Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Know Current Events: Political Satire

In order to understand the public, you must have a stable comprehension of what is going on in the news and what is currently surrounding the public. Current events are important in understanding the public's placement in emotional, financial, and sociocultural environments; this way you can strategize ways to approach your target audiences with this background information.

Soft news is one trending way that people are receiving their news. Soft news would be described as something that's main purpose is to entertain, while providing news on human interest topics, such as disaster and scandal, according to Matthew A. Baum in the American Political Science Review. Currently, there are a lot of news-broadcaster-types providing soft news every night. Here's a breakdown of three you've probably heard of, but may want to check out:

Jon Stewart (host of The Daily Show) Mon-Fri @ 11PM on Comedy Central: Jon Stewart has always been the funny guy, but since 1999 when he increased the ratings for The Daily Show by 400%, his humor really took off with a whole new purpose. Jon Stewart reports the news to you with a sarcastic attitude, one that makes it very clear which side he's on of any story. BUT it's okay! Because through his platform, he can get away with reporting in such a way that hard news outlets never could.

Book: America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction by Jon Stewart & The Daily Show writers
Stephen Colbert (host of The Colbert Report) Mon-Fri @ 11:30PM on Comedy Central: A spin-off of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report uses satire to explain, well, everything. More specifically, it's more likely to comment on the conservative. You can think of Stephen Colbert as somewhat of a "fake" anchorman.

Book find: I AM America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert
John Oliver (host of Last Week Tonight) Sundays @ 11PM: Last Week Tonight comes on once a week in both the U.S. and the U.K. With a host with such a loud personality as John Oliver's, this show has a following weekly that matches the tastes of other satirical news shows, like Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. John Oliver reports on general current events over a longer span of time.

Monday, September 22, 2014

NBC News Gaffe

For those who don't know, Chris Christie is the current governor of New Jersey. While technically a Republican, Christie crosses party lines enough to be the governor of a historically democrat voting state, and to have the support of most of it's residents. However, last year we first heard about what's now known as the 'Bridgegate' scandal, wherein Christie surrogates purportedly orchestrated the closing of 2 lanes on the George Washington bridge because the mayor of that county didn't support Christie's reelection bid. I believe that Christie is innocent in this scandal, but there are always some who'll take any opportunity to slander those in power. Christie is also considered a serious contender for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016, so anything newsworthy about him, especially this scandal, is very controversial to report on. With all controversial issues, it's absolutely critical to get all the facts right, which NBC news failed to do last Thursday, the 18th of September.

In their nightly newscast, anchor Brian Williams said that "federal charges are now ruled out for Chris Christie in the affair that came to be known as 'Bridgegate.'" Federal prosecutors say that the investigation is still ongoing, and that while there is currently no incriminating evidence linking Christie with the scandal, charges have not yet been ruled out. A serious gaffe, to be sure, but NBC chose the right response and quickly admitted the mistake. Had NBC ignored or denied their mistake in reporting, the consequences could have been serious, such as a decline in viewer's trust of the network. By owning up to their mistake and sticking to the truth, NBC has shown that they are a network that can be trusted; that even when they make mistakes, which is a trait of all humans, they can be trusted to fix them. The way NBC handled the situation should be a lesson in honesty; that the truth always works.

Here's a link to the full article about it: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/09/19/christie-george-washington-bridge-closure-report/15885679/

What do you think about NBC's mistake and how they handled it? We'd love to hear from you in the comments.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lasting Lessons From A Part-Time Job

As college students trying to make ends meet, summers are often filled with summer jobs rather than beaches and sun. This summer, I worked at a restaurant that I initially attained to make some money on top of an unpaid internship, however, it supplemented my knowledge of PR in a way that I never thought it would. Nestled in an up and coming neighborhood in South Philadelphia, I was able to watch the restaurant grow and gain popularity before my eyes. Though you might not be planning on owning a restaurant one day, here are some of the things I learned that I believe are important to any industry or brand:

Building Networks
As a two-year-old restaurant, it was very important for the manager and executive chef of the restaurant to build lasting relationships with other people in the restaurant industry. With any new company, building these relationships is vital, because not only does it help you learn and grow, but it also helps build support and connections for further growth in the future.

