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,” said TJ Witham, Director of Communications at Times Square Alliance.
Relationships with the media are important in this challenge.
Witham 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, Witham says, he is still working. This event compares 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. Witham gives 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.
Witham 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.