May 21, 2021 | By: Analleli Penaloza

It’s been a whirlwind of a year amidst CSUF’s transition to virtual learning, but it’s finally coming to an end.  Over the course of this semester, we’ve come together as a chapter and adapted, developed and triumphed!  

To celebrate the semester coming to an end, I’ve provided a brief outline of CSUF PRSSA’s spring accomplishments.

Board Position Elections

As the school year ends, CSUF’s PRSSA chapter held executive board elections to select new members for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. People interested in obtaining a leadership position on the board were required to attend at least one of three open board meetings and read about  board member position requirements. After submitting an application, the executive board reviewed each application and members were required to be interviewed by the President, Incoming President and the board members of the position they were applying for. After the interview, the Executive Board created a nominating slate, detailing their recommended candidates for each position. On April 7th, applicants were then given 2 minutes to present a speech followed by a question and answer session open to the audience. PRSSA chapter members present at the Executive Board elections were able to exercise their right to vote for the  next executive board. On April 9th, the new executive board was announced to the chapter! 

Without further ado, here is the Executive Board for the 2021-2022 school year:

  • President: Emma Rowell
  • Vice President: Priyanka Jain
  • VP of Professional Development: Elyssa Ruiz
  • VP of Outreach: Cesar Villa
  • VP of Administration: Matena Jarjis
  • VP of External Digital Communications: Vianey Sanchez
  • VP of Internal Digital Communications: Tabby Rodriguez
  • VP of Sponsorships and Fundraising: Vicky Hernandez
  • VP of University Relations: Caleena Sugiharto
  • VP of Finance: Allison Ruiz

Congratulations to our new Executive Board!  We can’t wait to see what you have in store for next year!

The DKC x PRSSA Mentorship Program

The DKC x PRSSA Mentorship Program was established Spring 2021 and ran from February 5th to April 16th on a bi-weekly basis. DKC aimed the program towards connecting students with professional mentors in a highly interactive and engaging environment consisting of presentations and short assignments. Twelve PRSSA members were paired with mentors from DKC and learned about topics such as crisis communications and client management, and gained a greater perspective based on their mentors’ experiences. The program allowed members to network with industry professionals, their peers, and hone their public relations skills

I was among the 12 participants and can genuinely say that the program was unique and offered me new information and insight I never knew of beforehand. If you’re on the fence about joining a mentorship program, I would highly recommend that you do so!

Socal Coalition

This semester CSUF continued to participate alongside local PRSSA chapters from varying universities within Southern California in the SoCal Coalition, which was established during the Fall 2020 semester.  This spring, CSUF hosted their last PRSSA SoCal Coalition panel “Strategy and Storytelling” on April 14th, 2021. PRSSA members from chapters across the coalition attended to learn about PR efforts within the nonprofit and public sectors. 

Also, other chapters hosted their own panel events throughout the semester that coalition members were able to attend. One such panel  was CSUN’s PRSSA chapter, who hosted a tech panel and in attendance remained CSUF PRSSA members, joining in to take advantage of the virtual event.

Overall, the Socal Coalition was one of the most unique opportunities that came to fruition as a result of the pandemic and our resulting virtual semester.  It was a fantastic opportunity to strengthen bonds across chapters that might otherwise never have been formed.  

Conclusion

This year it was a challenge to adapt to a virtual setting, but CSUF’s PRSSA chapter proved once again its ability to rise and overcome adversity.  Our chapter continued to provide quality events, programs, and learning opportunities.   I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

May 10, 2021 | By: Cesario Mora

As aspiring PR practitioners, we have to embrace change with open arms. Admittedly, change can be scary. But to thrive in a competitive field that is constantly changing, we can’t be treading water. It’s sink or swim. Choose to swim! Adaptability is important when dealing with any unexpected change. Being able to adapt allows you to learn and develop new skills that you can apply to different areas of the field. You might be asking yourself: What are some changes I should expect to face in the PR industry? Here are a few examples how the skill of adaptability may come in handy:

1. Social Media 

Before there was Facebook, there was Myspace – an antiquated social media platform that was a national obsession in the mid 2000s. It was the only social media platform like it at the time that allowed people to stay connected and express themselves creatively via their profiles. Social media has evolved and expanded tremendously since then. Aspiring PR professionals should keep an eye out on the latest social media platforms and trends. Learning and adapting to different platforms will allow you to communicate with your target audiences more effectively, and perhaps even reach new ones.

