Category Archives: Education

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


Tommy Goff’s Opus :: His life was music and students. He changed lives. He changed mine.

Of all the things I’ve written in this blog, I can sincerely say that, if I had to choose, this post (and one about Allison Wetherbee) are really the only shared thoughts I really want you to read. I’ve been holding back the temptation to write about this. But, just this moment, I couldn’t hold back anymore.

A great man passed away on September 25, 2008. Tommy Goff.

I could say, he was my high school band director. But, that really doesn’t even begin to tell the story.

His passing has caused me to do something I don’t normally do. In fact, the last time I’ve done this was when my father passed away a year ago last July. Before that, it was my brother’s passing in June of 1982. I cried. I’ve actually found tears coming a couple of times. He changed my life. I miss Tommy Goff. My brother Bill called the other day. He was in the band, too. I could tell by his voice that the passing of Mr. Goff is a very emotional event. I understand.

This is a man who really has no equal in music education. A member of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame right alongside people like W. C. Handy and Nat King Cole. Seriously. Tommy Goff is their equal.

Oh, he never achieved mass national and international fame, sure. But, he is – in the lives of the students he took care of, nurtured, encouraged – a giant. His presence still looms large. We find ourselves thinking of him as we go through life. His bands always excelled. There is no equal in winners of superior rankings at state contetests, to be sure. And, that wasn’t just his bands, but his individual players, too. Tommy Goff made winners. The winning didn’t stop in high school, either. So many of his students have gone on to great achievements. They so often point back to Tommy Goff. Cool, isn’t it.

Mary Belk recently wrote about Tommy Goff. Mary is Tommy’s sister-in-law, sister to Jane, Tommy’s wonderful wife. Mary was actually my babysitter when I was a kid. She joined me for dinner recently as we took my mother out for her birthday. Mary was one of Tommy’s first students.

Jennifer Ryan even shared that her father went to school with Tommy Goff. See? It is a small world. From Twitter, “JenniferRyan: @rdfrench Talked to my Dad about Tommy Goff. He recounted a story about when they went on a double date together.”

I shared the following in the guest book at the Opelika-Auburn News. Look at all the other comments. You can tell. This man was such a strong influence in so many people’s lives.

There is a wonderful recounting of Mr. Goff’s life at The Caring Bridge and you’ll also be able to read many more memories from former students in their guest book, too. Just type in “tommygoff” where it says “Visit a CaringBridge website” in the little box that says ” – Enter Website Name – “. Click the “My Story”, “Guestbook” and “Journal” links to see more wonderful memories.

Mr. Goff influenced so many people, changed so many lives and always in a positive way. All of us fortunate enough to have been a student of his at Auburn High School have been forever changed for the better.

He pushed us and he pulled us … always toward a positive goal. The music, the friendships, the memories and so much more were all made possible by his leadership.

For me, being in Tommy Goff’s band was a life changing experience for which I will always be grateful. I’ve thought of him often since high school, and I’ll never forget him.

This is a man who, like Jane (his recently departed wife), will live on in many people and their children … their children’s children, and on. They both had that much positive impact on people’s lives.

Tommy Goff was, is and always will be a true giant.

Here is Tommy King Goff’s obituary from the O-A News.

Below is a recording of just one song from one of his band’s. This is Emperata Overture. A fitting selection as it sounds like the celebration that was Mr. Goff’s life. Hard to believe we played that over 30 years ago. It seems like yesterday. At times, I wish it was. Such were the wonderful fun times in Tommy Goff’s band. Funny, he actually made being a band geek cool. Truer than you may know. Find more music at the Auburn High bands Web site.

Here’s an excerpt from the Auburn High Bands page. It reflects the truly remarkable record that Mr. Goff, for the most part, made happen for thousands of students over the years.

