Bridget Winstead, Account Manager
It’s April in D.C. The weather is unexpectedly mild. A big guest is on his way to the Capitol today, and everyone is in a tizzy. The Dalai Lama is scheduled to arrive precisely at noon for a meeting with the nineteen senators on the Foreign Relations Committee. The Dalai Lama plans to discuss both his exile from China and efforts in Tibet. A mob of international correspondents begins to congregate outside of the Foreign Relations Committee room on the first floor of the Capitol – eagerly awaiting His Holiness. Then there is me. I am a protocol assistant for the Committee who happened to help with the logistics of the Dalai Lama’s visit. I soon realize the significance of my exposure. I am right at the intersection of political discourse and public relations. This is the moment when I first realized that public relations really is a core pillar in the political sphere. The Dalai Lama was meeting with these senators to convince them to support his efforts and ideas, take action on those efforts and ideas, and – finally – to make changes that would benefit him and his people. The lines are blurred between political discourse and public relations – and I saw that fusion firsthand.
Awareness, education and persuasion are three important aspects of successful politics that are public relations centric. Whether it’s running for office or lobbying for a bill or policy, awareness is absolutely vital for conviction. Who will vote for you if they don’t know who you are and what you stand for? Which lawmakers will vote on behalf of a bill if they do not know how it will impact their constituency or core platform? The public relations aspect of awareness brings political entities and policies to light.
Education is the next necessary public relations tenant in politics. Awareness is the starting point, but education is where the real work gets done. The vernacular has to be digestible to the appropriate audiences and clearly understood. Politics can be messy, so putting confusing concepts into easy-to-understand terms makes things easier for everyone. Empathy through education could also possibly lead to more support of the candidate or effort you are fighting for.
Lastly, persuasion. The audience has been made of aware of your political efforts and has been educated on your candidate or cause, but now they need to be convinced that what matters to you also matters to them. Delivery and authenticity are vital components of persuasion. Most politicians do not have training in those fields; this is where public relations comes in. For candidates, public-speaking skills must be sharpened with tempo training, body language adjustments, and presentation practice. For policy, priorities need to be clearly articulated to the audience, and efficiency is vital. Why should this policy matter to them? Why should they vote for this candidate over another? If you are successful in persuasion, you (or your client) will ultimately accomplish your goals.
Although not always recognized, the practice of public relations is used for successful political campaigns. My transition from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles has showed me that public relations is transferable to a myriad of professions – especially politics. Now – more than ever – the reputation of Washington has been tainted. Politicians need more help now than ever from public relations professionals to clean up their acts and hold themselves accountable. So, future public relations professionals… if politics makes you tick (like it does for me)… in the words of Uncle Sam, “We want you!”
Sue-Mae Watt, Account Manager
The PR industry is currently in the midst of change, which is great for our profession! Who knows what new challenges and innovations this transformation will bring. For those of us who are currently studying PR, or considering studying PR, even working in the PR industry, it leaves us with the question — will the skills and knowledge I have and the ones I’ve still yet to learn, will they be relevant in this new day and age?
With most of my SPR cohort finishing up our first-year, we were faced with a decision of whether we want to be generalists or specialists. To be honest, a vast majority of us thought that after doing a year of core units, we would know. For some, they figured it out. But for a many others, they were still left grappling with the idea of which direction to take their PR careers.
For me, I had already spent 3.5 years in the PR industry in Australia and had a double major in Public Relations and Journalism. I considered myself a generalist – I had an array of skills and knowledge in many different facets of PR. It was only when I re-evaluated where I wanted to be in the next 10 years of my career did I decide I wanted to specialize. It was a no-brainer for me to move to Los Angeles, undertake the SPR program and specialize in business and corporate communications.
I know, for others in my cohort, the decision wasn’t as simple as it was for me. Some people had no PR experience, some had come into the program straight out of undergrad, some had experience in the communications field and others, like me, went back to school to after working for a few years. We are all in different situations, but here’s my advice to help you decide if you want to be a generalist or a specialist:
- Find your footing first — If you had asked me fresh out of college where I wanted my career to go, I would have had no idea. Working for a few years gave me time to figure out what my strengths and weaknesses were, and what I liked and disliked. Figure what you’re good at and not so good before deciding.
