Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kell on Earth and SPINdustry: what’s your opinion?

So far 2010 has been the year for bringing the world of public relations into the public eye through reality TV shows. As a student eager to break into the public relations industry I ask myself, will these PR reality shows be a good move for the PR companies showcased and what effect will these shows have on the industry? Fashion and entertainment are only two areas within the very broad public relations field. Do you think these shows could potentially distort the public’s view of the public relations field?

Kell on Earth can be viewed every Monday night at 10 p.m. on Bravo. This reality series provides viewers with a behind-the-scenes look at the “high-powered and fast-paced world of fashion PR." Viewers get an inside look into the hectic life of Kelly Cutrone, the creator of the successful fashion PR company People’s Revolution.

SPINdustry, which premiered last Sunday at 10:30 p.m. on E! takes viewers behind the scenes of Command PR, a NYC firm developed by Jonathan Cheban. The show focuses on the grueling world of celebrity PR and how every event is make-it or break-it.

I personally was somewhat shocked that Command PR decided to have the name of their show SPINdustry, because most PR students and professional cringe when the public or a journalist relates the public relations field with spinning stories.

If you have seen either of these shows, I would be interested in hearing what you think and if you think these shows will cast a negative light on fashion and entertainment PR?

If you have not been able to catch these shows, be sure to check them out and stop back and let us know what you think.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member, Amanda Kaster.

Friday, February 26, 2010

How Will SeaWorld Save Its Image?

One of SeaWorld's veteran trainers Dawn Brancheau was killed Wednesday after being pulled under water by her trainee, a 12,000 pound Killer whale named Tilikum, at the end of a typical afternoon Shamu Show. Brancheau is said to have died from traumatic injuries and drowining according to investigators.

SeaWorld is one of the nation's most family friendly amusement parks making the tragic death even more of a shock to the public. Other trainers, including animal expert Jack Hanna, are defending the whale saying that there are certain risks a trainer accepts when working with live animals.

The most disturbing fact of the story, however, is that Tilikum has killed twice before. In 1991 the whale and two fellow female Killer whales drowned a trainer at Sealand of the Pacific in Canada and in 1999 SeaWorld officials found the lifeless body of Daniel Dukes on Tilikum's back. Dukes' was the only case not involving a trainer, though, as he was a tourist who snuck into SeaWorld in search of swimming with the whales.

Considering Tilikum's past history of aggression coupled with SeaWorld's family friendly image the question becomes what the amusement park will do to resolve this crisis. The only thing saving them from an onslaught of media scrutiny is that the incident happened the same day that the head of Toyota visited congress in an attempt to clean-up his own public relations debacle.

So far, it seems that SeaWorld is taking the right steps in dealing with the public. They've been truthful but fairly silent as they figure out the details, have left questions up to investigators and have canceled all Shamu Shows at all three SeaWorld Parks nationwide. The park's next steps will be most critical, however, in ensuring that the public feels safe enough to return. SeaWorld officials must explain how this tragedy happened and what they are doing to make sure that this doesn't happen again. What are your thoughts on SeaWorld's communications crisis and how they're handling it?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Worst Winter Olympic PR Scandals

With everyone around the world watching and tuning in to the Olympics, it isn't unusual for controversy to occur in some way. These public relation nightmares call for some serious damage control and crisis communication management. Click here for the "10 Worst Winter Olympics PR Disaster of All Time."

Here is what made the list:

-1994: Tonya Hardin's figure skating sabotage
-2002: Salt Lake City officials bribe International Olympics Committee members to win bid
-2006: Skier Bode Miller skis while drunk
-1988: Ticket scams in Calgary
-1968: German women's luge competitors cheat with heat
-1976: Denver originally won the bid... but taxpayers refused, prompting them to reject the bid
-1998: Marijuana is not on the list of banned substances
-1994: UK's figure skaters lose over controversial "lift"
-2002: Corrupt judge docks points from Canadians' flawless performance
-2010: Vancouver's deadly luge track; and NBC refusing the broadcast the events live

Do you remember these scandals and disasters? What would you have done as a PR pro?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Have You Heard? 39 Social Media Tools

Yesterday I came across an article on Jay Baer's Convince & Convert blog (Thanks Ragan Daily Headlines!) that was a jackpot for social media tools - 39 exactly. Some tools you may know already, but there are many that I had no idea existed. Here are a few:

Finds tweets about your blogs posts and adds them as comments

FlickR Creative Commons Search
Allows you to browse photos that are made available under a Creative Commons license to be used with attribution in blog posts, etc.

