Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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Why Podcasts are Making a Comeback

March 30, 2015

By: Allison Zullo, @allisonzullo

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When it comes to keeping up with the latest news and entertainment trends, PR pros tend to turn to the old reliables: Twitter, Netflix, iPhone news apps, etc. But, what about something “new,” like podcasts?

Podcasts are essentially episodes of radio shows that you can download and listen to. They have soared in popularity thanks to the craze that was created by the podcast “Serial”, late last year. “Serial” followed reporter Sarah Koenig (who also narrated the podcast) as she investigated and attempted to unravel the murder of Hae Min Lee, a Maryland high school senior. Her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was charged and eventually convicted of the crime, though he still claims his innocence. Koenig tells the true story of the crime, and her investigation over the course of the twelve-episode season, that can easily be binge-listened to in two days.

Ever since “Serial” took off, already-existing podcasts have grown in popularity, and new players have jumped into the podcast game. But why are podcasts all of a sudden making a comeback? Here are just a few reasons.

You can listen to them anywhere.

Downloading podcasts on your phone is super easy (on iPhones, there’s even an app that comes with your phone that allows you direct access), which means you can have tons of podcasts literally at your fingertips. Whether you’re driving to work, walking to class, working out, doing homework, or getting some spring cleaning out of the way, you can listen to a podcast. As much as we would love to do all of these things while binge-watching Friends on Netflix, sometimes that’s next to impossible (um, DRIVING). Listening to a podcast allows you to multitask by crossing items off your to-do list, while staying current with the news or expanding your knowledge.

You can learn new information and skills. 

Whether you’re into sports or music, history or science, there’s a podcast that coincides with your interests. There are plenty of ways you can learn something new. HowStuffWorks.com, a website that can literally tell you how anything works (seriously, check it out), has a few awesome educational podcast series. These series are “Stuff You Should Know,” which covers a huge range of topics, and “Stuff You Missed in History Class,” which covers little-known and super interesting topics that might have been skimmed over in your high school history class. Don’t worry, hosts John and Chuck (“Stuff You Should Know”) and Holly and Tracy (“Stuff You Missed in History Class”) keep it way more interesting than your teachers ever did.

You can gain insight into current events. 

Podcasts not only allow you to catch up on current events, but they also often bring in experts in the topics to analyze the situation, and break it down to a deeper (and sometimes, more entertaining) level than the typical news outlets. If you’re into sports, check out ESPN’s podcasts; pretty much all of their radio shows have one that can be accessed via iTunes or their own application, ESPN Radio. My personal favorite? “The Best of Mike & Mike,” which breaks down four hour radio shows into a 45 minute to an hour long podcast, with the major highlights from the day’s show and major sports news. Obsessed with pop culture? NPR has you covered with “Pop Culture Happy Hour.” In it, a panel of various guests and host, Linda Holmes, debate anything from books to television and movies. And, if you love NPR (National Public Radio), most of their radio shows also air as podcasts.

Whatever your interests, there’s a podcast that is right for you. If you haven’t listened to “Serial,” go listen to it pronto. If you’ve already binge-listened, try out another podcast. Check out iTunes’ top charts for podcasts, or do a Google search to find one that matches your interests. Happy listening!

3 Life Lessons Learned From “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

March 27, 2015

By: Melaina Lewis, @melaina_lews

Unbreakable. It’s a miracle. The ingenious mind of Tina Fey and Robert Carlock did it again – this time creating satirical dynamite on Netflix. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt released, to what feels like, instant popularity. Within days, people were binge watching the series, then telling their friends to do the same. As public relation professionals, we know word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool. If a brand can gain the trust of one person, then it can easily gain the trust of ten more people. Let’s be honest, we all wanted to be the first person telling someone to watch Kimmy Schmidt. Like many, I watched 13 episodes over two days, and yes, I can see why this show was a strategically planned PR goldmine. However, Kimmy taught me more than just marketing skills. Here are three lessons I learned from watching the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt:

1. You are strong as hell.

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As a former mole woman, Kimmy offers a handful of life advice throughout the series. Lesson one: Never allow anyone to make you think you’re garbage. When life gets tough, remember you can do anything for 10 seconds at a time. In all seriousness, you can overcome anything, it’s mind over matter. At times, we lose touch with what’s important in life, and get distracted by work, school or homework. Take a step back and readjust your priorities. Be surprised by your strength.

