You are on page 1of 20



2016 Winter Review
A look inside...
E-portfolios: Modernizing a Timeless Tool..................................................................4
Empowering a Generation of Leadership at the PRSSA 2016 National Assembly..... 5
A Day in the Life of Professionals in PR......................................................................6
The Basics of Resumes and LinkedIn..........................................................................7
The Tale Of Our City: PR’s Role in Detroit’s Revitalization.....................................8-11
Is it Newsworthy? .....................................................................................................12
A New Conversation for a New Auto Industry............................................................13
A Lesson in Trust at the Edelman Breakfast.............................................................14
A Student Perspective on the Flint Water Crisis.........................................................15
A Day in the Life of Professionals in PR....................................................................16
#WarriorStrong at WSU - A Campaign about Awareness..........................................17
What Happens after Graduation.................................................................................18
A Letter from the Editors...........................................................................................19
About Us
Who we are...
We are the James S. Measell Chapter of PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America), created in 1983 on

the campus of Wayne State University.

Our mission...
Our mission is to provide guidance, motivation and opportunity to upcoming public relations professionals in the

city of Detroit.

What we do...
We create programming and opportunities so students can keep pace with the ever-changing industry of PR. Our

workshops compliment our classroom studies, our tours give us insight into potential careers, our shared events

with PR professionals help us build networks and our executive board positions teach us leadership skills.

2015 - 2016 Executive Board

Dear PRSSA members,

It is hard to believe that the 2015-16 school
year is already coming to an end. I started
my position last summer with hopes of
bringing growth and value to an organization
Amanda Knaebel Catia Sabak Stacey Kendall
that has helped me build my future career President Immediate Past President VP Professional Development
in PR. However, I could have never imagined
celebrating as many successes as we have
shared together.

I am absolutely honored to be associated
with this Chapter, let alone to be among the
many talented and driven individuals who’ve
helped develop our Chapter into what it
has become. We have many challenges as
a commuter-based campus with members
balancing school, work and internships. Yet, Katie Pusz Travis Gamblin Angela Meriedeth
we still managed to grow our member-base, VP Chapter Development VP Member Services Social Media Director
increase engagement, earn the respect of
professionals and professional organizations
and receive national recognition among
300+ Chapters across the nation.

Of all our accomplishments, the one I am
most proud of is watching our new members
discover their passion for PR and flourish in
both the program and the organization. I am
absolutely astounded with the level of talent Freya Thodesen-Kasparian Gretchen Maurer Christiana Lumaj
and professionalism that the Wayne State PR Director PR Coordinator PR Coordinator
University PR program produces.

Thank you for allowing me to be your
President and to serve on your executive
board for the 2015-16 school year. I look
forward to what each of you will bring to the
PR profession.

Amanda Knaebel
Kyle Taylor Randy Kester Katie Tomaszewski
Salute Team Salute Team Salute Team

By Randy Kester
Professionals in the business, papers, service-learning documents and conveys the message you want employers
marketing and PR industries have used relevant professional material into PDF to understand. It is okay to be unique, but
portfolios to showcase their work for format. Make sure you actually take your always remain professional. Employers
many years. Showing off your prized professor’s advice and correct the errors. want to see who you are, as importantly
press releases, campaigns and artwork You’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars as the quality of your work.
can land you Be sure that
the job of your your site is
dreams more easy to follow,
often than contains a
simply telling variety of work
a prospective and does not
employer about contain dead
your skills. links. Nothing
For students will turn an
graduating employer off
in the 21st more quickly
century, creating than reaching an
a compelling error page when
e-portfolio is clicking on a
the one item button for a PDF
you must master of an article you
upon entering the wrote. Do your
workforce. due-diligence
Your first and check every
step is to procure single link.
a website to host New media
your e-portfolio. is not just the
You can purchase future. New
a domain name media is right
and hosting now. As digital
server, or you can natives, you’re
get one for free from advertising-rich sites for that degree… you might as well have expected to know how to function in
like, or Wordpress. A something that will help you land a job to today’s digital world. This skill is not an
free site will work for a student, but if you pay off those loans. elective; it’s a prerequisite for survival in
are seeking a professional job, I would After you choose your web today’s workforce. Your e-portfolio is the
advise you to spring for a custom domain. host and your files are digitized and employer’s window into your education,
The next step is to digitize those organized, you’re ready to start creating experience and ultimately, what you have
documents you spent days creating for your masterpiece. Your e-portfolio should to offer them as a PR professional.
your demanding professors. Invest in a portray who you are as a person as well
scanner and put those student projects, as your professional skills. So make sure it