Allows you to create a unified scoreboard of all key social media metrics like blog traffic, subscribers, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, YouTube subscribers, and more

For quick Twitter searches

To see the full list of 39 social media tools, as chosen by Jay Baer, check out his blog post, "The 39 Social Media Tools I'll Use Today."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Vancouver 2010

I can't believe this is PRowl Public Relations' first Olympic blog! If you've been keeping up with the blog the past few years, you know that we went crazy for the Bejing Olympics. The 2008 Olympics were an exciting time, and I had a great time writing about them, watching them, and loving every minute of them. The 2010 Vancouver Olympics are proving to be just as exciting though, and filled with controversy as always. Here are some highlights since the start of the games:
  • Johnny Weir vs. Peta in regards to his fur on a costume. Find a post from PETA's blog about the subject here.
  • Lindsay Vonn vs. her injuries. That girl is tough, and already has a gold medal for Team USA. Read about her here. There was also this controversy involving Lindsay in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Editing.
  • Sean White's crazy tricks that lead him to gold in the Men's Halfpipe event. His teammate, Scott Lago, took bronze! Read about Sean here and Scott here.
  • Body Miller's amazing come back from his many disappointments in Torino, Italy in 2006. Read about him here.

These are only some highlights and controversies, and the games go on until February 28! What are your favorite moments? What do you think about the controversies? Let us know!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Do you violate these rules on your blog?

As future public relations professionals, we must understand the laws and regulations around which we must function--our personal and professional credibility depends on it, as does our client's reputation!

I recently came across a great post on the blog, "Blogging Tips," in which Jonathan Bailey explains five "copyright facts every blogger should know."

"Not only are you constantly creating new copyrighted works while making your blog but, most likely, you are integrating other’s works into your site [as I am doing here!]," Bailey said. Failure to understand copyright laws, he explained, "can both limit your rights to control your own work and cause you to be threatened or sued by others."

Here are Bailey's words to the wise:
  1. If it's saved, it's copyrighted.
  2. There is no set rule governing fair use.
  3. Aside from attributing another's work, you must also get their permission to use it.
  4. Names and ideas cannot be copyrighted.
  5. You cannot create a new piece of work by simply changing some of someone else's work.
Be sure to check out Bailey's post for more details and to make sure you avoid violating these important rules!

You can also find Bailey on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Technology: Friend or Foe?

As social media becomes increasingly pervasive in our technology-driven society, people are constantly discovering new ways to use social media in their daily lives.

Unfortunately, the new uses are not always beneficial. This past week in Center City Philadelphia, a mob of 150 teens gathered at a mall called The Gallery on Market Street, where they began to wreak havoc. According to an article on, the website for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, "Philadelphia police and several SEPTA cops swarmed the scene and collared 15 participants - 14 boys and one girl - near City Hall" this past Tuesday.

The catch? Police suspected that the teens used Twitter and/or Facebook to plan and organize the mob! Further, "one teenager told detectives that the melee had been filmed by the participants and was going to be used [presumably online] to promote a party," a detective said in the article.

Personally, I believe that the benefits of today's technology outweigh the potential it has to bring harm to society. At the same time, this situation goes back to the long-standing question: do the positives of the technology (and social media) we have today outweigh its potential negatives? What do you think!?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Temple PRSSA Rolls Out New Website

Temple PRSSA released a new website this semester. This week, the new website, along with PRSSA's President Jessica Lawlor, were featured on the Temple University School of Communications and Theater Website! The article profiles Lawlor and her commitment to both PR and Temple PRSSA. It is exciting to see the public relations department getting some school-wide (and beyond) recognition! PRowl Public Relations is also featured on the site. Be sure the check it out.

If you are a member of a PRSSA chapter or a student-run firm, what are some ways you were able to gain awareness for your organization and your work?

