Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bridging Media with New Media

Today there is an ongoing conflict between mainstream media and online media. Sherry Heyl, CEO and idealist for What a Concept, explained that one side of the debate involves the journalists. They feel they have studied proper writing techniques for years, incurred great expenses to get details of stories and worked hard to gain credibility.

Bloggers, also called citizen journalists, emerged on the media scene suddenly and created more competition between the two outlets. Unlike journalists, bloggers can say what they feel whether they are wrong or not. They even break the stories first. Some may think this is unfair!

Heyl believes they are more similar than not. They both work hard to gain credibility. Bloggers are not handed an audience in a pretty gift-wrapped package. Both incur expenses in time, effort and money to get the story.

The key for all journalists is gaining authority and this can be achieved through brand image. The public will believe you if they know you have a good media reputation. People find content through sources they trust, whether it is through online news sources, blogs or peers.

Social networking sites also create communities of trust. Heyl found in the research report "Engaging Advocates through Search and Social Media," released in December 2006, that not only is social networking an influence on market growth, but particularly vocal individuals are having more of an effect than ever.

To help build a bridge in media, Heyl made the following suggestions:
  • Use social media press releases: gives the audience information in small bites and relays information in an organized manner.
  • Integrate a RSS feed in your releases to attract more readers.
  • Use social bookmarking , technorati tags and trackback.
  • Allow people to give feedback because it may actually allow the company to shine.
All these tips will enable widespread attention. Your primary goal is to get the message out there and to as many networks as possible.

Career Planning in PR

There really is no career planning in PR. You get your first job. You learn. You move on. Chuck Reese did an excellent job at explainingg how all of his jobs led him eventually owning his own PR company.

In his first job as a journalist he learned how to write. Reese emphasized how many PR practictioners do not know basic grammer. Related to this, learn how to interview. The two elements are nothing if you cannot tell a story. PR is more than press releases because reporters want stories. Lastly, if you cannot report the truth you have no credibility. Learn how to report.

This part of Reese's discussion resignated most with me. I admit that I do not practice writing as much as I should. It definitely motivated me to write as much as I can.

Reese and later Kim Englehardt and Nicole Hunnicutt did give me some hope when the discussion turned to what employers expect out of newly hired graduates. They do not expect you to know everything and certainly do not want you to act like you do.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Professionalism 101: What NOT to do

Generally, if you are trying to find a job or internship, there are basic things you should know such as what to wear to an interview, etc. Many times in seminars on professionalism, people provide basic information that you may already know. But Dawn Miller Brun, Jessica Laiti, Blair Logan, and Michelle Roche teamed up to go a little more in depth about what NOT to do during Professionalism 101.

  • Do NOT send thank you notes to employers after an interview with sailboats and little fishies. IT'S NOT PROFESSIONAL! (Yes, someone really did that, see replica above thanks to the drawing by Ms. Laiti)
  • Do NOT send text messages to employers ever! IT'S NOT PROFESSIONAL!
  • Do NOT affiliate yourself with weird groups on Facebook where the profile picture is a naked girl. Employers will find you!
  • Do NOT show up empty handed. Be sure to have extra copies of your resume and writing samples.
  • Do NOT be afraid to ask anything . . . well, use your own judgment.
  • Do NOT wear jeans, a camisole, and flip-flops to an interview, even if the employer says it's okay. It is always better to dress up than to dress down.
  • Do NOT rely on e-mails for your pitch. Approximately 8/10 companies will say they never received the e-mail according to Michelle Roche from her experiences.
  • Do NOT include exclamation points in your e-mails.
They did actually give some tips on what you should do too:
  • Drop a handwritten note or e-mail within 24 hours after interview. (Just not like the one pictured above)
  • Google yourself! If you don't, know employers will. Be cognizant of the information available on the internet about you.
  • Send a personalized cover letter
  • Find places to volunteer your services to get experience
  • Be realistic when negotiating
  • Give a range when asked about compensation
  • Find a job that makes you happy
We had fun in this session! Click here to view more photos.

Help: I Don't Want to go to Grad School Now!

I decided to wait until after "To Go or Not to Go: Deciding if graduate school is right for you" with Sarah McLean Cannon to get some personal advice. Listen here, it may be beneficial for you too!

Great Advice From the Professionals

During the third round of sessions, I took a little break and went to hang out in the Drewry room. While there, I met with two awesome PR Professionals and asked them to share a little wisdom with me. I recorded the conversations so you could hear their advice too.

Sarah McLean Cannon from the William Mills Agency gave some common advice for all PR professionals and for us students.

Michelle Roche from Michelle Roche Media Relations talked about how important writing is and what professionals are looking for when they ask for a portfolio.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Can't decide if you want to go to grad school? This could help!

In To Go or Not to Go: Deciding if Grad School is Right for you, Sarah McLean Cannon provided the following for those contemplating grad school:

Graduate school is not quite as glamorous as your TA’s make it out to be. If you’re seriously thinking about continuing your education, below are some questions you need to ask yourself.

What do I want to be when I grow up?
Some positions (i.e. public relations professor) require graduate degrees. Some organizations do not require advanced degrees, but the added education gets you higher salaries and/or prevents you from hitting a “glass ceiling.” Other organizations value experience more than graduate degrees.

Graduate programs can unofficially be categorized as academic (preparing students towards getting a doctoral degree) or professional (preparing students for a PR career).

Do I have the grades to get in and stay in?
Getting in: Graduate programs have grade and standardized test requirements (GRE for M.A.). Look at your transcript and talk with your advisor to see if you meet admissions requirements. Take practice tests before taking the actual GRE.

Staying in: Most programs require a B average or better to count towards graduation credit. They also require a thesis or a passing score on comprehensive exams in order to receive your degree.

Should I work for a couple of years before going to grad school?
After working in public relations for a couple of years, some people decide the profession is not for them. Make sure you definitely like the profession before you invest time and money into a graduate degree.

On the other hand, going straight to graduate school has some perks as well: staying on your parents’ payroll (if you’re lucky), continuing in “study mode,” getting an advanced degree out of the way before starting your career, etc.

Do I like to analyze theoretical material and write long papers?
Graduate school work is different from undergraduate work. When reading is assigned, you REALLY do have to complete it. Classes occur only once or twice a week so attendance is crucial. There are fewer exams and assignments so they count more. Necessary skills include time management, research, anti-procrastination, etc.

Am I OK with poverty for a couple of years?
While graduate assistantships and internships are available, many graduate students take out loans for tuition and/or living expenses. While your friends are receiving salaries from their first jobs, you might still be begging your parents for gas money. A master’s degree may give you a salary boost later in life, but you’re missing out on two years of salaried income and taking on years of student loan payments.

Last, but not least…
Am I looking for a rewarding learning experience?
Graduate school is both demanding and satisfying. You will read, write and research until your brain aches, but there are few other places where you will have the opportunity to discuss topics that you are passionate about with others who share similar interests.


I plan to do a much more detailed post about today, but I have got to say THANK YOU! Trust me, the professionals are following this blog, and we will continue to publicize this to students. I hope our social media class enjoyed the event. I can't wait to read your posts on the sessions I missed out on.

The always amazing Jessica Laiti, who spoke on the Professionalism 101 round table, just sent me this link. In the round table, we discussed what to do/not to do in internships. It's pretty obvious not to make a fool of yourself like Kevin Colvin, but it's funny to look at the pictures!

Preparing for the Interview

Blair Logan talked about things that he did not learn here at UGA, but things that he wish he did learn in regards to the interview process.

It is important to understand what the professional environment looks like right now and how they view your generation. Our generation has a few tags on it such as "the most praised generation" and the "me generation". We are forced to overcome the generational tags in our interview.

