Millennial post is a tough act to follow

April 24, 2010

Last week’s post about the Millennials taught me a lesson.

The last 15 days were lookin' up.

The post shattered records for single-day traffic five times. I’m flattered by the attention, but I know it’s probably a one-time thing.

I don’t do posts outside my realm. I just stumbled onto a hot topic. Lots of folks liked it, I guess, and the conversation continues. Read the rest of this entry »

Dear Millennials: Your parents lied to you

April 20, 2010

You’re wonderful, sweetie. Just keep working hard and you can be anything you want to be. Great job! (soccer mom, 1992)

I’ve spent the past 15 years teaching and coaching the kids known as Millennials. Some call them GenY. I call them the “self esteem generation.” Millennials were raised by parents who showered them with praise and awarded them athletic trophies for just showing up. Their lives were over-programmed, their parents hovering.

Then they went to college. Read the rest of this entry »

Kent State takes a digital focus in Week #12

April 12, 2010

When you teach college courses, you count weeks. This is Week #12 of the spring semester, which means students and faculty are near maximum stress levels and, I hope, maximum productivity.

So it’s refreshing, during a crazy week, to welcome three hi-profile guests from the digital world. They include Chris Barr of Yahoo!, Phil Gomes of Edelman Digital, and Kyle Lacy, author of “Twitter Marketing for Dummies.” Read the rest of this entry »

Are PR pros tomorrow’s journalists? Ike Pigott explains the ’embedded reporter’

April 8, 2010

I asked my students this week how news of the West Virginia mine disaster might have sounded if prepared entirely by the PR firm for Massey Energy, the mine’s owner.

Would we have learned about the 100+ safety violations at Upper Big Branch this year alone? Would we know about Massey’s environmental record in strip mining? Would the CEO’s arrogance toward the media have been highlighted? Probably not. But thanks to an independent news media, we’re getting a more balanced story.

Ike Pigott

Now, imagine a world where the mainstream media no longer have enough journalists to cover the news? Yeah. I know. We’re already there, aren’t we? But stick with me.

A thoughtful essay by Ike Pigott has me wondering and worrying about “The future of journalism.” The post scares me because it presents an all-too-real scenario. Read the rest of this entry »

Can a campus radical make it in PR? Not a problem!

April 6, 2010

Where have all the radicals gone?

I admired campus radicals back in the day.  These long-haired, sandal-sporting, granola-chomping freaks sounded the alarm that eventually ended a war in Southeast Asia. And along with all that social justice came the sexual revolution, a welcome development to any young man coming of age in the late 60s.

By the time I got to campus in ’71, the protests were pretty much over. Hippie attire and hippie lifestyle were mainstream by then, but most of the passion was gone. Being a “hippie” in the 70s was more about rearranging brain cells than rearranging the world order.

Campus-radical wannabes learned that social movements seldom pay the rent. So we cut our hair and went to work for “the man.” Read the rest of this entry »

It’s tea time in Appalachia; I’m in a parallel universe where communication and logic are lost

March 25, 2010

Is this the end of civility?

I don’t watch the TV pundits, liberal or conservative. And I don’t listen to the radio numbskulls like Glenn Beck. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t influential — and scary.

I’ve spent the past 10 days in rural Western Pennsylvania. I grew up here, the grandson of union coal miners – one a Democrat, one a Republican. They were smart and civil men, and they made up their own minds without any help from the likes of Beck or Limbaugh. They read the newspaper, they attended union meetings, and they went to church. They thought things through, and they believed in community. Read the rest of this entry »

PR Interns Part III: You get what you pay for

March 22, 2010

I’ve been placing interns for 18 years and mentoring them for 30. And I’m still surprised when I learn so many of them work for free. That’s nuts.

Or is it? Why don’t most employers actually “employ” their interns? Is it a budget issue? Or don’t they see value in the interns’ contributions?

My predecessor at Kent State, the late E. Zoe McCathrin, set the tone for paid internships long before I arrived here. She cajoled every employer in the area to pony up at least minimum wage, and in some cases she outright bullied them into it. If you knew Zoe, this won’t surprise you. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »