By Lily Gordon
Protests are a quintessential part of democratic countries. Occupy Wall Street, the Civil Rights Movement, the Boston Tea Party— the good ol’ American protest has been proven to produce tangible change when addressing national policy or cultural issues. Perhaps the perfect Petri dish for protests and social activism is on a college campus. When a mass of people learning about the injustices of the world all live in one place, public demonstrations are bound to occur.
Dealing with protestors, or what strategic communicators so eloquently call “issues management,” isn’t exactly the highlight of most PR professionals’ week. I got the chance to sit down with Kyle Henley, the Vice President of Communications at the University of Oregon, and chat about the sometimes tricky topic of issue management on a college campus.
It seemed almost too fitting that on the way to Henley’s office I passed through a group of students from the UO Climate Justice League participating in a sit-in just a few feet from his door. Whereas in a large corporation the chief communications officer could stay in his or her corner office removed from demonstrators, a university is a small city. When neighbors are unhappy, they march right up to the offender’s front stoop.
Henley didn’t seem fazed by the guests in the atrium. He embodies his policy of keeping a level head when it comes to communicating. During our conversation, he mentioned countless morsels of PR wisdom, but a few core aspects stood out when it comes to approaching issues management. These are what I’m calling The Henley Keys to Communication Success.
Since the 1960s there have been loud student protests on American college campuses. “It’s not something we’re unaccustomed to dealing with,” says Henley. There are certain issues every university administration can anticipate— tuition, campus safety, feelings of inequality— and that makes it easier to develop proactive strategies. According to Henley the UO is a “well oiled machine” when it comes to controversy. Like any large corporation, the university’s communications team forecasts potential issues that could occur taking into consideration the student body’s demographics, upcoming changes, and other factors unique to the school.
“What’s the challenge? What are the answers and information you’ll need? And how will you communicate it?” Henley says these are the three questions to ask when addressing any communications problem. PR often faces criticism for being “all spin,” but when facing social activists, a brand must decipher the facts in order to develop a realistic path forward. Once the truth is evident to brand communicators, which may or may not align with activists’ demands, clear and consistent messaging can follow.
Henley admits he is the forty-five-year-old dad who really likes Facebook but doesn’t have the bandwidth to do the “other ones,” meaning Twitter, Snapchat, et cetera. He also acknowledges the major role social media plays in vocal student dissatisfaction. That’s why the university communications department has individuals who understand every in and out of these platforms tracking the conversation. Law enforcement even plays a role when it comes to monitoring the UO Yik Yak. The point is a person cannot become an expert on everything. A distinguishing characteristic of great PR professionals is that they can find the right experts and aren’t bothered by asking for assistance.
“Even if you have a job that you love, and I do, don’t let your job define you,” Henley said. “Find something you’re passionate about and invest in that.” Henley is a family man who enjoys cycling and cooking among other hobbies. Besides keeping a person sane, Henley notes the valuable perspective gained by having a fulfilling life outside of the office. PR is all about balance: what the brand wants compared to what consumers are demanding, having an online presence but also remaining personable, bringing creativity into the mix while keeping messaging accurate and clear. Balance is ultimately the key to professional communicating success be it personally, when dealing with a long-term branding project, or even when protestors come calling.
By Kate Klosno
By now, we’ve all been given a lesson on what is and is not appropriate to wear to work. For as long as I can remember, all the talks are pretty much the same: boys should have their shirts tucked in to nice pants and girls should look presentable and modest with appropriate hair and makeup. So why has the conversation of business attire for women been such a hot topic lately?
Some professionals believe that it is inappropriate for a woman to wear a dress for any business professional setting. I had never heard of this until recently, and it sparked my curiosity. So, I asked people from my generation and generations before what they thought business attire for women meant to them. I thought there might be a possibility that because just a few decades ago, people dressed much more modest than now, that maybe that influenced what people believe to be appropriate in the modern workplace.
From the opinions that I heard, it seems that most people are still going by the same guidelines that we learned back in high school. What are your thoughts on business attire? Do you agree with the opinions above, or do you think it’s inappropriate for a woman to wear a dress to work?
By Lily Gordon
The road to thriving company and consumer relationships with a reputable public image can often be bumpy. Largely in part to its relatively new, and disputed, business model, ride-sharing app, Uber has been a star on the Turbulent Public Relations Speedway. While in the driver’s seat, the Uber PR team has navigated controversies ranging from sexual assault charges to sabotaging competitors like rival ride-sharing app, Lyft and traditional taxi services. Uber is available in over 50 countries and 300 cities worldwide and recently has been made unavailable in Eugene, Ore.
Eugene has had a large number of individuals make public appeals in favor of Uber, but other cities have experienced the opposite, like the January 2015 Portland protest pictured above, calling for the ride-sharing app to adhere to city transit laws. (Photo by Aaron Parecki, CC BY 2.0)
History of Eugene Uber
University of Oregon students as well as community members enjoyed the convenience of Uber from summer 2014 until the ride-sharing app had to halt Eugene operations in April 2015. The Eugene City Council met with Uber representatives to negotiate terms under which the company could legally operate in the city. The council eventually released a proposal outlining the requirements Uber would need to meet before continuing to service the Eugene area. It has been 1o months since operations halted, and Uber has yet to make any public moves toward adopting new policies in order to relaunch legally in Eugene.
PR Victory Laps
Über in German means “above” or “over,” and Uber definitely went above and beyond in several aspects of its Eugene Uber campaign, specifically in encouraging civic participation and releasing strategic statements.
Whether the petition to “Support Uber Eugene!” would have been as successful as it has been is questionable had Uber itself not initiated and promoted it. Even earlier this week on the University of Oregon campus, individuals were imploring passersby to sign the petition. Public protests and petitions have in the past been used against the app, but in the instance of Eugene Uber, the power of the people is undeniably being channeled in Uber’s favor. The company seems to have learned from past fallouts and was proactive enough to give a voice to the “correct” side in the debate.
The fact Uber already had a positive reputation in the Eugene community and strong relationships made the “Support Uber Eugene!” campaign more feasible. During the company’s seven-month stint in the area, it partnered with University of Oregon Greek life by supporting fundraisers for the Oregon Make A Wish Foundation.
The app’s victory lap in the campaign to relaunch in Eugene has been fueled by, as simple as it sounds, tactful statements. In other legal controversies Uber has cited itself as a “technology company” rather than a “ride-sharing business.” Uber claims it is solely responsible for the app-based aspects of the service, but many city governments have rejected this argument.
PR Fender Benders
Despite the successes of Uber’s PR in Eugene, there have been a few missteps during the campaign to relaunch Eugene operations. Uber has appealed to the city council via petitions and letter to no avail. At this point, it seems the company’s resources would be better used by simply abiding by the regulations put forth.
Unfortunately for those in the Eugene area hoping to get an Uber ride home after graduation parties in June, the prospects look fairly bleak. While the company has gone above and beyond by encouraging civic participation, building a positive local reputation, and releasing strong statements, the Eugene City Council is unbudging. Sometimes even the best PR cannot combat legal requirements. But until Uber crosses that finish line into Track Town, it will be interesting to keep an eye on the company’s progress on the PR Speedway.
Even a junior in college, I still struggle with the difference between business casual and business professional attire. As if an interview is already stressful enough, deciding how to dress just adds to the anxiety. Instead of reviewing the values of your potential hiring company and practicing various interview techniques, you seem to spend an awfully long time choosing what to wear. So with a new job or internship in your future, or even as you being attending career fairs and various PRSSA networking events, it’s important to know what is appropriate to wear and when. Hopefully, you already have some basic business-appropriate garments in your closet, ready to use. But if you don’t, it’s time to start building you “work wardrobe.” Here’s your guide to office-ready essentials for any situation.
This is not casual in the way you may hope. This means jeans and sneakers do not apply. It is important to maintain a professional presence, even if you’re not in a suit and tie or a dress and heels. Remember, you are a direct representation of your organization, so you want to make an effort, no matter what day of the week.
Business professional style expectations may vary across industries but there are basics to a professional look. Professional attire always means:
Business causal can mean different things to different employers. And unfortunately, there is no strict definition of the phrase. Until you are sure about its definition, dress professionally. One of my mentors once told me that it is better to be over dressed than under dressed. Take this into consideration when dressing for an interview or for your first day on the job. Make sure to ask yourself, “What do i want my first impression to be?”