Before the interview:
-you need to do a personal audit on yourself
-get rid of your weird email addresses
-be straightforward in your email address such as first name.last
-do not put anything on your myspace that you do not want your grandmother to see
-promising job applicants have been dismissed because of their myspace and facebook profiles
-potential employers can find out a lot more about you before the interview due to the Internet

The resume:
-Surprisingly, resumes are fairly unimportant
-the cover letter is more important
-the resume validates what you say in the cover letter
-use the cover letter as a pitch about yourself
-bullets are good in the resume
-place your professional experience at the top and than your education
-unfortunately, your GPA is not really relevant because they already know you have a college degree
-you can use your campaigns class and creative consultants as professional experience on your resume
-have a variety of writing samples
-include graphics that you have worked on
-if you put part-time jobs on your resume, put it down at the very bottom
-if you worked full time so you could go to school full time-let them know!
-bring leave behinds of your portfolio for the interviewer to look at more in depth
-email your portfolio in a PDF file or put it on a CDROM and give it to interviewer before the interview
-very impressive according to Mr. Blair Logan!!

In regards to looking for a job:
-take the time to follow up with jobs that you sent your resume to
-submitting your resume in person makes an impact
-both email and voicemail communication need to be formal which applies to all sectors of PR - nonprofit, corporate, and agency
-maximize your networks, especially in Atlanta
-PRSA is a great networking tool
-look at the company's growth because growth=hiring
-Informational interviews are a wonderful way to get your face and name out there
-they usually occur on Friday afternoons
-take advantage of the networks that you establish during your internships

Dress attire:
-wear a dark colored suite
-do not wear anything too flashy
-be conservative in your attire
-even though most businesses have a business casual dress code, dress nicer!

During the interview:
-have a firm handshake, especially for men
-consciously make eye contact
-ask intelligent questions about the company
-tie what you already know in with what the interviewer is telling you
-when the interview is coming to an end, make sure to make it clear to the interviewer that you want to work there
-ask for the job!

-make sure it happens within the first 24 hours
-hand written notes are great, but make sure the paper that you use is professional
-e-mail is good too
-reference something that you discussed during the interview in your follow-up
-you cannot follow-up too soon

The dont's of the interview process:
-mispellings in the cover letter and resume
-they are automatically thrown in the trash
-incorrectly pronouncing the name of the organization that you are interviewing with
-do not show up late

How to get thrashed (do not follow)

1. Send bloggers spam.
2. Do not show them respect.

Approach bloggers respectfully and on their turf. They control everything they print and people read them.

So for your sake and the sake of your clients, learn how to pitch to different mediums.

How to pitch

Personalizing is important. Recycling an article for a blogger will not work. Spamming is not acceptable anymore.

Sometimes, the journalists are also the bloggers and bloggers do not care about you.

How to pitch through blogs

1: Do your research, be able to personalize a pitch for a blogger
2: Comment on their blog before you pitch to them
3: Get RSS for each of your press releases
4: Ask for journalists'/bloggers' input
5: Use an instant message system to be available at all times
6: Be text savvy and use their media, they automatically will think you are more credible and smarter
7: Do not send mass e-mails to bloggers for help, they will not produce your content and you will get "burned" by the industry
* Remember journalists are also bloggers!

Chuck Reece Session summary

Checkered past of Chuck Reece

Chuck Reece breaks down his steps to owning his own business.
• Journalism: Reece first interned with Advertising Age and with AdWeek.

From this, he learned how to write, which is the most important skill to have, and the art of checking and double checking facts. He also learned how to interview. He emphasizes that being able to listen and talk to people is important and that also leads into telling a good story, events tell stories and these stories have elements.
Once upon a time- the beginning
Then suddenly- a turning point
Fortunately- what we can do to help
Happily ever after- positive results

• Politics: He then worked for Georgia governor Zell Miller for three years.

Here he learnt:
1. Media relations: How to deal with reporters, dealing with people he used to work with.
2. Strategy: Businesses do not communicate out of goodness of their hearts, they do it because they have to.
3. Political Communication: It’s about changing the attitudes of people, influencing them to vote etc.
4. Speechwriting: Ties back in with knowing how to write. We need to write for clarity, Journalists needs to understand, general public needs to understand.

• Corporate Communications: Director of Global corporate communications for Coca-cola
1. Politics: Inside politics of a corporation, who approves what? There is a definite hierarchy and we need to become familiar with how it works.
2. Corporate finance
3. Print-web mixture: Print frames, web spins. Be careful what medium you use for what message.
4. Info architecture: This focuses on the way a website is organized and how easy it is for the consumer.

