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January 2013 Issue Obama Uses PR...2
Twitter:: @PennStatePRSSA Facebook: The Penn State Chapter of PRSSA
Exec Board Spotlight...3 Applying for Internships...4 Multimedia Madness...5 Alumni Spotlight...6 Professor Spotlight...7 Acknowledgements...8
Obama Administration Uses PR to Its Advantage By Kayla Sredni Recently, the Obama administration has been confronted with major issues such as the tax debate and the looming debt ceiling. Although very little has been accomplished in Washington, the Obama administration has been successfully using PR tactics to maintain its reputation and relations with American citizens. This administration’s media presence is unprecedented. Obama and his administration have seized the opportunities social media sights have provided through communicating information in a faster and easier way. Obama’s representatives have been responding to Americans’ concerns through his Facebook page and Twitter account, allowing Americans to view him as a less distant and more relatable leader. Secondly, this administration has established good public relations through the media allowing the administration to be more transparent than ever. According to, “Effective Public Relations: The Obama Publicity Strategy” by Paul Eze, “Obama has committed to publish all executive orders and proclamations on the White House website…” Technology has allowed for better public relations, and the Obama administration understands this thoroughly. Transparency at a time when the economy is down can only help matters by increasing the public’s trust in our president. The same article notes Obama’s expediency in addressing matters. When issues are dealt with immediately the public feels a sense of relief that their concerns are being taken care of efficiently. Successful PR techniques undoubtedly helped to ease the negative attention that the Obama administration received as a result of the financial state of our country.
Executive Board Spotlight: Rachel Gluck By Natasha Bailey Keeping track of the Penn State Chapter of PRSSA and all of its members is no easy task. Taking on this extensive duty is the director of membership for PRSSA, Rachel Gluck. As a sophomore majoring in public relations and minoring in sociology, Gluck is already an honored member of the Penn State PRSSA executive board. She began to get involved with PRSSA her freshman year after hearing about it through the College of Communications. As director of membership, Gluck is in charge of recruiting students to join PRSSA. She does so by organizing a table for PRSSA at the fall and spring involvement fairs located in the HUB. Another way Gluck drums up interest in PRSSA is by visiting classrooms and encouraging students, especially those with an interest in public relations, to join. After gaining interest from perspective students, she makes sure they know how to join PRSSA and answers any questions they may have about membership. Another duty Gluck maintains is PRSSA’s listserv, and she makes sure members receive weekly e-mails with updates about internships, committee meetings and events within PRSSA. By playing such an important role in PRSSA, Gluck feels that PRSSA is helping to prepare her for a future career in public relations. Although Gluck is unsure of what path she will take in public relations in her future career, she enjoys the learning opportunities she has been rewarded through PRSSA. “PRSSA has given me the opportunity to learn not only from professionals but from the other executive board members,” said Gluck. “It is incredible the knowledge they have shared and the help they have offered without asking for anything in return.”
Applying for Internships 101 By Caroline Nelson Internship applying season is here, possibly the most tedious and important part of any internship experience. Last year as a sophomore, I decided I was going to apply for my first summer internship in Washington, D.C. I had experience with interning at the American Red Cross in State College, Pa., and felt confident in the fact that it would aid me in gaining an internship. I began my search like every College of Communications student at Penn State should by setting up an appointment with the Manager of Internships: Colette Rodger. After explaining my interests, Rodger gave me about 50 different profiles to look through.
â€œMy advice to all first time appliers is dare to dream.â€? Next, I sorted my internships into piles based off my likes and dislikes. I made sure I researched and applied to two internships per day and made a schedule so I knew who to follow up with and when. Following up is crucial, and students can make an impression because the company will recognize they are determined. The very first internship I applied to seemed like a dream. It was to work for Monumental Sports, Washingtonâ€™s premier sports and entertainment company. I remember kissing the envelope as I put it in the mail, hoping for a positive response. In the end, I was excited to learn that I had secured an internship in Washington. My advice to all first time appliers is dare to dream. I was the only sophomore out of about 40 interns working for Monumental Sports. I was nothing special and had no connections. I just submitted my resume, and they liked what they saw. You never know what employer will be interested in you, and you never know what you will find.
