GVSU PRSSA Wins National Awards

PRSSA Awards.jpgThe GVSU Chapter of PRSSA won several awards at the annual PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) conference in San Diego earlier this week.

The students won one award for University Service for their work on the athletic department’s campaign to use the university’s original mascot. Called a ‘faux back’ day. For one day, basketball teams and fans used the ‘Sawyer’ mascot instead the university’s standard Laker.

The GV PRSSA group also won an award recognizing their relationship with WMPRSA, the local professional chapter of PRSA. The GVSU PRSSA Chapter also earned another Star Chapter Award, which is granted to student chapters that meet 8 of 10 specific requirements.

Finally,  Assistant Professor Adrienne Wallace won a Teahan Award as Outstanding Faculty Advisor.

 

 

 

The 2019 APRil Report is Out

If you haven’t already read this year’s ‘APRil Report, the 2019 edition is available now.Screen Shot 2019-05-20 at 3.06.22 PM

The APRil Report is the annual report of the GVSU Advertising and Public Relations program. It features updates on the activities and achievements of students, faculty, and alumni, as well as news about the program overall.

The latest APRil Report is always available on our web site: www.gvsu.edu/soc/apr . You’ll also find on our web site links to our Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages. Please follow us to stay in touch and up to date between annual reports.

 

Professor Spring Publishes Module on Team-Based Learning

Robin Spring, Assistant Professor of Advertising and Public Relations, has published a module about team-based learning on  College Star  a web site with resources to help retain and encourage students with different learning styles.

Spring’s module, “15 Steps to Group Learning Success,”  was first presented as a GIFT (Great Ideas for Teaching) presentation at an Association for Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference.

“My presentation uses Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles,” Spring said. “These UDL web modules are accessible for any instructor across the nation (or universe) to use for ideas and inspiration.   Hopefully, others will find these modules helpful.”

Pop-Up Pedagogy: Myths, Mystiques, and Mandatories for Young Women Working in Communication

popup pedagogy

The GVSU Advertising and Public Relations program celebrated that March is Women’s History Month by hosting an event specifically for young women beginning their career in communications. On March 15, Pop Up Pedagogy addressed the “myths, mystiques, and mandatories” that come with being a woman in communications and the professional world.

CJ DeVries, Owner and Operator of GRNow and Owner of Innovative Social Exchange, and Julie Lankes, Creative Director and CEO at BOXBOOM Creative, collaborated as hosts for the evening out of a desire to help young women just starting their professional lives. The hosts expressed they were once in that position, too, and wished they had received this kind of guidance as a student.

The event addressed some of the challenges women face in the professional realm that men don’t, as well as tips for making a good impression and working effectively.

As with other Pop Up Pedagogy events, this was an interactive workshop. Seven female communications professionals (listed below) were seated among the students in attendance. DeVries and Lankes shared insights and advice from their own experience before presenting a break-out topic for conversation at the individual tables.

Some topics of discussion included:

  • What makes you memorable?
  • Practice your handshake!
  • Learn to accept a compliment
  • Advice for interview attire

“The goal I had with this event was to bring in a bunch of successful and wonderful women from many different backgrounds and jobs to meet students and share what they’ve experienced, as well as be mentors for students,” said student Kelly Darcy, who assisted Professor Frank Blossom as the project manager for the event.

What made the event so powerful was the spirit of mentorship and camaraderie built by the roundtable discussions throughout the night. It exemplified the aphorism “Empowered women empower women.”

Students who weren’t able to attend can still benefit from wisdom that was shared. A film crew was on hand to capture footage from the evening for a video, and a booklet is being created with the information discussed. Lankes suggested setting up a Facebook group where female professionals and students could continue dialogue based on the themes covered at the event. Students who would like to be part of this group can email kierstynnlyon@gmail.com with their interest.

Check out #APRSpeaker on Twitter for more insights and quotations from this and other APR events. A Facebook Live stream of the Pop Up Pedagogy event is available on the GVSU Advertising and Public Relations Facebook page. (Link to video: Facebook LiveStream video

Thank you to these professionals who contributed to the evening’s discussions and shared their time and experience with GVSU students.

Agency Spotlight: Spectacle Creative Media

Burned out from corporate culture, Tamaryn Tobian started Spectacle Creative Media in 2011. At that time, she knew that she wanted to use her creative talents and knowledge of public relations, advertising, and marketing to serve an emerging independent film industry in Michigan. Tobian graduated college as Facebook was going to market and before Twitter hatched. After making the decision to leave her big-box corporate advertising and marketing job, she started picking up more freelance and PR clients.

 

Tobian wanted to work with content creators, and she knew that if she was going to work in PR, then she was going to do it on her terms. It was important to her to create a healthy work/life balance that allows her to take on projects and clients that she was truly passionate about while also creating an in which she and others can grow and thrive.

 

Today, Spectacle Creative Media has become a known PR and brand strategy firm in Grand Rapids. They help filmmakers, distributors, entertainment & tech companies, authors, publishers, small businesses, and nonprofits discover their spark. The team at Spectacle is made up of storytellers, dreamers, strategy makers, and action takers. They include:

 

Tamaryn Tobian—Owner, Publicist & Brand Strategist

Kellen Parker—Graphic Designer & Web Developer

Jade Villanueva—Associate Publicist

Emily Oldenkamp—Associate Publicist

 

Spectacle Creative Media offers a variety of services including unit publicity for films, film distribution publicity, media training workshops, traditional public relations and advertising solutions. Spectacle has worked with a range of clients including, the upcoming faith-based film, God Bless the Broken Road, Joel Potrykus’ 2014 SXSW world premiere film, BUZZARD, Chicago nonprofit WomenOnCall, CineScout, SetHero, Stage32, Joseph Scott Anthony, Ralph Lister, Sheri Beth Dusek, and more. Tobian is also helping to organize the Grand Rapids Film Society, whose mission it is to create a thriving film culture around independent, documentary and world cinema in Grand Rapids.

