Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Media snackers: no help here

Both Lauren Vargas and Kevin Dugan tagged me for this latest meme on media snacking-- you may recall the first time I got tagged, I was so excited I actually used an exclamation point (!), so you can imagine how being tagged twice went over-- but I'm sorry to report that snackers won't get much help here.

As several others have mentioned, I do include my Twitter feed on my blog, and I suppose the Week's Best for PR Students could be considered an aid to snackers, but for the most part I make my readers read. Guess it's the teacher in me. ;-)

Kaye Sweetser, Gary Schlee, Christine Smith, Bob Batchelor, Greg Smith, and Kelli Matthews, you've been tagged.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

The Week's Best for PR Students, 29 October 2007

It was a big weekend at UGA: some of us were so happy to beat Florida in football that we broke the Chapel bell. Nonetheless, the teaching and learning continue. Here are some highly recommended reads this week:

Impaired Crisis Communications: FEMA on California Fires, Eric Eggertson
PR Will Lose Social Media to Advertising Because of Sex, Jeremy Pepper
Owning It, Todd Defren and 5 PR Pitches: The Good and the Bad, Marshall Kirkpatrick
Eight PR Mistakes Trade Show Exhibitors and Their PR People REPEATEDLY Make and It Drives Me Batty, Russell Shaw (via Peter Himler)
Cases 2.0 (via Ross Mayfield)
Tips for Salary Negotiation, Michael Mardis on Forward
My Students' Blogs: Works in Progress, Kelli Matthews
Survey of Business Journalists by Arketi Group Finds Blogs and Other Online Sources Growing in Popularity-- this is the survey Mike Neumeier reported at the Connect conference

And, two--count 'em, two!--posts on PR history:
History of Public Relations, Tom Watson
Need to Rethink PR History, Or Why Bernays is NOT the Father of Public Relations, Bob Batchelor

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Do's and Don'ts of online reputation management

Christi Eubanks tagged me, so here are my thoughts on student online reputation management:

1. DO recognize that online, personal and professional are the same. What you post on Facebook is equally relevant to a potential employer as what you write in your cover letter.
2. DO be strategic. Make a plan for yourself that involves both learning social media tools and presenting a public face.
3. DO be prepared for people to disagree with or criticize you. As I've written before, participating in the social media space invites criticism. You must defend yourself, be willing to change your mind, or admit that you're wrong.

1. DON'T post something when you're too mad to think it through. I'm not saying you shouldn't be passionate. You should definitely be passionate. You just shouldn't be mean, irrational, or careless of the impact of your words.
2. DON'T be anonymous. You'll put more thought into your words if you own them, and you'll be creating an online portfolio at the same time.
3. DON'T forget to search for your own name and see what comes up. If you don't like the result, do something about it!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

So you want to be a PR girl

I don't even know what to say about this: Tide's online soap, Crescent Heights, starring "Ashley," who moves from Wisconsin to L.A. to work in public relations. This is fodder for so many discussions-- online marketing, media representations of PR, Wisconsin jokes (I lived there twice for a total of 11 years, so I'm entitled) -- I don't know where to begin.

Luckily, tomorrow and Friday we're on fall break so I have a few days to take it in.

Thanks to Grady colleague Peggy Kreshel for passing it along.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Bateman '08

Just finished my first meeting with UGA's team for the 2008 Bateman Case Study Competition. The client this year is Chevrolet/Safe Kids Buckle Up.

The team members are: Ashley Beebe, Jarek Beem, Abby Blaylock, Audrey Califf, and Sydney Carroll.

This team has big shoes to fill. I won't be writing about them because it is, after all, a competition; but we'll be working hard. Stay tuned.

