By Lauren Biertempfel
In our public relations classes at Kent, we often hear about our professional role interacting with the media. As professionals in the PR industry, we must learn how to successfully communicate with media reporters to help tell the client’s story the right way.
Media Relations and Publicity is a 15-week course that teaches PR students how to build and maintain relationships with reporters in a variety of ways. The course is taught by Kent State University Spokesperson Eric Mansfield, who uses his professional experience, both as a reporter and a PR professional, to teach students interactively.
The course is geared toward helping students create a portfolio, which they can use in interviews and while networking with professionals. Some of the work includes writing press releases, preparing media monitoring reports and writing story pitches to reporters.
For media monitoring reports, students choose a virtual client and they monitor the team’s online footprint. Sources that students follow include newspapers, social media and blogs.
Students also choose a real client, who is the main focus of pitch packages. In these packages, students write a cover letter explaining their objectives and goals. They then typically include a piece that will be sent to a reporter and an example of an email pitching the piece to the reporter.
The end objective is to learn how to interact with reporters and to have sample pieces for the student’s portfolio.
Media Relations is a fun course and students often have the freedom to talk about good and bad PR in the media. My tips for surviving Media Relations are:
By Erin Zaranec
We’ve all heard that a key component of public relations is writing, writing and more writing. As public relations professionals, one must be able to tell the story of their employer. One of the best ways to do this is through the media.
Reporting is a course that teaches you journalistic writing. In the 15-weeks you take Reporting, you become a reporter for The Kent Stater. At the beginning of the semester, you are assigned a beat, or topic, to cover for the semester. These beats include student life, health, finance, academics, administration and covering Kent State’s schools, colleges and regional campuses.
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering – why should I work for The Kent Stater if I’m a PR major? When working for The Stater, the majority of your pieces will be published in print or on the web. These published pieces will do wonders for your portfolio. At the end of the semester, you can tell hiring managers that you have published bylines online and that you worked on deadline as an actual reporter.
During your time in Reporting, you work with an assigning editor. These are JMC students who have taken Reporting and are your liaison between class and the Stater. In my role as an assigning editor, I work with 12 reporters to assign, budget and edit articles each week.
Learning to write and think like journalists are important skills for our profession. If you don’t know how to think like a journalist, how are you going to pitch a story to one? If you’re organization has a great new program, you’ll be pitching that program to reporters.
Reporting is a hectic course. You will be writing approximately one article per week, so be sure to balance your class schedule. While it is a challenge, seeing your portfolio grow is a really rewarding experience.
Here are my tips for surviving Reporting:
By Meghan Caprez
Last week, four members of PRSSA Kent ate lunch with Beverly Warren, Ph.D., president of Kent State University. President Warren offered this luncheon as a bidding item for PRSSA’s Homecoming auction last fall, and it sold for $1,000.
PRSSA Kent allowed each of its members the opportunity to apply to attend the luncheon, and the Chapter’s professional advisors selected four individuals who applied. I was lucky enough to be selected, alongside PRSSA Kent President Gabrielle Woodard, Vice President of Fundraising and Community Relations Erin Zaranec and Web and Social Media Manager Zabrina Hvostal.
Hosted and catered in President Warren’s office, we talked about everything from the Bateman Case Study Competition to the day President Warren’s Twitter account was shut down. Here are 10 of my favorite things that happened during (and after) our luncheon:
On behalf of our entire Chapter, I’d like to say thank you to President Warren and the 10 individuals who bet on this item during our Homecoming auction last fall. Your generous donation was greatly appreciated by those of us who were able to attend the luncheon and those of us who attended PRSSA National Conference this fall. We would not have been able to send 14 of our members to Atlanta without you. Thank you!
By Hanna Moore
What will make your résumé stronger? How do you deliver a memorable PowerPoint presentation? What should you include in an event plan?
These questions and more are answered during Public Relations Tactics, one of four skills courses in the PR Kent sequence.
As you will learn throughout the sequence, you need to develop goals, objectives, strategies and tactics when creating a public relations campaign. In other PR classes, you begin with your goal and work your way through objectives, strategies and tactics. In this class, you focus on tactics and learn how to strategically plan and implement them.
PR Tactics builds on the foundation of skills and information you gain in other courses in the sequence and teaches you how to craft messages, presentations and creative visual materials.
After taking this class, you will know how to give a spokesperson interview for on- and off-camera interviews, plan special events, give presentations and with visual support and write an effective public service announcement. You will be able to better understand when one tactic should be used over another.
PR Tactics also includes a personal branding component that will show you how to market yourself using an elevator pitch, a resume and LinkedIn profile, practice interviewing and other networking techniques that integrate your on and offline presence.
The class includes a combination of in-class and outside work, and there is one group project. Many of the deadlines for assignments will overlap, so it is important to plan out your time so you do not fall behind. The presentations and plans you write for this class can be included in a portfolio to help you land an internship or job.
By the end of the class, you will have a better understanding of how to use tactics to meet your ultimate goal, whether it is your personal goal, your corporation’s goal or your client’s goal.
To succeed in this class:
By Latisha Ellison
If you’re a freshman public relations major, you’ve probably heard from upper classmen that PR Case Studies is the make or break class for PR majors. That’s a pretty daunting thing to hear, but don’t fear—I’m here to ease your stress! Let’s break it down:
1. What do you do in Case Studies?
a. In Case Studies you will be assigned a group with four to five people, have a client and put together a public relations case study for that client. In three phases, you will conduct research, create objectives, strategies, tactics and a budget. This is probably the first time you will really understand what public relations is, how it works and how you fit into the equation.
2. Is working with a group as hard as I’ve heard?
a. NO! Truth be told, every group is different, but you will always have members who do more than others or vice versa. The bottom line is: try to love your group and fix problems ASAP. You need your group because you will be spending many hours in the library perfecting each phase and everyone needs to participate. If you are noticing issues with members in the beginning, nip them in the bud or you will not have a good experience.
3. Which professor is best?
a. You’re in luck because you can’t go wrong here! All are amazing professors, and we are lucky to have them in the PR sequence. They all have a lot of experience that you can learn from, and while their teaching styles may differ slightly, there’s simply no bad choice.
4. How can I be successful in this class?