Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jameson vs. Trampoline

By Jameson Spence, Graphic Designer

After two hours of pushing the morphine button while I lay waiting on that hospital bed, the on-call knee surgeon finally came in to assess the damage. With my knee obviously dislocated, one quick look and Dr. Edgar Vyhmeister spouted out, “Yep, you did a damn good job on this one.”

I thought, “Crap this can’t be good,” and started laughing—mostly because of the morphine. He continued to tell me how he has never seen a knee so bad then busted out his iPhone and started taking pictures to send his buddy.

Two surgeries, three ligaments and 16 months later I was finally able to be active again. My knee was finally strong enough to do normal things like jumping, hiking, running, bowling, skateboarding and, most important to me, wakeboarding.

Before my injury, wakeboarding was my life. Every chance I had I was out on the lake having a blast doing what I loved most with the rest of the Chico State Wakeboard Team. Even if it meant doing just enough homework to get by, not getting a job and running up my student loans. I figured, this is my youth and I better take advantage of it while I still can. The team was my life and I did not want to look back on college and have regrets.

Then my knee injury slapped me in the face. I was told the surgeries would only strengthen my knee back to about 80% of what it was. In short, kiss wakeboarding goodbye and say hello to a knee replacement in about 20 to 30 years.

During the 16 months of recovery, I spent half of the time on crutches and countless hours sitting on the couch, unable to be active or do much of anything. Basic things weren’t so basic anymore: getting to the fridge was a hassle, taking a shower meant sitting on a stool, crutching around was a total pain--although I did MacGyver a drink holster attachment to my crutch to make some tasks easier.

Needless to say it sucked but looking back, I cannot help but think of where I would be if I didn’t blow my knee out that night. It was my first serious injury and it happened a lot easily then i would have expected. I’m not invincible…damn. So it is true, when you get older you can’t take falls like you used to —especially if I go back to being the crazy risk-taking showoff I used to be. In an instant my life flipped around.

So now what? Right before the injury I changed my major from business marketing to graphic design. My interest toward my new major took my mind off of wakeboarding and gave me something new to work for. It actually helped keep me involved with the team when I started designing the team shirts, fliers, a website, posters and whatever else the team needed. Design became my new passion and best of all it allowed me to apply the artist in me toward something more practical.

Instead of spending those endless hours on the couch thinking about how much I wanted to get back on my board, I passed the time learning necessary computer programs, reading up on design theory and working on personal projects. During this time I realized how competitive the design world I am about to enter really is and how important it is for me to absorb as much design as I can while I am still in school. I started feeling the pressure and it hit me. I needed to stop screwing around and it was about time I got serious. I couln’t afford to go through the surgery and recovery process again, financially and physically.

If I just floated through the design program, I would have been screwed entering the design world.

I probably would have graduated as an amazing wakeboarder but most likely had an exponentially harder time finding a job after graduation. Thankfully, and probably more beneficial to me in the long run, that wasn't the case. So my injury, being the hard hit on me that it was, may have saved my butt, seeing that I still need to pay off all those loans.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

There's more to style than AP

By Megan Pouliot, Editorial Assistant

Flash forward 52 days.

 Most of us, at least here at TGC, will find ourselves in the middle of University Stadium in a monotonous sea of black gowns with cardinal red stoles anxiously awaiting to hear our name announced over the PA system.

Flash forward three more weeks. Now you’re sitting in a sea of equally eligible job applicants who coincidentally are all applying for the same PR position as you. What’s going to make you stand out?

You have your resume, which of course is scot-free of any AP, spelling or grammar errors. Your portfolio is totally killer with published writing pieces and design work. Your blog is bank, you’ve tweeted a storm and you’ve networked your knickers off. But what about your fashion presence?

In my opinion, one of the most overlooked forms of self-marketing is one’s personal style. 

Think about it: In some cases, an employer’s first impression will be made in the first few seconds of meeting you, before they’ve glanced at your resume or browsed through your portfolio. So do you want your outfit to say, “I’m safe, boring and standard,” or “I’m creative, outgoing and original”? My guess is the latter.

Now before you run out to the nearest Nordstrom and blow all your graduation money on shift dresses and tailored trousers, take the time to figure out your personal style because it’s an expression of who you are.  

