Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Loyalist PR students catch Obama fever

Loyalist PR students Sara Hamil and Jeremy MacLaine recently travelled to Washington DC for the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States.

"This was a completely surreal experience," says Sara. "We didn't plan to go, it just kind of happened.It was a little crazy, but definitely one of the best decisions I've ever made."

"The highlight for me was seeing Obama in the inauguaration parade on Pennsylvania Avenue," Jeremy adds. "It's something I'll never forget."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Measuring PR success

Thanks to Kevin Foster of News Canada who delivered a webinar presentation on Media Rating Points (MRP) to Loyalist PR students this afternoon.

With upwards of 400 subscribers at last count, MRPs are an idea whose time has come in the PR industry.

Kudos to the CPRS and its partners (including the IABC, Canadian Council of PR Firms and News Canada) for pioneering this innovative measurement tool.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Freeze Frame with Lizanne Donnelly (Loyalist PR 07/08)

Today’s Freeze Frame features Lizanne Donnelly (Loyalist PR 07/08) who now runs her own communications consulting business in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Prior to applying to the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist, Lizanne obtained her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in Economic Geography & Fine Art History.

Freeze Frame: What made you choose the Loyalist PR Program?

Lizanne Donnelly: JOBS ...when I looked at the interesting jobs available, many required some PR background. This was something I had been doing to some extent in my sales career. PR is about connecting with people in a calculated (and necessary) way.

FF: So, what are you up to these days?

LD: I am fortunate. A U.S. developer is hoping to build in Prince Edward County, and I am doing their PR and Communications. I love what I do and my client is very pleased with the results so far. I've been able to nurture other small clients, but this large project is providing me with a great resume and an income.

I'm also on a local capital campaign committee, and launching the communications plan to raise $1.5 million. I'm nervous because of the visibility and risk. This is a volunteer position, and other volunteers and municipal councilors are on the project. This is very selective volunteering on my part.

To do my job well, I need to be reachable. Radio stations call for interviews and those can't be missed. I was on my way to Europe, and my client called my blackberry about an unplanned media release. I wrote the media release on the plane, and sent it out when I arrived. It could not wait until I got back, so I was able to have a stress-free holiday.

FF: In what ways did Loyalist PR help prepare you for your current job?

LD: "Get the inside onside before you go outside" ... how many times have I said that since graduation??? It is so true.

I could not have my business without the program credentials behind me. Fortunately, I'm using just about every module and skill known to PR. My clients are clever and they rely on me for consulting. I listen to their needs, understand their objectives, and provide solutions.

FF: How important is networking in your current position?

LD: Very important. I spend a fair amount of time making friends in many places. Other people have brought opportunities to me, and I finally got on Facebook because of the networking opportunities.

Prince Edward County is a small community, and these are tough times. Networking is a great way to weather the storm and stay positive. There are opportunities out there, but you need to out there too.

FF: Finally, what's the best thing about owning your own business?

LD: Working in my PJ's with my dog next to my desk. I could never do that in a real office.

Friday, January 23, 2009

PR research in steps and stages

This week Loyalist PR students enjoyed a variety of workshops, webinars and presentations on a variety of topics related to PR research.

Special guests included Alan Chumley of Leger Marketing, Lora Turner of Canada News Wire (CNW) Group, and Ellen Cooper of Quadra Research.

Thanks to all three of these professionals for sharing with us their insights and experiences in the field of PR research!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ottawa slam poet visits Loyalist PR

Loyalist PR students celebrated Inauguration Day 2009 with an amazing slam poetry performance and writing workshop delivered by spoken word artist Ritallin (aka Greg Frankson of Ottawa).

Greg led us through a step-by-step process of writing our own slam poetry to help get us out of the dreaded writing "rut." His delicious grasp of the English language helped us all break free from our writing traditions, and encouraged us to discover our own inner poets.

We're all richer for knowing you, Greg. Peace.

Friday, January 16, 2009

PR students promote benefit concert in support of local food bank

A Jams 4 Cans charity concert will be held Wednesday, January 28th from 7:30 p.m. – 11 p.m. at the Shark Tank Pub on campus in support of the Gleaners Food Bank of Quinte.

For the cost of $4, or $2 with a canned food item, students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to watch live acoustic performances and win door prizes. The concert will showcase the talents of staff and student performers alike.

“Gleaners provides so much food to our students, but has never asked for anything in return,” says Bev Denyes, Co-ordinator of the Loyalist Lunch Box Program. “It’s wonderful see support for this very necessary organization.”

Members of the Loyalist College family who are interested in performing at or attending Jams 4 Cans should contact Kyle MacKenzie at

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Loyalist PR students honoured at this year's athletic scholarship luncheon

Two Loyalist PR students were recently presented with athletic scholarships at this year's annual college athletic luncheon.

Amy Hoskin, Captain of the Women’s Volleyball team (back row, fourth from the left) and Christine Richard, a member of the Women’s Rugby team (back row, far right) were both recognized for their outstanding academic achievements while playing varsity sports on campus.

“This scholarship makes me feel even more motivated, not just in volleyball, but in my academics as well,” says Amy. “I want to represent the college in the best way I possibly can. Varsity athletics have been such an important part of my life for the last three years; I can’t imagine college without it.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Freeze Frame with Mike Masaro (Loyalist PR 05/06)

Today’s Freeze Frame features Mike Masaro (Loyalist PR 05/06) who now works as the Manager of Ticket Sales and Services for the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors Hockey Club (OHL).

