Beginning a Career in Public Relations

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Aftermath of Hurricane Rita

The city of Houston is returning to normal following the evacuations in anticipation of a major hit from Hurricane Rita. Houston Mayor Bill White and his Team were faced with numerous challenges in that an evacuation of this caliber has never before been attempted in the city's history. Was it smooth? Not quite. Were we prepared with supplies such as food and gasoline? No. But when the storm hit, those in the areas of highest impact were in a safer location. Mayor White is to be commended for his clear communications in getting the right info out to the media. The plans to bring Houstonians back seems to be working well and gasoline is flowing to pumps in the city. Please keep those in the Texas-Louisiana border in your thoughts as they prepare to rebuild.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Have you heard about

Thanks to an article by Keith O'Brien in PR Week, I learned about, a service created by PR pofessor Robert French at Auburn University.

Professor French offers free blog hosting to public relations instructors, students and working professionals. I encourage everyone to check it out and start a blog, if you have the time and interest! While blogging is not for everyone, if you're committed to keeping it current, your blog can serve as a great resource to your colleagues, and even as professor French points out, to prospective employers.

Just today I heard from Janna Ball, who is interning with She sent this link to her fabulous blog, where this week she is focusing on preparing your portfolio. Read all about it here:

Best of luck, Janna, and congrats on entering the blogosphere!

Team David Remembers PRSA Houston Member David Monroe at National Kidney Foundation Walk on Sunday

More than 40 walkers turned out on Sunday to walk in remembrance of PRSA Houston Member David Monroe, a veteran of the Houston public relations community, who passed away on Sept. 26, 2004 from an aneurysm.

David was born with a kidney defect, and after several surgeries as a newborn, led a full and healthy life. David had a kidney transplant in his early 20s.

In Houston, David worked at de La Garza Public Relations and then went in-house to work first for Himalaya, and then for Cornell Companies. During this time he also was active in PRSA Houston, and volunteered his PR services to the Southeast Texas chapter of the National Kidney Foundation.

Prior to the Walk, Elly Trickett, David's fiancée, and Rhonda Kelly, David's sister, addressed the crowd and spoke of David's commitment to the public relations profession and the National Kidney Foundation. I did not know David personally, but appreciated the opportunity to learn about him from his family and friends and walk in his memory. Please remember David in your thoughts.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Podcasting, RSS -- What does it all mean for public relations professionals?

Public relations practitioners must stay on top of changing times and changing technologies to best serve their organizations and audiences. Presenters at PRSA Houston's PR Day on Wednesday, Sept. 14, emphasized this need, as well. Appropriately themed "Breaking New Ground: PR Tools for Changing Times," this year's PR Day challenged practitioners to stay ahead of the curve on new technologies and tools and to use them creatively to advance their companies, clients and organizations.

In line with this theme, a podcast of the PR Day luncheon is available online at PRSA Houston members and friends can download the podcast for future listen on an iPod or similar device, or they can listen to the session on their computer using Windows Media Player or Quick Time, for example.

Podcasting is a form of RSS (that stands for Really Simple Syndication) and is nothing more than making audio content available for download through a Web site. You care because more and more, downloading to iPods, phones and even your desktop is being pushed and sold everywhere we turn!

RSS is nothing more than presenting Web site files in a very basic format so that other sites can easily interact with that data. For example, my blog has an RSS feed - - and many of the top news sites offer this as well, such as Time Magazine's Top Stories -

What does all this mean? If you install an RSS feed reader, such as Mozilla Firefox's Sage (, you can easily enter in the RSS feeds for all the sites you want to "track," and you can click through them in one place, and if a particular blog post or story catches your attention, simply click through to the site to read it in its entirety.

Public relations practitioners care because they should monitor news sites and other sitees critical to the success of their organizations through RSS feeds. One topic of discussion at PR day was blogs, led by John Wagner of Wagner Communications and my boss, Ed Schipul, of Schipul - The Web Marketing Company. John and Ed teamed up to deliver a compelling discussion on blogging and PR. Members of PRSA Houston can download the session as a podcast at

Both agreed that it was detrimental to an organization to ignore what bloggers are writing and that PR professionals should be on top of the blogs and what is being said about their organizations. While blogging is not for everyone or for every organization or company, bloggers are here and have a strong voice.

Check back for more on technology, PR and what you can learn to stay on top of an ever-changing industry!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Communities Coming Together to Aid Hurricane Victims and Survivors

The outpouring of community support for the victims and survivors of Hurricane Katrina has been amazing, from the housing taking place at Houston's Astrodome and Reliant Center to the efforts in other states to send supplies, donations and volunteers to aid those affected in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. Be sure to check with your local Red Cross office or city offices and Web sites for a list of priorities and how you can most contribute.

PRSA National offers advice on its Web site, as well as provides details on the PRSA/Red Cross Program entitled "The Power of Two." The program involves trained public relations professionals who serve as volunteers during local and national disasters. PRSA and the American Red Cross established this program after Sept. 11, 2001, as a way for public relations professionals to use their skills to help in crisis situations. Click here to read more about the PRSA and Red Cross Power of Two program. And click here to see this program in action.

If you have two hours, two days or two weeks of time to give, you are asked to sign up for training at

No matter how you choose to help, let's not forget that we may depend on others for this very same help in the future.