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The Week's Best, 22 October 2007

It's tempting to link to all the social media coverage of the Connect conference and leave it at that. ;-) But, there's lots of great reading out there this week, so tear yourself away from UGA Connect and read/watch/listen to some of these:

"A Vision of Students Today" (video) and A vision on a Vision on Students Today, Heather Yaxley
Social Media 101: Five Lessons You Can Follow from Your Desk, Kami Huyse
The Rundown with Sarah Wurrey, Luke Armour (podcast)
Textbooks: Who Needs Them?, Gary Schlee
Do's and Don'ts for Digi Natives, Stephen Davies; Crowdsourcing: DOs and DONTs of Online Reputation Management, Christi Eubanks; and Crowdsourcing: Reputation Management for Digital Natives, Paull Young
Blog Action Day, Lauren
Cat Herding Fizzled, So Hype Machine Launched Anyway, Eric Eggertson

And, okay, there are a couple of things from the conference I just can't resist pointing out:
Is Content King? (video), Kevin Dugan
UGA Connect 2007: Inspiring, Awesome, Intense, Ashley B.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

What I loved about Connect

After months of planning, the Connect conference whooshed by in no time. I couldn't possibly pick a "best" thing, but here are some of the things I loved:

My payoff: an hour-plus discussion about how to take it into the classroom--LOTS more on this to come.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Final conference update

The binders are stuffed, the gift bags are ready, and the caterers have been given final headcounts-- Connect is almost ready to roll.

Kevin Dugan, the finally tally for your keynote speech on Friday night is 48. The multitudes are sure to be enthusiastic about your talk on the importance of content. :-)

Constantin, Josh, and Katie: we're looking at around 60 for Saturday. We ended up with more students than expected -- at least half, I'd say, with the other half being educators and professionals. Paull, your case study on Forward blog and podcast will be of big interest to all those young PRs!

Can't wait to see you and all the other speakers and participants on Friday and Saturday. And if you really wish you could go but can't, you can follow our blog, Twitter and Flickr updates, all handled by Dr. Kaye Sweetser's social media class at UGA Connect.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

The Week's Best for PR students, 15 October 2007

Social Media/Internet Communication Trends: The Conversation, Jeff Pulver
Another Take on the Social Media Press Release, Maggie Fox
Getting, Keeping, and Changing Communication/PR Jobs, Les Potter
Amanda's Backstory Reveals Ugly Character:: Did You Know?, Robert French
Off Target, Kaye Sweetser
Let's Talk About Al Gore, PR and Ed Bernays, Whatdaya Say?, Bill Sledzik

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Congratulations to pathfinder Kirk Hallahan

Just learned that my friend Kirk Hallahan has won this year's Pathfinder Award for best PR research program from the Institute for Public Relations. Kirk and I studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison together, but what you really need know about him is his Web site -- just a couple of days ago I overheard one of our grad students recommending it to another. Kirk's contributions to research have been many, and he is richly deserving of the award.

(Kirk, by the way, they don't really give you a Pathfinder.)

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Follow-up on Grady's 2005 PR graduates

In my continuing quest to find out what we know about the job prospects and satisfaction of PR program graduates, I contacted the University of Georgia's Career Center. They conduct a "Post Graduation Survey" every year, and they pointed me to the results of the 2006 report (on 2005 graduates) posted on their Web site.

The survey is voluntary, and only 27 PR majors responded (follow the Journalism/Mass Comm display and choose the PR major display). Much like the Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass Communication Graduates, which I discussed last week, this survey shows a broad range of post-graduation jobs among Grady's PR majors. Happily, only one of the 27 was still looking for a job; 21 were working and the others had gone on to graduate school, volunteer service, etc.

Here are the job titles the 2005 graduates listed:

Account Manager
Architectural Representative
Assistant Teacher
Assistant to Director
Bilingual Recruitment and Training Manager
Community Education Specialist
Community Relations Specialist
Corporate Concierge
Creative Services Manager
Loan Officer
Marketing Coordinator
Media Specialist
Public Relations

In other words, this survey also indicates a number of PR majors working in non-communication field jobs. But once again, it doesn't tell us if they got into an area they actively sought, or just got a job.

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The Week's Best for PR Students, 8 October 2007

Facebook, Texts Warn Students of Gunmen, Lee Aase
Harness the Power of Google News Alerts, Bill Sweetman (podcast)
PR -- A Matter of Degree, David Reich
The Top 10 Lies PR Agents Tell Their Clients and Prospects, Steven Blinn
Social Media Relations = The Release + News Room, Todd Andrlick
The Ogilvy PR Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics (Take Two), Kaitlyn Wilkins
Die, Resume! Die! Die! Die!, Bryan Person

New blogs for PR students:
Centennial Program Launches a Blog, Gary Schlee
Fall 2007 Student Blogs, Robert French

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Meet the Teacher: Carolina Acosta-Alzuru

This week for the first time I'm featuring one of my own colleagues. Some people may not like this term, but I'm telling you, she IS a rockstar. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru is an award-winning PR professor in the Grady College, but her research on telenovelas has made her a best-selling author in Venezuela, as indicated by the bottom picture of her being interviewed for television while the onlookers snap her picture, and a friend to the stars (the top picture shows Carolina with telenovela star Carlos Cruz, left, and Edgar Ramírez, who appeared in "The Bourne Ultimatum" and is now shooting Steven Soderbergh's "Che Guevera.") Carolina's blog focuses on her research.

