Category Archives: JOUR 4460

My Future in public relations

After spending so many weeks writing blogs about the public relations field, it is hard to believe that after this post, I will not longer be a PR student, at UNT at least. I have spent the entire semester thinking about my future in the field. As I prepare for graduation with a job offer, I look back and think I much I will miss PR. Needless to say, my job offer was not in public relations but rather the financial industry.

 

Strangely enough, several of my friends who are also graduating from the PR program at UNT have jobs lined up but not in public relations. My sister who graduated fromTempleUniversity’s graduate program in 2010 told me that there were lots of jobs available in my field; however, the positions I have found thus far are either not paying enough or are internship opportunities.

 

This past Friday I spent the morning at Edelman PR firm. I was so excited to visit, since that is one of my dream jobs and companies. I spoke with a young lady who was a trainee; this is their internal term for interns. She along with many of the employees there told me that most started their careers in public relations in an internship role at a firm. At this time I had already accepted my job offer but it really got me thinking.

 

Initially I had planned on spending my free time freelancing so that I could maintain an up-to-date resume. Now, however, I am considering the possibilities of an internship in the spring. This option is very discouraging though for someone in my shoes. I am practically totally independent and I don’t have any additional sources of income barring my jobs, therefore a low-wage or unpaid internship is not a reasonable option.

 

Before visiting Edelman I was very excited about starting my new job, which I still am, however, visiting the firm reminded me why I loved the profession and that this is what I really want to do in life. I believe that public relations is a field of work that would never bore me (an important attribute to any job I take since I have such a short attention span.)

One of my best friends, Jasma Johnson, a graduate from the PR program at UNT, was so burnt out after her final semester that she dropped PR and began working on a Teacher’s Certification. Now she is a third grade teacher in theDallasIndependentSchool District. I won’t lie, there have been times this semester where I have shared her feelings. Unlike Jas however, I do want to continue in the profession and hope that one day my path leads me back to the career I love.

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Music and Social Media

One of my close friends is a musician and he along with his brother and sister are working on their first official project. He has taken a page from the likes of celebrities and musicians who have featured themselves on social media and has reached out to A&R executives, producers and engineers. The response has actually been great! Since first posting his initial song, he has gotten over 2500 views on YouTube and has over 900 followers.

 

The impact of social media on artists and the music industry has transformed the way talent is discovered. There have been several very successful acts found on social media sites. The first social media site, MySpace actually began as a social media platform for musicians. YouTube and Facebook and in the last year or so, Twitter have made the “important people” in the music industry much more accessible.

 

The question was raised among my group of friends…How do you get those individuals to listen to you?

 

Over the course of this semester my friends have begun following artists and other music industry folk who are known to respond to tweets from followers. I felt they were on the right track. Along with following the right people, I believe that maintaining a strong presence on social media, not only Facebook and Twitter, will aid them in their journey. An idea that is in the works is the creation of a blog as well as a series of web videos that will allow the public to get to know the artists on a more personal level. This on top of the video diary that will detail the journey of the making of the project as well as some fun outtake moments will create a personalized experience for the viewers. I have also consulted them about creating a brand early and trying to build the brand. The group’s name is Un-Orthadox. Therefore the blog title will be Un-Orthadox Thoughts, The personalized videos will be Un-Orthadox moments and the video (which will actually be more like a documentary) will be “From South Central to the Staple Center: The Journey.” The project, which is a mixtape, is titled “South Central to the Staple Center. “

 

The music industry is one that children dream about. I know for myself, I once had aspirations about becoming a famous actress and moving to Los Angeles. When I browse Twitter I find many young women advertising themselves as models and actresses; and I have read stories about women who have been discovered on social media sites and have gone on to become very popular. With acting however, I always found it harder because your talent is not always so obvious. With music the artist can sing at the drop of a dime, reciting a monologue is not so compelling.

 

It is my hope that this group of very talented musicians will get  their music listened to by the right individual. The idea that the process is any easier is a falsehood, although with greater access to the right people the process might be a bit more convenient.


A Thankful Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving holiday was definitely one of the best. I got a chance to spend the holiday with my dad, grandmother, aunt and cousins. This side of my family lived in Michigan until this past summer, making it extremely difficult to spend previous Thanksgiving holiday breaks with them.

Because of the illness in my family, this Thanksgiving was more meaningful that many in the past. I got a chance to spend some time with my uncle who was diagnosed with Cancer a few months ago. Family is one of the most important things in life and we should all be grateful for them all year long. It is so important to show loved ones what they mean to you while you still have the chance.

This was my first Thanksgiving without my maternal grandmother who I loving called Grammy. It was surreal to not spend the holiday with her. Her witty comments, mischievous smile and infectious laugh was missed greatly. I did, however, get a chance to see her youngest sister while I was in Houston. I had not had the opportunity to spend quality time with my great-aunt, Florida Mae, in countless years.

Thanksgiving starts the holiday season for my family. After eating a huge meal, we always reflect on the year and laugh about the “good ole days.” The day after Thanksgiving is always the day to put up Christmas decorations. Most years we join the masses in the Black Friday Shop-a-thon. This year however, we opted out of shopping to spend more time together.

