Category Archives: Communication

Recruiting & Promotion: What Colleges & Universities Should Be Doing Online

Today, I responded to a CASE listserv request about recruiting blogs being launched by colleges. I have a lot of ideas about this kind of campaign. I’m sharing here in hopes you’ll offer some feedback, too. Thanks.

Here’s what I shared on the list…

You’ve likely already thought of these, but FWIW – here goes …

Short story? Video. RSS. Re-purpose the content in other sites – off-campus. Build a team of student influentials.

Ideas? Use video … video is the most popular draw and it can serve to tell the story in a way that really “shows your school” to the potential students. Keep ’em short – under 2 minutes. Video is fun. Video is real people (peers) sharing the school’s identity. They own it (the identity) and create it / morph it every day. Not the school. Allow them to put your view of the identity into their words. (Caveat: set guidelines for your students … what can and cannot be shown.)

Students at campus and off-campus events showing it happening and also interviewing students & others. For the off-campus life stories, see the caveat above. Students interviewing students and faculty about classes / campus environment …. staff interviewing each other, various student services people on campus and more.

Again, keep the videos short. It really is important.

Examples of research? Just days old, Generations online:

A year old, but good:

Invest in Flip cams or whatever kind of inexpensive, yet good quality, video camera and “give them” to a select group of students. Seven students? Ask them for one video a week. Stagger them out. Get students that are truly bought into the school and program. Even better? Pay them.

For the videos, don’t just put them in the blogs … use to post them to 15 or more video sharing networks at once. Maximize the possibilities of organic search to help people find your blogs & videos. Upload the videos to Facebook & MySpace, too. Place links back to your blog landing page in every description of every video on every site … along with your key terms & phrases as tags. Be consistent.

Create a landing page with RSS headlines of all the blogs. Editorial can create a top link set of the best blogs.

Setup a Facebook fan page and MySpace page and any use other useful social networks … RSS the posts into those pages. Re-purpose the content so that it is seen elsewhere, too.

Set a key string of keywords/phrases that get posted in each and every article. (WordPress Tags)

Give the site a prominent front page placement on your school’s gateway … a 150x150px icon, for instance. Yes, I know how difficult that can be to gain acceptance for, but without that buy-in, do any of us really expect success? That’s where many of your potentials will first land in most instances.

Bring the key students together periodically with soda & pizza to get them thinking as a team. Create a team of ambassadors. Give them t-shirts. Build a tight community of believers.

Why more schools don’t do this, I just really don’t understand. Colleges have built in influentials … your students. Is it risky? Sure. Can you monitor and guide it along? Yes, but with a light hand.

Honestly, I don’t understand why all colleges/schools/departments within a university don’t do this in coordination with Admissions. Think of the search possibilities all of that combined constantly new content can drive toward your Web site.

I share all the above at the risk of sounding too “online slap happy.” Still, I really do believe that these tactics can help your strategy of attracting viewers. I’m not drunk on social media koolaid. I recognize the risks. But, with a good relationship with the students you choose, and giving them freedom (feeling empowered to help the school), I believe you can be successful.

On top of all that, this really is an inexpensive way to boost your recruiting program. It isn’t a panacea, but it is the way to go, IMO.

OK, that’s what I shared. There is so much more to it, but I’m truly sold on the possibilities of these types of programs. The one thing that is still missing today? Buy-in from the higher ups. One of the greatest frustrations.

One would think, in a time requiring inexpensive yet worthwhile initiatives, this would be adopted with glee. Still waiting.


New York Times :: Win a Trip To Africa with Nick Kristof

Win A Trip to Africa

Do Online Reporting / Videos for the NYTimes

This is an exciting opportunity. It would be wonderful if an Auburn student or a student member of PROpenMic won, wouldn’t it?

Phil Gomes, Senior Vice President of Edelman Digital, posted this to PROpenMic. I’m sort of reposting it here in blogs, too, in an attempt to get your attention. This is a great opportunity!

