My First Byline!

4 06 2009

I want to share  my first byline with you! I was a contributing reporter for the story regarding Adderall abuse on the Cal Poly campus, and my interview made the lead. Gaining experience with investigative reporting was both challenging and rewarding. Most of my planned sources didn’t work out and certain people and campus organizations refused to speak with me, but that only made my experience that much better; it forced me to break down my barriers and approach uncomfortable situations head on.

Adderall Series


What’s in your Google Reader?

21 04 2009

I am always curious about what Public Relations students and professionals are reading in their Google Reader.

  • What type of blogs are in your Google reader?
  • What are your favorite, must read blogs?

When I was a technology intern last summer I primarily read Technology blogs to keep current with the industry: Gizmodo, Engadget, ZDNET, Silicon Valley Watcher, etc). But while I am at school, I tend to read blogs by PR and marketing professionals, social media bloggers, and HR professionals. I many ways, I learn more from my cyber friends and teachers than from my University’s professors.

Some of my favorite blogs right now are

What are your favorite blogs?

Get Experience!

8 04 2009

Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it before you’re probably thinking. Everyone knows that having “real world” experience is essential to landing that dream job after graduation. But a lot of students have been telling me lately that they can’t get an internship or experience because of the recession. I have three responses to those claims.

1.  Never use the word ‘can’t’. I learned that during my many years of gymnastics and I still follow those words today. 

2.  I think those claims are wrong. I have found a lot of internship postings. While a few firms have cut their summer interns, others are continuing to hire interns and some are even more adamant about hiring interns in this down economy because there are less expensive to train.

3. You should consider looking for experiences on your home field, your university and community. Look to resources like your on-campus PR firm and your PRSSA chapter. My university also has student PR jobs through our student body and on our student-run newspaper. If you don’t have these options at your university, you should consider asking departments, student clubs, Greek organizations, local non-profits, etc. if they would like free help with a PR project. If it is the first out of class PR work that you are going to do, I suggest asking a professor or mentor to review the work that you do to make sure that you are on track.


A lot of people tell me that they won’t work for free, and I think that is a big mistake. Many of my PR experiences in college have been for free and led me to paid internships. All college students are busy; you are not alone. Even if you can only do a few hours of work per week, I assure you that you will be better off. Working with on or off-campus organizations will help you build your resume and more importantly your PR experiences so that you can adequately compete for an internship that will then lead you to a solid entry level job.  

Don’t let your fear of the economy slow you down. Sure it’s bad, but that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your career goals. Charge through the recession confident and you will come out victorious. Good Luck!!

How Barack Obama’s Presidential Campaign Will Change Your Small Business

19 03 2009

I wrote a few weeks ago about an English paper that I was starting to write about President Barack Obama’s use of social media in his presidential campaign. Well, it’s finally done! My professor asked us to write the paper in a proposal format. I am proposing that businesses should mirror aspects of Barack Obama’s social media campaign in order to have the most successful business they can in 2009. My proposal is directed toward small businesses and it will be (hypothetically) sent to Entrepreneur Magazine.  

As promised, I have included my paper below, powered by scribd. Enjoy!


PR… Journalism… Why can’t we all get along?

11 03 2009

maddow1As many of you PR fanatics may know by now, Rachel Maddow, the host MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, aired a segment on Thursday, March 5 that shall I say put Burson-Marsteller in a less than favorable light. Maddow explained who Burson is by naming a number of seemingly questionably current and past Burson clients. I fail to see why Burson’s involvement in AIG’s PR campaign is “evil” when it will help to build consumer confidence, repair a company that she says the US owns 80% of, and essentially save thousands of jobs and billions of dollars. Also, her list of campaigns and clients failed to include the Tylenol tampering case (one of the most successful PR campaigns in modern history) or the anthrax crisis communications. Mark Penn, CEO of Burson, replied to Maddow in an internal memo that was leaked to PR Week, which Maddow then responded to last night in yet another segment

But this is not a post promoting Burson-Marsteller, Mark Penn, or any of Burson’s clients. 

This post is about the continuing battle between journalism and public relations. It’s no secret that PR practitioners and journalists are occasionally confrontational with each other, but I am appalled at how Maddow blatantly mocked the entire public relations profession — twice. So I ask, “why can’t we all get along?” Let’s work with each other and not against to help make all of our lives more pleasing. Rachel, if you don’t understand the importance of PR, then please don’t put it down on national television as something that just helps “shine up” a company’s image to “spin us”. Haven’t we come far enough to move past the term “spin”. And if we haven’t, then I at least think that journalists should be able to determine when to appropriately use the horrible term “spin”.

The “tiff” between journalists and pr is kind of like the chicken and the egg. Did it start in higher education or in the “real world”. Well wherever it started, I can say from personal experience that it is definitely prevalent in colleges (or at least the two that I have attended). PR is constantly shoved to the side and disregarded as less important than the other journalism fields. Let’s work on respecting one another where it all starts — in universities — and maybe then we won’t have as many problems in the “real world”. 