Friday, February 19, 2010

PR and I, We Have a PRomance Going On... #HAPPO

As a graduating senior I've decided to participate in HAPPO (see Jaime Scofield's post below for details) with the hope of building my PR network and discovering what opportunities are available in the PR field. PRowl Public Relations has been generous enough to host my HAPPO post on their blog today. Check out my post below!

In PR, our goal is to produce creatively crisp communication that starts a dialogue. Considering this, let's talk. I'm a senior Strategic and Organizational Communications major at Temple University graduating on May 13 and I'm looking for a job in the public relations field. I've chosen this field because of my love of writing, my curiosity, my creativity and, most importantly, my desire to tackle challenges with innovative solutions. In short, PR and I were bound to fall in love. For me, public relations is like a puzzle, and finding a way to fit all of the pieces perfectly together - goals, strategies, tactics, etc. - is the best, most rewarding challenge of all.

Why hire me, you ask? Well, I began my evolution from college student to communications professional over two years ago when I joined the Public Relations Student Society of America. This led me to interview for PRowl Public Relations, Temple University's first student-run PR firm. I acquired a position on the firm's staff and quickly began learning everything that I could about my new passion. In PRowl, we produce, implement and evaluate full public relations plans for real clients. My hard work and dedication to the firm paid off when I earned a spot as an Account Executive. On April 14, 2009 I landed my client Ursula's About PHace, a Philadelphia-based skin care spa, on a NBC 10 evening news broadcast - a highlight of my college career. As a current senior I'm proud to be a member of the firm's Executive Board as the Director of Finance, as well as an Account Executive for our long time client the Rebecca Davis Dance Company.

In addition to my extracurricular work with PRowl Public Relations I've been fortunate enough to intern for the National Kidney Foundation Serving the Delaware Valley and for LevLane Public Relations, both in Philadelphia, Pa. In my combined year and a half of work experience with both organizations I've handled media relations, planning, research and social media. Having both nonprofit and agency PR experience has given me a well rounded look at the industry and I'm confident that it fits me like a glove.

To learn more about me please don't hesitate to find me on LinkedIn, on Twitter @BriannaMFisher or connect via e-mail at Also, take a look at my archive as a weekly blogger for PRowl Public Relations by clicking on my name at the right of the screen. Thanks for taking the time to get to know me and for participating in #HAPPO. If you like what you've heard, now it's your turn to talk.

Happy #HAPPO Day!

"Help a PR Pro Out" (HAPPO) has created an official #HAPPO Day on Twitter to help connect those seeking jobs in the PR industry with opportunities from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. ET!

According to the Web site, here is how the event will help job seekers:

"It’s time to share that creative blog post for prospective employers. Tweet the champions in the market and reach out to others using your regional hashtag (see below). And remember, just because you are looking, doesn’t mean you can’t help too! See a job that’s not right for you? Consider who might be a good fit! Finally, be on the lookout for some giveaways! Both national and local industry organizations have teamed up with us to support you."

Here is Philadelphia's regional champion and hashtag: Anne Buchanan, #HAPPOPHI (for a full list of cities, click here) .

Employers will be tweeting their job openings using the general #HAPPO hashtag as well as regional ones (#HAPPOPHI) so make sure your Tweetdeck is installed and ready to go!

Happy job hunting!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Google's Buzz

I'm a huge fan of Google, especially Gmail (my e-mail is always open on my laptop and I have the mobile application on my Blackberry) so when Google's Buzz came out I was surprised I didn't know how it worked. Heck, I still don't know how to use it really, plus it always seems daunting to figure out a new feature or site. But after reading this article on I wasn't sure I was ready to take advantage of the convenience of Buzz. Since my e-mail is always open, it seems more efficient to use Buzz than say Twitter, but I don't think I could stop Tweeting! So I was actually surprised in reading this article, about all the confusion and problems Buzz has encountered. Of course, I understand most new technology always has snags and hiccups which need to be smoothed out.

