Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Thank you so much for reading our blog this past semester!

TGC will be closed until the end of January, but we hope you'll continue enjoying our blog when the spring semester starts. We'll be back with a new team and lots of great new posts.

See you in 2013!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Leading the Horse to an Empty Lake


Is “Student Athlete” the correct label, anymore?


By Joelle Cabasa, Photographer/Videographer


Fact: Student athletes fulfill their manifest destiny... as pull-cart mules.

Europe in the Georgian era (1700s – 1800s) is today’s college sports.  Before the calmer times of the Victorian era, Europe’s colonialism was rampant across Asian countries.

Colonialism, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “control by one power over a dependent area or people.”

Corralled into a pool of “opportunity,” student athletes lose their right in the recruitment process under the long-lost ideas of fair market value.  Instead, they are given scholarships based almost entirely on their athletic performance, while millions of dollars are raked in by the athletic department.  

Pretty low-key issue, right?

Remember Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley?  You heard right -- he and his coaching staff are awaiting a $9 million severance paycheck, even though there was still four years left on his contract and incoming athletic support was projected to be about $15 million.  

These big financial investments subsidize the coaches outrageous salary or contracts to boost the success of their sports program.  

Is this remotely fair?

Present day student athletes are exploited from the moment they commit to the sports program.  Expectations include, but are not limited to, good academic standing, individual athletic performance, exorbitant time commitment, noble character and accurate representation of university standards, as well as a willingness to maintain emotional and mental stability for the sake of program success.

Not too much to ask, right?

With so much at stake, a closer look at recent events is necessary to understand the huge investment these students make just to receive a decent education.  The time commitment required by student athletes can make them vulnerable. So, should these individuals be called “athletic students,” instead?  

Titles and responsibilities are skewed, money is passing through everyone except the “performer,” and it is the student athlete who is receiving the least protection.

The scuffle between a head coach and his player at Morehead State was a great example of the inconsistent, inverse relationship that raises so much discussion with the media and nationwide university officials. View the quick clip here.

Is this just the progression of an entertainment-driven society?  Or is it truly for the love of the game?

All of the above could be true, but we can recognize as a society that we might be pushing these student athletes too far just for the sake of selfish entertainment.  

How about fair treatment now?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

PR Stereotypes


By Heather Wilson, Assistant Account Executive



Considering we are at the final month of the year, I find myself only two weeks shy of graduating college and entering the real world.  With that said, I am constantly asked by my family and friends, “What are you going to do with your life?” or “Do you have a job?” 

When I tell them my answer, that I am entering the world of public relations, the most common response I hear is, “Oh, you’re a PR girl … ”

Public relations is an industry that appears to be bombarded with the most stereotypes. 
Due to the infamous HBO show “Sex and the City” and reality TV show “The Hills,” the media has portrayed public relations to be one of the most glamorous jobs ever.  These shows make public relations look like the daily duties of a practitioner consists of attending fashion shows, socializing at parties and receiving numerous amounts of free goods. 

However, the reality is, PR consists of dealing with multiple personalities on a daily basis, juggling multiple client accounts and constantly checking your inbox. 

Here are some common PR girl stereotypes:
·   They worship hashtags more than shoes
·   They have a great understanding of culture and current events
·   They always wear black
·   Their life is like Samantha Jones
·   They are workaholics

Monday, December 10, 2012

5 Helpful Job-Hunting Tips


By Molly Rose Livingston, Account Executive


I graduate from college in less than three weeks.


While that is exciting, it’s also pretty daunting.


My goal is to score a paid internship or entry-level job by the time I graduate on Dec. 21. To achieve this goal, besides paying close attention in my public relations job-hunting class at Chico State, I have also done online research and asked advice from teachers and family members.


The first thing I have learned is that landing your first job out of college is no easy task. It not only takes a lot of hard work and attention to detail, it also requires a large dose of patience.


Here are a few other important things I have learned:


Proofread: Your resume, cover letter and online identity should be free of grammar and spelling errors.