As Amanda Brooks puts it in her book “I Love Your Style”—a style bible as far as I’m concerned—“[Style] is an effortless confidence in being yourself, it is a way of putting yourself together according to your mood and what you want to project.”

So if you’re more of a chic, classic kind of gal, go ahead and channel that inner Audrey or Jackie O. with a silk-satin blouse or a little black dress, but remember: classic does not mean boring! So don’t be afraid to accessorize—just don’t over do it.

Whether your style is eclectic, bohemian, romantic or avant-garde, there is a way to professionally present it—it’s just about finding that medium and taking a chance.
For more inspiration, take a look at some of my favorite fashion sites listed below, because May 21 should be the last time you want to look like the person sitting next you.

Music and PR: A Partnership Made for Success

 Paul Wilkie, Account Executive

In short, music is my life.

When I was 5 years old I was introduced to Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.” Ever since then music has dominated my existence. I’ve played in metal bands and listened to everything from Andrea Bocelli to Diddy.

I have seen teeny-pop stars rise to the top, underground musicians change music and Eminem win an Academy Award. It never occurred to me how much PR work goes into achieving stardom and maintaining that status. Now as a PR enthusiast and student, I am beginning to see what professionals in the music PR industry are doing to be successful.

We all know that without PR, huge names in music would most likely not exist. Britney Spears, Lil Wayne and virtually every popular name in music has used PR in some form to stay in the spotlight. We read about these tactics and see them in popular media magazines, websites, and major news engines almost every day.
Look at Lil Wayne’s PR team. 

The kind of things that they need to deal with in order to keep the flamboyant rapper in a positive light is sometimes scary to think about. Rumors of hate speech directed toward women at a video shoot and a prison sentence for drug-related charges are examples of obstacles for Wayne’s PR team.
Yet in the end, good PR will win. His PR team buried the hate speech accusation and was able to use Lil Wayne’s prison sentence to relate to a wider fan base. They achieved this by releasing his latest album, “I Am Not a Human Being” while he was still in prison. The album sold 108,000 units according Lil Wayne HQ in its first week of digital sales.

PR helped develop Lil Wayne’s blog site Weezy Thanx You, and used his incarceration to gain fans who sympathized with his lifestyle choices. His PR team used Facebook as a channel through which Lil Wayne could talk to his fans more directly and so he could tell his fans specific ways they can show their appreciation. The synergy worked so well that in the end his fan base actually grew from serving a jail sentence.

Yet, I believe the real challenge in PR is bringing new, small artists to the top. It seems easy for big labels such as Universal Music Group to use their PR departments and practically unlimited resources to take a talented young artist from nothing to stardom. It is the small-time PR stints for nobody-bands that are probably the most difficult for PR professionals.

However, there is good news. It is becoming easier and easier for PR agencies to succeed in creating an image for their clients and gaining publicity. Through the use of MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and hundreds of other sites where music can be promoted, smaller bands and smaller PR teams are beginning develop good press without the help of big-time agency media lists. Social media websites are being used as a communication channel through which artists can speak with their fans more directly. All of this results in better rapport between the artist and the fans and helps overall publicity.

The world is saturated with new music. The advent of easy-to-use home recording equipment and creating music digitally is generating a boost in self-produced artists working out of their dorm rooms. The difference between a new artist making it big and a new artist not making it big could be the use of a solid PR professional or agency.

Many think using PR to help aid success is cheating in a way. The truth is, if an artist thinks they have what it takes to be big in the music scene, they will need PR. Young artists don’t have the type of contacts, strategic thinking abilities or communication skills that PR professionals own. 

With the use of digital media channels and older styles of promotion such as radio interviews, commercial ads and clothing, PR professionals are more useful than ever.
The proof is irrefutable. PR and music go together like olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Whether it be maintaining an unruly artist’s image, or creating an unknown artist’s image, PR is integral in music today. So, if you love music and PR, you’re in luck. There exists a niche in the music industry perfect for the hybrid passion.
I’ll see you there.

Cell Phone Pic.....Worth a Thousand Words?

By Kayla Naylor, Photograher

Ten years ago on Christmas morning I screamed as I opened my first digital camera. I was the proud owner of a Minolta DiMAGE F100, with 4 megapixels and a 1-inch LCD reviewing screen.

Having this camera meant I no longer had to wait for my parents to drive me to the store, drop off the film and wait for it to be processed. Now, I could simply plug in, upload and view.