I’m pleased to invite you to apply for the 2009 Win-a-Trip contest. As I wrote in my column, I will take a university student with me on a reporting trip to Africa, giving the student a chance to blog for and to file videos to The Times and Youtube. — excerpt from Nicholas Kristof

See the story in the New York Times, Win a Trip!

Get the complete details here: Contest Rules, How to Enter, and more…

Visit the New York Times video channel on YouTube to see the Nicholas Kristof video.

I don’t guess I need to tell you how this opportunity would likely lead to a wonderful job opportunity in the future. Read the article and read the contest rules. Please consider applying. It is a once in a lifetime challenging adventure! Go for it!

I would love to see a student we’re involved with win this!

Students: The Council of PR Firms asks, “What is the most dangerous idea in PR today?”

Cross-posted from PROpenMic.

Reformed PR practitioner B. L. Ochman writes a review of the recent Council of PR firms (CPR) critical issues forum in her blog, What’s Next.

Read the Council’s take on the event in Dangers Equal Opportunity for Smart Marketers, PR Firms, Lively Annual Public Relations Council Critical Issues Forum Addresses “Most Dangerous Ideas” for Future of PR.

The conversation has actually already become an old one. The paradigm shift caused by the advent of social media software (both free open source and paid platforms) has given voice to the masses in a way never seen before. Word of mouth (WOM) is now digital and spreads like wildfire, or creeps along where no one can see it – then achieves a Groundswell of reach people in PR only dreamed of just 10 years ago.  Continue reading

Was Joe Biden Right? :: What Drives Me Crazy About “Journalism” Today

Sorry. Danger, Will Robinson. Robert’s ranting again … Stand back. I don’t want anyone to get hurt.

I blame myself, really. I watch, listen to and read way too much news. Yep, there – I said it. And, I’m not ashamed.  I’m a news addict.  No, the drugs and therapy sessions are not working.

This kerfluffle about Joe Biden’s statement that Obama, if elected, will be tested in some manner during his first year (six months, whatever) in office – it just spins your head, doesn’t it.  What will be the next lame issue these goobers beat like a dead horse. Someone call PETA, please!

Well, it is quite silly all the back and forth of the talking heads out there in our pseudo-journalism world today.  Where did journalism go?  Do you know where I can find it?  I miss journalism.

Why don’t they, instead of featuring talking (and often shouting) heads going back and forth on the matter … just do a wee bit of research to answer the question for their audiences?

Hey, if I can do it … don’t you think they can, too?

So, you decide for yourself. Here is a list of some major events from the first year of each President’s inaugural year, all the way back to good ‘ol Woodrow Wilson. You remember Woodrow, don’t you? :o)

Let’s look at these events (go ahead, if you’re tired of the ranting) – courtesy of – and you tell me, was there just one major event that tested the mettle of each U. S. President?

Why don’t these previously vaunted news organizations do this kind of research?  They have staff and resources. I have a dog, cat, computer and an internet connection. (George & Shekiya did the research. I just sat here and … watched news). You’d think the news organizations would want to offer a few facts mixed in with all their ratings seeking nonsense. ~sigh~

No, it isn’t a perfect list.  (Hey, they’re a dog & a cat.) I haven’t combed it completely – nor put them in perfect order.  Still, I seem to recognize at least one event in the first year of each President that seems like it could have been a challenge to their mettle.  How about you?

Did I mention that I miss journalism?

Yes, it was a stupid thing for Biden to say, given the environment of this election. He spun away from the message. He caused (as he is known to do) a stupid controversy to spin out of control. Still, he wasn’t really telling an untruth. Was he? And why in the world don’t CNN, MSNBC, FOX, the and so many other ‘news’ organizations just do their damn homework! Hello?