Social media: Employers are hiring you for a job in communications, and they want to see how you manage yourself online. Your online presence should be free of inappropriate content.

If you need to, clean up your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, blog and any other social networking tool you use.


Be sure these tools are an accurate representation of you. For example, I try to have a mix of tweets. Some are professional and directly related to my desired field of work, others are funny and about my daily life.


Interviews: The interview process can be intimidating, and your best bet is to be over-prepared. Even if you already know about the company, research them one more time. Check out their mission statement, read their blog and scan all of their social media. If you know who will be interviewing you, do some research on them as well.


Review possible interview questions and be sure you have prepared answers to them. Before a recent interview I reviewed this list of 100 potential interview questions.


In addition to basic questions, such as “tell me about yourself,” I have also been asked why I want to work for the company, how I dealt with a crisis situation and what was the last good book I read.


At the conclusion of your interview you will likely be asked if you have any questions. Now is your chance to learn a little bit more about the position, company or office atmosphere, so ask away. If you do not, they may feel like you are not engaged or interested in the company.


The leave-behind: Always bring extra copies of your resume to your interview. Additionally, it is wise to bring samples of a variety of your work.


Follow-up etiquette: Of course, say thank you! Ask for the interviewer’s card and within 24 hours be sure to send an email expressing appreciation for the chance to interview.


If you were interviewed by multiple people then send each person a separate email that is customized. Along with an email, sending a thoughtful, handwritten thank you note will demonstrate your desire to work with them.


These are the steps I have followed in my job-hunting journey so far. While I can’t guarantee they work, as I’m currently waiting to hear back from prospective employers, I do believe they will give you better odds of landing that dream job.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Crafts for Co-Workers


Social Media Assistant and Account Executive Stephanie Burke teaches us how to make a fun and easy Christmas craft.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Show More Appreciation, With Twitter


By Eli Gibbs, Photographer/Videographer



The odds are stacked in your favor if you are looking for any artist or journalist on Twitter. While some may not be as interactive as others, most will have an account for the networking opportunities it presents.

Twitter is a great way to circulate your media. For me, it is primarily a news source and therefore requires one main quality – timeliness.

In my seventh semester hosting a radio show, I have just become aware that the best way for me to reach out to the artists I feature is by live charting the music I am playing. The response has been great because as I would expect, people are generally very happy to hear their work is being appreciated. I also hashtag all songs charted with #NowPlaying, a popular music sharing hashtag for radio broadcasters.  

This new technique has opened my eyes to new ways of using Twitter. If I am sharing an article, I strive to include the author that wrote it.  If the article is about an organization or business, I will include the Twitter handle for it also.

The benefits go beyond getting more followers and recognition. It’s letting people know how much their work is being appreciated; something everyone strives to achieve in their career. Outreach like this tends to reciprocate itself among colleagues, with potential to reach out further.

While most Twitter handles should be quite easy to find, news outlets such as the New York Times have made it even more convenient by providing this page.

Among all the benefits, I urge everyone to take at least one piece of advice. If you cannot find the Twitter handle at first, please be careful of your spelling of names – one of a journalist’s primary concerns.


At least he had a good sense of humor about it!



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Please Turn Your Attention to the Flight Attendant Nearest You For Our Safety Demonstration… Or Just Tune Out!


By Lauren Fusco, Account Executive


During the month of November I traveled a lot.

A total of six plane rides, equaling to 13 hours in-flight. If you were to add up the famous “safety talk” that the flight attendants gave, it would be equal to 30 minutes.

I understand that it is important to know where the closest emergency exit is, how to properly put on your oxygen mask and how to inflate your life vest, but who is really listening to this information?

Because I consider myself “flying pro” for the month, I will go out on a limb by saying this. No one wants to listen to what you have to say if you are monotone and boring. Even if the information is detrimental to your survival.

One’s tone and delivery can determine how effective your message is. 

My prime example is my plane ride from San Francisco to Sacramento, which took place at 7:15 a.m.

The 20-seater plane was ancient. When the pilot started the engine, I wasn’t sure if it stalled or if it was working properly. 