Read this interview to find out why she's not on Facebook and how her blog serves as an academic gym.

Q. How and when did you first get interested in blogging? What is the purpose of your blog? Are you using any other social media?
My interest in blogging has grown slowly and tentatively. For the past two years I've been reading blogs related to telenovelas, which are my research topic and obsession. However, my first attempt at blogging was completely unrelated to my academic interests. It was in June of 2006 when I fulfilled an old dream: to travel to Santorini with my daughters and sisters. Blogging seemed like a very practical way of sharing the realization of my dream with friends and family. (It never crossed my mind that "other" people would read it). However, I stopped posting the minute I arrived back in the U.S.

My second attempt was related to my research and left me a bittersweet taste. I set up a group blog for the participants of my study of the telenovela Ciudad Bendita. Its purpose was to have a forum in which these audience members could comment freely on the telenovela without the need of my questions and probes. It worked well, but only for the first three months the telenovela aired. After that, participants stopped posting and started emailing me their comments directly.

After this experience I was sure I would never blog again. But last April I heard about the Blog Dawgs and how some of my colleagues in the Grady College were blogging. I visited your blog, Karen, and was amazed at its tone and usefulness. Soon after I decided to blog about telenovelas. I started writing in English and then realized that my blog needed to have a mirror image in Spanish . Therefore, my blog is really two blogs. In it/them I write about all aspects related to telenovelas, including my research studies and my classroom experience teaching about these Latin American soap operas, culture and society.

As for other social media, the only ones I use regularly are those for video sharing like youtube and dailymotion. I'm currently facing a conflict regarding the ubiquitous Facebook: I receive invitations every day from people who want me to join and be their friends. I'm curious about this phenomenon and would love to experience and study it. However, my kids, ages 19, 23 and 25, have asked me not to be in Facebook, a place they consider theirs. So far, I've abided by their request. But, I wonder if I'm missing something really important.

Q. Tell us a little about your school and how PR is taught there.
I teach in the Grady College at the University of Georgia. I'm very proud of our public relations program. For many years I've taught our visual communication course and our capstone, PR Campaigns. Every semester I'm amazed at what our students are able to do. Our program is strict in the courses it requires. We make sure our graduates are ethical strategic communicators who have mastered all necessary skills: writing, research, graphics, etc. We emphasize hands-on experience, and we teach them how to work both individually and in teams.

Q. In what ways do you incorporate social media into the classroom? What would you most like to do that you aren’t already doing?
Social media is both a research source and a strategic target for my public relations students. In addition, this semester I'm teaching a course on Telenovelas in which students are encouraged to participate in social media groups related to telenovelas.

What I haven't done: I would like to set up a blog for my classes. I haven't done that yet. But, I'm determined to implement it for next semester.

Q. Your blog is different from the other public relations educators I've interviewed in that it focuses on your research, so it's not actually about PR. In spite of that, has blogging affected how you teach PR? How has it affected you in other ways?
Yes, blogging has definitely affected the way I teach PR because it underscores the rhetorical underpinnings of public relations. Issues of persona, voice and audience are paramount in blogging and in the fulfillment of public relations' societal mission and purpose.

Blogging has had a profound effect on me as a researcher. Never before has my voice and my work reached so many people. I've lost count of the times I've been interviewed about telenovelas since I started blogging ...and from all over the world! I've always kept a research journal. Therefore, I'm used to being permanently reflexive. However, my blogs are like an "academic gym" in which as I plan my posts and comment on the the comments I receive, my mind is constantly analyzing, decoding and figuring out the significance and usefulness of my research, and how to construct a tight argument.