1913 – Wilson

  • Suffragettes demonstrate in London and Washington, D.C. Background: Woman Suffrage
  • London peace treaty partitions most of European Turkey among the victors of first Balkan War.
  • In second Balkan war, Bulgaria attacks Serbia and Greece and is defeated after Romania intervenes and Turks recapture Adrianople (June).
  • Garment workers strike in New York and Boston; win pay raises and reduced hours.
  • Sixteenth Amendment (income tax) and 17th (popular election of U.S. senators) adopted. Background: Amendments to the Constitution
  • Bill creating U.S. Federal Reserve System becomes law.
  • World War I begins (June 28, 1914): Austria declares war on Serbia; Germany on Russia and France; Britain on Germany

1921 – Harding

  • Um, Teapot Dome.
  • Major treaties signed at Washington Disarmament Conference limit naval tonnage and pledge to respect territorial integrity of China.
  • Congress passes Budget and Accounting Act, which creates the Bureau of Budget (June 10).
  • U.S. Congress, in a joint resolution, declares WWI ended (July 2).
  • First burial is held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery (Nov. 11).

1923 (August) – Coolidge

  • Adolf Hitler’s “Beer Hall Putsch” in Munich fails; in 1924 he is sentenced to five years in prison where he writes Mein Kampf. He is released after eight months.
  • Earthquake destroys one-third of Tokyo.
  • Occupation of Ruhr by French and Belgian troops to enforce reparations payments.
  • The second Ku Klux Klan movement in U.S. history grows, stirring widespread controversy and violence.

1929 – Hoover

  • Um, the Depression started!
  • Trotsky is expelled from U.S.S.R.
  • First large-scale Jewish-Arab violence caused by a clash at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.
  • St. Valentine’s Day gangland massacre in Chicago (Feb. 14).
  • Stock market prices plummet (Nov.-Dec.). U.S. securities lose $26 billion, marking the first financial disaster of the Great Depression

1933 – Roosevelt

  • Um, the Depression … still goin’ on!
  • Reichstag fire in Berlin; Nazi terror begins (Feb. 27).
  • Hitler becomes German chancellor (Jan. 30).
  • Germany and Japan withdraw from League of Nations.
  • Giuseppe Zangara executed for attempted assassination of President-elect Roosevelt in which Chicago Mayor Cermak is fatally shot.
  • Roosevelt inaugurated (“the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”); launches New Deal.
  • Prohibition repealed. OK, that doesn’t cound. Good news!
  • Glass-Steagall Act bans banks from dealing in stocks and bonds.

1945 (April) – Truman

  • FDR dies (April 12) and Harry S. Truman becomes president.
  • Hitler commits suicide (April 30); Germany surrenders (May 7); May 8 is declared V-E Day.
  • San Francisco Conference establishes the United Nations (April–June).
  • Potsdam Conference (Truman, Churchill, Stalin) establishes basis of German reconstruction (July–Aug.).
  • US drops atomic bombs on Japanese cities of Hiroshima (Aug. 6) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9).
  • Japan signs official surrender on V-J Day (Sept. 2).
  • Manhattan Project tests first atomic bomb in Alamogordo, New Mexico (July 16).
  • A B-25 bomber flies into the Empire State Building, damaging the 78th and 79th floors and killing 13 (July 28).

1953 – Eisenhower

  • Joseph Stalin dies (March 5). Georgi Malenkov becomes Soviet Premier; Lavrenti Beria, Minister of Interior; Vyacheslav Molotov, Foreign Minister (March 6).
  • East Berliners rise against Communist rule; quelled by tanks (June 17).
  • Korean armistice signed (July 27).
  • Moscow announces explosion of hydrogen bomb (Aug. 20). Background: nuclear weapons
  • Tito becomes president of Yugoslavia.
  • Julius and Ethel Rosenberg executed in Sing Sing prison (June 19).
  • Alleged Communist Charlie Chaplin leaves U.S. for good. Justice Dept. warns him any attempt to reenter the country will be challenged.

