Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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Summer Reflection Series: Logan Trautman

October 15, 2014

By: Logan Trautman @logantrautman

An internship is not only supposed to help you gain knowledge and experience, but guide you to figure out what the heck it is that you are meant to do after graduation. This is a somewhat terrifying thought considering there are so many available opportunities, but you are left to choose only one. So as spring semester rolled around last school year, and the internship hunt was in full swing, I found myself not only asking the typical questions of each opportunity – Is this paid? How many hours will I work? Will I be retrieving coffee and shredding papers all day? – and if this is an experience that will help shape my future.

Luckily, I ended up at MediaSource, a media relations firm in Columbus, OH. I was one of two media relations interns that worked for 10 weeks with this small but mighty company. I learned valuable skills in the field of media relations, sure, but what this internship taught me most is what to look for in a future career.

  1. Find a company culture that fits your personality. When I first spoke with MediaSource representatives, they handed me a container of jellybeans, which happened to be the color of their brand. From that moment on I knew the environment that I worked in would be creative, fun and innovative. It was exactly what I was looking for!
  2. Find a location you can call home. My hometown is Pittsburgh so living in a new city with no source of income (I clearly didn’t pick my internship for the previously mentioned paid or unpaid aspect) wasn’t exactly comforting. However, by the end of my internship I had grown so attached to Columbus and the incredible people I met there I shed a tear knowing I had to go back to my real home.
  3. Meet as many people as humanly possible. Being in the field of PR this may be a bias statement, but people are awesome. My internship taught me the importance of not only creating relationships, but also maintaining them. There are many times when it won’t be about what you know, but about who you know.

Now that I’m a senior, I plan to take these bits of wisdom and apply them to my upcoming, and final year at Ohio University!


Facebook Posts: Text vs. Photo

October 13, 2014

By: Annie Beard @annie_beard

Ah, the ongoing debate… Which drives more Facebook traffic and engagement, photos or text? There are many studies to figure out the answer to this question, but there is never one correct answer.

For example, John Loomer Digital found the following results from its Facebook posts over one year, which showed that status updates reached more people than photos and links. Many people argue that this is because Facebook surfaces text-only posts in a News Feed more often than photos.


However, HubSpot found that photos drive higher engagement than the average post, which then drives more traffic.


Both studies may be correct and true, but they are driving traffic differently.

So, what does that mean?

It means that there is never one right answer, and you should find what works best for your page and your fans. In order to do so, you might have to do some experimenting to see if text or photos work better. Facebook Insights is a great resource to use to compare different types of posts that you have created in the past. It allows you to see the type of post, how many people it reached and how much engagement it got. From there, you see what works best and what will help you reach the goals that you have made. Also, keep in mind that it is important to use multiple types of posts so that your fans don’t get bored of only pictures or only text.

While I don’t believe there is one right answer that applies to every business’ Facebook page, I do believe that every business can find what works best for it. So, to give a simple answer, find the type of post that your audience reacts to the best, and post away!

Summer Reflection Series: Angela Keane

October 10, 2014

By: Angela Keane @angela_keane

cinciWhenever professionals speak at our classes or at PRSSA meetings, they always stress one thing: get experience. Since freshman year I knew that I should try to get as many internships as possible, but I knew it would be hard because I had so little experience. So during the second semester of sophomore year I was looking everywhere for an internship. I got those emails from Debra and Karen about internships looking to hire Ohio University students and decided to apply to the internships in my hometown. Even though I applied to internships I didn’t really think I would actually get, I did. Over the summer I interned at the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau and it taught me so much!

When I accepted their offer, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I had no idea what a convention and visitor’s bureau (CVB) was, but I quickly realized that they are very instrumental in bringing people from all over the country to Cincinnati. At the CVB we marketed Cincinnati in order to bring conventions to the city, which then would boost the city’s revenue.

After interning there all summer I learned how much Cincinnati had to offer. I thought I knew Cincinnati but I really didn’t. I learned so much about the place where I was from, and all the incredible things my city was doing everyday.

During my internship I learned what it was like to work in a real office environment. I learned how to not be afraid to ask questions, and how to fix mistakes I had made. Please pay attention to detail when turning things in. It makes you look more professional. The biggest tip I can give anyone is to always ask for more work! I was able to get involved in more projects because I was always asking what I could do for the communications and marketing department. What I loved about my internship was all of the local press conferences I got to go to. I was able to interact with the local news media, and that helped me make connections. Not to mention Vice President Joe Biden spoke at one of the conventions, which was an awesome experience!

Overall my internship experience was great! I was able to network with a lot of local people that I would have never met without Cincy USA. Your employers really know what they are doing, so take advantage of that and learn from them. Come to work excited and try to get the most out of your internship.

Summer Reflection Series: Hannah Wheeless

October 9, 2014

By: Hannah Wheeless @tweetsonwheels

sanantonioThis past summer I was fortunate enough to remember my roots down in the Lone Star State of Texas while gaining valuable knowledge of the PR industry. Interning at a major communications agency thousands of miles away from my OU home made for an incredible experience.

KGBTexas Communications is headquartered in San Antonio, but also has an office in Houston. They have clients both local and national including, the San Antonio Police Department, Benson Automotive, McDonalds and Walmart. I was a PR and advertising intern, which allowed me the opportunity to understand how both sides function. I learned everything from media lists to event planning while working with some of the most talented, creative and inspiring people I’ve ever met.

The top three things I took away from my internship are

Internships are not as scary as I thought

I remember being a freshman at my first PRSSA meeting hearing all about internships and how crucial it was that I had a good one or I basically wasn’t getting a job. Cue my first mental breakdown. Luckily, just as everyone says, everything will work out and it did. I learned that confidence is key, and as long as you’re doing the best you can do, everything will be fine. However successful, important and down right intimidating the employees you work with are, they are just people and they’re there to help.

I don’t know everything and nobody expects me to

Internships exist so you can learn what a classroom lecture can’t teach you. No matter how big or small the business you intern at, everyone is there to teach you something. I made plenty of mistakes in my short six weeks, but I learned from those mistakes, and now I can recite the phone number to every news station in San Antonio.

It’s important to get to know who I’m working with

We’ve all heard it before: it’s not what you know – it’s who you know. KGB was a fairly smaller agency, so I was given the opportunity to meet and work with almost everyone. Not only did I work with them in the office, but also I frequently tagged along on lunch breaks with different employees throughout my internship. Getting to actually sit down and learn about the person I was sitting with in an office with for eight hours a day helped me advance in my internship, and will certainly help me in the future.

The next step is using all of this knowledge to get that dream job. We’ll start with goals of this semester.

Put together a portfolio

I can talk about what I did at my internship for days, but if I don’t actually have anything to show then not a lot of people employers care.

Get on Dean’s List

It is about who you know, but that will only get me so far. Any employer can appreciate a nice set of PR skills, and the GPA to back it up.

Manage the stress

Between the work, school and campus clubs it’s easy to have a breakdown or twelve. If I can remember to go for a nice run or kick it on the couch every now and then, I think I’ll find making these goals happen a little easier. As a senior, it’s important to live this last beautiful bobcat year to the fullest.






Summer Reflection Series: Erica Stonehill

October 8, 2014

3 Lessons, 2 Jobs, 1 Summer: Where PR, Panera, and Aeropostale overlap

By: Erica Stonehill @estonehill13


This summer I took on the exhausting task of working two jobs. I’ve been a tried and true Panera Bread employee for going on three years, and recently landed a position at the local Aeropostale. After learning more about public relations in the past year, I’ve noticed on more than one occasion how my current jobs intermix with my future career.

  • The customer is always right – As frustrating as it may be sometimes, you are employed to make others happy. That is your job. If a customer requests no broccoli in her broccoli cheddar soup, you will stand there and fish every green tree out of her bowl because you are paid to please.

