Comm 306

The Final Words

It’s been quite some time since my last post, since I’ve even looked at this blog. And for anyone who is unfourtunate enough to stumble upon it, I hope (for your sake) that you are only reading my blog as a warning of what NOT to do for Comm 306!  However before you stop reading this and hurry away to a Comm306 blog that may in fact be useful, I do have a few words of encouragement for you.

Prior to taking this class I was convinced that I wanted a profession in public relations — after this class I was convinced that I would never make it in the world of PR. As much as I enjoyed being in the class, I just could not find a passion for the topics or the case studies. Something about settling a dispute with Steak & Shake just never appealed to me. Interestingly enough, less than a year later I have come to realize that I might actually have a knack for public relations. I currently have an amazing PR internship with the fabulous Charlotte-based designer Lore Emelio, and not only am I loving every minute of it, I’m actually excelling at my job!

So the moral of the story is simply this: Do not let one course determine whether or not you can succeed in a certain field or a specific career, you need to try it out and figure it out for yourself. You may love it, you may hate it. The point is that a classroom experience (although awesome & essential) does not compare to a “real world” experience.


5 Tips for a Future Comm Blogger

Having been a blogger for the past semester, I’ve learned a thing or two about the do’s and don’ts; maybe a little late in the game, but I am now bestowing my newfound wisdom upon YOU, the future blogger of Comm306.

  1. DO NOT, i repeat NOT wait until the last minute to write your blogs! I really can’t stress this enough. I wish that I could just write this five times, because it really is the most important piece of advice I can give you. If you read nothing else in this blog, even in this post, just remember DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. Your blog, and ultimately your grade will suffer, not to mention your sleep cycle. You will regret it.
  2. Connect your blogging to things you enjoy. Let’s be honest, writing chapter notes can be kind of boring, so make them fun, or funny. If you make writing your blogs enjoyable, they’ll be much more enjoyable to read. Think that your connection is too far of a stretch? Try it anyway, you’ll have more to write about.
  3. Watch the news. Personally, I hate the news, I’m a firm believer that if I do watch, it’ll scare me into reclusion. So I guess it’s kind of hypocritical of me to be preaching, but it will make writing your blogs and connecting them to current events so much easier. Even if its just Entertainment Tonight on E! or Sports Center on ESPN, keep yourself in the loop of what’s going on in this world.
  4. Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to admit that you are technologically challenged, Dr. McArthur does not bite and is always willing to help you manage your blog. The stubborn person I am, never did and I believe that is what made my blogging experience that much more painful.
  5. Finally, LEARN something. That’s the point of a class, right? Yes, but I don’t mean learn what you need to in order to pass the class, I mean really learn something  from the blogs (not just that you shouldn’t procrastinate). Don’t let the frustrations along the way cloud your mind from really taking something from the experience. Even if it’s as little as learning how to confidentially create a Prezi presentation, or how to link your Twitter account to your blog.

Despite my procrastination, and the little frustrations along the way, I’ve really enjoyed the class and have learned a lot. I hope that if you are enrolled you’ll feel the same when you’ve finished, and if you are thinking about enrolling, DO IT!

ISC Topic: Career in Strategic Communication

This blog was created for the COMM306: Integrated Strategic Communication course in the undergraduate program at Queens University. My blog posts are divided into five different categories: ISC Connections, ISC Topics, Lab Events, Reading Notes, and Other. This post is meant to highlight my best work in each of the categories.

My best ISC Connection is my post about Queens Sports Marketing which discusses the different publicity and marketing tools that the marketing association used to promote the Men’s Basketball Team and rally student support for the upcoming season.

The ISC Topic on the Shirley Sherrod case was the most interesting to me because the situation dealt with a lot of different aspects of strategic communication, which allowed me to comment on how they played a part in each step of the situation. The class material allowed me to understand what was done well and what could have been done better.

My lab events that I felt were the most interesting are my infograph of Queens Publics and my reflection of my experience with twitter.

My reading notes about chapters 9 & 17 explain the difference between advertising and publicity and explains the pros and cons of both. My reading notes on chapters 4 & 8 break down the importance of public opinion and how to gain it.

Kirsten Dunst’s Good PR

Simon Lekias/Blackbook

Kirsten Dunst appears on the cover of  this month’s Black Book. Inside the issue, Dunst discusses her time spent in rehab for depression 2 years ago.

Why is this such great public relations? Because although she had to battle past rumors of rehab for alcohol or drugs, her reps did not speak for her but rather allowed her to speak about her time in rehab on her own time; also Dunst admits to using her experience in rehab to better connect with her character in her upcoming film All Good Things. Talking about her experience now, will create an interest about her film before it even hits theaters.

Chapter 5

What’s the difference between a CEO  and a PR director? A few 0s…..on their paycheck.

No offense to any CEOs who may come across this, but if a person’s paycheck really reflected how much work they actually do, the PR director’s pay might just outweigh the CEO’s. How so?

Although the director has to report to the CEO, and the CEO may have the final say in what the company does, it is the PR director and his/her team who are responsible for maintaining the image of the company. Public relations is the corporate conscience (Seitel, p.85). Think maintaining an organization’s good reputation is easy? Try doing it when a product is flawed, a natural disaster destroys your headquarters, an oil rig breaks, the face of your brand cheats on his wife, or a disgruntled employee launched an entire vlog against your company. While ALWAYS telling the truth. Yeah, not so easy anymore, is it?

In order to have effective communication between PR, management, and the public, it is important to conceptualize a public relations plan. First and foremost, the opportunity, or problem must be defined before any action can be taken. Secondly, a formal plan must be programed to identify the key publics, strategies, and goals. Next is the actual action the firm chooses to take once the program is put into place. After everything happens, it is important to evaluate the entire process; pin-point exactly what worked and didn’t work, why, and how to improve (Seitel, p.87).