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program, Mike completed a diploma in Broadcast Journalism at Loyalist College.

Freeze Frame: Tell us about some of your responsibilities with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors Hockey Club.

Mike Masaro: I deal mostly with minor hockey teams and schools as well as regular groups. I handle my own contacts as well as prospect new business. I also do some marketing work for the team through planning events and speak at some of the events we attend and on behalf of the team.

FF: How did Loyalist PR help prepare you for your current position?

MM: One thing I learned is that you need to be flexible -- not just in your job, but in getting one. All through college and after graduating I held out for that plum sports PR job; for some it happens, for most it doesn’t. There are some things that may not interest you, but you have to keep all your options open.

Another thing the course taught me was to be a better overall communicator in every aspect. Whether it’s speaking or writing, I feel I have a well-rounded delivery and can get my point across much easier and more descriptively.

Finally, I would have to say a little fun can make things much easier. I enjoyed doing something creative for a change, as opposed to reading textbooks all the time.

FF: What’s one of the biggest lessons Loyalist PR taught you?

MM: Network! You never know who knows who! Meet and speak to as many people as possible and get your name out there. When you’re looking for jobs most of the time it’s who you know, so make yourself known.

FF: Any favourite memories about being a Loyalist PR student?

MM: I enjoyed how everything was hands-on, and you had the opportunity to experience different facets of the profession. Two experiences that stick out in my mind were the crisis management press conference, and the planning and execution of an event (in my case, the college’s athletic banquet).

FF: Finally, who is your favourite athlete of all time, and why?

MM: No question: Brett Favre. He is a living legend even though he doesn’t play for the Packers anymore. Regardless, his work ethic and dedication to the game of football over the course of his career have been outstanding; even non-football fans know who Brett Favre is, and know a little about him. He’s someone who is playing the game for all the right reasons.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Do schools kill creativity?

Today's class discussed the various forms of creativity, highlighting the above video from Ken Robinson. Watch it yourself, and see if it doesn't challenge your ideas about the process of creative thought.

Start with the impossible

I recently came across the following text in an ad for HP computers:

“All kids are inventors.
It’s because they’re not afraid to get their hands filthy.
To eat the paste.
To use a hammer as a brush.
To break something just to see how it works.
And to start with the impossible, which is where grown-ups usually stop.”

As we here in the Post-Grad PR program at Loyalist College spend a week immersed in creative thought, I double-dare us all to get our hands dirty, eat the paste and start with the impossible.

Because if we do, there’s no telling what will happen.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Freeze Frame with Candice MacAulay (Loyalist PR 07/08)

Today’s Freeze Frame features Candice MacAulay (Loyalist PR 07/08) who is now the Public Relations and Media Co-ordinator for the national office of the Girl Guides of Canada.

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Candice completed a degree in Anthropology and Women’s Studies at Trent University. She also spent a semester at Kansai Gaisai University in Osaka, Japan where she majored in Japanese Language and Asian Studies.

Freeze Frame: What kind of PR projects are you working on right now with the Girl Guides of Canada?

Candice MacAulay: One of the coolest things I'm working on is a partnership with HarperCollins Canada to get "recommended by Girl Guides" stickers on the covers of children's/middle grade and young adult books that we feature in our online book club. They did a similar cross-promotion campaign with Hello!Canada magazine, and it won an award from the 2008 Canadian Marketing Association Awards.

So sometime in the next few months if you're at a bookstore and see a book display with the Girl Guide logo, you'll know I had a hand in that!

FF: How did Loyalist PR help prepare you for your job?

CM: All the case studies were really helpful because it showed you what works well and what crashes and burns. I'm able to say, "Well, I think this will/won't work because…" and then actually give real life examples.

All the writing practice also helped because I'm always writing media advisories, articles for our magazine Canadian Guider, corporate sponsorship proposals, etc.

FF: What are the three skills you use the most in your line of work?

CM: Media relations, corporate partnership/sponsorship relations and writing/editing.

FF: What do you enjoy most about your job?

CM: I'm pretty much in charge of all the online marketing/social media stuff like monitoring blogs on RSS feeds, writing content for the GGC Girls website, researching web sites and companies to see where we can get the most ROI from web banners, etc.

FF: Tell us a little known fact about the Girl Guides of Canada.

CM: Girl Guides has been around for almost 100 years in Canada. We're celebrating our 100th anniversary in 2010 with a huge international camp called Guiding Mosaic 2010. We're estimating around 3,500 girls from over 144 countries will be there. I'm also working on getting an author to do a book signing/creative writing workshop/book reading or some such!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Rethink the Way You Think

I recently came across a great book by Michael Michalko entitled Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques, Volume 2 (2006).

The book highlights the itricacies of the creative thought process, and provides dozens of real-world examples of freestyle thinking in motion.

More than that, Thinkertoys is a showcase of effective creative thinking techniques – from brain writing to idea grids - that are useful both in the classroom and in the workplace.

If you’re reading this blog you’re no doubt aware of the paramount importance of creative thinking in public relations.

For me, Thinkertoys is the ideal go-to book for jumpstarting any creative project.

Check it out, and you might just begin to rethink the way you think too!

Monday, January 05, 2009

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." -- Henry David Thoreau