As the flight attendant began her spiel I was exhausted, yet ready to hear her out and give her a chance. I was surprised to hear an awkward, mumbled tone come out of her mouth. Instead of being completely turned off, I was baffled and continued to listen.

At this point I wasn’t tuning into the safety tips, I was comparing the feeling of being on a rollercoaster to the sound of her voice.

Long story short, her spiel failed.

One week later I found myself on a plane to Los Angeles. Ready to tune out and let the air-pressured cabins put me to sleep.

I heard, “If you don’t like our service you can exit at any time from any exit nearest you.” This wasn’t your typical flight attendant talk. This was humorous and enjoyable.

The chipper-toned flight attendant added in a couple of wisecracks and gained the attention of her audience.
I will gladly admit that for the first time I listened to the entire flight attendant lecture and it was wonderful.

From this experience I learned that no matter what your occupation is, your delivery and tone plays a big role in the effectiveness of your message!

Note: Not all flight attendants deliver boring safety spiels. Visit 7 Secret Flight Attendant Tricks for some real-life entertaining stories that take place above the clouds! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em Join ‘Em: Find What You Love To Do and Start Networking to Find Your Next Job


By Kelsey Hilton, Account Executive


December graduation is quickly approaching. As I begin to feel the stress of finals week, the pressure to find a job in the “real world” is also haunting me. My college days are sadly coming to an end along with the reality that in less than a month I will move back home with my parents and need to find a job.

Graduating college can be a very stressful time in a student’s life. It is a milestone that many of us have always dreamed of accomplishing, but also a stage in our lives that we may not be ready for. As classes come to an end, the quest for a profession is lurking around the corner.

Job-hunting is a difficult task, but in today’s economy it has become a vastly grueling process. Though it isn’t easy to find a job, there are ways to make the hunt less stressful than it has to be. The stress many of us face derives from the belief that our first profession out of college is going to be our last, and we adamantly search for our “dream job.”

But job hunting doesn’t need to be this stressful.  

Some helpful tips for recent graduates when looking for a job, according to an article in Forbes Magazine, are to first figure out two things: “What tickles your fancy?” and “What are you willing to pay? - Both in the figurative and literal sense in order to obtain that kind of work.”

But even with these tips, it can be discouraging reading real-life statistics stating that 50 percent of new college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. Even with many factors against us, today we have the luxury of technology at our fingertips. More importantly, because of these technologies, recent grads need to network, network and then network some more.

We have the opportunity to be linked to people from all over the world who can possibly help us connect with a future employer or lead us in the right direction. 

The possibilities are endless.

Networking is an essential part of job-hunting in today’s market and you need to be networking everyday. Whether it’s online or through face-to-face interactions--it’s crucial.  

By joining networking groups and associations in a field you wish to enter, or attending industry meetings and conferences, you are increasing your opportunities.

Though these tips do not necessarily ensure a future career, they improve your chances of landing your next job and will make the process significantly less stressful. 

Here are five steps to follow for smooth networking

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How Social Media is Changing Holiday Shopping Forever


By Kylie Munoz, Account Executive


Move over traditional television ads. Consumers now have a new form of inspiration and direction for holiday shopping--social media.

Social media is playing a bigger role in how consumers purchase gifts for friends and family during the holiday season, a new study by ConsumerSearch.com has found.

When it comes to shopping inspiration, the survey found that 64 percent of respondents depend on advertisements, emails, and retailer websites. And 62 percent count on social media, including user reviews and online wish lists, as well as a variety of content on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

What’s even more interesting, but maybe not shocking, is that only 17 percent of respondents said they prefer to research and shop in stores as opposed to researching and shopping online.

“Retailers have begun using social media more to reach shoppers with deals and information and we can expect this trend to become even more popular over the next few years,” said Carey Rossi, editor-in-chief of ConsumerSearch.com.

If you’re looking for gift ideas, Pinterest, not Facebook, is where you should look, another recent study conducted by BizRateInsights.com has found.