1961 – Kennedy

  • US breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba (Jan. 3).
  • 1,200 US-sponsored anti-Castro exiles invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs (April 17); the attackers are all killed or captured by Cuban forces.
  • East Germany erects the Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin to halt flood of refugees (Aug. 13). (Here’s a hint: The Cold War)
  • USSR detonates 50-megaton hydrogen bomb in the largest man-made explosion in history (Oct. 29).
  • There are 2,000 US military advisers in South Vietnam. You do remember the Vietnam War, right?
  • OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) formally constituted.

1963 (November) – Johnson

  • There are 15,000 US military advisers in South Vietnam.
  • 1964

  • Nelson Mandela sentenced to life imprisonment in South Africa (June 11).
  • Congress approves Gulf of Tonkin Resolution after North Vietnamese torpedo boats allegedly attack US destroyers (Aug. 7).
  • Khrushchev is deposed; Kosygin becomes premier and Brezhnev becomes first secretary of the Communist Party (October).
  • China detonates its first atomic bomb.

1969 – Nixon

  • Nixon begins “Vietnamization” in Southeast Asia.
  • The United States, USSR, and about 100 other countries sign the nuclear nonproliferation treaty (NPT).
  • Russian and Chinese troops clash along the Ussuri River.
  • 27-year-old Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi deposes King Idris of Libya and establishes a pro-Arabic, anti-Western, Islamic republic.
  • Stonewall riot in New York City marks beginning of gay rights movement (June 28).

1974 (August) Ford

  • Um, Nixon resigns.
  • Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is deposed. A collective military dictatorship assumes power (Sept. 12).
  • Ford grants “full, free, and absolute pardon” to ex-President Nixon (Sept. 8).


  • Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge take over Cambodia (April).
  • The city of Saigon is surrendered and remaining Americans are evacuated, ending the Vietnam War (April 30).
  • American merchant ship Mayaguez, seized by Cambodian forces, is rescued in operation by US Navy and Marines, 38 of whom are killed (May 15).
  • John N. Mitchell, H. R. Haldeman, John D. Ehrlichman found guilty of Watergate cover-up (Jan. 1); sentenced to 30 months to 8 years in jail (Feb. 21).
  • President Ford escapes assassination attempt in Sacramento, Calif. (Sept. 5).
  • President Ford escapes second assassination attempt in 17 days (Sept. 22).
  • Carter pardons Vietnam war draft evaders (Jan. 21).

1977 – Carter

  • Deng Xiaoping, purged Chinese leader, restored to power as Gang of Four is expelled from Communist Party (July 22).
  • South African activist Steve Biko dies in police custody (Sept. 12).
  • Nuclear-proliferation pact, curbing spread of nuclear weapons, is signed by 15 countries, including US and USSR (Sept. 21).

1981 – Reagan

  • US-Iran agreement frees 52 hostages held in Teheran since 1979 (Jan. 20); hostages welcomed back in US (Jan. 25). Background: Iran Hostage Crisis
  • Pope John Paul II wounded by gunman (May 14).
  • Israel annexes the disputed Golan Heights territory (Dec. 14).
  • Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat is assassinated by Islamic extremists during a military parade in Cairo (Oct. 6).
  • President Hilla Limann is overthrown in Ghana as Jerry J. Rawlings seizes power.
  • President Reagan wounded by gunman, with press secretary and two law-enforcement officers (March 30).
  • US Supreme Court rules, 4–4, that former President Nixon and three top aides may be required to pay damages for wiretap of home telephone of former national security aide (June 22).
  • Reagan nominates Judge Sandra Day O’Connor, 51, of Arizona, as first woman on US Supreme Court (July 7).
  • Air controllers strike, disrupting flights (Aug. 3); government dismisses strikers (Aug. 11).

