Category Archives: Public Relations Education

Camp ASCCA and Felicia Day :: People and Places I Love

I love a lot of people and places. You may think I throw around the word love, in that respect, but no … I really do love them. You know, in that respectful “You’ve made my life happy and better, so I want to say thank you” kind of way.

Examples? How about our interns at Camp ASCCA. Danika Kmetz, Kelli Hood and Zeb Ramey. These people are absolutely terrific and did such a wonderful job. Look at ASCCA Friends and the Camp ASCCA Journal to see all the great work they did this summer.

But, there is more. They did video, audio, photos, media pitching, releases, features, tours, marketing … the list goes on and on. Continue reading


Must Be Redesign Week in Social Network World

Four sites I visit regularly have been redesigned, lately.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning and Poynter have all gone throught redesigns of varying degrees.  Poynter’s will launch on August 23rd.  Bill Mitchell, Director of Poynter Online, sent an email to all members yesterday announcing the much anticipated new site.

Mitchell offered a mockup look at the new look. It promises to have enhanced social media aspects. The video below, from January 2008, highlights their desire to create a “journalism social networking experience.” The Alpha version of the site is visible here.

I must say, of all the sites I visit with any regularity, Poynter is easily one of the best Web sites anywhere. Nope, check that. Poynter is the best.

A previous Poynter redesign had its critics. redesign woes. The Online Journalism Review, did a story on that redesign effort. Overall I still liked the site. The new version makes me eager to see it in its full glory on August 23rd.

I’m curious to learn what, if any, impact the Poynter Eyetrack research had on their choices during the redesign process, too.

For budding PR practitioners, you have to understand journalism. You must understand journalists. There is no better place online to gain that knowledge than Poynter Online. Now, with the social networking aspects, it is even more of a must join, must read site for students. Oh, there are other things you can do, to be sure. For instance, you can join the HARO – Help A Reporter list from Peter Shankman. You don’t ever have to respond to anything on that list, if you don’t want to … just read and listen to what journalists look for and how they go about finding it.

The other redesigns have met with mixed reviews.

I like Facebook’s new look. It is cleaner and provides better navigation, as well as a less cluttered look. Downsides, along with the redesigned look, Facebook has changed some of the functionalities. They’ve not given users enough control over what appears in their news feed. Sure, you can get less of someone’s feed items, for example, but it is difficult to block their content totally. Finding pages is more difficult than before, too. Those are my experiences, so far.

LinkedIn has a rather mild redesign. It is cleaner, too. More white space, easier navigation and a bit of improvement in the admin areas highlight their changes. I like it. They’ve made the site better, in what I’ll call a slight, or minimal, redesign.

Ning’s redesign is really in the admin areas. They’ve made the “Manage” section look more like the backend of some open source CMS platforms or even an old version of Plesk, for instance. (That’s server admin software.)

I really love Ning. It is powering six of the sites we have running for class activities right now. In fact, one of the recent student campaigns was to design a site for the Dadeville/Lake Martin Chamber of Commerce. Their board recently voted unanimously to adopt the site and campaign the students designed. I want to work more Ning sites into class activities in the future.

If you’re interested in great resources regarding Web redesigns and the daunting process all of these organizations faced, look no further than Karine Joly’s Web site redesign articles and her Web standards articles, too.

Don’t forget this other terrific site, too. eduStyle from Stewart Foss is a wonderful gallery of hundreds of college and other education Web sites. One cool aspect is this Social Sites Foxx describes as a “collection of sites that you may use outside of your official college pages to connect with your school’s prospects, students, alumni, friends, parents or community.”

OK, that’s my look at some recent changes in my favorite sites. Poynter’s launch on August 23rd is still much anticipated. What do you think of all these redesigns?

Revolution Theme Site :: A Model for Support and Selling

Every year or so, usually before Fall classes begin, I go in search of a new theme for this site. This year, I found more than a theme. I found a site that is quite the model for providing depth in documentation, tutorial videos and more. It is Revolution WordPress Theme led by developer Brian Gardner.

