Making the Most of College

I was a really “good” college student – or so I thought. I was studious to a fault, earning top grades and spending lots of time in my own library carrel working on my honors thesis.

I was also “well-rounded,” playing rugby, including stints at captain and coach, and managing the campus bar.

But I never really challenged myself. I thought college courses were easy (in part, because I avoided any non-humanities courses and never challenged myself to try something I might not be good at). In junior year, I finally went to office hours, but only to listen passively as important historians told war stories about influencing presidential administrations. I was too chicken to write for the student newspaper (except for two epic-ly bad, partial rugby game recaps), even though secretly I wanted to be a journalist.

Most of my students at SOJC are nothing like me. They know what they want career-wise (jobs in journalism and PR) or view their major as the stepping stone to another writing/production field. They are willing to accept constructive criticism of their writing. They’re often involved in communication extracurriculars or internships.

But, still. There is more to making the most of your college experience. And with today’s tuition prices it’s more important than ever to be self-directed during your undergraduate years. I hope every student reads College Advice I Wish I’d Taken, a recent Op-Ed piece in The New York Times. It took me years to backtrack to find the career I wanted. I wish I had realized that academics were about more than grades.

So read the article, and then come talk to me. And let’s discuss how you might start taking some of that advice.

Here’s your other insPiRation for the week:

Nonprofits… Theatre & Performing Arts…
Nonprofits to Help Boston Globe Pay Classical Music Critic (The New York Times)
Why is it a savvy PR move for classical music nonprofits to pay for earned media (even if the earned media might be critical)? (Think back to J352.) Will the outcry about possible lack of journalistic independence hurt these nonprofits? On a related note, how might you respond to that complaint if you were a part of The Boston Globe’s PR department?

Delta Has a New Reality Show About Becoming a Flight Attendant (Travel+Leisure)
What is your take on this innovative owned media tactic? Who are the audiences?

Airbnb’s Head of China is Calling It Quits After Just 4 Months (Mashable)
What are the PR challenges – if any – for Airbnb when it can’t keep someone in the head of China role? How does cross-cultural competence and knowledge of national market conditions relate to PR skills and competencies? What can Airbnb in China do to differentiate itself from the local competition?

Hospitality… TV…
The Best Hostess Gift? A Pound of Butter Says Amy Sedaris (NPR)
What audiences is Amy Sedaris trying to reach? How have hospitality and cooking shows changed with changing audiences?


Typewriter at ASU’s Walter Conkrite School of Journalism and Mass Communication (Kathryn Thier)

Latest Bill O’Reilly Case Is ‘Jaw-Dropping,’ Megyn Kelly Says (The New York Times)
How do you think Kelly’s discussion of O’Reilly and Fox will be perceived? There are pros and cons for her brand. What are they? Which audiences is she playing to?

British Star Falls In Hole In Stage, Posts Perfect Instagram Reaction (Mashable)
How has social media changed how TV personalities interact with fans? Why did Gemma Collins’ Instagram post “work”?

McKayla Maroney Says, ‘Me Too. What Happens Next? (The New York Times)
Olympic Gymnast McKayla Maroney Says She Too Was Molested by Team Doctor (The New York Times)
Why do you think gymnasts are now able to criticize the sport without hurting their image (as the first article suggests)? How can USA Gymnastics attempt to repair its image? Do you agree with Raisman’s idea? Maroney spoke out following the Weinstein allegations. How should sports organizations and teams prepare for PR crises that evolve in other industries?

Sports… NBA…
TNT Covered Gordon Hayward’s Injury With Utmost Professionalism (The Boston Globe)
Do you think this will have any impact on TNT’s brand, especially since viewers don’t get to choose which company broadcasts any given game? How might it have an impact?

Sports… NFL…
Colin Kapernick Lands Million-Dollar Book Deal (Page Six)
Why is this a good PR move for the former NFL player? How should the NFL prepare its own PR response?

Barton F. Graf Asks Industry To Join Healthcare Coalition (Ad Age)
What are the PR benefits to the advertising industry taking on the issue of lack of advertising about Affordable Care Act choices? Is it risky? Why might it not be risky?

Healthcare… Education…
HBCUs: Are Black Colleges a Potential Partner In Fight Against AIDS?
(Journalist’s Resource)
This synopsis of recent research suggest that HBCUs might be a partner in HIV/AIDS education geared toward black audiences. How might HBCUs create such partnerships? How does it align with their missions? What strengths do HBCUs bring to this potential partnership?

Leonardo DiCaprio Becomes Beyond Meat Investor (well+good)
Will Leonardo’s move actually encourage anyone to become vegetarian? Does this align with DiCaprio’s brand or is it just a publicity stunt? What do vegetarians want from food companies – or is this a move toward potential vegetarians?

Food & Restaurants… CSR…
Burger King’s Anti-Bullying PSA Elicits Strong Responses (Ragan)
Why is this PSA effective even though bullying and fast food aren’t usually associated? What sticky messaging principles are employed in the PSA?

Tesla Deploys Powerpack and Powerball Batteries in Puerto Rico (Mashable)
Why is this a smart CSR move by Tesla?

Kelly Clarkson Is Nobody’s Puppet (The New York Times)
What do you make of the analysis in the article of how different pop stars, such as Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson, brand themselves and establish their image? Why is Clarkson’s approach something that helps provide her staying power? At the same time, what about the paradox between her supposed authenticity and and the fact that she’s just now making the music she wants? Does her “American Idol” experience create a different PR playbook for her?



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