One of the major conversation topics over this break was my upcoming graduation. The family is all so excited and proud that I am FINALLY graduating and attempted (successfully) to convince me to move to Houston after my graduation. After thinking about the decision for about fifteen minutes, I realized that the move would benefit me in many ways. Houston most likely has a better job market than Dallas, seeing that Houston is much bigger than the “big D.” Secondly, and most importantly, my family is here. Having lost so many family members in the past, forging closer ties to my remaining family is imperative to me. With illness running rampid through my family as well, time is of the essence.

This year the thing I was most grateful for was loved ones. Whether family or friends, this years has forced me to look at the people in my life and give honor to those who have supported, loved, respected and continued to believe in me. This was a very difficult year for me both mentally and physically. I learned so many things about those close to me as well as myself. My mental strength was tested. My heart was broken. And at the end of it all I will have graduated college, a feat that was important to me as well as my late grandmother.

As I look forward to next month (graduation) and beyond, I think about where I will be this time next year. One message I heard over this break that resonates with me is looking at every situation with some sort of positivity. Instead of fearing the unknown, I welcome it with the highest of expectations. I can genuinely say I am grateful for what is yet to come.


Black Friday

7 days and counting until one of the biggest days in retail… Black Friday. It is the one day a year that businesses slash prices and create pandemonium across the country. For my family, it has always signaled the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Being the procrastinator that I am, I usually wait until the week before Christmas to begin my massive purchasing, however, this year (since I won’t be working) I have decided to join the masses and engage in the frenzy.

Marketers spend months planning for the next 6 weeks in retail. It is the time of year that yields the largest profit. I have always wondered, why then do they offer so many discounts?

Many small boutique retailers offer gifts with purchase, which makes more sense to me from a marketing standpoint. If you purchase something then you get something for free. However, the retailers that offer deeply discounted merchandise confuse me. I suppose large conglomerates like Wal-Mart can afford to participate in these sales.

I have been working in retail for over five years and every year the company I work for provides the customers with a GPW. Once we run out, that’s all folks! It is so interesting to watch consumers line up for hours in the cold, rain, snow and sleet for a free item or a discount. Our country is obsessed with saving money, no matter how much or how little.

In Public Relations, this idea of profit is not one we focus on, however, in marketing creating an increase in revenue is of the utmost importance. It would be interesting if PR firms gave a discount on their services for Black Friday, just in case some catastrophe happened like the Wal-Mart fiasco a few years ago, when shoppers were trampled trying to buy Xbox 360s. Several retailers have had very dark Black Fridays. Another example would be Toys R’ Us. In 2008 two people were killed in a shooting in Palm Desert, California. These incidents create negative reflections on these businesses and oftentimes cause tragedy during the joyous holiday season. These incidents could easily be avoided and perhaps the marketing industry should think twice about the way in which they are marketing the sales this season.

Hopefully the PR crisis’ are over for the holiday season are minimally and people can focus on the real reason for the season, food, family and being thankful.


Abuse of Social Media

 

Facebook and Twitter are fast becoming the primary form of communication in today’s society. Everything is validated through these media channels. Although I have heard from many that this was a true and relevant statement, I had never personally experienced it until this week.

 

My feelings about social media have always been good; I am able to keep in touch with people from elementary, middle, and high school that I probably never would have had it not been for Facebook and Twitter. I am able to view pictures of family members thousands of miles away. Recently I was able to meet with my journalism 4470 group without leaving the comfort of my home. It has even created a new sense of security when meeting new people, instead of giving out our phone number, like our parents did, we are able to add a person on Facebook first, as a sort of screening process. However, there is a dark side to these social media platforms.

 

Every Sex and the City fan remembers the infamous episode in which Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) was dumped on a Post-It; well if the series was on-air today that Post-It would have been replaced with Facebook. Although social media started as a way to connect with friends, it has evolved into a place where business is conducted. When I initially opened my Facebook account, I would say whatever I felt. Now I am much more conscience about my status updates and the pictures I post. After my experience this week, I am wondering if Facebook should only be used for one purpose or the other.

 

Mixing business and pleasure (or displeasure) has always been a no-no, but the line is blurred with social media. After realizing what had happened with my friend via Facebook I felt so many emotions and wanted to address the issue, however, not all of my 1154 friends are “personal” friends. Several are co-workers, managers, bosses, and teachers even! And detailing such a personal issue would be inappropriate, in my opinion.

 

Earlier this week, Google+ was featured on Good Morning America. Although I have signed up for the newest social media site, I have never participated or used the services. After watching the morning segment, I understood what differentiated the site from Facebook. With Google+ you are able to select the circle of people you are connected with before posting statues or pictures. It is a more customizable experience. You place your friends in “circles” and choose what circles you want to direct your content to.

