Sunday, August 31, 2003

PRSSA meeting on September 7

Mark you calendars! The first PRSSA meeting of the 2003-2004 school year will be held on Sunday, September 7th @ 5:00 in UC 237. New members are welcome!

Friday, August 29, 2003

Tony Blair's director of communications and strategy quits

Alastair Campbell, director of communications and strategy for UK's Prime Minister Tony Blair, has resigned.

Mr. Campbell, known as the "spin doctor" of the British government, has become, according to The Guardian, "the centre of criticism about the government's preoccupation with spin and media presentation for at least the past three years." Recently, he was involved in a bitter disagreement with the BBC over a BBC report stating that the British government made false claims about Iraqi's capabilities to deploy weapons of mass destruction in order to make the case for war.

» Read The Guardian's full coverage of Campbell's resignation, and take a quiz to see if you can take his job (if you want to)

Monday, August 25, 2003

Say it in plain English

Bloomberg (thanks to Richard Bailey for this news):

U.K. companies that use clear English when communicating with investors may yield better returns than others that rely on jargon, according to a London-based corporate communications firm.

Clarity Business Solutions in Writing Ltd. is betting on the best communicators in the FTSE 100, by creating an index of the top 10 and buying 1,000 pounds ($1,584) of each one's stock.

"The companies we admire explain their strategies in ways that ordinary people can understand,'' said Clarity's Chief Executive Rupert Morris in an e-mailed statement. "Successful companies use direct and simple language."

» Read the full report [HTML]
» Download the report [PDF, 48 KB] and 4 case studies [PDF, 38 KB]

First International Index of Bribery for News Coverage

The Institute for Public Relations will publish on September 8 the first International Index of Bribery for News Coverage. The index will be available on IPR's website.

This comprehensive index ranks 66 of the world’s nations for the likelihood that print journalists will seek or accept cash for news coverage from government officials, businesses, or other news sources. The index focuses specifically on cash for news coverage practices by daily newspapers.

An RSS primer (for PR professionals & students, too)

ResourceShelf points to an excellent resource: RSS - A Primer for Publishers & Content Providers. Here are a couple of points that should interest PR professionals:
Imagine that your company announces a new product or feature every month or two. Without an RSS feed, your viewers have to remember to come to your site and see if they find anything new - if they have time. If you provide a feed for them, they can point their aggregator or other software at it, and it will give them a link and a description of developments at your site almost as soon as they happen. News is similar; because there are so many sources of news on the Internet, most of your viewers won't come to your site every day. By providing an RSS feed, you are in front of them constantly, improving the chances that they'll click through to an article that catches their eye. (Mark Nottingham)

Using RSS is not just about announcing new products. Journalists are using RSS feeds to stay informed with the latest news and events, and RSS is an excellent medium for delivering them tailored information without clogging their e-mails (and there is no need to call and ask them if they've received your RSS feed...).

What you can find in the primer (that is primarily intended for a non-technical audience):
1. Aims & Scope
2. Why should publishers & content providers produce RSS?
3. What is RSS?
4. RSS - Common Questions Answered
5. Identifying Suitable Content
6. Producing RSS
7. RSS - Technical Pointers & Web Resources
8. Good Practice Recommendations for RSS Production
9. Promoting & Discovering RSS Feeds
10. Utilizing RSS Feeds
11. References and Notes

Thanks to Gary Price for this information.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Page Principles

Remember Page principles? Here they are (courtesy of A. W. Page Society):

Tell the truth. Let the public know what’s happening and provide an accurate picture of the company’s character, ideals and practices.

Prove it with action. Public perception of an organization is determined 90 percent by what it does and ten percent by talking.

Listen to the customer. To serve the company well, understand what the public wants and needs. Keep top decision makers and other employees informed about public reaction to company products, policies and practices.

Manage for tomorrow. Anticipate public reaction and eliminate practices that create difficulties. Generate goodwill.

Conduct public relations as if the whole company depends on it. Corporate public relations is a management function. No corporate strategy should be implemented without considering its impact on the public. The public relations professional is a policymaker capable of handling a wide range of corporate communications activities.

Remain calm, patient, and good-humored. Lay the groundwork for public relations miracles with consistent, calm and reasoned attention to information and contacts.When a crisis arises, remember that cool heads communicate best.

Case Study Competition in Corporate Communication Call for Entries

The Arthur W. Page Society announced recently that the eligibility rules for the Case Study Competition in Corporate Communication has been expended to include students enrolled in degree programs an accredited school of comunication or journalism.

The competition challenges students to submit original case studies focusing on how corporate communications and the practice of public relations address business problems. Cash prizes totaling $14,000 will be awarded to the authors of winning entries and their faculty advisors. In addition, the country’s leading corporate communications executives will recognize the Grand Prize winners at an Awards Ceremony Dinner on April 1, 2004.

Any student, graduate or undergraduate, enrolled in an accredited school of business, communications or journalism who is pursuing a degree (full-time or part-time), is eligible to participate. Students may participate as sole authors or as members of a case study team (not to exceed four people). In order to participate, each student author or case study team must have sponsorship of a faculty member who is expected to advise and guide the case study’s development.

