Cara Mitchell

April 21, 2009

Do The Right Thing.

Filed under: Other — by caramitchell @ 1:15 pm
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Is Bad/Unethical/ Unthoughtful PR ruining our reputations before we (PR students) even get in the door?

Throughout the semester our PR class has been studying examples of both good and bad PR – because there is definitely a lot to learn from both the good and the bad of what PR people are doing.

Lately, some examples of bad PR are making me think…

The words “public relations practitioner” already automatically leave a bad taste in some people’s mouths. Often this is because of several reasons (possibly the media’s depiction of the field, and actual PR practitioners who are not good at what they do for various reasons [ex: lack of strategic thinking/ planning, lack of ethics, etc.]).

Many times the examples of bad PR are shocking, but this one from the Bad Pitch Blog is THE craziest thing I’ve heard. A texted pitch!!?? This is unbelievable and ridiculous. (I though it was a joke…I usually don’t even like when my friends send me multiple pages of text. This goes against just about EVERYTHING I’ve learned about PR).

This is so unreal to me because of the class time we have spent learning about how to pitch, the group projects we’ve done learning the best ways to pitch, and the numerous blog posts I’ve read by PRofessionals about how to pitch depending on who you’re pitching to and what it is for.

In this post Dave Fleet touches on this subject by telling us that “PR isn’t the enemy”, but it’s Bad PR that is…one of the commenters drives this point home when he says that this is the case in any field- one bad apple can spoil the bunch, but this should just be fuel for us up and coming in the PR world to practice PR the way that we have learned to do it – the right way.

The way that doesn’t pitch to a journalist before even knowing what s/he writes about. The way that is strategic about the moves about to be made. The way that works to develop relationships with journalists and keep PR personalized. The way that works to tear down the wall of gobbledygook (lol) that so many companies are building with publications and press releases filled with big word that don’t say much. I can go on, but *hopefully* you get the picture.

Radio Raheem in Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing

Spike Lee's film: Do The Right Thing

What you do in PR can make that difference between someone or loving or hating PR, so do the right thing!

Overall, these bad/unethical/unthoughtful PR practitioners are definitely making it harder for us, but they will also make us look better when we get out there and show our employers, publics, fellow employees, and the media that there is a right way to practice PR, and that we can do it that right way.

What do you think about this?


March 27, 2009

How do you explain PR?

Filed under: Other — by caramitchell @ 12:02 pm
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Many times when I meet new people (especially people older than me), and we have that introductory conversation, it often goes something like this:

PLAIN JANE: So, you’re at Clemson what’s your major?

ME: It’s Communication Studies.

JANE: Oh okay….so what do you want to do with that?Β 

ME: I’m hoping to work in public relations.

JANE: Oh, okay…So, what exactly is that?

As PR students, and people interested in PR, we know how to define PR. We know all about the multiple definitions our textbooks give, and the multiple views that people have of PR.

But, how do you explain PR?

First of all, I’m a bit shocked by how many people still really don’t know what PR is.Β  So, how do you explain PR to these people. I was at the beauty salon over spring break and one of the barber’s who worked there and I had this conversation.

Lately whenever a conversation goesΒ  this way I’ve started asking the person to pick any organization or company. And then I explain to them what a public relations practitioner would/could and is supposed to do for that organization.

Through my public relations classes I’ve also learned that it’s also important to emphasize to people who don’t know what PR is, or who have a skewed view of PR that it is not underhanded and all about putting the right spin on a message- when it’s done PRoperly :).


So, how do you do it?

I’m sure that many of us ( especially students) find ourselves in the situations all of the time where we are explaining PR, so how do you find yourself telling others about what PR is? I’m just interested in knowing if there are other people who have a particular way of answering this question (that I seem to be asked all of the time).

Please, share your stories and methods!

January 16, 2009

Fresh Start…Fresh Focus

Filed under: Other — by caramitchell @ 4:41 am

So, I am officially back to school. Back to long days and late nights. Back to hauling books and laptops up and down the hills of the Clemson University campus. Back to…okay just kidding…I enjoy college [for the most part].

But, I am back to PR class – part 2 to be exact – the continuation of all that I learned last year: Stakeholder Communication with Dr. V (again πŸ™‚ ). This semester we began similar to last semester: taking out time to ponder over our strengths and weaknesses in relation to the field of PR, and then making goals. But this time we watched a video called “PR Professional of the Future” with insight from top PR professionals on PROpenMic to remind us of some of what exactly we should be aiming for.

After watching this video I jotted down what I wanted to work on throughout the year and in the future:

  • I want to work on Speed. In the video this was mentioned twice and it stuck out to me as something I can definitely improve on. I am the type of person that likes to analyze everything before I make a move. I am learning that this isn’t always best…especially in the changing and fast world of PR. When I shared this goal with Dr. V she said this goal would come along with experience and becoming more comfortable with my own judgment. So, this year as we examine situations from a PR perspective and as I gain more experience in the future and become more confident-I hope this confidence will transfer into some lightning-speed PR skills πŸ™‚
"I'M SO FAST that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark."-Muhammad Ali

My little brother has this poster in his room. The quote at the bottom reads: “I’M SO FAST that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.”-Muhammad Ali

That is how much speed I want to have πŸ˜‰

  • I also want to become more of an out of the box thinker. I want to get away from the standard and the usual flow of ideas. I don’t want to limit myself or my creativity. This goal is sort of a continuation of motivation sparked by the post “Practice Creativity” by my fellow aspiring young PR pro Tiffany Sellers.
  • Lastly, I want to become a better storyteller. No, I DO NOT want to learn how to put a spin on an issue or learn to stretch the truth. I want to learn how to better connect whatever story I’m telling to the people I’m telling it to. I’m not only working on this goal in my PR Stakeholder Theory class, but I’m getting to work on this in my Journalism- Feature Writing class.

It would have been easy to keep these 3Β  goals to myself, but in this instance something about blogging them made them official to me. I’m now more accountable to what I say I want to do.

So…see you later blogosphere…I’m off to become a lightning-fast, out-of-the-box thinkin’, storytelling PR Pro of the future!


September 4, 2008

Breathing is to a Person what Blogging & Twittering is to a PR Pro

Filed under: Other,Responses — by caramitchell @ 5:38 pm

Maybe the title is an overstatement, but it drives my 1st lesson of the day home.

In class today we watched “A Moment With Phil” and spoke with PR professional Kipp Bodnar. After watching this video, speaking to Mr. Bodnar, and listening to Dr. V talk about how she reads from 200-300 blog posts per day, and others read up to 4,000/ day, I was completely blown away!

I now realize that I need to make a real effort to make blogging as common as “drinking coffee” like Dr. V said, so that writing posts and commenting, and twittering won’t feel like a task or another homework assignment to cross off the list…especially since we are going to be engaging in these activities all semester long. I would like to incorporate blogging (and other online activities that I’m learning are extremely useful for upcoming PR professionals) into my lifestyle.

This is definitely one of my major goals for this class. Let the journey begin! πŸ™‚

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