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 (www.artschallenge.ca).
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.
FF: Name the best alterative film you've seen lately.
MG: Manufactured Landscapes!