Q. Do you have any advice for other PR educators who are considering starting a blog or getting involved in social media?
Yes, do it! It's a tremendous learning experience and teaching tool, and it's a great way to connect with your students and people around the globe with similar interests.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Throwing some more numbers into the mix

During the ongoing discussion about PR education, several different sets of numbers have been cited about PR majors working in PR jobs. I consulted my colleague Lee Becker about it this morning because he conducts an Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication Graduates. Lee pointed me to Grady's Cox Center Web site, which published last year's report in full.

A sample of 89 schools listed in the AEJMC Directory participated in last year's survey, in which questionnaires were sent to all spring graduates. Many of the questions are analyzed based on communication graduates generally, but in a few instances Lee and his colleagues pulled out results by major. Here are some stats:

By Oct. 31, 75% of PR majors had a full-time job; 6.3% had a part-time job; 6.3% continued in school; and 12.4% were unemployed.

Of those employed full time, the median salary of PR majors was $30,000, identical to the median for all 2006 bachelor's degree recipients with full-time jobs.

The most interesting finding in terms of the current debate concerns the type of job (see chart S18 in the appendix to the report). Of PR majors (or "emphasis"), 20.3% were working in PR jobs, almost equal to the number (18.5%) in jobs not in the communication field. Moreover, another 37.8% listed themselves in "other communication" jobs, which does not include telecomm, newspaper or advertising. I assume this would include graphic design, Web design, perhaps grant writing and the like.

Among ALL majors (not just PR, and excluding those not seeking work), 24.7% report seeking jobs at a PR agency and 26% in a PR department. The actual numbers hired were 3.9% and 2.5% respectively (chart S7).

Finally, again counting all majors, 4% say they never intended to work in communications. Assuming this holds true for PR majors, there are still almost 15% of PR majors in the survey who wanted to work in communications but couldn't find a job. Another 12% were unemployed. And we don't know if the 38% in the "other communication" jobs are happy with that.

Anecdotally, Lee mentioned to me that PR majors have consistently been the most likely to work in other fields. Is this because PR is a major that opens many doors? Or is it simply that they can't find jobs? It seems pretty clear that we have an obligation to find out.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

An olive branch?

I want to make public my thanks to Jack O'Dwyer for sending me the passwords to his site and inviting me to share them with my students. I will do so.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Social media coverage of Grady's social media conference

Dr. Kaye Sweetser's class on Social Media will be supporting Connect, Grady's PR and social media conference, with live blogging, Flickr, podcasting and more. They want suggestions and advice from the pros. See Kaye's post on the class blog for the details.

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A dozen things I wish PR pros would blog about

A couple of weeks ago, Chris Brogan posted a list of "100 Blog Topics I Hope YOU Write." I'm not that ambitious. But here's my list of a dozen things that I wish PR pros would blog about for my students (and the other 35,000 out there). Feel free to modify them to fit what you want to say. Or add to them. Or whatever else you're inspired to do.

Update: a few people have agreed to write posts. I'm adding links as they come in. In Judy's case, she'd already written the post the day before!

5 ways not to get an entry-level job in PR -- David Reich
The biggest mistake I made early in my career
What to expect the first week on a new job/internship
The cover letter pitch -- Kevin Dugan
Reasons a student should get involved in social media -- Joe Thornley with Chris Clarke
What I wish my new employee knew -- Todd Defren
5 ways to dazzle a potential employer -- Francis Moran
3 things never to say to your boss -- Lauren Vargas
How to behave in a client meeting -- Sherrilynne Starkie
Office Politics 101 -- Colin McKay
How to get promoted -- Judy Gombita on PR Conversations
If I knew then what I know now -- Donna Papacosta
Additions: E-mail etiquette
5 things all PR students should know about their choice of career -- Steven Silvers

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Monday, October 01, 2007

The Week's Best, 1 October 2007

How PR Professionals Can Avoid Bad Blogger Outreach in 3 Easy Steps, Scott Monty
Corporate Social Media: What's the ROI?, Geoff Livingston
What's Wrong with PR Ed, Strumpette
Wanted: Angry Young Women (and Men), Richard Bailey
How's This For Passion?, Lizzie Azzolino
Lessons from Detroit-- Blogging in a Strike, Dan Greenfield
The Measure of a Relationship: A Role for Public Relations Beyond Publicity, Kami Huyse
Indecency, Emmanuel Tchividjian

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"More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given" --Bertrand Russell

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