Archive for the PRCA 4335 Category

Waiting to Tell your Story

Posted in PRCA 4335 on May 4, 2010 by candicehall

Sometimes I feel like it is so important to get a story out as fast as I can. We always feel like something has to be said in order to handle a situation. But what about that helpful hint my mom used to tell me all the time. “Think beofre you speak.” As practitioners, it is our job to represent the company we work for and act as a correspondent between the company and their publics. I would agree that most PR practitioners try to focus on the positives about the person or company they are representing. I am currently interning at a school in Savannah and I know from personal experience, that with every piece of literature I create, I have to present the overall “idea” of Savannah Christian Preparatory School. I have to write in a way that people can really get a good sense of who SCPS is and what they stand for. I recently was faced with a situation where a statement needed to be provided to the media about an issue. Because the situation was kind of sticky, and people’s perceptions of SCPS could have been altered by the statement released by the paper, it was important for us to choose our words and timing carefully. We ended up waiting to talk to the media. I don’t think that waiting for the smoke to clear before you release a statement is unethical. I actually think more people should try it. It seems like we get so anxious to hear the latest gossip that we sometimes forget about the legitimacy of the story. I think waiting is a public relations practice that is totally ethical in most situations and is a smart tactic to use.

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Kell on Earth

Posted in PRCA 4335 on May 2, 2010 by candicehall

Public relations has always been a profession that is constantly being portrayed as all fun, no work type of job. Television shows and movies often depict PR practitioners sipping cocktails at lavish parties and jumping to the front of the line at the newest nightclubs. When the famous HBO series, Sex in the City, came out in the nineties, everyone was wishing they had Samantha’s life.

This spring I became a huge fan of Kell on Earth. I think this show does a great job at accurately portraying the public relations profession. It’s not all fun and games in Kelly Catrone’s office. During one particular episode, the people working at People’s Revolution were working on getting ready for a fashion show that was coming up. One girl was making sure the guest list was in order and ready to use at the show for placing people in their seats. Unfortunately, as technology often does, her computer was not working properly and therefore making her guest list and seating chart all messed up. The office was completely crazy trying to figure out a way to have the list but also look professional and like they had everything under control. At the actual fashion show a few of Kelly’s employees worked out front helping guests to their seats and kicking crashers out while Kelly was backstage with the designer making sure the right media was getting interviews with the designer. Because so many crashers came to the event, the people at the check in desk were having trouble getting everyone seated that needed to see the show.

After just being recently fired from their last client because the client was unsatisfied with the way check-in ran at their fashion show a week earlier, Kelly was very eager to make this fashion show a success. One scene from the show shows Kelly’s interns stuffing gift bags for all of the media which was supposed to be an enticement to come to the fashion show. Unfortunately, the interns were not completing the task the way Kelly wanted it to be completed so she had to stuff the gift bags herself. This scene was important because we learn in class that “bribing” the media is not something professionals do but obviously this does happen in the practice. It’s also important to note that because Kelly was fired by her last client, it is not only crucial for her to please this client for financial reasons but for her business’s reputation in the fashion industry.

I love this show and I wish I could work for Kelly!!

Graduation is Almost Here!! What’s Next?

Posted in PRCA 4335 on May 1, 2010 by candicehall

This coming Saturday I will be walking across that stage at the stadium and turning my tassel. As exciting as this day is, what will I do next? So apparently, I don’t know if you have heard or not but jobs are hard to come by. As my college days are over, will I be able to procure that dream job that a college degree is supposed to provide? Recently I have been on the job hunt. It is clear that the idea of job hunting has changed. Longer is it a matter of just finding a job. Today’s hunt includes telling the company you want to work at why they NEED you. A friend told me yesterday that looking for a job is no longer reactive its productive. It’s something you have to do with excitement and persistence. The challenge isn’t with finding the job, it’s with convincing that employer that it is worth their time and money to hire you!

As I continue on my job hunt, I am looking less for that dream job and more for just a place that will hire me. Are my public relations skills that I have paid so much money to attain really going to utilized? I hope so, but for now it looks like I may have to settle fore whatever comes available. Maybe this will be a way for me to attain more skills and get a more well-balanced background rather than just solely PR.

Shadow and Learn More

Posted in PRCA 4335 on April 30, 2010 by candicehall

Recently, I shadowed a public relations practitioner for a school assignment. The task was to find a PR professional, spend four hours with them during their work day and learn about what they do at the job. This was an experience that I feel helped me more than any of the research reports I was asked to do or final exams I was assigned to complete. Actually seeing a professional do their job taught me what it really takes to work in the public relations world.

