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So far Jennifer Harrison has created 115 blog entries.

The Right Projects Done on Time: Seven Steps to Successful IT Governance

By Jeff Toaddy in EDUCAUSE Review
April 19, 2019

Effective processes to evaluate and track projects are essential for building a trusted partnership between IT and client departments.

Read the full article here.

By |2019-04-22T18:00:12+00:00April 22nd, 2019|Client Articles|

Tips for placing commentaries

Since February 2017, our team has placed nearly 40 commentary pieces primarily in education trades, blogs, and digital news sites including EdSource, The74, SmartBrief, GettingSmart, The Edvocate, and EdScoop. In the next few months, we expect to see three more placements, two of which are on the tip-top of our target list (I dare not reveal the names for fear of jinxing the outcome).

Why is our small firm so successful in this regard? We have an uber-talented group of freelance writers who work closely with the authors who have the byline. Our writers help the author craft the commentaries, helping them hone the important messages and discard the unnecessary. Back-and-forth collaborative work can be a little time consuming, but it’s well worth the effort. It is critical that the commentary appeal to the publication’s readership, which is difficult for company executives, academic researchers, educators and administrators. They are too close to their story to be able to strip out nonessentials and see the story from another angle. This is THE KEY. Commentaries cannot simply restate a company’s key messages. A problem-solution story also rarely works. Editors don’t care about products. They care about people so commentaries have to address something bigger than the product.

Where does product fit into commentaries? It is true that our clients are seeking visibility for their products but in many commentaries, the product doesn’t get mentioned. If it does get included, it must be material to the story line and not wrapped around self-promotional marketing-speak. A few outlets are willing to include mentions of a product providing it is relevant, but most top-tier publications are looking for more significant statements. Commentaries about social issues or interpretations of data, for example, are far more interesting to editors and more likely to get picked up.

Can you make value from a commentary without product mention? Usually the “about the author” section can include the company name and a URL, but there are several other ways commentaries are valuable without a product mention. At the onset, the primary goal should always be to build positive relations between the media and the client company. If a commentary piece is submitted to an editor and it does not abuse the opportunity to self-promote, the editor may develop a favorable impression of the company and the author. Furthermore, they might consider the author as a source for a future story.

If a product is not mentioned anywhere (and even if it is), the company can circulate and share the commentary. Editors appreciate when their content is shared in social channels or included in email campaigns (just be careful to respect copyright, don’t make claims beyond what is printed, and use the correct attribution). To connect to your product, give kudos to the highlighted school district or explain the backstory. Don’t overlook the simple value of having drawn attention to your users, engaging in public discourse, or in sharing your expertise in interpreting some research or data.

I’ve also recently discovered which adds a call-to-action link to direct readers of the commentary piece (or any content item) to your website. This is a great way to connect a relevant page on your client’s website to a commentary, especially when there is no mention in the piece itself.

Of the pieces we’ve recently placed, here are a few of our favorites. When our other pieces go to press, you can be sure we’ll share the good news.

By |2018-09-18T21:38:44+00:00September 17th, 2018|commentary, my 500 words|

Best Practices in Public Relations: Product Screen Grabs

If a media outlet is going to mention your new product or, you will probably need to supply a product image. Some publications will only have a very small space to show your product so pick wisely. Over the years I’ve seen this done well and done poorly so I’m sharing a few tips to maximize the opportunity to share images representing your product in print or online.

Logos or Product Images
If given the choice, I believe a product image is better than a stand-alone logo. However, if you cannot get a really good product image, use a logo because at least it reinforces the brand. If the space is very small, a logo may be preferable unless you can get a critical point across visually in that very small space. In these instances, do not pull a full screen grab or show numerous products like the entire group of supplements for a curriculum package. Instead, use one portion of the product screen. Note this image of Turnitin Feedback Studio. Most people will recognize the recording “play” icon. Without having to write this explicitly, the reader realizes there is an audio element to the product which might not have been mentioned in the write up.

