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Make Political PR Great Again

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!”

To Specialize or Not to Specialize? That is the Question.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Two Easy Career Tips for College Students

Tess Meyers, Account Manager

Stepping into the working world can feel like a daunting task for students, but it doesn’t have to be. Being a student, you have many opportunities to take positive first steps in towards your career goals. Here are two ways to stand out when trying to get your foot in the door:

  1. Use Social Media Positively

Social Network Social Media People Meeting Teamwork Concept Your social media presence can make or break a job opportunity – especially in the media field. An employer won’t want you to speak for their brand if you can’t  present yourself in a positive light. Be sure to post any potentially scandalous ideas on private – or better yet – don’t post at all. A tweet may only take a second to send, but everything lasts forever on the internet. However, especially in PR, social media is a necessity.  Instead of neglecting it, use it to show off your interests and accomplishments. Sending out lighthearted tweets, links to blog posts, or even retweeting industry influencers are all great ways to show your personality to those recruiters who do sneak a peek.

  1. Make connections

Your time as a student at USC, or any university, is invaluable. Not only are you surrounded by leaders in your respective fields, but you’re surrounded by future colleagues. Who says informational interviews are only for potential employers? If you meet a fellow Trojan who had an awesome internship or is interested in following a similar career track, as them to coffee or lunch. At the very least, you’ll learn something new about them, or about a potential opportunity. Who knows – you may meet your future business partner or mentor. Joining professional organizations, like TriSight, is a great way to make connections and gain experience as a student, too!

Taking ownership of where you are now and doing “little” things like managing your social media presence and building relationships with professors, peers and colleagues won’t just help you in your initial internship and job search, but will benefit you through out your career.

Looking Beyond Trends: Considerations When Formulating A Social Media Strategy

Stephany Rodas, Collective Avenue Account Manager


In this currently evolving digital age, it is very easy for us to jump to the immediate conclusion of incorporating a social media strategy for all campaigns. But the truth of the matter is, a social media strategy is not effective for every campaign.

There are numerous things to consider when developing a social media strategy, or any kind of strategy for that matter. Below are a few:

  • Target audience (i.e. Millennials 18-34, children 7-12 years old, adults 35-50)
  • Habits of your target audience (i.e. Millennials are avid consumers of content digitally while older audiences tend to rely on traditional methods such as television or print for information)
  • Range of your campaign (is it a national campaign with a goal to attract as many Millennials as possible, or is it a local campaign designed to get particular groups of people within a certain district involved)

While there are many other factors to take into consideration, one thing is for sure, you cannot make a generalized assumption based off what you hear in the media or in your current surroundings, without doing the proper research. By implementing a social media strategy without research or evidence to verify that your audience engages with social media, you are making an assumption that all individuals within that population have access to technology with digital capabilities. Many folks tend to forget that many communities across the United States and, even more so, globally do not have equal access to technology. While urban areas are in the era of smartphones, laptops and tablets, many other countries and communities within the United States are still utilizing flip phones and relying on traditional media such as print, radio and broadcast to receive information. This disparity in access to technology can result from a number of things including socioeconomic status or location.

This does not, however, mean that communities with lower socioeconomic status or who live in urban/rural areas do not utilize social media or lack access to it entirely. The complete opposite could be true. Ultimately, there is only one way to find out and that is through research. Moral of the story: never make assumptions and pursue a trend because it’s popular. One size does not fit all.

The Importance of Words in Public Relations

Caroline Galbreath, Director of Outreach

keywords-digital-marketing-hospital-marketingOften times I sit and twirl my fingers for hours thinking about what to write and how to start a writing assignment—we call this “writer’s block.” Writer’s block is every writer’s worst enemy. But what is it that makes it so difficult to start writing? We are too focused on trying to use sophisticated vocabulary in our writing to make it sound more intelligent, powerful and mature. Instead, we need to avoid unnecessary jargon and concentrate on using simple, basic words that will appeal to the target audience. After Donald Trump’s inauguration, there were hundreds of thousands of individuals who marched across cities to share a common message of woman empowerment. However, many of the posters failed to spread this intended message because of a difficulty to understand the words scribed on the posters. Words such as “Intersectionality” and “xenophobia”. Since the goal of Public Relations writing is to garner as much publicity as possible and amplify a message to a particular audience, in this case, it would be significantly more effective to use words that are known and used by all ages of the general public.