    Very rarely does a customer/client leave unsatisfied and only think poorly of the one person they dealt with – the blame falls back on the entire company. Sally Smith didn’t give me loads of broccoli in my soup, Panera Bread did. You are the face of an entire company, and your mistakes become everyone’s mistakes. Please the client at all costs, because one bad review can outshine ten outstanding ones.

  • You will never know it all – My first few shifts at Aeropostale were nerve racking. I was so used to being a veteran at Panera that it was terrifying to be the new kid again. Retail and fast food are two totally different ball games, and I realized that immediately. I had to adapt to the different environment quickly and understand both types of customers that I was working for.

    When working in the food industry you’re expected to greet the customer and be friendly, but quick. Get them their food and move on. Retail requires a conversation, the building of trust and ability to relate to the customer. The same goes for PR. Some clients will want to build a relationship with you and others will want the job done quickly and clean. You have to be able to adapt and read your client. Everyone is different, and it’s your job to please them all.

  • Loyalty goes a long way – I’ve had the pleasure of gaining “regulars” at Panera, this summer. I opened almost five days a week, and as a result, I see a lot of the same customers on a weekly (or daily) basis. One particular lady came in every morning, and instead of bringing her Panera card, has me look it up by her phone number. After a few visits I had her number memorized, and now when she comes in, she knows I already have her squared away. Last week I forgot her coffee when she came through the drive thru, but because I had built a sense of loyalty with her she was understanding and didn’t get upset when she had to come back for it.

    Treat each client as an individual rather than a task, and they will notice. In the event that you do make a mistake, they’re more likely to understand and excuse it. There are plenty of other companies they could go to. Remind them every day why yours is the better choice and it will not only keep your relationship strong, but it will bring in new clients as well.

Even though I didn’t have an internship this summer like many of my fellow classmates, I still tried to gain knowledge and experiences from my two jobs. I was surprised by how much they connected back to public relations. Doing whatever to please the client, giving yourself room to grow in everything you do, and building loyalty with your clients are three important parts of PR, as well as retail or fast food. My summer wasn’t all glitz and glamour in a big city, but I learned a few things that I will be able to use in the future.




Summer Reflection Series: Gentry Bennett

October 7, 2014

By: Gentry Bennett @Gen__andTonic


They say your career should involve what you do in your free time. Luckily for me, I love being online and procrastinate everything by getting on my laptop and browsing the web. My summer internship with NR Media Group allowed me to do just that, and in my pajamas!

Online internships are something I would recommend for everyone. They allow you the freedom to live in whichever city you choose and usually at your own schedule. Luckily I got the opportunity to reside in Dallas, Texas and have a job all while getting great experience in the lovely public relations field.

I was able to work with clients and develop internal strategies from the comfort of my couch. I was even flown out for my first business trip – a company retreat that was well received by all members of NR Media Group. We finally got to meet each other in person instead of simply communicating over Basecamp. The company culture is fantastic, and I wouldn’t trade in my experiences for the world. Luckily, I even got the opportunity to extend my internship while I’m in school.

I also got to launch all of our internal social media accounts within the past month and get to contribute writing to an audience of thousands each week on Tuesdays about topics that I love.

Overall, my summer internship was a great experience – I got to do research, client work and write about topics I’m passionate about. What more could I ask for?

Summer Reflection Series: Devon Pine

October 6, 2014

By: Devon Pine @LuckyNumbrDevon


Country Roads take me…to work

After various applications, rejections and turning down internships that I just couldn’t swing, I accepted my summer fate and moved back home with mom and dad. I was a few days into waiting tables when I received notice from McKinley for Congress 2014 inviting me to their team as a campaign intern. So, I packed up and headed to West by-God Virginia.

Looking back, I got more than a few writing samples and free lunches out of my internship:

Traditional PR isn’t dead. Working in politics, I found out fairly quickly that while social media and other digital forums were used, traditional media relations and grassroots marketing were the campaign’s focus. We worked mostly with volunteers and donors over the age of 60, who preferred to see things in hard print. While social is an extremely important ingredient in the PR mix, skills like writing a great press release or complying a solid media list are your bread and butter.

There is no “typical day” in the office. One week consisted of going to a Young Republicans luncheon, the next day I’m writing press releases, Thursday we’re painting a new office location and Saturday afternoon I’m knocking doors/taking surveys. Whether you’re in a corporate, nonprofit or agency setting, be prepared to move quickly and work on various projects throughout the internship.

Research your field. I am not a West Virginian and I am not a Republican. Yet, here I am working for a Congressman who is both. You may not be familiar with, or even agree with your client’s business, but it is crucial you do your homework and understand it. We’re here to take the medical, tech or political jargon and translate it into something their consumers can comprehend.

As October begins, I have a few goals for my last semester at Ohio University.

Start a career in corporate PR. Wait…what? As much as I loved my internship, lets be honest, not getting paid for 30 hours of work per week can be the pits. I’m sure this goal is shared among us PR stars (especially the seniors).

Be a dependable mentor. I don’t know where I would be without many of the past leaders of PRSSA and ImPRessions. Knowing I could count on them for advice was extremely beneficial. I hope that I can help another Bobcat reach his or her goals, even if it’s just helping set my co-Account Exec and the rest of the AVW account up for success next semester.

Cross everything off of my OU bucket list. It hasn’t exactly been easy accepting the fact that I’m leaving Heaven on Earth in just a few short months. Let’s see how many PRSSA meetings I can attend, UPC comedy shows I can laugh at and slices Goodfellas I can eat before December 12th.

Summer Reflection Series: Carolyn Nachman

October 1, 2014

By: Carolyn Nachman @carolynnachman

When I began college at OU three years ago I knew I wanted to spend one summer in Athens before I graduated. With one summer left, it was my last chance to experience Athens in all its summer glory. When it was time to start my summer internship search, I started looking around Athens and the surrounding area. For such a small town there are more opportunities than you would think. Between internships with the school, and newspapers in the surrounding area, there was plenty to apply to. And then I got an email about an internship opportunity with a non-profit environmental sustainability organization. Having never worked in non-profit, or really thought about working in non-profit, I applied on a whim. After an interview, I got the internship doing social media and communications at Rural Action.


After a three-month internship working in the non-profit sector of communications, I started to re-think my plans after graduation. I absolutely loved working for a non-profit organization. Working towards something you actually believe in, and working with people who are passionate and dedicated towards what they’re doing is an amazing experience. It’s nice to be able to make a phone call, and at the end of the conversation hear the person on the other end of the line tell you what a great job your organization is doing and how you’re really making a difference. It’s nice to hear, and not the kind of thing many people get to hear on a daily basis.

Another thing that was nice about working at a smaller organization is that I got to do a little bit of everything. My main work was with social media, but I got to work on event planning as well and a little bit with Photoshop (a new experience for me) – although the program still terrifies me.

I had all these amazing work experiences while also enjoying Athens summer. Trips to Strouds, beer at the River Park pool, and not having to push your way through crowded bars on Court Street are just a few of the many perks of summer in Athens. Then there’s Boogie on the Bricks, which was by far my favorite weekend in Athens to date. If nothing else, make sure you are in Athens for that one weekend during the summer.

Overall, my main takeaways from this summer are as follows:

  • Experience a new area of strategic communications you’ve never considered working with before. You never know what you could be missing out on.
  • Experience summer in Athens, it’s the only time in your life you’ll be able to do that – and trust me, you won’t want to miss Boogie on the Bricks.


Summer Reflection Series: Annie Beard

September 30, 2014 1 Comment

By: Annie Beard @annie_beard

I spent the past summer completely out of my comfort zone, and it turned out to be an awesome and rewarding experience. It was definitely a summer full of going to new places and trying new things.

To start, I spent the first two weeks in Europe with my boyfriend and our Contiki tour group. This was an amazing experience because our group consisted of people from all over the world. Not only did I learn so much about Europe and the places we visited, but also I learned about people in my group and their countries. I even picked up some Australian slang terms, such as sunnies (sunglasses) and Eskie (cooler). Along with some slang terms, I learned how much I love to travel and see new places, and I can’t wait to go on another trip in the future.


