Service-learning and PR writing this past semester with the LNQTA

29 Nov

Well, this is it, my last blog post for my service-learning class at LSU, and what a semester it has been. I think that I have learned more from taking this one service-learning class than I have in all my other mass communication classes combined. Now, if anyone ever asks me I DO know how to write a press release, a business letter, a blog post, a fundraising letter and produce a media kit. I was so confused at the beginning of this semester, I thought that SCVNGR meant we were taking a class field trip and having a SCVNGR hunt. Now, I can proudly say that SCVNGR has given me hands on experience working with the Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association. We have been able to learn many areas of PR including event planning, working on our writing and communication skills. I never thought that working on this mini-campaign would prepare me so much for the real world.

It has been a very gratifying experience working with the LNQTA through this service-learning class. I was able to understand the importance of civic responsibility, and social issues in our community. By taking this service-learning class, I am now confident in my abilities to produce materials for diverse audiences and understand how to work with a client while communicating with them. As much as I dreaded the workload of this class, I think it definitely paid off in the end. Although, I will admit that I am a bit worried about the campaigns class next semester considering this was just a “mini campaign”. I only have one more semester at LSU but this class has definitely prepared me for what is to come. I feel way more confident in the fact that I will be graduating in May (cue the cheesy vitamin C song), it’s bittersweet.

this photo is from google images graduates at December commencement

Aside from building my client communication skills, I have learned firsthand about what it is like to work with a team, which is a big part of PR. Over the past few months, I have become close with the other Prism Communications members and have learned how to work together to accomplish one goal. We were able to incorporate all our strengths and weaknesses to finish our project. Together we have demonstrated professional behavior while working with the LNQTA and produced some professional materials to distribute. It has been a stressful semester but also a very gratifying one as well.

Here is a video of me reflecting some more on this past semester, thanks for checking out my blog 🙂

 

Let’s get ethical: Working professionally with the Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association

19 Nov

“If you don’t have integrity, you have nothing. You can’t buy it. You can have all the money in the world, but if you are not a moral and ethical person, you really have nothing.” – Henry Kravis

Ethics is the core of humanity’s being. Ethics is not just knowing what is right and wrong but it is acting on it. We are constantly faced with ethical decisions. I was recently watching “The Dark Knight” with my roommate and noticed an ethical dilemma in one part of the movie. In this scene, the joker had two ferry boats rigged with explosives, one carrying civilians and one carrying prisoners. They were given the task to blow up the other ferry or the joker would kill them both. Many people watching this might believe the obvious choice would be to kill the prisoners because they had their chance to live and made poor decisions and the civilians were just innocent bystanders. Though humanity’s will to survive is strong, no one really knows how they would act unless placed in that situation. It all comes down to ethics, what is morally right and what is morally wrong.

Photo from Thedarknightchavez.wordpress.com

 Ethics is a very important aspect in journalism, broadcast communications and especially in public relations. If a person does not have any morals or ethics, then they should definitely not be working in the public relations profession. Unfortunately, many people working in the industry today lack ethics, which is why I am enrolled in an ethics class at LSU. It is essential for college students to learn ethics before entering the job world as ethics can make or break a person’s reputation.  Having an inner conscience will ensure our survival in this profession as we will become better communicators while acting professionally.

While working with the Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association and SCVNGR, I have learned a lot about being an ethical PR practitioner. Making decisions that benefits the organization while remaining ethical is what Prism Communications strives to do. We have acted professionally with truth, accuracy, fairness and responsibility to our targeted audiences. We have planned for a SCVNGR event and have successfully promoted our organization, the LNQTA, while maintaining an ethical agenda. Despite it being difficult at times, our professionalism has not faltered over these past few weeks working with the LNQTA. I think that working with this organization will just add to our goal of being the most ethical PR practitioners that we can be. As Michael Scott says, “Let’s get ethical!”

This is a humorous video encouraging employees to be ethical from the TV show “The Office.”