• Agency: Reece worked for GCI a global communication firm, owned by a global marketing/PR company. It is important for a college student for come into an agency job with exceptional skill.

1. Consulting: Telling clients’ things they haven’t thought about yet, as students, we need to show our brilliance.
2. Variety: Brings versatility.
3. Management: Knowing how to work with people and doing it well.
4. My own value: PR is a billable business, knowing your worth and understanding your value.

What smart clients want
-and Reece is cheaper than an agency
You can be an entrepreneur when you have all 3.

Things you forget when you become an entrepreneur
-Info technology

Concluding thoughts and questions:

• Read “The World is Flat,” it may be boring but it is very important for college students.
• Got where he is by building skills and taking a leap.
• To build a client base, you start with one client, mostly always stolen.
• To set yourself apart in an agency, it’s more about who you are and how well you work with people.
• Reece recommends that you find someone to become your mentor, be careful when you make that decision.

The liability of blogs

It is good to have a personal blog outside of a professional blog.

However, referring to the Delta incident of the flight attendant posing provocatively in uniform, you should not use your professional company's brand image in your personal blog.

The problem with hits

Don't focus on hits, instead focus on where the conversation is. Are people looking at your blog as opposed to other competitors' blog?

It's all about influence. It's important that people are linking to your blog and delicious and other tag sites are tagging your blog.

Technology Seminar: Explaining the importance of social media

We had a great question with great answers in the technology seminar:

Q: How do you get CEOs to blog and be involved with the social networking community?

A: Sarah McLean Cannon said the most important thing is breaking it down and making it relevant to them and what works for their company. Kelly Hoag added that her company makes sure to educate their employees at every step. Sherry Heyl uses an analogy to explain the importance of blogging in real-life terms. She compares blogging to a party - you need to go around, shake hands and meet people so you're not the weird guy standing in the corner.

More about "Professionalism 101"

More interviewing/professional advice:
-E-mails always must be professional. Many students in our generation are used to not being proper in an e-mail, but this is not OK in the work force.
-Know who you will be meeting with/interviewing with. Research information about them. Google is an excellent resource.
- Always LOOK professional. A suit is necessary.
-NEVER say "yeah!" Speak in a professional manner,
-Watch your Facebook and MySpace. Companies will see these.

Social Network in real-life terms

It's called social networking for a reason. It's about joining the conversation and making your dialog relevant to what they're talking about. Links are like virtual hand shakes. You must look at a social network in a real-life scenario, if you're in the corner talking to yourself, you will not be looked at as credible or ... sane.

Professionalism 101

Interviewing Tips from professionals:
1.) Don't rely too much on the Internet to help you find jobs. Come to companies when they are NOT hiring to make an impression. Don't worry about "bothering" people. Professionals may be busy, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't follow up with them.
2.) Thank you notes are a requirement! Hand-written notes are best. Let professionals know if you are extremely interested in the job. These notes make more of an impact than you think.
3.) Preparation for an interview is crucial. Take time to research information about an agency's clients.

From Apple to Radiohead: File Sharing and PR

At the Music PR session with Michelle Roche she brought up the use of file sharing and its effects on the Music Industry. She specifically referenced Radiohead and their experiment with putting their newest CD online for people to download, with the stipulation "Give us what you want".

It didn't work.

Within hours of the CD being placed on the website, thousands of media sharing websites were widely distributing it, and no one had yet to pay a dime.

This is the music industries biggest struggle with the advancing technology of new media. Roche mentioned that the industry is now paying the price for not realizing what Apple did regarding free downloads on the Internet.

As a result the profits being made are dropping every quarter. That's quite a gloomy outlook for people interested in PR of the music industry. However, I have confidence that with the talented peers I've come across at my two semesters in Grady, there might just be hope for the Music Industry after all. In the very least, bands are still in need of booking and publicity of all kinds. BUT! If you think you have an idea on preventing the continuous loss of money- don't shy away from putting it out there!! Who knows you might just become the next Steve Jobs!!

Check out Michelle Roche's website for more on Music in PR. And GET INVOLVED if you aren't already.

