So long sweet summer…

Tomorrow officially marks the end of summer and the beginning of a new and exciting semester. The summer was a great, relaxing break from reality spent working an easy job, hanging out with friends, and enjoying family time. But now it’s time to get back into the grind of the semester and it’s promising to be a crazy one. I’ve got a lot on my plate but I’m ready for the challenge and excited to further explore PR.

Fortunately, this semester will be one filled with lots of public relations. I’ll be taking a ‘Public Relations Writing’ course as well as other Communication classes like Intro to Marketing and Intro to Journalism that I feel will hone my skills and help me develop more of a PR mind.

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Fall 2012 Schedule

In addition, I will serve as the Program Director for the Public Relations Student Society of America here at the University of Delaware. As Program Director, it will be my responsibility to plan educational programs such as networking events and profession-oriented field trips. I’ll also work closely with the rest of the executive board to carry out ideas and plans to benefit our chapter and its members.

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PRSSA Exec. Board 2012-2013

And last but not least, I will be a Social Media Leader for the University of Delaware. As the Social Media Leader, I will serve specifically as the Marketing Leader and will assist with social media efforts via the @BlueHenSays twitter and Facebook accounts. This is the most recent responsibility I’ve taken on and my tasks are still undetermined but I’m thrilled about the experience I’ll have and the opportunity to learn more about social media.

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#UDel

 All in all, I think this semester should turn out to be an interesting one. I’m anticipating a busy schedule, lots of stress but lots of fun and excitement.  I’m ready to jump back into the swing of things and kick off my junior year!

My Morning as a Broadcaster

This morning I woke up before the sun. My alarm went off at the lovely hour of 4 a.m. and I must admit, I was not excited about it.  Not that I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to my plans for this morning, but let’s just say at 4 a.m., the only thing I want to be doing is sleeping.

So why did I wake up before the crack of dawn this morning? Today I had my first live broadcast on the University’s radio station. I’m currently enrolled in COMM329, Broadcast News Writing, as a requirement for my journalism minor. As part of my grade for the class, I have to go to WVUD, UD’s radio station, and do live newscasts on the air. I have to admit, I really wasn’t excited about this when I first found out. I thought we would learn how to write stories in broadcast style and maybe get up in front of the class and recite those to practice actually “broadcasting.” I was in no way prepared to go to a real radio station, where real people listen, and do real, live newscasts.

We had an orientation session at the station to learn how to use all the recording technology and the Associated Press newswire computer application. After the orientation, I can’t say that I felt totally comfortable with the assignment. Fortunately, our first newscast was done with a partner so I wasn’t alone in trying to navigate my way through broadcasting.

While I still don’t feel completely at ease with broadcast, today was really eye-opening in terms of how the radio works. I certainly learned a lot but I know that there’s so much more to learn in order to improve myself. However, I think I’ll certainly have time for improvement with 2 more solo newscasts throughout the semester. But here are a few lessons learned from day one:

  1. Not a lot is going on at 6 a.m. Maybe today was just a boring day in the world, but I was really struggling to find current news stories for my earlier newscasts at 6:30 and 7 a.m. Obviously at that time, there’s new things happening all around the world, but I found it difficult to report to a local audience when a vast majority of them are still sleeping or just waking up. There was a good variety of international news but with two and a half minute newscasts at 6:30 a.m., it’s most important to get the information locals really care about, rather than what’s happening across the world.
  2. Not all news is newsworthy. Just because a story may be interesting to you, it does not mean that the rest of the world cares. Especially when it comes to two and a half or five minute newscasts where it’s important to share the most imperative information. I found myself considering sharing the recent news of The Bachelor season finale (I’m a TV addict, sorry) but had to stop myself, realizing that most people won’t care about this when they’re just trying to find out the latest, most important news during their morning commute.
  3. Rewording isn’t as easy as I thought. Today, one of the big stories that I wrote was about the primaries in Mississippi and Alabama. I felt this was an important story to share during all of my newscasts seeing as many people want to be updated on politics (maybe I’m wrong about that; it was only my first day). However, it’s important to change up the stories a little bit so you’re not constantly repeating yourself but I found it difficult to update the story and change the wording to switch it up.
  4. Broadcast is conversational. Going into today, I felt like I was going to have to be super formal and perfectly recite my stories into the microphone. However, I was reminded when I heard the DJs this morning talking on the air that broadcast is just a conversation. I was just sharing the news with my audience. It’s not wrong to fumble on your words every once in a while and correct yourself and it’ll most likely even make your audience more comfortable.
  5. Just breathe. When you get stressed and you have 2 minutes before you go on the air and you still haven’t reworded your story, just take a deep breath and calm down. Sure, broadcast can be stressful but it’s important to stay calm. In addition to breathing to stay calm, it’s important to breathe while reading the news. Speak slowly and clearly and don’t forget to breathe!