The programs that public relations are responsible for are as diverse as the publics they serve. They are responsible for everything from media relations, to internal communication, to philanthropy, special events, even government relations and management counseling; that’s not even an extensive list (Seitel, p.93-94). Think PR reps do a lot for a little? Well, there is hope. Across the globe, the importance of public relations is catching on, which means an increase of job opportunities, as well as pay raise if you’re good at what you do.

A Very BIG Birthday for a Very little Pill

For many years now birth control, “the pill,” has received a ton  of publicity, for better or worse. The past October, “the pill” celebrated it’s 50th birthday in a BIG way at the Pierre hotel. The gala had a few hundred guests including the heir of planned-parenthood, the editor of Cosmopolitan, and even Dr. Ruth.


Beyond the incredible innovation and improvements that birth control has seen over the past 50 years, is the change in the way it has been marketed and publicized, as well as how public opinion of it has changed as well.

Birth control went from taboo to all over the media. Although there is still negative publicity surrounding birth control, it is mostly about the health effects and less about the morality of using it. In every female magazine there are multiple ads for different types, movies and television show characters discuss its use openly, and there are commercials promoting its use on most television networks. For female facbook users the ads even pop up on the side of their home pages. What birth control is advertised for has even changed: in the early 1960s it was advertised mostly for married women who wanted to limit the number of children they had. Today, it is marketed more towards single women and those who want to control their menstrual cycles.

The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the keyboard is mightier than both

Throughout this entire semester we’ve been talking about different social media outlets, from Blogs to Twitter and everything in between. Not only are these outlets good for average people like us, but public figures as well.

Twitter is becoming the most popular outlet and is the fastest growing; probably because it is the easiest and most instantaneous. Having the ability to say what you want, exactly when you want to, literally at the tip of your fingers, is a double-edged sword though.

Last Sunday Buffalo Bills player Steve Johnson missed the game winning pass. He was later interviewed on ESPN and apologized for it; great public relations. Then Johnson went on to tweet “I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO…” bad public relations. I can only imagine what his PR team was thinking after this.

Social media is a great way to publicize yourself, your organization, and advert crisis; but it can also be used against you. With instantaneous posting, you have to be more careful of what you say and what you do, because chances are it is going to end up somewhere online; especially if you are already in the limelight.

“Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

"Christmas is not only getting too commercial, it's getting too dangerous. "

Last night I took a break from blogging and snuggled up with a warm cup of coffee to watch my favorite holiday movie of all time: A Charlie Brown Christmas on ABC.  My favorite part of the movie is when Linus tells the story of Christmas after Charlie Brown screams, “ISN’T THERE ANYONE WHO KNOWS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT?”

Shortly after I had to leave my warm cozy apartment for a meeting on campus. While driving past the mall and numerous other shopping centers decked out in red and green and wreaths and lights, I started thinking: Christmas is the most publicized, advertised and marketed holiday, but does it really need it? Billions of dollars are spent each year on billboards, print ads and TV commercials alone.

Today Christmas is the most universally celebrated holiday in the world; not including the smaller holidays that coincide with it such as St. Nicholas or St. Lucia day; so does it really need all the publicity/advertising surrounding it? Or is the publicity/advertising what make it so popular?




*photograph courtesy of

Marketing Queens Athletes

Queens University of Charlotte has spent a lot of time and effort to strategically market our men’s basketball team, and get the student body excited for the upcoming season. There are posters with their individual photographs hanging all around campus and anyone who is following Queens University on twitter has surely seen this video:

Despite the past unsuccessful seasons, the sports marketing team has managed to increase student morale and excitement surrounding the team simply by having their faces around campus. Earlier this semester Queens Sports Marketing even sponsored Ballin’ on Burwell where students and faculty could compete in a basketball tournament and both men’s and women’s basketball teams autographed posters of themselves.

Queens Sports marketing has done a great job of integrating publicity and advertising the basketball team.

ISC and Free Speech

When discussing any branch of the communication field it is always important to discuss Freedom of Speech. Strategic communication especially is connected with free speech because it is all about telling the truth to its publics in order to build and maintain a positive image of its organization. On the other hand, strategic communication professionals need to respect the privacy of its organization or client, and this is where the issue of  free speech gets tricky.

When something goes wrong in a company or with a client, strategic communication people are ultimately responsible for how the situation is publicized. The goal for PR is to state facts and restore the brand image; sometimes this is difficult to do though when a client or company believes the truth is in violation of privacy. For example, over a year ago it became public knowledge that Tiger Woods cheated on his wife. Woods’ PR did everything (wrong) in an attempt to keep the severity of the situation and the number of women out of public view however, throughout the year more and more women came out about sleeping with him, and clearly the issue is still being talked about. Is Tiger Woods’ sex addiction a private matter? Yes, but when other private matters are leaked by non-firm sources, sometimes strategic communication has to divulge private matters to respond to a crisis. In this case, had Woods initially admitted to having a sex addiction and cheating on his wife with multiple women, the issue would not have gone away, but it would not have been as drawn out of a process and Woods would not have lost as much respect as he has.

The lines between free speech and violation of privacy are not always fuzzy just when something negative happens though. When a public figure decides to get married or plans on having a child, they deserve to have their decisions remain private matters, even if it is a positive thing. Yes, eventually it will become public that someone is married or pregnant, but it is strategic communication professionals to know when it is appropriate to share the information.

Still, there are other cases where it is up to the strategic communication professionals to decide when and what is appropriate information to publicize, and this is why free speech is incredibly important to this field.