The how-to's for blogging your company

How to start a blog for your company:

Step 1: Look at others blogs and add to their dialogs.
Step 2: Make sure you are looking at blogs that coincide with your company and learning from them.
Step 3: Use the blogosphere language and dialog.
Step 4: Learn the math: RSS, delicious, tags, etc.
Step 5: Research what you want to do with your blog and which social media channel is the best to use for your company.
Step 6: Use social media tools for a campaign.

Professionalism 101 Roundtable

Jessica Laiti, Blair Logan, Michelle Roche, and Don Miller sat down with us to talk about professionalism.

The first topic brought up: putting bad pitches on the internet. Here is some examples of people doing that. What to do about that: establish a relationship with the reporters, do not just rely on emails but call reporters, you have to know your outlets and what they cover (so you do not send inappropriate pitches), and make your pitches good (duh!...though easier said then done).

We next talked about interview skills and tips:
  • Relied too much on Monster and AJC for jobs; call people who go to them when they are not hiring first. (So put your resumes out there!)
  • Request an informational interview when you follow-up about your resume. (and definitely follow-up when you send a resume)
  • Drop a handwritten note in the mail or send an email thanking them for interviewing you.
  • Tell them that you really want the job and what skills you will bring in the thank you note.
  • Be prepared for the interview. Know things about the company and the person you are being interviewing by. Just go on the web site or do a google search
  • Inappropriate to send a text message to anyone in the business.
  • Explanation points do not belong in any business communication...even emails.
  • wear a suit
  • Do not use "yeah" or other slang language. It is not appropriate.
  • Wear dark colors, but also be aware of the company and its environment.
  • You can ask what is appropriate attire: "I was planning to wear a suit to the interview. Is this appropriate?"
  • Bring an extra copy of the resume, samples of your writing, and graphics work (even a CD-R)
Students: we have been warned (AGAIN!) to watch our presence online. Yes, this does mean Facebook.

What is a writing sample: want to see a broad range of what you have done: PR plans, press release, article, pitches. Bring one or two examples of each if you can. Just show that you are a good writer.

Your cover letter (aka pitch letter) is what will get people interested in you. It is more important than the resume!!!! Use cover letter to bring attention to things that are on your resume.

List computer skills on your resume.

Be prepare to do an internship when you get out of college. You need to stay in your first job for a while or companies will not hire you.

Last Bit of Advice:
  • Money is not everything; Find a job that you enjoy

Uncommon Tools of Media Relations

Since my wireless went out on me at the beginning of the session, I did not get to do the twittering I thought I would.

However, since I wasn't worried about twitter so much I got to pay better attention to Faith Peppers and her talk about journalist relations.

The most striking thing I remember about her talk were her suggestions of places to get your client into the media. While a lot of times I have heard the "shoot for the moon" method, she suggested you shoot low.

Peppers said you have a much better chance getting in the media if you shoot low!
You have to know your limits when pitching to some media, but she said many people pay attention to things you wouldn't expect like local mailings, small radio stations and local cable.

It is sort of a help me, help you mentality. Some of those media forms really need information and if you can get it them they will be happy to use it.

Bottom line - know your limits, but be creative. Community calendars, newsletters and special interest magazines can be a great tool.

It was interesting to hear about these different ways to get to media relations. I will remember to keep these unique ideas in mind when I find myself looking for some media exposure.

Recap: Graduate School Seminar

Sarah McLean Cannon led the graduate school seminar, designed to help us decide whether graduate school is the right choice.

Some of the highlights:

  • Find out why you're going:
    • Better parking isn't a good reason, but if you're looking to advance further within the field or if the job you want requires an advanced degree, it's the right choice.
  • Types of graduate programs:
    • Academic
    • Professional
    • Ask about the school which one their program leans toward when you're looking for different programs.
  • Getting into graduate school:
    • Most programs require the GRE, for an MBA program you take the MCAT, for law school it's the LSAT.
    • Most schools have a grade requirement and prerequisite class requirements.
  • Staying in graduate school:
    • Schools don't want you to go in and them drop out, so they'll help you keep your grades up, but if you get anything lower than a B they might make you take the class again.
  • Should you work and then attend graduate school or go straight to graduate school?
    • Working first gives you experience in the field and time to decide if it's what you really want to do, but going straight to graduate school keeps you in the study mindset and gets it over with quickly.
  • What is graduate school like?
    • More reading and discussion than assignments and tests.
    • Attendance is critical - if you miss classes without an excuse they can drop you from the class.
    • Regular class load is nine to 12 hours.
  • The money problem:
    • You won't be making money, most likely you'll be incurring debt.
    • The University of Georgia doesn't give assistantships until your second year.
    • Assistantships waive your tuition, pay you and hourly rate; you can do a teaching assistantship or research internship.
    • At the University of Georgia in-state tuition is around $3,000 per year, out-of-state tuition can be as high as $15,000 per year.

