Agricultural Communications, Purdue University
An electronic newsletter with communication tips and information

March 1999

Super Newsletters: The Seven Cs

(This article is adapted from "Creating Super Newsletters: A Training Curriculum for Cooperative Extension Staff," Module 2, University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service, June 1997.)

You've all heard about the "Seven Cs," but let's take it from the top one more time (meaning they're real good to review!).

Don Ranley, a journalism professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism invented the Seven Cs. Professor Ranley is known nationally for his writing and editing seminars. He's taught many writers, some of whom are famous. His Seven Cs provide a benchmark to evaluate the potential success of your writing.

The Seven Cs provide writers with a gauge to check their writing. Try applying them to your articles.

I'll continue this topic next month.

If you have questions, please e-mail me, or call me at 765-494-6946.

Get Your Money's Worth at Tradeshows

Do you exhibit at county fairs? Professional tradeshows? Do you exhibit to recruit students? Promote Purdue Agriculture and/or Extension?

Many Purdue faculty and staff participate in exhibits--and for good reason. In a recent national poll, respondents rated tradeshows as the most useful way of gathering information.

But this doesn't mean any and every trade show. When you choose to exhibit, you are committing valuable resources, not the least of which is your time.

So be selective. Don't exhibit just to shake hands with people. Select an appropriate show for your particular purpose, whether it's to reach new or traditional audiences; to learn more about your primary audience; to recruit new students; to scope out the competition; to get new information; or any one of countless reasons.

Oh, two reasons that don't work for selecting a show: "Others are doing it." "We've always done it." If either of these is your primary reason, re-evaluate.

One of the best sources I've found on getting the most from tradeshows is "Guerrilla Trade Show Selling," by Levison, Smith, and Wilson.

Watch future issues of "On Target" for more on getting the most out of tradeshows and consumer shows.

Be Copyright Savvy When Creating Web Sites

(Reprinted with permission from "Writing that Works, The Business Communications Report," Volume 10, No 1, January 1999. WTW interviewed Anthony V. Lupo, attorney-at-law, Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn, PLLC, 1050 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20036-5339.)

Avoid legal tangles by following the advice of Anthony V. Lupo, an attorney specializing in cyberspace and copyright law.

*When in doubt, get permission to use someone else's material. Lupo says you can borrow other people's material without permission if it's in the public domain (usually written by the federal government), is factual data (such as a street address) or would fall under fair use.

(Note from Jane Wolf Brown: Be careful here. Although much of what we in the Land Grant system post can be considered in the public domain, securing permission is a professional courtesy we should extend and expect to be extended to us. Also, some states are copyrighting their Extension material.)

"There is no black-line rule on fair use. It's one of the hardest concepts of copyright law," says Lupo. His advice: "Don't take things from other people's Web pages. Create the material yourself or get permission."

*Protect information on your Web site from unauthorized use. Lupo suggests registering Web site copyright just as you do your print copyright. You can obtain forms from the U.S. Copyright Office's Web site (

Periodically use a search engine, such as Alta Vista (, to survey other sites that may be incorporating portions of your site. Lupo also recommends investigating products like those from Digimarc Corp. ( that enable you to embed a watermark on Web site images so you can track them throughout the Internet.

*Be careful when you use hyperlinks. You can include a hyperlink to the first page of another Web site, but you should include a disclaimer at the top of your page stating that you neither sponsor, endorse nor attest to the accuracy of the other site, and the other site doesn't necessarily sponsor or endorse yours.

"You don't want to be sued [by someone] claiming you had a false association with them," Lupo says.

*Check your agreements with freelance writers. If you hire a freelancer to write copy for a print newsletter, don't assume you can put the copy on your Web site. If you may use the copy on your site, ask the freelancer to sign either a work-for-hire agreement (which gives you all rights to the copy) or a contract that gives you permission to use it on the Web.

Grammar Trap: Can vs. May

If you're speaking or writing informally, don't worry about it. These days, nobody else does. But in formal English, the distinction between "can" and "may" still matters.

"Can" refers to ability, to being physically or mentally able to do something.

Examples: I can dance well. I can speak French. "May" refers to permission, to being permitted to do something. Example: I may work at home occasionally as long as I have no meetings scheduled and clear it with my boss.

Thanks to Andrea McCann, Ag Communication, for suggesting this topic. If there's a grammar (or usage) trap you'd like me to discuss, or if you have a tip that will help the rest of us avoid one, please let me know.

We want to hear from you.
Do you have a communication question?
Do you have a comment on this issue of "On Target"?
If so, please e-mail any of our writers or On Target's managing editor, Kevin Smith.

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