Lessons in PR: Saying ‘No’ to Winter Break Doldrums

The New Year starts tomorrow. My New Year’s resolution? Not to waste the time I have right now.

As a PR student, I’ve learned that it is important to take advantage of down time. So, this winter break, I’m going to do just that by acquiring skills that will help me market myself as a young PR professional. Listed below are my top four goals this winter break that I hope will help me in preparing for my career. Hopefully, these goals can inspire you, too!

Winter break can be more than just hanging out in the snow. Take the time to improve your skills in PR. – Photo Credit: The Hope Scholarship blog

1)      Learn Adobe Creative Suite 6

Before the past semester, I hardly knew what InDesign was. I definitely did not know much about the other Adobe programs that exist. Thank God for college. After completing the “News Editing for Public Relations” course, I have gained a lot of insight and a huge admiration for quality design work. We dabbled with InDesign and Illustrator in class but I know that my experience merely scratches the surface of things that can be done with CS6. To accomplish this, I’m going to be utilizing these cool videos by designer Terry White on how to explore CS6 as a beginner.

2)      Perfect my online portfolio

As a PR kid, I have observed how important professional online portfolios are. Having a good, professional online presence makes a huge difference today. So, I decided to really work on mine over winter break. Even though it would be easier to create one through WordPress (I mean I have my blog here), I decided to go with Weebly. Weebly allows HTML coding freedoms that WordPress does not allow, which brings me to my next goal… Continue reading


Lessons in PR: Learning from Disaster, 9/11



Communication served as a vital means of restoration during 9/11 – from the press, from businesses, from people and from PR practitioners. – Photo Credit: Imani Lewis at the Newseum

For any person in America, these numbers convey the horrific events of that day in 2001. This weekend, I  visited the Newseum’s 9/11 Gallery and experienced some flashback moments of my own. Despite feeling sad, I left inspired. The press showed heroic dedication to document what happened that day. History is grateful for them.

 After visiting the exhibit, I was curious to know about similar actions of PR practitioners during 9/11 and how crisis communication played a part in the recovery process. After a bit of research, I found an article by the Harvard Business Review, “Crisis Communication: Lessons from 9/11” discussing the key means of crisis communication during 9/11 that were critical to connecting with employees and reconstructing business life. The author Paul Argenti listed several steps in successful crisis communication of which I have the three following takeaways. Continue reading


Lessons in PR: The Lowdown on Fact-Checking

We live in the digital age where information gets pumped out 24/7.

Always fact check your work to avoid embarrassing mistakes like this one made by ESPN (just so you know that’s Minnesota, not Wisconsin). – Photo Credit by Darren Rovall on WhoSay

Have you ever stopped to think about how much of it is true?

This week in class, I learned about the importance of fact-checking and the best way to fact-check when writing  today.

A key step to fact-checking is knowing what information needs to be fact-checked. A few examples of information to always check are dates, names, historical persons and events, formal titles, and geographic locations! Websites like infoplease.com serve as great resources for checking facts like these.

Another tip to help with fact-checking is to stick with a particular style guide. When I am writing an article, I use a slew of resources to check things out but I always refer to the Associated Press Stylebook for formatting. When information needs to be checked, I do research and then put my research against the AP style format to make sure that my references are correct.

** Update Oct. 2, 2013


On behalf of my newsletter client, Transfer2Terp, a University of Maryland student organization, I would use resources provided through the university to do research and fact-checking work. I would use the official University of Maryland employee databases to contact individuals who have information about the makeup of the university’s transfer student population.  Regarding the research on individuals, I would check the featured information provided by those individuals and I would also contact them about the accuracy of the writing before the newsletter is published.


To help with your own fact-checking, here are some quick and dirty tips from a book called Creative Editing by Dorothy A. Bowles and Diane L. Borden.

  • #7 – Never assume anything!
  • #14 – Always use the tools available to you
  • Test all links, phone numbers in a story after you have typed them in.
  • #32 – Always go back and read the full sentence if you’ve changed a word or two in the copy.
  • #34 – In doubt? Always call the reporter, wire service or even the source.

With all the advice for fact-checking, a solid bottom line would be the popular saying, “When in doubt, check it out!”