Tag Archives: Public Relations

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What it actually means to get a Masters in PR

By Ali Parisi
MS Public Relations ’16
BU College of Communication

What is public relations you ask? Writing.

As a first semester PR grad student, that’s at least how I see it.  In fact, one of my favorite classes this semester has turned out to be Writing for Media Professionals with Professor Dorothy Clark.

In high school, if you had told me that I would end up loving writing, I would have flat out laughed in your face.  Back then, the only type of writing we did was to analyze works of literature.  And if you didn’t agree with the teacher’s analysis, you wouldn’t agree with your grade either.  That type of writing was just not for me.

But this class is the complete opposite.  Instead of writing to agree with someone else, I get to write for my audience (or, as we like to call them in PR, “publics”).  I get to write things that I can actually use in the fabled “real world.”

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For example, one assignment had us write a traditional news release.  To simplify things, Professor Clark had us write about a made-up conference for which she provided all of the information and facts about the hosting organization. That way, we could focus on both prioritizing the information to fit the format of a news release and also on writing in the objective voice, typical of that writing format.

To make this assignment even more hands-on, we also had to do a second, social media version of the news release; honestly, had no idea what a social media news release was before this class, but everyone knows that social media is huge today, and online news is growing faster than traditional media.  This assignment gave me a taste of both and helped me feel like I was actually learning something practical and applicable for my future career in PR.

Another assignment from this class, and easily my favorite so far, was to “create a blog with a focused brand for yourself” (straight from the syllabus).  I really enjoyed this assignment because we were able to write about something that we are truly interested in, rather than being assigned a topic that we don’t care about.  I chose to create a blog that focused on fashion from an athlete’s perspective.  Check it out here (Note: keep in mind that I made this site for the assignment and therefore it may not be perfect! Meaning the social media links don’t actually link to anything, etc.).

Everything we do in this class is up-to-date and tailored to fit the demands of new media.  Aside from the blog and news releases, we’ve also worked with Twitter, created a landing page for an event, and will be working on a feature and slideshow in the next few weeks.  We’re always talking about writing online as being a portal to other information, writing in your voice versus a company’s voice, and more.  Most of our assignments have second drafts, which gives us the chance to review and refine our work after getting criticism.  I feel that this is extremely valuable for the real workplace, where editors are more likely to chop up your work and spit it back at you, demanding a re-write.

If all of my classes in grad school are as engaging and hands on as this one, I have a feeling I’ll be just fine.

Check out the video below of Alumna Sandra Frazier (’01)  as she shares how the Public Relations courses she took at BU helped prepare her for working in the real world. Frazier is CEO of Tandem Public Relations in Louisville, KY.

Think you have better ideas for future PR assignments? Leave a note in the comments below!

Interested in BU’s College of Communication Public Relations graduate program? Ask us any questions in the comment section. Also, be sure to check out our program webpage for more information the various graduate programs we have to offer.  

Back to my new, old school

By Ali Parisi
MS Public Relations ’16
BU College of Communication

If you were in a 30-mile radius of Boston during Labor Day weekend, you knew: it was move-in time.  Home to numerous colleges and universities, the Boston move-in process is a beast in itself.  Everything from midday bumper to bumper traffic to countless discarded furniture pieces left on the curb screams, “Get out of this city while you still can.” And yet, hundreds of thousands of college students continue to make their way into the city.

Fortunately for me, this wasn’t my first time around the block, and I was smart enough to move in well before then.  This will be my fourth year at Boston University.  After three years of studying Mass Communication, I’m incredibly excited to dive straight into BU’s Public Relations graduate program.

If moving in and adjusting to graduate level classes wasn’t enough already, it’s also the middle of soccer season. I’ve been on campus since August 3rd for preseason training. Before classes even started, I had been through three weeks of training, two home games and a weekend trip for two games in South Carolina. I think it’s safe to say I’ve been pretty busy.  But hey, that’s life, right?

I have to admit, it’s so nice already knowing my way around campus and the city of Boston.  But even though I’ve been here for a few years already, I still feel the excitement of a new start: meeting new classmates and professors, taking new courses, and even playing new teams in soccer.  The comfort of the location, along with the thrill of a new beginning truly gives me the best of both worlds.

We’ll see how happy I am to be this busy when the papers start piling up…But for now, bring it on BU.

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Taking My Research Overseas

By: Jaclyn Weisberg

After 3,500 miles in the air, 2.5 hours in the bus, and boundless weeks of preparation, the day had finally arrived; my dream was becoming a reality. I was walking into my first public relations conference…. in England!

I’m not embarrassed to say that my morning consisted of sweaty palms and a stomach full of butterflies. But, as I entered the University of Bournemouth and was welcomed into the 5th International History of Public Relations Conference, my fears were quickly alleviated. I felt right where I belonged, surrounded by people from all over the globe who shared the same desire as me to expand and share their knowledge of public relations.

On the first day of the conference, Dr. Dustin Supa and I presented our proceeding, entitled “What’s in a name? The history and evolution of the naming of sports venues as a public relations tool.” Surveying the role of branding with regard to the name of a particular stadium, the paper studies the Coliseum, Wrigley Field and Busch Stadium.

As research assistant for Dr. Supa, a BU professor for both graduate and undergrad students, I’ve had the opportunity to assist with various research initiatives, focusing primarily on the history of public relations.

I’m humbled to have had the opportunity to interact with my Boston University professors outside of the classroom setting and to watch as they literally played on a global intellectual stage, in front of noted scholars from all four corners of the world.

It was an honor to see firsthand the respect that other public relations academics have for BU’s program. I can say with extreme fervor that I’m proud to be a BU graduate student.

I feel fortunate (and a little star struck) to have spent time interacting with prestigious and highly esteemed academics, researchers, and practitioners from more than 15 countries.

As keynote speaker Dr. Gunter Bentale, distinguished professor at Leipzig University, said, “the true definition of public relations is to work for, with, and in the public.”

After this past week, I couldn’t agree more.

This conference has truly enriched my outlook on the world of public relations. The knowledge, feedback and stories I have received are invaluable.

In the final plenary of the conference, Tim Travis Healy concludes, “character is the most crucial part in professional public relations. The checklist to success is simple. Be personable, mature, articulate, courageous and humorous and you will equip yourself with the tools to succeed in this field.”

As a future practitioner, I will utilize all that I learned this week. I look forward to attending more conferences in the future and I hope to maintain the connections I’ve made for years to come. I couldn’t have asked for a better #myCOM experience!

*Jaclyn is a graduate student in the Public Relations program. For more information on the program, click here.