The Auburn High School Band has made a name for itself over the past 68 years, amassing an overall all-judges concert record of 340-4-0-0-0 in winning literally hundreds of state and national competitions. The Bands have placed nearly 800 students in All-State Bands, members have received over 1000 first division solo and ensemble ratings in the past decade alone, and members have performed with national honor bands five out of the past eight years. Besides being one of only 49 bands worldwide to have ever received the Sudler Flag, the Band is one of only 64 listed on the Historic Roll of Honor of Distinguished High School Concert Bands in America, as a concert band of “historical importance and influence to the nation’s high school concert band programs.”

You remember Mr. Holland’s Opus? So many of us, when we saw that movie, we said, “That’s Tommy Goff!” Truly, so much of it was, too.

There is a lesson in all of this. Well, many lessons, actually. But the one that comes strongest to mind is this: let’s not forget those teachers from our past. You know, high school, elementary school, even kindergarten and nursery school. They have a remarkable impact on our lives. And, don’t do what I did. Go back. Say thank you. Oh, I’ve seen Mr. Goff several times in the years since high school, but I never *really* shared just how important he was to me. I wish I had. Tommy Goff is forever with me and so many others.

The 3rd Annual Excellence in New Communications Awards :: The Society for New Communication Research

Please allow me to do my due diligence. These awards are truly significant. Your participation will, with the receipt of an award, add luster and – even better – share your work with a large interested audience. I hope you will both consider submitting your work for an award and consider joining the Society for New Communication Research. Details of this year’s awards program follow.

The final submission deadline for the 2008 Excellence in New Communications Awards. is coming up soon! Submit your entries now – the final deadline is Monday, September 8th.

Each year the Society for New Communications Research presents the prestigious SNCR Excellence in New Communications Awards. These awards honor corporations, governmental and nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, media outlets, and individuals who are innovating the use of social media, ICT, mobile media, online communities and virtual worlds and collaborative technologies in the areas of business, media, and professional communications, including advertising, marketing, public relations and corporate communications, as well as entertainment, education, politics, and social initiatives.


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’.


Student Digital Portfolios and Resumes :: Summer 2008

This summer’s crop of digital resumes and portfolios are up and ready for you to view.

Hire these students. Hey, they worked with a wide array of software and participated in social media on several sites. They have an understanding of the software and social media practice. Looking for interns? New hires? Check out these student resumes. Hire them. You’ll be happy you did!

Here is a sampling of the many places they posted content, including features and videos.

Cross-posted at

Students: Job and Internship Seekers Resources

The search. It is intimidating. Frustrating. Confusing.

Two great posts help you with links and resources.

Oregon’s Beth Evans offers us Arts and PR Job Search Tips From a PR Ninja. Actually, her links and resources will serve many areas of interest, not just those seeking work in the Arts.

Tiffany Derville, also from the University of Oregon, offers up the news that Launches Recruitment Campaign. “To attract non-profits and job seekers, has waived the $60 monthly posting fee for non-profits this month, and it launched (a video) to attract people seeking non-profit internships and jobs.”

New Rules of Marketing and PR :: Students Feeling A Buzz

Fall semester brings more blogging and social media exercises to my classrooms. This semester, as with all in the past, I’ve tried to do something new with the hope of catching the imagination of each student.

I have a story, but first – some background.

The PR Writing class is reading David Meerman Scott‘s book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR. Then, theyNew Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott are writing about it in their Fall 2007 class blogs. Along the way, the students are also exploring social media releases, online release portals and more. You’ll be happy to know that they are doing a lot of other writing, too. Releases, features and more are weekly exercises. Finally, they will create an online newsroom for a nonprofit client … a real client.

I’ve never said, and never will say, that social media will replace tried and true public relations practices. It does offer a new way, sometimes a more appropriate and successful way, of serving a client’s interests and those of their stakeholders. And, developing an understanding of online release writing and delivery is certainly useful.

So, the story is that – as usual – many students are skeptics. Jackie is was one of them. But, she recently had an ah-ha! experience. Continue reading