PRoviding content

      47 Comments on PRoviding content
Courtesy: Phoenix Multimedia

Courtesy: Phoenix Multimedia

A long time ago there were reporters and publicists, an often adversarial relationship in which publicists would spend their days trying to convince reporters to write something–anything–about their clients.

In recent decades, reporters have generally enjoyed more congenial, mutually beneficial relationships with public relations professionals.  PR people became information brokers, serving as reliable resources for reporters looking for good stories to tell.  This, for the most part, is the way it is today.

However, much like the technology that puts a computer, phone, still and video camera, and a TV screen into a single hand-held device, the two professions are rapidly converging.  In the Internet’s world, reporters and PR practitioners are often both referred to as “content providers,” hired to fill an infinite amount of cyberspace with stories, data, news, photos, video, and interactive information.

As traditional media impact shrinks, rough estimates put the number of active web sites at more than 700 million and blogs at 200 million worldwide.  There’s tremendous need for content that can tell a story, distribute facts, inspire participation, motivate actions, sell products and services, and change opinions.  This work is being placed upon PR pros exponentially; they’re providing content for clients on web, news and magazine sites; blogs and podcasts; YouTube and other social media; and countless other platforms.  The World Wide Web is incredibly hungry for content.

While this hunger creates a golden opportunity for PR people and their clients to reach their audiences, it also creates a huge need for effective writers.  And while good punctuation and grammar are still highly valued, the search is on for public relations writers who can tell stories in a compelling, relatable way.  As content providers, public relations practitioners must be able to be both technical and creative, straightforward and humorous, informative and inspiring.  Web content isn’t just to fill space; it–like all PR work–also has to create, reinforce and change attitudes.

I’ve said it countless times here and in my classrooms: in PR, good writing is not only important, it’s essential, now more than ever because “content is king.”  Your thoughts?

47 thoughts on “PRoviding content

  1. Colin Sullivan

    A great point is made in this post. The “old rules” of writing and composition are as important as ever, and must be kept in the new tool kit that we use to communicate. With blogs being able to reach every audience with great precision and other sites requiring all forms of media to tell the story the responsibility is on the PR practitioners to adapt and feed the ever-hungry world wide web with high quality and creative content.

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  2. Janet Bennett

    I think that for any platform you write for, “Content is King” and needs to be delivered for many consumable formats.

    I am not in PR, I am in content development and training, but my audience needs the best relevant information and resources to motivate them and change attitudes.

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  3. David Salomon

    I agree with you that good PR practitioners must be able to write compelling and relatable stories. Grammar is important but the reader wants to read a story that captures them and keeps them interested the whole way through. More and more PR practitioners are getting followed because they are the ones that come up with intriguing, breaking news, and drama filled stories.

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  4. Christine Wallen

    Good writing skills and creativity are both important when it comes to being a successful PR professional. As an aspiring media professional, when I write something I want it to be eye-catching, accurate, and grammatically correct. All those skills are needed if you plan on standing out amongst the competition that technology has provided us with.

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  5. Olga

    The demand in good PR writers will be definitely increasing. Nowadays it’s a must for any business or organization to have a website. More and more consumers rely on the information and reviews from the internet. We became less sensitive to the traditional advertising, that is why companies have to change their strategies, and make sure the content on their websites, and social media is of a high quality. Which, means, of course, that it should be provided by a highly professional PR practitioner.

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  6. Yejide Collman

    All the points made in this post are spot on. It is imperative that as PR professionals we are able to articulate our content without grammatical error. Like other professionals, PR pros should be masters in their craft. Although demand is high for online content, it is important we slow down to edit and re-write. Reliability and credibility will take one far in their career as a PR pro. I constantly aspire to improve my writing to captivate my readers by providing them with interesting and reliable content.

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  7. Brittany Witter

    With out a doubt I agree that being a great and informative writer is critical to the success of a PR professional. If you can not write no one will take you, your client, or your content seriously and then your message gets no where!

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  8. Francesco Vivacqua

    Good writing is very important in this day and age. The reason being is good writing allows the writer to covey his/her message more easily. When a written piece is composed poorly, the writer’s message can be convoluted and misinterpreted. well written pieces that clearly presents content in a understandable fashion allows the reader to absorb the content, which is always the main goal for a writer in any field of study, not just news reporting and PR.