So here are a few things the article has to say about Buzz (good and bad):

-You need a Gmail account to use Buzz
-You're automatically signed up to follow the people you communicate with most often on Gmail or Google Chat
-You can forward messages by e-mail, replies and comments remain attached as an ongoing conversation
-Facebook, Flickr, Picasa and YouTube accounts can be linked to your Buzz posting
-You can link your Twitter account to Buzz, but only your Twitter posts show up on Buzz, not vice-versa
-Buzz attempts to organize and sort through the conversations by automatically promoting or hiding messages according to what it thinks you find useful.
-Messages Google thinks aren’t that interesting get dumped at the bottom of the page, collapsed into tabs.
-You can use Buzz from an iPhone or Android phone, not regular cellphones

The article ends with: "Buzz probably won’t make much of a dent in Facebook or Twitter or FriendFeed. But because it’s nicely integrated with Gmail and Google chat, because it has powerful and flexible features and because millions of Gmail members can get in with a single click, Buzz will have its own following. In other words, its complex design is a challenge that Google will have to overcome — but it’s not enough to be a Buzzkill."

So what do you think of Google's Buzz? Have you tried it? Do you like it, dislike it or have any other comments? Share them with us!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Friday Marks First Ever HAPPO Day

The rise of social media and slowly recovering economy have contributed to a five percent rise in PR spending over the last two years to $3.7 billion. Help A PR Pro Out, or HAPPO, is a recently created online network of PR pros dedicated to helping their unemployed colleagues and recent grads connect with newly hiring employers. The ingenious idea was created by pros Arik Hanson and Valerie Simon who were seeking a solution to unemployment for their seasoned, talented and worthwhile freeagent PR friends.

The first ever HAPPO day will take place this Friday, February 19, 2010 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET on Twitter. Any communicators seeking employment are urged to participant by writing a creative and informative blog post explaining to prospective employers why you deserve a job. Post the blog link in a Tweet indentifying yourself as a PR job seeker and reach hiring managers by using the hash tag #HAPPO. Prospective employers will also be using #HAPPO to post job opportunities.

PR pros are also hoping to build a huge online network by using the #HAPPO hash tag when talking about anything PR related on Twitter. Finally we're using our own social media skills to help out our PR community! As soon as I got wind of #HAPPO I was excited of the possibilities it offers to grads seeking entry level employment.

I've already reached out to the #HAPPO community for tips on creating a blog post and I'm amazed at the overwhelmingly warm and helpful responses I've gotten within minutes of my Tweets. The #HAPPO community has given me the following tips to keep in mind when writing my blog post for Friday:
  • Make the post both informative and catchy - as always, BE CREATIVE!
  • Include information about why you want to enter the PR field, what internship/ job experience you have and how you already use PR in everyday life.
  • Find a way to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
One of the Tweeps who responded to my query directed me to a fellow PR blogger's site where his #HAPPO blog had already been posted. Wanting to do her part for the #HAPPO effort, blogger Lauren Novo interviewed five PR hopefuls and posted their responses to her blog for Friday's tweeting. The questions that she posed to the PR employment seekers included 'What is your background in PR?, 'What are your PR passions?' and 'Where can employers find a copy of your resume'? Click here to read all five blog posts.

I will be posting my own #HAPPO blog here for Friday's session in addition to Jaime Scofield's weekly post in hopes of at least building my own PR network, if not finding job opportunities! Keep up with all of the excitement on Twitter by following @Helpaprproout, @arikhanson and @valeriesimon. Good luck, and Happy HAPPO-ing!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Relating Peer Tutoring to Public Relations

In September I started my job as a Peer Tutor at the Fox School's Business Communications Writing Center. I originally applied for the job because I needed some extra cash after studying abroad last summer. After starting in the fall I realized what a great opportunity it was for me to work at the center as a Peer Tutor, and how the position would help me pursue public relations. Here are a few things that I have learned:
  • The students that I work with are all business students, and the writing they do is much different than the writing I do in my classes. Helping students with business papers has opened my eyes to the difficulties that others face with writing, the different curriculum that exist at Temple University, and the different methods that can be used to teach someone about writing.
  • I have the opportunity to constantly work on my own writing. Before starting, I had to brush up on my grammar skills and other basic elements of writing. Grammar has always been tough for me, and is something that I should be working on all the time. I need to understand grammar rules to be a tutor and to be a PR professional.
  • Talking about writing, no matter what kind, makes you a better writer. I find that many of the students I see are good writers but are uncomfortable with their writing. It helps so much to be able to talk through a paper with someone else in order to clear your head and see the direction you can take.

