Friday, May 4, 2007

Light bulb moment

I realized today that blogging actually isn't that bad if you just have fun with it. I am not just saying that to suck up because I know Dr. Russell, my campaigns professor, will be grading the blog.

I think that I just looked at it as another annoying school assignment. I wish I would have gone into this with the same attitude that I have now then I would have been a much more successful blogger. Lesson learned.

So, a word of advice to future campaigns students...blogging isn't that bad. You don't have to write a Pulitzer Prize winning novel, just write about what you know and keep up with it. Also, blogging about PR isn't as hard as it may seem.

Internship dilemma...

So, as you have previously read if you have been keeping up with my most exciting blog, I spent the spring semester looking for an internship with an art museum. Unfortuately the High Museum of Art in Atlanta passed, but I now have been offered the great opportunity to work with the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens.

This museum is one of Athens's best kept secrets with great works of American painters and an impressive collection of Italian master drawings, which happens to be my favorite style of work. The PR team at the museum is incredibly nice and actually seem excited to help me said I build a great portfolio this summer. So I really feel like this is an amazing opportunity to get some hands on experience. If you want to find out about the museum click this link:

Now for the dilemma...While applying to museums, I also applied for a PR internship with the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, the premier restaurant group in Atlanta. I sort of did this on a whim thinking that it would be a cool opportunity to work with a big name in Atlanta. But, after sending in my information and a few attempts at follow-ups I seemed to get nowhere and forgot about it.

Today I received an email from Buckhead Life asking me to come interview next week, and I have no idea what to do. I have already accepted the position at the museum, but working with Atlanta's premier restaurant group just sounds so posh and exciting. My dad says that turning the interview down would be passing up an amazing opportunity, because on paper the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group is kind of a big deal, especially in Atlanta. But then there is also the fact that it wouldn't be museum work which is what I really want to do.

I guess I am kind of putting the cart before the horse because it is just an interview, they have not offered me the position yet. What does a student do in this situation? If you want to find out more about Buckhead Life Restaurant Group click this link:
You can check out both places and then weigh in if you want. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, May 3, 2007


Okay, so I am pretty much obsessed with celebrity gossip and celeb gossip blogs. I know that it is a pathetic habit, but there are worse ones. Since keeping up with their lives takes up a fair amount of my day (joke?), I decided that today I would blog about what I know, and something that has caught my eye this past week that involves PR.

The relationship between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes has been bizarre from the get go, re: Oprah couch jumping. The validity of the union has been challenged time and time again, especially recently in the rag mags with headlines like "His and Hers Houses" and "Katie Wants Out". So I've said all this to get to my PR point...all of their famous friends have been doing some serious image management for the couple in the past week, and as a PR major I recognize this lame attempt at trying to make this lame attempt at trying to recreate their public image. When everyone knows that Tom just paid Katie to marry him and have his baby and then he brainwashed her with Scientology (another joke seriously this time).

At for the past week on the homepage there has been an article where some famous person is coming to bat to defend the TomKat relationship. From John Travolta to Jenna Elfman, they all say that they have a totally normal marriage and apparently Katie wears the pants. After noticing this phenomena I asked myself why are these people doing this? I think many people would agree that there is probably some larger actor guiding these folks, but I just don't understand the point.

Maybe I don't get it because as a PR major I can see what is going on, and so it isn't working on me. And maybe I just don't really understand how celebrity image management works, because there aren't any classes offered for that. I guess I just wanted to point out what was really going on there.

If anyone has some great insight about celeb image management feel free to comment or link! These are the best I could do...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The fine arts need PR too!

So after two years of PR frustration, I finally figured out this semester what kind of public relations gets me excited. I want to apply my PR skills in the fine arts world.

I had viewed my art history minor as just being able to take classes about something that I really enjoy, art. Then, during my hunt for a summer internship I realized that all museums have PR internships, and I realized that I had found my calling. So everyone get excited, you are about to learn about yet another PR niche.

You can work with commercial galleries and public institutions. There is such a diverse range of clients that you could represent around the world. World-famous museums, auction houses, touring exhibitions, etc... all need PR. If you love the creative side of the public relations practice this is a great place to start too. There is lots of publication design and event planning, but never forget that you will always have to write!

I am interning this summer with the Georgia Museum of Art, and most museums offer PR intern programs. Most of these are highly competitive though, so don't worry if you have to start out small and work your way up. Just don't try and take a job that I want!

I found a really neat site for a firm in the UK that specializes in fine arts:

And here is the link for the museum that I am working at this summer:

So, always remember, the world of public relations is incredibly broad, and just because you are learning how to write crisis plans in class does not mean that you have to be relegated to a life of corporate or agency PR! There are public relations professionals for everything!

Monday, April 23, 2007

HDF Wrap-up

The Home Depot Foundation campaigns team presented to the client today. I have to say that even though this project was an incredible amount of work, this was the most fun I have had in any public relations class. My team was amazing, and I know more about urban forestry and responsibly built affordable homes than I care to admit. Now I just cannot believe that it is over.

