Beginning a Career in Public Relations

Sunday, October 30, 2005

CNN Weekend Anchor Renay San Miguel Highlights PRSA Dallas Media Day October 28, 2005

I had an amazing opportunity to listen to CNN Headline News Anchor Renay San Miguel on Friday at PRSA Dallas' Media Day. Renay delivered a brilliant keynote that addressed his views on the changing world of PR, journalism and technology.

Renay is a weekend anchor for CNN Headline News based in CNN's headquarters in Atlanta and has more than 26 years of journalism experience. During the war in Iraq, he helped staff the CNN/U.S. military desk and interviewed CNN military analysts and outlined military operations using maps and satellite imagery. Renay also participated in Headline News' coverage of the war in Afghanistan in 2002. During his PRSA talk, he said that the moment war broke out, there was a silence in the news room that he will never forget.

Before he was a Headline News anchor, Renay provided technology updates for Headline News and CNN/U.S.

When asked who his "toughest" interview was, Renay said it was Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. The interview took place at the 2002 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and apparently Bill was having a bad day and yelled at Renay and walked away from the interview. Renay is a tough guy and of course, can handle it, but the funny part of his story was when he explained the reaction of his 27-year old assistant, who said, "Dude, you just got yelled at by Bill Gates!"

Renay also has interviewed Apple CEO Steve Jobs, commenting that whoever the PR person is who told Steve to name the iPod what it is must be doing very well.

As a journalist, Renay did not seem to be bothered by the likes of bloggers and podcasters working to report the news as they see it. Renay jokingly said, "they'll have to pry the microphone from my dead hands [before I give it up]," indicating that journalists and bloggers and PR professionals can co-exist peacefully.

Indeed, while bloggers are allowed to inflect their opinions and political views into their writings, journalists are supposed to remain unbiased and report the truths. And as Renay emphasized, journalists are people, too, and while they have their own views and biases, they are not supposed to come out in interviews and reports.

When asked if he would consider the job of press secretary of the United States, Renay let out a laugh. He said he'd rather have a job that he could look forward to during the day, indicating that Scott McClellan doesn't appear to have a lot of fun up there on that podium.

On a serious note, when asked about his thoughts on why the PR profession is not more diverse, Renay responded that it's a question most definitely in need of discussion. He also pointed out that his profession is in need of more diverse reporters and anchors, and in the prime time spots. Renay said, "I am ready for some competition."

Renay's presentation was awesome and thought-provoking and he really did an incredible job in captivating the audience. He represented CNN and his profession extremely well.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

PRSA Houston New Pros Launches Successful PR Program with local Girl Scouts

Time really flies! Last weekend marked the second workshop hosted with local Girl Scouts of the San Jacinto Council. I personally am very excited about this launch, as this program has been in the works since my days at Houston's Museum of Printing History, where I first learned that Cadette and Senior Girls Scouts had a public relations interest project award, one of many that the Girls can earn. View the entire news story here from August 27, 2005, where Wall Street Journal Education Correspondent June Kronholz visited with PRSA Houston members and Girl Scouts.

The PR Interest project requires Girls to learn the language of the public relations profession, as well as talk with professionals in the field to learn more about the profession. Last weekend's workshop included close to 50 Girls from several different troops who all left with more knowledge of the profession and even ways in which they can use public relations to advance themselves on college applications and their resumes.

Next step is for the Girls to complete a service project in the area of public relations by partnering with a local nonprofit or working to get an article published in a local or school paper.

Many thanks to PRSA Houston New Pros Community Service Liaison Cheyenna Smith for her great work, as well as Holly Caughron, Suzanne Lammers and Erin Blatzer for volunteering to work with the Girls at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Stay tuned for more on this exciting project!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The search is on for PRWeek's 2006 Student of the Year!

Hi everyone,

AWESOME opportunity from PR Week! The winner will receive a paid internship with Weber Shandwick and $5,000!

The competition, sponsored by Weber Shandwick, is asking students to devise a campaign for Royal Caribbean.

A shortlist will be announced early next year, and the five finalists will be brought to New York, where they will pitch their campaigns to a panel of judges. The five students will also attend the PRWeek Awards on March 2.

The winner will receive a paid internship with Weber Shandwick and a $5,000 cash prize.

"The competition is a rewarding experience for participants," said Andy Polansky, president of Weber Shandwick. "Over the past six years, through our sponsorship of this program, we have strengthened our ties with many universities and connected with future practitioners and industry leaders."

