Friday, 18 December 2009

PR Degrees-What's the difference?

This is my attempt to get back into blogging! And with a new colour- I think white looks better. More industry related ones to follow but for now I want to know what other students are doing in their PR degree at other Universities. I think this area is over looked somewhat.

I am in my third and final year at the University of Sunderland and so far I have completed modules in PR (obviously), Social Media, Non-Commercial PR, PR Ethics, Journalism, Advertising and Marketing as well as Media and Cultural Studies. The course is also CIPR approved.

I have done a week placement as part of my course and have to do another 2 weeks this year. One placement has to be in-house and the other in an agency. We have produced a newsletter for an organisation (I did this for a primary school last year) and we are doing an Internal Communications Audit this year (mine is for a Secondary school this year).

This academic year we have also done speech writing and in the New Year we will be looking at Crisis Management which should be interesting!

I would like to know what other PR students do at Universities in the UK. For example, I know some don't do press releases and I believe others do a year placement.

If any PR student past or present would like to comment please do...
What do you like or don't like about your course? What could be improved? Is it perfect?

Friday, 13 November 2009

Lack of posts

I haven't posted anything on here for ages! I promise to soon.
3rd year of PR degree means I am extremely busy!

Posts coming soon...

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Can we pay for online content now please?

I am writing this in relation to job cuts for the Metro newspaper. I know this seems a bit late on in the paying for online content discussion but I think I have made up my mind for now! I don't know what people will think of this and to be honest I have been known to sit on the fence but I am just going to throw this out there. I THINK WE SHOULD PAY FOR ONLINE NEWSPAPER CONTENT. There I have said it. But here is why.

I think it will save the newspaper. As in the print version, the old school hard copy that you can hold. My logic is this,with regards to PR. If you go online, you can copy and paste an article, print it for free and demonstrate coverage to a client. Now, you can do this as many times as you want. No limits and it is free. The paper is not making any money, just gaining coverage, and a bit more advertising revenue. To buy a hard copy of a paper for cuttings and AVE you would have to buy that paper twice, assuming a copy for you and your agency and a copy for the client. Now if this was repeated on the internet, papers would get the advertising revenue and money for copies.

Paying a higher subscription fee and making the print version cheaper, could save traditional hard copy newspapers and countless journalist jobs? So we don't have to keep seeing articles like this and we can still get our chippy chips wrapped properly!

Now I don't know how PR will take this as it will mean more of a budget going on AVE, and to some peoples annoyance it may take up more room in the office and cost to send off for recycling.

Maybe this won't save journo's jobs but in this world where Journalism and Public Relations rely on each other and can have a love/hate relationship, couldn't this ultimately help us all out in the long term?

UPDATE: This discussion carries on here with Neville Hobson (@jangles) Where it is safe to say I wasn't as clued up on my theory as I thought!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

PR student development.

This Summer will be remembered as the Summer of work experience. All of it at fantastic agencies in Manchester working on some really interesting clients and working with great people many of whom I hope to keep in touch with.

Since my last post about my placement at Fido I have spent 2 weeks at Mason Williams, 2 weeks at Impact Media PR followed by a week freelancing there (hence my lack of posts). I think I now know that PR is the profession for me. Which is a good job as I have 2 weeks with Robson Brown in Newcastle starting a week on Monday!

I have done a social media and blogging presentation at Impact which everyone said they learnt from (and no they weren't just saying that!). I talked about the uses of Audioboo, explained 'how to blog', even though I am still figuring it out some what! I even managed not to talk about Twitter-due to time constraints, although I did produce a very detailed social media proposal which featured a large section on it.

This all leads me on to what I think PR students should do to try and improve their chances of getting a job but most importantly figuring out whether PR is the right career for them:

1.) Work experience
I really enjoy my course, the theory is interesting. That's all well and good but you need to actually do something with what you have learnt. Work experience is the best way of achieving this and it also gives you great satisfaction to see that what you have done in class is actually useful in the outside world.

2.) Networking
"It's not what you know, it's who you know". Extremely true, although obviously it isn't true if you don't know much. This isn't just about finding a career, it's also about your own personal and professional development. I have had advice from many experienced professionals who have been in the industry for years and I will take all of this on board to make sure that I will be useful for any future employer and try to stand out from the crowd.