» Submissions deadlines: January 14, 2004
» Download submission guidelines and the application form [PDF, 52 KB, 4 pages]
» Read the winning studies of 2003 competition [PDF, 526 KB, 56 pages].

More information:

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Interested in becoming an APR?

Miami PRSA event (thanks to Morgana for information):
What: Fall APR 101 Workshop (for those interested in learning more about becoming an APR )
When: September 6
Where: University of Miami School of Communication
Who: Dr. Donn Tilson, APR
Contact: Kelly Abbondondolo, APR (305-860-1335)
Note: There will be a $40 fee for PRSSA members.

PR campaign developed by students

From Ben Silverman's PR Fuel (a recommended reading), here is an interesting article about a success story:
Eight thumbs up on this one. Three University of Houston students who took a PR class last semester put their knowledge to good use: By promoting a store that serves as a funding outlet for a shelter for battered women. The student's PR work increased sales at the store. "The students learned that a product has to be marketable before it can be marketed. This whole experience taught the students that the best way for a PR practitioner to have an impact is to be part of management's discussions on an organization's direction," Toby Stark, the student's teacher and a Houston-area PR pro, said. Seasoned PR pros can learn from these young ladies.

I learned about successful PR campaigns developed by UM students and I hope this weblog will host soon a couple of stories about them.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

A lesson from the recent blackout

The recent blackout offered everybody a lesson -- one that goes beyond the science of electrical grid design (emphasis added):

The events of the past few days — unwanted side effects of our network society — are just one of the periodic reminders that we live in a globalized world. While celebrating that everybody on earth is only six handshakes from us, we need to accept that so are their problems and vulnerabilities.

Most failures emerge and evaporate locally, largely unnoticed by the rest of the world. A few, however, percolate through our dense technological and social networks, hitting us from the most unexpected directions. Unless we are willing to cut the connections, the only way to change the world is to improve all nodes and links.

[Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, professor of physics at the University of Notre Dame, author of Linked: The New Science of Networks, in We're all on the grid together -- The New York Times -- free registration required]

President Shalala about University Village Project

Saturday's Miami Herald published a letter about the University Village project, signed by UM President Donna Shalala:

UM needs housing

The University of Miami is a committed community partner. We strive to work with all of our neighbors. A group of Coral Gables residents has labeled us ''bullies'' for our attempt to build much-needed student apartments on campus. They do not represent the majority of our neighbors, most of whom support our efforts.

Creating a top research university requires recruiting the best students and faculty, engaging committed philanthropists, securing federal research funds and building necessary infrastructure -- like student housing. Those opposing construction of University Village have lost sight of a university's purpose: to educate, conduct research and create tomorrow's leaders. They seem to envision a university devoid of students; or at least, only with students you can't hear or see. That attitude will restrain our ability to compete with the nation's best universities.

UM has been an integral part of this community for more than 75 years. It's time we built University Village, a project that will improve our campus and neighborhood.


University of Miami
Coral Gables

Friday, August 15, 2003

PRWeb offers a huge list of RSS feeds. Check it out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Miami Today:
The University of Miami's School of Medicine wants to expand its research facilities and parking facilities by 1 million square feet within 10 years. The expansion, part of a capital improvement plan, is tied to university officials' desire to become one of the top 20 medical schools in the nation. [...] The school's capital campaign for campus-wide projects is expected to be made public in October, Dean Clarkson said. The university is currently in the "quiet phase" of its fund-raising plans for hundreds of millions of dollars, he said.

New to blogs? Try starting here: BLOG Resource -- Demystifying what a BLOG is and how to best use one.
Are you an RSS newbie? Here is my favorite article about RSS: J.D. Lasica's News That Come to You.

PR Week UK "poll": "PR students are running their own PR agency, managing real campaigns for real clients – would you entrust your PR to them?" Well, the answer is more than encouraging, but it's misleading; one can vote more than once...

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

The family of UM blogs grows bigger: using Technorati's Cosmos I just found out that the Wesley Foundation at the UM has a blog.

Tom Murphy has a posting about PR news. We're honored. PR Opinions is the best place to start exploring the universe of PR weblogs and a wonderful resource.

The last issue of PR Tactics has the spotlight on PR Education:
» Graduate students: What you need to know to work with them, or become one
» Motivating students by keeping it real [I realy like this subtitle: "Students as consumer publics"]
» Only an A- ? Combating grade inflation

Registration forms for the National PRSSA Conference are now available online. The deadline for conference registration is September 19.

An interesting article from The New York Times: it seams that the ancient Inca population used knoted strings -- known as khipu or quipu -- in order to encode and record information. Think about it: "a reading of the knotted string devices, if deciphered, could perhaps reveal narratives of the Inca Empire, the most extensive in America in its glory days before the Spanish conquest in 1532."

Dr. Gary Urton from Harvard suggests that "the khipu did not record information in graphic signs for words, but rather a kind of three-dimensional binary code similar to the language of today's computers. "

» Dr. Urton will publish this month a book on this subject, titled "Signs of the Inka Khipu"; read the first chapter
» an interviu with Dr. Urton, published by Harvard Gazette