Category Archives: Citizen Journalism

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


Wonder why we do local reporting in class activities? Look at CNN … if it’s good enough for them …

OK, I’ll admit. This is a little bit of a personal rant. I don’t do this much, but I’m kinda fed up – just a wee bit – so, I’m venting. :o)

Local news reported in a social network / emerging digital media kinda way.

When I first thought of this for classes, some time ago, I’ll admit to having that image of Al Franken’s SNL faux coverage of politics flashing through my mind. But, today it really is possible and provides students with realistic and valuable experience.

As we embark on our class activities at The Loveliest Village, students may wonder why we’ll be doing all this local reporting using lil’ cameras, laptops and social media / social network software platforms to publish.

Well, if it is good enough for CNN, it’s good enough for us, right?

Now, imagine using the skills my students develop in these exercises and then share those stories, videos, photos and more with news outlets online and print.  Hey, they are seeking content. Get the drift? This is how we all may be doing a good portion of media relations in the future.

Actually, forget the future.  I had students doing it today.  This summer they pitched and delivered stories, video and photos.  This semester they are collaborating with multiple news outlets to place stories they will create for class.  Yep, it is not just what they post in The Loveliest Village.  These news outlets have actually sought us out for content.  No kidding.

So, students will create content much the same as CNN is now doing.  Pretty cool, huh.  ;o)  And people said I was nuts.  Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Well, some people said I was crazy.  Didn’t know what I was talking about. Why show students how to do this?  Hmm?  If it is good enough for CNN, I guess it’s good enough for us. :o)

According to that PRWeek article, at CNN journalists “…will report for broadcast and digital mediums with lightweight kits, including wi-fi-enabled laptops, cameras, and editing tools.”

So now, our students will be able to understand how major media works – the new way.  They’ll be sharing the content that reporters are looking for in this new world.  Not only ‘are’ we way ahead.  We’ve ‘been’ way ahead, for some time.  Update: And, by the way, it isn’t just major media.  Local … local … media has sought us out to create content for their sites.  Hello?

What CNN is now doing is what we’ve been talking about and doing for a long time now.  :o)  Just sharin’ …. just sayin’.


Noel Hidalgo Deported from China for Qik Video of Protesters in Tiananmen Square

A world traveler and citizen journalist was deported from China for recording the video below. It is Noel Hidalgo’s chance encounter in Tiananmen Square with protesters from the West decrying the human rights violations in Tibet.

Noel is on a trip around the world: Continue reading

Student Digital Resumes and Portfolios :: Summer 2007

Note: All student digital resumes and portfolios are featured at

This summer’s digital resumes and portfolios are complete. Emily2The project wound up being a bit different than usual, due to the short five week mini-mester term. But, the projects have some new aspects which, I believe, make them more appealing.

I appreciate the work of these fourteen students. Hire them and/or select them for internships.

Justin2Each project contains two major sections. First, there is the resume, an HTML version of the usual Word document. Second, you’ll find the digital portfolio. It contains samples from the work product Keriof these students over their college career. Continue reading

Parents React To Media Coverage of Disabled Child’s Controversial Treatment via Blog

For all the other big “new media” stories that have hit the blogosphere over the years, aside from politics and the Iraq war, I believe this may well be the biggest story peaking the interest of most people and spurring them to online discussions.

The blog by the parents has received 1,477 comments and the MSN message boards have 1,955 messages by 860 authors.

Will this eclipse the Terri Schiavo story, at least with regard to online social media discussion? Perhaps that’s not a fair comparison as the Schiavo story was a political story, after all. And, the Republicans no longer control Congress.

Ashley’s story has particularly galvanized the disability community. The reason for all of this may simply be because more media outlets have adopted social media tools on their Web sites. We’ll see.

For the past week, I’ve seen references to this story on TV and in the newspapers.

The parents have been overwhelmed by media attention. They started a blog to answer questions. So far, the one post has received 1477 comments. They are essentially handling crisis management through their blog. The post contains this statement to the media in that MSN blog. It actually comes off looking sort of like a social media news release.

(Note to members of the media and our web visitors: We are getting more emails and requests than we can possibly handle– more than 1500 in the 48 hrs since the LA Times story broke out. We want to attend to our lives and our kids as we should. This web site received more than a million hits and about 1000 comments were added in those 48 hrs! We truly appreciate the overwhelming support and the thoughtful comments we’ve been getting. Rest assured that we will read every one of your comments and they might be used in the future to help other families through a similar decision process.)

The long post in the blog features a key talking points list from the parent’s side of the controversy.

