PR emier Tour Time St. Louis
By Lily Sherer
After an inspiring tour at FleishmanHillard in the fall of 2013, returning members of the Illinois State University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America were eager to revisit the St. Louis headquarters on Nov. 14, 2014. The change of pace from visiting agencies in Chicago was refreshing, as many members have not had much exposure to the St. Louis area. The day started at FleishmanHillard with a presentation, “The Power of True,” which focused on the philosophy of FleishmanHillard that permeates all of its work and culture. According to President and CEO Dave Senay, “The values and principles articulated in our philosophy include respect and teamwork, ethical behavior and transparent business practices, and relationship-driven client service that achieve meaningful results.” Next, members learned about a few campaigns FleishmanHillard has done recently, including “Texting & Driving: It Can Wait.” This AT&T campaign started in 2010 and has since evolved into a social movement. Following the informational presentation, three current interns joined to share their experiences and advice. Members had the privilege of hearing ISU PRSSA alumna, Stephanie Robertson, talk about her role as an intern in public affairs. Robertson was the editor-in-chief of PRemier during continued on page 5
November/ December 2014
Member of the Month
By Cindy Kirchner
Member Melissa Guerra is dedicated to everything she touches. This Illinois State University senior, majoring in organizational and leadership communication, has earned the honor of being October’s “Member of the Month” in the ISU Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. Guerra earned this award because of her active role in the Chapter. Guerra has become a valuable asset as a member of the development committee. She is an avid volunteer for every development event and is a true go-getter. She has worked multiple shifts for fundraisers and socials. Guerra also helped the Chapter raise funds for the PRSSA 2014 National Conference, which she attended. She showed her dedication to the Chapter by working more than the required amount of shifts at the t-shirt quilt table. continued on page 6
Letters from Executive Board
When people tell me they have been interested in public relations since high school, I laugh a little. Not because I think it is funny, but because I accidently stumbled into public relations. During my time at Parkland College, I took an introduction to communication class thinking it was a speech class, which was required for all majors. It took me a couple weeks to realize that the course was not the one I thought it was, but by then my interest was sparked, and I was reeled into the field. After that class was over, I took every communication class I could in the semester I had left at Parkland College. The professor from that first communication course, Kendra McClure, helped me throughout the process. McClure helped me learn about public relations, find hands-on experience, and informed me about the Illinois State University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. For the first time in my life, I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. Attending ISU involved a crazy mix of emotions; I was excited and terrified at the same
By Deja Whitt
By Bridget Anders time. I am so glad I did because it has been a great experience. I have learned more than I thought I would, made lifelong friends, grown as a person, and found my confidence as a leader within ISU PRSSA. In my executive board position as secretary, I am in charge of composing all PowerPoints, meeting minutes, and agendas, as well as maintain the Chapter email account, create and analyze surveys for Chapter improvement, and coordinate all philanthropic efforts. I am also an adviser to the relations committee, which requires me to be a part of the editing process for Chapter publications. This opportunity has taught me more than how to take notes well, but what it truly means to be a leader. I make sure I am up-to-date on Associated Press style, knowledgeable on PRSSA information, engaged with members, and maintain professionalism, all while focusing on serving members. I am so thankful I stumbled into the wrong class because that one happy accident opened the door to many opportunities and led me to ISU PRSSA.