This camera opened up a whole new world of creativity. I would do everything from setting up a photo shoot to documenting a family member’s birthday. I simply loved the way a camera could capture a brief moment in time, and now having the instant gratification of digital was even better.

People have always been able to count on me for remembering to have a camera at crucial moments. As of a week ago, I no longer have to worry about whether I grabbed my camera on my way out the door. My new iPhone 4 has a 5 megapixel camera built in. I was shocked to hear my new cell phone would have a camera with more megapixels than my first digital camera.

This means I can now take a decent picture and within seconds post it online for the world to see. People can view and comment on something captured only minutes before.

Being able to add a little visual candy to your blog or Twitter could really help enhance your public relations.

People generally gravitate toward pictures before text. With a picture you have the opportunity to grab someone’s attention and help them remember who you are.

With this comes great responsibility.

Going out and taking millions of pictures is great thing. However, flooding the market is not a good idea. Quality over quantity. A person is more likely going remember one nice picture than 10 average pictures.
So have your camera—or in this case your cell phone—to snag a picture the next time the moment is right.

Say My Name: Beyoncé Giselle Knowles

By Skylar Young, Account Executive
Let me just put this out there: I absolutely love Beyoncé Giselle Knowles. Over the years I have come up with some very creative nicknames for her, like Queenoncé, Beysus and the Queen. She has been my idol since I was 9 years old; she has helped me become comfortable in my own beautiful, black skin. She is and forever will be one of the greatest influences in my life.
For the past few years I have read a lot of criticism about how Beyoncé is portrayed in the media. In 2008, there was uproar of her face appearing to be whiter in a L’Oreal ad. Her skin color, hair type and nose all seemed to resemble that of a white woman. After this incident, the African American community was very upset that Beyoncé was denying her heritage. People should know that Beyoncé is light-skinned to begin with, and this does not make her any less black.

Compare this to another Beyoncé ad that was featured in L'Officiel Paris this March where she is wearing a black face. Inspired by the musician-activist Fela Kuti, Beyoncé agreed to darken her face with makeup and celebrate her roots as an African American woman, according to E! Online. This “black face” made headline news and many critics said it was a racist act and degrading to people of darker skin around the world.

Our society should stop obsessing over how white or black Beyoncé is and put our energy focusing on who she is as a human being. Why does race have to define a person? Although Beyoncé has helped me accept my skin color, she has also shown me the importance of being an independent woman, how I can survive anything that comes my way and to enjoy life by dancing in my freakum dress. So let’s give it up to the Queen and say her name, say her name.

Who the Hell is Lady Gaga’s PR Team? The Darling Department.

By Danielle Maglione, Online Communications Director

Don’t Be a Drag, Just Be a Queen.

Many people think Lady Gaga generates ideas on a whim from her spectacular visions. However, every move Gaga makes is premeditated.

I appreciate Lady Gaga and her talents because I’m a fan of her creativity, ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking. From emulating Madonna to paying homage to Grace Jones to wearing elaborate costumes designed by the late Alexander McQueen, Gaga and her team always push the envelope.
However, things got a little weird during the 53rd Grammy Awards.
Incubation…pod…womb…egg. These are words that describe Gaga’s transportation on the red carpet.
While glamorous stars adorned the carpet, Gaga arrived inside an egg-shaped vessel carried by models wearing sheer latex. When being interviewed by E! Entertainment Television, one of the models had to speak for Gaga because she had to wear an oxygen mask in the egg. Television viewers could see a woman’s shadow inside the egg waving to the camera.

Usually celebrities use the microphone as a form of publicity or promotion. It’s the perfect time to show the audience they are relatable. However, this lady decided to incubate.

While watching the egg vessel, I asked myself, “Who is allowing this woman to act this way? Is someone contributing to these off the wall ideas?” The answer is yes. Gaga hired The Darling Department, a UK agency, to handle her PR in summer 2010.

Even though the egg vessel seemed ridiculous, it stirred-up more attention and publicity than a traditional interview.

Before the Grammy’s were televised, celebrities such as Snooki and Giuliana Rancic were tweeting photos of Gaga in the egg. After seeing the TwitPics, viewers made sure to tune into the awards show to see the megastar.
Lady_Gaga_eggIt was perfect PR.
Gaga’s eggmobile was not the only outrageous publicity move she made in February.

Days before the 53rd Grammy Awards, Gaga discussed her use of marijuana, cocaine and alcohol to produce her lyrics, music and concepts in an interview with Anderson Cooper.

However, the public doesn’t excommunicate her--instead, we nod our heads up and down and say, “Duh, she does drugs.”

Then, days after the awards show, Gaga appeared on Good Morning America in a latex condom inspired outfit in order to promote safe sex and her MAC cosmetics lipstick.

The Darling Department knows how to entice the audience. We’re fully aware her next move will be bigger than her last, and we stay aboard for the ride.

Generating Good Juju

By Lillian Gray, Photographer

I have made many mistakes, some big, some small. Figuring life out is hard task without a clear focus of what I want to accomplish. I started doing research on relationships--and not just love-related relationships, I mean everyday relationships. Relationships with employers, money, food, friends, you name it.  I discovered I have a relationship with everything around me. Some of my relationships are good and some are bad, but I learned that I can change the bad ones and improve the good ones with a little bit of juju.

You can, too.

You can turn it around. The negative things said about you and the mindless things you have done are in the past. You can gain good juju one step at a time. A good reputation doesn’t just appear overnight, you create it over time. Start today by first getting to know yourself, establishing your moral framework and building a relationship with others inside of that framework.

To grow a strong relationship with another person, you first need to build a relationship with yourself. I’m not saying to go on a vision quest in the desert for a week, but there are simple steps you can take to increase your self awareness and build confidence, not only in your abilities, but in your character.
Even the busiest of schedules need to allow some “me time.” Set aside quality time with yourself each day to ponder life, write in a journal, read, start a project or accomplish a goal.  Really ask yourself what you think about certain situations you experience, hear or read about.

Much of getting to know yourself involves studying your conscious decisions and understanding why you did what you did, what your motivations for your actions were and if you would have done something differently in a similar situation the next time. Another part of getting to know yourself involves studying the philosophy of others and relating it to today’s world.

Look around you. There are many people in this world displaying qualities that are worthy of praising and emulating.

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination,” filmmaker Jim Jarmusch wrote in Movie Maker magazine. “Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery--celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: ‘It’s not where you take things from--it’s where you take them to.’”

You can apply this idea to your life. Of course, for journalists you need to cite your sources when writing. But for people just trying to sort their life out, this may bring you solace in knowing that it’s OK to pick and choose what you like about others to become the person you want to be.
Once you learn about yourself and who you want to be, the people will start to fill in around you. Your supporters will appreciate you for who you are. Being surrounded by people with principally the same ideals can be stimulating, and generally juju-riffic.

So smile, and keep the juju juices flowing.

PR for Plato's Closet

By Kristina Richmann, Head Photographer

Sometimes you run before you learn to walk.

For the last five and a half years I’ve been practicing public relations and I didn’t even know it.

 “How is this possible?” one might ask.

I’ve been doing PR for the job I’ve had since I was sixteen. Ever since I could bear that worker’s permit, I’ve laboriously dedicated my life to working for Plato’s Closet in Pleasanton, Calif.

Plato’s Closet sells gently used teen and young adult clothing and accessories. It focuses on current trends and tries to mirror the styles that are going on in the malls right now. This isn’t a normal retail store where there are duplicates of every item.

The entire inventory is comprised customers selling their items back for 30 percent of what they originally paid. It’s kind of like consignment, except the store pays its customers right on the spot. No need to wait for items to sell since everything is cash up front.

The longer I stayed with the company the more my eagerness grew for the store to profit. Soon enough, Plato’s Closet became my home away from home. I constantly came up with new ideas to inspire more customers to visit frequently.

I tried everything from word-of-mouth promotion to redoing displays. My heart raced every time the store manager had a new project for me that he knew I could accomplish.

I even headed our mall program, which highlighted creating a working relationship between the store and mall employees. Since mall employees need to purchase new clothing frequently, the mall program encouraged them to bring their gently used, barely-worn clothing to Plato’s Closet.

My recent endeavors include helping make Plato’s Closet more visible in the community.  In July 2010, Plato’s Closet participated in Relay for Life.  As the multimedia guru I am, I documented Plato’s efforts in giving back to the community and helping those battling cancer.

Even though I now only work for Plato’s Closet on my breaks home from school, I’m constantly thinking about the store and what I can do next. It wasn’t until I attended Chico State that I realized I was practicing public relations on a small scale.

