PR Campaigns – The blog

April 13, 2009

Give me a “P,” give me a “R.” GO PR!

Filed under: Fidelis — mlmyers @ 9:17 pm
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Two weeks ago, Diane Schwartz, wrote a blog on the PR News Blog about a new advocacy campaign launched by PR News called “It’s the PR.” The campaign is basically designed to show that the public relations field influences everyone and to give a forum for PR professionals to discuss campaigns that have worked for them.

When I first saw this, I laughed to myself because I pictured it as a cheerleading site for the PR field. Then I began my job search. As most of us are seniors, we all know the pressures of trying to find a job after graduation. My plan is to move to New York and I was told by a professional in the industry that finding a job in New York would be easy because there are always job PR job posting for New York. In my search thus far, that could not be any farther than the truth.

With graduation a month away, I am starting to freak out that there will be no job openings for me. Am I going to be one of the many graduates who end up in a field that has nothing to do with their degree?  Is the state of the economy really going to affect PR and similar fields?

With all these questions and fears beginning to build up, I began to think about the “It’s the PR” campaign in a new light. Personally, I could use a cheerleader keeping me in high spirits during my job search. Sometimes all it takes is a little change in perspective to show the worth of something. I’m happy to say that I will be checking in on the campaign regularly and hope to get a job so I can also add to it!

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April 6, 2009

“Toxic Talk” in Social Media

Filed under: Fidelis — mlmyers @ 8:50 pm
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While surfing around the blogosphere I came across a post by Crisisblogger Gerald Baron  about “toxic talk” in social media and whether its effects should be taken as seriously as they have in the past. The example brought to light was how reputation management dealt with the backlash of a Motrin Ad that struck sour with mommy communities across the web. Did they respond well to the situation?

We’ve talked about this case in PR class a couple times, but the notion that Johnson & Johnson (the distributor of Motrin) may have overreacted hadn’t really crossed my mind. The post by Baron referenced an article in Advertising Age that suggested we shouldn’t be so worried about viral outrage online. It is clear to us that social media matters, so what is trying to be said here? Well…there is definite controversy.

The article on Advertising Age suggested:

  • Internet and conversations don’t directly impact everyone.
  • For those who aren’t exposed to the message, it is more likely the controversy will drive them to seek answers and go check out what the fuss is about. (which is positive)
  • The overall impression of a company won’t necessarily have dramatic altercations.

Crisis management is extremely important, but are cases where company’s overreact becoming more apparent?

Another blogger, Shel Holtz, pointed out that people don’t have to see the message to get caught up with the outrage. He also noted that small issues online can blow up into mainstream coverage like well-known newspaper publications leaving company reputations extremely vulnerable.

These two perspectives got me thinking. I have come to the conclusion that each situation should be evaluated individually to determine and develop proper methods of solving the problem. Any thoughts on what may be a better way of dealing with crisis in social media?

March 28, 2009

Bite your tongue online

Filed under: Fidelis — jsaxarra @ 12:17 pm
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So we’re always told to watch what we put on any and all of our social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) because of the potential consequences. In fact, the last discussion we had in Business & Future of Journalism covered this specifically. Opinions flew all over the board as this is a pretty touchy subject, and rightfully so.

A little over two weeks ago, an example of basically a worst case scenario occurred. Some of you are probably familiar with this story. Six years after die-hard Philadelphia Eagles‘ fan Dan Leone was hired as the security chief for the team’s west gate, he was fired over a Facebook status.

The Eagles were unable to sign safety Brian Dawkins, who then signed with the Denver Broncos. Leone’s status soon after read, “Dan is [expletive] devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver. . .Dam Eagles R Retarted!!” Okay, so this status is a little over the top if it’s about your current employer. Yet on the other hand, it really is freedom of speech as a loyal fan.

I’m not taking one side over the other but I do think it was pretty heavy to fire a guy that’s been working six years for you without at least telling him to take it down first. ESPN featured a live chat with Leone where users were able to ask him questions about the matter…and one, in particular, stood out to me the most:

Farhan (Milpitas, CA): Has Brian Dawkins contacted you? He should offer you a job. You clearly got his back.

