Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's a Twin Thing

By Account Executive, Rebecca Edwards

No, I can’t read her mind.

No, I can’t finish her sentences.

No, I can’t tell you what she is doing at this very second.

But am I thankful for being a twin? Yes.

Asking good questions is important in life. In the public relations industry asking good questions to your client is the only way to fully understand their needs and wants. Questions are the key to communicating with anyone. If there is one thing I have learned from being a twin and a public relations major – always ask good questions!

Here are the top five most annoying questions to be asked when you are a twin:

1. Why can’t you be more like your twin?

Why would I want to be? I have had to compete my entire life with another person so obviously I want to stand out.

2. Which one is the evil twin?

You really think one would admit if they were the “evil” one? Evil is such a harsh word that is too broad to use here. Everyone has his or her rough patches in life, being difficult growing up doesn’t make you the “evil” one.

3. What’s it like to be a twin?

What’s it like being related to your best friend? Growing up under the same rooftop, talking everyday, that’s what it’s like. When people ask me this question I either say, “It’s cool” or “Do you have 4 hours to really hear what its like?” I think people expect to hear a few sentences describing everything, but that is not the case. Being a twin is something only twins understand. Jealous?

4. What is your twin thinking?

Can you tell me what I am thinking? Nope, didn’t think so. Just because we share the same birthday and happen to have similarities doesn’t mean we share a brain. It would be remarkable if I knew what she was thinking all the time, but it doesn’t work like that.

5. When is your sister’s birthday?

You’d be surprised; this question comes from people who know I only have one sister, my twin. When people ask me this question I look into their eyes and wait for them to figure it out.

There is more to being a twin than answering annoying questions. It has taught me the importance of asking intelligent questions in the public relations industry.

Twin sisters, Allie and Becky Edwards

Thursday, December 8, 2011

How to Be a Crafty Claus

By Ashley Ricci Shaffer, Social Media Director

In light of the holiday season, many of us are frantically searching for the best deals for gifts. However, sometimes the best deals might not be the ones you find during sales in-store or online. Sometimes, the best deals and gifts come from thrift stores, eBay or even are homemade. According to the American Research Group, Inc., shoppers across the U.S. plan to spend 2 percent less this holiday season than they did last year, 37 percent of which will be purchased online. Interested in how holiday spending is broken down? Check out this infograph.

With the the rising popularity of Cyber Monday, as well as the array of websites you can buy gifts from, the possibilities for holiday shopping seem endless. But where does one begin with so many options?

I have adopted the following strategies for finding original gifts for my loved ones, all of which I recommend as you brave this holiday season.

Do Your Homework!

Sometimes gifts aren’t always things that can be used or worn on a regular basis. Sometimes the right gift is about nostalgia, finding that special something that no one else could think of.

Last year for Christmas I decided to get my dad something different. I remembered he read Batman comics as a kid, so I went down to the local comic book store and found two Batman comics from the year he was born and framed them. He was so excited to see something from his childhood he hung them up in his office.

Be Crafty and Creative

On a tight budget? You can still spread holiday cheer by making a gift.

For example, maybe you have a mirror with paint chipping on the frame. To spruce up the mirror and turn it into a gift for say, your grandparents, find photos of you and your siblings and cousins (all the grand kids) and shrink them down then super glue them to the frame of the mirror. If you don’t have a photo printer, Walgreens is a great resource and does reasonably cheap photo prints.

If you don’t think you’re crafty enough, even the simple act of baking and decorating cookies can brighten the receiver’s day, and, of course, fill their tummy with joy.

For more homemade gift ideas, check out these websites:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

HTML (Hardest Times of My Life)

By Jennifer Schaupp, Art Director

I’m Jen, designer of the 2011 Chico State Department of Journalism and Public Relations annual newsletter - Journalism Times.

I have been designing websites for over a year, having taken both web design courses in the Communication Design Department at Chico State. After taking these courses, I thought I had a pretty strong grasp on the overall structure of a website. However I never would have guessed I had enough practice to build a 14-page website in only two months.

Tasked with creating Journalism Times by the Department of Journalism and Public Relations, our team needed to write, design, and publish the entire site before Thanksgiving.

The first step of the process was creating a basic structure for the site, which included:
  • header
  • container
  • navigation bar
  • the new logo I designed
  • any other requests from the client.
To speed the process, the structure was originally designed and laid out in Adobe InDesign.

After making changes based on our client’s feedback, we began to develop the layout for the rest of the pages.

The week after the majority of our structure changes, I spent around 25 hours HTML coding the five pages that had completed content.

The week following, more changes. Not easy changes either, the way people make them seem when they are making suggestions. “Just make three columns instead of two,” someone suggested at a weekly meeting. “Also, can we just have these just a little bigger.” Changes aren’t a bad thing, but when coding, changes that seem small can create a chain of new adjustments. Changing the size of one index can mean changing the size of images, which means adjusting headings, bylines, captions, story placement and more.

After coding everything and thinking I could see the finish line, other issues kept popping up such as missing captions/credits for images, link and page consistency, useless dead links and more. The list was too long for being so close to deadline. There were over 30 images on the site and at least twice as many links to be manually checked one by one to make sure they were working properly.

Enter the help of my awesome team. Without their help the site review would have never gotten done. Dividing up the pages, we each checked the site for missing links, leftover shortcuts and any other errors. They were amazing!

I feel that this project threw me into one of the most stressful and difficult design pieces I’ve ever been a part of. If I build another site in the future, I will remember that building a stronger layout from the start, taking more time as a team to decide the way things should be navigated and trusting people who aren’t designers, not because they can help me code, but because they are the audience will all benefit me in the end.

I was new at coding when I started this project. I had all the pieces I needed to make this website successful and beautiful, I just had to be pushed to get it done. I feel so accomplished -- I actually did it!

Check out the fall 2011 issue of Journalism Times.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What is Public Relations?

Account Executive Paul Wilkie provides a glimpse of what students at Chico State believe Public Relations really is. An interesting arrangement of responses seems to lead to one cohesive definition.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Creating the Thanksgiving Experience

Account Executive Megan Grasty films her Thanksgiving experience showing the steps necessary to create a festive and inviting event atmosphere.