DeAnn Fordham was the person from the foundation that we presented to. She seemed to respond positively to our campaign pitch. When we were done speaking she told us that the foundation has been working with a nationally known PR firm, so I have to say we felt a little defeated. But, she said that some of the tactics they recommended the foundation use, we also suggested.

As part of our Athens Healthy Community campaign we recommended creating an HDF intern team. The team would implement our campaign in Athens to serve as a test case. Ms. Fordham said that they had thrown the idea of an internship around before, and so she really liked our ideas in regards to the intern program. After the meeting she went and spoke with the Grady Career Counselor. Just putting this out there...I am the only one from the team not graduating, so if they would like a fall intern I think I am a great choice. I helped make the plan after all!

Really, I just cannot believe that I have completed the requirements to receive my degree in public relations from The University of Georgia. Before this campaigns class I was pretty disenchanted with my major choice, but this project and my team have given me a new, fresh outlook on the PR world.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Imagineering: The Invisible Hand of PR

How the World (really) Works: The Anthropology of Consumption and Globalization is the most depressing and eye opening class I have ever taken. We've touched on all topics from body image to genetically modified crops. So, imagine my surprise when I walked into class and saw the topic for the day..."Imagineering: The Invisible Hand of PR". According to my anthropology professor this is how public relations "really works".

He spoke of public relations as related to the environmental movement, and he termed it corporate "greenwash" where transnational corporations are preserving and expanding their markets by posing as friends of the environment and leaders in the struggle to eradicate poverty. The lecture explained how, according to him, the PR industry was largely responsible for developing and implementing the communications strategies the facilitate an illusion for big business.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the lecture was the short history of my future profession that he provided. Public relations pioneers Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays were hired by big corporations, like Standard Oil, to stave off government regulatory efforts. This was the birth of the "PR machine" that today has played a role in shaping and distorting environmental issues.

My professor continued for an hour and fifteen minutes. He referred to crisis communications as key weapons in transnational corporations' arsenals, and explained that public relations professionals in the corporate world have a profound influence over the words and images fed to the general public. These messages seriously affect how we live our lives and how we see the world.

My professor's lectures always end with an overarching point, and on this day the point was: Publicity was once the work of carnival hawkers and hustlers smoking cheap cigars and wearing cheap suits. Today's PR professionals are recruited from the ranks of former journalists and eager-beaver college grads anxious to rise in the corporate world. They hobnob internationally and use sophisticated psychology and opinion polling so refined that they can pinpoint prevailing 'psychographics'. These are the wizards of PR.

Did I somehow miss this day in my PR classes? While my professor did make some valid points and had some interesting information. I would like to counter and say that nothing is so black and white. While their are corporate cover-ups "imagineered" by public relations professionals, there are also tireless PR professionals working with non-profits to cure, feed and cloth. If you look hard enough, you can find scandal and dishonesty in all forms of business, probably even the conservation industry. But, you cannot disregard all the good that comes from the efforts of a group of professionals just because of the less noble acts of a few.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Professionalism can go both ways...

It seems that I am the only 4th year PR student at The University of Georgia not graduating in May. So, while my peers have begun to look for permanent jobs, I am embroiled in the cut throat internship competition one more time.

I have been applying to art museums, hoping to put my PR and art history knowledge to good use. Spending a summer surrounded by artwork while honing my PR craft, what could be more exciting? I have applied to seven museums across the country, and I have only heard back from two. I have sent numerous follow-up emails and made countless follow-up calls just to confirm that they have at least received my information, and still only two responses. To get just those two responses I had to contact those museums at least twice.

The point of my long introduction? I understand that I may not be what The Art Institute of Chicago is looking for in a summer PR intern, but can't they at least drop me a line and tell me that they received my application, cover letter, resume and letter of recommendation that I so carefully crafted and sent to them? Telling me no won't hurt my feelings, but to just keep a girl in constant waiting is ridiculous! Especially after I have followed all of the professional recommendations regarding follow-up inquiries.

My career counselor sent an email regarding an internship with a certain Atlanta area restaurant group. Excited by the opportunity, I immediately sent a cover letter and my resume via email to the HR person as requested. Two days later I sent a follow-up email to confirm that they had received my information. No response. I called and left a message. No response. I sent another email. No response. A word of advice to employers, just tell me no!

After not hearing back after taking all of the appropriate steps I began to freak out. I was constantly reading and re-reading my cover letters and resume to make sure that there was not some glaring mistake that I wasn't seeing. I began having everyone around me read the stuff too, and I'm pretty sure I drove my roommates, parents and boyfriend crazy. They all confirmed that my information looked great, so then am I just a big PR dud? Is everyone else more qualified then me? I am never going to get an internship or a job, and I am going to live in a box! Okay, I'm being really dramatic, but there is something to be said for reciprocation of professionalism.

We students take the steps to be professional, yes we take these steps because we want the job, but I still feel like the same courtesy could be extended to internship applicants. Interestingly enough, the two museums that responded to my follow-up emails apologized for not responding sooner, and I have interviews this week. I'll keep you posted.

This link will take you to an article "How to Follow-up After Applying Online." I found it really helpful.
This link will take you to "First Send a Resume, Then Follow Up." The article outlines how to follow up after you've sent a hard copy.