April 22, 2008

A Lucky Internship Working for the 2008 Communicators Conference

Filed under: Uncategorized — jameslutes @ 7:10 am

There are only four students besides myself in my public relations planning and problems class. This has allowed our instructor, John Mitchell, to offer each of us the opportunity to work as interns for the 2008 Communicators Conference hosted by the North Pacific Chapter of the PRSA. Our assignment is to contact Northwest media outlets and pitch story ideas to generate publicity for the event. As interns, our pitches are authorized to offer interviews with any one of the conference’s speakers, including LA Times and Time Magazine columnist Joel Stein, and Wall Street Journal columnist Ronald Alsop. (Click here for a full list of the event’s speakers.)

The areas I’ve been assigned to focus my attention are Washington state and Alaska. As you can probably guess there are hundreds of media oulets in these two states. Categorizing, sorting and then evaluating their potential effectiveness to create publicity for the 2008 Communicators Conference was very tricky. But a Web site named greatly assisted me in this process, and made the first step of my assignment relatively painless.

With I was able to view a list of 156 media outlets in Washington state and 45 in Alaska. If I were to have purchased the lists (about $100 for Washington State’s and $55 for Alaska’s), I would have been given full contact information for every single one of these outlets. But due to my college-level income, I decided it would be better to just Google each media outlet and search for contact information on their Web sites.

My plan worked perfectly. The organized and easy-to-read lists from allowed me to locate local business and communicator publications through Google, and nearly all of these publications’ Web sites had more than enough contact information. The next step of my assignment is to develop a one- to two-page pitch and use it to convince several of these media outlets to publish stories that will create publicity for the 2008 Communicators Conference.

April 17, 2008

Developing a PR Plan

Filed under: Uncategorized — jameslutes @ 10:26 am

My first substantial assignment in my PR Planning and Problems class was to review a case study and write a PR plan. The study involved a manufacturing company that discovered toxic chemicals in the sediment of a lagoon located on its property. The company decided before clean-up operations could commence, it would have to notify its community and employees of the contamination. This is where me and my group came in.

I was in charge of writing the strategy and tactics for notifying the local media. I found this to be challenging, because even though our group had some good ideas, I had trouble categorizing them as being either part of the “strategy” or “tactics” section. One clearly stated rule in our course book (Writing Winning PR Proposals by Tom Hagley) was that you are not allowed to list your tactics in your strategy section. I found this be particularly frustrating because the strategy section also had to explain the effectiveness of the persuasive techniques our group had developed, but I couldn’t list any of the tactics.

For a long time I was at a roadblock, but after a couple of drafts I finally started to understand how to write a strategy section. I learned that I needed to discuss the strategy of our plan in much more conceptual terms. Doing this enhanced the quality of our plan, and I felt like I took a big step forward to become a professional.

April 15, 2008

Hey, Everybody

Filed under: Uncategorized — jameslutes @ 3:16 pm

My name is James Lutes, and here’s a little about me and my blog that you won’t find in the About James section. This is my first-ever experience with a blog of any kind. That’s no exaggeration, so try to bear with me for the first couple of posts. My blog will address public relations and the many issues that surround it. Hopefully, other young and inexperienced public relations students can read my blog, and together we can share ideas and foster a better understanding for the field of public relations. I didn’t always intend to major in public relations. In fact, I originally wanted to be a newspaper editor when I first entered the UO’s SOJC,  but changed my mind when I realized PR was an exciting, lucrative and diverse type of journalism. I’m also an economics major, so I’ve begun researching the field of investor relations.

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