These are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned and I’m looking forward to getting some more experience at the station. Despite my hesitation, I’m really grateful that my school does have a radio station and that my class gives me the opportunity to actually get real experience as a broadcaster. Although broadcast may not be my ultimate goal at this point, I fully believe in a holistic approach to education and broadcast is just one of the many facets of communication.

#MakeKonyFamous

A few days ago, as I was walking back from classes, I went to open the door to my building when I noticed something. To get into the building, I have a little grey fob that I place against a big white square that senses my fob and unlocks the door. But on this day, the big white square didn’t just say, “Christiana East Tower.” It also had a little red sticker. I quickly scanned the sticker but didn’t pay much attention to it. It looked like some sort of presidential campaign sticker but I knew I didn’t recognize the name “Kony” so I idly passed it by. But last night when my twitter and facebook feed exploded with #kony2012 #makekonyfamous #stopkony, I knew it was time to further explore this topic.

I found the link to a certain video and began watching. I noticed it was 29 minutes long and was a little stunned and planned on watching the first few minutes to catch the idea and then getting back to my homework. However, as the video started, I was enthralled. If you haven’t yet seen the video, PLEASE watch it. I’ll make it easy for you by putting it right here:

The video is not only so touching and about such an important topic, but it’s also so brilliantly made. While they could have just stated the facts, told a story and said stop Kony, they turned it into a giant campaign; one that grasps the audience’s attention. A simple video telling the sad story of Jacob would’ve inspired viewers and earned some donations, but they took this to a new level.

When you think about fame you think about Angelina Jolie, Lady Gaga, and other stars of the like. Sure a few dictators and rulers have made the news, but not in the way that these celebrities have. The Kony 2012 campaign has the idea of not just capturing Kony, but making him famous. Spreading awareness of his existence because like me before yesterday, many have no idea of his role in the world. The video challenges people across the world to make Kony as famous as George Clooney, Justin Bieber and Snooki by “covering the night.” It tells people to make a donation and get the action kit to start spreading the word and advocating the fame of Kony. They’re also getting the help of celebrities and politicians to give Kony the fame that they enjoy on a daily basis. The campaign ends on December 31, 2012 in the hopes that by then, Kony will be captured. But the only way to do that is overwhelm the world with images of the campaign, posters everywhere, and make it everywhere you turn. It advocates the idea of social media as a tool to spread the word and it’s so amazing to think about how the internet has evolved to a means to persuade and stop a criminal. But the ultimate test is on April 20, 2012 when we will cover the night. When people wake up on the morning of April 20th, if they haven’t yet heard of Kony, they will now be aware.

I just thought the video was so inspiring and such a brilliant PR effort to spread the word. So often you hear of campaigns to raise awareness of heroes, great events, happy stories but it seems like a rare occurrence to hear of such a massive campaign to stop a murderer. My words can’t accurately describe the power of this video so I ask you to watch it. I hope this video inspires you as much as it did me and I’m looking forward to doing my part to #MakeKonyFamous.

Internship Lessons Learned

For any new readers who may not be aware, I was fortunate enough to land my first internship a few months back for the duration of my winter session. When the new year finally rolled around, I was eager to get started with the Friends of High School Park and now I’ve finally had the chance to recap my amazing experience as an intern.

My time with the Friends was beyond useful and I can’t even begin to explain the wealth of knowledge I gained while working there. I genuinely enjoyed going to the office and looked forward to whatever assignments came my way. The office was such a great environment and I loved getting to know Diana and Gina, the two staff members in the office (Hi Diana and Gina, if you’re reading!). Both were so welcoming and taught me so much and I can’t begin to thank them for the opportunity they gave me.

