[Fall 2012] M.S. in PR at Newhouse

Maple Leaf and Forest Canopy, Gatineau Park, Quebec. Ron Watts / Getty Images

This semester is different than last. No more graphic design and no more day-long classes. I’m taking what actually seem to be graduate-level courses in communication – Theory, Research, and Law – in addition to a course that helped persuade me to come here: PRL 614: Advanced Public Relations Writing for Digital Platforms.

In Theory we’ll be writing a theory and original research-based case study.

In Research we’ll be performing research for a local client that (ideally) will inform our PR Campaign activities in the Winter Semester.

Media Law is a more traditional course comprised mostly of course readings and exams on expression, obscenity libel, privacy and IP laws and court cases.

For Adv. PR Writing we’ll be presenting a PR/social media case study, a crisis communication mock press briefing, an online press kit, and regular writing assignments.

I’ll be writing some blog posts here as required for the writing course in addition to anything else that seems relevant. In addition to courses I hope to be elected to a graduate spot on one or more student representative committees through Student Affairs. Lastly, if have an interview this week for an amazing research assistant position that I’ll be sure to wrote about regularly if selected.

Side note: I just inputted all of my exam/due dates onto my calendar and while it would be a busy semester if I were chosen for both of the above positions, I’m not really nervous because I’ve done a good deal more work more many times over at Mount Allison University. Theory and Research may be covering concept that are foreign to me right now but I’m not concerned about my ability to master them and manage my time well if I’m fortunate enough to secure one or both of the above positions.

Newhouse “Boot Camp” for Graduate PR Students Summary

Bootcamp at the S.I. Newhouse School
Bootcamp at the S.I. Newhouse School

Bootcamp at the S.I. Newhouse School

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.


PRL 614: Advanced PR Writing for Digital Platforms Intro

Geoff Campbell
Geoff Campbell

Hi, I’m Geoff Campbell


This post is the first in a series of required posts for PRL 614: Advanced Public Relations Writing for Digital Platforms course I’m taking as part of the M.S. in Public Relations Curriculum at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Information about the course can be found here.

This post is meant to serve as an introduction to me, my interests in PR and my potential career.

If you’ve been reading this post for a while or are a carry-over from my blog writing about Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB, Canada. you’ll know that I’m a Canadian American who was born in Quebec but grew up outside Chicago. I studied International Relations at a small liberal arts school in Canada where, after discovering that my creating NPR’s Facebook page was for some reason worth mentioning at an NPR social media training conference in LA, I decided to pursue a career in communications.

I’m interested in human rights, sustainable development, and international travel so much so that I nearly applied to the Peace Corps before on deciding on a career in communication.

My initial experience in public relations was working as a Communications Assistant at Mount Allison University for just over a year. I worked primarily on improving the school’s social media presence by conducting an audit of the school’s accounts, best practices, and recommendations for improvement before implementing those changes. I also helped create a video series for incoming students. I have some interest in working in communication in higher education but am also considering work in a corporate environment or for a non-profit (once my student loans are paid off). My hope would be to some day be a communications director for a large nonprofit organization like Amnesty International.

Here It Goes Again at Newhouse

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

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTAAsCNK7RA]