Once I returned to the States, it was time to start my internship – so I picked up and moved to Chicago! I interned with Tell Your Story Brand Communications, Inc., a small integrated marketing and PR agency. The founder of Tell Your Story, George Rafeedie, is an Ohio University alum, whom I met during his trip to Athens as the Jerry Sloan Visiting Professional. While interning, I worked with a team of five PR and marketing pros, who taught me so much about the industry. It was my first agency internship, and it confirmed that I want to work for an agency after graduation. Living in downtown Chicago didn’t hurt the experience either!

from the opera

This summer taught me a few lessons that I will take with me into my future:

  • Get out of your comfort zone. Try new things and travel to new places. Meet new people and learn new stuff. As scary as it seems, it will always pay off and teach you something you weren’t expecting to learn. Getting outside of your comfort zone will completely change you – in a good way!
  • If you work hard, people will want to help you out. (Especially Bobcats). My Tell Your Story coworkers always wanted to see me succeed, and they still do. They have become some of my biggest cheerleaders, whether they are recommending me on LinkedIn or sharing a soccer highlight video of me on Twitter. It is an awesome feeling to know that your hard work is appreciated and that people support you.
  • Go with the flow. PR is an industry that requires adaptability. Keep an open mind, and be willing to change plans if necessary. As PR Pros, we must be ready for anything that comes our way. 

Now that I am a senior, the real world will be here before I know it. I am excited to take the lessons that I have learned into my future.


Summer Reflection Series: Austin Ambrose

September 29, 2014

By: Austin Ambrose @tex_ambrose7

As a journalism major, one would expect me to have an internship working for a publication, a media company or PR position, but I took a very different opportunity. This summer, I decided to take a teaching fellow position for Breakthrough Collaborative, and teach seventh grade biology to underserved students in Birmingham, Alabama.

Breakthrough Collaborative is a national organization that recruits college-age students to teach in underserved urban schools across the country. The goal for the organization is to help fill the summer gap with an academic program that helps prepare students to succeed in high school, and on through college.

Yes, I was a teacher for two months. I made lesson plans, taught classes, had staff meetings and advised students. I learned more from this experience than any other in my life.

Making a lesson plan is a lot like putting together an agenda for a meeting

You have to know the objective of the meeting, the process it is going to take to reach this objective and having all of the proper material needed to have a successful meeting. It also requires good timing, so you can fit in everything in the allotted time. You have to be prepared to answer questions and keep control of the group. There are always unexpected bumps in the road, but you learn to roll with it and figure it out later.

These skills mirror those of a PR professional. Making agendas for meetings, planning out what needs to be accomplished at the meeting and being ready to answer questions that pop up. I feel more confident running a meeting, after standing in front of a group of seventh graders, than I ever have before.

I also learned that confidence is everything.

You have to believe that you know what you are doing, and own the experience. If you make a mistake, own up to that mistake. People are much more forgiving if you admit to a mishap as soon as it occurs. Being a teacher, you have to learn how to control emotions and work with an array of different students, and coworkers. There will be some that you work with better, and others that you have to learn to deal with. This is a skill that every professional needs to learn, because you are always going to be working with people, especially in the PR realm.

The Breakthrough organization as a whole has taught me how to set clear expectations for the people you are working with. Have a guideline that you can hold people to, so it is clear what’s expected of each member of the group.

Finally, it’s all play and a little work.

Finding a job that you are passionate about is key. If you are working a job that you love, it will make it seem like play. There will be moments it feels like work, but when the play outweighs the work, you know that you have made the right choice. Even after waking up on 5 hours of sleep most days, I was ready for the next day because I was excited about being with my students for another day of learning.

It may have been nontraditional, but the skills I learned were some that I never could have received from a journalism internship, but I feel more prepared to enter the field. Don’t always think inside the box – try something completely different. You never know what you will learn.


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