Friday, May 9, 2014

Media Relations: Ethics, Principles, and Passion


Media Relations Experts Speak to Marist M.A. in Communication Graduate Students

The Marist College School of Communication and the Arts hosted a special M.A. in Communication speaker series event on the evening of May 7, 2014. The event, organized by graduate students in my COMG 503 Media Relations course, took place through a telephone conference call. During the call public relations executive Mr. Justin Meise, Hopewell Junction, N.Y., and veteran journalist and book author Mr. Ed Offley, Panama City Beach, Fla., joined COMG 503 students in an hour-long discussion of media relations ethics, principles, and practices.

Use this link to download and listen to a one-hour podcast of the entire event. This recording contains valuable knowledge, keys to success, and important principles of communication from the unique perspectives of a seasoned public relations practitioners and a veteran journalist. Contradictory to anecdotal stories about conflicts between spokespersons and journalists, Mr. Offley and Mr. Meise described two professions that were remarkably similar in terms of missions, measures of success, and principles.

Ed Offley and Justin Meise

Mr. Offley reported for the Norfolk Ledger-Star (sister paper to the Virginian-Pilot), the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and the News Herald; and he served as editor-in-chief of the online news magazine, DefenseWatch. He is also co-founder and director of the Military Reporters and Editors Association. He is currently employed full time as an accomplished book author, with several titles under his name: Pen and Sword, Scorpion Down, Turning the Tide, and Lifting the Fog of War. His most recent book, The Burning Shore, was just released in March and has already received positive reviews.  

Mr. Meise is principal partner with River Communications Inc., a public relations and marketing firm for clients in the financial sector, based in White Plains, N.Y.  He has provided strategic communications counsel to a diverse range of financial organizations like Citi, Merrill Lynch, Prudential Securities, iShares, and BNY Mellon’s Pershing division. Justin is also a seasoned crisis communications manager and media trainer. He is a Marist College alumnus, a member of Public Relations Society of America and its Counselors Academy, and a licensed private pilot.

Key Points

Mr. Offley urged participants in the conference call to follow norms of “human life,” or universal principles that unite rather than divide communication professions. He attributed success as “a military reporter dealing with an institution that by in large was suspicious of people like me” to remaining committed to “give and take, honesty, showing empathy for the other side of the story, even though the other side of the story was in a bad way.” Also, he “found that human connections were a lot more important than degrees or credentials [and] showing up was everything.”

In his closing remarks, Mr. Offley recommended, “Do what you love, know what … you are doing, study every day, study your client, study his products, study this chaos out there that we call social media…. and the big thing is this, that we are interacting, we’re trying to provide information, context … hopefully a winning argument; and you do it by knowing your subject and delivering whatever you deliver as honestly as you can.”

Mr. Meise offered similar advice. When relating with employers, clients, or journalists, let them “know that there is a real person there, that you are committed to whatever it is you are doing, and that you are passionate … that you care.” He also urged conference participants to “be easy to work with, be supportive of the people around you, find reasons to be enthusiastic about them, and give them reasons to be enthusiastic about you.”

In his closing remarks, Mr. Meise stressed the importance of being a voracious reader, approaching your field with an attitude that you will learn as much as you can, become an accomplished writer, and establish yourself as one of the leading experts and critical thinkers in your field.

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NOTE: Mr. Offley recently spoke about his latest book, The Burning Shore, to an audience at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. The cable channel C-Span will rebroadcast Mr. Offley’s presentation on Saturday, May 10, at 9:20 p.m., and again on Sunday, May 11, at 2:00 p.m. Check C-Span listings for a schedule of future broadcasts and streaming video of this presentation.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Go Forth: Build Your Web Site or Blog

I often assign projects in my courses at Marist College that require students to create a website or blog. Students have a wide range of options to choose from when selecting a platform to host these social media sites.


It’s nice to have a variety of options to consider, but deciding on which one to choose can be confusing. 

For instance, I am currently teaching COMG 503 Media Relations, one of the courses in the M.A. in Communication program offered by pur School of Communication and the Arts. Student teams in the course must complete a final project that consists of a communication plan and digital portfolio (e.g., “media kit”) for a mass media campaign to support a “client” organization’s strategic goals and initiatives.

Digital News Rooms & Team Portfolio Sites


Each student will construct a digital news room to display his or her individual work; and each student team will construct a digital portfolio site to display team members’ collective work, or digital media kit. There are many ways to produce a blog or website. To help students narrow their choices, I suggest that they consider using either Blogger, WordPress, or Weebly. Each site has its own pros and cons, which I will address here.