I could type out everything I did everyday at the office but I have a feeling that would get long and boring so I’ll just give you a quick recap of some of the major projects I worked on.

The first flyer I created for the Annual Meeting
Flyer made for the Maple Sugaring Event
Banner I created for the Winter Warm Up
Certificate for an auction item at the Winter Warm Up

So as you can probably tell, a lot of my projects were designing various flyers and items of that nature. I became very friendly with Microsoft Publisher which I’ve found to be very valuable knowledge. However, in addition to these graphic design projects, I wrote 2 press releases and sent them out to press; one about the Friends’ annual meeting (for which I made the above flyer) and their newly elected board members and the second to spread the word about their upcoming event for the Winter Warm Up silent auction & dance party (if anyone is from the Philadelphia/Cheltenham area and interested in attending/learning more about the event, please feel free to contact me!). I also did your basic secretarial/organizational work like putting together sponsor folders for their biggest event (Arts in the Park), updating some excel sheets, sending out some emails and stuffing envelopes. In addition, I assisted with some of their social media in updating some things on the Facebook page, creating a Facebook event and sharing their fan page with my friends to increase awareness.

The amount of information I learned while working at FHSP is endless but I tried to put together a list of some of the most valuable things I learned. So here goes:

1. I really love working in nonprofit. I know I haven’t yet worked in for-profit so I can’t really compare it but there was something so great about working for an NPO. Maybe it’s just because High School Park is such a gorgeous, special place in my hometown and FHSP does incredible work to maintain it, but I felt so good about what I was doing. It was as though I was doing a small part in giving back to the community. I would definitely love to try out another NPO to get that feeling again but also test out a for-profit to see what that’s like.

2. How to write a press release. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a lie. I didn’t technically learn that and for all I know, I did it completely wrong. I learned through trial and error which I’d say is a pretty good learning method! However, I did write two of them with the help of the internet and both were approved by my boss so I’d say I was pretty successful in teaching myself how to write a press release?

3. How to use Microsoft Publisher. This one I would say is definitely an achievement. When I started making my first flyer, I had no idea what I was doing but as I played around with it, I started getting the gist of this amazing tool (you can probably tell by the difference between my first and second flyers above). I think this will definitely be a handy resource in PR, especially if I decide to pursue the advertising minor and I’m glad to just have another useful skill under my belt.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. After all, an internship is a learning experience and how will you ever learn if you don’t ask questions? At first I hesitated to ask questions when I was confused and would just try to figure things out alone which ended up taking more time than necessary. You don’t intern if you already know how to do everything so when you’re confused, ask your boss! It really helps to make the most of your opportunity.

5. How to use Excel. Excel is something I’ve truly always been scared of (is that crazy?). It just has so many gadgets and formulas and things I don’t understand. I certainly wouldn’t say I’m an Excel expert, but I definitely have a better understanding now. Gina is a whiz when it comes to Excel (and many other tools related to the computer) and she really guided me and helped me understand how to use the program which I know will be of great value in the future.

6. A bit about horticulture/meadows. Maybe this doesn’t relate to PR but I definitely think it’s a cool thing I learned! Diana is such an expert on the park and horticulture in general and it was so cool to overhear some of the meetings about various plant and animal species that thrive in the park.

7. How a small organization works. One of the coolest things was really just to observe how such a small organization gets stuff done. FHSP has only 2 staff members and besides that, survives with a board of directors, committees of volunteers and members who donate to support the organization. Throughout the day, Gina would make and receive various phone calls with the volunteers in order to keep things going and it was so amazing to see volunteers so passionate about FHSP.

That list doesn’t even begin to describe my incredible experience and I really can’t put into words all of the knowledge I gained from the organization, Gina and Diana, and all of the volunteers and board members I was fortunate enough to meet. High School Park and FHSP will forever hold a special place in my heart and I’m excited to announce that I will hopefully be helping them out again in the future! I’ve offered to do whatever I can from school and plan to help in last minute details for Arts in the Park.

