By Brenna Parker
Public relations is not spin.
I’ll say it one more time for the people in the back. PR. IS. NOT. SPIN. For everyone at Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication “Journalism’s Way Forward” event, it was made clear that #PRKent is not about spinning the truth.
The event was a panel discussion of post-election America and the future of journalism and communication under President Trump. The panel, which was moderated by news anchor Russ Mitchell, of Cleveland's WKYC Channel 3, included Henry Gomez, chief political reporter at Cleveland.com; Cheryl Ann Lambert, an assistant professor in the public relations sequence at Kent State; Jacqueline Marino, an associate professor in Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication; Connie Schultz, a professional-in-residence within the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a nationally syndicated columnist; and Chance York, an assistant professor in Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Heading into the third week of the Trump administration, it is apparent that the need for a strong relationship between journalists and the American public is now more important than ever. The problem with Trump’s campaign during the election was that he manipulated his supporters into distrusting the media, therefore they now view media professionals as the enemies of the executive office. PR professionals and the media now have to maneuver a working relationship with President Trump, and more importantly, there has to be a sincere and strategic plan in building a relationship with the American public.
Another problem facing PR professionals is that the public is self segregating its news. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have algorithms within their site that tailor your content from your online searches and past browser history. The challenge for these professionals will be communicating with these segmented publics, especially when social media sites are kicking out messages and content before it even reaches people.
As an aspiring communications professional who wants to work in public policy, the past two weeks of this administration have been beyond frustrating because our work will be compared to the work of Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer. These two, who are furthering the negative stereotypes of public relations professionals, are perfect examples of what not to do when speaking to the press. Take Sean Spicer, for example. In his first press conference as press secretary, he completely shocked reporters around the globe when he scolded the press by reading a statement from the White House that included four verified lies about the crowd size for Trump’s inauguration.
For those of you that want to pay it forward and give back to the media, buy a subscription and support quality journalism. I do not think I am wrong by saying the millennial generation has taken for granted free information and news, but somewhere along the line we forgot to pay it forward and support these news organizations.
Brenna is a senior public relations major and is PRSSA Kent's vice president of professional relations. Contact her at email@example.com.
By Hanna Moore
It’s the middle of January, which means you have probably already broken many of the new year’s resolutions you promised yourself you would keep.
Don’t beat yourself up about it! Now is the perfect time to create some “New Semester Resolutions” to help your spring semester go smoothly. Here are some resolutions every PR majors should make this semester… and actually try to keep.
1. Buy a planner and actually use it for more than a week.
What better way to feel more organized and better about your life than buying a new planner? Unfortunately, as cute as your new planner is, it won’t do you any good unless you actually use it. Writing down your class schedule, work schedule, assignments, events and creating to-do lists can help you prioritize what you need to work on so you don’t miss assignments, and it leaves you enough time to get everything done.
2. Get involved…
If you find yourself with some extra down time, now would be a great opportunity to join a new organization, gain volunteer experience, find an on-campus job or join student media. If you need ideas, here are 19 ways you can gain real-life experience on campus.
3. … But don’t get too involved
Even though it can seem tempting to join everything you can, and it can be hard to say no when people ask you to take on more work, it’s important not to stretch yourself too thin. Even though it is important to fill your resume with relevant experience, don’t forget to make time for yourself to do your schoolwork, hang out with friends and relax.
4. Write, write, write!
If you ask any PR pro the number one skill they look for in an internship or entry-level hire, there is a 99 percent chance they will tell you it’s writing. While you will gain great writing experience in your classes, writing outside of your classes can help you develop your own style. Consider joining a publication where you can write about your interests or start your own blog. (If you’re looking for someplace to start, PRSSA Kent is always looking for people to write blogs!).
5. Read more than just social media
As PR students, we can be found scrolling through social media in our spare time to keep up with current events and to see what our friends are up to. Aside from textbooks and required reading, when was the last time you finished a book you read for fun? Picking up a book you have been wanting to read for awhile, or buying a magazine or newspaper subscription, is a great way to unplug for a few hours and learn about something you’re interested in.
