Sunday, November 30, 2003

UM PRSSA Newsletter

UM PRSSA Newsletter, volume 4
By Melissa Greco, PRSSA Historian

PRSSA Fall Mixer -- This is an event you don’t want to miss!

Monday December 1st
UC International Lounge
6:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Free for members, $5 for non members

Bring a guest or come by yourself, just make sure to bring your resume and business cards!

A great way to:
# Meet fellow PRSSA Members
# Meet professional PR practitioners
-- drop your resume
-- pick up business cards
# Make contacts with professionals that can lead to internships or jobs

Light refreshments provided. Business attire is a must!

PRSSA is planning great events for next semester. As previously mentioned, are meetings are tentatively scheduled for Mondays. Please watch out for more information on exact dates and times. For our general meetings we are planning on having professionals come to talk about Fashion, Business, Health and Political PR as well as Investor Relations and Agency PR.

At our last PRSSA meeting, Dr. Hosmon, the Associate Dean at the School of Communication, gave his advice on writing resumes and cover letters. Here are quick tips and ideas that we learned.

Cover Letter:
@ Use good paper-no stationary, just a solid color and sturdy paper.
@ Design your own letterhead-this shows creativity and adds a personal touch.
@ Explain why you want to work for that particular company. Personalize it!
@ Be sure to include when exactly you are graduating or will be ready to work.
@ Highlight what sets you apart from other applicants-what do you bring to the table?
@ Conclude your letter with a “call to action”- allude that they’ll be hearing from you or that you will be following up to discuss opportunities.

@ Your resume doesn’t have to be one page.
@ Include name, addresses, phone numbers and emails. Note: When putting down your temporary address, put “temporary until ___ “so they know which address to contact you at.
@ In the Education section, you may also add interesting courses you have studied that indicate you are well-rounded. High school information is often not needed.

For more help, Dr. Hosmon has opened his doors to us. You may call to set up an appointment with him at 305-284-1870 or email him at

Friday, November 21, 2003

Panel explores CIA leak

UM School of Communication is hosting a panel that will explore the journalistic and legal implications of the leak of the name of a CIA operative to the news media last summer. Panelists will include Janet Reno, Tom Fiedler, executive editor of The Miami Herald, The Washington Post's Bureau Chief Manuel Roig-Franzia and TV newscaster Ike Seamans. The one-hour panel will take place in Studio C at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 24.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Mickey Mouse is 75 years old

Today is Mickey Mouse's birthday: he is 75 years old. Happy Birthday, Mickey!

The Sun Sentinel:
He was a symbol of American pluck in his screen debut, "Steamboat Willie," on Nov. 18, 1928. The film at New York's Colony Theatre showed an irreverent rodent who takes Captain Pete's steamboat on a joyride and woos Minnie Mouse by making music on the bodies of various farm animals.

The years have dulled Mickey's personality, a result of him becoming the corporate face of a multibillion-dollar entertainment empire. In the process, Mickey also has become a cultural Rorschach test -- a symbol of American optimism, resourcefulness and energy or an icon of cultural commodification and corporate imperialism.

BBC News:
Mickey Mouse celebrates 75th year
Mickey Mouse: 21st Century icon

UM will form a partnership with RAND Corporation to restructure the North-South Center:
“RAND and the University of Miami will combine our strengths to revitalize the North-South Center and make it an important source of research and analysis on Latin American issues,” said RAND President and CEO James A. Thomson. “We will serve governments, non-profit organizations and the private sector in a venture that will take advantage of the experienced and talented researchers and professors at both our institutions.”

The focus of the North-South Center will be significantly broadened, but most of its initiatives will continue to focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. The Center will continue to examine the relationship of the United States within the hemisphere. In addition, other areas of expertise will include economic analysis and trade, healthcare and medical research, environmental programs, education, infrastructure and security—areas of tremendous strength for both UM and RAND.
[RAND news release]

Get a Business minor

Starting Fall 2004, UM will offer a Business minor for students enrolled at the School of Communication, the Hurricane Online reports:
The [Student Government] Senate passed a resolution giving their support and endorsement to a decision for UM to allow students in the School of Communication to have a second major in the School of Business rather than in the College of Arts and Sciences, effective in the 2004-2005 school year. This will allow students who wish to work with a more business-focused aspect in communications to study precisely what they would like.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Why journalism needs PR

Journalism loves to hate PR. It has become the norm in the media to knock us, whether for spinning, controlling access, approving copy, or protecting clients at the expense of the truth. Yet journalism has never needed public relations more, and PR has never done a better job for the media. [...]

