interview is a conversation between two or more people (the interviewer and the interviewee) where questions are asked by the interviewer to obtain information from the interviewee. The word “interview" is derived from a French word "entirevior" which means a glimpse at each other.

In mass media sphere, an interview is a conversation with questioning of a person, usually conducted for television, radio, or a newspaper.

Mass Media

In the broad meaning, mass media are means of communication that reach large numbers of people in a short time, such as television, newspapers etc.

Mass media refers to those media that are designed to be consumed by large audiences through the agencies of technology.

Mass Media Monitoring

When a person monitors the mass media he checks it for the mentions of the customer. A mass media monitoring agency provides a client with documentation, analysis, or clippings of the media content which is of interest to the client. Monitoring companies tend to specialize in certain media types or content types. For example, some services monitor news and public affairs content while others monitor advertising, product placement, video or audio news releases, use of copyrighted video or audio, infomercials, "watermarked" video/audio, and even billboards.


The term “media” has come to mean all the industrial forms of mass communication combined.


If we have media in plural, then in singular it will be medium. The term usually describes individual forms of mass media such as radio, television, film, etc.

Newest Mass Media

Newest Mass Media are interactive social media like blogs and social networks. The influence they have on the audience is huge, among the most popular resources are the following: MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and many others.

A professional pr specialist should surely consider these media and the proper ways to approach them during a pr campaign.


A newsgroup is a discussion about a particular subject consisting of notes written to a central Internet site and redistributed through Usenet. Usenet is a collection of user-submitted notes or messages on various subjects that are posted to servers on a worldwide network. Each subject collection of posted notes is known as a newsgroup.

Some newsgroups are moderated by a designated person who decides which postings to allow or to remove. Most newsgroups are unmoderated.

Among popular newsgroups we can mention Yahoo Groups, Google Groups, LISTSERV and others.

Paid Review

If you have to pay somebody to write a general survey or report you are buying a paid review. Most commonly paid reviews are offered by bloggers holding high-rate blogs on target topics. Such people’s opinion might worth the money they charge. Thus you better think carefully when planning out you the budget for a pr campaign. For a specific product targeting at a small audience circle a single post in a targeted high rate blog can boost up much better than a traditional press release sent to a hundred magazines.

Press (The)

The press is another name for the printed mass media or all mass media. The press is also those people - journalists, photographers, who actually work for the printed media.

Press Center/Room

A press centre or a press room (you can call it both ways) or a department that disposes of a full set of information about the company or a product and provides this information to the media upon request.

Press Clipping

Press clipping is an excerpt cut of the articles on a certain subject or a brand from the print mass media. A press clipping is often considered as an essential part of a pr manager’s job and the number of clips as the index of his/her effectiveness.

Press Conference

A press conference is a pre-arranged meeting of the press people and the representatives of a company. During the meeting the mass media ask questions receive back official comments and the information at first hand.

Press Contact Person

A press contact person is usually a speaker of the company responsible for handling media inquiries.

Press Kit

A press kit also often referred to as a media kit in the business environment is a pre-packaged set of promotional materials about a person, a company or a product distributed to the media with the purpose of review. A press kit usually includes a press release, a presentation or a demo, a detailed description of a product/company or a plan of the event depending on the reason for a press kit and sometimes promotional souvenirs.

Press Tour

A press tour is an activity arranged for the press by the public relations manager with the goal of having the company/brand/product reviewed in a magazine or another medium. Unlike a press conference, a press tour is intended for a long time (several hours, or even days) and implies a company’s speaker traveling say to the editorial office of a magazine with the purpose to have an interview and having the brand reviewed by the medium later on.


Propaganda is a concerted set of messages aimed at influencing the opinions or behaviors of large number of people. As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense presents information in order to influence its audience. Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or gives loaded messages in order to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the cognitive narrative of the subject in the target audience to further a political agenda.

Advertising and public relations can be thought of as propaganda that promotes a commercial product or shapes the perception of an organization, person or brand. However modern technologies in public relations do not encourage an open propaganda which is often perceived as hype when promoting a commercial product.

Public Relations

In the broadest meaning public relations are the practice of creating, promoting, or maintaining goodwill and a favorable image among the public towards an institution, public body, etc.

You can read more definitions of public relations in our article “PR vs. Marketing” at

Public Relations Agency

A public relations agency is an agency that works for a wide range of customers: corporations, trade associations, governments, etc. executing the jobs of a public relations manager in-house for each of its customer.

Public Relations Specialist/Manager

Public relations specialists are people who communicate with the public on behalf of companies, organizations or governments. They are also called communications or media specialists. A public relations specialist spreads his or her employer's or client's message to the public, often using the media as a conduit.


A review is a critical assessment of a book, film, play, concert, etc., especially the one printed in a newspaper or another periodical. In the light of public relations reviews are often considered as one of the main goals of a pr campaign and consequently as one of the few criterion to measure the effectiveness of the campaign.

Target Audience

In marketing and advertising, a target audience, or target group is the primary group of people that something, usually an advertising campaign, is aimed at and appealing to. A target audience can be people of a certain age group, gender, marital status, etc. (ex: teenagers, females, single people, etc.) A certain combination, like men from twenty to thirty is often a target audience.

Discovering the appropriate target market(s) to market a product or a service is one of the most important stages of a marketing research. Without knowing the target audience, a company's advertising and selling efforts can appear all in vain or too expensive.


Of course you know what a website is, we are interested in a website as a means of mass communication. Websites get more and more popular as the internet spreads out. So to be successful in your pr campaigns do not disregard web-versions of magazines or newspapers, e-zines, news web-portals, blogs and other modern means of e-popularity.

We should note that many of the terms given above have much broader meanings than those suggested. We are only attempting to define these terms as they are related to the field of mass media and public relations. However we hope that these terms will help the readers, whoever they are, efficiently organize the media activity in the company they work for.

We hope that with the help of our media literacy school and particularly this very article it will be easier for you to create, analyze and evaluate messages in a wide variety of media modes, genres and forms as well as become more skillful and successful in creating and producing media messages.