By: Sam Farland
New Year’s Eve
New York City is the postcard to the rest of the world, which makes this 115-year- old event important to the NYC economy.
“Our challenge is to make it new, different and fresh,” Witham said.
Relationships with the media are important in this challenge.
He says the planning starts a year in advance, so they always have notes to improve upon, even in December. They are constantly working on this event, but it becomes more intense in September.
The day of the ball drop, TJ says, he is still working. He compares this event to the Superbowl, only one broadcast network covers that event. For New Year’s Eve in New York, every broadcast network can cover the event. He has to give credentials to the media and manage them during the event. The media riser, which is a platform near the stage, houses stations like Fox News, CBS, etc.
He mentions how back in the day, this event ran for only 60 seconds. The event was scary and horrible because there wasn’t any security. Now, there is an abundance of security and safety precautions in place. The event is also much longer, spanning over a period of 30 days.
Smaller Events Leading up to the Big Day
There are smaller events leading up to NYE a lot of people don’t know about. There’s a confetti wishing wall, where people can write a wish and stick it on the wall. At midnight, all the wishes get hand tossed into the crowd, showering everyone with wishes for the new year.
Good Riddance Day on December 28th is another small event leading up to the big day. On this day, people get rid of something from their past, and there’s a huge shredding machine to do so. (This is also more eco-friendly compared to burning them.) It’s a chance to cleanse yourself in preparation for the new year.
What advice do you have for students wanting to move to NYC?
If you want to live in NYC consider: Where do you want to be? TJ Witham lived in 3 of the 5 boroughs of New York, and it took some time for him to find his place. You will too!
Consider where your favorite activities are housed in the city. His main hobby is theatre, so his community is in the center of the city. He says New York City is unlike any other city he has lived in before.
What’s your favorite part about the job?
The staff is remarkable. Essentially Time Square Alliance is a business improvement district, founded to keep Times Square safe. There is a whole safety and sanitation team. He says it’s a unique organization to work in. There are also 72 other business improvement districts, but Time Square is one of the largest ones.
What’s your favorite part about living in NYC?
It’s hard not to be cliche. There’s always something to do, and too many options sometimes. It’s an incredible, vast sea of cultural opportunities. It’s wonderful to be able to find community, and realize it’s such a small world in a huge city.
By: Jorden Shevel
Two things go together for Kent State PRSSA and the national Bateman competition, putting out high-quality work and getting recognized for it.
Bateman clients change annually and so do the objectives of the study but one thing has been the same since 2013. Kent State remains at the top of the judge’s list.
The two teams Bateman Gold and Bateman Blue have 4 members of Kent PRSSA. Bateman Gold members are Linden Miller, Margaret Baah, Samantha Farland, and Katherine Null. Bateman Blue members are Kayla Proctor, Jorden Shevel, Jada Miles, and Hailey Barnett.
This year the Bateman students will work with The Census to develop a PR plan to reach some of their more secluded audiences. The Census has a big responsibility so they rely on the help of a lot of third parties to do the communications and raise awareness about the Census. This effort, alongside their communications campaign, seems to be the most effective strategy for them up to this date.
Kent State has had lots of success with Bateman over the past decade. One KSU team placed second in the nation in 2018. In 2019 and 2017, both KSU Bateman teams earned honorable mentions. In 2014 and 2016, one team received an honorable mention. In 2013, the Bateman Blue team placed second in the country out of 68 teams.
All this success means good things to come after for participating students. Members of Bateman go on to do great work in internships and PR jobs because of their experience with Bateman.
Creating and implementing a PR strategy is something students in the curriculum don’t often get to do. There are two classes in the four years PR students take at Kent State that touch on the actual strategy of public relations. The first, PR Case Studies is taken at the beginning of the curriculum and the last, PR campaigns is taken at the end of the curriculum.
This is why Bateman is such a good opportunity for students in the middle of their time at Kent State. It’s a hands-on experience for sophomores and juniors to be able to put what they have learned about PR to the test. It also puts these students ahead of others when taking the final PR class because they have already had more experience implementing a PR campaign than their classmates.
By Jill Golden
In Hannah Riffle and John Soriano’s professional development session, The 9-to-5s of PR: The Difference in Agency and Corporate Life, they shared helpful advice. Advice for students to gain a better understanding of what the differences are between the two fields from an inside perspective. They also shared advice for students on how to land that dream job in the future.
While there are many pros and cons about both fields, Riffle and Soriano clarified that some pros can be seen as cons to others and vice versa. So it’s important to think about what you are interested in, not what sounds right according to your peers.
“You can make it your own and find a really rewarding experience,” Riffle said.
Soriano, who worked at a small corporate office in Hong Kong, said that depending on the company, the PR department at a corporation can be small at times. While he was working in Hong Kong, his PR department included him and another co-worker. Larger corporations on the other hand typically have PR departments broken up into many departments and teams.
Riffle and Soriano also talked about the ability to be loyal to one brand at a corporate office versus having a variety of fresh and diverse clients each day. They both recommend if you are unsure about what kind of PR field to go into to try out agency since you can sample different clients to find which area you are most interested in. Some may love that client variety at an agency, while others may love the loyalty of focusing on one company at a corporation.
The work/life balance at corporate offices and agencies are different as well, since agencies typically require longer hours and a time entry of the amount of time you work for each client. Corporations allow for a better work/life balance since they follow a typical nine-to-five work day.
