Wednesday, September 26, 2007

PR reunion this weekend!

If you're a current Post-Graduate Public Relations student at Loyalist College, or an alumni, you're invited to join us for a special PR Reunion this Saturday, September 29th.

We'll kick off the fun with a baseball game at the Loyalist field at 2 p.m., then follow it up with dinner at East Side Mario's at the Quinte Mall.

More fun is planned following the dinner, so talk to organizers on Saturday to find out where the after-party will be...

Hope you can make it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Never at a loss for words...

The Post-Grad PR students at Loyalist College recently got to know a new side of public relations thanks to a visit from Julianne McCaffrey, Senior Speechwriter for Premier Gordon Campbell of British Columbia.

A former Print Journalism graduate of Loyalist College, Julianne completed a post-graduate certificate in public relations from the University of Victoria (before the Loyalist program was even born).

Julianne hit on some excellent points when it comes to general speechwriting tips, including hints on writing for the ear (not the eye).

We all appreciated Julianne’s love of language and the reminder that there is always room for improvement when it comes to the cadence, rhythm and rhyme of writing.

As an ambassador for the BC government, Julianne made us all long for the Pacific coast (minus the wildfires) and opened our eyes to the limitless opportunities in this exciting career field.

Thanks for stopping by, Julianne! We are all richer for having met you.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Freeze Frame with Melissa Gruber (LoyalistPR 06/07)

Freeze Frame is a regular feature of the LoyalistPR blog where we post our findings on what our illustrious alumni are up to and how much they’re making these days (just kidding!).

Today’s Freeze Frame features Melissa Gruber (Loyalist PR 06/07). Prior to enrolling in the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Melissa completed a Fine Arts (Theatre) degree Concordia University in Montreal.

Freeze Frame: So what are you up to these days, Melissa?

Melissa Gruber: I work in Ottawa at the Canada Council for the Arts as a Public Relations Assistant. I take care of a bunch of details for the Head of Communications such as media monitoring and maintaining our media lists. I format and send off news releases that my colleagues write and moderate our Facebook group.

I've also written public service announcements, community newspaper articles and a news release about the 50 for 50 Arts Challenge.

I just finished a special project for which I developed an education package to promote the use of our 50 for 50 Arts Challenge website (

FF: What are the three most valuable lessons you learned in Loyalist PR?

MG: PR is still a relatively young field. There is no one definitive way of doing things but there are a few standards that are helpful to know. At the Canada Council they take style very seriously. When Kerry edited my writing assignments, I didn't understand the logic behind her comments. For me the overall message is more important than little details like hyphens, but I'm asked regularly to proof for tiny things like that. Having a background in creative writing, not journalism, I had never had to work in CP style before but it's what journalists use so it's important to be familiar with it.

FF: What does it take to find a job in the field of public relations?

MG: My goal was to get into arts promotion. I had a degree in theatre and some experience in PR, but nothing that looked concrete on a resume and I was having trouble peaking employers' interests.

Once I had the [Post-Graduate Public Relations] certificate, all sorts of arts organizations wanted me. The combination of education and experience both in PR and their field of operation is what made me valuable.

FF: Any words of wisdom for current or future Loyalist PR students?

MG: Volunteering is a great way to gain experience, build your portfolio and make contacts, especially if you volunteer in the area you're interested in working in.

Name the best alterative film you've seen lately.

MG: Manufactured Landscapes!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ethics, anyone?

Post-Grad PR students at Loyalist College enjoyed a visit yesterday from Karen Dalton, National Executive Director of the Canadian Public Relations Society based in Toronto.

A special thanks to Karen for sharing with us the ethical foundations on which students will begin building their careers in the future.

The CPRS’s new Social Media Statement sparked particular interest among students.

As public relations professionals, we were reminded that emerging technologies will continue to challenge us as we progress in our careers.

Today it’s Facebook, YouTube and wikis. Tomorrow – who knows?

One thing is certain, though: with a strong set of core personal and professional values, the choices we make throughout our careers will be that much easier.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Anita's legacy

Body Shop founder Anita Roddick passed away this week of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 64.

Despite her early passing, this pioneer of corporate social responsibility (CSR) left an indelible mark on the retail landscape.

Thirty years ago when Anita first started out in business, CSR reporting by major companies was unheard of. Sustainable development was still an emerging concept. And consumers were far less inclined to make ethically sound purchases.

Critics say Anita’s Body Shop policies went too far, eventually leading to economic crisis within the company.

These days, it’s a watered-down version of the Body Shop that greets consumers as they shop for scented soaps and body scrubs in the local mall. The company has since changed hands, and has become a mere shadow of its former self.

Nevertheless, Anita’s legacy will be a lasting one.

I, for one, will remember her as a woman who brought issues like animal welfare, social justice and sustainability to the public consciousness at a time when few dared to believe that change was even possible.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What sticks

There’s a new(ish) book on the market called What Sticks: Why Most Advertising Fails and How to Guarantee Yours Succeeds (by Rex Briggs and Greg Stuart).

I’ll admit it was the title of the book that caught my eye and not the subhead. Because after 12 years in the business, I’ve learned exactly what sticks. The answer is public relations.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of catchy ad jingles and slogans (“Just do it!” and “I’m lovin’ it!” immediately come to mind) out there that definitely attach themselves to the sticky part of our brains.

But quite honesty, most of these jingles tend to affix themselves the way gum sticks to the bottom of an unsuspecting shoe; sure it’s sticky, but it’s also really annoying.

When it comes to making brands stick in a meaningful way, I’ve found it’s public relations that has the staying power to make a difference. When it’s done right, PR has superglue power to form long-lasting relationships with consumers, donors, employees, investors and the general public.

So a respectful note to authors Briggs and Stuarts: PR sticks, guys. You should give it a try.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Welcome to the fish bowl!

A warm welcome to all our new Post-Grad PR students!

As we begin to wade into this new school year, we hope you'll be inspired to do your best work and to advance confidently in the direction of your dreams.

As a faculty team, we're here to help. Let us know what we can do to make your first week as Post-Grad PR students as comfortable as possible (we'll even fluff your pillows!).

Best fishes,
Kerry, Liz and Lisa