Chapter Secretary Bridget Anders
Director of Digital Media Lily Sherer 2
Letters from Executive Board By Lily Sherer It is never too early to start planning your ambitions. Consider representing our Chapter at the Public Relations Student Society of America 2015 National Assembly March 12-15. Each year, the Illinois State University Chapter of PRSSA sends one delegate to the Assembly to represent the Chapter and participate in the responsibilities with delegates from Chapters all over the country. At the Assembly, delegates are charged with electing the next National Committee and voting on bylaw changes. They also can participate in leadership training sessions, networking, sightseeing, and more. Last year, when I first heard about the opportunity to apply for the delegate position, I waived it off. There are dozens of more qualified and experienced members in this Chapter whom I greatly admire, I thought. Why waste my time in applying? I was a junior who just transferred to ISU. After joining ISU PRSSA in the fall, I used my first semester to soak up as much knowledge about the public relations industry as possible and learn the ins and outs of PRSSA. I needed to observe how PRSSA works and become actively involved in the Chapter before jumping into a leadership role. It was not until a mentor-mentee event that the idea truly crossed my radar. My mentor, Abigail Brennan, 2013-2014 historian, asked me a simple question, “Have you thought of applying to be delegate?” I paused for a second as a smile crept onto my face and said, “Yes! I am considering it.” I came to a fascinating and vital realization: Brennan believes in me. I took that as a huge compliment and a cue that I may actually have a chance of earning the position. If Brennan never asked me that question, I never would have applied. Although the mentormentee relationship can and usually does help garner self-confidence in mentees, I learned a valuable lesson. You should not rely on the approval of others to
give you the confidence to chase your dreams; believe in yourself. Do not be insecure about your skills and your potential. I decided right then and there to take a leap of faith and apply to be the delegate from ISU PRSSA at the Assembly in March 2014. I did as much research as I could online, wrote a passionate cover letter, and showed up to my interview prepared to show how much I wanted the opportunity. As you have probably guessed by now, I was offered the position, and I gratefully accepted. I was honored to represent ISU PRSSA at the Assembly in Charleston, S.C. As the only person from our Chapter in attendance, the responsibility to represent well one of the most recognized Chapters fell entirely on my shoulders. There was so much room for personal growth and networking while traveling alone because I could fully invest in fostering entirely new friendships and connections. I truly value all the friends I made at the Assembly from other Chapters and the incredible bonds we formed. Serving as delegate also paved the way for me to pursue an executive board position for this year. The idea of applying for executive board was a seed already planted in my mind, and I knew that taking on the leadership role of delegate would help prepare me to become an executive board leader in the future. Now I have the privilege of being a resource for members who are interested in learning more about Assembly and the delegate role. If you are at all considering the opportunity, I encourage you to ask me all the questions you may have. If I can influence even one person to take the same leap of faith I did, I will be overjoyed. I truly look forward to passing along the torch of delegate from ISU to the next lucky member. You are going to have a blast in Portland, Ore.! 3
Sports and Promotions Panel
By Cindy Kirchner
For some people, there is nothing as exciting as the roar of a crowd at a home game or as satisfying as watching as a promotion you have planned comes to fruition. On Tuesday, Nov. 18, Illinois State Universityâ€™s (ISU) Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) learned about the planning that goes into these events through a unique panel of speakers. While the industry focus was sports and promotions, the take-home value is universal in the many sectors of public relations for all Chapter members. During the panel, local professionals provided insight to business branding, promotions, social media, and professional development. The panel included Zach Schroeder, assistant director of marketing at ISU Athletics; Kaitlin Christakos, promotions and marketing director at Great Plains Media; and Kyle Kreger, assistant general manager and vice president of ticket sales at the Normal CornBelters. Members learned about the professionalsâ€™ backgrounds and development into the industry. Having all received undergraduate or graduate degrees from ISU, the professionals spoke about how their experiences at the University helped start their careers. 4
Moving forward, much of the discussion hinged on questions of day-to-day activities and the future for students in such a fast-paced industry. Each professional has specific methods and strategies to help get them through the workday. Christakos performs much different tasks to keep the radio station relevant than Schroeder and Kreger do with their sports programs. One thing that the professionals agreed on was the ability to adapt to the different duties each day, commenting on how not every day is the same. Though the professionals do different things for their organizations, they all have the same goal: to give their fans an experience. Social media is also something that all the professionals use to connect with their fans. Opportunities for internships are available through each professionalâ€™s organization. They highlighted that each internship program requires hard work, enthusiasm, and a willingness to learn and generate ideas. Each panel member agreed that these internships would all benefit the professional development and the future of participants. Every experience matters and can be adapted to the chosen profession.