Multimedia Madness By Rachelle Gaynor It is apparent that more and more news organizations are catching onto the PR strategy of using multimedia techniques to better gain their audiences’ attention. As the world of news leaps from traditional to online and mobile sources, more PR techniques are required to stand out among the masses. Multimedia techniques include video, audio, hyperlinks and more. Each of these media platforms offer a specific set of advantages to an organization that is trying to communicate their message effectively in today’s world. The New York Times, traditionally thought of as a print medium, has been diving into the use of videos to attract reader interest. David Pogue, personal technology columnist for The New York Times, puts out viral videos such as “I got an iPhone.” These videos convey the funny satirical messages Pogue wants to deliver better than a printed publication could. Audiences find images to be more appealing and interactive than traditional print media. The Washington Post put out a video by Evelio Contrera entitled “Crossword Puzzle Proposal”. This video recorded the reaction of a woman whose boyfriend got The Washington Post to include a specialized message in the crossword puzzle asking, “Will you marry me?” This video shows the emotions and romance of the situation instead of just telling an audience about it. This was a smart tool used by the paper to gain the attention of audience members who lean more towards videos than print stories. Overall, companies are utilizing a larger mix of media platforms than ever seen in history. PR firms could help in this transition by sharing their knowledge of what makes the communication process beneficial to a target audience and how to achieve that success.
Alumni Spotlight: Amanda Barrett By Julianne Tarullo Amanda Barrett, 22, is a Penn State alumna from Canton, Pa. currently working on the social media team at Morpheus Media in New York. She graduated last spring with a major in public relations and minors in recreation, park and tourism management and sociology. During her time at Penn State, Barrett served as an event planning committee chair, director of membership and a communications committee chair for PRSSA. At Morpheus Media, Barrett reports on various social media platforms for different clients including fashion, luxury, entertainment and media brands. Specifically, she teaches clients about emerging platforms and supporting the relationship between vendors and clients. She brainstorms innovative ideas for these platforms by working with all different aspects of digital involvement. She enjoys working with a variety of talented colleagues with teams focused on analytics, interactive branding and marketing, web design and media consulting. Barrett joined the Event Planning Committee of PRSSA her freshman year where she worked on various events including the annual fashion show. Her sophomore year she became one of the chairs of the Event Planning Committee. Junior year, she progressed to director of membership. She spent her last year of PRSSA as a communications committee chair. Barrett recalls making friends in PRSSA as an important connection device during her time at school and after graduation. “After they graduated, I asked them about their new careers and this helped me see the wide array of jobs available with a PR degree,” Barrett said. Speaking to current PRSSA members, she advises getting in involved as much as possible. “Going into interviews for internships and jobs, I am almost always asked about my involvement in PRSSA. Employers want to know what experience you have gained, not just that you attended meetings.” PRSSA has been a crucial professional experience for Barrett. She has been an involved and critical contributor to the chapter since her freshman year, and she is thankful for the experience she has gained that she couldn’t have found in a classroom.
Professor Spotlight: Susan Strohm By Andrew Patterson Advertsing and public relations professor Susan Strohm teaches Comm 417, Advertising and Public Relations: Ethics and Regulations at Penn State. Strohm stresses that ethics is a crucial part of the PR profession. “I think [ethics] is a part of understanding professional practice,” Strohm said. “Part of our professional responsibility is understanding our social responsibilities to target audiences, to clients, and to each other in an Ad/PR working environment.” Because PR is such a diverse profession, Strohm explained that there are equally diverse and complex ethical challenges that one can face. “Ethics is about more than avoiding legal entanglements,” Strohm said. “It’s about doing the right thing. And that is the hard part, because what is the right thing? If all the interests line-up – what’s best for the client, is what’s best for the agency, is what’s best for the target group, and is what’s best for the society as a whole – then it’s a no-brainer. But the problem is when those interests don’t line perfectly up, how do you come up with a way to resolve ethical issues that is the best case outcome?” According to Strohm, the key solution is transparency. “The path to finding ethical solutions, regardless the nature of the challenge, is really about transparency. Whatever you’re doing, you need to be up front and honest and transparent about your dealings. You use transparency as sort of your guideline; it will help you do the kind of work that you can be proud of,” Strohm said. In addition to the legal and professional trouble that PR professionals can find themselves in, Strohm also explained that ethics is vital in producing quality work. “I don’t want students to think about ethics as something separate from professional practice. It’s not something to think about at the end [of a job]. It is an integral part,” said Strohm. “How [can PR professionals] come up with Ad/PR strategies that are both effective, but also represent the profession as we want it represented? Part of ethics is don’t do the bad things – like don’t lie to clients, or don’t break the law – but that’s only half of it. The other part is asking yourself – how can I make what I’m doing better for everyone?” Furthermore, Strohm concluded by saying that ethics also extends beyond social responsibility.
Acknowledgments: Editors in Chief:
Ed Wons Sarah Kurz
A note from the editors: We continue to enjoy working with the Communications Committee and watching our writers grow each month! We look forward to another great newsletter to come! Cheers, Ed firstname.lastname@example.org Sarah email@example.com
Natasha Bailey Caroline Nelson Rachelle Gaynor Julianne Tarullo Andrew Patterson