Among the differences between the corporate and agency world of PR, Riffle and Soriano ended with some important advice for all students who are heading into their careers. Some of their advice included: never fear asking questions, ask about the employee culture during an interview, internships are key to show an employer your real-world experience and “don’t limit yourself – you’re only limiting your ability to do great things,” – John Soriano.
Riffle and Soriano certainly went into more detail and included more differences between the two fields during the hour-long session, so I’ll ask all of you, what other similarities and differences have you noticed during your time working or interning for an agency or corporation?
By Samantha Farland
At PRSSA International Conference in San Diego, I had the opportunity to listen to Erika Prime, Digital and Social Strategy Lead for Taco Bell speak at a session called The Gen Z Era: Learning the Intricacies of Social Media.
She said she couldn’t even land an interview coming out of college at CSUF. She felt really discouraged, so she started painting and posting on Instagram. She decided to build her resume by becoming a manager at a restaurant called Islands. She also worked at an ice rink where she met the manager of Anaheim ducks’ wife; she happened to do marketing for Taco Bell. She applied for an internship at Taco Bell and got it. She ended up being hired after only 4 months of working there as a content creator. Her advice from this is “If you have a passion still go after it.”
She took Taco Bell’s Instagram from 300,000 followers to over a million. Her day-to-day activities are always different.
“Working for fast food is fast,” she said.
They launch a product every four to six weeks. She is always building relationships with influencers and covering events.
“I was very fortunate that my job is super creative; fortunate to work with a company that allows their employees to grow.”
Social is changing constantly Erika Prime said, we re-strategize every single year, and we just finished our 2020 strategy.
The Gen Z Era:
Between each generation there are degrees of separation. The Gen Z generation wants someone to take the lead and do something. They want to positively impact the world. They think with their ethics and morals when it comes to making decisions and purchasing anything. This affects the way social media is presented to the consumer.
Case Study: Taco emoji campaign:
Millennials and taco enthusiasts everywhere were asking for a taco emoji to exist, especially because of National Taco Day. So, Taco Bell asked, “how do we help with that?” They created a Change.org petition to release a taco emoji on IOS. It had 33,000 supporters in 7 months. Apple then released it.
Case study: The Bell Hotel:
Taco Bell wondered, how do we create a cultural moment and community around our brand that’s hard for competitors to imitate?
“We really wanna make a worthwhile experience for you,” Prime said.
They decided to use influencers to help spread the word about the Bell Hotel and create a FOMO (fear of missing out) effect.
“Find the connections between your cult and their cults,” Prime said.
They chose Jeffree star, a Youtuber with 15 million subscribers. They had Jefree create a video in the Bell Hotel and it was #3 on trending the day it went live with 6.6 plus million views. They chose Jefree Star because his fans are similar to Taco Bell consumers: unapologetic and creative.
• Social media is so complex and oversaturated these days.
• We’re competing with culture! We aren’t competing with competition like Wendy’s or Burger King anymore.
• “It’s our job to stay in the know, we have to know not only what’s going on with the internet but with people”
• “We need to be able as a brand to connect and resonate with them and also be able to speak their language.”
• Listen to your audience. What are they saying? Who is influencing them?
• “All good ideas come from an insight”
• Keep making connections.
By Ally Viano
On Oct. 19, Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., APR, and fellow PRSA enlightened many students on the importance and significance of keeping the communications industry as current and “ahead of the game” as possible.
McCorkindale is the President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations (IPR.) She describes the IPR as “a nonprofit research foundation devoted to the science beneath the art of public relations.”
During her session, McCorkindale explained that the IPR conducts research that matters to the profession, with the end goal of progressing the industry forward. She works with a board of approximately 75 CEOs and CCOs as well as agency professionals. McCorkindale advises these professionals in a way that guides them toward a more progressive foundation for their organization.
“The pace of change is more significant than the change itself,” McCorkindale said.
Emphasizing that the industry needs to constantly seek out the most current and up-to-date information in order to best serve its publics. She mentioned that while the industry is ever-evolving, strategic skills such as critical thinking and problem solving should always remain constant.
McCorkindale believes that the communications will continue to grow and fluctuate as the contractor industry continues to change as well. She emphasized that employees of companies such as Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are increasing in numbers. She also noted that the stigma against these workers is growing too. Because this industry is largely consumed by millenials, the generational divide between employees is greater than ever.
The contractor industry is continuing to flourish as more and more generation z and millenials enter the workforce. This group of individuals value this type of work more so than generation x and baby boomers due to its flexibility. McCorkindale’s research with the IPR shows that young professionals value flexibility at a job more than any other generation.
While McCorkindale offered insight into the challenges of the generational divide in today’s professional community, she also expanded on many opportunities that it provides. She stated that millennials became the largest population in the workforce in 2016, and with that, came the significance of neurodiversity. Neurodiversity encompasses neurological conditions that people may have that change the way people interact in the workplace. McCorkindale’s current research is focused on designing workplaces that accommodate neurodiversity.
In conducting this research, McCorkindale has discovered many things that hold true, regardless of generational gaps, neurodiversity divides:
McCorkindale noted that in order to succeed at these keys, an organization’s internal community must reflect it’s external audience. She also emphasized the importance of mentorship, and the need to invest in the people of the future, today.
To close, McCorkindale left with the idea that public relations is the connector of all things internal and external, and our goal as PR specialists should always be to strategically communicate.