See, even this blog post is a little PR for Plato’s Closet.

For the love of language: can computers understand us?

By Ian Twamley, Account Executive

I have always assumed computers would one day take over the world. The combination of an overactive imagination and seeing movies like “The Matrix” and “Terminator” at an inappropriately young age made a future of enslavement to machines seem like a pretty logical idea.

It was exciting then to watch the computer take an enormous step closer to enslaving the human race as IBM’s “Watson” computer competed--nay, dominated--on the “Jeopardy!” IBM Challenge.
As a student of public relations it was also fascinating to see how IBM used the competitive stage of a game show to communicate and establish its dominance in technological innovation.

The challenge was straightforward: create a machine that could understand the fluency of natural language and beat human competitors at TV’s premiere quiz show, without being connected to the Internet.

The difficulty for IBM’s engineers was to develop a machine that could understand all the nuances of the human language that are lost to traditional search methods. This meant creating a system that could understand ambiguous questions, puns, double entendres and every other complexity that bags of flesh like us can easily interpret.

I was beyond excited when I first heard of the “Jeopardy!” IBM Challenge. Nerdy though it may be, I love “Jeopardy!” It is one of the few game shows on TV that consistently offers stimulating entertainment, regardless of how many completely wrong answers I shout out.

As Watson answered question after question correctly, I was at the same time amazed, horrified and inspired by the technology. The possibilities for computers to understand human language seem infinite. This would allow the streamlined search of written materials that would help us search for answers to questions rather than just key words.

It was these possibilities that IBM highlighted during the “Jeopardy!” broadcasts. Between rounds viewers were given an inside look at the development of Watson that featured interviews with researchers at IBM.

These fantastically bright individuals made it seem as though through research on Watson and similar systems, all of the world’s problems could be solved. Their message was very well crafted and succeeded in making me believe in their company’s vision.
t was clear that the focus throughout the three-day challenge was on IBM. As a PR move, featuring Watson on “Jeopardy!” was a creative strategy. It gave IBM a platform to establish its place as a relevant technological innovator in an industry that is evolving at an incredible rate. It also gave them a chance to personify themselves and connect with their audience on a level that is difficult for most large technology companies.

It may be some time before Watson becomes self-aware and decides to use its power to destroy the human race. Until then, it is up to us to take note of IBM’s message and use innovation to keep moving forward in everything we do.

Spring Break 2011- New York … Yes, Please!

By Melissa Duralia, Senior Account Executive

After spending spring break 2010 traveling from Scotland to Belgium to Switzerland to France, I didn’t think another spring break would ever come close to being as amazing.

I think I was wrong.

I am thrilled to say that I will be spending spring break 2011 in New York City, one of my favorite cities in the United States!

This trip, however, will be quite different from my past, more touristy visits.

I will be mixing business with pleasure on my upcoming trip to the big apple.  I and 12 other women from Tehama Group Communications will be taking part in on-site visits at a variety of different companies, such as:

Tiffany & Co. (their flagship store!)
Edelman PR
Access Communications
W Hotels
ABC News and Hearst Corporation.

You may now be asking yourself, “How in the world did they swing this arrangement?”

Well, lucky for us, there are Chico State alumni at all of these fabulous companies, who--after being contacted by our wonderful agency adviser--have graciously arranged for us to have private tours of each company.

When I first caught wind of of the possibility of this trip to New York, I claimed my spot--there was no way I was going to miss out on a learning and networking experience such as this!

Although I have been planning on moving to San Diego or Orange Country, Calif. after graduation, I am not closing any doors.  A little extra networking never hurt anybody, right?

Aside from the chance to work on my networking skills, I am looking forward to learning anything and everything I can from our successful Chico State alumni.  I believe you can learn something from everyone.

I know we will be exposed to vast insight at each of our stops in NYC, but I am especially excited to visit ABC News, partly because of a childhood dream.

According to my mother, when I was a little girl I used to say that when I grew up I wanted to be Joan Lunden, (my mom watched Good Morning America every morning)!

Additionally, throughout my teen years I always admired Diane Sawyer, and I still do today.