3.) Social media skills
This has been what PR professionals have been most interested in when I have told them about my studies and my age! Now my issue with this is that I don't want to be pigeon holed as being a 'social media guru', not that there is anything wrong with that, I just don't feel that role is for me. I want to be a well rounded professional, known for being good at all (if possible) or at least most traits within public relations such as being creative. However, this will make a student so employable and it is generally what we know about because of our age and generations interests.

4.) Take every opportunity...
Any opportunity to get someones business card, take it. Especially with PR professionals. Now this isn't a selfish thing because you could be just as much use to them as they could be to you. You could meet someone who works for a company and has nothing to do with PR, but they could be a future client or decent contact.

5.) Student CIPR membership
It would really help to become a member of the CIPR! Firstly, it helps you keep up to date with topics and trends in the wold of PR. Secondly, it looks good on your C.V. Thirdly, it gets your foot in the door. Go to the meetings, get involved and chat to professionals from your area-then try and get yourself some work experience!

Sadly, these things aren't definitely going to get you a job. But it's all about being pro active so that when you do finally get a job, you'll be ready.

If there are any other PR students who have advice or any PR professionals then please add anything to the list...

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Fido PR placement and cocktails!

I finished 2 weeks work experience at Fido PR in Manchester on 1oth July. It was brilliant! Really enjoyed it and worked with a wonderful team. I helped out with clients RHS Show Tatton Park, Golden Square shopping centre in Warrington and the charity Forever Manchester. I did a whole range of things whilst I was there but I think my favourite was helping to arrange the Forever Manchester Cocktail Party!

I invited local radio DJ's from Key 103, XFM Manchester, BBC Radio Manchester etc and rang round celebrities agents and managers to see if they would like to attend. The biggest success for me was when Bez confirmed that he would attend! I had the privelage of meeting him, his partner Monica and friend Lee at the event on the 15th at Harvey Nichols in Manchester. They were great, really chatty and friendly. This was the first time I have met a 'celeb' and, (this is going to sound strange) they are just normal people! A valuable lesson learnt for me, although to be honest I have never been into celebrity culture anyway.

OK! magazine were partners for the event and there were photographers from the mag and local media. The M.E.N have some great images from the evening and the article is a good bit of coverage . The event was a great success and the cocktails were delicious!

I am sad to leave Fido and will hopefully be able to go back in the future as I have met some wonderful people and made some lovely friends.

But, no rest for the wicked, 2 weeks at Mason Williams starting monday and then 2 weeks at Impact Media PR! By the time I start my third year I will have almost 4 months experience under my belt. I don't know if it will mean I get a job after my degree, the way things are with the economy, but the main thing is I am enjoying PR and am learning that it is the career for me.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

What does the internet think? A good PR tool?

Ok so one of the main things we attempt to evaluate in PR is what people think about a client, product or a service. There are many ways to go about this which are very effective, many of which can be complicated, others can be simple.

Today I read about one which I assumed could be an evaluation tool in the latter category. And it's a search engine! I thought wow! Like we don't have enough of those... BUT it said it gave percentages of all the information about your chosen subject on the net, this made me intrigued- finally! Something extremely simple, cheap and quick! Ladies and gentlemen I present to you 'what does the internet think'?

According to the Metro it, "trawls the main search engines - Google, Microsoft's Bing and Yahoo! - for positive and negative phrases ('I love', 'I hate', etc.) associated with that thing. And then works out how fond the internet is of it".

Great stuff. I don't need to listen in university about evaluation techniques... Well no, actually I still really need to! This search engine does not make a PR persons life any easier at all... Sure it is fun, but when it comes up with 79.7% positive feedback for Adolf Hitler then we know that this is not the most reliable evaluation technique.

Although the Metro article does state that, "the internet is a big fan of kittens (92.6% positive) and cake (93.7%), less keen on ninjas (83.4%) and even less keen on swine flu, recession and Twitter (although they still all got over 60%)". Interesting...

So this may be something to have a laugh about in the office (may be not about the Hitler search as that is way not cool) but it ain't going to make any ones life easier and especially not the PR practitioners, although a comedian could get some brilliant material from it I am sure.