Overall, I’m excited to have an internship in the book and moreover, one that I genuinely enjoyed, learned from and was able to actually get my hands dirty and do some real communications work!

Thinkin’ like a PR Pro

With the internship in full swing and lots of free time spent on the internet, I’ve found myself more and more often thinking like a PR pro. I’ve been doing my internship for 4 weeks now and with one week to go, I’m really loving every minute of it. I’m going to do a full recap of my time with Friends of High School Park but I figured it makes more sense to wait until next week when I’m officially finished (in case anything life-changing happens in my last week!).

I don’t know if it’s because I have too much time on my hands or because I’m actually starting to get a grip on PR, but it seems to be on my mind almost constantly lately. A few things have occurred over the past couple of weeks that have triggered my mind and caused constant PR on the brain. Let me break it down for you.

First of all, my internship has been SO beneficial to my understanding and experience in PR and communications in general. I’ve grown really passionate about the organization and I genuinely want to help them and promote their efforts. I find myself brainstorming ways I can get the word out; how I can reach out to our community; how I can appeal to all audiences. I have been wanting to go out of my way to help and I think that goes to show that I found the right future in PR.

My most recent project with my internship; any locals be sure to check out the event! ;)
My most recent project with my internship; any locals be sure to check out the event! 😉

Secondly, I had a realization when it comes to Twitter. Although I am on Twitter, I have to admit that I’m not very active on it and if I do tweet, most times it’s not of much value. One of my goals is to increase the importance of my tweets and not use it only as a fun form of social media. But that’s beside the point. Perhaps this realization is a bit delayed and I haven’t been paying enough attention to the way companies use Twitter, but I have to give kudos to a certain brand. And that kudos goes to Chobani.

Dying to try the apple cinnamon!

source

I’d never been a fan of Chobani (I hated the smell!) and always made fun of my friend who brought it to work everyday over the summer. But a few days ago, I decided to finally give Chobani a chance. When I found that I loved it (so great, if you haven’t given it a chance you really should) I tweeted at my friend to let her know I was wrong in poking fun at her. At the time, I didn’t even realize that Chobani had a Twitter so I didn’t mention them. However, MINUTES after my tweet, Chobani tweeted back at me! I was shocked. So I looked at their feed to find they were constantly tweeting at their fans, whether they were mentioned or not, and even offering disappointed customers with an email address to get free Chobani sent to them. It made me have a whole new respect for the company that shows they really care about their users. If that’s not good PR, I don’t know what is!

Kudos to you, Chobani!

Finally (bear with me, I know this is getting lengthy), I felt like a PR pro and a bit of a loser for sure when a girl in my sorority told us about her boyfriend’s new business. It’s called Wink Frozen Desserts and it’s a low calorie, vegan, sugar free, dairy free, allergen free, gluten free ice cream! With my new attempts at healthy living, I was instantly intrigued. However, my immediate thought was how, if this were my company, I would go about getting the word out. Am I officially a PR nerd? My mind ran to the healthy living blogs I read and how they would be a great source to reach out to thousands interested in healthy living and delicious ice cream. Finally, I snapped myself out of my PR coma and drooled over the delicious flavors available.

All in all, I’m excited to be making PR part of my daily life. It’s starting to come naturally and I believe that’s a good sign for my future career.

Are you thinking like a PR pro?

2011 was a year of…

Adversity. Crossroads. Revolution. Remembrance. Possibility. Inspiration.

What an amazing video. If you haven’t seen it yet, WATCH IT. I’ve even made it easy for you and posted it right above. 2011 sure did bring a lot to the table, but first I want to talk about this video. It is so moving. Amazing images and videos paired with such a touching song, I was completely inspired by this video. Not to mention the many tears I shed while watching, but that’s also probably because I’m an emotional person. Such incredible (both bad and good) events took place throughout this year and YouTube and Google made an amazing video depicting it all in such a clever, avant-garde way. Using and promoting Google’s many features, the video follows some of the most memorable and inspirational changes in 2011. From the worldwide events such as the Death of Osama Bin Laden, the Japan Earthquake, and the Royal Wedding to the more intimate details like a soldier surprising his mother early, the 29-year old woman hearing herself for the first time, and the son telling his father that he’s gay, this video hits all aspects of the incredible change in 2011.