 

When Google+ was first introduced I assumed that the site would fail and would not last until the end of the year. But after my personal experience, I can see the appeal. This week I learned a valuable lesson, social media is replacing interpersonal interaction in a way that I never thought it would. My experience left me baffled and a ball of emotions, one of which was shock. I was shocked that something so important, relevant and serious would be communicated with me over Facebook…without words. If this is the world my children will be raised in, I am frightened for them. Having interpersonal interaction is vital to the survival of our culture and to me, communicating serious life-changing things over social media is just plain rude.


McDonald’s Monopoly Scam?

Each fall season begins with the changing of the weather, the introduction of the latest wool fashions and for those of us who are fast food junkies, McDonald’s annual Monopoly game. Each year the international food company partners with different brands and offers prizes based on monopoly games pieces. This year the prizes range from spa packages, to cars to cash prizes. My friends and I are huge fans and collect the pieces every year. Often times throughout the run of the game, we gather and compare pieces, attempting to cash in on one of the cash prizes, seeing as how we are poor college students.

 Recently, as my roommate and I sat in our living room, completely stuffed from the McDonald’s meal we had just devoured, I thought, the companies that partner with McDonald’s are gaining so much advertising from this contest. On every single bag and cup McDonald’s distributes throughout the duration of the game, is a picture of the products up for grabs. This left me wondering… Does McDonald’s reach out to these brands or do the brands seek McDonald’s for endorsement? This is definitely a decision I assume the company would engage the Public Relations department. From an ethical view, the involvement of other brands in this contest could yield both brands, credibility as well as a boost in profits. The magnitude of the advertising campaign embarked upon during this contest is almost as heavy as Super bowl ads (… well at least to food lovers.)

 

Many individuals have claimed that the game is rigged, that the winning combination of pieces is distributed in different sections of the country, making it virtually impossible to collect all the pieces needed to win the grand prize of 1 million dollars. From a public relations standpoint, this theory however can not be true. A company as large and as integrated into American society would not dream of “jipping” its customers… would they? McDonald’s sets the standard for fast food in this country and others around the world.

 

This season, I have been playing pretty consistently (It helps that I have been so busy that I can only eat on the go, no time to cook!) So far I have collected the pieces for several different prizes. I am actually one piece away from the 50,000, 200, Spa package, Nissan Versa AND the 1 million grand prize. It should also be mentioned that today was the first day that I won a prize instantly. McDonalds advertises the game by claiming that 1 in 4 tickets is a winner. I have been playing for weeks, as previously stated, and only today did I actually win something. This is false advertisement! Unless there is something stated in the fine print that negates their claim.  The idea that I am one away from winning so many prizes, but yet I have won nothing, except my free small Frappe, really strengthens the viewpoint of many that this is all a scam.

 

Because McDonald’s is such an important brand in our economy and cultural system, the idea that they would cheat their customers is appalling. I hope I win something else soon or else this faithful customer might not return to the boardwalk next year.


The chicken, the tea and the University

The closer I draw to graduation the more I notice places inDentonthat I have fond memories of. Places I have grown accustom to and will miss once I move away. This last week I indulged in one of my local favorites, Chicken express. Although I am aware that a franchise exists and that there are several locations throughout the Metroplex, I associate the chicken ‘joint’ as being special toDenton. Even my friends who have long graduated want to stop by and get some of their delicious sweet tea before exiting this town. I started to wonder, if there are other locations why do we only associate Chicken Express withDenton,Texas? It became an issue of Marketing and Public relations. Obviously the restaurant (referring only to theDentonlocation) has aligned itself with theUniversityofNorth Texas. Since I began attending UNT I have preferred Chicken Express tea over all other competition. Could it be because they provided the beverages at orientation and I was hooked from day one? Not only do they provide the tea for orientation, they are one of the most visited booths during homecoming. What makes Chicken Express tea so desirable to the student body of UNT? The have quietly marketed themselves as the preferred eatery for UNT. They support the school during Football season by placing messages on there signage, they also provide special tailored to students during finals and mid-term time. It can’t hurt that they are conveniently located on the edge of campus and within walking distance from the dorms.

 

ObviouslyDentonis a college town and many of the business cater to this population. It is also apparent that the businesses in and aroundDentonmarket specifically to the college ages demographic. Do these businesses conduct market research to find out how to appeal to these youth? Since many of the businesses in the area are mom and pop shops and eateries, my guess would be no. Some (including myself) might assume that they use common sense.  Which leaves me wondering, with the new Apogee Stadium and the many endorsements that can be found on and around the new facility, does UNT reach out to local business to garner financial support for them? At one time, Chicken Express ads would display on the scoreboard facing I-35.

 

Speaking ofDenton, the city, which has been trying to claim the number two spot underAustinas the hippest city inTexas, can not deny that its economic system is upheld by the populations of UNT and TWU (Texas Women’s University.) This fact encourages inquiring minds to wonder if the city of Denton and the marketers or individuals in charge of sponsorship, financing, and so forth for the Universities meet and discuss local business ventures; since the success of these economic systems are so closer related or even tied together.

 

Regardless of the correlation between UNT,Dentonand Chicken Express the fact still remains that I will continue to buy the delicious tea I was hooked on my first day on campus, with no shame. There is a strong possibility that I will return toDenton, just for the tea, as my fellow tea-lover friends do.