Screen Grab Resolution
A screen grab taken on a monitor is only as detailed as the resolution of the monitor itself – 72 dpi. It isn’t possible to add pixels into image grabbed off the screen as most people do with the print-screen command. Furthermore, taking a really BIG screen image and then scrunching it down to a smaller physical size does not improve the resolution. The best product images come from the native graphic files used to create the product webpage. Talk with a graphic artist and let them either rebuild the image from the native files, or let them work their magic on images they have captured with specialized software. There are workarounds but it takes a specialized skill set. When we need an image quickly that will only be used on the web, my team uses Snagit set to its highest resolution, however this does not mean it is boosting the pixels in the image itself. It only means it will not degrade the image in saving it as a jpg or png file. If we need an image for print purposes, we take the extra steps to ensure the image is 300 dpi per the publication’s specifications, which means our graphic artist gets involved.

What to Show
Speaking of screen grabs, what should be shown? A screen grab might be scrunched into a 2 x 2 inch square. What could the reader possibly gather from such a small image? Simple images make the greatest impression so rather than showing everything, show a small portion. Take the Turnitin image above (with the audio icon) and this full screen from Feedback Studio on an iPad. The audio icon will have far more impact than this large screen. Stand your ground when making these decisions. We often have clients who want to show an impressive report or as much as possible of a product but we have to advocate for what will work best. Even better, grab an image showing a person or a simple graphical element like a custom icon or progress bar set at its highest point.



If the image space in the publication will be large, include the company name or logo on the product image but only if it can be artfully included and actually looks like it belongs there. Stay away from charts and rows of data. Instead, use an image evoking some type of emotional connection like a face or photograph.

The publication might not ask for a caption but it doesn’t hurt to include one. Include your company name and a few keywords but only as they naturally fit the topic. I like to supply two versions: one with less than 10 words and another slightly longer. The caption might not be needed but if it there is space, you reap the benefit. Best captions include action language about how the product benefits the user. Stay away from marketing lingo and instead write about the user or end result.

By |2018-01-20T00:09:47+00:00January 20th, 2018|my 500 words|

Public outreach project hitting critical vote

For the past several months, our team led by Schaelene Rollins, has been engaged in the effort to secure “yes” votes in supporting construction and maintenance of a levee in Hamilton City, CA. The project floundered last year when citizens voted down the assessment fee that would provide an annual fund for a maintenance district to keep the levee operating. Our team came on board a few months ago to engage an outreach campaign prior to this fall’s re-vote. If the vote passes, Reclamation District 2140, will have funds to operate and maintain the levee on an ongoing basis.

This article in the Chico Record sums up the project nicely.

Outreach efforts have included many personal meetings, a levee festival, numerous mailings and signage projects (all in Spanish and English). This project is an interesting study of how effective communications can make or break a project. Public perceptions are based on what people understand and if they don’t understand a project, they tend to oppose it. We’ll publish more about the specific strategies in future posts.

By |2017-09-29T20:57:24+00:00November 15th, 2016|Client Articles|

Huffington Post: Three Ways Louisiana Is Getting Students Career-Ready

By requiring industry-based credentials for CTE students and encouraging all students to interact with industry professionals, Louisiana’s Jump Start program is revolutionizing career education.

Read full story here.

By |2017-09-29T20:57:24+00:00October 19th, 2016|Client Articles, Nepris, STEM|

New iPad App for Turnitin Feedback Studio Features Dedicated Student Access and Enhanced Instructor Tools

New features for iPad® app give students full access to Turnitin Feedback Studio and give faculty in higher ed and secondary grade teachers quick access to resources that help students improve their writing

OAKLAND, Calif. — September 22, 2016 — Turnitin’s Feedback Studio for iPad® app has merged the benefits of mobile technology with the power of learning and engagement through feedback. This release gives students the power to submit papers, analyze similarity reports (to check for originality), and review instructor feedback on the go. An enhanced interface for instructors offers streamlined grading on and-offline. Click to Tweet.

More than ever, students use mobile devices to manage their assignments. With the Feedback Studio app for iPad, institutions can ensure that students are not only able to complete and submit assignments on their iPad, but they also have immediate access to their instructors’ comments, feedback, and grades where and when they need it.

Immediate access to feedback from instructors helps students develop their writing skills. Like many students today, Jacinta Lujano, who is attending Naval Postgraduate School, is always pressed for time. “Feedback Studio for iPad makes it really simple to submit my writings and to get on-the-go feedback,” said Lujano. “It’s really simple and intuitive to use, too. I love it.”