1989 – Bush (41)

  • US planes shoot down two Libyan fighters over international waters in Mediterranean (Jan. 4).
  • Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini declares author Salman Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses offensive and sentences him to death (Feb. 14).
  • Tens of thousands of Chinese students take over Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in rally for democracy (April 19 et seq.). More than one million in Beijing demonstrate for democracy; chaos spreads across nation (mid-May et seq.). Thousands killed in Tiananmen Square as Chinese leaders take hard line toward demonstrators (June 4 et seq.).
  • Mikhail S. Gorbachev named Soviet President (May 25).
  • P. W. Botha quits as South Africa’s President (Aug. 14).
  • Deng Xiaoping resigns from China’s leadership (Nov. 9).
  • After 28 years, Berlin Wall is open to West (Nov. 11).
  • Czech Parliament ends Communists’ dominant role (Nov. 30).
  • Romanian uprising overthrows Communist government (Dec. 15 et seq.); President Ceausescu and wife executed (Dec. 25).
  • US troops invade Panama, seeking capture of General Manuel Noriega (Dec. 20).
  • Ruptured tanker Exxon Valdez sends 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound (March 24).
  • US jury convicts Oliver North in Iran-Contra affair (May 4).
  • Army Gen. Colin R. Powell is first black Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff (Aug. 9).
  • A San Francisco Bay area earthquake measuring 7.1 in magnitude, killed 67 and injured over 3,000. Over 100,000 buildings damaged or destroyed. (Oct. 17)

1993 – Clinton

  • Twenty-two UN troops killed in Somalia (June 5).
  • Yeltsin’s forces crush revolt in Russian Parliament (Oct. 4 et seq.).
  • China breaks nuclear test moratorium (Oct. 5).
  • Israeli-Palestinian accord reached (Aug. 28).
  • Federal agents besiege Texas Branch Davidian religious cult after six are killed in raid (March 1 et seq.). Fire kills 72 as cult standoff in Texas ends with federal assault (April 19).
  • Five arrested, sixth sought in bombing of World Trade Center in New York (March 29).
  • Two police officers convicted in Los Angeles on civil rights charges in Rodney King beating (April 17); sentenced Aug. 4.
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg appointed to Supreme Court (June 14).
  • US agents blamed in Waco, Tex., siege (Oct. 1).
  • House of Representatives approves North American Free Trade Agreement (Nov. 17); Senate follows (Nov. 21).
  • Clinton signs Brady bill regulating firearms purchases (Nov. 30).

2001 – Bush (43)

