Weigh in on “Do Blogs Matter” survey

If I haven’t mentioned it lately, Clemson University is darn luck to have Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu available to teach communications studies classes.  I had the honor of speaking at one of her PRinciples classes last month and she is smart, savvy, funny, personable and more than eager to share her knowledge of social media strategies, online PR tactics and traditional media relations practicies to up-and-coming professionals.

Kudos, Dr. V!!!

Please help her research studies by taking the time to complete this quick survey on “Do Blogs Matter” and have your opinion count.  She’ll share this in presentations, on her blog and in classes.  It took me four minutes.  Thanks in advance!


Palmetto PR Diva Dish – Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu, assistant professor, Dept. of Comm. Studies, Clemson University

I was lucky enough to hear Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu, assistant professor, Department of Communications Studies, Clemson University, speak at an SCPRSA Upstate meeting several months ago. Before then, I had heard rumblings of blogging, Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets designed to share information with others and create conversations with target audiences in ways that had never been available to us before.

But it took Dr. Vorvoreanu’s passion and knowledge for these relatively new tools (new to me at least – I am not an early adopter in most realms!) to actually inspire and motivate me to try them for myself.

She has a new book coming out on Website Public Relations (see below for more details) and also is a big advocate for Clemson’s PRSSA chapter. And we’re thrilled she has taken the time to tell us more about her experiences in getting where she is today. (Editor’s note: Dr. V., please keep us posted on details for Clemson’s PRSSA chapter. We’re happy to help in any way we can.)

o Please provide title and a brief description of what you do:

Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Studies, Clemson University. I teach public relations and communication courses, and do research in the area of public relations and new technology.

o How did you become interested in the public relations/advertising industry?

I think what attracted me to public relations is the power of communication and persuasion. I remember hearing about this new major at the University of Bucharest (Romania) and becoming instantly excited about it. I also like the combination of business and creativity in public relations.

o What changes have you seen in the industry that is the most interesting to you?

The culture shift brought about by social media. Social media, through dynamics that redistribute power, is prompting PR practitioners to think differently. I finally see ideas that we’ve talked about in academia for a long time (honest, mutually beneficial relationships; authentic conversations; “nakedness”) become the standard in social media public relations. Blogging by PR practitioners is helping self-regulate the industry and moving it towards higher professional and ethical standards. The transparency and brutal honesty of social media, while scary, are the best things that have happened to the public relations industry so far. See my blog post New PR Hope for more ideas on this topic.

o Are you involved in any professional associations? If so, what are they and what do you learn by being involved?
I’m a member of PRSA, NCA (National Communication Association), and ICA (International Communication Association). But honestly, I learn more from online communities than from institutionalized ones. I read blogs (see my blog roll on http://www.prconnections.net for recommendations) and I’m active on twitter.

o What is the one piece of advice you would give students that are interested in pursuing a career in the public relations/investor relations/marketing industry?

Take charge of your own education. You need to be curious and entrepreneurial. The world is your classroom, to quote Paull Young (blog: http://youngie.prblogs.org/ twitter: http://twitter.com/paullyoung). Anything and everything and way more than your teachers can ever teach you is online. Your teacher is a guide, but not your only resource. You need to take charge and pursue your education on your own, while in college and after you graduate.

o What is the best thing about your job?

§ Lively, engaged conversations with students about ideas.
§ Seeing a twinkle in students’ eyes when they understand something new or think about something they haven’t thought about before.
§ The chance to touch their mind and souls, and hopefully to empower them to be better, happier people.
§ Recently, helping PR practitioners understand social media. It’s great to see that we academics can be a resource for PR practice. It’s the way it should be.

o What is the thing you like least about your job?

Grading assignments. I hate that education is based on fear.

o Are there any exciting announcements you’d like to tell us about (either with your company or one of your clients)?

Yes! I have a book on Website Public Relations coming out in a few days: http://www.cambriapress.com/cambriapress.cfm?template=4&bid=214

o How do you balance your professional career with your personal life?

I play it by ear. I’m lucky that as a professor, my schedule is very flexible. I try to give my full attention to one thing/task or person at a time. If you listen and you’re tuned it, the priorities are usually very clear.

o Anything else you would like to add?
I hope your readers will help us get the Clemson PRSSA chapter rolling! Look out for information about meetings and events and if at all possible, make some time for students.

More Flack Fall Out

I’m back from a week’s vacation at the beach, and feel better than ever. Thanks to Kim for holding down the fort while I was gone! I hope you all had a great week, too.

Of course, the world continued to turn in my absence. I’m catching up on all of my e-mails, and came across this one from the PRSA, sent yesterday:

PRSA today submitted a letter in response to a commentary on CBS Sunday Morning by legal analyst Andrew Cohen in which he challenged the integrity of the public relations profession.

If you wish to post your own response on the CBS Website, you may do so by clicking here.
Thank you,

And before this, you may remember a couple of weeks ago I blogged about Gina Trapani’s Lifehacker PR blacklist, in which she ‘outted’ what she thought were negligent PR people.

But rather than join the chorus of how all PR people need to do better, and how we all need to work to elevate the stature of our profession, I’m going to learn from the words of my friend, Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu, professor at Clemson University. You can read her theory on her blog at PRConnections.net. I really agree with her thoughts on this subject, although I didn’t realize it until I had a chance to sit down and talk with her about it.

There will always be people out there who don’t understand what we do, and just like in any profession, there will always be some bad apples in the bunch who try to spoil the reputation for everyone.