College instructors and secondary grade teachers can use the app to give feedback and make comments on student papers while they are on the go. The interface is cleaner and the process to view accounts and classes is simplified. “I can grade papers anywhere I want on my tablet with the Turnitin Feedback Studio app,” said Cheryl Ashbaugh, communications professor at Robert Morris University. “Not having to carry so much around with me has been great for my back!”

Key features include:

  • Free App for Students: Students can now submit and view assignments from their iPad and then view Similarity Reports, instructor feedback, and grades.
  • Updated Interface: An updated interface for instructors makes feedback easier to give and review with cleaner, clutter-free screens.
  • Grade Offline: Assignments can by synced between iPad app and desktop grading on or off-line.

More information and a live demo of Feedback Studio for iPad will be presented at a webcast on September 29, 2016 at 3:00pm PST. Register for the webcast, “No Feedback Left Behind: Feedback Studio for iPad.”
Users with an active Turnitin Classic or Feedback Studio account can download Feedback Studio for iPad from the App Store®. More information is at

About Turnitin
Turnitin is revolutionizing the experience of writing to learn. Turnitin’s formative feedback and originality checking services promote critical thinking, ensure academic integrity, and help students improve their writing. Turnitin provides instructors with the tools to engage students in the writing process, provide personalized feedback, and assess student progress over time. Turnitin is used by more than 30 million students at 15,000 institutions in 140 countries. Backed by Insight Venture Partners, GIC, Norwest Venture Partners, Lead Edge Capital and Georgian Partners, Turnitin is headquartered in Oakland, Calif., with international offices in Newcastle, U.K., Utrecht, Netherlands and Melbourne, Australia. @Turnitin

iPad, iTunes and App Store are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.

Media Contact for Turnitin:
Jennifer Harrison: (916)716-0636 or jennifer at jharrisonpr dot com

Online Press Kit:

Tweet: New features for @Turnitin Feedback Studio iPad app. Full access 4 students. New tools 4 faculty. #edtech

Summary: Turnitin Feedback Studio releases new features for iPad app. Students have full access.Faculty have more resources to help students improve their writing.


By |2017-09-29T20:57:24+00:00September 22nd, 2016|Press Releases, prezly, Turnitin, Turnitin press releases|

Guilford Co. Schools Get x2VOL to Track Service Learning

GREENSBORO — Guilford County Schools students who had issues with an app to track their service learning hours are getting a new tool this school year.
Watch news story here.

By |2017-09-29T20:57:24+00:00September 1st, 2016|Client Articles, x2vol|

Schoology NEXT 2016 – Learning Management Systems

If you are looking for stories about learning management systems, I recommend contacting Schoology about their user conference in Miami, July 11-13. Here is the press release. Media may request credentials from Schoology.
Bill Nye the Science Guy, arguably the most famous science teacher in the world, will be the keynote speaker at Schoology NEXT 2016. This year’s theme, Elevate Achievement, emphasizes how to raise student achievement with creative, effective teaching practices using Schoology.

Schoology NEXT is the user conference where educators in K12 and higher ed come together to learn from Schoology’s product team and each other, while sharing ideas about how they use Schoology in their institutions. NEXT 2016 will be held at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, July 11-13, and expects 1,000 attendees spanning a range of positions in K-12, higher ed and corporate education including teachers, instructors, and IT/database engineers and administrators.

Schoology NEXT enters its third year in 2016 by adding pre-conference workshops where users receive training on advanced features and functionality of Schoology. The remaining 2.5 days of the conference are filled with opportunities for attendees to dive deeper into personalized, competency-based learning strategies shared by other Schoology users as well as Schoology staff. Attendees can pick from hands-on workshops, dynamic lectures, open learning and collaboration sessions, and open product labs to meet 1-on-1 with Schoology product engineers.

“Bill Nye promises to give an entertaining and thought-provoking keynote and we are very pleased to have him join us for NEXT 2016,” said Jeremy Friedman, CEO of Schoology.  “We look forward to another dynamic year of meeting with Schoology users who are passionate about education and bringing the very best personalized learning opportunities to their students.”

Schoology is a learning management system used throughout the world to connect people, content and systems to fuel education and personalized learning. More than 12 million people from around the world use Schoology to transform how they teach and learn.


Individual discounts to NEXT 2016 are available by registering before May 15; deeper discounts are also available for groups.