A total of 70 percent of online consumers go to Pinterest to get inspiration on what to buy, while only 17 percent visit Facebook for the same purposes. 

Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team have become aware of this pinning frenzy and have recently launched a new test feature for a few select retailers, such as Pottery Barn and Victoria’s Secret. The ‘Collections’ feature is similar to Pinterest in that you can ‘collect’ or ‘want’ items from the retailers they have listed. These items are then saved to a user’s ‘Wishlist’ on their Facebook timeline.

So whether you’re looking at a retailer’s website, tweeting, ‘liking’ or pinning, you’re sure to find great gift ideas for loved ones this holiday season with much thanks to social media.

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Creative Do-It-Yourself Project for the Holidays


By Lindsay Smith, Graphic Designer


The holidays are coming up and gift giving is on the mind. What a great time to bust out your creative juices and attempt a few DIY projects. I have made a step-by-step video showing one of the art projects I attempted. I hope this will inspire you all to save some cash and be creative this holiday season.


video

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Have You Been to Feather Falls?


By Patrick Sheehan, Graphic Designer


For all of you Chico State students who are interested in the great outdoors, Feather Falls is a must see.  In just under an hour and a half, you can be far from civilization and deep into the wonders of the Plumas National Forest.  Simply hop on Highway 99 South, drive through Oroville, and that puts you on the 162 winding around Lake Oroville.  

Then just keep your eyes peeled for Lumpkin Road, which is the gateway to the base of Feather Falls trail.  

The view of the towering waterfall is well deserved after a 4.5-mile hike from the 
base.  In fact, the total round trip from top to bottom is over 8 miles, so be sure to stretch your legs and stay hydrated throughout your journey.  The location of the waterfall lies on the middle fork of the Feather River known as the Fall River.  The river’s origin begins in the Sierra Nevada and runs 100 miles before flowing into one of the crooked fingers of Lake Oroville.  

On the descending voyage through the Plumas National Forest in route of the lake, the 
falls reach a 410-foot vertical granite slab where it projects its energy through a narrow passageway.  During the late winter months, the water levels reaches its peak 
and allows Feather Falls to come alive.  The top of the falls is easily accessible and provides the viewer with a breathtaking scene of the deep valley that lies beneath.  For those who are not fans of heights, an additional viewpoint was constructed that allows viewers to observe from a comfortable distance.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

Apps That Make Life Easier

 By David Anaya, Graphic Designer


If you’re a graphic designer, you know how important project management is. Juggling multiple projects with tight deadlines can be extremely stressful, but when done effectively, it can be easy as pie. My final semester of college has been my busiest thus far, but these resources have done a great job in preventing me from being overwhelmed.

  1. Dropbox & Google Drive
These cloud file-storage services have been a tremendous help in workflow. As long as a computer has internet access, one can work from virtually anywhere. Dropbox is currently having a free storage space giveaway for college students, cleverly entitled the “Space Race.” All you have to do is enter your college ID, and 3GB of free storage space is added to your account for two years. Additional space is also granted depending on the amount of Space Race registered students from your school, so signing up not only benefits yourself, but also the collective student body.

  1. Evernote
Why weigh yourself down with physical notebooks in your backpack when you can have all your notes synchronized and editable on your laptop and smartphone? “Capture anything, access anywhere, find things fast” is displayed on the service’s website, accurately representing how easy it is to use the program. One can take notes on a school computer and have it immediately synced to their home computer, laptop and smartphone. Evernote has even partnered with Moleskine to create the Smart Notebook for those who enjoy physically writing notes. One can write in the book with a dark inked pen, take a picture of the page on an iPod, iPhone or iPad, and the page image is uploaded to your account. Evernote can even recognize your text, if you have good handwriting, and make your handwritten notes digitally searchable.

  1. Wunderlist
Similar to Evernote, this task management application can also synchronize data from their web platform to all of your digital devices. To-do lists can also be shared with friends or co-workers to help keep track of any collaborative project that you might have.

