Category Archives: personal thoughts

Attending Convergence and Multimedia Training

I have spent the last three days in a Convergence and Multimedia for Educators boot camp training with some of my colleagues. Needless to say  I have learned some new things, still learning some new things, and even learned new things about programs I thought I knew. Below are two projects I worked on during the three day boot camp.

The first is a video I worked on with a group of colleagues. Frankly, I am happy that one of my group members teaches Multimedia because me and Adobe Premier were not the best of friends. Check out our package below. It’s not grand, but for the short editing time frame, it is what it is. [Note: I refuse to publish the version I edited.]

The second project is a slideshow. The pictures and audio were available for us, but we had to decide the order, movements, etc. to tell the story. I think I will be introducing this program  in one or more of my classes this fall. We shall see.

I need a LOT more training.

Urkovia

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Ethics vs. Job Obligations: The Internship Experience

decision --microsoft imagesAs the current internship coordinator for the public relations area in my department, I receive lots of questions regarding the internship experience. Most of the questions are inquires from students seeking to obtain a public relations internship to earn degree credit. Additional questions are from individuals seeking a public relations intern, current internship site supervisors, etc. However, two weeks ago I received an internship question from a non-communications major. In short, the student sent me an email to ask whether the practice of making up quotes is common in public relations as the student has been asked to do this on several occasions by his/her immediate boss. (See the email below. Identifying information has been redacted.)

I applaud the student for seeking answers and for not disclosing the name of the company where this is an issue. However, it piqued my curiosity as to whether other students have come across this practice. During my tenure as internship coordinator, I have never had a student mention this particular issue. I have had to step in regarding issues between students and site supervisors, and most of those were easily rectified.

As for the student, I did inform him/her that the practice is unethical, and even provided brief unsolicited advice on how to address the situation. Yet, I wonder if other students, communication majors or not, would acknowledge their apprehension to this practice or just “go with the flow” because they were instructed to do it or they think their grade, job, etc. depends on them being in alignment with the company culture. Here is the email I received.

I am a [non-communications] major at GSU. I am currently interning for a large company in Statesboro and they frequently ask me to do things like write press releases.
 
I have no experience in public relations, but I do have journalism experience…
 
I wondered if someone would be willing to help me by answering a question I have about public relations, and I found you listed as the public relations internship coordinator, so you were the obvious pick.
 
My supervisor often asks me to make up direct quotes for people in the company because they are busy. She says they can just approve what I’ve written instead of having to take time on an interview with me.
 
…, this makes me very uncomfortable. I don’t know standard protocol for this situation or even if it’s typical, though. My supervisor is the head of marketing here, so I am predisposed to believe that she knows what she is doing.
 
Thank you for taking the time to read about my confusion. I hope you have time to respond.
What would you do? What would you say to the site supervisor or the internship coordinator? What advice would you provide the student?

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Are you the next “Public Relations Student of the Year?”

Picture courtesy of Microsoft ImagesHopefully you have seen the awards flier and heard the announcements. If not, consider this your personal invitation to submit your application and portfolio for one (or more) of the Advisory Board Student of the Year Awards. Each spring, members of the Public Relations Advisory Board judge submissions from public relations students who apply for “Public Relations Student of the Year” in one of the following categories: Public Relations Writing, Public Relations Design, Public Relations Planning, Public Relations Research, and Public Relations Student of the Year.

Let me reiterate, award winners are selected by non-faculty members of our Public Relations Advisory Board. These advisory board members are friends and alumni of the Department of Communication Arts at Georgia Southern University. Members currently work in various capacities within the public relations industry.

Below is a description of each award category. See the announcement for additional information. If you have not yet applied the deadline is this Friday, March 15 at 5 p.m. Do not forget to include your application with your submission. Drop-off submissions in the main office. Winners will be announced at the annual departmental banquet.

Award Categories

Public Relations Writing: Submit 3-5 short samples. Samples may include, but are not limited to, news, features, brochure copy, newsletter articles, communication plans, and web-based writings. Preference will be given to published works and successfully implemented communication plans.