By Rebecca Cooper
understanding of the USTA Southern communication in a world increasingly
publics along with appropriate metrics more volatile than ever before.
and evaluation. The winning team was
announced at the welcome reception and National Assembly Meeting
each member won $50 and a certificate. 125 delegates elected the
Society’s National Committee. Candidates
Leadership Training Sessions presented speeches followed by a Q&A
An important goal of Assembly period. This year, Assembly delegates
is equipping student leaders with tools also deliberated and passed a bylaw
and information they can bring home to amendment increasing national annual
their respective Chapters. Public relations dues from $50 to $55, under the
professionals and participants engaged provision that the affiliate program dues
in discussion-based breakout sessions, remain the same at $65 per year. The
covering a variety of topics including increase takes effect fall 2016.
resource and transition training, personal
and professional branding and uplifting Farewell Keynote
future Chapter leaders. Key takeaways David Grossman, APR, ABC,
included: Fellow PRSA, founder and CEO of The
Grossman Group started the Assembly’s
farewell meeting with a riveting keynote,
“Who you are as a person drives who you highlighting the importance of leading
are as a professional.” — Don Egle, MBA, with authenticity. Attendees received
Over 175 delegates and non- APR, ABC copies of his inspirational new book, “No
delegates from across the country and “If you are the smartest person in the Cape Needed.” The PRSSA 2016 National
the world gathered in Austin, Texas for room, you are in the wrong room.” – Conference Committee concluded the
the PRSSA 2016 National Assembly. Bonnie Upright, APR. event with a preview of what members can
This year’s National Assembly took expect this Oct. 21–25 in Indianapolis.
place, March 3–7, with the purpose of Members should take The registration deadline for the National
strengthening Chapter leadership through advantage of the thousands of dollars in Conference is Friday, Sept. 16.
relevant sessions and electing the PRSSA scholarships and awards offered at the Attending the Assembly was
2016–2017 National Committee. national level. Only three percent of the undoubtedly the most transformative and
Society’s members applied for monetary impactful experience I’ve had as a PRSSA
Day-of Competition awards last year. Adopt a mentorship member. It was an incredible honor to be
The Day-of Competition is an program in your Chapter to empower a Chapter delegate among the brightest
hour long professional development emerging leaders. Grow your membership and most promising next generation of PR
exercise that requires students to and cultivate Chapter inclusivity by all-stars. Beyond the LinkedIn connections
collaborate as a team and create a public employing outreach beyond public and Twitter followers, I returned to my
relations campaign in a realistic context. relations students. home in Detroit with new friends from
This year’s client was the United States The day wrapped up with a speech across the globe, a sharpened toolbox of
Tennis Association (USTA) Southern. and Q&A session with Brandy leadership skills, and the knowledge and
Competing teams created and pitched King, communications director and resources needed to grow and improve an
communications plans to promote spokesperson for Southwest Airlines. already-wonderful Chapter at Wayne State
World Tennis Day and UTSA Rally the Brandy King called attention to the University. Make it your mission to attend
Family campaign. The first place team growing threat of cyber terrorism and a National Assembly. You won’t regret the
demonstrated their deep stressed the need for effective crisis rewarding opportunity.
By Natalie Cieslak