Not too big, not too small

By Nicole Landini, Art Director
A lot of people say that Chico may be too small for its own good. That nothing big ever happens here. Most importantly, there doesn’t seem to be any opportunity here. This started to scare me, because I really love this town. I am really hoping I can stay here after graduation and become a part of the community as a member, not a student.
This got me thinking as I was working this week: We are a public relations firm. In other words, it is our job as an agency to relate to the public. Further than that, it is our responsibility to know the community we work for. So here is what I considered:
Chico is not that small. We have almost 100,000 people living here. This means Chico is the 14th largest metropolitan area in California. Chico is small, but not tiny.
As far as “nothing big ever happens here,” well, Snoop Dog came to town recently. Not huge, but big. We might not have a huge convention center where major artists come to perform, or a national football team to cheer on or even a major highway. But here is what we do have:
  • At least three farmers’ markets every week. These include live entertainment, amazing food and a great time for anyone who goes.
  • Music. There is tons of music. For example, the Harlem Gospel Choir is coming to town, the North State Symphony has concerts at least every month and you can always attend dueling pianos at 33 Steaks, Booze and Jazz.
  • There are always community events going on. The Home and Garden Show hits the streets in March, Frugal House brings the community together in June and everyone looks forward to Artoberfest in the fall.
  • Go see a show. Between the Chico Cabaret, Chico Theater Company, performances by Chico State and everything else you can find between Oroville and Paradise, there is always a show to see.
  • Downtown. Chico’s downtown, in my opinion, gives San Luis Obispo and Davis a run for their money. Great food, great shopping, great coffee and you will probably always find some new art lining the walls along the sidewalk.
  • Bidwell Park is one of the best municipal parks in California. It’s massive, and has a lot to offer, especially in nice weather.
  • Here is my humorous one: One-way streets. They not only keep you on your toes, but it’s always fun to watch someone go the wrong way.
My point is, as upcoming PR professionals, it’s our job to know about these things and how to use them to our advantage, even if it means selling ourselves to employers. We know how to use the community to our advantage, and to the advantage of other businesses. As an agency, we are the last ones to say, “There is nothing to do in Chico.”
I see lots of opportunity here. If 100,000 other people can find  job and be happy here, so can I.

Social media--use it or lose out

By Emmalee Kremer, Editorial Director

I could count the number of people in the room on both hands, including the employees. To say the event was a bust would be an understatement.

I had been invited to my friend’s show through Facebook, and it was embarrassing how few of the invitees showed up.

So often we are bombarded with messages about how social media is the answer to all of our marketing problems, but the truth is creating a Facebook event won’t make it a success. We need to put in the leg work to make it happen.

My friend failed to promote his event well, but hey, he’s a musician, not a PR pro. Here are some of the things that went wrong and some ideas of what could be done next time to make the most out of social media for your event.

Branch out
While Facebook is a good start, there is a big wide world of social media out there. My friend is still a Twitter hold-out, but using other platforms that have different advantages can help you reach new audiences. Facebook fans, Twitter followers, foursquare friends: they’re like Pokemon--you want to collect them all.

Use your friends
OK, maybe that sounds bad, but your legions of friends, fans and followers are there for more than just an ego boost. Your contacts can be a great asset for promotion. Don’t just ask your friends to attend--ask them to ask their friends. This can include having them use hashtags, reblogging, sending invites, etc. Word of mouth is a strong tool, and personally, I’m much more likely to show up if I have a buddy committed to going along with me.

Keep up
Now that you have a plethora of accounts with followers, you have to maintain them. Ugh. Luckily, this daunting and time-consuming task can be made easier with social media management tools. You can monitor and update all your accounts from one place. Many even offer the capability to schedule posts, so if you don’t have a buddy to live blog and live tweet the event for you, it can actually be done in advance. Never again will an account be ignored.

Wrap up and reflect
The event ends, and naturally it was a hit. The work shouldn’t stop quite yet. Tell everyone how the event went, blog about the fun you had. Post videos on YouTube or Vimeo to let people reminisce or regret not going. Finally, ask for feedback from attendees so you can make your next event an even bigger success.