Oh and Public Relations is 88% positive...nice.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Everyone is a journalist!

The missing Airbus over the Atlantic makes it ever more apparent that everyone is a journalist. Twitter is full of people (including myself) constantly commenting on the story.

Under the 'trending topics' section the term 'Atlantic' is rising up the list. Although at the moment (13:00) the topics above include Susan Boyle and #musicmonday. What that says about society I do not know!

The sources are generally from other news sources such as the BBC etc People are engaging making comments and giving opinions. With the plane apparently missing over the sea Twitter will not play as central a role as it did with the recent Amsterdam air crash, as I assume there will not have been any eyewitnesses or 'on the scene' reporting.

However, I think that this story also shows that journalism will remain a profession. For example with this current story much of the news is coming from the news agency Reuters as they have the means to gain access to breaking news. Much of the 'noise' on Twitter is information from news agency's and television/internet sources such as BBC News.

I think that this is a reminder that journalism is still very much a profession, especially when news is not accessible through eyewitnesses and bystanders.

Air France Airbus missing

I am trying to find out as much about the missing Airbus. I first heard about it on Twitter from news sources such as NYtimes, BBC news, The Guardian etc.

Obviously info is still pouring in all the time. It is looking similar to how the news broke about the recent Amsterdam plane crash.

Where is best to follow the details? BBC News 24 on the Television is emphasising that the details are extremely sketchy saying that some of the news sources are unreliable.

As a journalist, or even as an audience, where do you start collecting info? I am following on twitter, BBC News 24 (Television).

For research I have viewed Wikipedia, Searching for Air France and the model of the Airbus A330-200 . The page has been altered on the accidents and incidents section already.

I don't know if this is possible and may have ethical issues but could someone who is interested in the story find info on Twitter?

If a passenger placed an entry which may give insight into what happened? Surely if this has happened could the entry from (what would have been a laptop or mobile) give a traceable location as to where the plane is? Or passengers are?

Thursday, 14 May 2009

PR and Audioboo

I have just had a look at this site. I am not sure about its uses but I think it could be great for journalists and PR practitioners, especially for acquiring quotes or releasing them.

It presents challenges for PR as it is another outlet for opinion formers to express opinion. If it is negative then how do you combat this and even monitor it? If it is positive about your product or service etc then can you harness this? Consumer feedback sections on companies site could use these?

To stand out on this site, how do you make yourself listened to? It is like shouting amongst a crowd and trying to be heard!

I'm sure there are many uses for this. But lets see if this takes off or is just a fad. I am not going to make the call, but on initial viewing I think it could be extremely useful.

If anyone has any thoughts then please share...
Update: It appears that this post is my most successful as it got a mention on Neville Hobsons' FIR 451 podcast which I was pretty chuffed about. The conversation about Audioboo starts at around 39 mins into the cast. Delighted that practically my whole post was read out. Even my tutor Philip Young got a mention. Now to get more involved with online conversations...

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Swine flu and Kleenex

I don't know what I think of this. On the one hand I think that it is really clever as it has been launched at just the right time to make some money. On the other hand it is taking advantage of a panic that the media has quite rightly been fueling over the outbreak of swine flu.

If they work then great. But at the same time I feel that this company could be seen to be taking advantage of a bad situation. I wonder whether this was a good move for the company or whether anyone is slightly skeptical?

The website contains advertising for the anti-viral product along with information about swine flu next to it which to me is either a clever juxtaposition or very helpful.
Does this brand look like they care or are they taking advantage? You decide...

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Divine Chocolate blog!

Check it out...

I did a guest blog post this week on Divine Chocolate's blog after completing my placement there.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Get naked!

How about this for a PR stunt. One of those simple yet effective ideas. Get naked, run around a bit and see if you can draw attention to yourself.

My question is- was this a good idea? Possibly.You would certainly get alot of attention (331,030 views on Youtube and countless mentions in National press) but it may not be for the right reasons.

I don't recommend doing this on a drunken night out by any means... Either way I think that in Britain it is just far to cold for anything like that!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

A good example of social media...

I like this idea and we should see where it goes...

Here is who created it...