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  9. Kalli Dionysiou

    I agree. Writing is more important now than ever. It is up to PR pros to provide well written-compelling content that will be shared in various forms of media.

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  10. Kim Gray

    The positions of PR and the Internet has definitely come a long way considering the transitions. Content is definitely king because as aspiring PR professionals, the importance of substantive information and creative material does challenge our potential to be creative and effective writers.

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  11. afitting

    It’s clear that electronic media creates a huge demand for continuous new content; however, content providers should be mindful of the publics’ high expectations and deliver valuable information and meaningful messages. With the amount of content noise bombarding the publics, it’s important to communicate ideas with substance that touches them at some level, otherwise it’s a waste of the readers’ time and the writer’s credibility will be undermined. I agree with your statement that the goal of web content isn’t just to fill space.

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  12. LaChele Prophet

    Yes “content is king.” With the Internet and social media taking over and being the main source for how people get their news today, PR professionals and journalists must work together in order to write creative stories that are written well in order to get and keep the attention of the audience they need to reach. The amount of skills I am learning to even be able to compete in this field are overwhelming but I must learn how to become a better writer in order to become successful in this industry.

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  13. Brenna O'Shea

    I definitely agree that “content is king”. In order to be a successful PR practitioner, you need to be an effective, persuasive, and creative writer. Mentioned in the post, it is indeed true that the amount of work that a PR professional is expected to cover is extreme. This is due to the excessive amount of content that needs to be provided on multiple media outlets.

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  14. Samantha

    In some ways the phenomena you’ve described is a double edged sword. For the first time all individuals have unrestricted access to a wide variety of content, and are free to choose the format and genre of information they wish to be exposed to. However, the relationship between PR and journalism has had a marked effect on the use of the English language. Language has ceased to be a means of artistic expression. Words are merely a method to be catchy, cute or friendly without much thought to syntax. Hopefully, PR professionals and journalists alike can take advantage of this unique collaboration to not only increase the number of articles available but to set a higher standard for them as well.

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  15. Kristin Neuman

    “Good writing is not only important, it’s essential.” While the web is hungry for content, it isn’t hungry for just anything. A bland, boring presentation of facts won’t satisfy this need. Although it get’s the content out there, it isn’t guaranteed that it will be received by many. What the world is looking for is content put together in an interesting package. Sure, it’s important for PR professionals to write, but they must write effectively. PR professionals have to be well rounded in the ways that they write, and it’s something that they should practice often.

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  16. Alex Kofsky

    I completely agreed with your point about how even though it is easier to get your story out to reporters now a days, it is more important than ever to be creative with the content, for “content is king.” SInce it is so easy to reach such a mass audience through social media as well as other internet sources it is more important than ever to do so creatively so it does not get filtered out. If you want your information to generate mass attention, then you must do so in a creative unique way to catch people’s attention.

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  17. Mike Iadevaia

    “I’ve said it countless times here and in my classrooms: in PR, good writing is not only important, it’s essential, now more than ever because “content is king.”

    I couldn’t agree more with this sentence. Good writing not only positively represents a PR person but also his or her client. Unfortunately, good writing is coming hard to come by these days. Grammar isn’t taught at a rigorous, adequate level in schools across this country. Young adults and most college students today suffer poor grammar and rely heavily on automated spell check. With the demand for PR people growing as Professor Morosoff stated, perhaps we will see this generation improve with writing and grammar so they can represent their clients well.

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  18. Laura Schioppi

    I agree with your comments. PR professionals must create an enticing story in order for the public to gain an interest. The internet and web has created a huge competition for PR professionals to promote their clients. We must learn how to write effectively while gaining knowledge about social networking sites.

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  19. Kelly Farrington

    I think this post has a really interesting view of the relationship between journalists and public relations. Reading about the converging on the industries and the need for public relations professionals to create their own content intrigues me because I think it makes our job more exciting, especially for me because I really enjoy writing. I wonder what a journalism professional would have to say about the converging of our two industries.

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  20. Anthony Lucero

    Content must be at the heart of every person who works in this industry. With the massive amount of content that is available to the public, it becomes difficult for them to filter the good content from the bad. What we have then is a misinformed audience soaking up bad content. To subsidize this, factual, compelling, and eye-catching writing is key. Brushing up on our writing skills we help draw an audience who in return for good content, will give us their time, trust, and if successful some money.

