AP Updates ‘Web site’ to ‘website’

It’s official – The Associated Press has changed Web site to website.

I’m relieved. At the office and on this blog I follow AP style. But my fingers naturally want to type website. It’s so much easier. Now there will be no more worrying about the capital letter or the space.

The new entry on website has been added to the AP Stylebook Online and will be included in the updated text version.

The entry reads:

website: A location on the World Wide Web that maintains one or more pages at a specific address. Also, webcam, webcast and webmaster. But as a short form and in terms with separate words, the Web, Web page and Web feed.

Emyl Jenkins Stole Our Hearts With Style

[Note: Emyl Jenkins Sexton passed away earlier today. She was a friend, mentor and longtime VPW member.]

Dear Emyl,

I’m writing…. I know you would be proud. I’m thinking happy thoughts, too, although it’s not easy. We missed you at the VPW conference Friday. I’ll miss you at this week’s library event. But I’m taking your words to heart, and so I wanted to share my happy thoughts with you.

The first time I met you was  at a VPW meeting so many years ago. You were speaking to us even though you had a temperature. We chatted and from then on you were giving me advice and encouraging me about my writing and finishing my book.

There’s a photo on my writing desk of Adriana Trigiani, you and me taken at one of her book signings. Such happy times.

I remember the 2007 NFPW conference held in Richmond, Va. You dear lady hosted the board at your lovely home and made everyone fall in love with the Southern delicacy of ham biscuits. I may not eat ham, but those biscuits… oh my.

I have happy thoughts of other evenings at your home, joking with you and your husband Bob about which car I drove. And that’s all I’ll say on that subject!

I remember attending the Library of Virginia Literary Awards this past October as you presented the award for fiction. It’s always a fun evening and it was more special with you presenting.

I am thinking happy thoughts remembering my first James River Writers conference. You were introducing a panel on mystery writers and spent a few minutes talking about the panelists. And then you said that in the audience was another mystery writer — me! Oh, how my heart sang to think that one day I would be a published mystery writer. I will make you proud, I promise.

And just last month Jann Malone, you and I enjoyed a Thai lunch catching up, sharing stories, solving the problems of the South. I’m glad I didn’t know then that it would be the last time I saw you.

So Emyl, we all have our memories and we all miss you. I will think happy thoughts but you will forgive me if there are a few tears, too. And to you I raise a glass of writer’s courage.

VPW’s Power Is in Friendships

I always leave VPW and NFPW conferences in a melancholy mood. How can that be after spending time with wonderful friends, networking and learning?

It took me a few years to realize that was exactly why I was melancholy – I was leaving friends behind until the next meetings. My melancholy is not as bad today, though, thanks to social networking.

The VPW conference in Roanoke was at a fabulous location – the Taubman Museum of Art . Cara Modisett and her team put together a stellar line-up of speakers. I filled an entire notebook with blog topics and professional tips. 

We also helped raise money for student scholarships through the live and silent auctions organized by Louise Seals, Martha Steger, Linda Evans, Mary Martin, Sande Snead and Norma Pierce. I hope I didn’t leave anyone out because it was fabulous. The best part is that making a donation is so painless because those of us who bid get a tangible item. In my case, I’ll be having brunch at Keswick Hall with Linda. I can’t wait.

I caught up with old friends and new ones. I met Shawna Poole, daughter of Tammy Poole. Tammy and I were editorial assistants at the Roanoke Times (it was just yesterday, honest!) and I feel as if know Shawna through Tammy’s Facebook posts.

Peggy Weston shared some great travel stories and gave me an idea for a national speaker – Peggy! Did you know she’s a voice coach? Marge Swayne filled me in on her life and outbid me on the jewelry!

I got to know new member Susan Ayers, who is a fellow diva. And I saw Pauline Mitchell, a long-time member and a Virginia Communications Hall of Fame inductee.

After the conference I headed to the “Campbell Hilton” courtesy of Julie Campbell. Pam Stallsmith and I treated Julie to dinner to celebrate her recently published book.

The conferences are great because we network and learn new skills, and we also renew friendships. That’s truly the power of VPW and NFPW.

(Note: I’ll blog the conference topics in my upcoming posts.)

Transitioning from Reporter to PR Practitioner

I sold out years ago. I left newspapers to launch a business magazine for a Federal Reserve Bank, then I became a spokesperson for a metropolitan police department and now I’m director of communications for an international child development non-profit.

Apparently I’m not alone in selling out. At a recent Richmond PRSA meeting the topic was transitioning from reporting to PR.  More than half of the room stood up and shared where they had worked as a reporter and where they are now working in PR.  The panelists came from TV and newspapers.

They all agreed that they were surprised by the number of phone calls they receive as PR practitioners. They also say they have a better understanding of the full story.

Mychael Dickerson, who handles PR for Henrico County, Va., schools said he spent his early months explaining what information should be public. “It was amazing how much information should be public, but wasn’t,” he said. 

Lisa Schaffner, anchor for WRIC-TV8 for more than 20 years and now with UNOS, was stunned to learn that not everyone was tuned to the news at 6 p.m. “That was a big ‘ah ha’ for me,” she said with a laugh.

As for challenges, Chet Wade, managing director of corporate communications for Dominion, said, “You really have to be a negotiator and a consensus builder.”

Tips for working with reporters include:

  • Be imaginative and avoid boring pitches.
  • Know your reporters. Build relationships in advance of big stories.
  • Return phone calls and understand the deadlines.

Kludges May Not Be Pretty, But They Are Effective

It’s official – I’m a social media/technology nerd.

How do I know? I’ve learned a new word, “kludge.”

When I heard it the other day, I looked at the person and asked, “What did you say?”

She repeated it, and immediately another team member called it up on Wikipedia and shared that the term is used in fields such as computer science, aerospace engineering, evolutionary neuroscience and, yes, Internet slang.

Kludge is a clumsy, but effective solution to a problem.

It’s a great word, and really works for me. Trust me – some of the fixes I make to my blog are definitely kludges! Some of the fixes I make to my communications designs are kludges! But they work, and that’s what matters.

So I’ll keep making and using kludges.