Sugar rush: the chronicle of a cupcake addict

By Sarah Kennedy, Business and Alumni Relations Director

Some may credit it to my sugar problem, but I just call it good PR.
It started a few months ago when I was casually flipping through channels on my TV and I landed on a show--a show all about cupcakes.
Chocolate Birthday. Mint Cookies & Creme. Lava Fudge. Salted Carmel. PB Fudge. Chocolate2 . Chocolate3. Red Velvet. I could go on, but I'll spare your cravings.
And just like that, 30 minutes later Georgetown Cupcake was No. 1 on my places to visit in Washington, D.C.
Though I had heard nightmare stories from people that the line would be hours long, I was determined.  Luckily the day I went I was the only person dim enough to brave the 20-degree weather (remember I’m from California, so that’s pretty cold) and the line was nonexistent.
I stayed in the store for a few minutes gawking at the menu until I finally ordered. I couldn’t decide so I walked away with four cupcakes (Red Velvet, Chocolate3, Lemon Blossom and Vanilla2).
IMG_0923-1It wasn’t until I was walking away that I realized how much power that show had on my day. I had trekked across the Potomac River, toes and fingers numb, cheeks coated with frozen tears from the wind all for some flour and sugar. That’s when the thought came to me: the bakery’s PR people are geniuses.
DC Cupcakes, a TLC show, chronicles the owner's (two sisters) lives running the shop and inventing new flavors. While of course you have your reality show dramas that bring in the ratings, I think their true success comes from the fact that they are riding the PR train.
The social media activity is a sugar addict’s dream. They give away free cupcakes to Twitter and Facebook followers almost daily. They have branded themselves into a Georgetown icon. When people hear the word ‘Georgetown’ their minds can wander to sugary treats instead of the nationally ranked Georgetown University.
These two sisters have made people long to walk down the cobblestone streets with that pink box in hand.

Everything I need to know about PR I learned from Chinese food

By Jaclyn Percy, Senior Account Executive

As you walk past the store front nothing much stands out. Yeah, so there are some paint designs on the windows, a few cheaply printed pictures of food and a schedule of its hours. I must be frank, nothing about the place looks inviting from the outside.
Key words: from the outside.
For those daring enough to take a walk inside, however, things quickly begin to change.  As soon as you pass across the threshold, an array of delectable smells come crashing against you. Vibrant, red walls encompass the small, rectangular room with a glass food case and golden yellow cashier stand waiting patiently at the back of the room.
With orders placed, the next necessary step requires a seat at one of four tables, followed by a 10 minute waiting period.
Between shying away from the two large, bronze Buddha statues starring down at you, examining the simplistic picture frames holding images of food, and questioning the bright painting of a surfing Chinese man, time passes quickly.
And then it comes. Two steaming plates filled with a mixture of red and brown hues.
With chopsticks in hand, the pick up commences, and then it happens…
The End.
JPCFP2No, I’m just kidding, its not really the end – just the end of a glimpse at a food critique, a popular extension of the food and
beverage industry. While this industry has many different aspects, one that will never change is the introduction and exposure of food. Whether it’s delicious, foreign, horrible, unhealthy or whatever, people are always wanting to hear about new restaurants and recipes.
In comes public relations, the people who make it happen. Many PR firms specialize in the food and beverage industry, exposing happenings like restaurant openings, a great new wine or that little hole in the wall Chinese restaurant.
Fleishman-Hillard, with a location in Sacramento, is one such PR agency that uses its Sac Foodies blog to highlight restaurants in and around the Sacramento area. The consultants of Fleishman-Hillard write about restaurants, even ones that are not clients, to bring exposure to these places and inform others about what lies behind the doors.
Then there are agencies like Charles Communications Associates in San Francisco that strives to gain exposure for its many wine clients. Whether it is coverage for DeLoach Vineyards in the San Francisco Chronicle or a spread in Wine Spectator for Domaine Carneros, this agency uses its PR savvy to showcase food and beverage companies.
So whether it means creating your own personal food blog, like PR specialists Emmalee Kremer and Elizabeth Ghiorso of TGC have done, working for a PR agency specializing in food and wine, or just following the work of another, those with a passion for the food and beverage industry can find some way to get involved.
And hey, restaurants and wineries are not going to complain. They’re gaining exposure in more ways than they thought possible – just like Wok ‘N’ Roll of Chico, Calif. did above.

How to snag a summer internship

By Megan McCourt, General Manager

“What are you doing after graduation?”

It’s the question I keep getting and can’t quite answer yet — the dreaded thought of what I’m going to do come May in the working world.

For the past two summers I’ve landed fantastic internships. 

Last year I worked for Jones Public Affairs, a boutique health care public relations agency in Washington, D.C., and the summer before I worked as a reporter for the Chico Enterprise-Record.