I have learned so much at my job at the writing center, and I'm lucky that everything I've learned I can apply to my future career. I would advise any communications major, or anyone who loves to write, to seek out opportunities like this on campus. It's a great job!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Get Personal!

In the public relations industry, the importance of making oneself stand out cannot be overstated. One PR professional decided to send out personalized, hand-written valentine's day cards to her clients, colleagues and media contacts--and stand out she did!

The New York Post was one of the recipients of the cards sent by Brooke Hammerling, founder of Brew Public Relations. The Post was so excited to receive the card that they wrote about it on one of their blogs, The Spread."While Christmas and New Year's cards regularly flood the office, we've never been a p.r. firm's sweetheart before," the Post said.

In an email to The Spread, Hammerling explained her reasoning for sending the Valentine's Day cards: "'The thing is, everyone sends holiday cards and they seem like a requirement and they get lost in the mounds of other holiday cards and seem so generic and impersonal,'" she said.

This just goes to show that thinking out of the box can set you apart from your peers and competitors, help build your credibility with journalists and gain you some good PR, too!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Is it harder to be a publicist nowadays?

Between celebrity magazines and Web sites, like Perez Hilton, and numerous social networking sites, like Twitter, there is an ever-increasing need for information to fill these publications. The latest gossip can be found almost anywhere and becomes a big story just seconds after the information is released. People and journalists can become desperate to fill their publications and pursue rumors or even create them. This makes a publicist’s job harder and more complicated.

Most people have video capabilities on their phones, allowing for spectacles to be documented and then posted to various social networking sites. This only feeds gossip more and publicists can have a hard time keeping their clients’ name and image away from such distortion. It doesn’t help that many celebrities have jumped on Twitter themselves. Now their every move and thought can be followed by millions; allowing for easy miscommunication to occur and words to be scrutinized.

Before the days of Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, blogs and chat servers, celebrities were not nearly as accessible to us and gossiped about. Social media has changed our relationship with them and continues to expose them more and more. It has also changed the job of a publicist.

Publicists now need not only strong written and oral communications skills, but expertise in social media. They must develop their crisis management skills to include possible mishaps on these sites and constantly be monitoring their clients’ activity on them.

Although the situation has become challenging, it is also what keeps the PR field interesting and exciting. Social media can be used in a positive light to help garner a respectable image for celebrities. It can also be used to reconnect or apologize, as we saw recently with John Mayer, who apologized on his Twitter for making an inappropriate remark in an interview.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member, Trish Wyatt.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Who do you plan on being in an elevator with?

Last semester I had a professor who really stressed the importance of having an elevator pitch ready for any networking opportunity. Having a quick and concise several statement pitch can come in handy when you least expect it. I found a great article on that gives 5 great tips for creating an elevator pitch.

1. Keep it short
2. Answer all the w's and h (who, what, where, when, why and how)
3. Have a hook
4. Stick to the facts
5. Be passionate

To read further about these tips, click here!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member, Tristin Fabro.

Friday, February 12, 2010

How to Pitch the Associated Press

Check out this two-minute video produced by the Associated Press about what makes for a good AP article, as well as tips for pitching.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Happy Snow Day!

Temple University canceled classes again today! Philadelphia's total winter snow count is at 72.1 inches, setting a new record!

So what is everyone doing on their snow day? Studying, doing homework, reading or maybe just playing in the snow? Being stuck at home can be boring and can even cause any of us to get a little stir crazy. In any case, this extra time is great to catch up on all my house-keeping (and I don't mean cleaning the house).

I've put together a list of things I have on my to-do list, that maybe you might want to add to yours as well:

-Update my LinkedIn profile
-Organize my e-mail Inbox
-Re-evaluate, update and edit my resume
-Create an Excel sheet to organize my job search efforts
-Begin my job search
-Create "lists" on my Twitter account
-Sync my Blackberry to my iCalendar

What is on your to-do list? Feel free to share with us!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

'Snowpocalypse' Continues in Philadelphia

The second blizzard this week has hit Philadelphia today causing dangerous white out conditions for the city and the surrounding tri-state area. This winter has produced an unusually high amount of snow fall. Philadelphia's highest snow fall total on record was for the 1995-96 winter season when 65.5 inches fell. As of now the city has been pummeled with 65.1 inches this season, so it looks like we'll break the all time record by the end of the day today. The series of storms this week has been dubbed the 'Snowpocalypse' due to the two intense blizzards hitting the area within four days of each other.