By |2017-09-29T20:57:26+00:00June 15th, 2016|Story Tips|

Article: Bring Experts to Your Class

Posted by Jacqui on June 10, 2016

Statistically, almost half of school dropouts do so because they don’t see the relevance. Teachers have long-known the positive effect industry experts have on students, but the complications of finding the speaker, arranging the event, and preparing the class have made this a daunting task. Nepris, a cloud-based platform that connects STEAM subject experts

Read full article here.

By |2017-09-29T20:57:26+00:00June 10th, 2016|Client Articles, Nepris|

How to Make Winners: Five SIIA CODiE Award finalists

I am very proud to have played a part in getting five companies into the final round of the very prestigious SIIA CODiE Awards in 10 categories.

  • Schoology (3 categories): Best Education Cloud-based Solution & Best K-12 Course or Learning Management Solution & Best Postsecondary LMS or Learning Platform
  • Turnitin: Revision Assistant (2 categories): Best Cross-Curricular Solution & Best Learning Capacity-Building Solution
  • Ogment (2 categories): Best Cross-Curricular Solution & Best Instructional Solution in Other Curriculum Areas
  • SpringBoard (2 categories): Best Mathematics Instructional Solution & Best Reading/English/Language Arts Instructional Solution
  • ThinkThroughMath: Best Mathematics Instructional Solution

See all the finalists here.

What are a few keys to success? Perspective helps. I have judged similar awards programs in the past and understand judges’ needs. I know how busy they are and how difficult it is to make mental note of the products you are reviewing. With that in mind, I make sure all my clients create a judges guide. This isn’t simply the instruction guide or even a quick-start guide. It is a custom document that should contain:

  1. Short, snappy product description (no marketing-speak) describing from the user’s perspective
  2. A few product highlights in bullets (pick these carefully and align to the award judging criteria)
  3. Links to reviews or feature articles about the product
  4. Simple, clear instructions of how to get into the product as a teacher, student AND administrator (as appropriate)
  5. Test accounts with pre-loaded data or activities or assignments
  6. A suggested review process (a recommendation of the key elements to see and why)
  7. Contact information to a product expert
  8. Link to a video tape of a narrated product tour (5 minutes is ideal)

If you can swing it, create a landing page just for that award. Then you can add additional content beyond what the awards guidelines specify (and make changes if needed between the entry period and when the judging actually begins).

In short, there are no short-cuts in this process. Put effort into the entry and if you develop a great judges guide one time, it will be fairly easy to update for each other award. Make sure to customize the guide for each award and if necessary each category.


By |2017-09-29T20:57:26+00:00April 26th, 2016|award|

Building Dreamers in Cleveland

Sarah Parker wants to help her students get a picture of what life is like as an adult. Some, perhaps most, of her students have never visited a professional office or had to dress up for a fancy dinner at a sophisticated restaurant. But Ms. Parker has a solution.

See details of story and available assets. Ms. Parker and students are available for interviews. Contact JHPR at

Additional background:


By |2017-09-29T20:57:27+00:00April 22nd, 2016|Story Tips|

Turnitin Feedback Studio Launched; Revamp of Flagship Product Puts Focus on Instructors, Feedback, Accessibility

Renamed Turnitin Feedback Studio, new version is focused on helping instructors provide authentic feedback to improve student writing

OAKLAND, Calif. — April 18, 2016 — Today, Turnitin announced a new version of its flagship product with a focus on ease-of-use, accessibility for students, and new mobile features to support instruction in the modern classroom. Formerly known as “Turnitin,” the new version is being renamed “Turnitin Feedback Studio” and will be made available to its two million educators and 30 million students on an opt-in basis beginning today. Click to Tweet.

Turnitin Feedback Studio has been reimagined from front to back with an emphasis on providing instructors tools to give relevant feedback that students will understand and learn from, while also supporting academic integrity. “Worldwide, instructors rely on Turnitin for preventing plagiarism in student writing. Turnitin Feedback Studio goes a step further in helping students become better writers by giving instructors a single place to quickly provide direct, actionable feedback on all aspects of student work,” said Will Murray, chief product officer at Turnitin.