The best part about the theme, to me, is the ability to highlight posts in a rather easy manner. But, it isn’t really the theme that sold me. It was the site. So, I’m sharing this as a great example for future portfolio and resume sites by my students. Continue reading

One Reason Nonprofits Should Use Video :: Testimonials :: Two Video Examples

For almost three years, Camp ASCCA has been using blogs, podcasts and now a full blown niche social network – ASCCA Friends – to connect with ASCCA’s campers and their parents.

Danika Kmetz, a great PR intern from Illinois State University (and President of her PRSSA chapter), has created two very fun videos with the best kind of testimonials possible. The first is from Hope, a camper at ASCCA’s Teen Week taking place this week on Lake Martin. The second is a mashup of clips from last week’s Adult Mentally Disabled camp.

There are many ideas at work behind these sites. The most important is to provide a look inside camp that will reach out to our campers, their parents and anyone that has yet to consider a therapeutic recreation opportunity. Continue reading

Live Blogging the Edelman / PR Week Education Summit in Chicago

In Chicago for the Edelman / PR Week 2008 edition of the Education Summit on New Media and PR.

I brought my laptop with webcam, as well as my Flip camera and cell phone for Utterz. I’m going to try and use the <a target=”_blank” href=”
COVERITLIVE.COM tool to bring you some info from the event.

So, here we go! Edelman/PRWeek New Media Academic Summit 2008

Visit the Summit main page for more information.

OK, I admit this attempt at using CoverItLive was sad. :o( Sorry. I found out, upon arrival at the event, that the Northwestern University Law School folks were not giving us access to their wifi. So, bummer.

I do have videos galore and will begin posting them tonight (Sunday, June 28).

It was a great conference and I thank Edelman and PRWeek for putting it on. Hope this has a long running life. We need more of these for edcuators. Edelman & PRWeek are, truly, leading the way in outreach to higher education.

Social Network for College & University PR Students and Faculty ::

One place for all PR students and faculty to meetup and mashup ideas about emerging digital media. That’s been my dream.

Sure, we’ve been creating our blogs and podcasts. We’ve been following each others writings and media. All fun. All good. But, there really hasn’t been one place for everyone to do a meet and greet … until now. is the place.

PROpenMic? A metaphor. Step up and speak your mind. Our goal is to be the social network for PR students and faculty worldwide. We have common interests, goals and certainly can learn from one another. logo

The site is open to practitioners, too. So, if you’re interested, please come and join in the discussion.

We can share documents, audio, video … a music / podcast player, forums, blogs & photo albums for each member … RSS feeds, photo albums, and more. Already people are blogging and four forums have begun – PR Syllabi & Resources, PR / Marcom Pros, Faculty and Students. We can start more, too.

Connect & Collaborate

I love sharing and learning. No better way to do that than to interact with your peer groups, right? So, my hope is that we can all come together – from around the world – and connect in this community.

The site is built upon the platform, so it has a sort of Facebook-like appeal. The difference? No ads. No apps sending you numerous emails. Just PR people. Hey, I like Facebook for connections, but to do what we wanted to do … a mashup of content in one place … we had to have our own platform, in my opinion.

Meetup, Mashup & Share

Already, in one day, we have people signing up. Blogs, forums & video sharing are already seeing a bit of activity. We want more, though. Interest has come in from Asia, Europe, North America & Australia. How about you? and your students?

I realize that starting this at the end of a semester isn’t the ideal time. But, I had an epiphany on Sunday night and just started building the site. By Monday morning it was essentially ready to go, so I shared in Twitter and through an email to about two dozen people.

Please Join

I’m seeking your support, please. Share with your students, fellow faculty, PR/Marcom colleagues and more. Sign up yourself and there is a very easy “invite” process for you to use. Thank you.

Note: will never sell or share your email address or personal information with anyone else. You choose what to share on the site. This is a nonprofit academic project, primarily for the benefit of our students. No cost. No ads.

And, just so you’ll know … This is for real, too. No April Fool’s silliness, here … unlike this one from Google. Hat tip to Brett Pohlman for that one.