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  21. Nyala Stagger

    I agree that now, more than ever, “the search is on for public relations writers who can tell stories in a compelling, relatable way”. Sometimes it isn’t even their writing that is important, but the resulting message or feelings the reader is left with. For example, after the big interview fiasco with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, Buzz Feed featured an article on the reasons why Sherman is actually a nice guy, no doubt a result of the work of his PR team. Instead of your typical news article, this article featured GIFs, images and videos, like the update video for Sherman’s charity foundation, paired with simple phrases that quickly and effectively made a case for Sherman. Even though the story was more image based, the story that it told was compelling and relatable.

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  22. Jane Capants

    I completely agree with the statement “content is king”. People these days want to read something well written whether it be on the internet or in print. If someones interest is lost before they get to the key message of something they will stop reading. Everything you write as a PR practitioner should be well written whether it will be seen by one person or many. Together with reporters and journalists it is a PR practitioners job to get the message out to the public.

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  23. stephleal

    What a refreshing take on the relationship between PR practitioner and reporter! Almost every single professor I had, in the past has had something negative to say about the relationship between the two professions. Content is key and we should constantly aspire to write a story in the most creative and compelling way possible.

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  24. abohunicky

    It is true that “content is king.” People read and listen to stories about people, events, places and things that they are interested in. In today’s technological age, it is the responsibility of reporters and public relations practitioners to provide stories, data, news, photos and videos on the Internet. Public relations practitioners are responsible for making these stores appealing and spreading them around to as many people as possible. They must write with the intention of being captivating, informative, motivating and original. With the millions of web sites and blogs that exist today, it is vital for writers to make their story stand out from the rest. As important as correct grammar and punctuation are, it is crucial for public relations practitioners to focus on making a story interesting and appealing to their potential audience. It is true that they must write stories with the goal to “create, reinforce and change attitudes.” Everyone is hungry for information and interesting stories, and it is up to public relations professionals to reach out to all of those people.

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  25. Alexandria Alicea

    “Content is king.” What an important phrase such a growing field. PR- so I’ve come to learn- has yet to have an exact definition that everyone agrees on. With so much progression yet to occur, it is interesting to see that the one of its first major changes makes for such a co-dependance between journalists and PR agents. Although both positions play individual roles, both are essential for creating a news worthy media piece. I’m curious as to how this will play out while future generations begin to evolve each profession. I question whether or not the fields will end up combining all together giving birth to a new field? Are the few differences between publicists and journalist enough to keep them separate? With that in mind, I believe the only subject to remain true throughout all progression is that, no piece will have success without the proper content it requires.

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  26. Taylor Calixto

    I really enjoyed reading this blog. Since I am only a PR minor it is great so read up on any information about the subject that can better further my knowledge. It’s really great how PR has become such an important part of the real world in recent years. I feel like the points you made at the very end about being able to not only write but to have more elite skills such as technology based is super important. Technology is beginning to take over the world and it is so important especially in PR to have all the proper tools and experience in order to become successful.

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  27. kimberlymuoio

    It’s important for students today, like myself, to see how truly important the job of a PR practitioner is. We must be able to provide the stories to outlets that rely on us. I think you gave a great explanation of how these stories must be provided. Creativity and excellent writing skills are crucial to developing the best story and the most compelling story for audiences. Nowadays, everything is about content and we are now the content creators.

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  28. Nina Vasiljevic

    We live in a time in which our lives revolve around the Internet so much that we actually exist in two worlds- a virtual one and the real, often less kind one. This online persona of ours has become an integral part of who we really are, but there are also other ways in which the Internet has impacted our lives. It’s not only about the personal life, but a great deal of our professional life has changed as well. The lines have been especially blurred when it comes to being a reporter and a PR practitioner, because we are witnessing the rise of convergent journalism. We have to know it all. We need to multitask. We need to quickly adapt to our rapidly changing environment. The Internetland is a vast playground and the rules of the game often change.

    I also absolutely agree with the fact that the “content is king” and that in order to sound convincing and trustworthy we need to know how to write professionally, yet creatively. Our credibility is all we have after all. I have always believed in quality over quantity.