I was fortunate enough to shadow at a very prominent business in Savannah, Georgia called Great Dane Trailers. Great Dance specializes in selling large tracker trailer trucks to companies such as Wal-Mart, Target and many different grocery stores around the country. Great Dane Trailers obviously would not be the first company that comes to mind when someone thinks about public relations, however I found that a great deal of PR goes into the day to day events that take place at Great Dane. The professional that I specifically shadowed under was Brittany Banks, the Special Events Coordinator. Her position is hired under the Marketing Department at Great Dane, however her job is definitely a public relations position.

Brittany showed me how she plans events for Great Dane and markets their brand. I learned so much about what she does at her job and also learned about teh interworkings of a business office and workplace dynamics. I think this was a great experience and one that I will remember and refer back to in the future.

Is my voice being heard?

Posted in PRCA 4335 on April 25, 2010 by candicehall

Throughout the duration of my senior seminar class, we talked a lot about ethics and the ethical issues with public relations. The stories we are bombarded with are filled with personal agendas and propaganda. Every time I sit down to watch the news, it’s obvious to me that someone, someone far away from me, decided what I should think about that night.

What I find even scarier than the fact that we can’t go a day without being influenced by media, is that the media can pretty much send out any messages they want to. What are these messages? Well, I think most media seeks shock factor. I think they (they- meaning television reporters, journalists, tabloid writers, new paper columnists, etc.) wish to present the juiciest stories they can find, whether it be true or false.   An audience will always be present and ready with incredible gullibility. It’s as if people automatically believe anything that is in print or spoken on television. Take for example the ridiculous tabloids in the grocery store line. No matter how audacious they are, people continue to buy and read these filthy magazines believing every last word.  Do we as a society have any say in what we believe these days? Or are we programmed to think a certain way?

I just recently finished reading George Orwell’s book 1984 and honestly don’t think Orwell was far off with his story of a society brainwashed by an elite group of people. To a certain extent, I feel our society is headed in that direction. When you watch the news or read a newspaper do you usually hear the opinions of “Nancy from down the street” or “average Joe, the mail man?”  No. You hear from people in higher positions in society.  This thing we Americans believe in called freedom of speech is a crock in my opinion. Yes, you can say what you wish, but can you be heard?

Learn from my mistake…

Posted in PRCA 4335 on April 9, 2010 by candicehall

I would like to share with all of you my little itty bitty mistake that I recently made at my internship. Actually, it wasn’t a little itty bitty mistake.. it was a BIG one and I have worried and worried about it for weeks now!

I am currently interning at a private school in Savannah. One of my recent tasks was to write up a press release and send it to all the usual Savannah media. So, I did just that. I wrote up a good press release and included some photos of the students and sent it out to all the media that my supervisor suggested. I made sure my email was perfect, no spelling errors or typos. I sized the photos and made sure they looked their very best. I even made sure that the press release layout was absolutely flawless.. header, footer, logo, everything. I was very proud of myself. So I go home that Friday feeling like I was a really great intern. Well, one thing I failed to think about was the fact that I had emailed all the media on my school email rather than my Georgia Southern email. This was fine except that.. I rarely check my school website. THIS IS WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO. If your internship sets you up an email account, CHECK IT!!! I probably checked it about five days after the press releases were sent out and when I did, one of the newspapers had emailed me twice about identifying the students in the photos. Because I failed to respond in a timely fashion, our story didn’t get printed and I looked like a dummy and a slacker.

Lesson learned: ALWAYS check your email.

A New Generation of Parents

Posted in PRCA 4335 on April 6, 2010 by candicehall

As a soon-to-be public relations professionals, it is important for us to recognize the differences in audience members in today’s society. Much of what we do as practitioners is convey messages to the public. That “public” is made up of certain groups of people who we must understand in order for our message to reach and resonate with them. Several years ago, if a public relations campaign wished to target parents, it wouldn’t have focused on technology. However, “times they are a changin” and so are today’s parents!

I recently read an article talking about Generation Xers becoming parents. Kids from the late 80’s and early 90’s are now starting to have children of their own and are somewhat different than what you might have once thought of as a parent. These Gen. X parents are techo-savy and up with the trend of social media. The article discussed how schools are having to change the way they disperse information because of this new wave of web-moms and dads. Parents now-a-days are very concerned with what is going on in their child’s life and during the school. However, instead of waiting around for that parent teacher conference or the PTA meeting at the end of the month, these parents are taking matters in their own hands and seeking out this information online. School webpages, teacher blogs, Facebook even Twitter are all being utilized by today’s schools to get the word out to parents.

Currently, I am interning at a private school in Savannah and I know first hand how important social media has become to the school and to parents. Part of my job at my internship is to post short news articles and pictures on the school website. Teachers are also using blogs to post activities and information for their students. It’s not about the bulletin board anymore..it’s all about the web!

This just goes to show that what we are learning in class is true. There is no such thing as the general public and these audience groups are always changing. As PR professionals, we need to really know who we are trying to target and where they get their information.