Until our next media kit, BRAC.

Here we are at the end of my BRAC blog series for Dr. Jensen Moore-Copple’s public relations writing course. I have to tell you, it’s bittersweet. For our last post, my class has been asked to write on professional proficiencies and service-learning from the perspective of a PR student who has completed a milestone PR class. I’ll also go into my course learning outcomes in this farewell to my BRAC blog.

I’m proficient in one language – public relations. 

Professional proficiency is paramount in any profession or job. My interpretation of professional proficiency is a task or skill you must be able to confidently and correctly complete for your given career choice.

For mass communication majors with a focus on public relations, like myself, our required abilities and skills revolve around crisp, clear and catchy writing with a few dashes of dazzling design.  I do not think I could have chosen a better MC 4001 section in the Manship School of Mass Communication to learn proficiency in public relations writing.

You need a news release? How about a memo to go along with it? I’ll even throw in a fancy media kit.  I am finishing the first semester of my senior year at LSU feeling more confident than ever. It is clear to me now that my public relations writing class has taught me to be professionally PR proficient.

Thank you, BRAC. Thank you very much.

Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org.

Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org.

I know I’ve gone on and on about how much I love service-learning after being involved in my public relations writing class, but I’m going to say it again. I love service-learning. I was terrified before I started this class, and now I know it’s an opportunity and not a punishment.

My work for BRAC has changed my outlook on what PR is. PR is fun, and I didn’t know. (I have to admit though, most of the fun I’ve had in this class is due to our fearless leader, Dr. Moore-Copple, and her awesome grant that allowed us to work with the SCVNGR application.)

Through service learning, my eyes have been opened to what the real world of work for a public relations professional is like, and I like what I see. On our last day of class, my student-run public relations firm will turn in a cohesive campaign book of our art and culture work for BRAC. I am so proud of this book, and the work we’ve done to compile it.

So, what did you learn?

As far as course learning outcomes go, I have learned more in 15 short weeks than I could have ever imagined. I’ve completed over 40 assignments that have taught me how to write like a public relations professional, and I am thankful for each and every assignment. I couldn’t have hoped for a better class or a better instructor, this semester. It was a whirlwind, it has made me better, and that is all I’ve ever asked for.

 

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Advocating ethically for BRAC.

It is lovely to see you again, guys and girls. Welcome to the fifth installment of PR in BR written by yours truly, Madison Hentze. The topic of the day is ethics – something we all should know about. I’ll be musing specifically about what ethics and professionalism mean to public relations practitioners. Ready? Let’s begin.

What’s your schedule like?

Throughout your time as a Manship School of Mass Communication student you are required to take various courses that LSU and Manship believe are necessary to the successful execution of work as a mass communication professional. One of these classes – an upper level, three-hour credit- is MC 4090 entitled Media Ethics and Social Responsibility.

Come together. 

I’ve already noted my stance on social responsibility and its imperative nature in my previous blog, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine, BRAC.” However, I did not go as far as to link social responsibility to ethics.

It’s a simple and reasonable association. Public relations practitioners must be professional, they must promote social responsibility to their client and they must advocate for mutually beneficial interactions between their client and its publics with the hope of yielding positive attitudes. Simple enough.

Ethics is a word we are all familiar with. Ethics, to me at least, is a moral code – often felt within – that outlines what is right and what is wrong. Ethics discussion can quickly turn into a philosophy lecture, but I most definitely not versed on philosophy. I’ll stick to public relations talk.

BRAC does it.

In my work for Baton Rouge Area Chamber, I must call upon this moral code. Furthermore, I must act professionally though I have yet to become a public relations professional. I must choose to do the right things. I must choose to write the facts. I must choose not to embellish my work falsely. I must strive to create content that will best and most accurately educate BRAC’s publics about BRAC’s mission and goals.

BRAC has a positive public image. This is a direct result of working ethically. As a student associated with this nonprofit, I feel that I must uphold this good, morally correct image.

Bonjour. Do you speak PR?

Image courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org.

Image courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org.