Sophie Lair is a junior at the University of Oregon, majoring in public relations and minoring in French. She is obsessed with her little white five-pound puppy and never misses an episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” She hopes to pursue a career in the fashion industry.
Recently, I took an interview with a PR agency for a post-graduation job oppurtunity. One HR director and four employees in 60 minutes; I was nervous.
Before the interview, I sent the HR director my resume, and the four employees had the oppurtunity to review it and Google me online. After about 10 minutes with the HR director, it was time to meet this first two employees; both account directors for different clients. After initial “hello’s” and “how are you doing?,” the first thing one of the account directors said was, “I really enjoyed reviewing your resume and your website. It was nice to have something other than a resume to see what you’re all about.”
I was automatically thankful that over the past six months I had kept my online portfolio and blog up-to-date.
There are many times we hear from professors, current students, and graduated students from the School of Journalism and Communication mention that having an online presence is huge. Having a website that houses your work puts you ahead of the game, and connecting it your blog is a major plus. Often we find this to be time consuming, especially with all the work we’re constantly doing for our classes, keeping a website up-to-date is difficult.
I get it. Designing the site, reviewing your work before you upload it, and putting just the basics up seems like a weekends worth of time that could be used doing other things that have hard deadlines.
If I told you that one of the reasons I moved forward in my interview process was because of the work presented on my website, would that change your mind about it? I bet it will make you consider it.
I was on the fence about creating my own site for a year, until I heard a similar story from three of my friends who graduated last year. They’re now working for two national PR agencies; the top-dogs of PR agencies.
I’m not saying having a website is going to get you a job. An online portfolio and blog will give an employer more of an insight to see your skillset that may not be all on your resume.
Here are three tips to help you get started with your online portfolio and blog:
1. Utilize the blog writing assignments in your early journalism classes.
Yes, I’m talking about that WordPress blog you had to create in J452, or the guest-student blogs you had to write in a topics class. These are writing samples. Take them seriously, but also take advantage of the opportunity. If you’re anything like me, you’re not a blog writer. Maybe because you don’t like writing blogs or maybe you don’t feel as though you have the time. That’s OK. Classes that freely give you the chance to write a post that will be publishes online is something you should be excited about, not dead.
2. Look at current or graduated students’ websites and blogs for inspiration.
Chances are, many of the assignments you are currently doing has been given to students before you. Not everyone presents themselves the same way. Find inspiration from either online portfolios or blogs on WordPress and Squarespace. Once you can imagine how your website will look, it’s a lot easier to actually see yourself owning one.
3. Grab a few friends to help create the site.
If you don’t have a website because you feel as though you aren’t “creative enough” or you “don’t have design skills,” open your eyes to the peers you’re surrounded by. Many of your friends in the journalism school are talented folks. If you’re struggling with creating the basics of website, and I mean just creating a Wordpress account and becoming familiar with the interface, grab a friend to help show you the ropes. Don’t know how to code or you’re confused on how to get an image on the site? Chances are someone in your class has done it before. Looking for a design guru? Ask an advertising major for some recommendations.
Think of your website being on extension of your personal brand. Your resume can’t tell your entire story. Your online website can.
Abigaelle Mulligan is currently a senior at the University of Oregon, majoring in public relations and minoring in business administration. Upon graduation, she is joining the Grow Marketing Team in San Francisco. She enjoys learning about upcoming digital and experiential marketing and how it affects the public relations and advertising realm.
Internships are a great way to start your career in the public relations industry. Most of us focus on how to get an internship and how to excel during the internship, but the importance of what you should do after your internship is over is often overlooked. Here are five things you can do to ensure that you get the most out of your experience.
1. Don’t forget to say ‘thank you’
Remember to say ‘thank you’ to everyone you feel necessary. Send well thought out, handwritten letters to the company stating specific reasons you are appreciative for the experience. Remember to also thank specific people you worked with while you were there.
2. Don’t lose touch
Keeping in touch with fellow interns, co-workers and managers can be a great way to build your network. These people can also potentially get you connected with other great career opportunities. Be sure to send them an email occasionally to see how they’re doing or ask them out to coffee every once in a while.
3. Ask for feedback
Your boss can give you solid advice on your development as both a student, and a new member of the workplace. Show that you are open to constructive criticism and ask for feedback on how you are doing in the company. This will also show that you truly care about the work you are doing and strive to do better.
4. Ask for a letter of recommendation
Once your internship is over, don’t be too shy to ask for a reference or a letter of recommendation. Even if you realize that you do not want to pursue the field that your internship was in, your boss can still express your dedication, intelligence and overall work ethic. If you ask for a general letter of recommendation based on your performance, you can use it for multiple opportunities.
5. Don’t badmouth anyone
If you weren’t completely pleased with the way your internship went, it’s best not to vocalize it publicly. Keep your professional reputation in mind and never talk poorly about your employer on any social media platforms. Word of mouth can travel faster than you may think and the last thing you want to do is burn bridges within your network.
A little less than two years ago, I sat in a large introduction to public relations class. Hundreds of students sat in desks around me, and I’ll admit, it was a bit intimidating looking at how many of my peers would be going into the same job market as myself. How was I going to stand out? How was I supposed to know how to land an internship or job? What did I need to focus on during my time in the School of Journalism and Communication? I was brand new to the program, and although I didn’t know what the future of PR would hold for me, I was eager to learn everything I could to succeed in the industry.
Fast forward. It’s my last term of college, and I just returned home from a full day of work at my PR and marketing internship. Two years have flown by, but I learned so much and took on many opportunities to get where I am today. For me, it was mostly trial and error, figuring out the answers to those questions I asked myself in that big classroom.
If you are one of those students who is just starting out on the PR track feeling nervous like I did, I have some great news for you. You can get all the inside scoop about classes, instructors, internship tips and more by doing one simple thing. Join the PRSSA mentorship program! I am taking the time to tell you about this incredible program because I was not fortunate enough to be a mentee during my time of need. If I had a mentor during my journey through the PR sequence, my questions would have been answered by a peer who already went through the same experiences. Your peers are often some of the greatest sources of knowledge when it comes to the process of working your way through the sequence and on to the professional world.
I’m going to switch gears to address those of you who have already embarked partway through the PR sequence. The mentorship program is just as important for you as it is for those students just starting out. Become a mentor! I started in the program as a mentor, and it has been such a rewarding experience. Not only are you able to give advice to a peer just starting the sequence, (who doesn’t feel good when helping someone out?) but you also learn from them as well. I’m confident my mentee and I will continue to stay in touch. We learn from each other and encourage each other as we take on new opportunities, which is an awesome connection to take away from this experience.
There’s nothing better than Ducks helping Ducks, and this program gives PR students a way to start building those relationships while you’re still at the SOJC. For more information about the program, check out the PRSSA website.
Kati VanLoo is a senior at the University of Oregon graduating in June. She has interned in both the corporate and agency settings, including her current position she holds as a part of the Portland Senior Experience. During her time at the SOJC she was an account supervisor for Allen Hall Public Relations, a writer for Her Campus Oregon and a mentor in the PRSSA mentorship program. Check out her PR lifestyle blog or follow her on Twitter at @Katelyn_VanLoo.
Every term UO PRSSA plans a trip to a different city to visit public relations and communications agencies. Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Eugene, and soon to be Santa Monica, are a few of the cities PRSSA has visited and will be visiting in the future. Attending an agency tour has numerous benefits, however, you may still be unsure about what those are. If so, here are five reasons why you should go on an agency tour.
Attending an agency tour allows you to make face-to-face connections with professionals in cities you may not have other opportunities to visit. By attending an agency tour, you are able to create connections with professionals that may lead to internships or jobs. By making these connections in person, your professional relationships become stronger and you’re likely to make a lasting impression.
Professional Q&A sessions take up a large quantity of time on agency tours. During these sessions, you are able to practice asking questions you may ask in an informational interview at an agency. You are also able to network with the professionals in the offices and are able to practice your elevator pitch. The agencies we visit want to get to know you and help hone your skills.
We visit many different kinds of PR, communications and marketing agencies on our tours. The agencies we visit focus on industries ranging from tech, lifestyle, food & beverage, fashion, hospitality, consumer, business-to-business, and more. We also visit agencies that are small and boutique, or large and global sized. If you are unsure about what areas of PR you might be interested in, this is a great way to explore and learn more.