- Find out if you have a particular interest in an area — If you know exactly what you want to be doing in the future, by all means, specialize. For those who don’t, consider what sectors and areas interest you. Do some research and see if there is an alternate path for you.
- By research, I don’t just mean Google — Don’t be afraid to discuss career options with your professors. If you want to find out more about a certain sector, they’ll happily point you in the right direction. Attend networking events and interning are also great ways to get a feel of the work involved.
It may be a daunting process deciding on your next step, but no matter what you chose, the future of PR is bringing new and exciting things to head.
The TriSight Communications Executive Board for 2015 has been selected and it is with great pleasure that we introduce them to you!
TriSight Communication’s second Member of the Month is AISMS team member Aaron Wong. Majoring in Communications and set to graduate in Fall 2015, Aaron’s favorite part about going to school in Los Angeles is the weather. In addition to working on the AISMS account, Aaron has also been a referee for Intramural Sports at USC. Congratulations Aaron!
By: Ran Xu
Pumpkin toast, beef tartare, white truffle clam, Buche de Noel, and the list goes on… If you are already drooling a little bit now, let me fill you in on more details about hospitality PR.
By: Laura Johnson
Congrats! You just landed the perfect social media internship! The company loves that when it comes to social media, you are young and “in the know,” and they put you in charge of posting content. The only problem is you only work twice a week and they want you to post on social media every single day. What do you do? You can take time out of your days off to post OR you can schedule your social media posts. The following are the tools that save me time and make my boss happy. Continue reading
By Sha-Lene Pung
Let me paint you a picture of why I felt the need to write this blog post…
The public relations industry here in the U.S. relies heavily on an effective use of the English language. As a field, it is competitive, charismatic and all about the compelling nature of the written and spoken word. To be an effective PR practitioner, the ability to write well is mandatory, be it for business proposals or internal reports, it’s essential. Simultaneously, we also need to speak well for presentations and pitches.
Pic Credits: http://www.xiaoyenzi.com/2008/08/manglish-malaysian-english/ Continue reading
By: Ian Koo
Too often, event management is considered to be an easy-to-enter industry. If you are passionate or interested in event planning, you do not need a specific degree on the subject – regardless of if you majored in Engineering or Dentistry – to be an outstanding event manager. While this is very true, event management is not as simple as it appears. From all of the experience I have on planning events, I have concluded five must-knows as an event planner.
There’s absolutely no question that TriSight is composed of some of the best and brightest students at USC. Within each client team, our members continue to impress not just their account managers, but the e-board, the clients, and the entire Annenberg community as well. To show off some of the fantastic members that make up TriSight, we have been asking account managers to nominate one member to be in the running for the title of Member of the Month. After being selected, the Member of the Month is given the opportunity to have a caffeine-fueled meeting with the faculty member of their choice and will be featured on both TriSight’s YouTube account and blog.
Our first Member of the Month for the Fall 2014 semester is Nathalia Alves Tavares Da Silva. Nathalia, a sophomore who will be graduating in May of 2017, is a Communications major working toward minors in East Asian Languages and Culture, focusing on Chinese, and Video Game Design and Management. While she is originally from Brazil, she has lived in Mexico and China for most of her life. In addition to being a member of the Viterbi team since this summer, Nathalia has been a TriSight member since her freshman year, when she was a member of the SCA team. Aside from being a superstar member of TriSight, she currently works for ASCJ as a part of Stacy Smith’s research group. Additionally, she is a part of the Alpha Chi Omega Sorority and has plans to get more involved in both recruitment and alumni connections within the organization. Nathalia’s favorite part about going to school in Los Angeles is attending events with amazing speakers and having opportunities for hands-on work, especially in the entertainment field. The next time you see Nathalia, make sure to tell her congratulations!
This past weekend, TriSight had the pleasure of sponsoring the 10th annual Strategic Public Relations picnic at the beautiful Malibu home of Director Jerry Swerling and his wife Karen. The event was a complete success, as both graduate students and faculty members had the chance to get to know each other away from campus. See some of the pictures from Saturday below!