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  29. Dan Savarino

    “Content is king.” I couldn’t agree more. From what I notice in the sports world, professional hockey teams have their team media write articles on certain players and the game itself. While newspapers, and bloggers can bring their own voice in it, people still stay on the team’s website to read the article. It brings a straight forward approach. Many can write a story, however, if the content isn’t well written, people won’t come back, or even look at it as credible for a “team source.” Also, I have come to realize that there is a benefit between public relations and the actual media. In college athletics, if an article is written about the team/player or a positive stat is posted online by a journalist, the college’s athletic communication team will post a link to it. It has become a mutual respect at certain times, especially in this digital world.

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  30. Christina Sewell

    I completely agree with the notion the writing is “king” as you put it. Being able to compel and convince individuals with words alone (as opposed to the saying actions speak louder than words) is an ability that everyone isn’t born with. It is a talent that is developed and perfected over time.

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  31. Candace Brown

    I think that, if anything, this shift gives a significant boost to the reputation and validity of PR professionals. For years people working in public relations have needed to have superior writing skills and persuasion tactics, typically traits of traditional journalists. Now with PR professionals working alongside journalists (and oftentimes taking on similar responsibilities) their inherent skills are able to shine more than in the past and thus allowing them to show-off the talents they’ve always had. It uplifts the purpose of the position and helps to justify their hard work.

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  32. Zachary Kizer

    I find it interesting that it is the duty of the PR professional to satisfy the media, and the general population’s thirst for information. It is the responsibility of each and every public relations expert to provide accurate information for both the benefit of themselves but also for the clients that they are representing. This symbiotic relationship between PR and journalism it based upon the consistent flow of trustworthy information and continued media coverage. Content truly is king when it comes to public relations and the media.

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  33. Kayla Marzo

    All of what you said is absolutely true. You have to be an influential writer when it comes to Public Relations. You have to be able to grab someones attention with the proper content to make someone think “Hey, I want to hear more”. Being a great writer will not only grab someones attention, but it will make them understand what you’re trying to market more efficiently. There is little room for a mistake in the hundreds of mass medias we communicate through. Content is ALWAYS key. Like you said, “The World Wide Web is incredibly hungry for content.” If you have the right content then you’re on the right way.

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  34. Amanda Torres

    “While this hunger creates a golden opportunity for PR people and their clients to reach their audiences, it also creates a huge need for effective writers. And while good punctuation and grammar are still highly valued, the search is on for public relations writers who can tell stories in a compelling, relatable way. ”

    I loved this part of the piece. It is very important for people to understand that writing isn’t JUST about proper grammar and spelling for both employers AND employees. In a sense, it may seem overwhelming with the amount of skill sets needed (like Erin stated), but it’s also invigurating knowing that you have multiple talents and skills. (It makes for a better PR person)

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  35. Chris Swenson

    I find what you said about the need for PR professionals to be effective writers and great storytellers to be really interesting, because I think that that’s one of the most attractive things about PR as a profession for me. I like the creativity that is necessary to rise to the challenge of writing well. Also, I agree with a previous comment about enjoying how this piece does not pit journalists and PR professionals against each other, but instead explores the evolving, mutually beneficial relationship.

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  36. Katherine Hammer

    I found this article to be very interesting, and I agree that “content is king”. Most people in society today use the Internet to connect with people around the world, where effective writing most likely is not used; it has become the growing source of how we obtain information. To have efficient content you have to appeal to all people, in some sort of way, which is why, like you said, “it also creates a huge need for effective writers”. Writers have to be interesting, factual, professional, and entertaining to persuade a reader to agree with the information they are trying to get across.

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  37. Russell Rothenberg

    I found this article to be interesting. It shows how evolved we have become over the years and how online articles and social media became the future of getting information. I also like how he mentioned that we need to improve our writing. I’m not the best speller and my grammar can definitely use some improvement but after learning about PR I can say that my writing has made an improvement over the years. I wouldn’t say that traditional media is dead but it’s not being used as much as it did several years ago. I guess online articles is something that a majority of us have to use until we get the next big trend.

