Monday, August 31, 2009

PR Research

Today was the first day of classes!

My first class of the day was a PR class called "Media Information Gathering and Evaluation." I think that this class will be extremely beneficial for a more in-depth understanding of the PR industry. I am also excited to be taking this class because, as you may remember from my post this past Saturday, one of my goals for this year is to learn more about the research and background work that goes into PR campaigns.

My professor also pointed out how we are lucky as future PR practitioners to have a class like this, especially in today's economy. He said, "if you would have asked me a year and a half ago if you would need to know these things, I would have said 'you will most likely hire other people to do this work for you, but you should have a good understanding so that you can make sure they are doing a good job.'" Not the case anymore; these skills can make all of the difference in today's PR landscape. My professor pointed out that, given our current economic state, having these skills and the ability to do them independently can give an important edge in the PR arena. Being able to do the background research oneself eliminates the need to contract others to do the work and can save a lot of money. Of those companies who still have a budget for PR right now, this is highly attractive.

I look forward to taking this class and feel that it may be invaluable to my future in the PR industry.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

TU 2009 “Temple Fest" A Success!

Temple University’s “Welcome Week” is held this year from August 27-August 30 to welcome the incoming freshmen to our campus. Part of this celebratory week for the new students is “Temple Fest,” a two-day event where each student organization can host a table on campus for students to walk around and learn about the different opportunities and activities available for them.

Temple’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA)* table was a great success this year! We had our table right in front of PNC Bank on Liacouras Walk (for those of you who aren’t Owls, it’s the main walk on campus) and attracted at least 60 interested students each day. Although we may have reeled them in with free candy, cookies and brownies, once the new students were engaged they seemed very interested and excited to get involved! Even parents joined in on the action!

For all you Temple PRSSA members, and those who would like to join, come to our first meeting on Tuesday, September 8 from 3:30-4:15 p.m., room 217 B in the Student Center.

Hopefully I’ll see you there!

*PRowl Public Relations is a direct affiliate and sister organization of the Public Relations Student Society of America.

Another New Beginning

I am moving into my new house on campus today! Technically I moved all of my belongings there last week, but tonight will be my first night spent in the new place. Although a part of me wishes that summer was eternal, a big part of me is also looking forward to going back to school. After all, it will be fun to go back to living independently and in close proximity to all of my Temple friends. I also find the idea of starting a fresh semester with new classes, new opportunities for growth and new faces to meet exciting.

I feel that future planning and goal setting are skills that are essential to continued success. For this reason, at the beginning of each new semester, I make a point of revisiting and revising my list of goals. I like to look back over the past year and try to identify areas in which I have grown and areas on which I need to focus more energy.

Here are some of my goals for this year:

  • Work on writing catchy headlines and subject lines. As I mentioned in a previous post, this was an area in which I consistently struggled during my summer internship.
  • Staying on top of the news and current events. I understand how crucial it is in this business to have a good understanding of local, world and industry news, but in the past I have sometimes felt that I was "too busy" to read the daily news or found that it would slip my mind. Although I have a packed schedule again this semester, I recognize the need for news-reading to be a major priority in my daily routine.
  • Bringing some more of my voice and personality to my writing. My boss at my internship this summer had a way of breathing life into her writing while still managing to keep it professional. I really admired that quality of her writing and hope to develop a similar voice in my own writing.
  • Engaging in community service. This is a great way to network while using your skills and talents to make a difference in the surrounding community.
  • Becoming increasingly creative in my PR tactics. Now that I have completed two solid years of coursework and an invaluable summer internship, I feel that I have established a good understanding of the basics of PR. Although I know that I still have a lot to learn, I also feel ready to start learning about some of the more creative and innovative tactics associated with good PR.
  • Learn more about the research and planning side of PR.
  • Find new opportunities to write, new outlets for my writing and new sets of eyes to offer feedback.
  • Gain more practice with pitching.
  • Choose a potential area in which to specialize. Right now I am strongly considering doing PR in the health care or travel industries.
  • Update my resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile.
  • Begin to look into internship opportunities for the spring semester.
  • Continue to learn about utilizing social media to connect with others.

