Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hmph. Lorax, Smorax: My Favorite PR Movies

I was excited to see The Lorax last weekend. For some reason, at 2 years old, my oldest son took an odd liking to the book. It was very odd. He was more than excited to see a movie about his favorite book being released, and I was happy to sit with the family to view it.

However, midway through the movie in one of the most important aspects of the plot, I was absolutely mortified. In the scene where the Once-ler is tauting his successes making Thneeds and snubbing his nose at the world, the negativity that runs deep in our culture about PR people reared its ugly head. Now, I want to quote here, but in the interest of being absolutely correct, I won't do it. I will paraphrase and state that I'm fairly sure the words to the song were...the PR people were lying and the lawyers were denying. What? What?!

As a mother, I was thankful my sons, 4 and 2, have no clue what I did for a living or I teach for a living. I had images flash of them saying, "Mom, you lie?!" Or, "Mom, you teach people to lie?" Or, worse. One would say, "Mom, you are a liar." That's a declarative sentence. Oh, the horror.

All of this had me thinking of my favorite PR-related movies. If you haven't seen them, please take a moment to watch. There are great lessons to learn - both good and bad. Here are my top three, and if you dare keep going, I offer a quick little tribute to my PR collegues - Dr. Suess style.

#3 - Hancock (Image Repair)

#2 - Thank You For Smoking (Ethics)

#1 - Wag the Dog (Crisis Communication)

So, as a tribute to Dr. Suess, I offer the following:

I am PR. PR I am.
I do not lie. I do not cheat. I do not say what I don't see.
I strategize. I promote. I write.
Do you want coverage here or there?
Do you want coverage everywhere?
Tell me what you do. Tell me what is good.
I will get a reporter to cover it like he should.
We will work long. We will work hard.
We will get people to know who you are.
I am PR. PR I am.
I am good. I am right.
I can make relations with your stakeholders overnight.
They will be good, they will be real, they will keep you ever still.
So, do you want coverage here or there? I can get you coverage anywhere.
But, it will done good, and it will be done right.
Because I do not lie. I just enlight.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Managing Your Student Resources

I recognize being a student isn't easy. The demands for your time and talents can be overwhelming, especially for exemplary students. However, you have to remember you are in school for one reason, and it is to finish. You must manage your resources to ensure all efforts point you in the direction of graduation.

While your pockets might not be lined with lots of money, your life is rich with student resources. Tap into the right ones to ensure your journey to graduation is fast, fun and beneficial.

1) Instructors: Sometimes professors are viewed as distant, untouchable, unrelatable beings. We beam into the classroom, you soak up knowledge and we fade back into our offices. Don't buy into it. Many of us are open books. We love to share our experiences, hear about your challenges and work to ensure you are on the right path. Stop and talk to your professors. They have a wealth of knowledge from either their research or work experience. It all starts with a simple hello.

2) Student Organizations: There's nothing like hanging around with people who talk your language, share your dreams and do what you do. Student organizations are grounding points for students to gather, learn and share. I encourage everyone in the communications field to know and learn the following student organizations: Public Relations Student Society of America, National Association of Black Journalists, American Advertising Federation, Association for Women in Communications , National Communication Association Student Clubs, National Press Photographers Association, Radio Television Digital News Association , Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

3) Alumni: I want you to view this two ways: 1) Alumni who have graduated and can help you with career advice and job tips, and 2) Class alumni who have been in the seats of the classes you are taking right now. Now, for the latter, this is not to ask them for assignments. This is to ask them to help you study, buy a book or put the course work you might be studying into perspective. They've been there already; they have valuable knowledge to share, too.

4) Counselors: Sure. We all need academic counselors. However, sometimes we need more. Sometimes, things get overwhelming. In those moments, reach out to a counselor. At Howard University, we encourage students to get help from the Howard University Counseling Center. There's no reason to be ashamed about this one. Just do it.

5) Sleep: I'll be the first to admit I slept little in college. Between my internships, part-time jobs, classes and social life, sleep seemed like a waste of time. Back in my day, NoDoz was the thing to help. Now, I can't even begin to tell you the options. Most involve caffeine. Try some healthy tricks. Nonetheless, your body needs sleep. Force yourself to recharge your body and brain with a good night sleep or at least a nap.

6) Time: Spend it wisely. We all need moments to laugh and unwind, but don't spend precious time on Facebook that could be spent writing your essay. Don't spend time hanging around on SecondLife, when you could be doing something productive in real life. Stay in the present, and work for the greater good of your future.

7) Smartphones: Can we agree to use them constructively for school? As a college student, there are lots of applications you can use to help you. Best Universities had a list of the top 100 free iPhone apps for college students.

8) Laughter: Laugh. I mean really, really laugh. Enjoy one of those painful, belly hurting, eye watering, laughs with your friends. Do it often, even if it's at your own expense. You'll look foundly back at this time in your life the more often you share a good time with a friend.

Good luck, do well, and see you at graduation.