Public Relations Design: Submit 3-5 samples. Samples may include, but are not limited to, newsletters, brochures, posters, advertisements, web pages, and PSA design elements. Preference will be given to original designs.

Public Relations Planning: Submit program overview and corresponding materials. Provide documentation of your contribution to this program. Indicate if the plan was completed by a group or individual. Describe each component of the plan and each team member’s contribution to the plan.

Public Relations Research: Submit 1-3 research papers and /or projects. Projects may entail academic investigations or applied projects that contribute to our understanding of public relations and communications. Co-authored work will be accepted based on applicant or applicants’ contributions to the project. Preference will be given to original research papers or projects.

Public Relations Student of the Year: Submit resume and mini-portfolio. The mini-portfolio should exhibit success in the following areas: (a) leadership and extra-curricular, (b) professional development, (c) academic works, and (d) academic or professional presentations. Finalist will be asked to complete an interview with advisory board members. At which time finalist should bring their comprehensive portfolio.

Urkovia

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5 signs marking finals week on a college campus

AIt is finals week! Well, some colleges have either completed finals week, are currently in finals week, or will be there shortly. Some students will sail through the week with minimal worries, while others will feel as if they are sitting on pins and needles until their final grade is made available. To me, below are the top 5 signs of finals week on a college campus.

5. Everyday is a pajama party.

In my personal opinion, pajamas should only be worn inside the house. However, during the week of finals I always tend to see an increase number of people wearing pajamas on-campus. Not sure if this is due to late night studying and waking up too late to change clothes, or if something else is in play. Regardless, please take a few minutes to put on something other than pajamas. Jogging pants and a sweatshirt work just as well.

4. Increase number of safety reminders.

Let me first state that you should always protect your belongings, at least to the best of your abilities. Thieves get a little more clever every year as they look for easy ways to make cash. Sadly, textbooks are a hot commodity right now; for all the wrong reasons. Not to mention this is the season of giving, so many thieves will take and give or sell to someone else. Protect your belongings. My former babysitter, she moved away, attaches mini bells to her purse and book bag so they will ring if anyone picks up her stuff. It is a start.

3. The library parking lot reminds you of Wal-Mart’s parking lot.

I think the library is a great place to study, if the environment works for you. If not, then please pick somewhere else to go. I cannot say I am amazed at the number of students who go to the library to study but participate in social gatherings instead.

2. An increase number of Parking & Transportation employees.

Dear students: Finals week, or any other week, is not the time to attempt to outsmart the employees of Parking & Transportation. Parking & Transportation knows it is finals weeks, and they know you think you only need 30 minutes to take your final. Lets not acquire parking tickets that could jeopardize you receiving your degree in the mail, or delay you from registering on time. Just park in your assigned parking lot.

1. An overflow of energy drink cans in the recycling bins.

Although I do not drink energy drinks, it is still rewarding to know that students are utilizing the recycling bins. 🙂

What did I miss?  What are additional signs of finals week on a college campus?

Urkovia

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Local crisis brewing? A health employee uses racial slur

Earlier today, I, like many of you, logged onto Facebook. I was surprised to see the below photo, not because of the language (or likes), but because, in this college town, it is receiving attention as if it is a football game. I think some of this attention is due to the fact the individual under discussion works in the health profession. And, of course, this is a college town. When I saw the initial post a little after 5 p.m. the picture had been shared by just under 600 people. Now, at the time of this post, about 4 hours later, the picture has been shared by over 1100 people. Needless to say her Facebook page has been either deactivated, for now, or deleted. Attached to this photo was the following description (I retracted the specifics):

This young lady is an employee of xxx of Drs. xx (location) 912-xxx-xxxx Judging by her racial slurs posted on Facebook concerning the re-election of President Barrack Obama I feel this particular Dr’s office should know exactly WHO they have working for them. Are African Americans safe at this office? Does this young lady care for African Americans as she does all patients? Re-post

The individual works, assuming she is still with her employer, for a reputable doctor’s office. In my opinion the doctors are great, their reputation in the community, on an individual level and as a practice, is strong. However, it will be interesting to see how they handle this situation and if their reputation can withstand the attention. What do you think the doctor’s office should do? What would you do? Would you have posted all this information about the individual in the photo description? Would you have posted the picture at all? Vote (and/or comment) below.