Wayne State alumnus, Jeffrey and key information to his fellow co- prepping ongoing projects.
Adkins and Amy Lafnear visited the workers. Because this email is sent to A practitioner who carries out PR
Macomb campus, Tuesday, March 15 roughly 80,000 people, it is crucial for for a corporation means that he or she
to speak with Dr. Najor’s fundamentals Adkins to use perfect grammar. has more of an intimate relationship with
class on what it is like to be public Around ten in the morning, he that one specific company, as opposed to
relation practitioners. Throughout the participates in a conference call with those who choose to work for an agency
the social media that is accountable for numerous clients.
team to discuss and Lafnear’s typical Monday looks
analyze successful vs. slightly different that of Adkins’. SirenPR
unsuccessful business currently handles fifteen different clients,
posts. On the social such as Brome Burgers and Shakes,
media team, each Community Choice Credit Union, Early
member rotates Explorers Academy, Detroit Bikes,
being “on call” and Rochester College, and Yogurtopia.
must respond to Lafnear handles five of the fifteen clients
the notifications and SirenPR has. While keeping in contact
messages from the with the agency leaders, she works on
public in order to deliverable outcomes to show her clients.
maintain effective Those who work for a corporate
relations. company usually get paid salary, but in
From eleven agency, there is either one of two ways in
in the morning until which the practitioner receives payment.
noon, Adkins’ time is A retainer is when the client agrees to pay
spent writing news a specific amount of money for a certain
articles for Henry amount of hours worked. This is how
Ford’s webpage and payments are issued at SirenPR. Billable
Jeffrey Adkins and Amy Lafnear visiting Dr. Najor’s class in March.
newsletter. The topics hours are when the practitioner is worth a
presentation, the guest speakers shared for these articles normally revolve around specific amount per hour.
with the class their typical routines and the good work the hospital is involved Regardless of which way the
responsibilities, what they could expect with, such as new information provided by practitioner receives payment, those
entering into the field of public relations health science research. who work agency must keep track of
as well as some tips that could be Adkins explained to the class their hours. While doing so, Lafnear
beneficial to the students’ success. While the DAISY award, where employees are explained how many young professionals
Jeffrey works in the corporate offices nominated and one is chosen for a feature would say they’ve worked fewer hours in
at Henry Ford Hospital, Amy works for length article. This helps to build morale fear of being ridiculed for spending too
SirenPR, a small but mighty agency firm for the employees and is a nice way to much time on a specific project or client.
consisting of three other women. honor individuals who go above and Lafnear said, “It is necessary for young
Jeffrey Adkins works internal beyond expectations. When Adkins returns professionals to accurately report the time
communications for Henry Ford Hospital, from lunch, he spends the rest of the day they spend on tasks so agency leadership
and starts every Monday morning sending and clients have a clear understanding
a mass email consisting of news updates and realistic expectations for work being
Continued on page 16
By Jen Hope
On Wednesday, February 24, but if it is there, it needs to be really published work, interests, volunteer work
Wayne State’s PRSSA coordinated good. Never include a photograph of and a resume. Make sure your resume
a LinkedIn Resume Workshop. Five yourself on your resume. Employers prints correctly when viewed from both
professionals who hire in the public will find out what you look like when email and LinkedIn. This proves that you
relations field were invited to share they google you. If you are concerned pay attention to details.
tips on how to get noticed in marketing about what will be found on the internet, The professional consensus is
ourselves for landing an internship or they recommend you to go to www. that the most important aspect of getting
getting a job after graduation. Carly Getz to manage your a job in public relations is to create
(Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan), online reputation or create a better relationships. If a recruiter or someone
Ann Marie Fortunate (Franco Public online presence. They mentioned looking from PR messages you, respond with
Relations), Ashleigh Chatel (LE&A- beyond the first Google search page interest. Ask to grab coffee. Conversely,
Lambert, Edwards & Associates), Melanie as well. Also, it is very important to use if you reach out to someone in the
Shaw and Morgan Silver (Aerotek) a professional email address. A safe field you are interested in, ask them to
enlightened us with their knowledge email to use is “your name@” whatever grab a coffee. Putting a real face and
of hiring and recruiting for their service you choose. personality to a resume or LinkedIn
organizations. You will be looked up on account puts you ahead of the game.
The first rule to resume writing LinkedIn more often than not, so the So go polish your resume and LinkedIn
is to cut them down in length. It’s crucial above information provided should be profile and grab coffee with someone
to remember this when trying to get relevant on your LinkedIn account, as new.
a job in PR. You have learned to be well. They advised creating a LinkedIn
short and concise with your writing, and account that highlights key words of
your resume should reflect this ability. your dream job with your qualifications.
Make sure your resume is tailored to Often, these same highlighted words are
the job for which you are applying. You the key words employers are searching
can often display these items in short for to hire. Recruiters will review your
bullets. Remember, make it simple and connections on LinkedIn, and will often
concise. It is beneficial to highlight what contact them to ask questions about you.
you have learned in school, especially if Keep this in mind when accepting people
you have not done an internship or are to connect with on LinkedIn. Remember,
currently applying for one. If you have it is a completely different platform than
had an internship or work experience, Facebook.
add that to your resume. Do not provide Link with past employers, those
references. If they are needed, they will you have done group projects with and
be requested. individuals who can vouch for your good
The professionals agreed that work ethics. Have them include reviews
they do not always look for an objective, on your platform page and include your

The Tale Of Our
City:PR’s Role in
Thank you to all of the attendees, committee members,
volunteers, speakers and panelists. Hosting our Chapter’s very
first Regional Conference in collaboration with Michigan State’s PRSSA
was an incredible achievement for us this past semester. The Chapter
would like to extend an extra-special thank you to both Catia Sabak
and Danielle Homic for all of your hard work in the planning process
that made the conference such a wonderful experience!

