By: Macy Rosen
Did you know Associate Professor Luke Armour is in a band? No, I’m not making this up, he plays the bass guitar!
Aside from public relations, Armour is very passionate about music … and peanuts with shells?
I know what you’re thinking: “Professor Armour tells horrible dad jokes, and all of his classes are lectures, how can he be interesting?” Walk into his office, and that is interesting enough (kidding). But seriously, someone needs to help him clean his office.
Armour has an interesting story. He currently teaches Public Relations Tactics and Case Studies.
“I can’t pick a favorite class to teach. In Case Studies, I like watching students go ‘oh I get this.’ In PR Tactics, I like watching students progress in their presentation skills. I have a favorite piece of each class,” Armour said.
Similar to classes, Armour could not choose a favorite colleague (to be expected).
Me: “Who is your favorite colleague? Who brightens your day every time you see them?”
Armour: “All of PRKent. There are six of us, and I love all of us. It’s amazing. We all get along, and we all work together. We help each other. It’s amazing.”
Me: “Do you feel like you would consider them your friends?”
Armour: “Absolutely. Yeah.”
Although he expressed his love for his students and colleagues, Armour said in another life, he would be a rockstar with long hair. (This was an interesting thought, considering his current situation, but I support it.)
Speaking of being a rockstar, don’t forget he plays the guitar … in a band. With other teachers. What is this band called, you ask? Drum roll, please … Mental Faculties!
Armour said he has always been into music and playing instruments, and he enjoys playing with fellow teachers. He claims he tells us these things on the first day of class, but all I can remember is hearing about Star Wars and superheroes.
As students, we oftentimes forget our professors have lives outside of teaching. Next time you have a few minutes after class, consider asking your professor what they like to do in their free time, it may surprise you.
New dad joke by Armour: “Do you know why I like jokes about elevators? Because they work on so many levels” (cue the dad laughter).
By: William Dakin
The National Millenial & Generation Z trip to New York City in September of 2022 was an incredible opportunity to meet executives and other students from around the country and, sometimes, the world. The topics of every meeting were variable, but frequently, in or out of meetings, there were questions surrounding the “metaverse,” artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR)/augmented reality (AR) technologies. As a rising topic, I was surprised by how little the general public was interested in or educated on the metaverse and had no idea of its applications in private and business environments. These technological developments could be the defining achievement of our lifetimes and changing interactions across the globe. A general understanding of the metaverse, its uses and tools used in development, is highly advantageous.
A significant hurdle for discussing applications of the metaverse is many people don’t understand what all it entails, as there is no set vision or definition. Broadly speaking, the metaverse describes a virtual environment accessible through a computer or combined with AR or VR technologies. Many people and companies have visions for the metaverse, including a digital economy using cryptocurrencies and NFTs as digital assets. This is overly generalized but can be more easily understood through examples that people have experienced.
Coming out of the global COVID-19 pandemic, where most social interactions ceased, there was an emergence of businesses using Zoom to meet virtually. Zoom is an example of the metaverse used by companies, connecting individuals through a virtual medium. Another instance of the metaverse, also popularized during the pandemic, is a game called Roblox. In Roblox, users can join different worlds to hang out with friends, explore or compete. Many businesses and brands, such as Vans, popularized their world within Roblox, where users can participate in challenges and customize virtual Vans and skateboards (Gibson 2021). Being accessed through a computer, cellphone or VR headset opened up new customers for new virtual products offered by Vans. A great quote that characterizes existing brands in the metaverse is from Nick Pringle, senior vice-president and executive creative director at R/GA London, “The successful brands will be ones that don’t simply replicate their current products and service in the metaverse, but instead think more creatively about what value they can offer.” Not only are new customers engaging with existing brands, but opportunities for brands to expand into new virtual product lines that appeal to new and existing customers.
