Mullen’s Intro to PR

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When signing up for Into to PR with Jennifer Mullen, I was pretty confident that I would enjoy the class. The previous semester I took Comm 101 with her and after that class I declared a Communication major with a concentration in Public Relations. I enjoyed the class so much because it wasn’t like I was doing work; I actually got the concept and liked learning more. After taking a three semesters of foundational studies classes something finally clicked.

In Intro to PR Mullen really pushed social media skills on us. For the class we were graded weekly on blog entries, tweets, and our LinkedIn profile. At the beginning  I wasn’t so sure of this approach, but I figured it would be an easy A, so I went along with it. About half way through the semester I got an E-mail about a really awesome internship opportunity with The Campus Special, and applied. One evening I got on my LinkedIn and saw that one of the Account Managers from The Campus Special had looked at my profile. I had no idea what to do. Then, the next day I had my first phone interview with the company. Three interviews later, an intense venting about my nervousness and resume building session with Mullen, I had the position. Now I am leaving for training this Friday in Chicago, and who knows if it would have been possible without Mullen having us make a LinkedIn profile! We also did things such as write press releases and campaigns for actually non-profit organizations. I had applied these skills to my other classes and it has been a great help already having the knowledge, and even a template to help along the way. Being in a class that offers real world experience gives you a feel for whether or not this is a field that is for you.

Aside from that, Mullen is one of my favorite professors I have had at Indiana State. She doesn’t bore you with busy work. She tells you how it is and doesn’t waste your time. She also doesn’t let you waste hers. She gives clear deadlines for assignments and sticks to them; which I like. It might not be nice the night before it’s due, but in the real world, especially the PR world, there are real deadlines. Mullen is also so passionate about what she does that it shows through in her teaching. Having a professor that is a cheerleader for your success makes all of the difference. After being in one of her classes for the past two semesters I’m not sure how I feel about her not offering any other courses! If you are a student at ISU thinking about taking her class, I highly recommend it.

photo credit: blogging4jobs

Spring Week – ISU

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Its Spring Week and Indiana State University! That means the competition starts and the fun and games begin! Each year ISU organizations participate in Spring week.The theme for this year’s Spring Week was “We Heart the 90’s!” This year the organizations include Residence Halls, ROTC, and Greek Life. They participate in activities such as Remix, sculpture contest, a carnival, and service days, to name a few. All activities that are participated in are judged and the organizations are given points. At the end of the week the students with the most points are given a trophy and deemed the winner. There are also awards given for each winner of the individual event. I will describe the events below. 

Speaker: This year’s Spring Week is provided a speaker to speak on the importance of advocating against rape victims. Students gathered around the fountain, received shirts, and listened. 

Remix: Every year the organizations that participate in Spring Week are given a song and are supposed to make up a dance to the song. The songs given this year were songs such as Livin Lavida Loca, Hammer Time, The Mocarana. There are judges at the event and the organization with the highest score gets the points for Spring Week.

Sculpture Contest: This year since the theme is the 90’s, organizations were to build a sculpture out of Leggos into something from the 90’s One example was that Alpha Sigma Alpha made a giant Mario out of their Leggos. 

Carnival: Among all of the events held, there is also a carnival. At the carnival they held activities such as face painting, bingo, snacks, and door prizes. The prizes included games and movies from the 90’s, a flat screen TV, and a Wii. 

Tandem Race: This event is the most demanding of all. Each organization builds a team for the tandem bike race. The tandem bike has to go around the track 50 times. To prepare for this the teams practice up to two months before, holding team practices multiple times a week and going to spin class at the Rec Center at 6 am. 

Awards: After all of the work put in the week comes to a close where the organizations find out where they placed. For such a long, and hard week they find out how well they really did. 

Photo credit: loveheartshirts

#twitter

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Twitter. If you are at all familiar with social media, you know what twitter is and you most likely have one. Twitter is arguably the most popular form of social media out there; with an average of 175 million tweets being sent, and about 300,000 new users a day. Twitter is a way to connect with friends, colleagues, and advertisers. When using twitter, without even realizing it, you are advertising for other companies with a simple hashtag. 

For the most part, I think that companies do a good job with using twitter as a form of advertisement. They can promote deals, promotions, and new items and have it out to millions of people in an instant. Mixing the fact that twitter is a free form of advertisement with the statistics stated above, I think tweeting is beneficial for companies. For the most part, the only bad advertisement is no advertisement in my eyes. Even if a company experiences a hashtag horror story, people will forget about it and move on to the next big thing in five minutes. There is always an opportunity to redeem your social media credibility. Even if a hash tag doesn’t turn out how you planned, it is still getting your name out to the public; you just have to bounce back. 

One hashtag that sticks out to me was Susan Boyle’s, #susanalbumparty. While this hashtag was meant to promote her new album, if you look closely, the meaning can be altered. While I do consider this a hashtag fail, I agree with some critics and do believe this could have been on purpose. Either way, this hashtag earned Susan the attention she was looking for. She probably even had people tweeting about her who had never listened to her music before. 

I think her publicists did the right thing by leaving the hashtag running. It was seen as a harmless joke to twitter users in the end, and it earned her a lot of new publicity. 