It must be galling for those romantic souls in media who still like to believe that the only hack worth having is one who wears an overcoat into whose folds their little black book of contacts is hidden.

Well today's PR is the journalist's little black book. And, of course, the PR machine responds to the realpolitik of the media marketplace - feeding the unstoppable, insatiable appetite for stories or exclusives that provide a competitive edge.

For the journalist who has to cover a story in half an hour (and often in less time than that), the communications expert can be a lifeline: for facts and figures and basic information-gathering. Yes, publicists brief people but briefings are based, in the vast majority of cases, on facts alone and reflect the often stringent regulatory frameworks of the profession involved.

The reality is that the balance of information has shifted, from being news-based to being entertainment or opinion-based. Journalists need PR not just to give information, but to provide access to sexy spokespeople to fill columns, host programmes and give soundbites.

Yes, it can be annoying to have to go through us as gatekeepers, but to argue that a chief executive running an organisation should field their own calls during a busy period of media interest is also hardly practical. [...]

[...] the uneasy marriage between PR and journalism is far from over. We need to spend more, not less, time together, and remember why we need each other in the first place.

Read "Why journalism needs PR" in The Guardian and the comments of Tom Murphy and Stuart Bruce

The next advertising frontier: cellphone messages

The marketers are ready to go where no ad pro has gone before: inside your cellphone. But you will do the dailing.

They're not supposed to call or send a fax to your home. E-mail may soon be off limits, too. So, spurned marketers are now training their sights on cellphones.

But they won't call you. They're betting you'll call them to participate in sweepstakes, get coupons or answer surveys. They've struck a deal with the nation's 12 largest providers of wireless phone service to set up a five-digit call-in system. Consumers dial a "short code" promoted by the company on its products and advertisements to get the company to send them back a text message that appears on their cellphone screens.

More than 150 companies applied to register short codes -- numbers from 20000 to 99999 -- in the first two weeks they were available. [...]

Consumer advocates fear that once a customer uses a code to snag a coupon, that cellphone number could go on a list and be sold to telemarketers, making the cellphone just another target for junk solicitations.

Read the article in The Boston globe

Internet usage increases among U.S. Hispanics

U.S. Hispanics are using the Internet longer and with more sophistication than they were a year ago, according to a study released this week by comScore Media Metrix.

U.S. Hispanics spent an average of 26.5 hours online in September 2003, up 24 percent compared with October 2002, while visiting on average 30 percent more pages, an indication that "the Internet is playing an increasingly important role in Hispanics' lives."

Read more in Infoworld

Come to Our Resume Critique Event

Need help creating the perfect resume to help you successfully get jobs, internships, or scholarships? Unsure of what makes for good layout? Having a tough time deciding what exactly goes on a resume?

If so, come to our Resume Critique on November 17th in Eaton Residential College room 148 at 6:30 P.M.

Dr. Robert Hosmon, the Associate Dean at the School of Communication, will provide you with resume basics and teach what professionals are looking for in a resume. Bring a draft of your own and compare it to the advice of UM professors. There may also be time to talk one on one and get feedback on your own resume. This is a great preface to our Fall Mixer and the executive board encourages members to attend this event in order to spruce up resumes for professionals! Hope to see you there. [Melissa Greco -- UM PRSSA Newsletter]

Extra: Stop by the Toppel Career Center and pick up a copy of Toppel's "Resume Development Guide & Cover Letter Information"

The next PR revolution started yesterday

Ingredients for preparing a revolution in PR: the change of the media, and the increasing use of internet by children and teens (yep, the future customers):

@ Tying history's easiest, cheapest publishing tool to history's best distribution network, the Internet, would have tremendous impact on media.

Jeff Jarvis, president and creative director of, in the New York Times -- Building a Web Media Empire on a Daily Dose of Fresh Links

@ At school and at home, today's children and teens are so computer savvy and comfortable online that they've become technology pacesetters, two new government studies show.

About 90 percent of people ages 5 to 17 use computers and 59 percent of them use the Internet - rates that are, in both cases, higher than those of adults. Even kindergartners are becoming more plugged in: One out of four 5-year-olds uses the Internet.

The figures come from a new Education Department analysis of computer and Internet use by children and adolescents in 2001. A second report from the agency, based on 2002 data, shows 99 percent of public schools have Internet access, up from 35 percent eight years ago.

"Children are often the first adopters of a lot of technology," said John Bailey, who oversees educational technology for the department. "They grow up with it. They don't have to adapt to it. ... Students, by and large, are dominating the Internet population."