2. Achieve your dreams

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A speaker at Lead365 (a stellar conference for student leaders), told me if you write down your goals and look at them three times a day, you’re more likely to achieve success. You may have to zig more than you zag, but just like Kimmy, you can get friends, a job and an apartment in New York City, all in one day.

3. Don’t be afraid of the unknown

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Embrace it. Step out of your comfort zone, and then once you’re out, step again. Great experiences can come from the unknown. Tituss never stopped pursuing his broadway dreams. Like a true entrepreneur, he created his own generic version of Disney’s Lion King. Don’t talk yourself out of an opportunity. Apply for the internship or job in the city of your dreams. Remember, you’re unbreakable.

Social Media’s Inevitable Development

March 26, 2015

By: Austin Ambrose, @tex_ambrose7

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Remember the ‘good’ ole days when Facebook was a place for high schoolers to rant about their lives, share pictures, and parents didn’t even know it existed? Or when Twitter was an easy way to update you followers on what you were doing. Or when you had ‘Best Friends’ on Snapchat. Those were the days.

Sure, you can still find this on each of these sight, except the ‘Best Friends,’ which we are still bitter about. However, you know have to decipher through something else in order to reach this original social aspect of social media: news content.

There is nothing wrong with news content, but it leads to the point that social media sites often get taken over by the news industry trying to reach more people and make enough money to stay afloat. Who can blame them? Finding an audience can be difficult these days.

It seems to be the inevitable path of social media. It as a platform for young adults/teenagers, to do whatever the sites is for, and then news companies and older generations move on in. Thus, changing the whole experience of social media.

Facebook and Twitter have become hubs for media outlets to post and circulate content. Facebook has become grand central station for Buzzed quizzes, and has even ventured into publishing original content. Twitter has become an easy platforms for companies to put up articles and hope people retweet it.

Snapchat has begun to move in this direction, having their new ‘Discover’ feature and sponsored Snap stories. The positive side with Snapchat is that it would be very difficult to infiltrate the original purpose of the app, to send terrible selfies to your friends.

It’s inevitable that media companies will want to use these platforms for their own gain. It doesn’t, however, seem to be scaring users away, but changing the way the site is used. Conversely, people are always on the lookout for the next breakout app.

Perks of the Nonprofit World

March 24, 2015

By: McKennah Robinson, @kennmilli

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When looking for internships, narrowing down your choices often doesn’t come until you have a solid list of places to apply to. The questions we all ask is ‘What will be the most beneficial?’ I’m willing to bet that most of us would say corporate or a PR agency. Not as many of us look at the world of nonprofits as being a great place for interns to go. But, there are many perks that can make saying ‘yes’ to a nonprofit worth your while.

Perk #1: We generally don’t know a whole lot about the non-profit world.

In class, we lean very heavily on corporate or firm marketing and PR. Most of us have probably even taken networking trips to firms or companies. It is phenomenal that we all have this breadth of knowledge about the strategic communication world, but stepping away from our comfort zone of agency and corporate PR, and into a murky area of non-profit, may bring great rewards. I personally love to learn, so taking an internship with a nonprofit is an exciting and logical next step for my education.

Perk #2: It feels good to know you’re part of something bigger.

In a giant company, it can be easy to get lost in the day-to-day tasks. Sometimes, we complete tasks in PR and never get to see the bigger picture. In a non-profit, everything the members do is essential to keeping the organization afloat. Every press release or blog post that a nonprofit puts out is crucial to keeping followers updated on how the organization is doing. In a non-profit, no one is expendable and they need all hands on deck.

Perk #3: We should all strive to be a little more altruistic.

Being selfless is one of the most undermined values. It shows dedication and compassion — both of which are key traits in a world that has become so impersonal. Giving back feels good, great even, and is a quality that most employers look for in potential employees. Knowing that you’re helping make a difference in the world is an unparalleled feeling.