2. Unexpected Crisis

Life can change at a moment’s notice. One day you are driving to CSUF and learning with a classroom full of people, and the next you are quarantined in your bedroom and learning over Zoom. In a crisis, PR pros have to be quick to adapt. Take the pandemic for example: the digitalization of the PR industry was something that every professional had to adapt to in response to this unexpected situation. While not all disruption may not be as grave as a pandemic, having the ability to adapt can help you overcome and mitigate a crisis. 

3. Social Change and Social Justice

America has a long history of systemic racism and inequality, and the fight for change is still long ahead of us. It is important for PR practitioners to be actively aware of the social injustices happening in the nation. Being well-informed on various social issues is critical if your client plans to show solidarity to those who are facing social inequity. An organization’s reputation is at stake if their attempt to show solidarity comes off inauthentic and/or tone deaf because they were misinformed. That is why experts in this field must be ready to adapt and grow alongside the nation.

These were just a couple of examples of how you should be ready to adapt in an industry that is constantly changing. Being able to adapt with whatever the industry throws your way will allow you to navigate through unfamiliar terrain and overcome any unforeseen disruptions. It will keep you sharp and fresh, which will make you stand out in a competitive field. 

What is your name, age, and major?

My name is Cesario Mora. I am 30 years old and I am majoring in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations.

How many years have you been at CSUF?

A year and a half! I transferred in the Spring of 2020, and I will graduate this Fall.

How long have you been part of PRSSA?

I have been a part of PRSSA since Fall 2020.

How did you hear about the organization?

I had heard about this organization from one of my friends who is involved in PRSSA. When I revealed to them that I had decided on a PR concentration, they had encouraged me to join. And I am so glad I did!

What is your favorite part about PRSSA?

My favorite part is the wide variety of panels PRSSA hosts. Hearing from different panelists about their experiences in the industry is so inspiring and the insight that they offer is incredible.

What is your favorite social media platform and why?

My favorite social media platform is Instagram because I love spamming pictures of my dog for everyone to see. Also, I love how easy it is to spread awareness to different social issues via Instagram stories. It’s a great visual platform to stay connected and stay socially conscious.

Where do you see your career taking you after graduation?

I would love to work for a nonprofit organization. I want to ensure that my future is spent working on helping people, and I want to do whatever I can to better the world. Ideally, I would absolutely LOVE working for a nonprofit that helps LGBTQIA+ causes. As a member of the queer community myself, having the opportunity to work in an environment that strives in protecting LGBTQIA+ and their rights would be a dream.

April 26, 2021 | By: Lauren Mann

         When it comes to working in public relations, collaboration is huge! In everyday life, working in a group helps you get jobs done and gain better insight and knowledge from others. Collaboration in public relations is no different! In a field that relies heavily on communication and networking, collaboration is not only a result of these concepts, but it’s also a key part in building and maintaining the relationships we develop on the way to success. As aspiring practitioners, it’s important to understand the value in collaborating early on so we can utilize it throughout our careers.

Shining Schitts Creek GIF by CBC - Find & Share on GIPHY

         Here are some ways collaboration is key in public relations:

Networking

         One of the most critical aspects of public relations and perhaps the most obvious example of when collaboration comes into play is with networking. When clients hire us, it’s with the trust that we have the resources already available to us and we know what to look for and who to call all at our fingertips. The expectation is that you have developed relationships in order to collaborate on a campaign that fits your client’s needs. This could bebe knowing the perfect journalist to pitch to when it comes to covering your client’s debut release, or a marketing specialist that could contribute to your organization’s campaign vision. In the world of public relations, contacts can become a lifeline. These connections become a source of our credibility that help ensure our clients that we are more than capable of bringing the best team together to fit their needs.

Adapting to a Changing Industry

         Collaboration is also a key for gaining further insight on a field that is evolving by the day. While working in public relations can be exciting for the constant change, it can also be overwhelming trying to keep up. In a field that is so socially demanding, collaborating with others who specialize in certain areas of the industry, whether it be event planning, digital media, speech writing, etc.,  is what helps us grow as professionals. We’re able to learn more about skills and social trends in our industry by working together. Collaborating with other individuals with trusted skill sets is how we learn in a hands-on way and makes the adaptability that much more seamless.

Doing What’s Best for Your Client

         Finally, collaboration is the best way to ensure that your clients expectations are not only met but exceeded by drawing the perspective of multiple people. No matter how great we are at our jobs, it’s just as important to realize we can’t always do everything alone. Even if we don’t think we need it, sometimes getting the opinions of others can mean all the difference when it comes to creating a great campaign that really resonates with our public.

Overall, being comfortable collaborating is a great skill when it comes to expanding your public relations tool belt. As they say, team work makes the dream work!