Photo credit: mashable.com 

Spotlight: Kevin Jenison

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Professor Jenison is an Athletics Media Relations Writer for Indiana State University sports. In a nut-shell it is his responsibility to keep statistics and player stories up to date, make yearbooks for the respective sports, write news releases, and to also maintain the websites of each sport. This, however, is not how I came into contact with Mr. Jenison. He is my professor for my Media Writing class. In addition to being a Media Relations writer, he is also an instructor in the Communication Department at ISU. I talked with Mr. Jenison to learn a little bit more about what working in Public Relations is like for him day to day.

ME: What’s a typical week like? (If no week is typical, then what was last week like?)

JENISON: Working in athletic media relations means that there is not a typical week with athletic events occurring on any given day of the week. That being said, a “typical” week at the present time begins Monday mornings with updating records and statistics from the action over the weekend. That is usually followed by filing reports with the conference regarding Athletes of the Week nominations. By the time the afternoon comes around, I begin to prepare releases for the next competition. Since I am responsible for track & field, cross country, and women’s golf, I usually have several stories in the works at the same time. Tuesday’s are usually spent talking with the coaches, writing releases on any national or conference honors, and updating each sports weekly notebook. Wednesday’s are spent finishing up the notebooks and finalizing pre-competition releases. Thursday and Friday are a little more relaxed but somehow I always seem to keep busy preparing for the weekend.

ME: Tell me about a project you worked on that you are especially proud of. (ex: column or article)

JENISON: This year I have been writing the feature stories for men’s and women’s basketball along with football during the past fall. I do take great pride in writing these stories, bringing a more humanistic side to the athletes I write about instead of just recanting their statistics from the season. I find the athletes interesting and their stories about how they started in their respective spots and why they chose Indiana State to be entertaining. The parents must also think so because I have received several thank you letters from them. This is a special time for the athletes and a special time for their families. To know that people actually read the articles does make me feel good.

ME: What do you do to keep current in the PR industry?

JENISON: The PR industry is a multi-faceted field so keeping up with everything would be a little daunting. I do stay up to date by reading articles sent via email to me from our association (College Sports Information Directors of America) which pull a lot of their articles from PR websites. I also belong to the PRSA. When time permits, I also research stories concerning facets of this occupation that I feel I need to improve on. Teaching also helps in this regards.

ME: What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR?

JENISON: I grew up in the journalism business so there was not much I did not know about PR before beginning my career. That being said, I would also acknowledge that the ability to develop public relations strategies was a weakness I had and I could have used more experience in developing those skills.

ME: How important is writing in your career?

JENISON: Writing is essential in any career that you choose. It is just more important in the PR industry because you are in the game of persuasion. Careful word choice, grammar usage, and the knowledge of how to put a story together are important for any writer who wants to be read. Someone who does not take these items into consideration will probably end up on the assembly line and not doing what they thought the loved.

ME: What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?

JENISON: Absorb the AP Stylebook. It contains a vast amount of knowledge that is useful to anyone in the Communications industry. I would also recommend buying a grammar book and reviewing it. The most sought after writers are those that know how sentences are structured and how to use words effectively. Finally, I would recommend reading. It is only through seeing how others write that you can improve your own writing.

ME: How does technology affect your daily work?

JENISON: The increased importance of social media has drastically changed how this industry works especially the use of Twitter. It is a good exercise to try to disseminate the most important information in 140 characters or less without the use of shortcuts or abbreviations. That forces you to concentrate on the most important information and relaying that to your readers. Those comfortable with social media are becoming the most sought after employees.

I am very please that I chose to do my spotlight over Mr. Jenison. Not only did I learn stuff about a professsor that I would likely have never known, but he was able to give me good information to help me better understand the world of Public Relations.

Get in, get happy

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What would the Super Bowl be without its infamous commercials? If you are not a guy, chances are the commercials and Beyoncé’s performance were the highlights of the game for you. I can’t say that I saw every commercial because of working interfering… again. Out of all of the ones I saw, I do have a favorite.

I liked the Volkswagon Beetle commercial the best. I liked it so much because it was simple and straight to the point. It didn’t have a lot of nonsense in it like other commercials did. There was one message – Be happy. While critics were tweeting and posting blogs saying that it was racist, I didn’t think so at all. The two main points that the commercial is being accused of being racist is because the main guy with the Volkswagon is from Minnesota, but is clearly speaking with a Jamaican accent. There was also reggae music playing in the background. I think that he was speaking with a Jamaican accent with reggae music playing was to portray that he was living the happy worry free life that Jamaicans are known for. That’s not racist to me or something to be offended by in my eyes. I would take it as a compliment if someone came up to me and said “wow you really live a worry free life style.” That is what life is all about, doing what you love and being happy while doing it. Obviously owning a Volksagon Beetle isn’t going to do this for you, but what I think the company is trying to get across is that it can help you along the journey. People are looking too closely into things and trying to find something to criticize about a great commercial. Some people just need to don’t worry, and be HAPPY! 🙂

“The road may be rocky, but it sure feels good to me.” -Bob Marley

Photo Credit: Bazzerio