By the time they're age 10, 60 percent of children use the Internet. That number grows to almost 80 percent for kids who are 16. [AP via Miami Herald]

For more information:
# Computer and Internet Use by Children and Adolescents in 2001
# Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms: 1994-2002

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Stellar Celebrity Endorsement

THIRSTY? Try the "official milk of the Chinese spaceman". Running late? Maybe you need the "official chronograph of the Chinese astronaut" - or perhaps just a taikonaut calendar to mark off the coming months.

This is China’s final frontier of modern marketing - or, at least, its most recent one.

After joining Russia and the United States last month as the only countries to send a human into space, China’s space programme is eagerly marketing its name and logo to companies looking to share the reflected glory. Sponsorships are splashed on billboards, product packaging, and in radio and television ads. At least two magazines have appeared focusing exclusively on the Chinese space programme. One, China Space News, sells a 2004 Shenzhou 5 calendar. [...]

A space-programme endorsement is "definitely good for establishing brand name", said a spokesman for Fiyta, the company which made the watch the taikonaut Mr Yang wore in space.

The Scotsman: Marketing is a Chinese space oddity

The "A" Word

"With donations down and donors asking tough questions, the new buzzword in philanthropic circles is accountability" -- Miami Herald's guide to wise giving.

Less passive than Web sites, less private than e-mail, blogs help build a sense of community among supporters, according to campaign aides and outside experts. They give supporters a chance to find and talk to one another. To suggest ideas for the campaign. To express and discuss their opinions. To read more about their candidates than any single newspaper would ever publish. Even, occasionally, to work as an in-house focus group, giving the campaign their opinions on projects.

Add 'Blog' To the Campaign Lexicon --

Thursday, November 13, 2003

UM will participate in a national center for bioterrorism training

Lantana would not replace the Miami in University of Miami Medical School, but it stands to become a sizable hub for research and education in the university's portion of a proposed institute at the site of A.G. Holley State Hospital.

The institute is envisioned to become a national center for bioterrorism training, research on mosquito-borne and tropical diseases, education of the hemisphere's public health experts, and research on infectious diseases, the medical school's project leader said Tuesday. [...]

At the institute, the university would open a satellite of its graduate degree program in public health and would expand the rotation of students at the Health Department, McCoy said. [...]

"Our main goal is the training of other researchers globally, especially in Latin America," McCoy said.

In addition, the institute would allow McCoy to expand a new unit researching tropical diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. The medical school last year recruited a nationally known expert, John Beier, to head the unit.

Also to be expanded would be the university's program for training Florida health department employees, physicians, firefighters and police in bioterrorism issues, under state contracts. McCoy said the university wants to offer the training nationally and internationally.

[Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Call for Entries in a Cool Competition

If your reaction to the topic of Ketchum's op-ed competition was "duh!," but you still want an internship and the chance to have your essay published, here's an alternative: Elizabeth Albrycht, a PR practitioner with a great blog, dares you to try your writing skills on "something meaty", like "How is PR changing due to new communications technologies?" or "Can PR lead to enhanced democracy? How?".

The challenge:

So, PR students. Do you have thoughts on the topics I just mentioned? Why not share them? If you demonstrate insight and brilliance, I bet we (this PR blog community) can find you an internship.

Send me your essays via email (include as text in email, I will NOT read attachments), and I will post the best ones here.

Read the rules and spread the news. The deadline is December 1st.
Good luck, and thanks to Ms. Albrycht for her idea!

Communication no longer a "soft" function

Effective internal communication strongly impacts a company's ROI, says a new research report:


* A significant improvement in communication effectiveness is associated with a 29.5 percent increase in market value.
* Companies with the highest levels of effective communication experienced a 26 percent total return to shareholders from 1998 to 2002, compared to a –15 percent return experienced by firms that communicate least effectively.
* Organizations that communicate effectively were more likely to report employee turnover rates below or significantly below those of their industry peers.

Bottom line: Communication is no longer a "soft" function. It drives business performance and is a key contributor to organizational success.

Here's a summary of the report [via Phil's Place].