[Note: I have no professional affiliation with this doctors office or their employees.]

UPDATE: This employee was terminated from her position. The story received coverage in the local paper, on a regional television station, and in a metropolitan area. A formal statement was released.

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Perspective on your request for a course override

It is that time of year again! Students are registering for classes, complaining about the server crashing, and sending emails to professors for overrides. Since I am teaching a highly sought after elective next spring, I now get the pleasure of reading the same request from a number of students asking “Can I get into your class?”. I know I am not alone in reading these requests. Although all the students asking will not receive an override into this course, due to physical space in the classroom and pedagogical issues, there are some things students should consider when asking for an override from any professor. [Note: With the exception of one or two requests received so far this semester, the requests have been professional and well written.]

Image

Image courtesy of istockphoto.

1. Use a full salutation.–As ironic as this sounds you will be amazed the number of students that send an email request that begins with “Hi”. I know you thought there would be more to that, me too, but no, the beginning of the e-mail is literally “Hi”. This is only acceptable if we are continuing a conversation, and even then this form of greeting is questionable.

2. Provide context.–Yes, you have made it clear in the subject line you are seeking an override, but you never indicate in your email the course for which you are seeking an override. Most professors teach more than one course, thus you need to indicate in the body of the email the course under discussion. If you placed this information in the subject line, write it again in the body of the email.

3. Consider the language and tone of your email–Using phrases in your email, such as “I need…,” “I have been screwed…,” “My degree depends on…,” “If you don’t let me in the course I won’t be able to graduate,” etc., is often read with much skepticism. Keep in mind that you are making a request, not a ransom demand. Thus the appropriate language and tone for such a request should be utilized.

4. Set reasonable expectations to receive a reply.– It is rather unlikely that the email you sent at 6 a.m. will receive a reply by 8 a.m., or noontime, or 5 p.m. It is also unlikely that you will immediately receive an override into the course. Overrides are often granted to hardship cases first.

5. Realize you are not alone.–Sure, you know other people are still seeking entrance into a course, but you must also realize you are not the only person emailing the professor. For example, yesterday I received approximately 15 emails from 15 students within a two hour window for one course. I am sure that does not sound like a lot, but take into consideration that some of these emails were literally minutes apart and all the students request were the same. This does not take into account the emails I will continue to receive until the first day of classes next spring.

Granted this post does not provide you advice for obtaining an override into a course. However, this post does provide you with an inside perspective of how some professors view your override request. Next time you request an override consider the receiver of the message and how they will respond. Professors understand your degree curriculum, so act accordingly.

What has been your experience with requesting overrides or receiving override requests? Comment below.

Urkovia

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Who is your PR Idol?

While discussing the early history of public relations firms one class meeting the suggestion of an elective course offering on women in public relations was made. This discussion came about as many familiar male figures, such as Ivy Lee, George Creel, Edward Bernays, etcetera, were presented in our conversation on the early history of public relations firms. Thus, there was not as much focus, in this discussion, on the women in public relations. Seeing as many areas of public relations are dominated by women, not to mention the public relations course in which this conversation took place, it made me wonder: Who is your public relations idol?

This post is the opportunity to focus on your public relations idol. This individual may be male or female, living or dead, but who is he or she? Or maybe you have more than one that you would like to share. What is it about this person that makes you say “Hey, that’s what I want to do?” or  “It’s because of [insert name] I decided to pursue a career in public relations.” So, I’m asking, “Who’s your public relations idol?”. Tell me in the comment box below.

Pictured left is Doris Fleischman (Picture courtesy of Google images)

 

Urkovia

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