I recently created a Prezi about my skills and experience related to higher education communication and public relations. Take a look here.
Last week I posted a video about the 6-week master’s bootcamp for master’s students at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications on their new Newhouse Insider blog. (The blog is a collection of post by Newhouse students organized by the Graduate Records Office about their experience here.) I made the video (below) over four months ago because I felt it would be helpful for prospective master’s student (especially those considering the M.S. in Public Relations) what the intensive six week courses here were like.
I didn’t share it then because I wasn’t satisfied with the technical quality of it. I speak too quickly and the slides change far too quickly. I always meant to go back and re-record it but then November the class workload increased and I never got around to it. Recently, however, there was another call for posts to the blog and I figured that, as Voltaire (and later President Obama) counseled, I shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. It’s not a perfect video but neither was the blog I wrote at Mount Allison University but I know it helped people.
Anyways if I had time I’d re-shoot it, it doesn’t represent everything I’ve learned in the last four months (or what I’ll learn in my photography/videography class) but it might help some people decide whether or not to come here so I’m sharing it. Here’s to hoping you get something out it.
I’d like to announce a bit earlier than I need to that I’m looking for a full-time job starting Monday, June 3rd, 2013.
I could simply post my resume and explain why in 100 words or less why you, a manager in a higher education communication office, should hire me but I can do better.
Here’s a little Storify presentation about me and why I’d be a great web writer/public relations specialist at your college or university this summer.
A few weeks ago I completed the summer session of the class of 2013 M.S. in Public Relations program. It was sold as a six-week intensive introduction to the field of public relations, proper PR writing, and an interaction to graphic design/visual communication principles and practice.
Coming from the viewpoint of someone who studied a more academic-focused program (Honours in International Relations from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada) it seems like a decent introduction to the field. I began reading number of blogs (Brian Solis, Chris Brogram Dave Fleet, Ragan) in the months leading up to the program and did not find I was at all ‘behind’ my classmates who had majored in PR or a similarly non-academic major.
We had various lectures on different aspects of public relations and were given writing assignments (which served as my introduction to AP style).
However, in terms of output our major project was creating a media kit (press release, backgrounder, fact sheet, biographies, pitch letter, blog and social media posts (Twitter and Facebook) for a fictitious event/product produced with the cooperation of a corporation and non-profit organization. I ignored my knowledge about Amnesty International’s longstanding policy of not accepting donations from corporations and announced the creation of a fictitious human rights violations reporting device inspired by the real-life “internet in a suitcase” technology being developed with funding by the State Department.
After our individual kits were completed we moved onto breaking into groups to present one of the groups ideas in a mock press conference another professor said was “going by the wayside”.
I received an A for the assignment and for the course.
In GRA 617 Visual Communications Theory and Practice we learned graphic design principles and then put them into practice by creating a well-designed resume, poster (based on our PR media kit), found a “crappy” website and redesigned it, and finished our course with a 4-page interactive iPad Magazine.
While I have no intention of being a graphic designer it provided the knowledge to be able to do basic tasks with Adobe CS (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop) and to be able to express what looks good, what doesn’t, and why
Due to a few technical errors I ended up earning an A- in the course.
Here’s the Syllabi for GRA 617 Visual Communications Theory and Practice and PRL 604: Writing for News and Public Relations at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
So today begins the last week of ‘boot camp’ at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. It has been a tiring five weeks so far. I’ll wait to comment on my courses until after I’ve completed them and received my final grades. I will say that I’ve been doing very well on both the public relations writing course and the introduction to graphic design. I’ve certainly learned a lot more new information in graphics because I have never had such high-level instruction on design theory or practice. Again, if you’d like to see the major projects I’ve finished so far for the class it’s available on the class website here.
This week, students in groups from both sections of the PR Writing class are presenting our mock press conferences on Monday. We then have to write a mock-news feature on another group’s presentation and deliver a 4-5 minute speech on “Our Favorite Thing” in class on Tuesday. In graphics we’re completing our iPad Magazine and then we’ll be done. I’m looking forward to the two-week break after classes and to my classes next semester (especially PR 614 Advanced Public Relations Writing for a Digital World).
I’ve got a lot of work to do this week, a bit of a break, and then preparing for the regular-length more reading-heavy courses, including PR theory and research.