When researching for this blog, I happened upon the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) ethics page. It clearly and concisely states the ethics creeds public relations practitioners should live by.

With that said, ethics change only minutely – if at all – throughout the world. I’ll be taking my MC 4090 class in France during an academic programs abroad trip. We will be exploring the subject with the aid of French examples, yet the coursework will be extremely similar.

It’s interesting to feel that through a subject as potentially boring as ethics, I am linked to thousands of other public relations people by my moral code.

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BRAC, can I offer you a news release or a backgrounder?

Welcome back, everyone. It’s time for our fourth installment of PR in BR, and the topic of discussion is service-learning. My public relations writing class, instructed by Dr. Jensen Moore-Copple, is a true example of what service-learning is and should be.

Now, ask yourself – do I know what service-learning is? If your answer to this question is no, stick around.

A horse of a different color.

Service-learning is defined as a class in which students are paired with a nonprofit organization – often a community group like our client, Baton Rouge Area Chamber – to gain experience in using course content in the real world.

This is not what most people would consider an ordinary college class. Service-learning classes, in my opinion, offer students so much more than a normal lecture or lab.

How the Tigers do it.

lsu

Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org.

Louisiana State University offers various service-learning classes ranging from architecture to ecology or from chemistry to mass communication. These classes have different clients with different goals students strive to reach.

As I previously stated, the nonprofit organization my service-learning class has been paired with is Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC). My previous blogs have explained some of the awesome stuff we’ve been able to work on for the organization, but if you have not read them, I will gladly give you a quick recap.

BRAC, your showcase begins here.

Within the first weeks of class with Dr. Moore-Copple, my classmates and I were broken up into small groups that were consequently challenged to create a student-run public relations firm. After meeting my fellow Découvrir Public Relations firm members, we noted that we were tasked with creating content pertaining to the art and culture aspects of the nine-parish Baton Rouge area.

Shortly after joining my public relations dream team, BRAC talent development worker Julie Laperouse visited our class. This is where the service-learning began.

Who do you call? Julie Laperouse.

Julie spent time explaining BRAC to us in detail. She answered questions about the nonprofit’s history and, more importantly, about its future. Julie spoke passionately about the organization’s strengths and aspirations. She informed us about problems BRAC had faced in the past, and she explained how BRAC has decided to employ the SCVNGR application in their Creative Capital of the South campaign.

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 8.18.51 AM

Image courtesy of brac.org.

Ready, set, PR.

This pseudo client meeting invigorated me for the semester. I have BRAC as a constant reminder that my work is not going to waste. I am proud that I’ve learned skills I will use in the real world instead of merely reading from a textbook and writing dull papers.

My service-learning experience has given me a glimpse into the future. My experience has shown me what life could be like as a public relations practitioner. My experience has taught me how important it is to have a personal bond with your client.

Though I was nervous about enrolling in my first service-learning class, I know now that it is one of the best decisions I’ve made during my years at LSU.

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BRAC, what’s your screen name?

The third time must be the charm. For my third BRAC blog entry, MC 4001’s own public relations guru, Dr. Jensen Moore-Copple, has asked us to muse about social media and technology. Jackpot.  If there is one topic I am comfortable and confident blogging about, it’s social media.

A gateway social medium

A not-so-long time ago in a galaxy we still hang out in, there was AIM. AIM, also known as AOL Instant Messenger, was my first venture into the world of social media. I’m fairly positive that it was the online activity that sparked the many loving relationships I’ve had with my desktop computers and laptops.

A few instant messages to my junior high school clique, and that was it. I was hooked, caught, trapped and intrigued. Myspace followed soon after AIM with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram joining my social media menagerie in recent years.

Pre-teen Madison definitely did not think that 21-year-old Madison could be applying for jobs concerned solely with the creation of social media content for companies using touchscreen technology. In case you were unaware, folks, the future is now.

Now, fast forward your VHS tape about a decade. I am depressing the keys on my shiny, silver MacBook Pro and sliding my fingers across a cold, aluminum track pad to navigate between Facebook, Netflix and a Microsoft Word document. Obviously, some things have changed.