  1. Ashley is doing well, healthy, happy, and lovingly cared for.
  2. The “Ashley Treatment” is intended to improve our daughter’s quality of life and not to convenience her caregivers.
  3. Providing our daughter with this treatment was an easy decision since the benefits by far outweigh the risk and short term discomfort associated with the surgery.
  4. We wrote the article and published this web site to inform and help other families of “Pillow Angels” who might benefit from our experience.
  5. With the overwhelming thoughtful support that we are receiving (90%+ of the comments and emails) we feel better than ever about what we did for Ashley, and we certainly do not feel defensive about it.
  6. Please make sure to read the five emphasized paragraphs in the first two sections below, since they convey the essence of Ashley’s story.
Ashley’s parents say the effort is a more humane solution for the girl who has an irreversible brain impairment called static encephalopathy.

Fox News had a pro/con debate on The Big Story. It is a called “Frozen in Time.” (Don’t know how long that link will stay active.) I know. It is Fox. But, the debate does show both sides of the issue.
Click the image below for a larger version. The parents have actually created a media release statement for the photos in their blog, too.

Ashley In Her Wheelchair 2006More about the blog: The parents have actually posted a quite lengthy explanation of their side of the story in their blog. It is located at MSN Spaces in the blog The “Ashley Treatment”, Towards a Better Quality of Life for “Pillow Angels”.

There is much more out there in the way of coverage. See Parents defend treatment to keep girl child-sized from (Canada). Also, here is the link to 276 different stories in Google News.

Let’s face it. This is a difficult story to address. I am willing to guess that – at Camp ASCCA, for instance – we would have staff, counselors, parents and campers with wildly differing views on the actions taken by the parents and doctors. Also, as medical science goes forward, these controversial treatments are likely to become more common. Continue reading

Rick Murray brings Edelman me2revolution and WOMM to Auburn University

Rick Murray, president and general manager of Edelman Worldwide, will visit Auburn University on October 9th and 10th to speak with students and faculty about the firm’s me2revolution and WOM street marketing practices.

…Edelman is breaking new ground in word-of-mouth, PR and marketing while defining business “best practices” within social media…

Edelman is the world’s largest independent public relations firm and widely regarded as the leader in social media within PR and marketing practices. Murray also serves on the Board of Directors for WOMMA, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.

Rick Murray of EdelmanThe emerging communication channels represented by social media represent an historic period in PR and marketing. Murray leads the Edelman social media practice with a collection of stars like Phil Gomes, Mike Krempasky , Guillaume du Gardier and Steve Rubel.

Auburn students have already collaborated with Phil Gomes on one survey research project and Erin Caldwell works with Mike Krempasky in Washington, D.C. To be able to have our students interact with Murray, a leader of public relations WOM and social media practices, is a privilege for Auburn’s future PR practitioners.

Serving clients like Walmart to Microsoft and Starbucks to General Electric, Edelman has established a hallmark practice with world corporations. Edelman’s integrated marketing and public relations practices with all of these corporations serve as ongoing case studies which offer our students tremendous learning experiences.

In 2006, Edelman received many awards including the PR Week and Holmes Report Large Agency of the Year recognition. (Source)

Edelman also received two other PRWeek awards and two honorable mentions including:

• General Electric and Edelman: GE’s Ecomagination – Corporate Branding Campaign of the Year
• Unilever and Edelman: Dove Campaign for Real Beauty – Consumer Launch Campaign of the Year
• Starbucks Entertainment and Edelman : It’s the Experience – Honorable Mention Corporate Branding Campaign of the Year
• General Electric and Edelman: GE’s Ecomagination – Honorable Mention Campaign of the Year.

We are grateful to Rick Murray for volunteering his time to visit with Auburn’s PR students. I’m looking forward to his presentations and interaction with Auburn PR hopefuls. Our students will also present their social media exercises and discuss future opportunities in social media as a career path in PR. That is an option that actually didn’t exist as few as five years ago. These are exciting times.

For background on Murray’s work in social media, visit these podcasts – Edelman’s Earshot podcast with Phil Gomes and a Roundtable on Word of Mouth at Jack Trout Radio.

HigherEd BlogCon Podcast – Holly Peterson and Tristan Roberts

Our first HigherEd BlogCon podcast. HigherEdBlogCon 2006 Meet Holly Peterson and Tristan Roberts from World Learning in Brattleboro, Vermont. They deal with over 100,000 alumni coming from their programs which take place in over 100 countries. Their constituents come from about 200 universities and perhaps even more high schools around the US.

…World Learning involves thousands of students in a variety of activities in 100 countries around the world…

World Learning’s Alumni Community Our World is one example of their work in using online social media to engage their stakeholders.

Holly Peterson photo to the left. Tristan Roberts photo is below, to the right.

This podcast is 15:39 in length (14.2MB). We discuss how they got to where they are today online. Also, their audiences – constituent groups – and hopes for possibilities in their future online plans are addressed. Holly and Tristan are participating in HigherEd BlogCon in order to share what they are doing, and to make connections. We hope you will participate, too.

You may see all of the presentations coming up in the Admissions, Alumni Relations, and Communications and Marketing section here.

Hope you enjoy the podcast. Holly and Tristan are nice people. One podcast down, eight more to go.