Working the PR mojo with the Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association

7 Nov

PR often gets the reputation as being a very glamorous and easy job that only requires the use of “spin”. It is ironic that the career concerned with public image has a negative public perception. Samantha from “Sex and the City” really isn’t helping people take this career seriously. Many people don’t like the terms associated with PR such as “spin” or “PR stunt” and I can’t really blame them for that. (Side note: did you know the Hollywood sign was originally a PR stunt to promote housing in Hollywoodland?) It is up to an organization to practice ethical PR and maintain a good reputation.

When I was a freshman at LSU, I honestly could not tell you what PR was. We’ve all been there, Thanksgiving dinner, with all your extended family asking you “what exactly is PR?” Well after four years of classes at LSU, I am finally starting to really understand and come Thanksgiving this year, I will have an answer. From working with the Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association, my view of PR has definitely changed.

Image from Edelman Australia

Before enrolling in my MC 4001 class, I highly underestimated the workload of a PR practitioner. My group, Prism Communications, has spent this past semester working with our nonprofit, the Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association. I have learned how to balance schoolwork while contributing time to the LNQTA. Service learning has helped my group realize what is in store for us in the future. Part of the public relations process is stewardship; one can argue the most important aspect of our career choice. Building relationships is what separates PR from advertising or marketing. Working with the LNQTA has enabled me to practice my communication and writing skills.

My group is implementing a SCVNGR trek and party for our client, the LNQTA.  We have spent time in Ponchatoula finding businesses and historic sites to include on the trail. While developing questions for our trek, I realized how much Prism Communications wants this effort to be successful. There is a lot of pressure when you have an entire organization relying on you. In the upcoming weeks, Prism Communications will host our SCVNGR event and invite locals to participate in our newly developed  trek.  Hopefully, we can show LNQTA just how hard we have been working and that it will pay off in the long run.

Twitter and Facebook and YouTube, Oh my! Using social media to promote the Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association

24 Oct

Social media is my main source of news and entertainment these days. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter consume most of my life and that little blue bird will forever be embedded in my brain. To me, It’s crazy that the first email was sent in 1971. What did our parents do when they were younger? Have actual face to face conversations with people? Social media has definitely come a long way since then with Wikipedia, Myspace, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Pinterest and even blogging. I bet Gutenberg never imagined that his movable type in 1450 would translate to mass hysteria for social media in 2012.

Our group, Prism Communications has been working with the Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association to introduce them to SCVNGR. The LNQTA has a main website and Facebook page but is insistent that they will not use Twitter or blogs. We are developing a SCVNGR event for the LNQTA and are inviting all Louisiana locals to attend. We will implement SCVNGR challenges at some of the quilt blocks in Ponchatoula and offer a 10 percent discount at the Quilt Shoppe for those who complete the trek. Because many of our guests have never heard of or know how to use SCVNGR, we will be hosting a tutorial before the event begins. I don’t expect older demographics to understand how to use a new technology like SCVNGR when I had only heard of it at the beginning of this class myself.

Prism Communications will be using social media along with traditional print media to entice audiences, locals and tourists, to attend our SCVNGR event. We will be distributing fliers and news releases to local corporations involved with the LNQTA. Prism Communications also hopes to write a human interest feature for Southern Living or Country Living magazine and upload a YouTube video stressing the individuality of Louisiana’s quilt trail. By using our social media and writing skills to promote the LNQTA, we have a more thorough understanding of what it is like to be a PR practitioner working with a real client. Prism Communications’ alliance with the LNQTA is helping us to demonstrate our skills in writing and recognizing deadlines along with communicating with our client and the audience that we want to reach. We are learning how to create and distribute professional pieces that will convey messages to our audiences and make an impression. Social media has had a major impact on our society and it continues to change all the time, the question remains “are we ready to change with it?”