What a Crisis can
Mean in Public
By Kyle Taylor
During the regional conference consist of reputational damage, lost food contamination. Remember, it is of
this past March, Dean Matthew Seeger’s market-share, lost stock value, damaged vital importance to practice ethical public
talk on crisis communication informed careers or even consumers being harmed. relations tactics in all areas of our career,
attendees that crisis isn’t going anywhere, This is where the opportunity can come but especially when dealing with issues
anytime soon. Unfortunately in today’s into the picture, because not only do that have the potential for wide impact.
age, crises happen frequently and are negative consequences happen as a
a central part of the public relations result of a crisis, positive consequences
practice. However, Seeger stated that with can also occur, too. When handling a
crisis comes opportunity, specifically for crisis effectively, pr practitioners have the
public relations practitioners. chance to make the company extremely
The fact is that crisis is visible, renew the company’s reputation,
happening more than ever before and develop new stakeholder relationships and
with a greater impact than ever. Most of implement opportunities for change.
our understanding of the topic comes As future PR practitioners, it is
from the narratives of those who have our responsibility to always remember to
lived through them. Communication plays be ethical when a crisis is concerned. Be
a critical role in regards to effectively honest, open and frank when discussing
handling a crisis and this creates a need issues, especially in front of the media
for professionals who are trained in how and consumers. Keep in mind to always
to deal with a variety of crises. communicate with passion, concern and
For companies, the event of a empathy. You could be the reason a
crisis can be a sink or swim moment. company survives through something as
Consequences for companies often serious as a product recall because of

Five Pro-Tips to Live by
By Gretchen Maurer
Ever since I attended the Finn on about how I would not be where I am to succeed. Do what you can to achieve all
Partners agency tour, I was anticipating if I didn’t take a few risks and a leap of the goals you are reaching for.
Katy Cockrel’s keynote speach at the faith here and there. However, hearing Almost every single one of her
regional conference. She shared her story Katy speak made me feel that I was doing tips relates back to how important it is
of how she ended up at Finn and the everything right and that I am onto great to get out of our comfort zones. Taking
twists and turns that brought her there. things. Not only did she mention how a job or an internship in another state,
She left us with five professional tips to often we as students should listen to our starting school over again, choosing a
live by: advisors and mentors and that Shelly program that you are passionate about
knows what she is talking about, but that and not one that is safe... You never
1. “Get that hands-on experience as much the learning continues even after you truly know what you are capable of until
as you can in different sectors.” leave the classroom. you leave the safety of your comfort zone
2. “Wrap your head around the fact you Cockrel broke down the reality of and take a few risks.
will always have to do the grunt work.” the world of PR. As much as we all wish
3. “Get out of Detroit and gain some we lived glamorous lives like Samantha
perspective.” Jones or Olivia Pope, it is actually far
4. “Take Risks.” from that. Leading back to her second
5. “Never stop learning.” tip, even as we all work our way up the
career ladder, no job should ever be
Each one of these can be beneath you. Everyone is working toward
translated into my life, and I could go a common goal and simply wants the team

An all-star panel of speakers at the Regional Conference.

Becca Cooper and Jen Hope check attendees into the conference. Nolan Miles addressing the crowd.

The Dating Game: Be Open-Minded
Tina Kozak said it best: “Yes,

Internship Edition
By Christiana Lumaj
you can work in an industry you want.
However, be open-minded.” The truth of
the matter is our interests might change
as we keep growing both personally and
The Tale of Our City: PR’s Role Do your Research professionally. Do not burn bridges along
in Detroit’s Revitalization, the regional … and never stop. Research the way because you won’t think the
conference hosted by Michigan State and the industry, research the organizations relationship will matter later on. I’m pretty
Wayne State University’s PRSSA chapters, within the industry and research the sure any of the panel’s professionals,
boasted an impressive agenda of well- professionals in those organizations. Is it or any professionals for that matter, will
seasoned professionals. An opportunity time-consuming? Sure, but it will ensure agree those relationships will always
students had during the conference was you are prepared and can visualize matter. You never want the ones you
to sit in on a panel discussing the various yourself in the specific industry’s setting. burned to come back to bite you.
paths the PR world allows us to take Be mindful that your researched plan
on after graduating because while the might look good on paper, but might not
automotive industry is huge in our city, be the right fit in person. This is where
there is much more Detroit has to offer. interning comes into play. Apply and try.
The hosted dialogue, “Career As Andy Hetzel said, “Internships are like
Development: PR Industry Options,” dating. You are testing the companies out
had an all-star panel who were eager to to see how you like them.”
discuss Detroit’s growing markets and
where we stand on reaching our fantasy Be Motivated
jobs in our dream industry. Moderated by It all comes down to having the
Tina Kozak, president of Franco PR Group, drive and determination to reach your
Andy Hetzel, vice president of corporate dreams. Make the time to show up at
communications of Blue Cross Blue Shield, networking events, even if you’re tired
Max Muncey, PR manager of the North and it’s the last thing you want to do.
American International Auto Show, Paul Spend the extra five minutes sending a
Riser, managing director of technology- LinkedIn request with a little message
based entrepreneurship of TechTown attached. Fit in time every couple of weeks
Detroit, and Monica Cheick, account to reconnect with your network and say
director of PublicCity all joined in on the hello. Paul Riser shared what really shows
hour-long discussion. The panel discussed true drive and will set us apart is not only
tactics they found to be most important taking internships, but also volunteering.
on finding our interests and attaining our All the small touches you do now will help Conference attendees taking notes during a panel.
career goals. set you apart later.