  • Congo president Laurent Kabila assassinated by bodyguard (Jan. 16). Son Joseph Kabila takes over amid continuing civil war.
  • Ariel Sharon wins election in Israel (Feb. 6). Right-wing leader chosen overwhelmingly as nation’s fifth prime minister in just over five years during worst Israeli-Palestinian violence in years.
  • The long-simmering resentment of Macedonia’s ethnic Albanians erupts into violence in March. The rebels seek greater autonomy within Macedonia. After six months of fighting, a peace agreement is signed (Aug. 13). British-led NATO forces enter the country and disarm the guerrillas.
  • U.S. spy plane and Chinese jet collide (April 2); Sino-American relations deteriorate during a standoff. The 24 crew members of the U.S. plane were detained for 11 days and released after the U.S. issued a formal statement of regret.
  • Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic is delivered to UN tribunal in The Hague to await war-crime trial (June 29).
  • Without U.S., 178 nations reach agreement on climate accord, which rescues, though dilutes, 1997 Kyoto Protocol (July 23).
  • In response to Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, U.S. and British forces launch bombing campaign on Taliban government and al-Qaeda terrorist camps in Afghanistan (Oct. 7). Bombings continue on a daily basis.
  • Irish Republican Army announces that it has begun to dismantle its weapons arsenal, marking a dramatic leap forward in Northern Ireland peace process (Oct. 23).
  • At a UN-sponsored summit in Bonn, Germany, Afghani factions meet to create a post-Taliban government (Nov. 27). Hamid Karzai is selected as head of the transitional government (Dec. 5).
  • Taliban regime in Afghanistan collapses after two months of bombing by American warplanes and fighting by Northern Alliance ground troops (Dec. 9).
  • Israel condemns the Palestinian Authority as a “terror-supporting entity” and severs ties with leader Yasir Arafat following mounting violence against Israelis (Dec. 3). The Israeli Army begins bombing Palestinian areas.
  • In final days of presidency, Bill Clinton issues controversial pardons, including one for Marc Rich, billionaire fugitive financier (Jan. 20).
  • U.S. submarine Greeneville sinks Japanese fishing boat, killing 9 (Feb. 9).
  • FBI agent Robert Hanssen is charged with spying for Russia for 15 years (Feb. 20).
  • Race riots in Cincinnati continue for several days following a shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer (April 7 et seq.).
  • Four are declared guilty in 1998 terrorist bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (May 29).
  • Balance of the Senate shifts after Jim Jeffords of Vermont changes his party affiliation from Republican to Independent. The move strips Republicans of control of the Senate and gives Democrats the narrowest of majorities (50-49-1) (June 5).
  • Bush signs new tax-cut law, the largest in 20 years – due to an economic downturn (costs him his future re-election bid) (June 7).
  • Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh executed (June 11).
  • Budget surplus dwindles. The Congressional Budget Office attributes this rapid change in the nation’s fortunes to the slowing economy and the Bush tax cut (Aug. 22).
  • Terrorists attack United States. Hijackers ram jetliners into twin towers of New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A fourth hijacked plane crashes 80 mi outside of Pittsburgh (Sept. 11). Toll of dead and injured in thousands. Within days, Islamic militant Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorist network are identified as the parties behind the attacks.
  • Anthrax scare rivets nation, as anthrax-laced letters are sent to various media and government officials. Several postal workers die after handling the letters (throughout October).

‘Nuff said? Yep.

Don’t even get me started on the new round of red baiting that’s going on, either.

I was raised in quite a liberal household. My parents supported McCarthy. No, I don’t mean Joe, either.

It often suprises me that, having grown up in such a liberal household, I turned out to be so conservative. Still, conservative or not – I pray I can tell the difference between facts and BS! Sheesh!


The Auburn Plainsman Is Blogging

Iimagine my smile as I discovered that The Auburn Plainsman has launched a blog. You’ll find it at

They launched (installed) the blog on September 10th, but didn’t begin posting until October 1st.

Not many posts, yet.  Eleven, to be exact, but they are underway.

Hello University! This is The Plainsman’s attempt to stretch further into a medium other than print – the Web. We hope you all enjoy picking up a paper on your way to class Thursday mornings, but now, as we get this site going, feel free to check in on the latest campus news any time of the week.

These blogs will be more opinion pieces from our staff – how we’re feeling about events going on around campus, news in general and of course sports events. We encourage anyone and everyone to leave comments to make this a more diverse forum.

They are running WordPress 2.6.2, the latest version of the software. I was hoping to find that they were running WPMU – WordPress Multi-User. That would have enabled a community of blogs from the students. But, one step at a time, right.

Among the authors are Kristin Oberholzer, Editor of The Auburn Plainsman, and others. So, go check out their blog. This should be fun to follow.

Rocky Mountain News uses Twitter to cover a funeral

New technology and its use in journalism and public relations has long been an interest of mine. The reality is, not all technology can be used in every situation.

The recent editorial by John Temple, Editor and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News, is a perfect example of taking experiments with emerging digital media one step too far.

Rocky Mountain News reporter Berny Morson was sent on assignment to cover the funeral of Marten Kudlis, age 3. Kudlis was killed last week at an ice cream shop when a traffic accident sent a vehicle into the shop killing the young man and two other women involved in the crash. Morson was to cover the funeral using Twitter. That link will take you to his account to read his posts. Judge for yourself if you think they come off as crass and insensitive, as some have claimed. Continue reading