These apps have made my last semester of college much more manageable, I hope they can help you in the same way!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Budget Your Black Friday

By Rosana Torres, Editorial Assistant



Turkey Day, Dia de Accion de Gracias, Action de GrĂ¢ces or whichever way you refer to Thanksgiving Day, is right around the corner. That means so is Black Friday.


While Thanksgiving is exciting for the cooking enthusiasts like myself out there, there are some precautions we should take, because according to Red Cross, more than 4,000 fires occur on Thanksgiving. Even though students are on break, firefighters will not necessarily be.

Thanksgiving is a day dedicated to giving thanks for what we are fortunate enough to have. Black Friday is a day dedicated to buying the things we think we need--at a lower cost--in the wee hours of the morning.

With this economy, many retailers have begun labeling Thanksgiving Day as Black Thursday. Shockingly enough, the usual Black Friday shoppers will skip out on Thursday night’s dinner to catch the sales. My concern is for the workers who will have to miss out on this special time with family. As a retail associate, I am personally opposed to having to work on a federal holiday.

Just like cooking comes with precautions, so does the event of shopping, whether it lands on Thursday or Friday. I’m not talking about the kind of carefulness shoppers should exercise when it gets crowded. No, I’m talking about the money aspect. A lot of people tend to overspend on this day, but by following these five simple tips, you can save lots of moolah on the day many retailers expect to make the most money.

1. Have a plan:
Follow a list of who you are shopping for, what your budget is for each person and stick to it!

2. Limit credit card use:
Remove all credit cards from your wallet and limit your use of credit to one card--the one with the lowest rate if you carry a balance on it.

3. Beware of special card offers:
Many retailers will offer special coupons and deals for opening an account with them--don’t do it! Many people will, which is why the total consumer credit card debt is close to $2.73 trillion. If you can’t afford it, then you can’t afford it!

4. Use layaway:
Take advantage of holiday layaway programs to buy yourself some time to pay for some of your Christmas gifts--there’s no shame!

5. Get creative:
If you are indecisive like myself, give gift cards and make something personal to go with them. You can also give special dates like a nature hike or spa day!

So, there you have it. This Thanksgiving break, make sure to spend time with family as well as take precautions while cooking and shopping for the holidays. After all, we have been working too hard this semester not to!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Capitalizing On Our Need For Capitalism


By Christopher Tavolazzi, Editorial Assisstant


I recently got in a high volume debate with my roommates over the new Windows
8. If you haven’t seen it yet, the new operating system throws out the standard
folders and drop-down menus in favor of colored tiles as its main form of navigation.
It’s weird, and the entire OS is designed for touch screens.

I told my roommates that I think Microsoft is using Windows 8 as a ploy to get
people to buy more Microsoft stuff. I believe they will drop support for older
operating systems like Vista and 7 very soon, and force people to either move to the
new or get left behind. My roommates disagreed, asserting instead that Microsoft is
spearheading innovation in an industry that needs it.

While we won’t know who’s right for a few more years, one thing is true--tech
companies have been capitalizing on our societal drive for capitalism for years. Look
at Apple, for example. Apple fans will line up a week before the next new iThing
release, only to have their iStuff outdated way too soon.

Or take Activision, which has released a new Call of Duty game literally every year
since its inception. The next one, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, released Nov. 13, is the most preordered game in Amazon’s history, and there is another title planned for next year.

It makes sense. Last year, Apple’s gross income was $45 billion, and Activision’s was
$3.4 billion. That’s no small feat.

Still, I get a pretty sour feeling when shelling out another couple hundred bucks to
buy the latest tech thing. I can’t help but feel manipulated and wonder why they
couldn’t have put all these features in the last version. But still I buy it, because I
don’t want to miss out.

Why we keep buying in, I have no idea. I have a feeling that it’s only going to get
worse as our society grows ever more dependent on technology.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Day After Election Day


By Rebecca Seylar, Editorial Director


The day after election day is always an interesting one. Prior to Barack Obama’s victory, I found myself caught in debates with my family, friends and coworkers on more than one occasion. Sometimes they were cool, calm and collected, sometimes they were heated. But the day after election day is different.