Insight from the
Detroit News Tour
By Aya Elsherif

example, the crisis in Flint, MI is still an
ongoing issue for the locals, and while it
dominated news cycles for weeks, it is no
longer frequently reported.
Is it controversial?
The more controversial a story is,
the more likely it will garner attention from
the masses. In the age of social media,
everyone feels empowered to utilize
various outlets to voice their thoughts. If
a story is controversial you better believe
everyone will be putting in their two cents.
Is it significant?
Why should people care about
your story? Is it relevant to their lives?
Significance is making people believe that
the story is important and has near-
On Feb 18, my fellow public story about…?” or “How significant is immediate impact on their lives. This
relations students and I gathered together this?” Hearing all of these questions includes making sure that the story is
to tour one of the top news outlets in reminded me of the basics we all learned timely and has relevance to the readers of
Michigan, The Detroit News. After waiting in theory during the fundamentals of the news source to which you are pitching.
patiently in the lobby for several minutes, public relations class. It’s incredibly Is it interesting?
we were greeted by Walter Middlebrook, comforting knowing that the things we Even if your story does not have
the assistant managing editor. He have learned in class are in practice in the any of the characteristics above, it can
escorted us to the room where all the professional world. still be newsworthy if it is something that
editors would soon have their meeting. One of the major challenges we is just plain interesting. If you’re banking
“Boring as all heck, but you wanted to will face as public relations professionals on this characteristic to spread your story,
see it,” said Mr. Middlebrook jokingly. is getting our stories published. Unless we make sure it evokes strong emotions, like
But we were filled with excitement and have a high-profile client, it can be difficult fear, anger or excitement.
curiosity. Within a couple of minutes, the to achieve newsworthiness. However, fear Remember to constantly examine
room was filled with editors prepared to not. After attending this tour at The Detroit the relevant media outlets around you
discuss potential stories for each of their News, I learned that there are several to find what they deem important and
sections. Whether it was sports, business ways to make even the most ordinary relevant. With the knowledge of the
or features, there seemed to be a general stories newsworthy. characteristics that make something
trend in how they determined whether or Is it new or unique? newsworthy in your arsenal, you are
not a story should be published. Even with high-profile clients or one step closer to being the best PR
The meeting room was buzzing with national crises, at some point people stop professional you can be!
questions like; “Do we really need another being interested or no longer feel the
need to learn more about the topic. For

By Stacey Kendall
Communications professionals gathered at the Valeo you turn your back on the business,” said Ternes.
North American headquarters in Troy, Michigan on a snowy While Apple and Google are often described as auto industry
February morning to hear from top auto executives. The disrupters for competing to produce autonomous vehicles, Tony
panel discussion, “Re-Igniting Communications for a New Auto Sapienza, the communications director of Faurecia, works to
Industry”, focused on how auto companies are communicating in change the negative narrative.
the post-bailout era. He described the tech companies as contributors
The event was co-hosted by the Detroit chapters of the to the innovative direction in which the industry is already
International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and headed. Sapienza argued that just as the auto industry’s role in
the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). creating technology for the artificial heart was seen as a valued
The panelists agreed that the advent of social media has been contribution. Much of the same of can be said about Silicon
the biggest change to auto communications. But they were quick Valley’s place in the world of making driverless vehicles.
to note that while the application has changed, the profession’s During the Q&A session, the panelists gave candid
core remains the same. insights into what it’s really to like work in auto communications.
“Writing is still number one,” said James Fisher, director One audience member asked, “What do you hate about working
of corporate communications for Visteon Corporation. in the auto industry?”
“You should be the best storyteller around,” added Curt Ternes smiled with a rhetorical response.
McAllister, Midwest public relations manager of Toyota Motor “How much time do we have?”
Sales U.S.A.
As the responsibilities of PR professionals have
increased with the up-to-the-minute news cycle and the viral
nature of the Internet that keeps communicators on their toes,
the panelists shared how they prioritize the many hats they wear.
Peter Ternes, who recently retired from General Motors as
the senior communications strategist, quickly replied that the
customer should be at the center of everything an organization
does. A company that is still licking its wounds from the aftermath
of the largest recall in auto history, GM had to learn the hard way
that people should always be number one.
“If you turn your back on the customer for a second, Courtney Zemke and Christiana Lumaj attend a panel at Valeo.