The list goes on. Have you thought about your goals for the coming year? Whether you are a student or a well-established PR pro, I believe that having goals and vision can make all the difference in your ability to succeed in your future.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Creativity is Key

PRowl Public Relations will be beginning a new year with a new set of clients in only a few weeks. This is the first year we will be taking on clients for an extended nine-month contract instead of the four-month contract we've used in the past. It is very exciting for us to have an entire school year to work with our clients and become fully immersed in their public relations needs. The longer contract period will allow us more time to develop a more detailed campaign with multiple communication strategies.

The longer contract period is exciting, but it will test the creativity of our firm members. Having more time with one client, we will have to develop multiple story angles and guerrilla marketing tactics to continually receive renewed media interest in our client over the nine month period.

The firm will have a chance to show our true potential this year, and we will be successful if we always remember that creativity is the key to great public relations.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tips From a Twitter Star

Check this out! Here's a list of ten habits from a blogger who has over 45,000 followers on Twitter.

  1. Be yourself.
  2. Stand for something.
  3. Be a class act.
  4. Focus on content and others.
  5. Mix up the tweets.
  6. @Reply to everyone but not all publicly.
  7. Look sharp.
  8. Connect your Twitter world with the offline world.
  9. Be consistent.
  10. Set boundaries.

Check out the post for more elaboration on Stephanie Quilao's tips. I found her ideas to be really insightful.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blockbuster: Smart or Desperate?

Last week I rented a movie from Blockbuster for the first time in a long time -- probably over a year! More recently I have been renting movies from Red Box because there are two within close proximity to my house and because their rentals for only $1 per night. In fact, I only rented this particular title from Blockbuster because it was one that was out of stock in the Red Box nearest my home.

The day after I returned the Blockbuster movie I had rented, I received an e-mail from the company with the subject line "Eight Reasons to Come Back."

I began thinking about this e-mail from a marketing/PR standpoint and could not decide whether or not it was a smart move on behalf of Blockbuster. On one hand, the e-mail made me feel acknowledged as a customer and recent patron, and that made me feel good. As did the fact that they were saying they wanted me to continue to do business with them; it made me feel valued. At the same time, it was sort of a turn off for me because it made the company look desperate -- especially because it is relatively well-known that the company has faced financial troubles lately. After all, if I need to be told why to come back, it would seem that the company is aware of the fact that I may see few reasons to come back on my own.

Seeing that renting from Blockbuster costs five times the amount of money I pay to rent a movie at Red Box, a coupon for a free or discounted rental from Blockbuster would have been a much more persuasive marketing approach. An offer of this type would have made me feel valued and motivated to renew business with the company without making them look desperate.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Struggle with Writing Headlines?

I really struggled with writing catchy and effective headlines and e-mail subject lines during my internship this summer. I've been told many times how important these seemingly small elements can be in media relations, and I really want to work on these skill sets.

Copyblogger's Jonathan Morrow offered this list of 12 things not to do when writing headlines, and I thought it was helpful!

  1. Don't be original- "the only time to experiment with new headlines is you know you've truly mastered the fundamentals, and almost every headline you write is a hit," the site explains.
  2. Don't blend in. "You need to zig when others zag."
  3. Don't be clever, especially if you are targeting a large audience. "Too many people are not going to get it."
  4. Don't get desperate
  5. Don't ignore your readers. "The first step in writing any headline is considering what topics your audience is interested in, and then crafting the headline around that interest."
  6. Don't ignore your peers. Write something that will impress other writers.
  7. Don't ignore social media. Keep social media sites in mind when writing headlines.
  8. Don't ignore your personal style. Find a way to inject your personal voice.
  9. Don't ask for opinions. "Friends usually pick whatever headline is most clever or funny, not the one that's best suited for your audience."
  10. Don't settle.
  11. Don't sweat the failures. Just keep moving.
  12. Don't ask too much. Albeit important, headlines are only one piece of the puzzle.

Are you guilty of breaking any of these rules? What advice do you have for those of us who struggle with writing headlines?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Recommended Readings

After a day of conversation on Twitter, Valerie Simon from compiled a list of "must read" industry publications based on over 900 tweets from approximately 200 active Twitters that day.

Here are the recommended trade publications she posted:

nicklucido: Did you know a PRWeek subscription is only $50 for PRSSA members

hdueitt: Staying up to date with all industry news is key to keeping up with trends. PR Daily, PR News, PR Week, Bulldog Reporter

dbreakenridge: I think the best industry pubs & resources are PRWeek, PRSA's Strategy & Tactics and MyRagan

heatherhuhman: O'Dwyer's, The Holmes Report, PRWeek, Ragan, Bulldog Reporter, plus numerous blogs

sparklegem I read #PRSA's tactics & emails religiously. Ragan & Ad Age are also good 2 get a well-rounded marcom perspective

LadyMusic: PRWeek, BrandWeek, AdWeek, AdAge, MediaPost - almost all have many free newsletters - students should sign up for them

Simon also compiled recommended lists for PR books and online reading. Check out the lists here!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


With the start of the semester just around the corner, I've already started thinking about the best ways to stay organized. Like most of my classmates, there are a lot of tasks on our plates. Balancing work, classes, extra-curricular activities and free time, let alone, deadlines, appointments and group projects can be very daunting and stressful at times. The most important thing we can do is stay organized!

Here are some helpful tips to stay organized and hopefully stress free!

-Keep a planner: Having an agenda or planner is one of the best ways to keep all your tasks, assignments and appointments organized. Not only is this great for listing due dates of homework and papers but you can easily remind yourself of upcoming special dates, such as your friends' birthdays too.

-Make daily to-do lists: List tasks you must complete for the day, such as homework you need to finish or e-mails you have to send later or even reminding yourself to do a load of laundry. As you complete each task, check it off. Even if you can't accomplish all that is listed, you can add these tasks to the next day's list.

-Utilize your tech: Nowadays technology can make our lives easier, utilize your cell phones, computers and laptops. For example many cell phones have calendar programs or features which allow for reminders of tasks or appointments. Most people always have their cell phones with them, so it's a great tool to take advantage of. Also, utilizing a site like google offers personalized homepages which features a to-do list application users can maintain.

-Organize your documents: Keep all your school work organized, this goes for notebooks and folders which you might take to class, as well as documents saved on your computer. For example, what if you are trying to find a press release from a PR class you took the previous year, but can't find it after searching through hundreds of documents on your computer? Well, organize your files by semester on your computer. Having a folder for each semester, then in that folder have a folder for each class. When saving documents use the appropriate class folder and incorporate the subject matter of the assignment in the document name.

Of course these are only a few suggestions in keeping yourself more organized, but they are definitely a good start!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Release: One Piece of the Puzzle!

"As a public relations professional, it's easy to get caught-up in the importance of a news release," write Len Kendall and Dave Fleet in this blog post. "You spend hours writing it and tweaking it; the client obsesses over every word of it; it becomes the focal point of your announcement."

They make the important point that the reality "is that the formal materials are only part of the media relations process."

They site one's pitch, angle, and timing as other important pieces, but explain that one's relationship with journalists can be one of the most crucial pieces of that puzzle.

I thought this was a really important point. One of the first things one learns about the PR industry is that it is all about relationships and who you know. Yet, as Kendall and Fleet point out, we seem to get hung up on certain pieces of the media relations process while sometimes under-emphasizing others. At my internship, I know that I spent a lot more time trying to write and perfect great releases than I did taking the time to get to know the journalists who would receive those same releases.

In their blog post, Kendall and Fleet offer some great tips for developing relationships with journalists. Check out what they had to say! I think that this is one area that both PR students and PRo's can always work on. After all, it can only lead to increased success down the road.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Great Source for PR Info!

As a student in the ever-changing field of public relations, I am constantly looking for new sources of information and attempting to stay abreast of all the changes and themes affecting our industry.

A friend of mine referred me to, a website that acts as a meeting place for communicators. The site offers newsletters, webinars, information about conferences, etc. It also is a great place to go to for tips and to read helpful articles about being a better communicator.

The site also offers a Daily Headlines email. If you sign up for this service, you will receive a daily update of what has deemed to be the best articles about PR and communications that are floating around the web on any given day. I have found this to be an invaluable service, as I have learned a lot of great information both about the PR industry and also about being a better communicator and job candidate.

If you are not familiar with, I suggest you check it out!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Abdul's Exit From American Idol

While the validity of the old saying "there's no such thing as bad press" has been widely debated, one can often find the silver lining in most instances of bad press. Here's a good example of late:

Paula Abdul was the subject of a lot of media attention last week when she announced she would not return to American Idol, the show on which she serves as a judge of singing talent. Abdul purportedly left because she felt she was not being paid enough money for her role in the show, requesting a raise from her current rate of $3.5 million in salary and benefits to $10 million for future seasons.

This notion spurred a lot of bad press for Abdul, who was painted by the media as being greedy and selfish. After listening to this clip from NPR's Michelle Martin, though, I started to see the situation differently. Entitled "Abdul's Exit from 'Idol' Confronts Pay Equality," Martin explains that Ryan Seacrest, the show's host, is set to earn $45 million over the next three years and judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson are said to be making around $30 million per year.
Basically, explains Martin, these men are being paid three to ten times the amount of Abdul for doing the same work on the same show.

Although many people have criticized her actions of late, "maybe somebody should be [marching for Abdul]," Martin says. "Maybe all those teen and tween girls who are so busy texting and calling in and generating millions of dollars in profits to that show should ask themselves, if Paula Abdul can't get paid the same money for doing the same work as Randy and Simon and Ryan, can I?"

In her commentary Martin does not acknowledge the fact that Cowell and Jackson have (arguably) stronger and more relevant ties to today's music industry than Abdul. But Abdul brings her own cards to the table; it can be argued that Abdul's personality and "off-screen antics" (as Martin termed them) have gone a long way in generating buzz and loyalty for the show.

Regardless of credibility, the fact remains the same: Abdul sits between two men who make several times what she does while the three fulfill the same role.

So, are Abdul's cries for higher pay valid? Whereas the press had painted her as a greedy villain for leaving the show, was she justified in her actions? Martin certainly got me thinking.

What do you think, do you believe in the old adage "there's no such thing as bad press"? If so, do you feel that this is one such example?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Is Social Media Deceptive?

I recently read a really interesting and worthwhile article by Alyse Knorr for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the importance of social media skills when job-seeking.

In the article, Knorr references a representative from a recruiting company who said that "social media skills are particularly important for jobs in tech business, sales, public relations and media." "That's because social media networks provide cost-effective ways for companies to put out their message and provide information to people in a personal, one-on-one way," Knorr explains.

"'It's marketing without the perception that you're trying to market to someone,'" said Bob Van Rossum, an executive at a marketing recruitment company.

Do you agree with Van Rossum's conceptualization of social media? While I couldn't agree more with Knorr that the rapid growth and popularity of social networking sites have made involvement with these sites imperative for those of us in the field of public relations, I have mixed emotions about this statement. Personally, I tend to conceptualize social networking as interactive marketing while this statement almost characterizes it as intentionally deceptive marketing. At the same time, though, on a profile on a social networking site maintained for a client, we would, in fact, provide a one-sided account of how "great" the company is and all it is doing. Does this validate Van Rossum's description? Am i too optimistic in my personal take on the use of social networking sites in marketing and PR?

How do you see it?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Insurance Playing Dirty PR

When studying public relations, students are taught how to "morally" practice in the field. PR practitioners are often stereotypically deemed "spin doctors" by the public, and although we are taught much the opposite, a recent article by CNN didn't help our case. It also brings up the issue of when to know you're crossing the line.

Wendell Potter, a former vice president of corporate communications at the insurance provider Cigna, speaks to CNN in this article about the "dirty tricks" used to manipulate public opinion.

"Words matter, and the insurance industry is a master at linguistics and using the hot words, buzzwords, buzz expressions that they know will get people upset," says Potter.

Read more of Potter's experience fighting between his moral obligation to practice truthfully and the duties of his job, here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Take advantage of what's around you!

The fall semester is just around the corner, I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking about my upcoming schedule, classes, work, an internship, oh and maybe some free time too. Lately I've been receiving a lot of e-mails about internship and job opportunities, most of them through Temple University. There are so many resources to be taken advantage of!

Look into your specific school/college for better details about organizations and information you should look into. This goes for our readers that don't go to Temple, as you probably have access to similar resources. Take the School of Communications and Theater (SCaT), each major has their own listserv which offers newsletters and e-mail blasts with the latest information or even internship/job opportunities. So don't hesitate to sign up for your major or a subject you might have interest in. Also, Temple has a great Career Center which offers jobs and internships available on campus! The Career Center has a great site which you can check out here, while they also send out e-mails regularly too! The career center on campus also offers assistance with workshops, resume critiques and more!

Get yourself ready now and don't wait until the first day of classes to start thinking about what you want to do this semester. Take advantage of what's around you, especially the great resources at your college or university! It's always better to be ahead of the game, so get started early and good luck!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In This Business One Thing is Certain: Change.

It is amazing how fast our field is changing!

This is my last week at my internship. I was creating a document with helpful hints for next year's intern, and came across hints for me left by last year's intern. After reading through the list of office-related factoids and bits of advice, I was shocked at how much the landscape has already changed --even in our small agency that is located in a small town.

Included in the previous intern's notes for me were instructions on where to find the company and client letterhead, as well as where my employer keeps envelopes and stamps. Funny, I haven't mailed a single letter my entire time working here!

Correspondingly, the previous intern left copious instructions for how to print memos, releases, calendar listings, etc. and put them together into packages to mail out to various media. Again, besides making a set of hard copies of all of the documents I have completed during my time here, I have never printed and compiled a package of information for a single journalist. Whereas a year ago press releases were printed into hard copies that were sent by mail, we completely digitized our process this year. I was responsible for creating pdf's of releases (complete with electronic letterhead) and other documents and sending them via e-mail. No paper or postage required!

There were also major changes in our dissemination lists. In the last year, our two local daily newspapers merged into one paper. This led to major restructuring of our media contact lists, as some journalists moved over to the new paper while others left the publication. Thus, the contact lists left me by the last intern were completely inaccurate only one year later (deadlines included).

Interestingly, the intern made no mention of social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter in her notes. This year, these sites have become integral pieces of our overall approach. Although we are not up and running on Twitter, we have spent a lot of time this summer putting together Twitter proposals and coming up with a model of how we could make Twitter work for our clients. We have created Facebook pages for several of our clients, and one of my largest responsibilities was monitoring and updating these pages daily.

Although some of my predecessor's advice was applicable and helpful, I was shocked by how much of the previous intern's advice was basically obsolete to me only one year later! It was almost hard to believe we were talking about the same position!

Have you had similar experiences or seen similar examples in your business? How much has your job changed in the last year?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jobs in China

America's unemployment rate has been dominating news outlets and conversations for quite some time. That's why I was so surprised to read this article today in the New York Times. I learned that China is a great place for recent grads to look for jobs, because of its growing economy, opportunity for quick advancement and lower cost of living. "I've seen a surge of young people coming to work in China over the last few years," said Jack Perkowski, the founder of Asimco Technologies.

The article goes on to interview some Americans that have made the move to China, and how their life has changed. There was even a mention of a Yale graduate working for Hill & Knowlton, a public relations company!

This got me thinking a lot about post graduation plans. Would I be brave enough to move across the world to look for a job and experience a completely new culture? Would you?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

It's All About Perspective

I visited my dad at work for lunch on Friday and we got to talking with one of his friends in the cafeteria. My dad's friend owns the catering service that operates the building's cafeteria, and he and my dad were exchanging stories about how bad the economy is right now.

I guess the conversation had made me a little depressed, and, seeing it on my face, my dad's friend asked me what was wrong.

"I can't figure out if the economy will be better or worse when I'm ready to join the workforce," I said.

Here's what he said in reply: "It doesn't matter. Whether the economy is good or bad, you'll have no choice but to get up everyday and make the most of it. We all have our issues, and the economy is certainly a big one right now. But there have always been serious issues affecting all generations, and we have always found ways to make things work. No matter what issues your generation faces when you join the workforce, you'll get up everyday and try your best. And if you do that, you will always eat."

I thought his take on things was really insightful, and it sort of put the whole issue of the economy in perspective for me; the circumstances are what they are, and we have no choice but to try our best, stay optimistic and keep moving through each day. I think he's right: if you are willing to bust your butt, you'll always find a way to get by.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Topics to Avoid Online

"Thirty-five percent of adults on the Internet now have a profile on at least one social networking site, and 51 percent have more than one. Three-quarters of users between the ages of 18 and 24 have an online profile," writes Charles W. Bryant on HowStuffWorks.

I don't have to tell you have fast social networking sites are growing, or the weight of influence they can carry. The beauty of sites like Facebook and Twitter is that they allow people a glimpse into others' personalities and personal lives. At the same time, they pose the question: how much information is just too much?

Bryant offers ten topics that one should refrain from sharing online:

  1. Personal conversations: "personal and private matters should never be shared on your wall," he writes; "You wouldn't go around with a bullhorn announcing a private issue to the world, and the same thing goes on the Internet."
  2. Social plans: sharing this information, unless intending for it to serve as an open invitation, can make "friends" feel left out and can also pose security concerns.
  3. Linking sites: "If you link various profiles together, be aware that what you post in one world is available to the others."
  4. Company information: this can inadvertently give competitors an advantage.
  5. Photos of your kids: these can fall into the hands of predators.
  6. Your address and phone number: security, security, security.
  7. Personal finance information: "You would think that nobody would share things like where they do their banking or what their stock portfolio looks like, but it happens." Even innocent comments can give predators information that can make it easier to hack into your accounts. Bryant suggests avoiding talk of financial matters altogether.
  8. Your password: this is pretty much a no-brainer.
  9. Password hints: including information on your Facebook profile that may also be an answer to an online security question can be very dangerous. "It could provide an identity thief the last piece of the puzzle needed to hack into your bank account," Bryant explains.
  10. Anything you don't want shared: once it's been posted, it's recorded into cyberspace forever.

While many of these tips seem to be no-brainers, plenty of people break these rules everyday. It is important to always consider your multiple audiences and your goals when posting anything online.

What would you add to Bryant's list? Would you take anything off?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Twittering Teens?

Nielsen, the world’s leading marketing and media information company, is “passionate about measuring and analyzing how people interact with digital platforms, traditional media and in-store environments - locally as well as globally,” according to their website.

One of their most recent studies focused on how age correlates with usage on the popular social networking site Twitter. Nielsen compiled date from 250,000 US Internet users and the results break at least one recent stereotype: Teens spend all their time texting, twittering and talking on AIM. The first and last may be true, but according to the study, teens aren’t so busy “twittering.” Only 16 percent of Twitter users are between the ages of 2 and 24. On the other hand, 64 percent are between the ages of 25 and 54!

Check out more of Nielsen’s studies on teens here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Wedding WOW!

My boss shared this video and Washington Post article with me and I thought it was incredible!

This video has apparently exploded on YouTube recently, having received millions of hits since June, earning itself a lot of notoriety and catching the attention of The Today Show. This video is another great example of how pervasive social media has become in our lives; hanks to sites like YouTube, people are able to share their stories and experiences with others. I found this video to be really uplifting and inspiring, as the energy and love between all the people involved is completely obvious; without the social media channels we have today, I never would have been able to view this video or even know it existed.

It was really cool how the bride, groom and wedding party took a ritualistic event like a wedding and put their own twist on it to make it truly amazing. As future PR professionals, I think we can all take a lesson from this video and use it as an example of the fact that thinking outside of the box can give an event or document something special and make it that much more successful (especially when reaching out to audiences in social media channels).

The article is also very well-written.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Getting Ready for Back to School

I know that the words "back to school" may send shivers down our spines, but the truth is it's coming. I didn't realize how close school was to starting until I was working in the kids section at GAP, and mothers were coming in looking for uniform pants, shirts and backpacks. This realization sent my mind into a frenzy that I haven't experienced since final exams in Rome in early July.

I started thinking about moving into my new apartment, my new fall job, and oh yes, classes. This summer I didn't work at an internship, PRowl Public Relations took a summer break, and I studied abroad in Italy. The combination of these three things have left me feeling a little disconnected from PR and school in general, and I must not be the only one! Here are a few easy things that I'm going to do for the rest of the summer to get my mind back on track for a great year of PRowl Public Relations, classes, and internships.
  • READ MORE! Since summer began, I've been slacking on my reading. I read the NY Times headlines and, but I'm going to start reading through blogs and other publications again.
  • WRITE MORE! I wrote in a journal while I was in Rome, but I haven't been doing much writing ever since. Everyone always says that as PR majors we should be writing constantly, and it's something I need to get back into!
  • BE AWARE OF AVAILABLE INTERNSHIPS! Diane Johnson and Amanda Bednar do an excellent job of sending everyone on the StOC listserv all available internships. Even though I already have an internship for the fall, it's a good idea to read through the listings anyway. It's always good to know who is looking for help, and what opportunities are out there. If you're not on the StOC listerv, you need to be. E-mail or to be put on the StOC listserv!
  • ENJOY the last few weeks of the summer, and try to be ready to hit the ground running come August 31!