6. Find your passion
We are so lucky to be studying a major with such a broad career field and vast majority of opportunities. Everybody could use some good PR these days, and aside from working in-house or for an agency, you can pursue a career in public affairs, entertainment, sports, non-profit or even global communications. College is a great time to start figuring out what area of PR you are interested in and start gaining relevant experience tailored to it.
7. Land a summer internship or full-time job
The best way to determine what you are (and are not) interested in is by interning. Don’t be afraid to apply for your dream internship or first job, no matter how lofty it may seem. Being proactive and applying early to positions can help you find an internship or job you are passionate about.
8. Don't forget to sleep
As simple as it sounds, when planning out your day, don’t forget to make time to get a good night’s sleep. We all have to pull an all-nighter at some point, but making a point to actually rest is important to help your physical and mental health.
9. Try not to buy Starbucks every day.
Even though Starbucks is *right* next to Franklin Hall, and it can be tempting to stop and pick up a latte on the way to class every day, your bank account will thank you if you take a few days off. Try making coffee at home a few days per week to save time and money without giving up your caffeine craving.
10. Actually try to exercise
If I had to speculate, I would say exercising more is probably the most popular resolution that people break. It can seem like such a pain to try to go to the gym and work out, but exercising can help improve your health and your mood. Even if you don’t have time to go to the gym, walking to class and around campus can help you burn some calories, even when you’re busy.
What are your resolutions for this semester? Let us know in the comments!
Hanna Moore is a senior public relations major and is PRSSA Kent’s web and social media manager. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Meghan Caprez
Around this time of year, I’m busy taking final exams and writing research papers. However, I can also be found hunched over my desk writing out holiday cards to the professionals in my network.
I like – no, I LOVE – sending snail mail. My friends receive dozens of post cards from me each year, and I much prefer writing out a thank you note to sending one via email. So it makes sense that I would enjoy writing out holiday cards. But why do I send them to professionals, too?
It’s personal. It lets those in my network know that I’m thinking about them outside of a stiff, career-focused business atmosphere. It takes time to write out, address and mail a physical holiday card, so professionals know that our relationship matters to me.
It’s different. Not a lot of college students think to send holiday cards to their family and friends, let alone to professionals in their network. While I’ve only mailed holiday cards for the past three years, professionals have now come to expect it from me. Just call me the Christmas card girl!
It’s global. The great thing about the holiday season is that it is nearly universal. If you aren’t celebrating a religious holiday, you’re celebrating the winter solstice or the new year. Because I studied abroad, I have professional contacts in London and Dublin, too. The holiday season is a great excuse to send them some snail mail love.
But I get it; winter holiday cards aren’t for everyone, and keeping in touch with contacts in your professional network can be tough. Over the past few years, I’ve been lucky to meet tons of great networkers at PRSSA National events. Here are just a few of their suggestions for staying in contact with professionals:
If you’re a PR or communication major, chances are you need coffee (or hot chocolate) to survive. So why not make your daily Starbucks run a networking opportunity? Once or twice a year, reach out to the professionals in your network and invite them to catch up over coffee.
If you’re like me, your network is spread out throughout the country…and even the world. It’s not as easy to set up a coffee date when your mentor is in New York City and you live in Ohio. Instead of catching up over a warm beverage, catch up over a warm keyboard. Send professionals a note every season to see how things are going.
Send a treat
One of my friends from PRSSA National said she sends her internship supervisors an Edible Arrangement every year around the time she started working for them. Maybe your old officemates had a sweet tooth, so a dozen cookies might be the way to go. This is a great way to show your thanks for the opportunity and let your old employers know you’re thinking of them. It can get pricey, so adopt this method sparingly.
Find your own holiday card
When you talk to professionals, pay attention to the things they say they enjoy. One professional shared that she connected with a student over their mutual love of Halloween. Now, every year, the student sends her a Halloween treat. Look for unique opportunities like that to connect with professionals in your network, whether it’s emailing them silly cat videos or mailing them a $5 Dairy Queen gift card each National Ice Cream Day.
Meghan Caprez is a graduate student studing communications studies at Kent State. Contact her at email@example.com.