Social Media
Though the restaurant hired a PR agency to handle most of their traditional PR, the restaurants General Manager decided it would be best if she took on social media. By doing so, she was able to give the restaurant a neighborly voice and interact with customers on a more personal level. Making sure your social media channels have a voice that your followers not only enjoy, but also trust in believe is can enhance and retain your social media presence.

Every Customer is Important
With social media constantly transforming, Yelp has become on of the most feared public forums for restaurant owners but one of the most loved for their customers. Customers trust other customers, so by being genuine and attentive to every customer, Yelp can turn more into an asset rather than a horror. 

What part time jobs do you do in your very little spare time?  Let us know in the comments! 

This guest blog was written by PRowl staff member Rute Barkai.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

What A Textbook Won't Tell You About Interviews

As communications students, we are used to having the rules of interviewing drilled into our heads. By now, I can rattle off these rules as quickly as I can recite the Pledge Of Allegiance. Over time, this interview “code of conduct” becomes common knowledge to us. Sure we know showing up late to an interview is the kiss of death. We know it is better to overdress than to underdress. Having a resume (which should not exceed more than a page) and writing samples on hand is crucial. But as I enter my senior year and look at how my interview skills have expanded over the years, I have learned some pointers that have helped me survive nerve-wracking interviews. Here are three not so cliche interview tips.

Google is your friend- Everyone tells you to research the company before going into the interview. It is important to know what exactly the company does and to read over its mission statement. If interviewing at an agency, be able to name their clients and different advertisements they created. However, nobody tells you to Google the person who is going to interview you. Look over his or her LinkedIn page. In addition to checking out what they do at the company, see where they went to high school or college. What organizations are they involved in? Who are they connected with? It’s a small world. Chances are, you may know somebody in common. Maybe your high schools played each other in football. Perhaps they volunteer at the some organization as you. These connections can serve as conversation starters and relax the atmosphere.

Be a news junkie- Professionals in any field of communications must have an awareness and understanding of world events. They must know what is happening around them and figure out how it affects their company or client. When you are interviewing for an internship, you must show the company you pay attention to things outside of your college bubble. I once went on an interview where they handed me a current events quiz. I was blindsided by this, but was also very grateful I scrolled through the news on Twitter while waiting for the subway.

Smile…a lot- Public relations professionals must have strong interpersonal skills. When interviewing for a PR internship, you must show them you are friendly and approachable. Walk through the door with your should back and a smile on your face. Smile whenever you meet an employee. Not only does this show the company you are excited about the possible internship, but it will also help you relax. Smiling often triggers “happy” signals in your brain. In turn, you will feel more positive which will lead to feeling more relaxed. Before you know it, those interview jitters will be gone!

The more you interview, the less anxiety-ridden you will be throughout the process!  What do you do 
to prepare for an interview?  Tell us in the comments. 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Lauren Bentley.

Friday, September 19, 2014

For The Unmotivated College Student

I stumbled across this article about a week ago and I knew then I would have to share it with our PRowl readers. Regardless of how hardworking you are, everyone, especially college students, have experienced a period or two of pure laziness. However, this article by TIME listed a few great ways to combat the inevitable unmotivation that comes with college work. Seniors especially, pay close attention.