The experiences I had on the job gave me knowledge I never could have acquired in a classroom.
Right now is prime time for finding a sweet gig for this summer. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve compiled to help you find your dream internship:
  • Start your hunt: First you need to find an internship to apply to. Begin by looking at the websites of places you would like to work to see if they offer summer internships. Another option is to use job hunting websites tailored to PR professionals, such as, or
  • Utilize your social media: Twitter might be your best bet in finding a summer internship. If you don’t have a professional Twitter account, it’s probably time to start one. Start following companies you would be interested in working for, as well at their human resources departments. Many Twitter users exclusively post jobs, such as @PRJ0bs, @Journojobs, @PRSAjobcenter, @Ed2010News, @prwork, @InternQueen and many more.
  • Do your research: Once you’ve found a company that’s hiring summer interns, find out everything you possibly can about it. Scour the company website, do a Google search and find out as much as possible. When you write your cover letter, throw in a fact you found or try to relate to the company mission statement.   Knowing a good amount about the company will also help when it comes time for the interview.
  • Fix up your resume: Make sure everything is up to date, including your contact information and current position. Tailor your resume for the job you’re applying for and include links to your social media profiles. Have at least three people proofread your resume.A great resource for Chico State students is the Career Center. The staff is incredibly helpful and can give you much more advice than I can in a blog post.
  • Nail the interview: Dress sharp, show up five minutes early and bring your portfolio (preferably with a digital copy they can keep). Think of the interview as a conversation and dazzle them with your sparkling personality, while showing you have some knowledge of the company and the field. Make sure you have a few questions to ask them at the end of the interview.
  • Get the job! If all goes well, you will have snagged a sweet summer internship to help you along your career path or get your foot in the door. If you didn’t get it, keep on applying! The right internship is out there, waiting for you.


By Caitlin Wallace, Social Media Director

Translated from French, meaning to be well.

Most of my life I have been described as high strung, chatty, wound up and bubbly. I have a lot of energy, to say the least.

This information was never news to my parents during parent-teacher conferences in elementary school. I can’t tell you how many times my parents heard the words, “Caitlin is a bright girl, but we can’t get her to be quiet.”

As I have moved into my adult life, not much has changed.

Luckily, my constant need for communication has turned into a career, only now instead of passing notes, I send e-mails and instead of disturbing others during class, I tweet to my co-workers, update my Facebook status and blog about my life.

To be honest, you would be hard-pressed to find PR pros that haven’t spent their lives being told they talk too much, their term papers are too lengthy and they can’t turn off their BlackBerry.

Life as a professional communicator is fabulously rewarding, but there is a danger in being a social butterfly on high speed: burn out and over-stimulation.

It can happen to any guy or gal who has ever slept next to an AP Stylebook in the hopes that the capitalization rules fly into his or her brain, and it can creep up on any account executive who has more than five sub-folders in an inbox.
Is there hope for the busy bees of the business world?

Oui, bien sur.

Ironically enough, I discovered the joys of de-stressing while I was studying abroad in southern France last year. You would think traipsing around the French Riviera would be a year full of long nights at cafes, lazy days on the beach and baguettes three meals a day. In reality, it was nine months of language acquisition, hectic travel and cultural adjustment.

While poking around Provence, I stumbled upon an English bookstore and a book by an English author, Isabel Losada, titled, “The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment.”

The cover depicts a seated blond woman, legs crossed Indian style, with her arms out in a classic meditation pose, complete with touching pointer fingers and thumbs.

That’s exactly what I needed at the time, and most days, it’s exactly what I need living the hectic agency life back in the States.

Losada took me through her 14 phases of enlightenment, which were enriching activities that broadened her mind, expanded her horizons, cleansed her soul, and at one point, her colon.

At the end of the book, her basic premise was this: Take time for your well-being, and become the most enlightened version of yourself.

We cannot be at our best if we do not fully commit to taking care of what we have so carefully and diligently invested in: ourselves. It is too difficult to give our time and talent if we are constantly over-scheduled.

I spend most of my days with my iPhone buzzing several times an hour, my to-do list growing longer by the minute and my business casual wardrobe becoming threadbare with use, and truly, I love that lifestyle.

But like any constant communicator, I need a break from my hyper-organized Google calendar to indulge in a chai tea latte while reading “Eat, Pray, Love” and rejuvenating my soul.