April 21, 2021 ︱Elizabeth Williams 

When pursuing a career in Public Relations you have to think about where you want to work. Do you want to start in an agency or do you want to do in-house PR? 

Here is what it would look like to have a job in Agency and In-House. 

1. Agency

It is more of a fast pacing environment working on multiple projects across different industries. Your agency is employed by another business or individual, so you will be expected to create campaigns for them. With agencies, it is very unlikely you will get a final say over projects. Be prepared to work long hours. Agencies usually have two teams. One team focuses on particular products and the other team focuses on campaigns. 

The work can be demanding in an agency because the workflow moves quickly. When working at an agency the projects and priorities constantly change, so you need to know how to juggle multiple tasks at once. Your co-workers will serve as a tool for help or advice on an issue. 

2. In-House

Usually, in-house, you are devoted to one specific company. Within this company, you are giving all your attention to the clients and products. You will work on multiple projects as an agency except it will be within one sector. This job is where you will be able to manage budgets, make decisions, and come up with strategies for the company. 

Keep in mind that in-house focused on one company, so you eat sleep, and breathe that brand. It gives you an opportunity to dive deep into the company and become more aligned with its goals, strategies, messages, and audiences.  

If you enjoy a fast and versatile environment, the agency is for you. If you like focusing on one thing and working with it for a long period of time, In-House may be a good fit for you. 

Work Cited

Which is for you? In-house vs agency. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.brightnetwork.co.uk/career-path-guides/marketing-pr/house-vs-agency-which-you/

April 19, 2021 | By: Christian Sutton 

As a Donate Life Ambassador for almost eight years, I still learned more than I expected from my internship at Sierra Donor Services, one of four organ procurement organizations under Donate Life California. 

Throughout the course of my public relations internship, I developed a greater and more nuanced appreciation for the public education goals and messaging of a nonprofit organization. 

For example, I had the opportunity to work with many other positions in the organization including other volunteers, our front office staff, Media Relations Manager and Executive Director. In team meetings for campaigns, I discussed strategic tactics and plans to pitch stories to audiences. I met with industry leaders, where I learned more about the business model of a nonprofit and how to better fulfil its mission.

My first project involved identifying reporters, crafting pitch letters and sending them out to local gatekeepers for #BetheGift day. The campaign raised awareness of the need for organ, eye and tissue donation. Ultimately, this messaging helps save lives by highlighting the #BeTheGift campaign, which encourages the public to register as donor heroes. 

I met with California legislators to discuss lobbying efforts, which relate to organ, eye and tissue donation. This event highlighted the power of a personal story. Before our meeting, I sent them photos on virtual postcards with stories from those whose lives have been touched by organ donation. The strategy behind this tool helped us to be remembered by and build relationships with leaders in the legislature.  

Throughout my internship, I assisted the public education staff to create a virtual postcard to send to our staff and hospital partners for National Thank A Healthcare Hero Day. I used a creative design that encompasses the Sierra Donor Services brand and Donate Life theme. When these postcards were shared with the healthcare community, they saw the life-saving, positive side of organ donation. This public education campaign serves to build relationships between Donate Life and hospital partners.

Similarly, I was able to craft a message and design for Donor Remembrance Day. This day recognizes donor heroes, ensures they are never forgotten by their family and community, and expresses the depth of gratitude felt by their recipients. – This celebration of life in our organization is a way to encourage our volunteers, many of whom have personal connections to organ donation, to honor their loved one and donor hero.  .

My Passion!

As a PRSSA member and a grateful heart recipient of more than 20 years, I know that organ donation saves lives! Since I received the gift of life as a two-year-old, I am now a senior CSUF, I lived my dream internship on the Disney College Program, and I finished a 10K RunDisney because of my organ donor.

But our work isn’t done yet! Nationwide, more than 100,000 people are waiting for a lifesaving organ, 23,000 of whom reside right here in California. Everyone needs to register as an organ donor to off-set the number of people who die waiting for an organ. Currently, nearly 17 people die each day from lack of available organs for transplant. Communication classes at CSUF have helped me pursue my passion because I learned about multiple professional communication tactics in my degree program. For example, video production and visual design in Digital Foundations, media research from PR Writing II and pitching to gatekeepers have helped me pursue my passion and ultimately, intern for Donate Life this semester. 

April is National Donate Life Month!

National Donate Life Month is a public education campaign from Donate Life America that focuses on inspiring and motivating Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. Through the strategic use of social media tactics, celebrations and engagements, community members can share their decision of registering to be a donor. 

When you register as an organ donor hero and have a conversation with your family about it, YOU save lives! You can be a part of this life-saving mission by getting involved with Blue & Green Spirit Week on April 10-16! Included is a calendar of celebrations in which you can participate to help spread Donate Life awareness in your community!

You can also share your blue and green spirit on social media to share your decision to register as a donor and encourage others to register. To register as an organ donor, sign up today at Registerme.org 

April 5, 2021 | By: Cesario Mora

Do you know how Luke Skywalker defeated the evil emperor, overthrew an empire, and saved the galaxy from being blown into pieces by the Death Star? Luke had a mentor. His mentor was the legendary Jedi Master Yoda. As aspiring industry professionals, we all need a Yoda in our lives to guide and keep us from straying into the darkside (i.e unemployment). The beginnings of a fast-paced industry can be intimidating, so having the guidance of someone who knows the nooks and crannies of the industry can give you the knowledge to thrive. That is why mentorship is so important for professional success! Here are 3 reasons why:

1. The Experience

PR pros weren’t born, they were made. Believe it or not, they were once nervous beginners just like us. They faced the same amount of rejection, stumbled over their words, and have had many awkward bumps on their journey to success. PR professionals have an arsenal of useful advice to share that would be valuable for anyone starting their PR journey. Finding a mentor who has successfully overcome obstacles would benefit you tremendously, as it will enlighten you with what career choices you should make and avoid. 

2. The Honesty

Henry David Thoreau once said, “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” And while most of us wouldn’t mind having tons of money and/or being internet famous, what we should really strive for in this industry is to have someone in our corner who can give us the honest truth. That is why it is so valuable to have a mentor. A mentor can provide constructive criticism and even call us out when we have misstepped. There is so much room for growth when our work is evaluated by an experienced pro.

3. The Guidance

Recently in my Entertainment PR class, we were blessed to have a guest speaker talk about her career path in the entertainment industry. We discussed how representation is not only important on-screen, but also behind the scenes as well. Curious about how diverse the industry was when she began in 2008, I asked if the field was inclusive or if it was “dominated by old straight white dudes.” Unsurprisingly, it was the latter. However, she drove home the point about how she found a mentor in someone who was also POC. This mentorship helped her find her voice and hone her skills which allowed her to navigate successfully in a white-dominated space. 

Would Luke have been able to defeat the Emperor without the guidance of Master Yoda? Well, yeah, eventually. But It would have been hard. Could you enter the PR field and end up having a successful career without having the guidance of a mentor? Well, yeah, eventually. But why make things harder for yourself? As we enter this field, we should actively seek out a mentor to help guide us to success. And hey, if you are unsure about how to start a professional relationship with a mentor, PRSA has you covered. Check out https://www.prsa.org/career/mentor-connect. PRSA will help connect you with a mentor who can help you with your PR career goals. 

What is your name, age, and major?

My name is Melika Karimzadeh and I am a Communications major with an emphasis in Public Relations!

How many years have you been at CSUF?

I have been at CSUF for 4 semesters now, so 2 years! I actually am set to graduate this Spring 2021.

How long have you been part of PRSSA?

I have been a part of PRSSA since Fall 2020 and I am so thankful I finally decided to join!

How did you hear about the organization?

I heard about PRSSA at my first ever class taken at CSUF, Principles of Public Relations with Ken Hagihara. He spoke about it quite a bit and I was hesitant to join so I decided to think about it for a little bit and ask around. After hearing about the amazing opportunities, I finally just took the leap and joined!

What is your favorite part about PRSSA?

My favorite part about PRSSA is that you get to network and connect with so many amazing professionals in the industry. I would’ve never met half of the people I have met or went to any of the panels if it wasn’t for PRSSA. They really just throw you in there and get you started on your career path.

How has PRSSA helped you achieve your academic or professional goals?

PRSSA has helped me tremendously in achieving my academic and professional goals. Without PRSSA I wouldn’t have been able to join Titan Public Relations, which is the student-run public relations firm that connects you with real life clients in order to gain experience. Being able to put something like TPR on my resume has really given me an upper hand when searching for jobs and internships!

What is your favorite social media platform and why?

My favorite social media platform is a three-way tie between Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn. Instagram is just a great resource to connect with the world and I do find a lot of information about what’s happening around me on there. TikTok is what’s new and trending so it’s always a great resource for those looking to get into the social media industry. Lastly, I love LinkedIn! After all, where would I be without all the amazing connections and professional mentors that I’ve met on there?

Where do you see your career taking you after graduation?

After graduation, I really hope to pursue a career in the video game or tech industry. I really enjoy the atmosphere and those two things have always played a big role in my life. I hope to work with top companies like Blizzard, Riot, or Kingston Technology. Regardless of where I’m going, I am so thankful for the friends and mentors I was able to meet at CSUF and so happy I decided to go here!