Be careful!!!

Print frames
Web spins

To be an effective PR person, you have to be able to use each medium of communication and what that medium is suited to do.


Know your own value. PR is a billable business. Coming out of college, new PR practitioners are expected to know nothing, as students, we need to be able to stun our clients with our knowledge.

Media Relations: Different ways to get information out

How do you get in the news:
  • News Releases

  • Pitches - this is getting stories in the news more and more

  • Reporter Queries - not necessarily going to get quotes but good to give background information and build a relationship

  • Periodicals

Earned media is always better than paid media (aka advertisements)

Weekly newspaper, small dailies always need you. Especially during times (like holidays) when people are not around. They'll thank you for giving them information.

For small radio stations: give them the information the way they can use it. Make sure they have the technology to use the information you give them. That way you are more likely to be given radio time.

Newsletters need you: Homeowner Associations, city newsletters, PTA newsletters, look for the ones that are a little different and fit your publics.

Let them know the resources you have that they need. For example, with the drought, UGA has a great web site.

When reporters come for a story; give them ideas for other stories when they leave. (Give them dessert).

Opening night at the braves

A sports reporter after finding every possible angle to cover opening night at the Braves,the rookies, the bat boy, the organ player he thought there was nothing left.

Walking up to the game he saw an old man sitting on the street with one leg, holding a sign that said "I need a ticket."
'Do you think that you will get a ticket to the game?' the reporter asked the man.
The man replied that he had been to every home game for the last 20 years. After waiting for a few moments a man came by and offered the man a ticket. Not just any ticket but a ticket 4 rows back for the home plate. After a night of enjoying the game, watching the old man interact with the kind stranger who gave him a ticket, he had found his story.

Moral of the story- Look for the one legged beggar, he has your story

Media Relations: What is news?

The Compeling C's: What is News?

  • Crisis: the drought is an example

  • Catastrophe

  • Crime-try to stay away from

  • Conflict

  • Change

  • Corruption

  • Color

  • Tie your stories to one of these and you have news

What is News?

  • Timely, immediate - not history or boring meetings

  • Affects many people in some way

  • Innovative - what we can do now that we couldn't before

  • Interesting - unique look at lfe or new angle on old story. (As a journalist, this can be hard if you have to cover the same thing again and again. You always have to look for the one little thing that is different from before; We as PR people need to provide this)

  • What journalist decide is news. (know your journalist and what they are interested in. Give them the stories that relate to them.)

Journalist are friendly people who are not necessarily your friend. You need to be careful not to tell them things that you should not. Less knowledgable about your field than you are.

What do journalist want:

  • good story-with lots of good angles; using many elements (pictures, video, etc.)

  • good quotes-need to find and teach people how to do this. From Faith's experience, scientist can be very bad at this

  • the feeling that they understand the issue after 20 minutes as well as you do after 2 years

  • Your respect, not necessarily your affection

  • Recognition - thank you for taking the time to come and get the story right

  • You to be open and honest - not necessarily tell them everything but tell the truth

  • To catch you if you lie

You cannot lose your reputation or you will no longer be able work. You might have to fight to do this.

Chuck Reece - Be an Entrepreneur

Reece stresses the importance of double checking facts. It can make or break a career.