So again I plead for us to get along… or at least to act with dignity and respect on national television.

Bringing PR Education into the 21st Century

26 02 2009

On Sunday night I participated in a conversation that was started and moderated by College Journ, a live-chat that takes place every Sunday evening from 5-8 pm PST. It started on Twitter as #collegejourn, but moved to because of the extremely high traffic flow. The moderating helps to make the conversation more enjoyable (#journchat should consider switching over because it is experiencing that same problem) In the conversation this past Sunday, the moderators encouraged students, educators, and professionals to join together to discuss the changing Journalism industry and how universities can catch up with the rapidly changing technologies. You can view a wrap-up of the conversation on their website

A few people (mostly educators) suggested that social media tools should be self-taught and the classroom should be saved for theory and “traditional media” skills that will always be needed. While I do agree that learning skills such as reporting, editing, writing, etc are essential to a journalism student’s education, I also think that it is important for students to know how to use the tools in which their stories (campaigns for us PR folks) will be placed. My favorite suggestion to solve this issue was:

  • Teach all of those essential journalistic skills while learning for example what tags would be most appropriate or what multimedia elements would work well.  

I am pretty sure that I was one of the few (if not only) public relations student who participated in the chat, but I think that the conversation was completely relevant for a public relations student. Understanding the evolving “news room” (which in many cases today look completely different than that of Clark Kent’s newspaper, The Daily Planet) is extremely important for journalist and Public Relations students and professionals. PR students/professionals cannot use dated techniques because they do not work for the 21st Century journalist, blogger, or whoever you are attempting to communicate with.

 A recurring topic during the conversation was the need to incorporate the use of multimedia and social media into the journalism curriculum; I cannot agree more. 

There are a few very important elements that my university’s PR curriculum are lacking. A few of the points were discussed in the Journchat conversation, and a few of the points are ones that I have been thinking of for a while now. Here are 6 elements that I think would improve our PR curriculum to bring it into the 21st Century:

  1. Online PR Campaigns/Current use of PR tools (check out The Digital Bus, it is a class that is doing all the right things for PR students)
  2. Closer connection with Broadcast/Print concentrations
  3. Better screening of clients for our firm so that we get REAL PR experience
  4. More structured PR firm
  5. A PR current events class if not just the incorporation of discussing PR current events (in turn, it will keep us up-to-date with the tools that PR campaigns are using)
  6. Pitching — who? what? where? when? why? how? (It amazes me that this is only briefly, and I mean briefly, discussed in PR classes at my university. Unless you have an internship before you get into the campaigns class, you are going to be very confused and have NO idea what to do. This takes our university motto “learn by doing” to an inappropriate extreme. But I’ll save that for another post)

What would you do to improve your PR education?

Journalism Professors: Catch up or we’re all left behind!

21 02 2009

“Bring a Professor” #CollegeJourn Chat

*Note: this blog post was orignially posted on CICM 

This week’s #collegejourn chat is yet another example of how great minds can come together with great ideas (if you’re unfamiliar with #collegejourn chat, read more info here). After an extra hour of chatting, a small group of dedicated #collegejourn chatters have devised a plan to get college educators on board with the 21st century:

What: “Bring a professor” Chat

Who: Educators, professionals, journalists, students

When: Sunday, Feb. 22 (8-11 p.m. EST, 5-8 p.m. PST)


Why: To discuss ways to modernize college journalism education

A common theme that arises from each #collegejourn chat is a general dissatisfaction with college professors’ unwillingness to think forward. Put simply: j-professors are stuck in their ways. And we want to change that.

Next Sunday, Feb. 22 from 8-11 p.m. EST (5 -8 p.m. PST) we’re inviting journalism professors to join a discussion with students worldwide. The topic: how to prepare your students for the real world. We’re not just suggesting, but demanding an education that prepares us for the real world of 21st-century journalism.

We’re also working to bring this topic to a panel at the Associated Collegiate Press convention on Feb. 27 that will be updated live on the web. Check back soon for details.

How you can help us

We can’t do this alone. We need your help to promote the chat and come up with topic ideas. By tomorrow — yes, tomorrow, Feb. 16 — at midnight PST, please write a blog post about:

  • How good journalism can be made better with new media tools
  • How your j-school program could be improved
  • What is going right at your school, or at other schools
  • The one thing you could change about j-school
  • What prevents professors from embracing the web
  • Why learning the business side of the journalism industry will help us all

Contact Suzanne Yada (the chat moderator) with a link to your blog post: suzanneyada at gmail dot com or or post a link to your blog in the comments. We will aggregate the posts to send to participants.

Spread the word

We want everyone to be get something out of our discussion. The more, the merrier. Here are a few ways you can promote the cause:

  • E-mail your professors
  • Retweet the information
  •  Post our flyers (or make your own) in your journalism department (if your professors are unresponsive to e-mails)
  • Approach your professors/faculty face-to-face
  • Tell your journalism friends