March 19, 2021 | By: Lauren Mann

While social media is a great way to keep up with friends and classmates, it’s also a huge part of how we see public relations today. It’s a direct line of communication between an organization and their target audiences.  It’s a perfect tool to utilize in a field that benefits from public engagement and understanding. 

It’s crucial to utilize these social media platforms! When it comes to connecting with your public, this is one of the most efficient ways to do so and here’s why:

Accessibility

People have access to your organization’s brand and message in summary through social media. From these sites, they should be able to decide whether or not this organization is something they could see themselves supporting or engaging with. From your Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, people are able to make a quick assessment before deciding if they want to learn more.

Sharing Information

When it comes to spreading the word, and fast, social media’s your go-to. And we know that from experience, whether that be good or bad. The same goes for using social media in a  public relations practice. While we may not put out an entire news release on a social media outlet, we might link and share it across platforms. It’s how we get our Instagram audience and our Twitter audience to come together and find the same source. No matter how they found your client, they will all be directed to the same information quickly and efficiently.

Speed

Moreover, the speed of social media allows practitioners to stay in the loop and ahead of the curve. Social media helps practitioners look at what’s trending and find ways to be a part of that conversation while it’s relevant. Whether it be commenting on a trend that aligns with your public as it happens, or dispelling potential rumors before it becomes a crisis communication situation, social media is the perfect tool for instantaneous communication.

Engagement

Social media allows direct insight on what resonates with your public. Many forms of social media allow you to monitor how well your posts are performing through likes, shares, views, and other analytics. This helps practitioners understand how successful media campaigns are going.

Maintaining the Relationship with Your Audience

One of the most essential uses of social media is that it helps you build and maintain your audience.  Your socials allow you to be in constant communication with the people who follow your organization.  As your brand grows, so will your audience.  As we engage in these social media platforms, we’re able to get direct feedback from our publics and do our jobs efficiently.  It’s important to take advantage of these opportunities to understand and maintain the longevity of the relationship between your organization and their target audience.

March 12, 2021 ︱By: Cesario Mora

As aspiring PR professionals, we understand that networking is everything. Connections are the ingredients needed for having a successful career. But you can’t just wait for connections to fall on your lap – you must be on the hunt!  So, what is the best way to do this? You have to put yourself out there and get involved – and the sooner the better. Not only does getting involved allow you to create professional relationships, you can also utilize the skills you learned about the PR field in a real-world setting.

For example, you can employ your sweet PR skills by joining one of PRSSA’s committees or Titan Public Relations! Involving yourself will allow you to gain experience, network with others, and apply your PR knowledge in the field. It is so important and refreshing to surround yourself with individuals who are passionate and goal-oriented because it will keep you focused and motivated.

But hey, perhaps you are currently involved in one of CSUF’s many other organizations that do not seem to have a direct relation to PR. Well, you would be surprised how you can still employ those PR skills into practice.

For instance, last year when I transferred to CSUF, I did not know exactly what I wanted to do or which one of the hundreds of clubs to join. I just knew that I wanted to find a place where I could enjoy myself and be a part of something that would help propel my career path. That’s when I found Titan Radio, CSUF’s radio station, at Discoverfest. They pitched to me all the reasons why I should join, but I was hesitant and unsure how this would even coincide with my PR goals. But after being with them for over a year, I am glad I joined because it sharpened the skills I need to thrive in PR.

 Let me tell you the 3 ways how:

 1. Emails! Emails! Emails!

As a current Titan Radio intern, I am constantly sending email pitches to different organizations on campus for possible collaborative events.  And as students of PR, we know that constructing the perfect email that can hold the recipient’s attention is, dare I say, an art form we are constantly trying to perfect.

2. Personal Brand

I took advantage of Titan Radio’s powerful platform by using it to establish my personal brand. Every week for one hour, not only did I play hits that were absolute fire, I used it to showcase my Adobe editing skills. Additionally, I crafted a specific narrative about myself that would appeal to a wide range of audiences.

3. Networking

Through Titan Radio I have met so many passionate people from different backgrounds and majors. I value every professional relationship created, because like I said, we are hungry to make connections in a field where knowing the right people can make all the difference.

In closing, I stress again the importance of getting involved! There are so many opportunities for you to grow and hone your skills, you do not want to let a semester go by without getting involved in anything. Even if you feel like there is no direct PR relation, believe me when I tell you that all roads lead to Rome. And by Rome, I mean PR. Because no matter where you find yourself involved in, you could write social media posts to promote your organization, or network with individuals who are actively involved within it. And you know what that is? That’s PR, baby!