Category Archives: Assignments

The Grand Finale

top-10It’s been a fun and rewarding year in my Intro to PR class. I decided to share with you my Top Ten Take-Aways from the class through Utterli. Enjoy!

Top Ten List:

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Twitter: Revisited

I surprised myself with how fast I took to Twitter. Within a few weeks, I was cranking out tweets like a pro. (HA!) In all seriousness, it was easy to jump into. Now, after some time has gone by, I can tell that twitter has become a more natural thing for me. I no longer sit and spend 5 minutes trying to decide what perfectly sculpted phrase I want to send out to the world. It’s becoming more second nature, instead of a daunting task.

Although the transition has been practically seamless, I still have a few questions about Twitter. Mostly I’m curious as to what Twitter will look like in the future. Will it continue as is, or will it commercialize to the point of being unrecognizable?

During my time with Twitter I discovered 3 PR Professionals that have been SO helpful:

Alison Bailin:@abailinShe is an Account Exec at HMA Public Relations and handles Media Relations, Crisis Comm, and Event Planning. It’s been beneficial to hear her take on social media and the world of PR in general.
SocialWebPR @socialwebpr This PR professional is based in the UK, and helps keep me informed with what’s going on in the world and how PR relates to that. A recently discussed topic includes Ashton Kutcher reaching a million followers.
PR Couture: @PR_Couture This company specializes in fashion merchandising and is based out of San Diego and New York. They talk about PR in the fashion world and how social media goes along with that. I’m not actually interested in fashion PR, but it is interesting none-the-less!

You can find me on Twitter @AnsleyLawhead.

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PR in real life…an interview with Denise Parrish

There’s just something about hearing information first hand. Reading info from a book is all good and well, listening to a podcast is often times worthwhile, but learning from someone personally—now that is what it’s all about. In the world of PR, learning from someone who is immersed in all things PR is imperative. Someone who works tirelessly, everyday, to further a cause or company they love. Someone who recognizes the struggles, as well as the impact they are making on the world around them. Someone who just gets it. Someone like Denish Parrish.

Denise is employed by MCGHealth as the Media Relations Manager in the Public Relations Department. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for me that I am delighted to be able to share with you:

1) What’s a typical week like? (If no week is typical, then what was
last week like?)
What is happening in medicine in the hospital and in the outside world
drives many of my days.
For instance, with the economy like it is, I felt like many Americans
were losing jobs, homes, etc., and were probably suffering from
depression. I checked with one of our psychiatrists, and turns out, I
was right. At our hospital, we had a major increase in patients coming
in for depression. So, I “pitched” this as a story idea to the local
newspaper and TV stations. It resulted in three days of TV interviews
with one of our doctors, who talked about the problem and offered some
practical advice on how to fight off depression in these tough economic
times. We also felt the story was so timely, that we drafted a bylined
article by the doctor and sent it out statewide to see if it would be
picked up by other newspapers.

I do a good bit of writing each week – news releases, bylined articles,
calendar items, media advisories and photo releases. I have attached
samples of all of these for you. The bylined articles are a way for us
to position our physicians as experts, so that when the news media is
looking for a health expert for a story, they will call me first to
arrange an interview with one of our physicians or specialists.

News releases are pretty basic. They usually announced an event, an
award, a new designation or status the hospital has earned or announce
employee promotions of senior level managers.

Calendar items are just that – all of events that MCGHealth has or
sponsors are sent out each month in the form of a calendar list of what,
when, where and who to contact for more information. Then, about two
weeks out from each event, an individual calendar item release goes
out.

Media advisories are when we invite the media to cover an event or
story that is happening at the hospital or that involves us.

Photo releases are when we send out a news item AFTER the fact with a
photo that was taken during the event.

We send something out to the media just about every single day, so,
yes, writing is a huge part of my job. The writing has to be provocative
to entice the media to want to read it and use it.

2) Tell me about a project you worked on that you are especially proud
of.
I worked on the MCGHealth Cancer Center Groundbreaking event that was
held September 17, 2008. I put together – from scratch – an entire media
kit about the new cancer center that included an overview of the center,
background on cancer research and cancer statistics, artist renderings
of what the new building would look like, a news release and a media
advisory. I also drafted the speech for Don Snell, our President and
CEO, who opened the groundbreaking event. I booked a photographer and
videographer for the event. I also worked with all three local TV
stations to arrange onsite interviews with cancer physicians, Mr. Snell
and some of our cancer survivors (patients). We got lots of publicity,
and the media kit was very well received by all. My PR Director loved
it! In fact, she entered the PR for this event into an awards contest. I
am hoping we will win in that category. I have attached some of the
media kit pieces for you to see.

3)How important is writing in your career?
As you can see in #1 above, I wrote every day. Each month there are
many health observances recognized across the nation, like heart month
in February and breast cancer month in October. These observances give
us the opportunity to write timely bylined articles and news releases
about those health issues. But, again, writing is extremely important,
and it has to be interesting enough to get the media’s attention.

4)What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?
1. Study and know the organization you are working for. This will
prepare you to be ready at a moment’s notice when the media calls
wanting an expert in your organization to speak on a particular issue.
2. Keep up with current events. You can always find some kind of way to
tie in what your company does with current events. For example, this is
Masters Week in Augusta, so I drafted a news release about taking care
of your health while visiting Augusta.
A celebrity (Natasha Richardson) died following a head injury in a
skiing accident. She might have lived had she sought medical attention.
So, I pitched one of our neurosurgeons to the local media to see if they
wanted to talk about brain injuries and how to know when to go to the ER
and when it’s just a bump on the head. Ch. 6 did the story, and it ran
several times over a couple of days.
3. Write, write, write and pitch, pitch pitch.