By Gretchen Maurer
On March 1, I was pleased to exception of technology companies, not trusted than paid advertising. However,
attend the Edelman Trust Breakfast many people can name a company’s CEO. Dr. Siefert touched on a Super Bowl
with fellow PRSSA members at Andiamo. Without having a face to associate with the commercial study about how people
Starting off with a great cup of coffee company, there is less trust. The personal responded to different advertisements,
in hand, I was excited to hear about the values of the CEO make a difference in and which ones were being re watched.
idea of trust from industry professionals trust. If you share similar values, you will According to the study, 53 percent of
including Tony Ambroza, senior vice trust the CEO and as a result, you will have people watch the Super Bowl for the
president of Carhartt Inc., Dr. Caleb trust in the company. advertisements. The ones that stick
Siefert, associate professor of psychology All of the panelists provided with people and are being re-watched
at the University of Michigan Dearborn insights on being authentic to your and shared, are those that are genuine
and Keven Cook, COO of Edelman Chicago. publics. Companies who partner with and honest. People react to emotions.
The event was moderated by Susannah other companies or celebrities need to do In 2016, one of the more popular
Wesley-Ahlschwede, senior vice president it in a genuine way. If it comes off that commercials was for the new Jeep Patriot.
of Edelman. the person endorsing the product is only It told people who Jeep is as a company. It
Having trust in the company doing so for the paycheck, people will see went back and told its story, which really
that you are buying products or services that, and the company will lose credibility. built trust in Jeep for consumers.
from is more important than ever, and Choosing a celebrity endorsement needs The main takeaway is to be
in the long run, distrust can hurt the to be done strategically. The values of honest with your publics. If you are
company. Those who have trust in the the celebrity should match those of the genuine and authentic in what you are
company are more likely to share positive company. Just because there is a celebrity doing as a company, people will take
online reviews, make recommendations endorsing your product, it does not mean notice and will be more likely to put their
to others, defend the company and that it is guaranteed to work. They need trust in you.
ultimately, pay more for products. to be honest, truly like the brand and not
Overall, people want to have just be jumping on the latest celebrity
trust in a brand, and the products or bandwagon.
services that it can provide. With the Today, earned media is more

By Rebecca Cooper
Civil Engineering. Under the leadership of solve this crisis.
Professor Shawn McIlmurry, we tested and So, where do we go from
surveyed water quality in dozens of here? How do we disseminate pertinent
selected Flint households. information to a demographic of people
The last time I was in Flint, I was so far-reaching and so diverse? How can
nine years old competing in a YMCA swim we restore public confidence? We must
This is a compelling time to study meet. Strangely, the chlorine levels you’d first realize this crisis calls for the most
public relations at a major university in the find in a public swimming pool were not comprehensive and multi-faceted public
State of Michigan. We are at the epicenter far off from the chlorine levels we tested relations campaigns we may ever see. All
of one of the largest municipal water from the average Flint kitchen faucet. hands must be on deck. From the federal,
tragedies in modern American history. Not surprisingly, many of the residents state and local governments to schools,
The Flint Water Crisis may have been complained of unbearably-itchy skin after medical organizations, businesses,
created through political means, but it now showering, symptoms usually associated religious institutions and beyond. Every
transcends politics. Every communication with high chlorine levels in pools and hot single resident of Flint must be informed
professional in any field should be plugged tubs. of the current state of affairs and the
into what is happening in Flint as it will For a few Flint residents, our action plans to resolve the crisis. We must
serve as the ultimate case study in crisis mere presence in these homes provided a develop a comprehensive communication
management and communication strategy. glimmer of hope in a time of despair and plan to get needed information out to
In March 2014, under the governance of confusion. Many had not heard anything Flint’s residents, and it must be done now.
the state-appointed emergency manager, from the government. Many seemed Utilizing traditional and contemporary
Darnell Early, Flint transferred its water concerned and uniformed. Many were platforms like print, TV, Facebook, Twitter,
source from the Detroit water system outraged. A few mothers had me examine and even Snapchat to message information
to the highly polluted Flint River. The the rashes on their children, looking to to Flint residents are critical. However,
infrastructure of Flint is old, with most me for medical advice. I was not equipped if there is anything Flint has taught me,
households using lead service lines. The with useful information for these residents. it is that the access to information is a
Flint River corrosive water stripped lead In fact, it appeared as if nobody had any privilege in our society. There is a large,
from the service pipes, delivering lead and information for these residents. underrepresented segment of Flint’s
other contaminants into Flint’s drinking Every Flint home we went into was different population and a widening communication
water. from the other. PR 101 tells us we need gap. We must consider the many
The result of changing Flint’s to understand our publics. Keeping this in residents without access to traditional or
water source was lead poisoning the city’s mind, we must be careful of the sweeping contemporary media. Our approach should
residents, including the city’s children. It is generalizations that several media outlets ensure we do not restrict our efforts and
estimated that eight people have died from have used to describe the context of the risk missing Flint’s residents with limited
water-contaminated related medical issues city. “Flint is poor.” “Flint is uneducated.” access to information because they may
and that number is sure to increase. The These generalizations are not only be disabled, non-English speakers or
long term residual effects of this human inflammatory and dehumanizing, but are illiterate. An effective communication
catastrophe have yet to be quantified, but simply incorrect. What is happening in Flint strategy for this crisis must break new
we do know this, communication plays an is very much a human crisis. When the ground in communications to be inclusive
integral role in preventing and defusing a victims of a crisis are negatively portrayed, and reach 100% of these residents. As PR
crisis. we subliminally rationalize the wrongdoings practitioners, it is our responsibility and
I did not wholly understand the of those who should be held accountable. challenge to do what has never been done
magnitude of the Flint Water Crisis until I These rationalizations also jeopardize our before. We must make sure the information
volunteered as a research assistant with ability to identify effective is not just available, but reaching, to all
Wayne State University’s Department of communication solutions needed to help touched by this tragedy.