Atlanta Music Scene

Everybody knows that the music industry is constantly growing and consequently artists, managers, producers and the like are becoming more business savvy. This is great for potential public relations professionals that are looking to get into the music business because we can help these people reach their financial and publicity goals while simultaneously allowing them to concentrate on their craft. But I believe you need to truly be into what you're trying to promote if you want potential clients to find you believable. If you're interested in being a PR pro in the music industry - especially here in Georgia - check out Drive a Faster Car. It's a blog that features music, life and independent art in the Metro Atlanta area. It'll keep you up-to-date on what's really happening on the Atlanta music scene. And the more knowledgeable you are, the easier it's going to be for you to make a connection with the people you want to represent! =)

Need for news

With the growing number of educated people news is less about entertainment and a greater necessity for people.

Media can create awareness and education, as well as advocacy and positioning. News media can be great way to show, your worth and your accountability. By managing your media you can brand yourself an your organization.

Media Relations: Communication

Communication: a scarce resource
  • expensive
  • Limited opportunity to engage
  • short attention spans
  • competing messages

At times there are other challenges. For example, Faith works with agriculture which is the largest economy in Georgia. However, no one knows about it. She has to educate people. She also has to make science interesting.

Average American is exposd to 3,000 messages a day. You have to break through these to make your message the one heard.

Summary of "Media Relations" with Faith Peppers

Faith Peppers is in charge of media relations for The College of Agricultural Science at the University. She was a reporter and public information officer at Journal Constitution before going into PR, so she is knowledgeable about sides of the media.

Communication is expensive, there are limited opportunities, short attention spans and competing messages. Agriculture is the largest industry in the state, but there is not one reporter in the whole state who only covers agriculture -- communication can be difficult.

"News isn't entertainment, it is a necessity," Faith Peppers said. Media can offer awareness and education, advocacy, positioning and accountability, and it is proof of what you have accomplished.

So what is news, according to Peppers? Crisis, catastrophe, change, etc.

Also, news is timely, affects many people, is innovative and is interesting. Reporters and PR professionals have to look for the one little piece of information, or one new angle, that wasn't there before. However, Peppers said that when it comes down to it news is what journalists decide is news.

Journalists are short on time, not necessarily your friend, smarter than you think but also are less knowledgeable. It is important to be cautious when working with reporters and not assume they are on your side. Also, journalists want a good story with as many elements as possible, good quotes and want to feel like they understand. It is crucial for PR professionals to understand what journalists want and be able to deliver just that.

The truth always is necessary. "You only have one reputation, but if you ever lose your reputation with the media ... you are toast," Peppers said. Doing anything you can to maintain your reputation is crucial.

So, how do you get in the news?
You can write a news release, but this isn't always the most effective. Pitches are more successful -- call a reporter and give them an idea and an angle. Reporter queries are common. PR professionals often help journalists with information without getting quoted in an article. Periodicals are informative and help reporters receive information.

So take aim -- look for specific reporters, read their stories, look for a series and ... don't miss the obvious! But don't be afraid to shoot low. Hit weekly newspapers and small dailies. Look for local direct mail publications, local media and small publications. Don't underestimate these media outlets because people actually do pay attention to them.

"Feed the beast," Peppers suggests. Give tips, give reporters what they need, and never let a reporter leave without a story idea. However, "don't chase rabbits," she said. Everyone wants to get into major newspapers such as the New York Times, but this isn't always possible. Find the best means of communication for each specific situation.

Monday, November 12, 2007

PR and Technology

There is a lot of talk going on about technology and public relations. At 2:55 tomorrow during PRofessional CONNECTION I will be acting as the moderator for the round table discussion "Consequences of Technology on PR." If you've never been to a conference before, King Arthur nor Excalibur are involved, the round table is just a facilitated discussion about an umbrella topic. (In this case, topic=technology and PR)

So, I come to you, my Grady bulldogs of the round table, what aspects of PR and technology would you like us to touch on?

It's almost here!

OK, everyone, we're officially one day away from PRofessional CONNECTION!

Remember, registration starts at 1:30 p.m., but the first session doesn't start until 2 p.m. If you can't make it to the first one, it's OK! You can definitely stop in, leave, comeback, whatever.

The reception after the sessions starts at 5 p.m. There will be hors d'oeuvres and a keynote speaker from Porter Novelli in HOT-lanta. If you would like to attend, e-mail Katherine ( to reserve your spot. The cost is $5.