 

We asked Tobian what advice she has for students starting out in the PR field, “I think it’s important for students to be versed in many of content creation. The days of just issuing a press release are over,” she says. “A fresh face in PR should know how to write—extremely well and creatively—add copy writing and creative writing to your class load. And if you have room, photography, video editing or design class (or two). PR is ever-changing, and as visual content continues to grow in importance, it’s important to be well rounded and know how to style online content and have an eye for design. Being multi-skilled, especially in a small firm, is required. But most importantly, be willing to keep learning. As media and business models at outlets continue to shift, even seasoned pros are having to hone up on new skill sets.

 

We also asked Tobian what she looks for in potential employees and interns. “I look for people who aren’t afraid of jumping in—those who embrace hard work and who are excited with no two days being the same. One week our team may be on a film set, another we may be with a client at a film festival and still another we may be updating boring spreadsheets—you have to be excited about all of it,” says Tobian.

 

Understanding Global Public Relations

Cultures and customs differ around the world. It’s best to know of and be prepared for what may be different while traveling and working with people from different places. Understanding global public relations can be extremely useful and is necessary in the field.

 

On Monday, February 13 in Loosemore Auditorium, the winter 2017 semester APR Speaker Series presented global public relations consultant, professor, and author of her book: “Pitch, Tweet or Engage on the Street: How to Practice Global Public Relations and Strategic Communication”, Kara Alaimo.

 

Alaimo’s presentation consisted of her talking the audience through factors about cultural clusters around the world and how to adapt public relations messages, strategies, and tactics to these differences. The cultural groups included Confucian Asia, South Asia, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Anglo Europe, Latin Europe, Germanic Europe, Nordic Europe, and Eastern Europe.

 

As she spoke about each group, Alaimo outlined aspects from them that are specific to the culture. She stressed that doing something that you normally would from your culture may be perceived differently in another.

 

Bri Olson, an APR student at GVSU, relates her take away from Alaimo’s presentation about global PR to PRSA’s code of ethics:

 

“I was most shocked to learn how the Confucianism approach affected Asian culture. From Alaimo’s experience, she realized the Confucianism approach taught citizens and business leaders that talking about a problem makes it worse; so, if you have a problem, don’t tell anyone. This is highly unethical to do in public relations. Our Public Relations Society of America’s code of ethics clearly states the importance of transparency to be an ethical practitioner so this was such a foreign concept for me.”

 

Olson’s example from Alaimo’s presentation shows that knowing how to adjust to a culture can be very important. Alaimo explained that since the 1990s, International PR professors have been teaching their students the generic/specific theory of international PR – if you are going to practice PR in a new culture you need to think about five things and adapt your strategy:

 

  • Political-economic systems
  • Culture
  • Extent of activism locally
  • Level of economic development
  • Media system (who owns it, media access, and media penetration)

 

The big picture that students and professionals can take away from this APR Speaker series is that, from the words of Kara Alaimo, “all of us should be prepared to practice public relations globally.”

 

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How to Prepare Yourself for the Professional World

my-headshotAs graduation approaches, it’s normal for seniors to feel nervous about entering the real world and their success in the future. Juniors, too will be searching for summer internships and building their resumes. I have gathered some great insight from a Grand Valley State alum, Morgan Yingst to calm the winter semester jitters. Although Morgan’s career is in Public Relations, her advice and experiences are applicable to any field.

Morgan holds the Senior Communications Specialist position at the Illinois Supreme Court, where she writes news releases daily in regards to updates on the Court or judicial appointments and vacancies.

Morgan feels that GrandPR has prepared her for her current role. Morgan joined GrandPR when she was a sophomore. She started as an Account Associate, and with a lot of hard work and ambition, she became the CEO. Morgan gained experience writing and sending news releases for GrandPR clients, including the City Lights Music Festival and ArtPrize. Her experience working with different clients with a variety of needs gave her the confidence to send out statewide news releases in her current position.  Whether it be in GrandPR or any other organization that you are involved in, step up and take on a new task. Stepping outside of your comfort zone will help develop confidence.

Confidence is essential in Morgan’s workplace, specifically, because she is the youngest on her team. Morgan utilizes her communication skills that she acquired in GrandPR, so she can present herself as knowledgeable and ensure her voice is heard.

Obtaining a position at the Illinois Supreme Court is not an easy task, but Morgan worked at the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), the largest voluntary organization for attorneys in Illinois, prior to getting her current job.

People say it’s about who you know when getting a job. This is partially true in Morgan’s case. Her supervisor at the ISBA left to become the Director of Communications for the Illinois Supreme Court. He informed Morgan of the opening, and she seized the opportunity.

It is not uncommon that people enter a career that differs from what they had planned or even studied. However, Morgan always knew she was passionate about writing. At a young age, she entered short stories into local contests and served as an editor for her high school newspaper and yearbook. Morgan had a prior knowledge of public relations going into Grand Valley and declared that as her major at orientation. Morgan indicates “after my first semester of classes, I knew it was the right fit.”

On the other hand, Morgan did not expect to be in a nonprofit or government industry. Throughout her college years, she was convinced she wanted to do corporate communications. Morgan wants to encourage college students to explore various industries, research different organizations, and expand their skill set while they are young. Morgan admits “I’m not an expert in the judicial system, and that’s okay!” Her secret to success is having the courage to ask questions in order to communicate as an expert.