Creating items, photos and objects in the metaverse take time, but new technology is emerging to help decrease time commitments and make designing in the metaverse easier. While meeting with and touring the impressive office space of R/GA in New York, we had a brief overview and demonstration of a new AI technology in research for use in artificial design. The technology dubbed “Midjorney” is an Artificial Intelligence Bot on the popular communication platform, Discord. Midjorney will interpret a string of words or phrases to deliver four completely original images based on the user’s inputs. These images are all computed, generated and delivered within 60 seconds. This tool, currently in its beta stages, has the potential to completely revolutionize computer design, lightening the image design burden for advertising and marketing fields. It is especially useful for existing or developing brands in a completely virtual environment.
While still drawing attention from skeptics, the metaverse is beginning to take shape and could define the upcoming generation of entrepreneurs and brands. Being informed and having a general understanding of the concepts will be beneficial very soon. When meeting with R/GA, it was emphasized that “innovation happens at intersections,” and this is a major intersection we see, the collision of a physical and virtual world. What technologies, innovation and knowledge will come from this is unknown, but highly anticipated.
By: Maddie Goerl
Reporting is a rite of passage for all public relations majors. With tight deadlines and time sensitive stories, the course is designed to keep students on their toes.
I remember my class buzzing with nervous whispers on the first day. My tablemates and I quietly discussed our limited knowledge of the course. Failed interviews, sleepless nights and the Kroll F (misspelling a name) were the main topics of conversation. Little did we know, Reporting would give us great writing skills and even better friendships.
After a semester of interviews and editor meetings, I ended Reporting on top with a 98%. I worked hard for my grade, but I believe anyone can pass Reporting with flying colors with these tips.
Most of all, I recommend choosing beats that you are passionate about. Beats are the different topics that student media covers. Mine was health and fitness, but there are dozens to choose from. If you don’t care about the story you are writing, it will show in the final product. The easiest stories to write are the ones you’d like to read.
I also recommend doing your research. Explore the stories already on KentWired and avoid writing a story that was recently covered. Push yourself to explore new topics and current events.
Make sure to use your resources! Depending on your beat, peer reviewed articles, journals and public records can supplement your primary research. Your AP Stylebook will be your best friend. Refer back to it often to avoid silly mistakes. If all else fails, reach out to some Reporting veterans for support. Many of the current PRSSA officers have completed the course and would be more than happy to offer advice.
When you inevitably lose a point (or a few) on a story, keep track! Make a checklist of your commonly made mistakes so they don’t happen again.
I think the key to Reporting is going in with the right mindset. This class gives students the opportunity to gain published writing for your portfolio. Treat this experience as a growing opportunity, a place to develop your personal style and voice. Go into this course with this mindset: you don’t have to take this course, you get to take this course.
By: Chania Crawford and Camryn Lanning
Joseph V. Baker (1908-1993)
Our first pioneer, Joseph V. Baker, is accredited as being the first Black public relations firm owner.
Baker was born August 20, 1908, in Abbeville, SC. He began his media career in 1920s Philadelphia studying journalism at Temple University. He was the first Black writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, one of the oldest daily news publications in Philadelphia.
After his career in journalism, he then worked as a PR consultant for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Shortly after, he found Joseph V. Baker and Associates, paving the way for generations to come. The historic PR firm emerged in 1934 and initially focused on Black media and audiences.
Some of Joseph V. Baker and Associates' most notable clients include the American Tobacco Company, Carrier Corporation, Chrysler, the Gillette Corporation, Scott Paper Company, RCA, Procter & Gamble, NBC, U.S. Steel, Western Union and the Association of American Railroads.
As for Baker’s work with PRSA, he was elected president of Philadelphia’s chapter in 1958. Along with being the first Black president, he was also the first Black individual to earn his Accreditation in Public Relations (APR).
Bayard Rustin (1912-1987)
Our second pioneer, Bayard Rustin, is famously known for being one of the key advisors to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and helped to organize MLK’s “March on Washington.”
Rustin was born March 17, 1912, in West Chester, PA. He attended Wilberforce University and Cheyney State Teachers College. In the 1930s, he moved to New York City to study at City College of New York.