WSU PRSSA thanks

for sponsoring this issue of

done.” In order for an agency to maintain Salute. This can help improve a student’s criticism to further their skills as a writer
relationships with their clients, honesty is writing skills and give them a plethora of and practitioner. As a young professional,
critical. documents and articles with which to fill it may seem overwhelming at first, so it is
The two guest speakers stressed their portfolio. On top of writing for the important to communicate with those you
the importance of students being actively PRSSA newsletter, it is also important work with, and be sure to ask questions
involved with the PRSSA. Adkins and to attend every mixer, social event, and because giving feedback is just as
Lafnear both recommended holding a agency tour possible to attain valuable important as receiving feedback.
position on the E-Board, which will allow relationships and connections with other
young professionals to expand their students and professionals in the field.
skillset; learn more about the industry, Another useful tip shared with
gain experience, and get a better the class was to always have confidence,
understanding of where they best fit in. but at the same time remain coachable!
One of the numerous ways to get involved In this career, one must be able to take
with the PRSSA is volunteering to write for constructive criticism well and use that

By Freya Thodesen-Kasparian
The PRSSA Bateman competition the resources available to student veterans which passing students in our student
is a national competition that challenges on our campus, shifting the narrative of the center building could write their strengths
pre-professional public relations students “broken veteran” among key stakeholders on a chalkboard for all to see. We utilized
to develop real-world experience and and publicizing the role and importance of the hashtags #VeteranWarriors and
execute their own strategic public relations organizations like the SVAA and the SVRC in #WarriorStrong on multiple social media
campaigns with an actual client. The our campus community. platforms to further emphasize the pride
competition is open to students from The campaign that we chose to and strength of our student veterans while
universities and PRSSA chapters from all strategize and implement as a team was conducting the event.
across the country, and tests the critical composed of several separate programs Throughout the #WarriorStrong
thinking, resourcefulness and adaptability to accomplish our campaign objectives campaign, many real-world aspects of
of each team. Each year, a new client and goals. We distributed an online survey, public relations became clear to me. I was
is chosen at the competition level to be hosted focus groups and spent many forced to think on my feet, be creative
represented by the Bateman teams. The hours combing through program ideas under tight deadlines and communicate
chosen 2016 Bateman competition client that would be the most impactful toward openly and consistently with our client
was the Student Veterans Association of raising positive awareness among our to reach the campaign goals. When our
America (SVAA), dedicated to providing key publics about the wonderful work that Bateman competition submission was finally
resources, guidance and support to the SVRC does for the success of student complete, I felt an overwhelming sense of
veterans transitioning back into a university veterans. One of the highlights of our pride for the work we had accomplished
or college setting from the military. campaign was a testimonial video that we in the last several months. We were able
As a member of the WSU PRSSA put together featuring success stories from to tell our student population about the
Bateman team, many of my skills as a our very own student veterans at WSU. hardworking, diligent and incredibly strong
budding public relations practitioner The video highlighted the many ways that student veterans we have on our campus,
were put to the test. Rather than simply student veterans have found academic and as well as highlighting the importance of
theorizing what an actual campaign personal success at our university, and organizations like the SVRC in helping WSU
executed for our own Student Veterans helped to showcase their dedication to, and students to achieve their academic goals.
Resource Center (SVRC) at WSU would enthusiasm for the student organization Said Dennis Landskroener, senior student
entail, I had to be part of the effort to itself. veteran and management major at WSU,
make it happen. Myself and a team of A second program that we put “We vets are all about service, so we were
three other WSU public relations students: together was the “Chalk About It” event - happy to help with the campaign. There was
Katie Pusz, Stacey Kendall and Kyle an event that encouraged student veterans also the mutually beneficial exposure that
Taylor, had to research, plan, implement and our general student body to come both groups obtained by working together.
and execute a campaign designed to together to talk about their strengths. The final project looked to us to be very
fulfill specific objectives assigned to us The diverse, non-traditional population positive and representative of what we both
through the SVAA headquarters. These of students at WSU was something we are about.”
objectives including raising awareness of aimed to highlight with this program, in

