This website is dying. We are presented, and the blog hardcopied.

For the past long time, you, our classmates and teacher, have been reading us. Some days with over 80 views, people were mostly wondering what “stuckism or stuckist or stuckists” was, and what to do about their soggy sandwiches. jgc007.wordpress.com , you gave us the most referrer clicks, thanks. To the person that subscribed to “My muses mock me”, thanks.

It wasn’t to last forever. Some of us have our obscurity, fame, jobs, and/or blog to get back to.

I’d thank the Supergroup for an awesome conclusion. Thank you Supergroup, wherever you are.

Me, I’m going to be making my way to chartreusier assignments and greener pastures, but I think I’ll stick around for a couple days. The posts I made were being for the benefit of Mr. K and the Supergroup, but there’s an audience now. I believe this is the last chance before deletion or bit-rot sets in; is there anything left to say?


PREL 212: Media Relations

Media and PR have a long entangled relationship. Both focus on human communication, but from remarkably different perspectives. This class allows students to start to understand media motivations and practices, so as to best represent their organization.

Sometimes your organization will want to attract coverage to promote itself. At other times, you will need to respond to media attention and try to shape it. In both cases, developing relationships with the media and skills to effectively work with them will help you greatly in your career.

The Snitch is pleased to report doing quite well in this class, but that does not mean it was easy. Assignments range from analyzing news articles, developing press releases and media kits, to developing a media plan as part of a group.

Students should start by paying attention to local, national, and international news if they are not already.  You must understand the media’s objectives and the style in which they present. Focusing on one type of media will simply not do. Look at print, broadcast, and online media activity to understand their different roles.

While you may not walk away from the class as a first-rate spokesperson or media expert, take the chance to “perform” like you would in a real situation. Trust me, it is better to stumble in the classroom than in an interview or news conference!

Here are some tips for better media relations. They would likely help even the high and mighty!

Or, The Many Classes of MacEwan.

This post will not be as unorthodox as my last. Marlena has made an excellent post for me to tag onto, exploring the core meaning of PR, so I’ll explore the chaos a little.

Public Relations is relevant to anyone with an interest in anything (eg. stakeholders, to overgeneralize), so it relates to other MacEwan diploma programs. Applied Communications, Human Resources Management, and Journalism are natural complements to PR, as are the Bachelor of Arts programs such as Political Science and English. In the PR Integrated Marketing Communications class Marlena mentioned, we learn how to adapt and integrate PR into marketing.

This semester’s IMC students are working on a group project, where a new product is marketed to Alberta. The depth is impressive; students must know how to create a company brand, a product brand, marketing and advertising plans, how to execute those plans, how to present them to a client, and how to integrate PR into the company. Since each group member can focus on a single task while offering assistance to completing other tasks, it’s possible to offer the same level of service to an imaginary client that they would receive from a full service IMC-based advertising agency. Even then, the possibilities are limitless. Think of everything that needs to be planned, as well as anything that can be planned. In no time, you’ll have flashlights and shampagne and one heck of a party.

Also, plan for 800×600 resolution. Most MacEwan classrooms are digital classrooms, but sometimes there aren’t enough digits. Powerpoint is usually happy anyway.

The answer is lots… but with significant crossover.

One of the problem with the lack of clarity is that companies often clump these types of positions into similar roles and departments. When you’re looking for a PR position you’ll likely be put into the same category as the other fields in job databases. In fact, many job titles are confusing as to which discipline they are trying to attract. What is a communications officer anyway?

A bigger problem is that PR has a difficulty identifying itself. PR can/not be lumped into the “communications” group, but others argue that PR is a subdiscipline. PR is often associated with “sneaky” tactics and has a bit of its own reputation problem. However, organizations are trying to improve and define the PR practice.

The bottom line, is that marketing is selling products, and PR is selling ideas and the organization. Advertising is a tactic used by both disciplines to achieve its goals. It doesn’t hurt to know a little about both disciplines to be successful as a PR practitioner. In fact, you’ll need to know a little about all types of departments and job roles to do a good job communicating on behalf of your organization.

The PR program offers a few classes to help define your “communications” path:

  •  Public Relations Fundamentals and Practice
  • Fundamentals of Business
  • Integrated Marketing Communications

Good luck navigating the terminology. Remember, as a PR practitioner, you are responsible for maintaining the image of your industry.

All the Pretty Pictures

PREL 220 & 221: Digital Publishing

PR and communications professionals need to know how design and media choices impact their work. These two courses are intended to introduce students to design software, philosophy, and practice. It is a tall order, even for two classes!

The learning curve is extremely steep for those without past experience. If you have never seriously considered the principles of typography, layout, colour, and style, then you are about to! The classes also offer a whirlwind tour of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Projects include ads, pamphlets, collages, and newsletters. Presentation and blogging platforms are also dealt with. To a lesser extent, the courses deal with how to establish good relationships with actual clients, designers and printers.
Students are advised to take detailed notes during lectures and thoroughly study all materials and texts, because exams and quizzes tend to be very specific and technical. When completing projects, also make sure to thoroughly review all specifications before submitting. You will also likely want to spend time outside of class familiarizing yourself with the software, as the labs themselves do not allow for enough time to master even the basics of the Adobe software suite.

For those interested in discovering their inner design self, we recommend trying out Pentagram Design’s “What Type are You” quiz!

A world of meaning passes every instant. In each moment, words spoken and thoughts unuttered create our future. You can’t see every meaning and there’s no hope to understand. A beam can illuminate the world or shatter sight forever.

Infinities determine our state, and incomprehensibly decide positions. Define yourself. Power is helpless, and beyond the self there is no control. Change is beyond both, but inevitable. For every moment that dies is the creation of a meaningful world. Insinuate, suggest, influence. If you want purpose for the meaning hold onto your self. And if you want time for possibilities, turn prose into profession and claim the world spins by your hand. Every step simple, not one step easy.

Your portfolio

One PR student blogged recently about the effects of a bad exam grade on their potential to get a good job after school. There were several encouraging comments and several not-so-encouraging comments that followed. I commented that, in my experience, I have yet to be so much as asked for my grades by a prospective employer. I did, however, encourage my fellow student to make a solid portfolio of their work in the PR program. 

As job-securing tools go, your portfolio will get you further than any GPA on a transcript. Portfolios are an essential part of any communicator’s toolkit, and it is worth investing time and effort to ensure you create the best collection of your work possible. 

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