Weebly, Blogger, and WordPress are all free and easy to use, even for novices; yet they are powerful enough to support most intermediate and even some advanced online communication projects.
  • Weebly offers a variety of user friendly, intuitive, drag-and-drop tools for creating sites that look more like Web pages than blogs; but authors have to pay for more advanced tools. 
  • Blogger offers a wide variety of pre-made templates, themes, colors and gadgets that allow users to create professional-looking and very interactive blogs. 
  • WordPress also offers templates, themes, colors and other tools; and it offers options to customize the site for use as a blog, a Web site, and even a digital portfolio.


Sub-domains & Domains


Weebly (ad supported), Blogger, and WordPress all offer free hosting on sub-domains of the weebly.com, blogspot.com, or wordpress.com domains. A sub-domain is a subset of a larger domain. For instance, Marist has its own domain: marist.edu. It also has sub-domains like iLearn, its online teaching and learning platform (ilearn.marist.edu), and Notes, its e-mail system (notes.marist.edu).

Marist students and faculty also have an option to set up their own sub-domain and “drop box” in the marist.edu domain, where you can store files, host a blog and website, etc. The Marist HELP Desk provides information and support for these kinds of academic technology services.

To illustrate the concepts of sub-domain and domain, let’s say you publish a blog on Blogger (blogspot.com) called “Red Fox Tales” and you use something like redfoxtales in your Web address, or Universal Resource Locator (URL). Your Blogger site would now have a sub-domain name of redfoxtales and a domain name of redfoxtales.blogspot.com (preceded by http://www or https://www).

Academic vs. Professional Sites


For my academic assignments, students are welcome to use either Weebly, Blogger, or WordPress to build and host  host their site on one of the respective company domains. However, authors who seek to build a site that reflects a less commercial, more professional, and personalized brand -- not associated with someone else’s domain -- should consider paying for their own domain-hosting service. There are numerous secure domain hosts and most are affordable even on a small budget. 

For example, the ubiquitous Go Daddy hosting service (famous for its television ads) advertises that it can provide a domain name for less than $1.00 and Web hosting services for less than $3.00 per month. This Mashable article provides an excellent definition of sub-domains, domains, and Web hosting services for WordPress. Here’s another Mashable article that reviews Web hosting alternatives to Go Daddy.

Not to complicate your decision about Web services and hosting, but don’t limit your considerations to just Weebly, Blogger, or WordPress. There are other fine site builders out there. For example, consider Google Sites, another free Web site builder that offers free hosting on its sites.google.com domain. 

OK, go forth and build!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Marist College Alumna Dani Moz ('09, COM/PR) Starring on The Voice

Industry analysts have attributed the success of NBC's popular TV series, "The Voice," to the show's innovative social marketing "storytelling" approach. Read more about this at http://ow.ly/v46s3

But speaking of stories, did you know about Marist College's connection with The Voice? 

Danielle Mozeleski (Dani Moz)
Yes, Marist alumna Danielle Mozeleski (Marist College, '09, Communication/Public Relations) is currently battling her way through the show as Dani Moz, a member of Team Shakira. 

Danielle was a student of mine in public relations courses at Marist, and even then she exhibited the qualities that would help her achieve early success in life after college.

Read this story about how Dani Moz turned her public relations career into a spot on one of America's most popular television shows. And watch the March 17 battle round between Dani Moz and DeShawn Washington on The Voice.

Go Red Foxes!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Father of IMC Don Schultz to Speak at Marist

Marist College will present the "father of integrated marketing" at its second IMC Speaker Series event of the year on Friday, March 7, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Medill School Emeritus-in-Service Professor of Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) Dr. Don Schultz will speak about the past, present, and future of IMC.

Medill School at Northwestern University is credited with introducing the first graduate program in IMC, and Dr. Schultz was one of the chief architects of Medill's program. He is also known around the world for his vast industry, consulting, and teaching experience in IMC.

Seating is limited for this event on campus, so Dr. Schultz’s presentation will be streamed live on the Web. To attend and participate in the event via live stream, click the following link just before the program begins or during the program: http://www.livestream.com/maristmedia.

Marist will also provide a link to a video recording of Dr. Schultz’s presentation after the event. Like Marist's MA in IMC Facebook page to obtain more information about the availability of the recording and follow other news about Marist's master's program in IMC offered by the School of Communication and the Arts.


Friday, January 31, 2014

Social Media: "A Culture of Encounter"

Need guidance about social media etiquette? How about using modern communication technology to promote personal connections? In case you missed it, read the transcript or listen to a recording of the Vatican address released on January 24, 2014, by Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church.