With this video brought much personal reflection on my own 2011 and the events that occurred in my life. No doubt that 2011 brought about some serious change for me. I was in my first year of college and still working on adjusting to life on campus. A significant relationship ended and with this I faced many emotional changes that have resulted in a better and stronger person. I discovered my passion for PR and worked towards advancing my experience and knowledge in PR. I’ve now become an active member in PRSSA and landed my first PR internship that will begin in just a few days! I’ve made new friends but also kept the old. I’ve celebrated great things and mourned some losses. I discovered a healthy life, understanding nutrition and incorporating more activity into my daily life. With that I ran my first 5K and discovered that running is something I love. The list is endless but it’s safe to say that 2011 was an interesting and life-changing year for me. Of course, every year brings with it change but I truly believe that 2011 has brought about greater change in myself than any year in the past and I can gladly say that I’m happy with the person into which 2011 has made me.

And of course, with reflection comes new goals. Here are my 2012 goals and resultions:

1. Appreciate my friends. Obviously I love my friends and I don’t know how I could make it through without them. But I will say that I’m not the best at keeping in touch or reaching out when I’m in need or when my friends are struggling. In 2012 I hope to be a better friend, to take advantage of technology that makes communication easy, and be there for my friends.

2. Run a 10K. As I said above, healthy living has become integral to my every day and with a 5K in the books, I’m ready for bigger things. I want to continue doing 5Ks but use those races and my personal runs as training methods towards a 10K. It will take dedication but I know I can do it.

3. Be happy. This one’s pretty vague. But with a lot of adversity in 2011, I was not always happy. And I’m sure I’ll have my moments of sadness in 2012 but when those hit, I want to make an honest effort at having a positive attitude and realizing how fortunate I am. No matter how hard things are, they could be a lot worse. In 2012, I plan to have a more positive outlook.

4. Get an internship. I know I already have one in 2012, but I’m itching for more experience in the PR world and another internship is the way to get that. Looking towards bigger and better things in 2012!

5. Save money. I’ve had a summer job for the past couple of years that paid well enough for me to make it last (barely) through the year. But now I have a part time job at school that brings in some extra cash and I’d love to also find another job. Spending money comes very easily for me but with college and the life I envision for myself in the future, I need to start saving. I hope to realize my necessities and spend less money in 2012.

6. Bake more. Baking is another thing I’ve fallen in love with in 2011. There have been many cookies in my 2011 history and with this new passion have come personal goals in the distant future that I’d like to pursue. I think I’ve mastered the art of cookies but I’m hoping to move onto bigger and better things. Like cupcakes!

7. Blog more. Blogging is truly something that I really love to do, but it’s hard to find time to do it. Obviously I have free time that I just don’t use for blogging so in 2012, I want to make a forward effort at blogging more often and improving my writing abilities.

So there you have it. There are my 2012 goals and now it’s your job to hold me to them. I’m sure I’m missing something and along the way, I’ll probably add more to this list.

What are your 2012 goals?

Happy New Year!

Sister, Sister

Every little kid has dreams of what they want to be one day. Someone they look up to, goals they want to achieve. Everyone has a role model and mine has been the same for as long as I can remember. My older sister. My best friend since birth, Jessica has always been the person I strive to be. Anything Jess did, I wanted to do the same and be just like my big sis. It’s only natural; every girl that has an older sister looks up to her, and every girl that doesn’t dreams of having one. But I’ve been fortunate to have the greatest older sister of all.

There are so many distinct memories that stand out in my mind of instances that the desire to be just like Jess was so overwhelming. For instance, growing up, my sister was lactose intolerant so she never ate milk, cheese, butter or any of your typical dairy products. And of course, I had to be just like my sister and god forbid an ounce of milk pass through my lips. To this day, I’m still trying to learn to like cheese.