Feedback Studio offers:

  • Great feedback, fast. Re-designed user interface brings plagiarism prevention, feedback, and grading into a unified view that helps educators mark faster while making it easier for students to engage with their instructors’ comments.
  • Anytime, anywhere learning. Responsive design works on PCs, tablets, and smartphones to support students and instructors wherever they are and however they work.
  • Accessibility improvements. Major upgrades make Turnitin Feedback Studio more usable by all students, moving closer to compliance with WCAG 2.0 AA Standards for web accessibility.
  • Unparalleled content coverage. Enhanced technology intelligently and rapidly crawls and indexes the most relevant and up-to-date content on the Web, including content hidden behind Javascript, expanding Turnitin’s vast content database in support of academic integrity.

“Turnitin Feedback Studio is a game changer for giving feedback and for the teaching and grading of writing,” said Christopher Swann, English Department Chair at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School. “Turnitin Feedback Studio not only makes it easier for teachers to do their job, it makes it easier for students to see what they’re doing well and what they can improve on in terms of their writing.” See Feedback Studio in action:

In addition to Feedback Studio, Turnitin offers two complementary products: Turnitin Revision Assistant, which provides instant feedback on student writing, and Turnitin Scoring Engine, which provides automated assessment of student writing.

Turnitin Feedback Studio will be made available to all current Turnitin users and is available on a per-student, annual subscription basis to new customers.

About Turnitin

Turnitin is revolutionizing the experience of writing to learn. Turnitin’s formative feedback and originality checking services promote critical thinking, ensure academic integrity, and help students improve their writing. Turnitin provides instructors with the tools to engage students in the writing process, provide personalized feedback, and assess student progress over time. Turnitin is used by more than 30 million students at 15,000 institutions in 140 countries. Backed by Insight Venture Partners, GIC, Norwest Venture Partners, Lead Edge Capital and Georgian Partners, Turnitin is headquartered in Oakland, Calif., with international offices in Newcastle, U.K., Utrecht, Netherlands, Seoul, South Korea, and Melbourne, Australia. @Turnitin



Media Contact: Jennifer Harrison for Turnitin, (916)716-0636 or

Summary: Turnitin releases new version of its flagship product, Turnitin Feedback Studio, focusing on ease-of-use and accessibility, and adding new mobile features.

Tags: Turnitin, Feedback Studio, writing, education, k12, higher ed, higher education, university, college, student, writing instruction, teaching, teacher, instructor, professor


Tweet: .@Turnitin launches Feedback Studio. Flagship product emphasizes giving feedback. New mobile features.

By |2017-09-29T20:57:27+00:00April 19th, 2016|Press Releases, Turnitin press releases|

Turnitin Revision Assistant Named Finalist in Two Categories of Prestigious Education Contest: SIIA CODiE Awards

Judges Commend Revision Assistant for Encouraging Students to Write More Frequently and Develop Their Skills

OAKLAND, Calif. – April 13, 2016 – Turnitin Revision Assistant a formative writing product from Turnitin that gives students instant feedback as they write was picked as a finalist in two categories of the 2016 SIIA CODiE Awards: Best Learning Capacity-Building Solution and Best Cross-Curricular Solution. The CODiE awards are considered the premier awards program for the software and information industries and have been recognizing product excellence in education and software for over 30 years. Click to Tweet.

“It’s great that Turnitin Revision Assistant was selected as one of the best education technology products of 2016 by the SIIA CODiE Awards,” said Elijah Mayfield, vice president of new technologies at Turnitin. “Revision Assistant helps students practice and improve their writing, and we were very pleased to see the CODiE judges ‘got it,’ and that they were excited about supporting teachers in their writing instruction.”

“Every year the list of CODIE finalists is a case study of how the ed tech industry is using new technologies in combination with knowledge about how people learn to respond to customer needs. They’re opening doors for learners of all ages,” said Karen Billings, vice president and managing director of ETIN.

Revision Assistant gives immediate, actionable feedback to students in a way that is easy to understand and is specific to a highlighted portion of text. Students can apply this feedback to each essay revision, improving with each iteration. They can write and revise as many times as they want, and each time Revision Assistant will inform them of the strength of their essay and where they can improve it. A recent educator review at Ask a Tech Teacher called Revision Assistant “the most comprehensive virtual writing assistant available.”