World Communications Day

In an address that marked the Catholic Church's 2014 World Communications Day, Pope Francis promoted what he and the Pontifical Council on Social Communications described as a “culture of encounter.” He called on followers to make greater and more ethical use of social media to unify members of the human race and help the less fortunate. According to Pope Francis:
Today we are living in a world which is growing ever “smaller” and where, as a result, it would seem to be easier for all of us to be neighbours. Developments in travel and communications technology are bringing us closer together and making us more connected, even as globalization makes us increasingly interdependent.
He also added:
We need to resolve our differences through forms of dialogue which help us grow in understanding and mutual respect…. Media can help us greatly in this, especially nowadays, when the networks of human communication have made unprecedented advances. The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God.
Rewards and Risks of Social Media

While praising the power of social media, Pope Francis also issued a warning about the dangers of unethical communication.
Communication is really about realizing that we are all human beings, children of God. I like seeing this power of communication as “neighbourliness.” 
Whenever communication is primarily aimed at promoting consumption or manipulating others, we are dealing with a form of violent aggression.
To guard against the risks of social media and realize the full potential of mass communication, Pope Francis advocated for a compassionate use of technology and a realization of outcomes that achieve human connections, not just digital connections.
It is not enough to be passersby on the digital highways, simply “connected”; connections need to grow into true encounters. We cannot live apart, closed in on ourselves. We need to love and to be loved. We need tenderness. Media strategies do not ensure beauty, goodness and truth in communication. The world of media also has to be concerned with humanity, it too is called to show tenderness. The digital world can be an environment rich in humanity; a network not of wires but of people.
The Challenge of the Communication Revolution

In closing, the Bishop of Rome noted the revolution currently taking place in communication technology, and called on everyone to face the challenge of communicating in our social media world with renewed energy.
The revolution taking place in communications media and in information technologies represents a great and thrilling challenge; may we respond to that challenge with fresh energy and imagination as we seek to share with others the beauty of God.



Read more about the Vatican’s policies on social media on the home page of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications





Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Best Practices in Social Media for 2013


Thanks to our UK colleagues in the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) for their 2013 social media best practices guide. This free 30-page document is chock full of wisdom on the following topics:
  • definition of social media
  • dos and don'ts of social media
  • planning social media
  • legal considerations
  • security considerations
  • advice for employers
  • social media measurement 
Here is a snippet from their section on social media "dos":
  • Listen
  • Understand
  • Plan
  • Engage in conversation
  • Disclose relationships when endorsing a product, client, organization
  • Be honest about how manages social media channels
  • Determine the content approval process from the beginning
  • Be transparent
  • Be respectful
The CIPR report is a must read for anyone who studies or practices social media management.

And no, I'm not "endorsing" the CIPR. I'm just a fan of their latest best practices guide and would like to recommend it to others.

You can download a copy from CIPR's Slideshare account.






Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Content Marketing and PR Thinking Will Dominate

The Paris, France, bureau of PRNewswire published on Tuesday (May 21) an article by Publicis Groupe that contained very interesting data from a survey about social media and digital marketing.

The survey of 2,000 European marketing students conducted by the MediaSchool Group was titled “Next Generation of Marcoms.” Maurice Lévy, the chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, described the data as “fascinating” and added that the survey results should serve as a warning to avoid becoming complacent about social media and digital communication.

Here are some of the key findings from the survey:

  • More than 80% of students surveyed thought agencies that focus entirely on social media and digital marketing will disappear within 10 years – believing social media will turn into a communication channel for all marketers. 
  • 70% believed that content marketing and public relations thinking will soon dominate the marketing field. 
  • Corporate social responsibility will become increasingly important. 86% of students surveyed want to work for organizations that place as much value on doing work that contributes to social good as creating a profitable brand image. 
  • The most important social media channel, according to the students? Facebook. 
  • The most admired communication campaign of the last year? Red Bull Stratos. 
Read the PRNewswire story at http://ow.ly/li4jy
Obtain a .pdf copy of the survey’s full report at http://www.mediaschool.eu/NextGeneration.pdf

Publicis Groupe [Euronext Paris FR0000130577, CAC 40] is one of the world's leading communications groups. We offer the full range of services and skills: digital (DigitasLBi, Razorfish, Rosetta, VivaKi), creative services (BBH, Leo Burnett, Publicis Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi), public affairs, corporate communications and events (MSLGROUP), media strategy, planning and buying (Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia) and healthcare communications, with Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG). Present in 108 countries, the Groupe employs 58,000 professionals.

The MediaSchool Group (MSG) is one of Europe's foremost business schools specializing in the marketing communications. For more than 30 years it has taught advertising, marketing, design, PR, journalism and more recently digital communications in faculties in France, Belgium, the UK and Spain. Graduates from the MSG work in management positions in marketing agencies and in-house positions around the world.