5)What do you do to keep current in the PR industry?
We have PR tips that come to us each day that I look at. We also
subscribe and share some PR magazines, including PR Week, to stay
abreast on what’s happening.

6) What has surprised you the most about working in PR?
How busy it is, but how rewarding it is at the same time. I love to see
results of the work I have done in the newspaper or on TV. That’s really
cool!

Denise was SO helpful in letting me get a glimpse of the world of PR first hand. It’s obvious she loves her job, and working for something you’re passionate about has always been key to me. I can’t wait to experience the PR Denise knows and loves!

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Tribes-We need YOU to lead us

When I heard we were going to be discussing Seth Godin’s latest book Tribes in my PR class, I was ecstatic to say the least! I was introduced to Seth Godin this past summer during my internship with Catalyst. He was one of our main stage speakers during the October conference. (OK–I promise that’s my last shameless hyperlink to the company I love!)

During the conference, we gave all 12,000 attendees a copy of Godin’s book Tribes—which has proved helpful in seeing the model of leadership as it is intended to be. In Tribes, Godin depicts the art of leadership beautifully. We learn that it only takes two things to turn a group of people into a tribe:
-A shared interest
-A way to communicate

Tribes are described to be those individuals directly effected by a certain leadership. They are a community, a force, and when a tribe is ran correctly, great and powerful things can and will occur.

One major point that Godin stressed that I loved states, “Part of leadership (a big part of it actually) is the ability to stick with the dream for a long time. Long enough that the critics realize that you’re going to get there one way or another…so they follow.” (pg. 132)*

I think that this statement has more truth to it than we care to hear. We are creative beings by nature. We each have countless dreams and goals that long to be realized and pursued. Intentionality and endurance to see these dreams come to fruition, is half the battle.

*Excerpt from Seth Godin’s book, Tribes.

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Ethics and PR: Chapter 3 Rundown

1) The business world is not as devoid of ethical practices like we all believe. Great PR professionals take pride in being people of character. The three basic value orientations in terms of ethics are: absolutist, existentialist, and situationalist. Another more old-fashioned notion still around today is the good ol’ Golden Rule.

2) No matter who we work for, we all have a respobnsibility to behave in an ethical manner. Even if we represent only one company or cause, we have no excuse to not behave accordingly. Society as a whole understands that an advocate for a particular cause is working on an assigned task with an assigned role—just as a defense lawyer or attorney might.

3) In today’s PR world, we are discovering gray areas. Lines seem to blur in the context of PR, Advertising, and Journalism. There are a miriad of reasons behind this current shift. One prevalent cause, is the current economic state we’re in. These pressures force many different organizations, especially specialty magazines, to connect paid advertising with editorial content. It is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish the duties of PR personnel, and Journalists.

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How to Land The Top Job…

…It might be easier than you think. When you approach an interview, you are essentially attempting to sell yourself. You want this company to think you are the best, most qualified, most obvious choice. You want to WOW them. If you follow these 10 tips, you can begin to rest assured that you gave it your all. This by no means you’re guaranteed an offer, but it is a jumping off point none-the-less:

10. Always, always, always make sure that you’re refrences are informed that they are indeed your refrences. Make sure you’ve prepped them about your interview and the job opportunity that will hopefully follow.

9. Never ever forget to bring a copy of your resume. It’s important to make sure that your potential employer has a tangible representation of your time spent together. While we’re talking about resumes…

8. Keep it short!! One page is all that is required of a resume. Too much longer looks a bit drawn out, too short and it can appear too vague.

7. Use your manners! Send a thank you card AND e-mail after an interview. It shows that you truly care and it brings a ‘human touch’ to the sometimes tough business world.

6. Always know what type of interview you are about to walk into, and be ready for it. Whether its a phone, webcast, one-on-one, panel, ect. Always know so that you know how to prepare.

5. Inforce your own dress code. Remember, you are indeed trying to sell yourself as a certain ‘type’ or ‘brand.’ (One that will fit their company!) So your outfit should reflect your seriousness about the matter.

4. Know the company you are trying to be a part of! It’s important that you research and understand the workings of the team you are trying to join.

3. For those of us who are putting a resume together straight out of college, it is always best to shy away from highschool information. It’s ok if you include some very outstanding award or what not, but other than that…you should leave that information out.

2. In your resume, be specific about your career objective. Mention what you want to do and where you want to do it.

1. Be POSITIVE! Ask questions, and try to be yourself. Show what you can bring and how you can better the team!

Good luck!

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Wag the Dog—Critical Analysis

In Wag the Dog, the PR Professional went to many extremes to solve the problem at hand…whatever that problem may be. From creating a false war, to creating a false war hero, this character did whatever was necessary to restore goodwill to the President. Because of this, I would classify the PR Professional’s value orientation as situational. The Professional was willing to have the Producer, who was the brains behind all of his plans, killed when he threatened to leak top secret information. He believed that doing this ‘little’ bit of harm would outweigh the mess that would happen if the truth were revealed.

The PR Professional is clearly unethical on many accounts. First of all, is the issue of honesty. The PR Professional was is no way, shape, or form honest with the public. He created an illusion, an idea that he sold to the public and put the full weight of the White House behind him for clout.

I personally find the phrase ‘Wag the Dog’ ingenius. It is simply a play on the idea of a dog, or the public, having control over their actions or thoughts. In this case, ‘Wag the Dog’ means that the PR Professional and his team are telling the public what to think; they are in control.

He has confirmed the one thing that I have had to defend when I tell people that my major is Public Relations; that all PR Professionals are liars out to decieve the public into buying into a false reality. It is a major sterotype that is amplified in the movie to the point of being comical.

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