Although in some places it is an exciting and euphoric day, it’s also a day filled with some disappointed voters and many people threatening to “move to Canada.”

I would like to say I am very politically involved and educated, but among everything else going on in my life, politics isn’t always my number one. I care deeply about laws that ensure equality and uphold our rights in America. I care about a woman’s right to choose and that she deserves equal pay for equal work. I care about who runs this country, but I found it hard to always know exactly where each candidate stood on issues.

I found that social media, yet again, has made its way into a topic on the TGC blog, but how can it not come up when referring to such important issues? 

To keep up on the election, I ‘liked’ Facebook pages and followed news outlets, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on Twitter. 

Although my beliefs may not align with other people that I am surrounded with every day, I like to think that we can all be objective and educated on subjects before we begin debates about them. Now that the next four years have been decided, I urge others to educate themselves before letting their preconceived political or religious notions get the best of them.

Election day is over, and the president for the next four years has been decided. The focus now should not be to insult and complain, but to seek information on how your voice can be heard and how to make a difference. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How to Put Your Phone Down When You’re a Social Media Addict


By Amber Whiteside, Social Media Director


Surprise, surprise.

I tend to have a problem setting my phone down. When managing different social media accounts, checking emails and updating my own personal sites, it seems impossible to shut off that little black thing buzzing every second.

Even on vacation, I cannot help but upload that Instagram photo of my toes in the sand, or check in at a new restaurant I discovered. It seems I can never escape my phone. 

When a teacher asks students to shut off their phones, I think in my head, “Do you know who I am? How can I possibly shut myself off from the online world? It’s my job!”

However, everyone needs a break. I have attempted to teach myself how to put the phone down, so that you may learn as well.

1. Admit you have a problem 
Yes, this is bizarre and alludes to other “first steps” of addiction programs, but it’s very difficult to fix a problem if you can’t admit there is one. Even the famous Pomeranian named Boo has his version of a “digital detox.” If you want to see his cuter version on how to step away from your computer or phone, by all means take a look. I can’t blame you. He is one of the world’s cutest dogs.

2. Pick a time for escape
To help myself with this process, I told myself that I couldn’t go on the Internet for an hour a day. I found myself filling that time with more productivity. Instead of staring at your phone, go on a walk, do homework or go out with friends. It was a lot easier to write this blog when I had that hour without the buzzing of my phone in the background.

3. Shut off your phone when you go to sleep at night
Yes, I admit, this was a difficult one. I use my phone for an alarm clock and with a long distance relationship, why on earth would I let my phone be off all night? However, studies show computers and cellphones can interrupt your sleeping patterns. That bright screen you are staring at can wear you down and negatively impact the start of your next day. Buy an alarm clock and get some sleep. Remember there was a time when we did survive without screens lying next to us.

4. Spend time in the moment
My roommates yell at me if I am staring down at my phone when we are out at dinner. As much as I want to defend myself, it is rude when people ignore your conversation to look at their phone. Remember that personal connections are more important than online-socializing. Spend your time riding the rollercoasters at an amusement park, not uploading pictures along the way. 

Social media addiction is becoming an actual problem today. According to an infographic on social media addiction, refraining from retweeting on Twitter is more difficult than refraining from consuming alcohol or smoking. So make sure to give yourself a break. Those notifications, comments and emails will still be there.  

Friday, November 2, 2012

#HurricaneSandy Shows the Power of Social Media


By Mandie Niklowitz, Online Communications Director


As I’m typing this from my computer in sunny California, it’s easy to forget that Hurricane Sandy has been wreaking havoc on the East Coast all week. But all it takes is one quick look at my Twitter or Instagram to be reminded of what the East Coast has been going through.

Sandy’s wrath began Monday, causing destruction from North Carolina to Maine and creating a social media frenzy.

#Sandy was the number one trending topic on Twitter Monday with more than 4 million mentions.