  • Schedule everything! Putting a specific deadline to even the smallest assignments forces you get it done. Simply adding tasks to a to-do list is a great start, but oftentimes that's all that happens: a great start. Using time restraints forces you to get tasks done efficiently and in a timely manner.
  • Choose a finish time and work backwards. This article uses the example of leaving work at 5:30pm, so I'll continue to use that example. If you want to clock out of work at a specific time, make that your goal and schedule your tasks to meet that time. If you give yourself all day to complete a project...well you'll take all day to complete that project and that's not the best use of your time.
  • Make a plan for the entire week. This tip is pretty self-explanatory but important nonetheless. Look at the bigger picture. Don't wait until an assignment is due to schedule out time to work on it. That's the beauty of syllabi; you know everything that's going to happen ahead of time. Use that to your advantage and plan accordingly.
  • Don't overflow your plate. It's great to have ambition and be involved in a ton of organizations. In fact, employers and professors often encourage us to do so. However, it's equally important to recognize your limits. If it is getting too difficult to balance schoolwork, extracurricular activities, internships, and jobs, make a list of everything you're involved in and figure out what's most important. As the article suggests: "Do very few things, but be awesome at them."
  • Don't drown in the shallow end. The article describes work as either being shallow or deep. Shallow work would be all of your smaller assignments such as emails or meetings while deep work challenges you and encourages personal growth. Oftentimes, we allow ourselves to drown in a bunch of trivial, shallow work. Instead, try to focus more of your energy on projects that will actually help you to grow and learn in the long run.
In short, we all get lazy but you don't have to stay there. Take a moment to collect yourself and utilize a few of these tips to get back on track before midterms!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

LinkedIn Etiquette: The Do's and Don'ts of Digital Networking

(Source: LinkedIn)

In which scenario would you be more concerned about creating a positive first impression- introducing yourself at a networking event or the response your profiles get online? Many of us would say making a great first impression in a face-to-face interaction is more important. But with LinkedIn, the largest digital and professional network, your profile has a higher amount of potential connections to impress. It’s just as vital that your LinkedIn profile is maintained in the same way you would ensure your networking skills were sharp or you were dressed professionally for an event. Most recruiters and future employers check LinkedIn when considering a candidate or searching for prospective candidates. So wouldn’t you want your profile to be as inviting as you are in person? Here are some easy guidelines to ensure you’re optimizing LinkedIn.

  •  DO personalize your LinkedIn connection requests instead of using the automatic template.  Remind your prospective connection of how you met and why you want to connect with them.
  • DON’T connect with people you don’t know, it should reflect who you know in your personal and professional life.
  • DO be an active user.  Maintain a presence by responding to messages and connection requests in a timely manner.
  • DON’T embellish the truth.  Be honest about your experience on your profile, you never know what a prospective employer may be looking for. 
  • DO update your profile so it coincides with where you are advancing in your professional career.
  • DON’T have grammatical or spelling errors.  It seems obvious, but you have to remember that LinkedIn is not as casual as Facebook.
  • DO fill out the summary and bio on your profile.  It gives a prospective employer some background information and allows you to sell yourself the way you would in a cover letter.
  • DON’T join every LinkedIn group possible, only the professional associations you have in real life (such as Temple University PRSSA!). 
  • DO endorse and write recommendations for others, chances are one of your connections will do the same for you.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Office Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

It’s easy to get comfortable in an office setting when you have worked (or interned) there for more than a few months. Although there are benefits to feeling relaxed and in control at your workplace, it can lead to mistakes that you may not even realize you are making:

1. Developing a Core Lunch Crowd: Jane from accounting and John from HR are your closest work friends, and you would rather pull an all-nighter at your office than eat with anyone else during your hour lunch break during the day. However, this is an incredibly limiting action that can cause you to miss out on important opportunities to network with your peers and higher-ups. Try making a goal of eating lunch with a different person in your office once a month. This way, you will have the opportunity to bond with your co-workers, and you will also have a chance to make valuable connections for later on.

2. Unnoticed Dress Code Violations: Most working individuals have a go-to suit or dress skirt that can be thrown on in a pinch to run to the office. However, it is important to remember that even as adults, people grow, and clothes shrink. That black A-line skirt may be a lot tighter than it was a year ago, or those pants are so loose now, a belt can’t save you. It is important to notice these problems as soon as possible before a wardrobe malfunction at work costs you more than your pride.

3. Ignoring Soft Deadlines: Yes, soft deadlines are referred to as “soft” for a reason, however, the more of these that you miss, the less reliable you appear to your boss. It is perfectly fine to miss a few deadlines of this nature, however, when it turns into a habit, it is a good idea to revamp your motivation for finishing your work on a timely schedule.

Do you have any mistakes to add to this list? If so, tell us about them in the comments below!