About Turnitin
Turnitin is revolutionizing the experience of writing to learn. Turnitin’s formative feedback and originality checking services promote critical thinking, ensure academic integrity and help students improve their writing. Turnitin provides instructors with the tools to engage students in the writing process, provide personalized feedback, and assess student progress over time. Turnitin is used by more than 26 million students at 15,000 institutions in 140 countries. Backed by Insight Venture Partners, GIC, Norwest Venture Partners, Lead Edge Capital and Georgian Partners, Turnitin is headquartered in Oakland, Calif., with international offices in Newcastle, U.K., Utrecht, Netherlands, Seoul, South Korea, and Melbourne, Australia.

Tweet: Revision Assistant from @Turnitin named finalist in 2 #CODiE16 categories: learning capacity & cross-curricular

Summary: Turnitin Revision Assistant – edtech that supports writing instruction – named finalist in two categories of the 2016 SIIA CODiE Awards.

Tags: Turnitin, Revision Assistant, writing instruction, codie, awards, education, k-12, writing, students, learning, higher education

By |2017-09-29T20:57:27+00:00April 13th, 2016|award, Press Releases, Turnitin, Turnitin press releases|

Wheaton College Overhauls Learning Management System with Schoology

Schoology is selected for learner-centric design, ability to support traditional and online teaching methods, and integration capabilities

WHEATON, Ill. – April 13, 2016 – Schoology, the education technology company that puts collaboration at the heart of the learning experience, today announced that Wheaton College has implemented Schoology as its new learning management system (LMS). The five-year contract makes Schoology available to more than 2,500 Wheaton College students and the institution’s academic, extracurricular and administrative branches. Click to Tweet.

Research from EDUCAUSE reports that while learning management systems are installed at nearly every college and university campus, only half of the professors use their LMSs. Reasons for lack of use include poor integration, difficult interfaces and the inability of many older LMSs to keep up with the sophisticated needs of traditional and online teaching methods. Furthermore according to the research, very few professors use their existing LMSs to engage with students outside of the classroom.

Wheaton College stated that Schoology was a new and more technologically sophisticated LMS able to combine instructional and communication tools into a collaborative learning interface as reasons for selecting the platform. “We are pleased to welcome Wheaton College, an elite liberal arts college with forward-thinking leaders, as a new customer. Wheaton College saw the power and potential of Schoology’s learner-centric design with a more invigorated focus on student engagement, achievement, and retention than the course-centric designs of a traditional LMS.” said Jeremy Friedman, CEO of Schoology.

Schoology connects all the people, content, and systems that fuel education in a platform that’s so easy to use, it’s second nature. The platform offers higher ed institutions time-saving course management, assessment management, in-depth analytics, and flexible standards-based integrations that make it simple to connect other systems. Schoology also provides native mobile apps so faculty can manage their classes on the go and students can stay connected on any device.

“Our students and faculty participated heavily in the selection process for our new LMS. The students were clear that they wanted a platform that was simple to use on any device and powerful enough to be fully adopted by all faculty so that there would be just one LMS for all of their courses and activities,” said Wendy Woodward, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Wheaton College. “We selected Schoology because of its intuitive learner-centric design, its ability to support our traditional and new teaching methods, and its strong integration capabilities.”

For more on Schoology’s higher ed offerings, visit:

Images and additional assets available at:

About Wheaton College
Wheaton College (Wheaton, Ill.) is a coeducational Christian liberal arts college noted for its rigorous academics, integration of faith and learning, and consistent ranking among the top liberal arts colleges in the country. For more information, visit

About Schoology
Schoology is the education technology company putting collaboration at the heart of the learning experience. Schoology’s education cloud connects the people, content, and systems that fuel education, and provides all the tools needed to personalize education and improve student outcomes. More than 12 million people from 60,000 K-12 schools and universities around the world use Schoology to transform how they teach and learn.  Find us online, follow us on Twitter, or join us on Facebook.


Background and Media Assets

Tweet: Wheaton College picks @Schoology LMS, says connects people, content, systems in #highered #edtech

Summary (22 words): Wheaton College picks Schoology to replace existing learning management system. Five-year contract serves 2,500 Wheaton students and academic, extracurricular and administrative branches.

Tags: Schoology, Wheaton College, LMS, learning management system, college, university, higher education, contract, education, college administration

Wire Posting: PitchEngine or PRNewswire