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  38. Jacob Hasten

    I think what attracts me most about PR is when you mentioned, “the search is on for public relations writers who can tell stories in a compelling, relatable way.” I, myself, find it quite boring to read material that is not ‘snappy’ enough for my own stereotypical, impatient mind of today’s generation. If the story doesn’t look compelling enough based on the introduction, I find it particularly difficult to continue reading the article unless I am forced to read it from some outside source or a school project. This is why, when I write something, I always try to focus, through creativity, on my own material to make it as attractive as possible.

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  39. sfoley62014

    I found this blog to be very interesting because of the relationship between journalism and PR. I have always have professor tell me that they are opposite professions but clearly they are becoming more dependent on each other to keep up with your society. I believe that just because we want breaking news every second that journalist need PR people to fill their outlets with less important news

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  40. ainsleyrufer

    One of my favorite college professors would always stress the idea that good public relations materials tell a story. PR professionals need to be effective storytellers in order to not only catch the attention of an audience, but also to have an effect on readers. There’s no point in shouting into the void if there’s nobody interested in listening!

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  41. Marisa Beachdell

    I find it interesting how the position of public relations people has transformed along with the relationship between PR professionals and journalists. I never quite understood why we needed to be separated as PR people write news releases specifically for the journalists to be provided with the information. The relationship of PR professionals and journalists should always be open and informative on both ends so that together they can come up with a comprehensive story covering all aspects of the topic. With the growing number of bloggers I have begun to notice it is much easier to find a misspelled and misinformed blog than it is to find one with good content that is well written. I strongly agree that PR pros need to work to provide content to their clients.

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  42. Catherine Benny

    This article really describes how the Internet and media has evolved over the years. Everything we do and even everywhere we go can be seen on the Internet. While most people in my generation increasingly use the Internet as a networking tool, as seen by the emergence of multiple social networking sites in the past decade, it is also important to remember that it is first and foremost a database comprised of information concerning countless topics, information that has the power to influence anyone. This article really enlightened me on why public relations has become such an important field over the past few years. As “kings of content” public relations specialists as well as journalists must be able to sort through tons of information to determine what is relevant, what is accurate, and also what is grammatically correct. These professionals have the ability to influence people’s opinions about everything from fashion to political reputations.

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  43. Jen

    This is very interesting – especially what you say about content creators. I think this makes it *more* necessary for readers and consumers of media to be aware of the content they’re consuming. Even though both PR professionals and journalists have been tasked with creating content, their content does not necessarily have the same value, nor is it held to the same standards. PR people, for example, make a living on generating good buzz for a client. The content they create is not usually an outright lie nor is it usually spin, but it is probably biased in favor of their client or whatever interests they have. Though journalists often tend to be somewhat biased as well, their work is held to different ethical standards than a PR professional’s. Consumers need to be aware of that. For example, if I wanted to know if a restaurant was any good, I’d check out reviews from outlets such as the New York Times, all the way to Yelp or other outlets for citizen journalists. I wouldn’t go to their PR agency’s website or take the restaurant’s word for it.

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  44. Shayla Ridore

    I’m really glad to finally see a piece that does not pit journalists and PR people against each other as so much of the world sees them as being, and rather shows that we must work together to provide continuous information to a world that simply cannot get enough of it. I think that it is very important that PR people and journalists work together in order to provide interesting, factual and vital information to the public that they both serve.

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  45. Sydney Myers

    I think that with the popularity of the internet, and how easy it is for anyone to find information instantaneously, that the blend of reporters and PR practitioners seems inevitable. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that all these new “responsibilities” are being placed on PR professionals. It’s a growing industry, and it’s adapting to the changes in society and the times. I think that writing is important for every job, especially in this industry, and it should be done well. Our challenge as potential professionals is how to write creatively and professionally.

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  46. Devon Hambrecht

    This really enlightens me on why PR has become such a popular industry in recent years. I agree with the need for strong writers to captivate a message, even for a simple pitch letter about a pair of jeans to be placed in a magazine. The words ultimately determines your success and ability to effectively gain more coverage.

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  47. erinmkenna

    As as aspiring PR pro, I believe your thoughts are spot on. Sometimes I become overwhelmed with the amount of skill sets I need to learn, refine and perfect — ideally before graduation. In the end, though, I rely upon my writing to be the true testament of my abilities as a future media practitioner.

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