Prism Communications takes on stewardship and social responsibility with the Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association

10 Oct

Since my last blog update, my MC 4001 group, Prism Communications, were able to meet with our client, The Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association. We took a road trip to Ponchatoula and met with three of the LNQTA board members. Chair Person Kim Zabbia, Secretary Margaret Bailey and Treasurer Cricket Ayala sat down with us to discuss their organization’s goals and the use and benefits that the SCVNGR application could offer them. Later, we traveled around the town of Ponchatoula, stopping at quilt blocks plastered all over the area, including the firehouse, law offices, coffee shop and the field where the famous strawberry fest takes place each year. After the tour of pretty much the entire town of Ponchatoula, I was surprised that they asked us to join them for sushi at the local hotspot, but who could turn down sushi? Being that Ms. Kim is the mayor’s wife, she knew everyone in the town and we were offered a VIP tour of the restaurant and even the club in the back. The day ended with a picture near one of the quilt blocks with Ms. Kim, Margaret and Cricket along with a short visit from the mayor.

On the ride back to Baton Rouge, I realized how much our group wanted to succeed with helping the LNQTA through the promotion of SCVNGR. The pride and respect the ladies have for their hometown is inspiring. The social responsibility they show in their passion for quilts and the desire to boost the economy made Prism Communications feel obliged to help the LNQTA. The LNQTA acts in the best interest and welfare of the community, everything they do is to help the poor economies in some Northshore parishes. Because the LNQTA took it upon themselves to change the economic situation in the region, they are acting with civic engagement and trying to change areas of public concern. Without the help of public officials, the ladies started this nonprofit with the main goal being tourism and economic boosts to sustain the beauty and take care of the region in which they live. Prism Communications hopes to show stewardship by helping the economies of St. Tammany, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, Washington and Livingston gain more tourism through the promotion of SCVNGR. The LNQTA’s website and Facebook page offer more detailed information about their engagement and dedication to this quilt trail and to the city. After visiting Ponchatoula, we realized that there is more to this town than an annual strawberry fest and we hope that more Louisiana locals will be able to see that in the future. Because of stewardship and social responsibility, Prism Communications feels the need to succeed and we hope that we can live up to our client’s expectations as well as our own.

SCVNGR project begins with the Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association and Prism Communications

27 Sep

The Louisiana State University’s  MC 4001 public relations writing class is the only one in the nation that has the opportunity to develop a public relations campaign through a SCVNGR grant. SCVNGR is a geolocation-based smart phone application where people can participate in challenges, upload photos and win awards sponsored by the nonprofit. Our service-learning class has recently been partnered with nonprofit organizations in the Louisiana region including North Rampart Main Street, Susan G. Komen, Smoking Words/Tobacco-Free-Campus and the Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association. The facebook page for our service learning class is Discover Baton Rouge With SCVNGR.

As writing director of our student run firm, Prism Communications, I have just finished the letter of agreement with our new client, The Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association. Group members also include Account Liaison Kristin Harris, Design Director Tran Tran and Strategy Directors  Lauren Lae and Caroline Downer.

Prism Communications came from the idea that a prism has many sides, reflecting light in different directions. As an agency, we hope to reflect our many sides and abilities upon any project with our client. the purple color represents royalty and we feel that it is  professional while maintaining our identity as LSU students.

We are excited to be  partnered with the LNQTA and create a SCVNGR trek to promote the organization. The mission of this nonprofit organization is to promote tourism in the Northshore region, strengthen spirit and pride in the community and foster an appreciation for the quilting arts.

The LNQTA started in early 2012 with Ann Boudreaux leading the way for the first ever quilt trail in Louisiana. They traveled around the five parishes giving free presentations with lots of visuals hoping to encourage everyone to paint quilt blocks for their business or home. They joined with four more women to get the message across that this was the answer to the declining tourism in the Northshore area.

The quilt trail is different artistic interpretations of quilt blocks outdoors and on homes, businesses, farms, sheds, barns or on posts in the yard, field, or flower beds. These five parishes are located at the crossroad of Interstate 12 and Interstate 55. The parishes of Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, Livingston, St. Helena and Washington all connect together in this unique landscape of the Northshore area. So far, there are four trails that reach across parish lines:

Hello world!

24 Sep

Welcome to WordPress.com! This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!