Dan Leone: Actually, I did here for one of his representatives and he said that once he gets back in the Philadelphia area in April, he would like to sit down and talk to me. Maybe help me out with some things.

This doesn’t mean Leone is going to get a better job with his favorite player, but it does mean that someone of significance didn’t think it was a justified action/reaction.

Nowadays, not landing an interview or job offer (or getting fired, I suppose) over something of this nature is becoming more and more of a reality. We’re told to watch what we say and do for a reason, but honestly, where do you draw the line? I know we all have our personal barriers, some extending WAY past others, but do you make everything of yours professional and private? How do these sites maintain the personal life appeal? In Leone’s case, the choice of language wasn’t too smart. However, if you would have explained the story to me and not the outcome, I wouldn’t have guessed that he was fired.

I’m more curious than anything as to what you all do with your personal accounts. Do you have separate personal and work accounts? Do you make everything private? Do you refrain from allowing any potentially risky content go up? Personally, my Facebook is ‘private’ to those I’m not friends with and my pictures are ‘hidden’. Yes, I know that doesn’t mean things can’t be accessed and I do allow my ‘wall’ to be viewed by friends. Also, how do your boss or professional colleagues think your sites should be maintained?

March 22, 2009

Blogs Killing the Newspaper Star

Filed under: Fidelis — maxlawrencehollister @ 7:41 pm
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Over the last few years, sport writers (in particular baseball beat writers) have had to evolve because of the ever changing times of media. No longer can a beat writer just file their stories for the morning’s paper, or simply post it to their media Web site. Now beat writers are required to write blogs. And I don’t believe that they get paid anymore, so they are doing more work for less money.

 

I think it’s important to note that from the beginning, I haven’t liked reading any blogs, even if the author is credible. I don’t like the way they are written and they seem to me to be a little unprofessional, meaning they are too informal. Also, there are so many of them and everyone has an opinion. A lot of blogs out there are just blow-hards trying to get their opinion out there…assuming that someone wants to hear them, such as Curt Schilling and Rosie O’Donnell.

 

San Francisco Giants have three beat writers who travel with the team and are with the team everyday. They are required to write a story almost everyday and sometimes two or three. Even in the first few days of training camp when there is nothing to report, they still write something. I will use Andrew Baggarly for my example. He is a beat writer from the San Jose Mercury News. He not only has to write a story each day, a feature once or twice a week, but he is required to write a blog as well. I feel that most of his blogs topics have already been covered. But media companies want blogs, because blogs are whats hot right now.

 

So are blogs the future of sports journalism? I hope not. A few years ago, Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, allowed bloggers to have press credentials for press conferences and games. He didn’t allow for them to be the locker room after the game, simply because of the lack of room.

 

The problem I have with bloggers, who don’t work for a reputable media company, is that they are not journalists and more than likely they didn’t go to journalism school. So what makes them credible? How can we trust what they write? And why should they have access to media credentials? If I could get media credentials to write a blog, then why am I wasting my time and money getting a degree?

 

So what do you all think? Do you like blogging? Do you read very many blogs? Why or why not? Do you feel that paid journalist who work for the media should be required to write a blog, among the other stories they write?

 

I know that blogs are the future; I’m just an old-fashioned guy who likes good-old news reporting and not loosely written blogs. Maybe someone can bring me around to see the light.

March 9, 2009

To ghost, or not to ghost: that is the question

Filed under: Fidelis — mlmyers @ 6:33 pm
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Our last day of class before spring break was partially spent on the discussion of ghostwriters’ blogging for a company and where it falls on the moral spectrum. I thought this topic was just being addressed as a segue into our next case study, so you can imagine my surprise when I came across a blog discussing this same topic.   Bill Sledzik,  an associate professor of Journalism and Mass Communications at Kent State University, spent his long post defending the idea of ghostwriting when done in a professional and responsible manner.

Like many students and professionals alike, I am on the fence. Both sides can make solid arguments. Both are persuasive. Both can make you test your own personal morals. I feel like this is a common trend, not only in PR, but in life in general. There are always two sides to an issue (sometimes more) and when deciding ethically, unfortunately you are the only one who can help yourself.