On Facebook’s Talk Meter, which measures conversations about specific events, Sandy scored an 8.34 making it the second-most popular topic of the year. Some of the most popular terms being used on Facebook were, “We’re OK,” “damage,” and “power.” There was also a Facebook group created for Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts where users could share ways to help those in need and give each other words of support.

As of Wednesday, there were almost 1 million pictures posted on Instagram with the hashtags, #Sandy and #HurricaneSandy.

Sandy isn’t the first major news event to be covered by social media. When Hurricane Isaac hit earlier this year, similar Facebook groups and Twitter hashtags were created.

However, many believe Sandy is what will move Instagram to the big leagues with Twitter and Facebook. The mobile photo application, which was bought by Facebook for $1 billion earlier this year, has become the main destination for Hurricane Sandy photos.  

During the height of the storm, Instagram users were uploading 10 pictures per second with the hashtag #Sandy.

CEO of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, told Forbes Magazine, “I think this demonstrates how Instagram is quickly becoming a useful tool to see the world as it happens--especially for important world events like this.”

I agree with Systrom, in today’s information-filled world, we pick and choose what we want to read. More than once I’ve found myself scrolling through Twitter or Facebook and not even reading half of the posts.

Instagram gives you a picture and a caption. There’s no extra fluff or fillers, yet scrolling through the #Sandy feed on Instagram says so much more than the same feed on Twitter.

It has always been said that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and after seeing the aftermath of Sandy posted on Instagram, I couldn’t agree more.

For a full collection of Hurricane Sandy Instagram photos, visit Instacane.com, or if you would like to help with relief efforts, please visit RedCross.org.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How To Be a PR MVP


By Jillian Luchsinger, Assistant Account Executive

As we reach the end of October, it also marks the end of my favorite season, the conclusion of the Major League Baseball season.

While most have festively celebrated October preparing for Halloween with traditional orange and black decorations, I have spent the month preparing myself decked out with the same colors for the World Series.

Growing up in the Bay Area in a family of avid San Francisco Giants fans, you can imagine my excitement through October as my team proceeded to win their way through six elimination games to clinch a spot in the championships.

Since I can’t play in the majors, I’ve always found my place in the stands and at games as a fan. My dream is to one day get called up for a Major League Baseball team so that I can participate and “pitch” in the best way that I can.

So as I screamed, cheered and celebrated my way through game four when the Giants swept Detroit in the World Series, I couldn’t help but think of the lessons that a public relations professional could learn from the sport of baseball.

1. You can’t always hit a homerun.

There is nothing more exciting during a game than seeing a ball get launched over the fence, but players can’t always approach the plate with the intention of hitting a homerun. Sometimes, it is more necessary for a player to hit a sacrifice fly or bunt in order for a runner to reach a base.

In PR, we always have the intention of getting the most coverage for our client. True, it would be much more exciting to get a client covered by a huge, well-known publication or network, but it can’t interfere with the smaller opportunities that we can find in the process.  

2. Going 3 for 10 is still a success.

In baseball, hitting 3 for 10 means a batter has an average of .300, which is a great achievement. That also means that the batter struck out 7 of 10 at-bats. Baseball players are taught to look more at the success of their plays, rather than failures.

In the PR industry it is rare that you will please your client every time you pitch an idea. Instead of getting frustrated because they don’t like 7 out of the 10 ideas you present, embrace the fact that they like three of them and build on those ideas. 

3. It’s going to be a while, learn to love your team.

As a professional baseball player you commit to 162 regular season games. This includes a lot of travel, long days and nights, and all-around an extremely substantial amount of time around the same group of people day in and day out.

The PR industry is well known for having unconventional hours and group work on client accounts. It is best to create a sense of camaraderie with the individuals that you work with. Whether you’re in the dugout or the office, you want to know that your team has your back.

4. Be ready when your number is called.

Throughout a season, a team can lose players for multiple reasons, from injuries to suspension. In such situations, it presents the opportunity for bench players to step up and become influential teammates and players.

You can hold many different positions on a client account, from account executive to graphic designer. Regardless of the position, it is important to remember that even if you’re just support on an account, at any time you can have the opportunity to step up and shine.