Most Philadelphia businesses, schools and courts have closed for the day with only public transportation running on a delayed schedule. For a complete list of Philadelphia cancellations click here. For the first time since the blizzard of 1996 Governer Rendell has officially closed I-76, I-676 and I-476. As the day goes on more businesses close and conditions are getting a lot worse.

Be careful in the 'Snowpocalypse' and stay warm! Please tune in to your local news for weather updates and don't dare travel anywhere today. Good luck!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Temple University's Spring Career Week

With my last semester progressing quickly, it's starting to hit me how much work I have to get done by graduation. One area that I need to devote a lot of time to is professional development. Luckily, Temple University's Career Week is coming up. They have exciting events planned, and I play to take advantage! Here are the three main events for career week:
  • First Annual Dress 4 Success Fashion Show, February 15, 2010
  • Student and Alumni Networking Event, February 16, 2010
  • Destination: Career Fair, February 18, 2010

These events are great for professional development. They are great because students from their freshman to senior years can attend, and it's FREE!

My advice: Take advantage of events like this while you're in school and they're free!

Need more information? Visit

Monday, February 8, 2010


Have you heard of "Help a PR Pro Out (HAPPO)?" If not, you may want to tune in!

On Friday, the blog Help a PR Pro Out announced its creation of an upcoming Twitter event called "Help a PR Pro Out Day." The day will be called HAPPO for short, and the Twitter hash tag #HAPPO has been designated for the event. According to the announcement, posted to the Help a PR Pro Out blog, the event "will be a one-day event designed to help PR pros find jobs."

The event will take place on Twitter on February 19, 2010. During the event, "PR bloggers, agency leaders, and PR professionals from across the country will donate their time and talents to help fellow PR pros connect with employers," the blog explains.

The point is to bring together PR practitioners seeking jobs with employers looking to hire them. Those seeking jobs can engage in discussion with employers on Twitter during the event, or may request their contact information and contact them privately via email.

The blog lists a set of "champions," people who "will be posting and tweeting about the event." "Make sure to connect with them if you’re a job seeker or an employer looking for PR talent," the blog advises. "That will help us all connect the dots on Feb. 19."

Will you tune in? Do you think the event will be a success?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Super Bowl : A Pseudoevent?

While doing some reading in my textbook for my Fundamentals of Public Relations class, I read a section of a chapter that dealt with creating news. In this section, I came across the term pseudoevent, a word which the book says describes "events and situations that are created primarily for the sake of generating press coverage."

Ironically (as today is Super Bowl Sunday), the book lists the Super Bowl as an example of one such event, saying:

The Super Bowl is essentially a pseudoevent invented by the National Football League (NFL) in was originally designed to extend the professional football season and increase revenues. The event generates considerable hype and media coverage. It is the most watched television event of the year; in 2008 about 100 million people watched the XLII game (Roman numerals are part of the hype) as two American teams vied for the "world" championship.

My textbook acknowledges the seeming negative connotation of the term pseudoevent, but qualifies it by saying that "such events are considered legitimate news if they also meet the standards of traditional news values."

Is this appraisal of the Super Bowl fair, or is it too harsh? How do you feel about the term pseudoevent?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The World’s 12 Least Ethical Companies

Recently, I came across an article in the Huffington Post with a list of the 12 least ethical companies in the world. It caught my attention because in several of my classes, we are currently discussing the importance of using ethics in the field of public relations, whether in research, pitching, or other business practices. The largest reason for the article gaining my attention however is due to my curiosity regarding how the ethics of companies can be measured.

Covalence, a Swiss research team released its annual ranking of the ethical performances of corporations worldwide. In order to measure the ethics of these corporations, Covalence compiled 7 years' worth of data from 581 companies with criteria that includes labor standards, waste management, media, and human rights records.