Attending an agency tour also means you get to know fellow PRSSA members. It is always great to make new friends (especially those who share your major) and attending an agency tour is a perfect way to bond!
Visiting a new city with PRSSA will open your eyes to new places. Going on an agency tour provides you with the opportunity to enjoy an awesome city for a few days. By the end of the tour you may even find your new home post graduation. Either way, you are guaranteed to have amazing new experiences and connections after attending a PRSSA agency tour.
Tatiana Skomski is a junior studying public relations. She is originally from San Diego, California, and loves spending time with her dog. After she graduates, she hopes to relocate to Souther California and begin her career working at an agency. Tatiana specifically wants to work in lifestyle and consumer branding public relations.
Many students check out when the sun makes an appearance, especially at the University of Oregon, where students are far too familiar with the rain and clouds. Instead of using the sun as an excuse to avoid homework and responsibilities, take control of spring term and use it to your advantage. Here are a few ideas on how to stay focused, while also enjoying the weather.
In order to truly enjoy the nice weather that spring brings, you will need to be prepared to do so. Getting your responsibilities out of the way on cloudy days allows for play on days with blue skies.
Out with the old, in with the new. There’s not much that feels better than throwing out old junk and clutter. It freshens your room, allows for more free space, and becomes a nice place to focus when needed.
May I suggest a little ODESZA? Gather some fun songs that make you put on your happy pants and allow you to dance it out. Listen to the playlist when you’re feeling discouraged and remind yourself summer is only weeks away.
This computer app allows you to put all of your most distracting websites on a ‘blacklist’ and it won’t allow the websites to load for however long you set your focus timer. Take that, Facebook!
After multiple hours of studying and staring at a screen, you often hit a wall and no longer retain as much information. Instead of sulking inside and dreading to continue, go outside, take a walk, a breather, and maybe do some jumping jacks to get the blood flowing again.
Whether it’s spring term or fall, it’s always a good idea to treat yourself after a good day of work. Eat some cake, get a pedicure, see a movie, or go on a fun weekend trip.
Lastly, it’s always good to have goals to strive for. It focuses on an end date and forces you to accomplish what needs to be done before then. Fitness goals, academic goals, or general self-improvement goals are always good options.
Brooke Adams is a junior transfer student, majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Business Administration. Brooke is a native Oregonian, avid coffee drinker, and music lover. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeIAdams.
Have you ever contemplated double majoring? How about double majoring in the journalism school? Majoring in journalism and public relations was one of the best decisions I made during my college career. I started off my academic journey in Allen Hall as a “super j” major. But last June, I decided to add public relations to my degree audit. At the time, I was not sure why I wanted to do this, but now I am glad that I did. Here are my reasons why I believe you should consider adding a second major in the journalism school.
1. You will make DOUBLE the connections
One of the best parts about double majoring is the amount of connections you will make. From the day I decided to add a second major, I connected with more professionals than I ever imagined possible. I also made strong relationships with my public relations and journalism professors, who helped with me with numerous opportunities.
2. You will know AP Style like the back of your hand
Associated Press style. Whether you are in the public relations sequence or in the super j program, you must know AP style. It’s easy to say that if you are going through both of these programs simultaneously, you will learn to love your AP stylebook because you’ll know almost every rule.
3. Multimedia? You have it down pat
Have you ever thought about adding a multimedia piece to a campaign you’re working on? No problem. After going through the super j pathway courses and the PR sequence, your multimedia skills are on point and can make a solid project, dynamic.
4. Your writing skills will go through the roof
If you decide to add another major, you can expect to do a great deal of writing. If you’re looking to become an even stronger and skilled writer, double majoring is for you. After taking multiple writing-based courses, I am beyond confident in my writing. This skill had aided me in all different areas in public relations and journalism.
5. Multitasking and time management are a breeze
Multitasking and time management can sometimes feel like two daunting skills. But after going through these academic programs, that becomes a much simpler task. Juggling my assignments, office hours’ appointments and internships are apart of my everyday routine. Multitasking and time management seem effortless after you become familiar with your ongoing schedule.
Olivia Gonzalez is a senior, majoring in public relations and journalism. She hopes to work in the sports marketing and public relations field, specializing in reputation and brand management. She hopes to move back to the Los Angeles area after graduation and she is excited to begin her professional career.