Tour Time cont’d the 2013-2014 school year and graduated this past May. In addition to the tour at FleishmanHillard, members had the opportunity to visit two agencies never before visited by ISU PRSSA. Brighton Agency is a multi-service marketing agency focused on branding, advertising, website design, strategic marketing, social media, and more. It has a focus in the agriculture industry. With a brightly colored and warm atmosphere, members enjoyed walking around the workspace. They also met several “Brightonians.” These employees shared their love for the St. Louis area and seemed very fulfilled with their careers at Brighton. Director of Communications and Public Relations Mary Barber told members, “Your brain is your best asset, especially in terms of writing and thinking critically.” The last tour of the day was at Osborn Barr. Members were welcomed into the rustic yet modern re-
furbished warehouse setting of the agency during the late afternoon. Osborn Barr is a communications agency dedicated to serving the agriculture and rural industries. According to Osborn Barr, “Agriculture needs a voice. Rural America deserves to be heard. Loud and clear, like never before. That’s what we’re all about. We live to tell those stories like no one else can or no one else does. Stories that elevate and motivate, we do it every day. Agriculture deserves nothing less.” Visiting two agencies focused in agriculture was particularly interesting for members who aspire to work in that industry, but it was also eye opening to members who never have considered it before. The day in St. Louis proved valuable as members experienced diversity in work cultures and specialties. Overall, it is clear that not all agency life is the same, and it is important to explore the possibilities to find a great career fit.
AP and APA Workshop
by Dillon Maher
come second nature to you. Another tip is to have someone who knows AP style proofread your writing and give you feedback on things you missed. If you find yourself repeatedly looking up a specific rule, bookmark it in your guide for easy access. As the standard for research in the field of communication, APA style is also very important. During our time at ISU, we will be asked to use APA style when writing research papers or citing sources. Smudde encourages caution when using online sources to help you format in APA style. Many of the automatic formatting websites available format APA style incorrectly, and many online resources have outdated editions of the APA Publication Manual, so be careful and double check your formatting and citations. Both AP and APA style can seem daunting, but do not allow them to scare you. It is necessary to be comfortable writing in these styles, but good technical writing is not the only component of effective communication. “Correct grammar and formatting do not make good writing, but good writing requires correct grammar and formatting,” said Smudde.
What do press releases, news stories, and our Chapter’s blog all have in common? If you answered that they all adhere to the Associated Press, you may have been at the Illinois State University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America AP and American Psychological Association style workshop Nov. 4. Faculty Adviser Dr. Pete Smudde presented to members about how and when to use AP and APA style correctly, as well as some tips and tricks to become comfortable with each of them. Smudde stressed the importance of learning AP style because as future public relations professionals, we will often send our work to journalists and others in the media industry; incorrect use of AP style will make you appear unprofessional or lazy. Familiarity with the AP style may also help you land a job because many companies include a writing test in the interview process. The best way to learn AP style is by practice. Be sure to purchase or download The AP Stylebook, and familiarize yourself with it. If you use it over and over again, it will eventually be-
Member of the Month cont’d As far as advice goes, Guerra advocates getting to know professors, because they help students inside and out of the classroom and are knowledgeable about planning for the future. When she is not hitting the books and helping ISU PRSSA, Guerra is a travel bug, shopper, and foodie. She has been all over the world, including a study abroad program to Paris last summer. Her experience abroad was one that she will treasure forever. She would do anything to return to her favorite city. When it is time to shop, Guerra has one place in 6
mind – J. Crew. The brand’s style fits her personality perfectly. She also enjoys trying new restaurants that offer a exciting and different menus. Guerra is eager to visit Thailand to experience the culture and authentic Thai food. The next time you see Guerra, be sure to give her a shout-out for all of her hard work, and thank her for her dedication to ISU PRSSA. Becoming involved within the Chapter helps members gain Member Incentive Points and have a chance at becoming Member of the Month like Guerra. Congratulations, Melissa!