Socializing BRAC

Image courtesy of http://www.scvngr.com.

Image courtesy of http://www.scvngr.com.

Social media is the new frontier for public relations. Social media can only exist with new technology. The two go hand-in-hand and cannot exist without one another. This codependent relationship is clearly demonstrated in BRAC’s use of SCVNGR in their newest endeavor to attract residents to the nine-parish Baton Rouge area.

As previous explained, SCVNGR is a geo-location based mobile gaming application. The application can be accessed on smartphones like the various cellphones of the iPhone legacy that feature perpetually evolving technology.

SCVNGR users are encouraged participate in challenges and treks – like the arts and culture trek my group, Decouvrir Public Relations, is creating. As users complete these tasks, they check in at various locations, post pictures of their activities and comments about their experiences.

SCVNGR is a perfect example of a social medium. It is new, unique and relatively unknown to many audiences. The latter attributes give me reason to believe that BRAC’s treks will be successful both in user involvement numbers and in drawing potential residents to the Baton Rouge area.

I found myself excited about writing this entry of PR in BR for the singular reason that I consider myself well versed in social media. It’s invigorating to know that the public relations world is being refreshed by the development of a new means of communication, social media.

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AP style, and service-learning and BRAC…oh my.

What a whirlwind. I started Dr. Jensen Moore-Copple‘s MC 4001 class with no idea what service-learning entailed – at least I’m a quick study. After brushing up on my AP Stylebook entries and recalling the inverted pyramid style that public relations writing demands, I’ve realized just how cool this class is going to be.

Step 1: Figure out what service-learning is.

It turns out that service-learning entails students working with a real– not pretend- nonprofit. (It would seem that I’ve finally enrolled in a class that will actually prepare me for my potential career.) Service-learning classes allow students to gain unparalleled experience creating course-related content for their client. My MC 4001 class has been paired with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.

Step 2: Research your client – the real one.

Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) is an nonprofit that works to grow the economy of the nine-parish Baton Rouge area.  In recent times, BRAC has aimed to brand the Baton Rouge area as the “Creative Capitol of the South.” Moreover, BRAC wants to attract new residents to the nine-parish area.

My MC 4001 class was divided into several student-run public relations firms to create content for BRAC with the latter goals in mind.

Step 3: Hello, my name is…

Cassie Hart, Alexis Nicaud, Megan Senger, Erica Sweeney and Icomprise Découvrir Public Relations. Alexis Nicaud is our account liaison; she is the primary contact for our BRAC representative. Erica Sweeney is our design director, and she is responsible for look of all campaign materials. Cassie Hart and Megan Senger are our strategy directors. They will oversee development for our campaign, as a whole.

I will fill the writing director role for Découvrir Public Relations. I am responsible for all written content developed for our campaign. I worked previously as a copy editor for The Daily Reveille, LSU’s newspaper, and thus, I feel confident in my task.

Through some fortunate course of events, I’ve been grouped with four ladies who I feel can execute a wonderful campaign for BRAC. Our focus for this campaign is Baton Rouge area arts and culture, and our goal is to produce a SCVNGR trek for BRAC with this theme.

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 10.10.32 AM

Step 4: Go on a SCVNGR hunt – or at least develop one.

Dr. Jensen Moore-Copple’s MC 4001 class will be optimizing SCVNGR in their campaigns for BRAC. SCVNGR is a geo-location based mobile gaming application. The SCVNGR application takes users on a pseudo-scavenger hunt. Users can earn points, unlock badges and receive rewards for completing tasks and treks.

Découvrir Public Relations is in charge of creating such a trek, which involves arts and culture elements, for BRAC. We will develop our trek with hopes to expose nine-parish area visitors and even locals to new and exciting goings-on in the Baton Rouge area.

All in all, I couldn’t be more pleased with my choice of MC 4001 section. This class will surely push me to work my hardest and do my best with what I have learned throughout my time as a public relations student.

Stay tuned.

P.S. Want to know more about me? Check out my About page.

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