This list just barely scrapes the tip of the iceberg on why it is a right decision to take your PR talents to the nonprofit world. Even if this isn’t for you, I challenge us all to broaden our horizons and look into internships that are outside of our comfort zone.

Myth-Busting: Introverts in PR

March 23, 2015

By: Emily Barber, @emilybarbershop

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The stereotypical image that comes to mind when picturing a public relations professionals is someone who is loud, outgoing, talkative and extremely social; a.k.a. an extrovert. While many people in PR fit this description, there’s also another group that doesn’t fit the same mold – introverts. According to Introvert Retreat, about half of the population is introverted, so some of them are bond to make their way into PR. This means that these individuals enjoy spending time alone to recharge and relax. Despite these inward tendencies, introverts can still be successful in PR, and here are a few reasons why:

1. You choose your words carefully

Introverts tend to be more reserved, and therefore think before they speak. While those extroverts are posting tweets that could damage a brand’s reputation, you take the time to carefully select each of your 140 characters.

2. You’re detail-oriented

Much like their strategic word choices, introverts pay attention to detail. They are good listeners and like to take their time, so you know every event planned by an introvert is sure to be a success.

3. You value your relationships

Network, network, network. As PR people, we hear this all the time. Rather than making short, shallow connections with a bunch of different people, introverts develop strong relationships. In a business where it’s all about who you know, introverts can be sure that their connections will help them out.

4. Introversion ≠ poor communication skills

A common misconception of introverts is that they are awkward communicators, but this is far from the truth. Introverts do not necessarily have inadequate social skills; they simply gain energy from being alone. They can still give a killer speech, network like a pro, or control mobs of prying journalists – they just might need a little quiet time after!

I grew up with an introverted mother and an extroverted father, so I consider myself to be somewhere in the middle of these two personality traits. I enjoy talking with and meeting new people, but I will also choose staying home and reading a book, instead of going to a party sometimes. Nevertheless, I have no doubt in my mind that I will someday be a successful PR pro. Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between, PR can be your thing, as long as you’re dedicated, driven, and passionate!

5 Campaigns That Every Woman Needs to Know About

March 20, 2015

By: Kerry Tuttle, @kerrtut

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International Women’s Day was celebrated earlier this month to champion the achievements of women around the world, while continuing to call for greater equality. A number of brands have recently launched campaigns to bring attention to the various struggles that women face – whether it’s self-confidence, domestic violence or equality in the workplace. Here are five standout campaigns you need to know about.

Love Your Selfie

Aerie’s world’s largest unretouched selfie was just the latest in their #AerieREAL campaign that launched early last year, when the company announced they would no longer be using Photoshop on models. The campaign is aimed at boosting body positivity and celebrating “real” women.

Not There

The Clinton Foundation made a statement and reminded the world that we are still not there in terms of gender equality. They removed women from billboards and print ads to place a different message. Women in ads by brands such as Kate Spade, Under Armour and Beats by Dre were replaced with the Web address not-there.org.

Faircloth & Supply

Urban Outfitters is partnering with a charitable clothing brand called Faircloth & Supply to create a capsule collection in stores and online. Faircloth & Supply provides school uniforms, supplies and scholarships to girls in Nepal. To date, they have sent almost 1,000 Nepali girls to school and hope to triple that number this year.

Love Your Curls

After finding that only four out of 10 curly-haired girls thought their locks were beautiful, Dove launched the Love Your Curls campaign to encourage women to wear their curls proudly, and inspire the younger generation to do the same. In true Dove fashion, there’s a heart-wrenching video to accompany the campaign.

#TheDress

The Salvation Army took advantage of the white/gold, blue/black debate to bring attention to domestic violence against women, and the fact that one in six women are victims of abuse. One of the print ads features a bruised model wearing a clearly white and gold dress with the tagline, “Why is it so hard to see black and blue?”

Hidden Gems in OU Course Offerings

March 19, 2015

By: Austin Ambrose, @tex_ambrose7

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Advising week is underway, and all of us are looking for a class or two to take as elective or requirement. As we peruse the course catalogue, there are classes that catch our eye because the title is so dang interesting. Some of us, who may be me, spend more time than others looking through the vast selections of courses that are offered at our lovely institution. If you are looking for an unusual class to take, here are a few to pick from.