Be sure to check out the schedule below to think up some questions for the sessions. All of the speakers are eager to come, so make them feel welcome.

PRofessional CONNECTION 2007: Because the World is Always ON.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Dream Team of PRSSA

Thank goodness for Dr. Sweetser's social media class!

All during PRofessional CONNECTION on Tuesday, they will be blogging, twittering and flickr-ing about the event.

The social media class is composed of around 20 students who are in Grady. Throughout the semester, they are learning about different social media tools, and how we should use them in PR.

Being able to cover an event like PRofessional CONNECTION definitely gives them good practice, and hopefully it's helpful in showing others how to give live Internet documentation about something.

This kind of coverage is emerging, and it's about to be the "new thing." As you bring your laptops, iPhones, Blackberries or whatever to PRofessional CONNECTION, be sure to check back in with the blog. Leave a comment, and see what happens.

It's viral. See it, and believe it.

So, hats off to you, social media class! Thanks for agreeing to do this. We are looking forward to what you have to say!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Why it's ON.

This year's theme, "because the world is always ON," is definitely becoming more and more significant.

Although not every session will cover this topic, some of the speakers will focus or explain how new media is affecting their businesses and how we should learn to use it.

Didn't Natalie Riddle and Audrey Baker talk about the importance of new media at the meeting on Oct. 10?

If you want more information about new media or social media in PR, check out some of these blogs:
Josh Hallet
Paull Young
Katie Paine
Kevin Dugan
UGAConnect- the blog from the UGA social media conference. The whole weekend was SO COOL! You definitely need to check it out.

It's ON: PRofessional CONNECTION 2007

Total props are going to this year's PRofessional CONNECTION: because the world is always ON.

This year, the date is Tuesday, Nov. 13 in the Journalism building. Registration starts at 1:30 p.m. in the Drewry Room, and the first session starts at 2 p.m.

The event is FREE to everyone. Feel free to come for one session, leave, and come back for another.

There will be a reception in the Drewry Room following the sessions from 5-6 p.m. If you would like to come, the cost is $5 (because of the food, yo), and you need to RSVP to me, Katherine Strate (

Here's the most updated schedule:

1:30 p.m.

Registration (Drewry Room)


Media Relations (room 403)

Faith Peppers

To Go or Not to Go: Is Grad School Right for You? (room 404)

Sarah McLean Cannon

Entrepreneurship (room 406)

Chuck Reece

Music PR: Tim McGraw and More (room 407)

Michelle Roche and Scott Siman

Meet and Greet the Professionals & Resume and Portfolio Critiques (Drewry Room)

Kim Englehardt, Sherry Heyl, Nicole Hunnicutt, Jessica Laiti and Blair Logan


Break (During all breaks, refreshments will be provided in the Drewry Room.)


Professionalism 101 Round table (room 403)

Jessica Laiti, Blair Logan, Molly McFerran and Michelle Roche

Consequences of Technology on PR Round table (room 404)

Sherry Heyl, Kelly Hoag and Sarah McLean Cannon

Agency vs. Corporate vs. Nonprofit Round table (room 406)

Kim Englehardt, Nicole Hunnicutt, Chuck Reece and Scott Siman

Meet and Greet the Professionals & Resume and Portfolio Critiques (Drewry Room)

Faith Peppers and Nikki Kay




Bridging Media with New Media (room 403)

Sherry Heyl

Preparing for the Interview (room 404)

Blair Logan

Branding and Messaging in a Corporate Environment (room 406)

Alyce Sarno and Jill Krugman

True Life: Your First Six Months Out of College (room 407)

Kelly Hoag, Nikki Kay and Molly McFerran

Meet and Greet the Professionals & Resume and Portfolio Critiques (Drewry Room)

Kim Englehardt, Nicole Hunnicutt, Jessica Laiti, Chuck Reece and Michelle Roche




Hors d’ouevres Reception


Dean Cully Clark


Dr. Karen King, ADPR Head


Brad MacAfee, Porter Novelli

Special Presentation

Dr. Betty Jones, PRSSA faculty advisor


Kim Englehardt, PRSSA professional adviso