5. It’s a mind game, change your pitch.

Baseball is a game of deception. It is about the pitcher getting into the batter’s head and making him think something is coming, keeping him on his toes and making him second guess his approach.

When pitching an idea to a client, it is also all about getting into their head and figuring out what they want. It is possible that they won’t like your idea, in which case, you shake it off and change your pitch.

6. The Golden Rule

Always remember, the best players don’t always have natural-born abilities, but commit to hard work and have the desire to improve and succeed using the skills that they have.

Monday, October 29, 2012

What to Expect From Your PR Internship


By Heather Wilson, Assistant Account Executive


I am gradually approaching the last few weeks of my final semester as a PR student and one of the things I have really learned from my 16-year college journey is how vital and fundamental internships are before entering the challenging and exciting real word.  

As a graduating senior, I have held four different types of internships including entertainment, fashion, agency and nonprofit. There are several things I would like to share with you that you can expect from any PR internship. 

  • Real world experience: One thing that your PR classes do not teach you is real world experience.  At your internship you will be able to observe professionals and see what a PR job really entails.  The skills you will learn in your real world experience include utilizing media-centric databases, performing client research, preparing clip reports, coordinating and working special events, and helping with social media projects. All of these will give you a taste of the many skills and communication methods that are required to become a solid PR practitioner.

  • Remember you are only an intern: Like it or not, you may have to administer tasks that have nothing to do with PR such as printing, filing, organizing a closet or making name tags.  Try to take on these tasks with a positive attitude and remember sometimes you’re just the lowest person on the totem pole!

  • Contacts: No matter where you choose to intern, you will meet people, both fellow interns and general co-workers.  These people may be able to help you get your foot in the door post-graduation, so it is vital to continue networking once the internship is over.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Journalism Gone Social


By Jonathan Menager, Assistant Account Executive


It should come as no surprise that technology has had a very profound impact on journalism. As tech giants such as Google (reporting 2012 Q3 consolidated revenues as high as $14.10 billion) begin to surpass traditional media companies in terms of financial earnings, the effect of technology on the field of journalism can’t be overlooked.

The youth of today can easily identify with companies such as Apple and Google, but ask them what McClatchy and Gannett are and you’ll probably get blank stares.

What about social networking? Surely, social networking and social media didn’t exist prior to computers or the Internet.

Social media and social networking are entirely new concepts that caught like wildfire practically overnight when Friendster first went live in March 2002. This phenomenon is still kept alive today, over a decade later, by popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

But don’t get confused about social media’s place within the walls of journalism. Social networking has come a long way from the Livejournals and MySpace pages of yore. Believe me, there are companies out there that will pay a great sum of money to do what most of us do for hours at a time each day--Network and blog online.

Prior to my transfer to Chico State, I worked at a social media marketing agency known as Fanscape based out of Los Angeles, and one of my tasks was content creation for the company blog DigitallyApproved.

If we look back 18 years ago, blogs were just starting out, but they were a far cry from the marketing tools they can be today. Technology and the Internet have begun to transform the way we read and receive our news in today’s society.

Social media are, in fact, changing journalism. Upon my arrival at Chico State, I found it strange sitting in class and learning about Twitter and receiving lectures on Facebook, but this is journalism today.

My Fanscape job relied heavily on what I had learned in my journalism classes, although the company I worked for was in no way associated with “news” per se.

The success of Fanscape’s blog meant more credibility for the company. More credibility meant more business.

That being said, news companies need technology just as growing tech companies need journalists. Social networking has become a useful outlet for newspaper companies that can no longer afford to print their papers and distribute them physically. What is now being coined as “social journalism” has become a very handy tool in virtually every news corporation’s toolbox.

It’s bloggers and journalists like me that help to push these trends and change the social scape. Citizen journalists are even able to post images of breaking news events and blog on the go from phones.

Journalism is changing, and with it, new opportunities are opening up for a more interactive and personalized news and information experience, all within just 20 years time.

What do you think the next 20 years will hold?