PR Interns Part II: Interviewing and Selection

March 19, 2010

The last post focused on finding the best intern candidates for your PR firm or department. Now lets discuss the selection process. If you’ve done a good job promoting your internship, you should have plenty of applicants.

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Email/resume/samples. For most internship candidates, the email and its contents create the first impression. And it’s usually an accurate one. You don’t need my help evaluating these packages, but let me recommend you focus on these questions:

Did the subject line break through? Did the message offer a clear and concise introduction of the candidate’s qualifications? Was it accompanied by the the writing samples you requested — or links to them? You did request writing samples, right?

One caution: Don’t expect students to be too creative or flashy. They’ve likely been advised to make a simple, crisp presentation — and with good reason. If you find a few smart candidates who also write well, test their creativity later. Read the rest of this entry »

PR Interns Part I: Finding the right candidate

March 15, 2010

About now, PR firms and departments are reviewing resumes and interviewing internship candidates for summer positions. If you plan to hire interns this year and you haven’t begun the process, get a move on. The best of the crop are interviewing now.

How do you find the best intern candidates? As one who’s been guiding internship placement for nearly 20 years, let me offer a few tips: Read the rest of this entry »

Why passion, alone, won’t make you successful, with apologies to Chris and Gary

March 8, 2010

Last week I posted a review of Gary Vaynerchuk‘s book, “Crush It!” What I neglected to include was the subtitle: “Why now is the time to cash in on your passion.”

Chris Brogan

Then, last Friday, I spotted this post from Chris Brogan. The title: “How passion powers everything.”

I’m sure you see the common thread.

Is passion critical to reaching your goals? Absolutely. But it’s only one ingredient to success, and that’s a lesson that students and young professionals must learn early on. Read the rest of this entry »

Putting people before profits: Classic PR case study, but without the fairytale ending

March 5, 2010

In class this week, we discussed a case study that PR experts have lauded as “excellence” in employee relations. It involves a CEO who put the welfare of his employees ahead of his own bottom line. He did so in the most trying of circumstances, and his leadership landed him in the textbooks.

Fire at Malden Mills, 1995 (

In late 1995, a fire at Malden Mills put 3,000 union jobs at risk. The timing couldn’t have been worse. The 90-year-old manufacturer in Lawrence, Mass., has seen its revenues triple and employment double since emerging from bankruptcy in 1982. It’s popular Polartec and Polarfleece fabrics were one reason. A loyal and productive workforce was the other.

In a time when offshore manufacturing became standard procedure in American business, Malden Mills’ CEO Aaron Feuerstein opted to stay put and to rebuild his factory on the very site where his family had made textiles for 90 years. Read the rest of this entry »

Creating buzz for U.S. Census no small task for Kent State Bateman team

February 25, 2010

I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.

In the old joke, that’s one of the the “3 Great Lies.” But for so many Americans in these troubled times, mistrust of government is no joke at all. Officials at the U.S. Census Bureau worry this mistrust along with overall low awareness, could prompt citizens to ignore the national headcount that begins in March.

As part of a nationwide PR campaign to promote the census at the grassroots,  Kent State’s 5-person Bateman launched its 2-week PR campaign in the midst of the season’s worst snowstorm on Feb. 11. The campaign, which relies heavily on face-to-face tactics and word of mouth, has team members crisscrossing the city — seeing the people and telling the story. Read the rest of this entry »

Student news releases offer more fluff than a marshmallow factory: This week’s teachable moment

February 14, 2010

I’ve decided to pick on the students in my “Media Relations and Publicity” class this week. I know they’ll be good sports about it, and I won’t call them out by name.

The problem: I’m unhappy with some of the news releases they’ve been writing this semester. It’s not the writing quality or mechanics that bothers me. The target of my ire is fluff — the fluff that oozes into their work in the form of vacuous, self-serving quotes.

Take last week’s assignment as an example. Students were asked to write a news release to draw local food writers to a story about a restaurant opening. While the story is one I made up for the assignment, it’s based on a real place. Read the rest of this entry »

When did accuracy become relative?

February 11, 2010

I should probably shut my mouth on this one. But I can’t.

I called out a journalist yesterday for two inaccuracies in her post promoting an upcoming news series. Here’s her response to my comment:

While I agree with you that accuracy is critical, not all subject matters warrent (sic) the same level of accuracy.

Forget the typo. Focus on the important question: When did accuracy become relative? In my 19 years on the faculty of a journalism school, no one ever told me that truth comes in “levels.” A fact is a fact because it can be verified. Read the rest of this entry »

Cleveland Cavaliers “Watergate” may be dumbest business/PR move ever; I’m calling bullshit

February 9, 2010

Update 2/10/10: Cavs will restore water fountains, saying H1N1 threat has passed. Oh, yeah. Policy also violates state building code. Doh! Maybe they can use water from fountains to wash egg from faces. Did I call this? Huh? See last paragraph.


You may have heard by now that the Cleveland Cavaliers have turned off the drinking water at the Q. That’s right, if you attend a Cavalier’s game you won’t find a water fountain anywhere. Team management has ordered them removed.

According to this piece from the Plain Dealer, the Cavs’ maternal instincts kicked in, so team management has pulled the drinking fountains to save us all from H1N1 and other furry boogers that might make us really sick. Thanks, Mom! Read the rest of this entry »

Groundswell of opposition greets company’s support for animal-rights group

February 7, 2010

Unless we’re friendz on Facebook, you probably didn’t notice the recent dustup involving Yellow Tail wine. It emerged a few weeks back when the Humane Society of the United States announced a Yellow Tail promotion designed to generate $100,000 for the Washington-based animal-rights group.

I should tell you now that I don’t care for Yellow Tail wine, but sometimes serve it at parties after my guests get into the 3rd or 4th bottle. At that point, who can tell the difference? I should also tell you I don’t care for the Humane Society of the United States much, either.

How can I dislike folks who rescue homeless cats and dogs? I don’t. And they don’t. Like many of you, I long believed the HSUS and my local humane society were one in the same. Turns out, we were victims of brand confusion. Read the rest of this entry »

The world is getting dumber, or there’s something in the water in Northeast Ohio

February 4, 2010

If Jim Traficant wins a seat in Congress this fall, I may have to move. How could I live in a state of collective stupidity? That we’re even discussing “candidate” Traficant is downright crazy, and it has me wondering what’s happened to critical thinking.

Jim Traficant

You remember Jimbo, don’t you? He’s the former congressman from Ohio’s 17th District who spent the past 7 years in federal lockup, convicted of bribery and racketeering. He’s back, and a cadre of loyalists want to send him back to Washington. Read the rest of this entry »


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