When I mentioned this there were over 60 emails sent. See how many have been sent when you throw an egg-look in the top right top corner.
Posted at around 15:30 26th March...
The amount of emails sent is now 1544, which is a respectable amount. I expect that alot more traffic will have been to the site but may not have sent an email.
14:29 31st March

Update: There have now been 2120 emails sent. However, the combined 'egg score' (amount of eggs thrown) added together from Obama, Sarkozy, Hu, Brown and Singh amounts to 52,402. That is a pretty significant amount. The politician with the most eggs thrown at them is Gordon Brown with 16694 and the least is Mr Singh with 6568... (14:20 7th April)

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Twitter Journalism.

You may not be familiar with this site but it demonstrates how useful Twitter is as a news source.

At the top of the page it says "Unedited. Unfiltered. News".

It also explains that " is a user-generated site. That means the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked or screened before they post. Only stories marked "On CNN" have been vetted for use in CNN news coverage."

You may have heard that Twitter was the first to report the plane crash in Amsterdam yesterday. This highlights it's use for the media and everyone appears to be raving that it is amazing, to a degree it is.


For those of you not familiar with Twitter, it is in my opinion a Facebook status without Facebook. That I find is the best way of explaining it.

For future stories, even if it does not report breaking news then a journalist can find peoples opinions on stories. PR practitioners can find opinions on a product, service or organisation and feature them as a quote or an opinion.

However, although the speed at which Twitter can break news is impressive it could be wrong in the future. I think that we could see Twitter hoax stories where if enough people 'Tweet' a story then it could be believed. That is why I will continue to wait for news to be featured on actual news sites which are more reliable.

Pictures may also be posted on Twitter but there could be ethical issues, some pictures would be great to feature, but others may be inappropriate- especially when there is an accident with deaths and injuries.
Surely if reports on Twitter are wrong then there may be financial implications and reputation management issues just as we have seen with the rise of blogs and information being published on the internet.

So embrace this method of communication and it's uses but be cautious and be aware of possible implications from it's use.

UPDATE: On a story on BBC news 24 on Monday 2nd of March the presenter referred to opinion on twitter. This was on an issue regarding British home owners in Spain being forced to move back to Britain due to the cost of living becoming more expensive over there.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Have a break...

KitKat have created a new website where NOTHING happens! Great, fantastic! A total waste of time!

Instead we could just turn our computer off but although this seems useless it does make a rather good point. When do we ever really not use the internet?

With the rise of social media it seems that all we ever do is use a computer or our mobile phones to communicate with each other. We feel the need to constantly let each other know how we feel, what we are doing and what we have just done. This begs the question, why? I guess it's liberating and makes us feel like we have a voice, that we are not alone, that we matter.

Of course those reasons are social. In business they allow people to target consumers, publics and stakeholders. It is an area of communication which companies are attempting to understand and use more effectively. It is extremely cost effective in many cases. For example you can search for your company/organisation on Facebook in order to find out what people think about you or your product. This is much cheaper than finding people on the street and can be much quicker. 

However, that is the thing with Social media research, it costs nothing to produce in materials as it's at your fingertips already-it is time and to quote that famous quote or equation; time equals money.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Burping Cows

Now i haven't gone crazy and you may have to bear with me on this one but cows are a huge threat to the planet! To some this is common knowledge, many may have herd of this (sorry couldn't resist), but cows emit as much carbon in a year as the average famliy car!

But do not worry because help is at hand from experts at the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research in Aberystwyth. They believe that by altering the diet of cattle they can prevent them from producing as much methane.

And before you laugh at this latest revelation people are taking this very seriously. Especially those at Cadbury. They are currently attempting to reduce their carbon emissions by sending their farmers a guide to dairy farming which produces less carbon emissions. By altering the diets of the animals the hope is that they won't burp as much. How about that for an example of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). Although I remain slightly sceptical of this mooove by the company it will hopefully do some good.

Producing their chocolate amounts to 60% of their carbon emissions. Although how much difference making their cows less flatulent will make to the planets future is debateable. Surely the figure will be a long way off the 60% mentioned. A publicity stunt or a big step in the right direction for the company? You decide.

I wonder if they can harness the emissions instead...