Joshua Morton, the 2005 winner, interned at WS in Chicago. He attends the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The deadline for entries is November 21, so apply now and Good Luck!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Comment on Commentary: For Future Journalists, it's Cash Not Causes

Comments by a journalism professor about the public relations profession have sparked today's post. In a recent commentary by Connie Schultz, columnist for The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, she writes that she has spent a lot of time with journalism students whose "hand-wringing professors still believe something other than salary should be the divining rod for choosing a career."

Schultz quotes one professor who says, "we're losing so many hard-news students to public relations, advertising and marketing. They just want to make money."

Schultz writes that one journalism professor told her that "hordes of women are opting for the softer -- and more lucrative -- career in public relations. A lot of them want to be `event planners,"' she said.

Continued Schultz...

"She nodded at my raised eyebrows. 'Seriously,' she said. 'They want to plan parties.'"

First of all, women are not the only ones opting for a career in public relations and I've yet to experience a "soft" job. I'm not a seasoned professional by any means, but I've not met or read of a single public relations professional who plans parties for a living. Do we work with event planners? You bet. Do we host events on behalf of our clients as a component of our public relations campaigns? You bet. Do these events create awareness (through the media) for the causes we or our clients represent? You bet.

Journalism professors should teach their students about all aspects of public relations -- research, planning, strategy, implementation, evaluation -- and not misrepresent our profession by claiming we 'plan parties.' Even if this is an attempt to deter journalism students from "crossing over" into a public relations career, it's not accurate. And aren't both professions dependent on truth and accuracy?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Book Recommendation: Real Life Notes: Reflection and Strategies for Life After Graduation by Kenneth Jedding

Are you in that space between school and work, worrying about finding a job, if it's the right job, and not only that, but are you stressing from issues stemming from family and relationships?

Kenneth Jedding, author of Real Life Notes: Reflection and Strategies for Life After Graduation, is here to help you stop worrying about parents, relationships, and yes, even career issues.

I first met Kenneth when I served as UH PRSSA President in 2001-02.

Kenneth was a guest speaker at our Chapter's Regional Activity on campus, and he brought valuable words of wisdom to those of us on the verge of graduation.

His book also has helped me in other areas of my life, as well. Read more at Kenneth's book also appears on the book list.

I have a special offer for you - Kenneth has agreed to allow my blog readers to purchase the book for $6.00. Here's how:

Mail your check with the words "Kelly's Blog" in the memo of the check, to:

Double Rose Books
PO Box 180
New York, NY 10276-0180.

Close to 1200 copies of Kenneth's book were given out at graduation at New York University's Steinhardt School of Education earlier this year to all graduates and masters graduates with their diplomas, and also to 1500 graduates at Loyola Marymount in LA. Get your copy now - you won't be disappointed! And be sure to share your strategies for life after graduation with our readers by posting a comment.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Houston Advertising Federation Luncheon Oct. 19 --- Sally Hogshead on "Radical Careering"

Busy time of year - many, many networking and learning opportunities, so let's get to it!

"Passion is not a luxury in your career. It’s an imperative."

From the "Hog Blog" on September 28, 2005

Don't miss the opportunity to hear Sally Hogshead's ( presentation on "radical careering" on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005 at the Junior League of Houston. This presentation is sponsored by the Houston Advertising Federation.

Sally is a creative director and author and lives in LA with her two young children and her husband Rich, who is a stay-at-home dad.

At age 27, Sally opened the celebrated boutique agency, Robaire & Hogshead. Clients included Target, Remy Martin, and Condé Nast. In 2001, she founded the West Coast office of Crispin Porter + Bogusky. In her dual role as Creative Director/Managing Director, Sally created and led work for MINI, Rock the Vote, Fine Living Network and Ikea.

Sally's work has won hundreds of awards. In addition to being featured on "Best Ads on TV," she was a Creative Director/Copywriter on the $100,000 Grand Kelly campaign for MINI Cooper. (Word is that Sally is perhaps best known for her notorious "Salerita" margaritas (lemonade + ice + crushed mint + vodka, served in a sugar-rimmed glass).

Recent clients include Godiva Chocolates, Avery Dennison, Harry Winston Jewelers, and Hard Rock Hotel. Sally graduated from Duke University in 1991 with a major in Sociology and three minors.

You won't want to miss this presentation! Register online at

WHEN Wednesday, October 19, 2005 11:30 AM - 1:15 PM
WHERE Junior League of Houston 1811 Briar Oaks Drive Houston, TX 77027
COSTS: Member Registration $25.00; Non-Member Registration $40.00