It’s a scary thought. Knowing that we are soon going to be the little fish in a ginormous pond and realizing that there is no survival guide to help us along. From what I’ve gathered from the handful of people I know already in that pond, is our morals and ethics will be tested continuously throughout our profession. There will always be people to give advice and try to help along the way, but when it comes down to it, you are in charge of your decisions and your future. 

I honestly don’t know what I will do when I am faced with one of these ethical dilemmas, but I would like to hope that I will do what I feel is best without any outside influences. Unfortunately, there will  never be a decision every single person will agree on, but by staying true to ourselves, hopefully we will be able to get through these bumps in the road.

March 2, 2009

Know your role…

Filed under: Fidelis — mlmyers @ 10:18 pm
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Back when I was a freshman I, like many others, was still undecided on my major. I’m sure we’ve all had different paths that brought us to PR, but I think it would be more important for those thinking about studying the field to fully understand what they’re getting into. In the Valley PR Blog, I came across an interesting post by Barry Kluger that I wish I had read years ago. I know it wouldn’t have changed my desicion to study PR, but it might have cleared up some confusion. 

The post advised those who are interested in the field to dig up the truth of what PR practice demands of its practitioners because the public’s perception of the industry is completely skewed. Kluger wrote that those entering the field usually think it’s a good fit for them because they ‘like working with people’. If that’s your reasoning, you might want to reconsider becoming a PR practitioner because it’s much more than getting media attention for your client, Kruger said. 

Some other advice from Kruger:

  • Focus on crisis avoidance rather than crisis management
  • It’s about positioning, not spin
  • If an opportunity presents itself, don’t pass it up–but use ‘smart, sober thinking and not shoot from hip responses’ 

While reading the comments following up Kluger’s post, some mentioned that fact that those who go into PR without properly educating themselves about the field cause a huge lack or professionalism and credibility in the industry.  

Knowing the aspects of the business is important, but what about those who stumble into a PR job? The fact that they are building on experience and learning as they go along doesn’t make them unprofessional, does it? Or is formal education one of the only ways to become credible in the field? Personally, I think having experience is what creates a professional and credible PR practitioner.

February 23, 2009

Paying for news?

Filed under: Fidelis — jsaxarra @ 11:41 am
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In Tim McGuire’s Business & Future of Journalism class, there was a discussion about how much people are willing to pay for their news. The debating ranged everywhere; from full subscribers to micropayments, down to no payments at all. I suppose, for the record, I should say that I was definitely one of the ones who WOULDN’T pay.

Regardless, I ran across a blog covering this exact debate. Actually, the argument is geared toward the potential use of a micropayment system from an article previously written in Time. It states that people are increasingly reading online content and surprisingly, traditional journalism is more popular than ever. The problem is that it’s essentially being given away and subscriptions are at a low…what a shocker.

Walter Isaacson, the article’s author, recommends the use of micropayments [combined with advertising] as a way to prevent traditional journalism from completely crumbling. Even the author of the blog caved and eventually agreed with this. But I still don’t buy it.

I honestly cannot see how the implementation of a very small fee (be it per click/article/download/etc.) could save an entire industry. Maybe save is too big of a word. Well I still don’t see how it could further stimulate an entire industry and one that’s been around forever, mind you. I’m fully aware of the whole, “Why should I vote, it doesn’t even matter…” question that is often counter-argued with, “If EVERYONE said that, it would make a difference!” but I’m still not sold.

Why, during our country’s horrid economic status, would the majority of people pay a nickel here, a couple bucks there for an article? I emphasize the majority because I know that some people will pay for anything. And by some, I mean a lot. I just can’t see it being enough. Jobs are being lost left and right, while others have yet to even enter the working-world. Competition is extremely stiff, as it should be, and it’s not just stopping at who can get hired first.

The fact is, someone will present the news for free. It is inevitable. All it takes is for that someone to be holding true name, or brand, recognition and micropayments will become obsolete. Traditional journalism fuels online content, and I don’t think papers will die off [for awhile] but we rely so heavily on the digital transformation. It’s not a stretch to think someone will pay and make the content available via BitTorrent for others to access. That doesn’t even come close to a big name company presenting it for free and yet it covers thousands, even millions, of online users.

Yes, people will pay, but it’s probably the same amount of people who bought any MP3 player that wasn’t an iPod.

February 15, 2009

When Sports PR Goes Too Far

First off let me start by saying sports media relations or public relations is not at all like everyday PR. You can get away with more in the arena of sports PR. But when a sports PR stunt manipulates one of the coolest exhibition sporting events of all time, I have to say enough is enough.

I don’t know if anyone watched the 2009 NBA All-Star Saturday last night or more specifically the Sprite Slam Dunk contest, but the fix was in. Normally the contest features eight players and there are three rounds. During last night’s competition, there were only four players: Rudy Fernandez, Dwight Howard, Nate Robinson and J.R. Smith. It was evident that during the first round, the judges already knew to give Robinson (winner three years ago), and Howard (last years winner), high scores so that the final would pair both former champs up against each other. Fernandez’s dunk in the first round was far better than Robinsons, and Fernandez was robbed of a chance to go to the finals. One blog said this about last night’s contest, “In what was one of the worst judged contests I have ever seen, Rudy received the lowest scores for both of his dunks, when he should have been among the leaders.”

During last years dunk contest, Howard wore a Superman’s cape while performing his final dunk. He did it again this year, and this is where I think PR robbed fans of a true champion. Right before the final round, Robinson went into the locker room and moments later came out in an all green uniform. The announcers called it “Superman’s Kryptonite”, so obviously it was a staged publicity stunt. Why would Robinson have a green uniform made for the finals against Howard when he didn’t know he was going to be in the finals? The answer is everyone involved in the dunk contest knew that they would be there. So if the NBA and Sprite just wanted those two in the contest, then why did they let the other two no-names to compete at all?

If it were my decision, I would have just let Robinson and Howard compete so the NBA wouldn’t have to rig the contest. I know it’s about money and it always will be, but the NBA made a bad decision last night. Don’t get me wrong, Robinson and Howard were really entertaining and they had some amazing dunks, but no one likes the wool pulled over their eyes.

So here is my proposal for the 2010 NBA Slam Dunk Contest; make it LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant and the whole world will watch. People will compare it to Michael Jordan vs. Dominique Wilkins in the 1987-88slam dunk contests.

This way everyone is a winner. The NBA, sponsors and the network will benefit from the amount of viewers and the fans will win because the two best basketball players on the planet would be duking it out in the dunk contest. It’s a win-win situation, and isn’t that the essence of public relations?

February 8, 2009

Has word-of-mouth been replaced by word-of-text?

Filed under: Fidelis — mlmyers @ 8:10 pm
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Today, I stumbled upon a blog by Dan Wool, a regular contributor to the Valley PR Blog, about Jeff Goodman’s launch of his new word-of-mouth marketing company, Blabbermouth. Goodman, a former actor and New Media Director of the Arizona Democratic Party, created Blabbermouth after recognizing the importance and benefit of a strong word-of-mouth reputation.

This got me thinking of the irony of a company called Blabbermouth that I have only heard about via text on the Internet. Which then got me thinking about how overwhelming social media can be to a college student set to graduate in May.  Being part of the generation that has grown up with Internet, email, cell phones and text messaging is seems almost natural that we would adapt to the world of social media with no sweat.

Unfortunately, in my case, it has taken slightly more effort.  With new memberships to WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Myspace and Delicious, it has become quite a balancing act. But the thing that has me worried the most is, once in the professional world, will this balancing act become easier? Is it more effective to connect to a reporter through Twitter or by sending a press release? Is pitching a story in person a thing of the past or a method that is not used enough? Are people to busy building and sustaining relationships over the Internet that they no longer have time for face-to-face or word-of-mouth conversations, or with so many social media outlets to choose from is it just unnecessary?

I was told by a former professor that in being a new graduate, one of the most valuable aspects we have to market ourselves is our keen sense of social media. That being said, will I be the one who answers all of these questions? Am I going to have a part in determining if social media has more collateral than older avenues of public relations campaigning?

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