By Sarah Kuzdak
College is all about picking the for four months before being offered a and Wayne State. After graduation, I’m still
right classes, getting good grades, getting full-time position as an associate account a Warrior, aiming higher.
involved and making lifelong friends. executive.
But what happens after college? What In that time, I took a few tips to
happens when your professors turn into heart from my colleagues that I believe
your boss and your work is for real clients were instrumental for me getting hired
and not for a grade? from my internship.
Exactly one year ago, I was
1. Never stop learning.
in my last semester at Wayne State. I
Even when not at work, I was devouring
had a full load of classes and two jobs.
the news or reading up on public relations
One was my day job, and the other was
or industry trends. Knowledge of the
called “co-planning the student and
industry and what is going on in the world
alumni luncheon.” Little did I know that
will be beneficial for you as a practitioner
the luncheon would be a turning point
and for your client work.
that would lead me down the path to
where I am today, simply by sitting myself
2. Quality work is better than quick work.
at a table of professionals, who would
Meet your deadlines, but take time to
later become my co-workers at Weber
read and reread all your emails, releases,
documents, etc. Every time I work on a
After the luncheon, I followed up
project I think to myself, “Is this ready for
with my contacts from Weber Shandwick
the client to see?”
to thank them for coming and sponsoring
me. One conversation led to another and
3. Hustle.
I landed a phone interview. A successful
Work hard, ask detailed questions, come
phone interview led to an in-person
in early, leave late, and help wherever
interview, writing test and finally landing
needed. Above all, do so with a positive
the internship.
attitude while being a sponge and taking
To say I was ecstatic is an
in all the knowledge for those who have
understatement. Weber Shandwick is a
been in the business much longer than
global public relations firm that prides
you. Working with people from different
itself in engaging clients with passion,
backgrounds in journalism, digital
intelligence and commitment for client
marketing, business and advertising has
success. I knew it was going to give me
helped me grow in my career by learning
a unique and diverse experience working
from their knowledge and expertise.
with various clients from automotive,
Here I am a year later. Instead of planning
technology, travel and government
the luncheon, I’m sponsoring a student
practices. As soon as I walked into the
and Salute as a professional. I continue
Detroit office (based in Birmingham), I
to be an advocate for the school and for
knew this was going to be a great place
the public relations program, encouraging
for me to start my career. I was an intern
opportunities between Weber Shandwick

We would to thank everyone who helped to publish Salute. Thank you to
all of the writers for your articles, you really helped to bring this issue to life!
We also would like to extend our congratulations to the 2016 PRSSA graduates
and the incoming executive board members, we wish you all the best on your
journeys that lie ahead. Finally, we would like to thank to our faculty advisor, Dr.
Shelly Najor for going above and beyond for our Chapter. We couldn’t ask for a
better role model, who inspires us to be the best students and professionals
that we can possibly be.


Randy Kester and Kyle Taylor

President : Becca Cooper
VP of Professional Development : Sarah Nieuwkoop
VP of Chapter Development : Gabriel Dunlap
VP of Member Services : Ashley White
Public Relations Director : Angela Meriedeth
Public Relations Coordinator : Natalie Cieslak
Public Relations Coordinator : Avery Mcgowan
Social Media Director : Aya Elsherif
Social Media Coordinator : Sha’Tarra Johnson
Digital Media Director : Anjelica Dudek
Alumni Relations Director : Tricia Calka
Salute Editor-in-Chief : Sandra Harris
Salute Copy Editor : Delaney DeAngelis