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

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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.

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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!

 





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 collegejourn.com 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?





I want to do PR because I’m a “people person”

10 02 2009

In my experience, the number one answer that all pr professionals, HR managers, and recruiters hate to hear when they ask why you want to do PR is “I’m a people person”. After three years of being aware of this hated answer, I have to say that I agree. A past colleague of mine had a funny response to that answer, “You’ll find that you won’t like people as much as you thought when you have been doing PR for a while.” 

First of all, what do you mean when you say that you are a “people person”? Think about it before you say it. I Googled “people person” and the first website on the list is a website that says that a people person is “… a person that other people like, and want to be around.” – Eruptingmind.com. No offense to the website, but if that is what makes a people person, then I hope that everyone strives to be one and not just Public Relations professionals. But no definition is better in my opinion than famed Urban Dictionary: 

People Person: A term used to describe someone who has no discernible skills. Often used by the person in situations such as a job interview.

Example: I am a people person, and would make a good team leader. 
peopleperson
Second, why do you think being a people person qualifies you to be a Public Relations professional? If you mean to say that you are a good communicator or that you are intuitive, then just say that. Public Relations requires many skill sets that, yes, includes excellent written and verbal communication skills. But have you ever seen a job posting for PR that requires a “people person”? You may be very personable, but are you hard-working? determined? a team player? motivated? I do not want to discredit the importance of building relationships however. But if you do really think you are a people person, then you do not need to say it. Whoever you are talking with will either determine that you are a people person or that you are not a people person. Saying that you are one will only cause that person to scrutinize whether or not your answer is true; it may even turn some people off from you.
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Here are some funny blog post on a “people person”:

 

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Twitter is actually useful!

7 02 2009

#pradvice @collegejourn #entrypr @prsajobcenter — Do those look familiar to you? They should look familiar if you are a PR college student. They are discussions and people on “Twitter”. If you don’t have a Twitter account becuase you don’t understand the importance of it, I completely understand; I have been there.

I opened an account about a year ago because people in the PRSSA told me I should be on it,  but I never understod why it was so great. “Who in the world cares that just I ate a banana?” I thought. Recently however, Twitter has proven to ba a valuable resource for me. In the past few weeks, I have received more advice and information about Public Relations than I could have ever imagined. People constantly post links to websites with professional development tips and with articles that explain and predict media trends (very useful for us pr college students to stay informed). 

Twitter is also very useful directly with the reply (@), discussion (#), and direct message (DM) functions. A few days ago I discovered that our speaker for the PRSSA meeting next week fell through. I posted an update on Twitter asking anyone for advice about fast meeting topics with the #pradvice tag. Within an hour I received multiple responses from people who both gave me meeting topic ideas and who even offered to be our speaker! I was amazed and delighted! I never realized how helpful Twitter could be if it is used in the right way.

Go to www.search.twitter.com and join some of the discussions:

  • #pradvice
  • #prpro
  • #entrypr
  • #printern
  • #collegejourn
  • #journchat

Also, follow people who tweet about PR type things. Here are a few of my favorite:

I also follow some news/blogs that are great for PR, tech, and media: