Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Doing it Their Way

As I was reading Philebrity (one of my favorite blogs) today, I came across something that really surprised me. Philebrity posted that Metro, an international chain of newspapers, will no longer be using content from the AP as of April 1.

We have been talking about many publications becoming more reliant on the AP and other services for content, because of the decreasing number of staff members. I thought that it was a very bold move for Metro to move away from the AP, and so did other Philebrity readers.

What do you think this means for the future of Metro? More local stories? Decreases in readership? Let us know!

*Find the Philebrity post here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

My Dream Job

Yesterday, I returned home from a 5-day trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. My 16-year-old sister performed in Epcot with her high school's show choir and my family went along to watch and play.

What a great trip! If you haven't been to Disney World, I highly recommend it. The employees, known as "cast members" throughout the parks are the nicest people and will go out of their way to ensure that you are having a good time.

I've been to Disney many times as a child, but going at age 21 made me realize the work that must go into keeping the parks running smoothly.

Disney World gives college students the opportunity to work in a variety of different avenues including entertainment, attractions, hospitality, housekeeping and many more in their college program.

You can also apply for a professional internship which gives students or recent graduates the chance to work for Disney on a more professional level. While at Epcot, I walked into Guest Relations to make a dinner reservation and met a PR student who worked at the Guest Relations desk. She said she absolutely loved her job and had also done the college program and had a great experience.

I would love to do PR for Disney World. Who wouldn't?

Upon looking for more information about how to break into PR at Disney (which I imagine is probably pretty difficult) I came across their news website which features press releases, photos and videos. I also noticed that they recently made a Twitter site, so they are clearly paying attention to PR and social media trends.

I still haven't figured out how to get that dream job of mine, but I'm definitely considering applying for a professional internship upon graduation to try to get my foot in the door.

Do any of our readers have any experience working for Disney? I'd love to hear about your experiences.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Developing an Identity on Twitter

Since joining the Twitter community in December, I quickly learned that the social networking site could be a valuable means of forming both social and professional connections. Effectively using the site for both of these functions is easier said than done, though; in order to stand out as a user, one must first develop a voice.

One of the first challenges when using Twitter is deciding how to use it. In the past, I have heard people refer to the site as a “micro-blog” because it allows users to post brief thoughts or briefly describe occurrences in their lives. Alternately, I recently spoke with a public relations professional who considered the site to be more of a “chat room” in nature. This is because the interactive nature of users’ updates can also facilitate dialogue between users. I feel that finding the balance between these two uses of the site is important for developing an identity as a user; too much conversation can alienate followers who are not regularly involved therein and are uninformed about the subject of discussion. On the other hand, too-much “micro-blogging” can bore other users and is not conducive to interaction with them.

Similarly, I have also learned the importance of striking a balance between posts about my professional and my private life. I have learned that divulging too much about my private life can alienate some of my professional “followers.” At the same time, part of the beauty of Twitter is that it gives users insight into fellow users’ social lives and can thus make business connections less rigid and more personal. For this reason, there is still value in updating about personal thoughts or activities; it lets my personality show and gives even professional “followers” a more complete view of who I am. From a social standpoint, “followers” that are not of a professional nature may become bored or disinterested if too many of my updates are public relations-specific. However, they may occasionally be interested in hearing what I’m up to professionally, as a means of keeping up with what’s going on in my life from a social perspective. Thus, I try to keep in mind the expectations of both types of followers when updating on Twitter.

Another thing I have had to consider while trying to find my voice on Twitter has been the question of how to engage my followers, both those I know professionally and those I know socially. With this goal in mind, I try to think about my updates before posting them, discarding potential updates that would likely be seen by the majority of my followers as insignificant or mundane. When I do post, I try to engage my followers by posing questions in my “tweets” or by updating about topics that I believe they would also find interesting. Sometimes, I ask for advice or help in my “tweets,” asking, for instance, “would anyone be willing to look over my resume?” or “has anyone ever eaten at Marathon Grill? I was wondering if it was any good.” I also try to respond to others’ posts that interest me. Posts such as these have helped facilitate interaction and dialogue between my followers and me. They reflect a willingness to actively engage with others and often elicit responses from others who are also interested in interacting.

Though I am still developing an identity on Twitter, considering the way I use the site, the level of personal information I choose to share, and how to best engage my followers has helped me begin to develop a voice. Doing so has enabled me to interact and network—both socially and professionally—with others on the site.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations firm staff member, Emily Woodward. Follow her on Twitter: @ecwdwd

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Best Week of the Spring Semester

I always think that the Spring semester comes out of nowhere.

I love my month long break for the winter and then I have to hit the ground running with school, work, and extra-curricular activities. More than ever I was counting down the days until Spring Break this semester. I went down south to Florida and relaxed with my cousin who was also enjoying a week off. Nothing too special, but it was away from the twenty degree weather in Philadelphia.

Many students opt to take a vacation during this week off from school and plan an extravagant vacation. Many sites such as Paradise Parties , Student City and Family Go Fun have great deals and packages for students to choose from.

The top 10 hot spots for Spring Break in 2009 were:

  1. Cancun
  2. Bahamas and Jamaica
  3. Panama City, Florida
  4. Acapulco
  5. Miami and South Beach, Florida
  6. South Padre Island, Texas
  7. Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan
  8. North America Ski Resorts
  9. Europe (Paris, London, and Rome being the most popular cities)
  10. Puerto Rico
I hope everyone had a relaxing time on this Spring Break and start thinking about those fun in the sun plans for next year!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations firm staff member, Jade Barnes. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebarnes

Friday, March 27, 2009

PPRA Hosts Annual "Careers 101"

On Wednesday, March 25, the Philadelphia Public Relations Association (PPRA) hosted their annual Careers 101, entitled “From PRactice to PRo: Standing Out with What You Know” at the PECO building.

Although I was originally skeptical about the location (had to take the subway and transfer to the trolley to get there) it turned out to be a smooth trip that resulted in a great night of insight and networking.

CBS 3’s Eyewitness News anchor Pat Ciarrocchi was the moderator, with panelists:
Steve Albertini, Executive VP and General Manager, Public Relations, Tierney Communications
Lesly Attarian, Director of Development and Membership, Please Touch Museum
Meredith Z. Avakian, Senior Public Affairs Representative, DuPont
Robert Bralow, Manager, RFBinder Partners
Rick Buck, Chief Communications Officer, Bayada Nurses
Danielle Cohn, VP of Marketing & Communications, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau
Michael Harris, Director of Marketing & Special Projects, Philadelphia Phillies

Pat’s first question: What’s the difference between PR and Marketing?
My favorite answer: “Public Relations is something PR people do.” – Steve Albertini, Tierney Communications

With all other panelists nodding and laughing in approval, Mr. Albertini went on to talk about how it’s hard to define public relations because it’s true, you’re really doing something different every day.

Other topics discussed included the growing trend in utilizing social media. Panelists stressed how students of our generation need to develop this expertise and market it heavily when we’re on the job hunt. While Danielle Cohn talked about how she looks for someone with web experience, Steve Albertini talked about how chess and the debate team are resume tiebreakers for him.

Students, listen up! Here are some tips for your interview/job search:

-Don’t just blast your resume through e-mails, pick up the phone! Taking the extra step to dial 10 numbers (11 with the “1” before the area code) or walk into their office says you’re serious about the job.

-While it is important that they see you’ve done well in school and have gained some experience through internships, you need to communicate through your resume. Be creative and show that you have a wide range of skills. As mentioned before, start developing your niche in social media now if you haven’t already!

-Your cover letter should be unique and interesting. The employer already knows that you think you’d be great for the job, so open up with something else! As communications students (and soon-to-be-professionals) we need to utilize this tool to sell ourselves. What was Lesly Attarian’s tactic? In her opening sentence she wrote: “My name is Leslie, and in this case, less is more.”

-When you go into the interview, smile and be outgoing! They’re not only looking to see what your skills are, but they want to see if they can stand working with you every day. Most importantly, just be yourself and don’t let your nerves cloud your true personality.

-And lastly, NEVER forget the thank you letter. It seems that nothing peeves the panelists more than that. While they say they’ll take an e-mail, a handwritten note is always preferred.

Although this was only a brief look at some of the discussions at Careers 101, it was great to be surrounded by peers and hearing from accomplished individuals who support us and want us to succeed.

As always, I look forward to next year’s development session! For more information on PPRA or how to join, visit www.ppra.net.

If you were at this year’s Careers 101 make sure to leave a comment about your favorite quote or discussion that took place! Or maybe it was the cookies…! Let us know.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Relay for Life!

PRSSA and PRowl Public Relations will be participating in Relay for Life tomorrow (Friday, March 27th)!

It’s for a really great cause and is always a bonding experience for our organization. It’s a super fun time to get to know members better, while also raising money for the American Cancer Society.

Visit www.relayforlife.org/patemple for more information about Temple University hosting the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event.

Registration for Relay for Life is from 6 pm to 8pm and the event continues until 6 am!
CLICK HERE to register for PRSSA and PRowl Public Relations’ team (if you’re a T.U. PRSSA member), but if you’re not a Temple student… consider making a donation under our team towards the fight for cancer.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009


We all know that the economy is bad right now. But what about student organizations? Always trying to find ways to raise money, PRowl Public Relations and PRSSA work together and hold events, splitting the funds evenly. Yesterday, we held an all-day fundraiser at Qdoba Mexican Grill. For every entree and drink purchased with the flier, we received $1.50.

We also have had regular bake sales, and most recently - cupcake sales! (Inspired by Natalie, perhaps?) However, are making less money than expected. We seem to be located in low-traffic areas around campus. And these days, people have less cash on them than they usually do.

What are other student-run firms and PRSSA chapters doing for fundraising? Does anyone have any tips?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Client Update: The Rebecca Davis Dance Company

PSA - Sent
Pitches - Sent
Press Release - Sent
First Friday Event - Finishing up details
Rebecca Davis Facebook Page - Updated with new pictures. Check it out!

As you can see, the RDDC account team has been working very hard this semester, and with less than a month to go before the performance we're not stopping now. We've written, edited, edited again, and sent out our media pieces. We've pitched out target audiences. Now we're working on finalizing plans for our First Friday event in Old City on April 3. We'll be there selling discount tickets for Van Gogh, so be sure to stop by and grab a couple!

The account team has been working hard and learning a lot. Our last few weeks before the big show will be focused on creating more awareness, and getting people excited for Van Gogh.

I'll be sure to post more updates after our event (even some pictures of the team in action)!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Update on PRowl Public Relations' Wonderful Founder

Last spring, PRowl Public Relations was founded by Natalie Herr, then a senior at Temple University. A year later, PRowl Public Relations is still going strong even though our founder Natalie graduated.

Also a year later, Natalie is married, living in Dayton, Ohio and is starting her own cupcake business! The business is called Tickled Pink Cupcakery. Check out this excerpt from her site:

Tickled Pink Cupcakery is the first gourmet cupcakery in Dayton, OH. We not only bake our cupcakes with the freshest ingredients, but we take them to the next level. Our moist cake, creamy frosting and unique flavors will have you tickled pink!

Natalie is a wonderful cook (I would know, I've tasted her delicious food) and runs a food blog called, Oven Love.

Check out both of Natalie's blogs and consider ordering yourself some cupcakes...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

¿Hablas español?

This year I recently declared a double major in Public Relations and Spanish. I’ve always had fun learning different words and being able to speak in a different language, and double majors supposedly look good on resumes, so I figured, why not? It’s only a couple more classes. Only recently did I realize the benefits of speaking a second language in the workforce.

Many jobs today deal with international clients in many cities across the world, so companies have recently been hiring more and more employees who can speak more than one language. Knowing another language offers a wider choice of jobs in various fields. Public relations is one of the top jobs where knowing a second language is particularly useful. Other jobs include marketing and sales, secretarial work, banking and accounting, law, and teaching.

Being bilingual can come in handy with any job that works closely with clients, especially when the job requires employees to travel. Knowing the language of the country ahead of time makes communication abroad much easier, and avoids awkward miscommunication. Plus, traveling overseas for business and knowing the language gives employees a great opportunity to experience the culture of another country!

More and more reasons for learning a second language are arising. Whether a US company merges with a Mexican firm, or a corporation establishes an office abroad, the need for bilingual employees is increasing. As careers increase due to globalization, being bilingual puts potential employees one step ahead. Maybe taking a foreign language class or two isn’t such a bad idea! Even knowing the most basic skills of a foreign language can put you ahead of the game when applying for jobs!

Are you learning or do you speak a second language? How has it helped you in your career?

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations firm staff member, Marissa Sudol. Follow her on Twitter: @marissasudol

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Once a Tweet Virgin, now a Tweet Expert…well almost

A couple of months ago, I began to hear news stories regarding an online social media website called Twitter. I heard stories of twitter saving lives, and getting breaking news out to people faster than ever. Next thing I knew my friends were telling each other, "I saw your tweet this morning, sorry you were in traffic." I was so out of the loop. I was apprehensive, too busy to care about finding out what Twitter is, and I thought of it as just another social media site that would waste my time. Upon trying to think of something to guest blog about I have done something I never thought I would do, I got a Twitter! Once a Twitter virgin, I am now on my way to becoming a Twitter expert. So, for those of you who have the same attitude I did towards Twitter, hopefully my experience will change your mind.

When it was time for me to start my Twitter journey, I had a great guide to follow from Jessica Lawlor ,who wrote one to hand out to PRowl Public Relations members, but I decided I wasn’t going to look at it unless I was stumped (which I did eventually become).

So I went to www.twitter.com and I signed up -- it was easy -- standard sort of sign up. When I picked my user name, I just simply used my first and last name -- OliviaRagni -- so that people could find me easily. Next, I tried to figure out how to "follow" people. I discovered that following people means that you will see things that they post so that you can respond to them or just simply "follow" their "tweets"(aka posts). It is so hard to find people on Twitter because a lot of people don’t use their first and last names as their user name, so I became frustrated with trying to find people until I went back to my twitter guide and discovered Twello. Here you type in anything, a name, or a subject and it will check all of Twitter for matches. I immediately utilized this source; I searched for "PR Philadelphia" and for names of those I have interned with before. Before I knew it I was following people and people were following me and I was chatting with a few Philadelphia area PR professionals and entrepreneurs.

All my friends were telling me how great twitter was for networking with professionals, my friend even got an internship through Twitter, but I was not convinced. I was “tweeting” with a few people here and there, but nothing spectacular. Shortly after signing up for Twitter, my laptop died on me and I have been without ever since, so I put it on my cell phone. While I was on spring break in Vero Beach Florida, I had been trying to figure out what to do or who to find so that I could start networking. So I thought, what is the one dream job that I would love to have that could be hard to break into? – Travel Journalism. I always wanted to work for the Travel channel or Travel and Leisure magazine, exploring the world and writing about my experiences. So, when I got back from spring break, I took out my Travel and Leisure magazine and looked for the names of the writers of each article in the magazine. I found most of these people, and complimented them on the article that they had written in the magazine to start conversation.

After finding these people I simply searched “travel writers” and found a ton of people who fit this bio -- I found people who started their own online travel companies and who have been in the business for years, and they replied to me. I believe I found the trick to getting people to reply to you – compliment their work or find a common ground! Find something that they have worked on or find some common ground, like an article they have written. Maybe they used to work in the same city you live in, or went to the same college your mom attended. Most people will have a website link in their bio, look at it and use that as a conversation starter. Whatever the common ground may be, if you have done some research about a person, they are more likely to connect with you.

I can’t believe that I am a Twitter-er. I am networking like crazy and I am one step closer to breaking into the industry of travel writing, all because I am making connections with people through Twitter. I may not be an expert just yet, but I keep finding new ways to use Twitter efficiently. Don’t be shy to speak with people on Twitter; almost all of the professionals I contacted seemed more than happy to respond to me. So lose the apprehension and get a Twitter, I promise you will have a great experience!

Did you enjoy Twitter when you first signed up? How did you learn to use it effectively?

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations firm staff member, Olivia Ragni. Follow her on Twitter: @oliviaragni

Friday, March 20, 2009

WalMart Text Hoax

I was talking to a fellow PRowler yesterday and she mentioned how her sister had a received a text about gang activity taking place at their local WalMart last night. Being located in a dangerous part of Philadelphia, neither of us doubted its credibility. I recommended that she stay far away from that area, and not leave the house!

As I waded through the Internet today, I came across an article on Advertising Age about the text scam! The texts started circulating on Wednesday and were said to have hit over 16 states. The texts were tailored to the local conditions, with one text in New Mexico stating that "three women are to be killed in an initiation rite for a Mexican gang."

This is not only scary for local residents who receive these texts but worse for WalMart, whose traffic was affected by the text message hoax. WalMart hopes that they, with help from police and the media, can squash these gang activity rumors in time for their midnight Twilight parties celebrating the release of the DVD and related merchandise tonight.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tips from Comcast's Kate Noel

This week in my Advance Public Relations class, Kate Noel who is Senior Manager of Corporate Communication at Comcast Corporation was a guest speaker. Kate has worked for Edelman Public Relations in Washington D.C. as well as assistant to Karen Hughes in the White House during the Bush administration. She had tons of great insight and advice, here are some highlights…

-Keep ALL of your contacts
No matter what industry they may be in, whether or not it’s relative to the industry you’re currently in, you should always keep track of the people you meet. She recommends using an Excel sheet to organize everyone.

-Choose your bosses wisely
In choosing where you want to work, consider who your boss is. It can be hard working for someone who doesn’t share the same opinions as you. If they don’t have an interest about you or your future, this can be difficult.

-Get in… and get out
If you are offered a job that isn’t necessarily the position you wanted, take the job and see what comes up. You can always try and move to the position you had originally wanted.

-When you feel like you want to hide, grab the phone
Often times, when you feel like you want to hide under your desk, this is the most crucial time to be on the phone. Form your statement and start spinning!

-Negativity doesn’t sell
Always try and be positive!

-Be fast, be concise and be accurate
Never answer a question you’re not sure what the answer is. Your credibility is all you have as a public relations professional.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Let The Madness Begin! AND...A Question About The Economy.

The madness is in the air as the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament begins tomorrow. Philadelphia is a host city of the first two rounds, which is great for the City. Hopefully with all of the guests and attention Philadelphia is getting, it will help boost the economy.

As I've said before, I am an intern at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PCVB). Today, I volunteered to help with the welcoming information at the hotels all of the different teams are staying at. I was at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown greeting guests with travel and visitors information for Philadelphia. Villanova was staying at this hotel, so I didn't get as much traffic as I had expected because Villanova is right outside of the City. From what other interns told me, the other hotels were bustling with out-of-towners, as UConn, American and UCLA.

One guest of the hotel asked me an interesting question: given how the economy is right now, is it necessary for Villanova, who is only 20 minutes outside of the city, to have a hotel for the tournament? What do you think?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Twitter Tools

I've been reading and writing a lot about Twitter lately, as part of my ongoing attempt to embrace social media. When I saw this article yesterday on Bulldog Reporter's Daily Dog, I thought it would be a great one to share.

Normally, Public Relations firms are places companies go when they need to get the word out about something, or they need to promote a new product, service, person, etc. One PR firm is doing something a little different though. The team at Waggener Edstrom has actually created a tool called Twendz, made especially for getting information from Twitter. Twendz pulls in new Twitter posts, and calculates the overall user opinion from the tweets.

The article gave this example, "For instance, the new Apple iPod Shuffle, currently the top trending topic on Twendz, is getting an overall positive user sentiment. However, the tool also shows some of the main gripes people are having, both through the use of a tag cloud and often-repeated keywords."

I think that this is a really interesting tool that Waggener Edstrom created. What do you think about the tool? What do you think about it being created by a PR firm? Let us know!

Monday, March 16, 2009

March Madness: The Ultimate PR Tool for Colleges and Universities Across the U.S.

Everyone knows what March means...March Madness!

The NCAA basketball tournament which begins this week pits the best college basketball teams against one another for the title of NCAA Basketball Champions.

What does this have to do with PR, one might ask?


Many high school students base their college choice on athletics. If not just for athletics, many young high school students may hear about a certain college because of their fame for a certain sport. During March Madness, 65 college teams get the opportunity to put on their best faces for a month full of free public relations.

Even if you're not a sports fan, names of colleges and universities are definitely thrown around during the entire month. Schools that may have been previously unknown have a chance to come out of the woodwork.

I posed the question "Do you think March Madness is a good PR tool for colleges?" on Twitter. Check out some of the responses:

For recruits, sponsors & TV stations (advertising/media relations) for sure. It’s big money.The academic program is associated w/conference too (I think), so from that standpoint too yes.

Definitely think that March Madness can be a great PR tool - school specific, though. The Cinderella story, etc. especially.

Great opportunity for specific ones with well spoken coaches & players who work hard/aren't punks

Ive always seen college sports as PR campaigns for their respective schools--it gets them a lot of attention/press, especially if they do well!

Do you think that March Madness can be a good PR tool for colleges? Let us know what you think by commenting below!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Horror Stories are True! Protect Yourself on Social Networking Sites

Having a Facebook or MySpace page is pretty much a given if you are a young woman or man between the ages of 16-25. These days the question is, who doesn't have one? But the more these social networks have become a part of our lives, the more comfortable we feel posting whatever we want, not thinking about who is actually seeing it. Whether we are posting pictures of ourselves completely wasted at a friends kegger, or just a few pictures from a nice family vacation, posting pictures or information about ourselves has become something we do without any second thoughts. Well, these days, profiles on social networks like Facebook have become completely open to all.

Two years ago, Facebook made it possible for any profile to be searched through its Public Search Engine, including engines such as Google and Yahoo. The only restriction on this would is if someone changes their privacy settings so they cannot be searched. But newcomers to the "Facebook world" may not even think about this, or even know how to change their privacy settings.

A few weeks ago, CNN.com put up a story about sexual predators and Internet thieves on Facebook. This surprised me, because I was always under the impression that Facebook was considered the "safer" one, compared to MySpace. This common belief is slowly beginning to change now with Facebook's new policies on searching ability.

So not only should we all be protecting ourselves against people on the Internet that may pretend to be someone else, we need to remember that those horror stories we all hear, about people getting in trouble for what they put online, are sometimes very true. Many of those stories about students getting expelled from school because of something they posted online such as a threat or vulgar pictures, have actually been proven to be true. Also, the stories about a company who searched a potential employer online, and did not like what they saw on their Facebook profile and then refused to give them the open position. Yes, many of these stories are TRUE, so do not forget that!

The University of Texas in Austin has posted some really helpful tips on how to keep yourself safe from online predators, and also prevent yourself from getting into trouble or costing yourself a great position at a new job. Here is what they suggested:

1. Consider restricting access to your profile- On Facebook you can go into Settings at the top write of your homepage, and then Privacy Settings to set who can see your profile, pictures, wall, or search you.

2. Keep your private information private- This is pretty obvious, but maybe not to some. Never put your Social Security number, address, schedule, phone number or financial information on you profile.

3. Choose a screen name that is different from your real name- Make sure no one can locate you offline through this information.

4. Think twice before posting your photo- On Facebook, photos can be altered or shared with others without you even knowing. So be careful about what pictures you post. (If your Grandmother wouldn't approve, don't post it)

5. Don’t post information that makes you vulnerable to a physical attack- Never post on your profile or anyone else's where you will be at a certain time.

6. Use your common sense-If someone you don't know contacts you online, talk to the friends you have in common, and if you do meet with them, meet in a public place.

7. Trust your instincts- Stop talking to someone online if you feel uncomfortable and report any offensive behavior to the social networking Web site administrators.

8. Be suspicious- Don't believe everything someone tells you. People can say anything they want or be anyone they want online, so always be cautious.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations firm staff member, Melissa Colelli. Follow her on Twitter: @m_colelli

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What the Merging of The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Daily News Means for Practitioners

Public relations practitioners must be aware that journalism is a struggling business and the effects on the practitioners’ jobs caused by changes in the industry. Circulation of newspapers and magazines has been declining and large staff cuts are being made on a regular basis due to new technology. There is an increasing trend of readers getting their news online.

So what does the recent bankruptcy filing by the Philadelphia Newspapers LLC, the owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Daily News, and philly.com, mean for public relations practitioners?

After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late February, the Philadelphia Newspapers announced that starting March 30, The Daily News will become an edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia Media Holdings, the publisher of the Inquirer and The Daily News, will count the broadsheet paper and the tabloid as one paper.

Brian Tierney, the chief executive officer of Philadelphia Newspapers, has assured that the restructuring on paper will not affect staffing, content or management. Practitioners, particularly local practitioners, will not need to experience the shrinking of potential target audiences because of declining circulation, and they will not need to remove contacts from their media lists due to lay offs- at least not yet.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations firm staff member, Evan Nicholson. Follow her on Twitter: @evannicholson

Friday, March 13, 2009

Spring Break a Bust This Year?

Where did the week go? Temple has been on Spring Break since Monday and classes resume after this weekend. Although all I did was stay in Philadelphia and work, having the week off from classes was well needed. A few of my friends traveled for Spring Break, but I noticed that this year was not a good one for the travel resorts. As the economy has tumbled I've heard an increase of students talk about how they can't afford to go on Spring Break this year and are working instead. I know I feel the pain! Instead of even just going home I decided that it would be worth it to stay in Philadelphia and make some money.

Did you do anything fun for Spring Break or was saving your money a priority this year? I'm interested to hear if any other campuses noticed a decrease in fellow Spring Breakers too!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

One just isn't enough for Walmart!

Walmart has been shopping for PR firms to represent the world wide major corporation, the Wall Street Journal reports. They hope to hire five public relations firms, who will each remain on retainer and bid for individual projects. Walmart is looking for firms with expertise in "new media, online work, media relations, crisis communication and multicultural outreach," according to the company's request for proposals.

In a time of economic struggle, it is interesting to see the strategies of companies like Walmart making moves and thinking about the future. The importance of public relations still remains true and Walmart seems to realize this.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Importance of Networking

While on spring break, I wanted to make sure that I made a visit to my old high school to visit my former French teacher, only referred to as "Madame." As I made my way through the doors after the 2:30 p.m. dismissal bell rang, I felt a thousand times more than uncomfortable. Weaving my way through the hallways as the high school kids were leaving for the day, I found myself walking with my head down, hoping to avoid the few kids I still know that are in high school.

But, I ran into my old English teacher, Mr. Keiner! He's an awesome teacher and made sitting through his class extremely fun. We caught up briefly in the hallway dodging the students in the senior wing, and talked about a few things that I've been thinking about a lot lately. I graduate next May, and we talked about the economy and what the job market's going to look like in a year. Hopefully it looks better than it does now, but it will still be competitive no matter what. Before we said "goodbye," he told me to keep in touch, especially after I graduate. His sister-in-law works in PR in Harrisburg, and he said he could talk to her and give me her contact information. Of course he can't promise me anything, but he still offered me the opportunity to have her as a contact.

As I was talking to Madame the state of the economy, of course, was one of our topics of conversation. She stressed the importance of being involved in school and having experience. I already have two internships under my belt and am in PRowl Public Relations and PRSSA (serving board positions in both). Hopefully, that will make me stand out.

The other day I was talking to my cousin, and we were talking about the importance of internships and networking. She even said she could talk to her friend who works in PR, and is willing to get us in contact with each other.

I know this all sounds so very repetitive, but it's true. No matter who you talk to, they will all tell you the same thing...NETWORK! So go to events, get an internship and start collecting those business cards!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fired Because of His Facebook

Dan Leone used to work for the Philadelphia Eagles. He loved the franchise and was very upset when Brian Dawkins became a Bronco, just as many other fans were. I'm sure that fans vented their displeasure in a variety of ways, like in bars, on blogs, to their girlfriends and wives, etc. Leone did things a little differently, and vented through his status on his Facebook page. Leone used some expletives, but then realized that it was wrong to post something like that, and took that status down. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done.

Two days after the post on Facebook, Leone was fired over the phone, ending his six year career with the team. The Guest-Services manager for the Eagles didn't want to hear his apologies, and said that he couldn't be trusted because of what he had done.

With Facebook still being a relatively new medium, with little to no rules, was it fair for Dan Leone to get fired for what his status said? Should companies explicitly say that anything you say that is offensive to the company, not matter what medium it's said in, will result in termination? How can companies, agencies and organizations work with the social media phenomenon?

Information taken from Philly.com. Fine the article here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

5 Simple Ways to Become a Better Writer

As PR students and professionals, being an effective writer is a must. Check out my 5 simple steps to becoming a better writer.

1. Read everything. Read everything you can get your hands on: newspapers, magazines, blogs, books, advertisements, websites, etc. It doesn't matter what it is. Writers who read often are proven to be better writers. I believe that reading other writers' works helps to inspire me and definitely improves my writing.

2. Write crap. Don't be afraid to write terribly. No one's first draft is perfect. I know it's tempting to write a sentence and read it over and over again and make changes....but DON'T. Write an entire pitch letter without looking back. Just write...

3. Edit later. Later is the time to edit. Once the word are on the page, walk away. Take some time away from the piece of writing. Then, edit. Now is the time to worry about grammar, sentence structure, and clarity. Now is the time to be nit-picky and to ensure that every word is perfect.

4. Journal or blog. I've kept some kind of journal, diary, or blog, since I was able to hold a pencil. Getting my random thoughts down on a page (or computer screen) is a stress reliever and helps to improve my writing skills. It doesn't really matter what is being written, just writing every day is beneficial to becoming a better writer.

5. Write for fun. As PR people, we're often writing for our clients, and while this is great, sometimes it's fun to just write for, well, fun! Writing can be enjoyable and sometimes we forget this when we are writing so much copy for clients. Remember what drew you to this profession in the first place...deep down, we all have some kind of love for writing. Take advantage of this talent! Not everyone can be a good writer, but if you're studying PR or working in PR, you've already shown that a talent for writing exists within you.

What are your tips for becoming a better writer?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

PR In Non-Profits

This semester I've been a special events and development intern for a local non-profit and have been able to put my public relations skills to use for a great cause. This internship has made me realize how rewarding it can be to advocate for people who are in need. Being able to bring public awareness to the underprivileged while doing something that I love has been a great experience.

Public relations in a non-profit is very similar to public relations in any other company. Journalists seem to be very open to covering many of the human interest stories that develop every day within the non-profit. Many companies and professionals are much more willing to work with non-profits to throw events to fundraise or raise awareness, keeping the public relations practitioners job fun and creative with a small to nonexistent budget. Pulling off a successful event while working with a small budget definitely strengthens networking skills and makes your work feel even more worthwhile.

It is really great to use my skills in PR to advocate for people who otherwise wouldn't have a voice. It makes me look forward to going to work!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations firm staff member, Brianna Fisher.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Write It Right

A little dose of Advertising never hurt anyone, now did it? Unfortunately, the world of advertising produces thousands of painfully tacky headlines, and perhaps a little bit of instruction is in order. If the headline is the most prominent piece of an advertisement, it’s the first chance to either start a conversation, or end one. Fortunately, there are helpful guides for writing advertising messages.

  1. Talk to one person. Be conversational! A reader will listen if you make it personal.
  2. Consider what would make you want to buy the product. For once you won’t be blamed for only thinking about yourself! What would make you buy the product?
  3. Think visually, then write. Pictures aren’t always better than words, but thinking of visuals or even looking at images can help create the words for you. If you can see it, maybe you can say it, too.
  4. Say it straight, then say it great. Just get something on paper, even if it’s terrible. Some say that the art to writing a strong headline isn’t the writing itself, but the editing.
  5. Say something true. Too many messages are transparent; sometimes an honest statement is the most appropriate way to communicate.
  6. Be dramatic. There’s too much media clutter to play it safe – don’t just make your font bold, make the message bold too.
  7. Write copy first. Just because Maria von Trapp told you to start from the very beginning, it doesn’t mean you have to. Try writing the body copy first, and maybe a headline will emerge.
  8. Write the problem as a question. Sometimes phrasing the problem as a question can lead to the answer you’ve been looking for.
  9. Be emotional and logical. Let’s call that one self-explanatory.
This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations firm staff member, Keith Flanagan. Follow him on Twitter: @keithflanagan

Friday, March 6, 2009

So Bad, Multiple PR Teams Aren't Enough

This week, CNN Money brought more light onto where AIG is spending some of their $150 billion of bailout money. In addition to their in-house PR department, four public relations groups are on AIG's payroll. Kekst and Company works on the company's asset sales, Sard Verbinnen helps the insurer present its earnings, and Hill & Knowlton and Burson-Marsteller lobby in Washington.

While the actual rates the PR groups receive from AIG are not public, it leaves many wondering if this is another unnecessary way of squandering taxpayers' money.

In another article on PRSay, Mark Weiner (North America CEO of Prime Research) describes the use and effectiveness of public relations in controversies such as this:

"Take for example a Fortune 500 power utility that discovered that it would miss its quarterly earnings forecast. The company’s legal team urged the CEO to remain silent on the issue while the PR team recommended that the CEO get out in front of the issue by being proactive, accessible, and open. Within 24-hours, a content analysis of news coverage tracking six utilities—each of whom had missed earnings—indicated that those companies who avoided discussion of the earnings shortfall saw a steady decline of their news coverage and a similar decline in stock price and market capitalization."

“In more than one case, the utility companies with poorly defined communication strategies and inaccessible CEOs lost as much as 50 percent of their entire market value in just a matter of weeks. Conversely, those companies whose CEOs were transparent in describing their company’s issues and their plans for remedying the situation saw a only a short-term decline in stock price before a net gain of 12 percent in 12 month’s time."

I think its clear that the ailing company needs a PR consultant, but are four different teams necessary? While each group has a specific purpose, in the hopes of conserving some resources I would think that a company in such debt could consolidate a little more. What do you, as PR professionals and students think?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Facebook is trying to tweet?

With the growing popularity of Twitter, Facebook may be looking at a future competitor. Though the two social media sites don’t step on each others toes too often presently, there is definitely cause for concern. One major worry is the advertisers of Facebook moving to Twitter.

Facebook has recently updated the site with “real-time web” applications, to compete with the threat of Twitter. Instead of asking, “What are you doing right now?” the site will be changing the question to, “What's on your mind?” in an attempt to garner more responses. (Twitter asks simply, “What are you doing?”) Facebook is also lifting restriction on how many “friends” users can have; instead of only 5,000 there is now no limit.

So who will win the popularity contest? Do you prefer Facebook over Twitter or vice versa? Or is it too soon to say, both sites accomplish different things.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Press trip update!

Well, I just got back from work 15 minutes ago and it's time to give all of you an update!

Today's press trip was a group of Italian journalists and tour operators that were visiting Philadelphia. The journalists were visiting the city so they could go back to Italy and write a story about Philadelphia, or include Philadelphia in a story about their tour of the U.S. The tour operators visit Philadelphia, then when they get back to Italy they will "sell" Philadelphia to their travelers as a trip, or as part of a trip to the U.S.

We got to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and said hello to everybody. Because everybody else spoke little English, my boss and I stood back and observed them taking their tour of the museum and talking amongst each other. It was a very interesting experience!

One of the journalists from the group had to interview somebody from The Franklin. We hailed a cab and took her to speak with The Franklin's PR person about the new exhibit coming to the museum, "Galileo." When she was done with the interview, we took her back to the Philadelphia Museum of Art so she could join the rest of the group.

Going on my first press trip, I didn't know what to expect. Everybody was very nice and welcoming when I was introduced to them. It would have been nice to be able to chat with some of the journalists and tour operators and see how they liked it so far, but the language barrier was difficult. Overall, I had a nice time and can't wait to go on another trip!

Separate from the press trip, my boss and I also went to the Pennsylvania Convention Center. We were part of a media group that saw a presentation about the 2010 Philadelphia Flower Show. We were then guided through this year's show, "Bella Italia." After our fabulous tour, we went upstairs and joined some other people from the media for light refreshments.

All in all, today was a pretty eventful day! Hopefully I'll have more stories to share with you about my experiences as an intern at PCVB!

Check back later this afternoon for an update!

I'm an intern at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PCVB) and today I get to go on an exciting trip with my boss! PCVB's liaison from Italy and some other journalists are coming into Philadelphia for a press trip, and I get to go with my boss! We will be visiting Reading Terminal Market and The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and possibly The Franklin!

Come back later this afternoon to hear all about my first experience on a press trip!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spring Break, Anyone?

Even though many students are gearing up for an exciting spring break, one popular destination is going to be less crowded this year. I have been seeing the problems that Mexico is facing with drug related violence in the news, but until recently I wasn't aware of just how serious it had gotten.

I was watching CNN the other day, and I learned that the State Department had issued a travel alert for anyone planning on going to Mexico. Low and behold, all Temple students and faculty received e-mails today that reinstated what the State Department had said. The e-mails also urged students to research their travel plans before departing, to ensure that they had a safe spring break. Temple also provided a link for students to visit to learn more about what the State Department had said, as well a link for recommendations on what you should do if you're traveling to Mexico. Students could also call the Office of the Dean of Students with questions or concerns.

I thought that it was really great that Temple sent out those e-mails. Even though many students had already heard about the situation in Mexico, it's still important for Temple to get that information out to students and faculty, especially with spring break right around the corner. Sometimes it's easy to feel like a small fish in a big pond at Temple, but by letting students know that they could come to the university with their questions and concerns about traveling on spring break really showed how much they care about their students.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Best Student PR Blogs

I love reading blogs in my spare time. Reading blogs helps me to feel in the loop with what is going on in the PR industry. Also, reading other blogs is great for getting ideas for blog posts of our own here at PRowl Public Relations.

Throughout my time blogging, I've found some great PR blogs written by other PR students.

A Step Ahead by Rachel Esterline: Rachel always has great posts full of PR advice from both herself and other PR professionals. I love reading about her experiences in PR and I have definitely learned a lot from her.

PR Start by Nick Lucido: Nick is another great blogger whose posts have taught me more about social media. He also always posts great links to other interesting blogs and sites.

A Blogging Palooza
by Janet Aronica: Janet's most recent posts about college grades is something that I think every student should read. Janet's creative style of writing always keeps me checking back to her blog.

Also, many PR professors have began blogging as a way to teach their students more about social media, and to get them actively involved. Check out two of my favorite PR professors' blogs.

Teaching PR by Karen Miller and Public Relations Matters by Barbara Nixon.

What are your favorite PR blogs?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Can Social Media Save Retail?

In a blog that I recently read, the focus was social media. How can it affect your consumer's understanding of your brand? What is its importance? Here are a few tips that I gathered from the entry.

Build a community.

JC Penney's was the lead example of how to promote interaction between your audiences. With the amount of departments in the store, there are options for giving the consumer a connected feel to the company. Give your audience the ability to stay in touch and a part of your brand.

Expand your knowledge.

Social media acts as another channel to make your mission known. You can integrate these new tools into your previous ways of promoting your product or company, but don’t forget what you’ve always known. Continue to do what made you successful in the first place while adding these helpful sites into your strategy.

Be persistent and timely.

Updates to your social media sites are vital. In order to have an effective campaign, you must stay timely and keep your audience intrigued. If you make a Facebook profile, you must keep up with it to establish and maintain credibility.

Be active on the Internet.

The rise of social media with sites such as Facebook and Twitter has sparked interest and usage by many. Although there are some negative aspects, these tools are useful in spreading awareness about your product or company.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations firm staff member, Stephanie Loiero. Follow her on Twitter: @xo_steph