Drugs and the Brain

-Now, we may not all be science people, but we have to take science classes, and this is one that can engage any student. This class is centered on looking at how the brains neurotransmitters respond to different types of drugs. Even though the focus is learning about the nervous system, there is a large component that surveys the major classes of drugs. The best part is this can count as one of your science credits (I think).

Famous Trials in American History

-Who doesn’t want to talk about murder, scandal and celebrities? This class has everything that consumers look for in entertainment, and it’s a history course. Trials that drew national attention and became historical events in the country are the topics of discussion in this class. It could also be interesting to look at the media’s influence and role with these trials. One to consider.

Nonprofit Management

-Did anyone know that we have a leaderships and public affairs section of courses? I only recently learned this myself, but the classes offered sound incredible, and align great with PR professionals. Nonprofit management is one of these courses, and the name tells you it all. This course looks at nonprofits role in society, its economy and how to manage the functions that apply to nonprofits.

Sociology of Sport

-Sports are such a hue part of life in the United States, shout out to March Madness. This class looks at how sports interact with society, its functions and its historical placement. There are so many ways that sports influence our life, and this class is designed to explain those influences and how it affects people.

There are so many incredible classes that you can take during your time here at OU. All you have to do is scan through the course catalogue. There are of course hundreds of your standard English, science, sociology, etc., but there are some hidden gems that just take a little time to discover. I encourage you to look and share some of the quirky classes you find.

The Need for Special Events

March 18, 2015

By: Abby Miller, @abbby_e

02.07.09 MPI at Aquarium

When people think of public relations, the usual skill and strategies like social media management and crisis management come to mind. One aspect of public relations that can be of key importance, however, is special event planning. Special event planning is when a company puts on a wide variety of events that promote their business. A special event could be anything from a grand opening, to an anniversary celebration, to a community fair. Hosting a successful event can do wonders for your brand’s image, and hopefully position that brand in your consumers’ minds. For just this reason, event planning is an important skill for every aspiring PR professional to have in their arsenal.

  • What can special events do for your brand?

Hosting a number of special events can help to strengthen your relationship with your customers and/or community, by providing them the opportunity to see who your company is. This in turn builds awareness of your brand, encourage brand loyalty and support, and draws attention to all of the cool new actions that you’re company is taking!

  • What to avoid?

One of the main pitfalls of special event planning is hosting an event for no reason. Make sure there is a legitimate reason to be putting on an event. Special events are best done with a specific purpose in mind, whether it’s to promote a new product, celebrate a company accomplishment, or strengthen community relationships. Regardless of the reason, its important to always have a message and clear target audience to deliver your message to.

Another major pitfall of special event planning is lack of planning. Producing a successful event takes time and dedication, and an event won’t live up to its full potential without it. Nothing is worse than inviting a group you want to impress to an event that falls short of their expectations.

Special event planning is a large aspect of public relations, and making sure these events are done appropriately will ensure that they are also effective for your company.

How to get the most out of your study abroad experience

March 17, 2015

By: Elizabeth Harris, @elizharris32

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It’s that time of year again! Many students have made the life-changing decision to study abroad in the destinations of their dreams this summer. By this time last year, I was accepted into Ohio University’s Politics in Paris Program. I had my flight booked, I was researching everything and anything about Paris, and Europe in general. My over-all excitement level was through the roof. Studying abroad was the best decision I ever made in my life, and I would give anything to go back again this summer. Here are some tips for first-time study abroad students to make sure you have the best study abroad experience possible!

1. Embrace every single moment

It may sound cliché, but it really does’t hit you how amazing of an experience you had until you get home and it’s all over. Take several moments “to soak it all in” and realize how lucky you are to be in the country of your dreams.

2. Travel to other cities as much as possibly 

The world has so much to offer; every city is different. Especially if you’re studying in Europe, traveling from city to city can be extremely inexpensive. Utilize student travel opportunities, as well as discount airlines; I found a round-trip flight from Ryanair that went from Paris to Barcelona for only $100. In addition to Barcelona, I also went to Amsterdam and the French countryside. You do not know when you will have the opportunity to be back again; take advantage of as many travel opportunities as possible.