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Resources for the FTAA Miami Ministerial and Americas Business Forum: November 16-21

Free Trade Areas of the Americas (FTAA): The oficial website [also in Spanish, Portuguese and French]
Americas Business Forum:
The Miami Herald: FTAA in Miami -- special report
Public safety and security information: FTAA Unified Command Joint Information Center Who's against the FTAA
First Draft of the FTAA Agreement (2001) -- Square brackets [ ] indicate that different points of view do exist on the text included between them
Second Draft of the FTAA Agreement (2002)

Editor & Publisher: Miami to embed reporters in police squads [via mediabistro]

Call for entries -- The 2003 Ketchum Wordsmith Award

The prize: a 10 week summer (2004) paid internship at Ketchum's headquarters office in the New York City
What you have to do: compose an Op-Ed on the following topic: "Does Public Relations Deserve a Seat at the Executive Board Table?"
Open to: all college juniors and seniors with a 3.0 (or higher) GPA, members of PRSSA
Deadline: Monday, November 17, 2003
Apply: Download the application (PDF format)
More information are available on PRSSA's national website.

NOTE: The PDF application says the competition is open only to "all New York, New Jersey and Connecticut college juniors and seniors"; I checked with Jacob Burke, the National PRSSA Webmaster, and he confirmed that the competition is open to all college juniors and seniors (all other criteria are in the announcement).

UPDATE: If you don't feel comfortable with the competition's topic, here's another chance to win an internship.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Picture this

"UM President Shalala is planning a lecture series built around the debate, including addresses by former White House chiefs of staff and presidential scholars. She also is arranging a film series about presidential campaigns and a voter registration campaign focused on students." [Source: The Sun Sentinel]

On a personal note: I don't know what kind of movies will be included in the film series. I just hope to see The Candidate (1972) and The War Room (1993). If you're interested in finding other movies "from the campaign trial", try

Thursday, November 06, 2003

UM will host the first 2004 presidential debate

The University of Miami will host the first presidential debate, to be held on September 30, 2004 in the UM Convocation Center, on the Coral Gables campus. UM was one of only 14 sites across the country under consideration to host one of the four debates.

The announcement was made today by The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), a non-partisan, non-profit corporation that has sponsored all presidential and vice presidential debates since 1988.

The other sites selected as hosts for presidential debates are:

Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Second presidential debate, October 8

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Third presidential debate, October 13

The CPD also announced two back-up sites, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY and the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. All debates will start at 9:00 p.m. ET.

The proposal submited by UM to the Commission on Presidential Debates detailed the university plans to build an academic program around the event, such as a panel discussion on health policy at the School of Medicine and a concert of presidential music presented by the School of Music.

[Sources: University of Miami website: 1, 2]

Writers Wanted

FORUM, the national PRSSA newspaper, is seeking story submissions for its winter 2004 edition, on the following topics:

» Spotlight on Research - Profile of any interesting or groundbreaking communication research done by students, professors or professionals.
» PR and the Economy - What recent graduates can expect in today’s turbulent job market, including advice from professionals on how students can distinguish themselves from other applicants.
» Business skills in the PR industry: How much is enough? - Interview PR recruiters to discover what kind of business skills they seek in new hires, and speak with professors on how students can develop savvy business skills without enrolling in a business minor.
» Book Reviews - FORUM is accepting reviews of books about or relating to public relations.
» The life of an independent consultant - Some call it “moonlighting” or “freelancing;” find out how the days of an independent consultant differs from a typical agency employee.
» Collegiate Professionalism - How to look, talk and act like a professional while still working towards a degree.
» Any other Chapter news your Chapter wishes to submit.

Story deadline: November 30

Contact: Jennifer Petersen
FORUM Assignment Editor
phone 309.436.4091

Fine prints: The editorial calendar serves as a guide for Chapters interested in contributing news or feature stories to FORUM. Writing for FORUM is a great way to have your chapter recognized nationally, and is a great addition to any resume.

All story submissions must follow typical journalistic standards and Associated Press guidelines, with a minimum of two sources unless otherwise noted. Please contact the FORUM staff before starting a story to discuss specifics of the article.

[Source: PRSSA website]

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

It's happening right now: The Miami Book Fair International

Travel PR discussed at the last general meeting + What's next

If you missed the last general meeting, here is what happened:

@ Our guest speakers were Jennifer Salerno and Yami Alvarado, account executives at Cheryl Andrews Marketing, a travel PR firm located in Coral Gables. Cheryl Andrews Marketing is seeking an intern; if you're interested, you can contact Yami and Jennifer at 305.444.4033 or by email: or

@ Spencer Weinkle from UMTV is seeking a PR Team; you can contact him at

@ Save the Dates:
[November 13th at 6:30 P.M., Eaton 148 -- Meeting on Fashion PR] CANCELLED
November 17th at 6:30 P.M., Eaton 148 -- Resume critique to get prepared for our mixer
December 1st, 6:30 P.M. at the UC -- Mixer with PR professionals, great networking opportunity. Free for members, $5 for non-members, all are welcome.