These are just a couple things I'm going to do before school starts so I won't feel so unprepared for my senior year. Does anyone have other tips that could be useful for back to school? We'd love to hear them!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Jon Gosselin + Ed Hardy?

I was reading up on my celebrity gossip in the break room at work yesterday.

Although this "news" is a few weeks old by now, I read an article in a copy of UsWeekly that speculated about the breakup of Jon and Kate Gosselin, recently divorced parents of eight who star in TLC's reality series, "Jon and Kate Plus Eight." In the article, the magazine examined Jon Gosselin's relationship with a rumored party girl who is ten years his junior.

The article explained that the two recently went on an all-expenses-paid vacation to St. Tropez, which was apparently funded by a designer for Ed Hardy. Apparently, this designer had seen Jon Gosselin wearing Ed Hardy clothing in the media and wanted to discuss the possibility of collaborating with Gosselin on a clothing line. Aside from the lavish vacation to which the designer treated Jon and his young girlfriend, he also is said to have given the pair a lot of free Ed Hardy clothes.

I got to thinking, and I could see a deal between Jon Gosselin and Ed Hardy designs going either way. Here is a respected family man turned jet-setter and party boy. Although Jon Gosselin is certainly getting a lot of publicity lately, the coverage surrounding his actions is mixed and often negative. Would the publicity surrounding Gosselin and his unusually large family make for a successful clothing line? Or does his shaky image represent a recipe for disaster? Would the company be wiser to sign Gosselin as soon as possible, or run like heck in the opposite direction?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Chris Brown: Apology or PR Stunt?

Many of you are aware of the fight that took place between Chris Brown and then-girlfriend Rihanna in February, which sent Rihanna to the hospital and resulted in a court mandated restraining order against Brown.

After remaining mum on the issue for months, Brown recently posted a two-minute video apology. Although his lawyer had apparently advised him to stay under the radar about the issue, one must wonder what prompted Brown to apologize now, almost six months after the incident.

As a student studying public relations, here is my take on the strategy behind Brown's apology:
  1. When the story of the fight first broke in February, the media was in a frenzy. Although the vast majority of the press Brown received was overwhelmingly negative, his name was nonetheless virtually omnipresent for a few days. Tales of the incident were relayed on TV, in magazines and newspapers, online, on social networking sites, on the radio, and spread by word of mouth. Although I don't agree with the statement wholeheartedly, Brown seemed to be proof of the old adage "there's no such thing as bad press." Brown's image was basically barbecued in the public arena, but he benefited from a lot of notoriety and attention during this time.
  2. As time progressed, the elevated interest in Brown died down. Way down. The shock and drama that had surrounded the Rihanna-Brown incident died down and all that was left when the dust settled was disgust for the way Brown had acted.
  3. Brown probably figured that, if he rode out the storm, eventually the public would forgive and forget and resume support of his music. He probably figured that eventually things would return to business as usual. There was also talk of Brown and Rihanna making up and reuniting during this time, so there was not a vast need for Brown to take action; he was still getting a lot of press and there was a good chance that his image would be salvaged.
  4. Now, months later, it does not appear that Brown and Rihanna have gotten back together. In fact, rumors are circulating that Rihanna is dating R&B singer Drake. Rihanna appears to have moved on with her life and put the incident behind her. Brown, on the other hand, has not received a lot of press lately, and has not seen a revival of his image. He also faces the punishment for his actions, which includes five years' probation, community service and attendance at domestic violence classes.
  5. For Brown, the circumstances haven't improved on their own. It would seem that now would be the perfect time for Brown to take matters into his own hands and attempt to reverse the rapid decay of his career. Hence the apology video. In several articles I read, sources close to Rihanna claimed that she was shocked that Brown released the video and was hurt because doing so had re-opened the wound while resurfacing an issue she was working hard to put in her past. The articles also alleged that Rihanna was hurt that Brown did not at least warn her that he was planning to release the apology tape. This alleged reaction on Rihanna's part would coincide with my theory that there is more to Brown's decision to apologize now than a mere desire to express his regret. Plus, if you watch the video, Brown doesn't seem overly sincere and appears to be reading from cue cards.
What do you think, what prompted him to apologize now? Were his motives for apologizing pure, or was this apology a PR stunt meant to salvage Brown's image?