One of the most vivid days in my memory. I was in fifth grade and it was finally time that I could choose which instrument I wanted to learn for the band. It was the day I’d been waiting for as a lover of music and of course, watching my sister learn her instrument, the clarinet, for years. For once, I decided to be adventurous and create my own path instead of following my sister’s. Listed as my number one instrument of choice was the flute. But I’ll never forget the pangs of anxiety I felt that morning while standing at the bus stop with my mom. Was I making the right decision? At the sight of the big yellow school bus rolling towards me, I declared to my mom that it didn’t seem right. At the last minute, my instrument switched from the flute to the clarinet because “Jess knows best.” I came to learn that maybe this would have been a good time to pave my own way considering I hated the clarinet and quit a few years later.

As I grew up though, I began to feel the need to make my own choices. I would forever look up to my sister and all that she accomplished, but I started to need independence and control over my own life. When it came time to choose a college and my options came down to Temple University, my sister’s alma mater, or University of Delaware, I knew I wanted to go to Delaware and experience something different from Jess. As I spent first semester trying to discover a major of interest, Communications was the only area I seemed to know anything about, thanks to my sister. As much as I was interested in it, I was hoping I’d discover my own area of study, not the one my sister pursued. But when I enrolled in my first communications course, I knew I was hooked. But hey, there are lots of areas of communications I could go into, right? I didn’t have to do PR just like Jess. And then I got involved in PRSSA and knew that Public Relations is what I need to do. It seemed I couldn’t escape my lifelong desire to be just like Jess.

So in Jessica’s footsteps I would follow. At first this worried me. Did I just give in and create a future because of the safety of having my sister? Was I taking the easy way out? But then I realized: communications and public relations are areas I’m truly passionate about. I’d never felt the excitement of going to a class until I started my communications courses. And more than that, I’m proud to be associated with someone as amazing as my sister. I feel grateful that I have someone so incredible in my life to which I am so similar. Jess and I will always share a close relationship, but this shared interest in PR creates another strong, sisterly bond. And I can’t lie; it’s pretty nice to have a PR mentor living under the same roof that can’t escape my questions for long periods of time.

So while I worried that I was simply taking the path of least resistance by following in my sister’s footsteps, I know that I’m going to make the effort to create my own PR path. The guidance and advice of my experienced sister will surely help me through, but I refuse to not take my future into my own hands.

You may learn more about my amazingly talented, PR guru sister here!

Winternship

It’s no secret that I’m quite the newb to PR. When I first joined UD’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter, I was overwhelmed by all of the things that I should have been doing. Keeping up with the latest PR news, tweeting on a minutely basis and most importantly, internships. Every speaker and every member was always chatting away about the internships they’ve had, the internships they discovered and the internships they’re dying to have. As a sophomore, I felt the pressures to find my first internship and fast. It seemed that all around me, my peers were moving forward and I was chasing after the bandwagon.

So I immediately started searching. I knew my best option was the “winternship,” due to UD’s extended winter session from January 4th until February 5th. And thanks to some great advice from the experienced PRSSA members, I learned that the best way to find an internship during this time period was to email non-profit organizations. NPO’s are always looking for free help and PR newbs are always looking for free experience. The perfect PR concoction.

I was thrilled to find an internship right in my hometown. Wanted: Communications Intern for Friends of High School Park. High School Park is a lovely park in my town that offers beautiful scenery, events throughout the year and much more to positively influence the well-being of our community. I jumped at this opportunity and emailed about it immediately. After a few emails back and forth, I set a date over Thanksgiving break to meet with the Operations Manager. After a beautiful stroll through the park (literally), it was official. I’d landed my first internship and couldn’t be more thrilled!

The Beautiful Park

Thrilled, but nervous. I’m now feeling the pressure to be the best intern possible. I want to exceed their expectations and be the intern they’ll always think fondly of for my hard work and positive influence to the organization. I know I’m capable of this if I put my best foot forward.

I’m excited to gain so much experience and knowledge from my time with Friends of High School Park and also excited that I’ll have much more time to blog about it and other topics! Look out for more frequent posts in the near future (that is, after I survive my five final exams).

Happy Interning 🙂

Where to begin…

This has been something in the works for a while and I’ve finally decided enough is enough. Time to kick this blog into gear. But where to begin… bear with me while I settle in here.

What’s the point? Well, I’ve always loved writing and with thousands of thoughts running through my head at 100 mph on a regular basis, what better than to put them into a blog?

So here goes nothing… or a lot of something