The three most ethical companies were IBM, Intel, and HSBC. However, Covalence found that the list of biggest offenders had some usual suspects and even a few surprises.

Here are a few offenders from the list:

Number 9: Total: French oil & Gas Company accused of building a pipeline with the aid of slave labor in Myanmar. Additionally, in 1999, Erika, one of the company’s oil tankers, sunk on the coast of Brittany. Later, the French court asked the company to compensate for the victims of the spill.

Number 7: Ryanair: Michael O’Leary, CEO of Irish budget airline Ryanair, is known for his temperamental behavior and aggressive cost-cutting measures. Employees of the company are reportedly forbidden from using the company’s pens or charging their cell phones with its electricity. He was also accused of yelling and cursing at a customer whose relative had fallen ill and wanted a refund.

Number 5: Phillip Morris International Inc.: One of the world’s leading cigarette companies, Phillip Morris reportedly attempted to persuade the government to abandon its ten-year-old lawsuit against the tobacco industry for allegedly concealing the dangers of cigarettes.

Want to know the top three ranked least ethical companies in the world? Make sure you check out the rest of the article in the Huffington Post!

What do you think about Covalence’s list? Are there any companies you’re surprised you didn’t see among the ranks? Let us know what you think!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member, Niki Ianni.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Shooting in the Temple Community; University Communication Nonexistent

On Wednesday, February 3, Temple students and neighborhood residents could hear rounds of gunshots being fired in the direct perimeter of Temple’s campus. On 18th and Montgomery, an armed robbery of three intruders took place at around 6 p.m. As police went to break up the home invasion, the intruders began shooting at the police outside, who then returned fire. Two of the three men were immediately caught trying to flee out the back entrance, with one escaping. Above our homes, the only thing you could hear were sirens and helicopters; search lights lit up the streets around our house. The third intruder was finally found hiding behind a charter school in the area.

That was only the first shootout in the Temple University community though. About three hours later, a highway patrol unit attempted to pull over a car with stolen tags. The driver of the stolen vehicle then backed up into the officers, pinning them briefly before taking off. The next round of open fire began when officers had to shoot the man five times in the leg to stop him. Where did this take place? 16th and Oxford. For those of you who are Temple students, you recognize this area because it is right next to “Oxford Village,” a Temple off-campus housing unit.

Yes, violence happens in all areas of Philadelphia. No, Temple University could not do anything to prevent these dangerous situations from happening. But yes, the university administrators did prove that they either did not want to associate themselves with the violence (they are trying to clean up the image of Temple being in a “scary” neighborhood), or perhaps that their emergency communication is not up to par.

According to Temple’s Emergency Preparedness site:
Temple University’s campus emergency notification system has been developed to create the safest possible environment for the campus community. Effective and reliable mass notification has become a fundamental aspect of university security. Ensuring the safety of our campus community and students is vital. Temple University’s Emergency Communication Plan should help to ensure a comprehensive, coordinated approach to communications that will:

  • Disseminate clear and accurate information to interested constituencies and the public at large
  • Assist in the management of crises
  • Provide direction to faculty, staff, and students
  • Reduce rumor and uncertainty

This sounds great, except more than 24 hours after the violent night began, not one mention has been made from the university regarding the dangerous environment in which Temple University students populate. The “TU Alert” is sent via e-mail, text message and voicemail; e-mails from Campus Safety have been sent about smaller things than this in the past. Still, no recognition that a violent shootout happened. Students who were in night class and had to walk home had no idea the peril they may be in.

Luckily no students were hurt last night, but had a TU Alert been sent, students would have either known to have a friend walk them home or even get a campus police escort.

All in all, Temple University failed at their “coordinated approach to communications” to put the safety of their students first. Because of one unsent e-mail, students in the area and parents alike are in an uproar. More importantly, trust in the emergency alert system has diminished. If a violent robbery and shooting was not important enough for Temple to send an alert, what is?

I love Temple and am a huge advocate for the university and the opportunities it provides, but I am not impressed with the lack of communication on Wednesday night. What are your thoughts?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Facebook!

Today celebrates their 6th birthday! According to this article on and the information on their site, Facebook was launched six years ago on February 4, 2004.