Before his work with MLK, Rustin had a long history of protesting various civil rights and anti-war issues. He lived his life as an openly homosexual man during a time when homosexuality was criminalized.
He began working with MLK in the 1950s, organizing many micro-protests during the civil rights movement. He became a key organizer of MLK's most famous, “March on Washington,” in which MLK delivered his “I Have A Dream Speech.”
After MLK’s death, he continued to assist civil rights protests and lived out the rest of his days advocating for human rights.
Inez Y. Kaiser (1918-2016)
Our third pioneer, Inez Y. Kaiser, is accredited with being the first Black woman to own her own public relations firm.
Kaiser was born April 22, 1918, in Kansas City, KS. Initially, she studied economics at Pittsburg State University and worked as a columnist for various newspapers around the country.
Her career in public relations began when she leased an office in downtown Kansas City to open Inez Kaiser and Associates. Some of her most notable clients include the Jenkins Music Company, Burger King Corporation, Sterling Drug, 7UP (J. Walter Thompson), Southwestern Bell Telephone Company and Sears Roebuck & Company.
Along with creating her own PR firm, Kaiser was a great contributor to the civil rights movement. She has a history of doing work for the NAACP and helped to spread crucial messages during the civil rights movement.
Due to her great achievements in public relations, Kaiser was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Law from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO.
Patricia L. Tobin (1948-2008)
Our fourth pioneer, Patricia Tobin, co-founded the National Black Public Relations Society and remains a prominent figure in the world of public relations today.
Tobin was born February 28, 1948, in White Plains, NY. She studied journalism at the Charles Morris Price School of Journalism and moved to Los Angeles in 1977.
After moving to Los Angeles, she worked for KCBS-TV Channel 2 as an event organizer. In 1983, she formed her own firm, Tobin & Associates, one of the most successful PR firms in the country.
In 1987, she co-founded the National Black Public Relations Society, a communications group focused on amplifying Black individuals in the public relations industry. To this day, NBPR remains a crucial support system for providing insight and mentorship for Black individuals.
By: Emily King
Lights, camera, action…
It wouldn’t happen without the people behind the scenes. Three PRKent alumni joined PRSSA Kent for our entertainment meeting this semester. The guests talked about their path into the entertainment industry, what sets them apart from others and advice for students on their college journey.
While learning to be a PR practitioner, we learn many different industry skills. Jenna Lilak, PRKent 2009 graduate and the current Activation Manager of the Lifestyle Division at Condé Nast, talked about this.
“I thought it was my weakness … a jack of all trades and a master of none,” Lilak said. “It took me a long time to realize I am a jack of all trades and a master of many.”
As a PR professional in the field, Lilak talked about how much tasks can range. Lilak mentioned that everything she has learned about PR impacts her daily work life.
“Everything I learned in PR, is applied in my day-to-day life,” Lilak said. “Client management, time management and crisis management.”
Being a young professional can bring stress in the big career world. Megan Hermensky, PRKent graduate of 2017, marketing manager at Live Nation, says stop apologizing.
“I was apologizing for all kinds of things all the time, even things that weren't the biggest deal,” Hermansky said.
Hermensky said we need to learn to rephrase and not apologize for everything. Rephrase by saying, “Thank you so much for catching that,” and be more confident. “As a young professional, it’s okay to not be sorry all the time,” Hermensky said.
Every professor or professional has stressed the importance of networking to us at one time or another. Bryan Webb, Radio Producer for Apple Music Country, agrees.
“Don’t be afraid to reach out and network with someone even if you don’t know them,” Webb said.
Webb moved to Nashville in the hope to work in country music while only knowing one person in Nashville. He put his research and networking skills to work which helped land him his position at Apple Music Country.
“I reached out to people at companies that I thought sounded like they had interesting jobs just to learn about them,” Webb said.
Although we love in-person meetings, virtual meetings allow us to meet and talk with great professionals from all over. It was inspiring hearing from PRKent alumni. It gives a sense of hope for the future. We can grow just as much as these three alumni have.