3. Don’t let the metro scare you. 

It may seem intimidating and daunting at first, but the metro really is not that scary. It is an extremely efficient way to travel from place to place. You can easily download several different apps, that don’t require Wi-Fi, that will tell you the exact route to take when going from one destination to another.

4. Become really close with other students in your group 

Your group becomes your family throughout your time abroad. You will spend every day with these people. So, even if they may not be the type of people you would normally hang out with, try to establish friendships, you may be surprised. Your study abroad friends may end up being the best friends you will ever make in your life.

5. Bring a selfie stick. 

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The selfie stick has become an essential travel companion for many travelers. If you use a selfie stick, your pictures will inevitably be amazing snapshots and memories to keep and cherish for a lifetime.

6. Keep an open mind

There are many different serotypes of the various cities throughout the world, which are not necessarily always true. For example, that the French are all rude. I found that most French people are actually extremely kind. Also, keep an open mind when trying new foods, using new modes of transportation, meeting people of different cultures, and much more.

7. Secure your belongings

Pick-pocketers are everywhere, especially in highly populated tourist areas and the metro. Make sure you are always aware of your surroundings and keep a hand on your purse at all times.

8. Wander 

Sometimes you will find the best hidden treasures when your are least expecting to. Take the time to simply wander the city you call home during your time abroad. Without setting a destination, see what all the city really has to offer you. (As long as you are wandering in safe areas, of course!)

9. It’s OK to look like a tourist! 

Chances are most other people around you will be tourists as well. Embrace your inner-tourist. Take thousands of pictures, do not be afraid to carry around a map, ask for directions, and overall have fun!

The Power of Language

March 16, 2015

By: Grace Driscoll, @GraceDriscoll_

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For as long as I can remember, taking a language course in school has not only been an expectation, but a graduation requirement. I took my first Spanish class in Kindergarten (yes, at the age of 5), and since then have without fail enrolled in whatever level came next (the exception being when I was accidently placed in Mandarin Chinese my senior year of high school, but that’s another story).

Whether it Spanish, Mandarin, or French, it seems like there is a connotation that goes along with seeing this subject show up on one’s schedule. Most people I know dread going to a class where they are forced to speak a foreign dialect.

Middle and high school students, from all over the country, are being required to stand in front of their peers to give a presentation or speech on a topic they know nothing about, in a language they know very little of. Grammar quizzes are given a bit too frequently on parts of speech we don’t know the names of in English, let alone in a foreign language.

Participation and effort grades are given based on how often one can raise their hand in the hour class period. It shouldn’t come to much of a surprise, then, that students aren’t exactly thrilled to be participating in such activities.

It’s quite possible that this misery is, in part, due to how language classes are perceived.  In our society, students hire personal math and science tutors to help them perfect the necessary skills needed to excel in standardized tests, and continue moving forward in school.

If one were to hire a French tutor, however, it would seem a bit out of the ordinary. Don’t get me wrong, quantum physics and thermodynamics certainly have their time and place for being both relevant and useful; but by limiting oneself to knowing only English, you will be able to communicate only with other people who speak English as well.

While students today try to adhere to the bare minimum of the language requirements, many overlook the fact that being bilingual may just be the most coveted skill. Someone can obtain this technique, and continue on to wherever their academic and professional fields take them.

In just four years time, the number of college students enrolled in a language, other than English, has dropped by 100,000 people. This is partly because if a program doesn’t require any language credits, students will most likely not take the class ‘for fun’.  To broaden your horizons you don’t necessarily need to major or minor in a second language, but there’s no harm in using an elective to take a Portuguese 1000 course.

Knowing a second language opens innumerable doors for your future.  It gives you the ability to communicate with entire other populations and cultures.  No one said it would be easy, or else everyone else would pick up another language.

Next time you dread the thought of learning Spanish conjugations, or how to pronounce the different tones in Mandarin, think to yourself- what’s the worst thing that can happen?  You have many people from around the world that you will now have the ability to talk to!

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