For now here’s this
Today I attended orientation at the S.I. Newhouse School for Public Communications. Despite being an uncomfortably hot summer day and being herded through buildings for photos and speeches (including an interesting talk by Sean Branagan on creating a start-up), it was a great day to start what I’ve heard is an incredible eleven month program.
I met the 33 other (predominantly female) PR students in my year. Highlighting just how intense and short the program is, our new program head Maria Russel spent much of the class discussing internships. After completing our final course and cumulative exam in May we’re finished on campus but must complete at least eight weeks of full-time work in a PR-related department in order to receive our degree. Eleven months from now my goal is to have a full-time job, as opposed to an internship which has become more and commonly the entry-point for recent graduates in the field.
Tomorrow my graduate education begins with four hours of PRL 604: PRL 604: Writing for News and Public Relations. We’re going discussing creating our mock media kit and then listening to Professor Reff’s lecture on
What is News? Soft vs. hard; News writing: structure of a news story; leads/conclusions, using quotes, writing from a speech/press conference/press release, writing for the web; Writing exercises; Present subject of individual media kits. Assignment for 7/9: Bring one question about news writing for guest speaker Professor Bob Lloyd.
Below is the schedule for the rest of the week for any prospective students. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Today I received my first assignment for PRL 604: Writing for News and Public Relations with Professor Caroline Reff at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
The major project that we will work on throughout the course will be taking a real non-profit organization and a real corporation and create a fictitious special event which they jointly hold. We’ll be creating a media kit with two bios, a news release, fact sheet, backgrounder, sample blog, pitch letter, and media alert. We’ll be receiving the detailed syllabus shortly but for now I can share with you the generic PRL 604 Writing for News & Public Relations syllabus below. I’m very excited to begin this course, get a good handle on PR writing basics, and improve my writing overall.
In order to succeed in our profession, public relations practitioners must become
good writers and communicators. This includes mastering grammar, punctuation,
form and style, but more importantly, understanding the dynamics of each intended
audience and identifying the key message or messages for every communication
vehicle you compose. PR people must know how to write clearly, concisely,
effectively—and more often than not—under the pressure of deadlines. Becoming a
good writer comes with practice, lots of practice, and in PRL 604, you will begin this
journey by producing writing assignments covering a wide range of communication
forms. Within the context of these writing assignments, we will discuss message
research, development and communications methods; the implications of audience
segmentation, diversity, and the techniques of writing for internal and external
audiences; as well as ethics, credibility and newsworthiness. Students will also learn
about the legal aspects of public relations writing, including defamation, privacy,
copyright and trademarks.
In the beginning of class, students will be introduced to the basic fundamentals of
news writing, and will learn about the needs and expectations of the news media that
are part of their communications world. Students will learn to think like journalists,
weighing news values, making decisions on the importance of facts, and asking the
right questions to get the right answers in interview situations.
Next, students will assume the roles of public relations practitioners and will learn
how to research and write various communications forms that are considered “the
tools of the public relations trade”. Highlights of the semester will be the creation of
a complete, portfolio-quality media kit for a fictitious event sponsored by a real
company and a real non-profit organization. The class will vote on the two strongest
media kits and then form teams to prepare and stage a press conference. PRL 604 is
a three-credit academic course and is a mandatory requirement in the public relations
Course Goal: To achieve the proficiency in written communication that is expected
of entry-level public relations professionals, along with the basic understanding of
how the media research, write and report the news.
• To understand the needs of the media and various audiences;
• To be able to write clear, concise copy that is logically organized and
• To learn how to find and use reliable information;
• To understand the requirements of different forums and formats of writing;5/14/2012
• To explore and gain an understanding of the nuances and requirements of
writing within the realm of diversity and multiculturalism, taking into
consideration gender and ethnicity;
• To learn to understand the needs of the client in preparing written materials
and communications; and
• To develop a sound working knowledge of the rules and guidelines of the AP
Writing and Reporting the News as a Story, by Robert Lloyd and Glenn Guzzo
Public Relations Writing: The Essentials of Style and Format, 7th Edition by Thomas H.
The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, 2011 Edition; Christian,
Jacobsen and Minthorn, Editors.
The Elements of Style, 2009 Edition by William Strunk Jr.