"Founded by Mark Zuckerberg, together with his college roomies Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Huges, Facebook was originally intended to be a network oonly for Harvard students, but was later expanded to other universities and finally to everyone."

Facebook is one of today's largest social networking sites, it has changed the internet, affected our daily lives and definitely made an impact on the public relations field as well. Can you believe it's been six years already since Facebook came about? What do you think the future holds for Facebook? How will it further affect public relations?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Philly Fellows

Calling all graduating communications students! I've recently become aware of the fellowship program Philly Fellows that pays for students to work at local nonprofits for a year after graduation. This program is an awesome alternative to full time employment in such a tough job market. Philly Fellows aims to provide graduates with a transitional year of service that will allow them to grow professionally before joining the job hunt.

Philly Fellows offers graduates nonprofit experience in the communications field, free housing and health benefits, loan forbearance, a monthly travel stipend of $60 as well as an annual stipend of $11,725. It also offers its fellows a $5,350 education award upon completion of the program. Fellows are given the opportunity to participate in leadership and nonprofit training and will be exposed to invaluable networking opportunities.

Fellows are given their pick of 20-25 nonprofits to work for including the American Red Cross, Philabundance, the Fleisher Art Memorial and Project H.O.M.E. among others. The following is a job description for a position with the Fairmount CDC:
Fairmount CDC, Public Relations and Communications Specialist
The public relations and communications specialist will provide support to the Executive Director by coordinating a range of public relations projects and programs.

I know as a May graduate in this economy I'm not writing off any opportunities. I think Philly Fellows can be a great option for many 2010 college communications grads. For more information check out

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How Much Would You Pay?

Social media is a subject that is continually discussed in public relations classes. Many discussions come down to one factor: what does mean, what does it matter, and who cares? I know that I've talked about measuring social media in classes, with speakers, and in PRowl Public Relations.

In a Washington Post article from Sunday, January 31, 2010 I read that you could now buy Twitter followers on eBay for less than a penny a follower (when you buy in bulk). Since Twitter doesn't actually let users buy and sell one another, the money you spend "buying followers" goes to a service that promises to boost your account by the said number of followers.

Another method, which I found most interesting, is one from China. The article says, "But another method we've heard about anecdotally uses cheap labor in China to create Twitter Follower farms..." "Online laborers in China essentially create thousands of Twitter accounts which can then follow other accounts."

I think this method of buying followers takes away from the great aspects of social media, such as the genuine relationships with real people, the transparency, etc. What do you think?

Monday, February 1, 2010

The State of Journalism

We discussed the history of newspapers today in my Media and Society class. Our teacher began the lecture by playing a video featuring David Simon (creator of "The Wire") testifying to a senate committee in a hearing on the future of journalism. Although the hearing took place last May, it is still really relevant and interesting -- especially with the news of The New York Times' plans to begin charging for content in the near future. Simon made some great points about the state of the news industry and some really interesting suggestions for salvaging it.

Here are some of the highlights from the segment of Simon's testimony we watched in my class:
  • Simon warned in his testimony that high-end journalism is dying.
  • Simon asserted that, while many people argue new media has democratized journalism, it has actually corrupted it. In this charge, he called on the watch dog function of journalism, saying that challenging the institutions of our society requires professional training.
  • Consolidation of the media was detrimental to journalism because quality was sacrificed for the bottom line.
Simon also offered the following suggestions for salvaging the news business:
  • The industry must charge for online content in order to maintain the integrity of the reporting. After all, it costs money to hire the best editors and journalists and to send them on assignment. Simon also pointed out that a basic premise of marketing is that if you can't charge for a product, it has no value.
  • The public should not fund newspapers. This is because of the watchdog function of the news industry; journalism must remain independent. It must be able to bite the hand that feeds it.
  • Newspapers should be given nonprofit status, and should be restored to family-run ownership when possible.

You can read the full transcript of Simon's testimony and watch the video by clicking here. If you are watching the video, the portion we watched in class today and that which I referenced in my post takes place between 30:00 and 40:30.

Do you agree or disagree with Simon's ideas? Which of his ideas stood out to you most? Do you think that his ideas for saving the journalism industry are viable? Do you think charging for content is viable?