Rather than join them in the self-flagellation chorus, I’m going to rise above Andrew Cohen’s remarks and chalk them up to someone who’s been exposed to some less-than-reputable PR folks. And that’s too bad. It just means the rest of us need to continue to follow the rules, make ethical decisions for ourselves and for our clients, and show Andrew and the rest of the naysayers through our proven results that PR is a worthwhile profession.

What do you think? Has my time in the sun made me all too ‘Zen’ about the whole thing? Do Andrew’s comments make you fightin’ mad?? Let’s hear it.

Palmetto PR Profile – Brett Turner with Jackson-Dawson

It’s Friday, and you know what that means! We are featuring a public relations practitioner to share thoughts about the industry, as well as provide firsthand suggestions to those just starting out. To be fair, Liza and I agreed to call the “dudes” PR Profiles. So here we go!

(Next week, we will feature Allison Skipper, public relations associate for the S.C. State Ports Authority in Charleston, S.C.)

Brett Turner is Manager of Public Relations for Jackson-Dawson Marketing Solutions. His responsibilities include strategic planning and daily oversight of all of JD’s PR clients, including BMW, Michelin, Milliken, the BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament and Piaggio America.

Turner has extensive experience in sports journalism and public relations, having covered the North Carolina men’s basketball team and the NFL’s Carolina Panthers from 1994-1997. He then managed public relations accounts for NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series teams from 1997 through the end of the 2000 season, before being named Director of Public Relations for SailNet.com in Charleston, S.C. Turner joined JD in 2001.

Turner is a 1993 graduate of Clemson University and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History with a minor in Communications/Journalism. He is married to the former Suzanne Spaulding of Charleston and has a son, William, and Truxton, the family Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

Please provide title and a brief description of what you do:
o Manger of Public Relations for Jackson-Dawson Marketing Solutions. I oversee a five-person department that represents clients such as BMW Manufacturing Co., The BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament, Bloom and Food Lion Grocery stores, The Palmetto Bank, Milliken Napery and one of the world’s largest tire manufacturers.

How did you become interested in the public relations industry?
o I was a sports journalist in Charlotte covering the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and North Carolina’s men’s basketball team. I enjoyed writing, but met a lot of people on the PR side of the business and knew that was what I wanted to do. I started working for a NASCAR-specific agency in Charlotte before settling in Greenville at Jackson-Dawson.

What changes have you seen in the industry that are the most interesting to you?
o The speed in which news flows, is sent and is received. I can still remember reporters that brought typewriters into the media center and dictated stories back to news rooms. I also remember when the fax machine was the greatest invention of its time.

Are you involved in any professional associations? If so, what are they and what do you learn by being involved?
o Yes. I’m a big believer in getting involved. I am very passionate about PRSA and our profession. I serve as the state’s Accreditation chair and am currently the chapter’s President-Elect. I also am involved in my church’s marketing/PR efforts, work with Anderson and Clemson Universities, and volunteer with A Child’s Haven, Meals on Wheels and Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

What is the one piece of advice you would give students that are interested in pursuing a career in the public relations/investor relations industry?
o Learn to write correctly and use proper grammar! I can’t stress this enough. I see a lot of talented young people that graduate from college that can’t write and don’t speak correctly. What’s worse is that they’ve been allowed to get away with it for so long that it has become a bad habit. All the good that you will do in the profession – great ideas, building relationships, etc. – will be forgotten the minute you send out a poorly written press release or stand up to speak in front of an audience and use improper grammar/English.

Please describe your experience in obtaining your APR. Was it different than you thought? How has it made a difference in your professional career?
o Obtaining accreditation in public relations has been the greatest professional decision that I have ever made. I use what I’ve learned every day. To pass the test, it takes discipline. You have to set goals and work to achieve those goals. The experience was great, too. It was like taking a graduate-level course at your local college/university. It was a lot harder than I thought, but also a lot more rewarding, too. It is the number one greatest business decision that I’ve made. It has helped me advance, has gained me publicity when I speak to new clients and others in the profession, and has provided me with many tools that I use every day.

What is the best thing about your job?
o The people that I work with.

What is the thing you like least about your job?
o I hate sitting behind a desk. I like to be outside and running around.

Are there any exciting announcements you’d like to tell us about (either with your own practice or one of your clients)?
o We are continuing to grow, which is always good news.

How do you balance your professional career with your personal life?
o It’s very tough and I’m not very good at it. I typically refuse to take work home with me, but that means that there are many nights and weekends that I spend in the office. I’m just not wired to be able to “shut things down,” when things aren’t completed. Like most of us in the professional, I’m also a perfectionist and very detailed oriented. As a 36-year-old husband and father, my day consists of work and family, with an average work day being 11-12 hours. But I’m happy and love what I do. I’m very fortunate to have a loving and understanding wife.

Anything else you would like to add?
o I really like this blog. Keep it up.  (editor’s note:  Thanks, Brett!)

Let’s Go Tigers!

Have you heard the news? Clemson University has been approved to start a Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter!  This is huge – until now, there have been no PRSSA chapters represented in South Carolina’s Upstate.  I hear a couple of other schools in the region are applying for chapters, too, and I think the more, the merrier. 

It’s important for our higher education institutions to promote the public relations industry and align with organizations like PRSSA to give the next generation of PR practitioners the theory and practice they need to learn.  Being part of PRSSA will allow Clemson students to explore the great career of PR, learn from seasoned vets and open the door to more internship opportunities.  Way to go, Clemson, and a big shout out to Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu (www.prconnections.net) for spearheading the campaign to bring the chapter to the Upstate.  Go Tigers! 

PS – if you’re a Clemson student interested in joining PRSSA, I’m sure Dr. “V” would welcome inquiries.  She and I will be working together over the coming months as the chapter kicks off.