It is important to concentrate on using words that are applicable to your entire target audience. If you look at Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogans, you may be able to recognize a potential reason for why Trump’s slogan stuck with so many more people than Clinton’s did by evaluating the choice of words in each slogan: #ImWithHer and #MakeAmericaGreatAgain. Hillary Clinton’s slogan only applies to the candidate; some might say that they couldn’t agree with or associate with the slogan “#ImWithHer” because they were on the fence, and therefore they weren’t entirely “With Her”. On the other hand, Trump’s slogan applies to a general belief that Americans hold to make their country great again. Choosing the right words matters. To find better words, ask yourself if the words you are using are understandable to your target audience, if they create some sort of emotional bond to your message, and if they can apply to the entire target audience.

The Importance of Social Media Sites in Public Relations

Hinde Kast, Director of Events

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 11.07.05 AMThe public relations industry is constantly changing. In this changing world, it is important that as communicators we are always on the lookout for the next great thing that will take the world by storm.  Did you know, according to a study done by the Pew Research Center in 2015, that 65 percent of American adults use social networking sites?

With such a large part of the American population, as well as the global population, being active on social networking sites, as a company is unbelievably important for communication practitioners to reach out to various organizations through these mediums. Back in 2004, there was no such thing as Facebook. Our population was entranced by Myspace and its insane customization skills and businesses never utilized it for advertisement. Now, no one knows what MySpace is, Facebook is worth $387 billion and social networking sites are tools that are expected to be used by businesses. As our technology advances, so will the platforms that can be used on them. Adaptation is so important in our field. Yes, we need to understand what technological platforms are popular amongst the population now, but it is crucial that we stay updated regarding up and coming platforms as well. In public relations, lack of adaptation is truly dangerous.

However, it is also important to understand when certain social networking sites are trending and when they are failing. Based off the status of a social media site or technological platform, more or less time should be focused towards that medium. For example, look at Twitter. Twitter used to be one of the biggest social media platforms that not only the public used, but businesses did as well. Now Twitters stocks is plummeting, and less and less people are engaged on the platform. Yet, so many businesses and organizations are paying money to advertise its products and businesses on this platform. Sadly, this effort may lead to disappointing results. It is important to learn to tell what platforms are worth spending time on and the ones that are not. Learn. Adapt. Think outside of the box.

So, what’s going to be the next thing big thing and will you recognize and utilize its power?

What the Heck is PR?

Lisa Curiel Parker, Deputy Managing Director


This is going to upset some people but public relations is the art of b*** s***. Time and time again people ask: What is public relations? What is communication? Well, it’s almost everything you see, listen and hear. Unless you live under a rock you’re surrounded by mass amounts of information being consistently spewed at you.

Receiving a Bachelor’s in Communication and eventually a Master’s in Strategic Public Relations I grasp the importance of both fields. To break it down simply, communication is apprehending the art of seeing, listening and hearing everything around you. Fathoming how individuals communicate, why they do and its affect on others. Say, if you go on a date with someone who shifts their eyes everywhere but yours, communication theory helps one understand why the date is so horrendous – there is a lack of proper communication occurring between the two of you. In a professional setting, it’s studied by observing leaders and work environments. What’s the proper lighting for highest productivity of employees? What proper tone of voice should I speak to a co-worker? What ways can I relate to a customer to sell a product? Studying communication assists individuals understand these key factors in everyday life.

Public relations on the other hand, uses these theories and creates something out of them. Implementing marketing campaigns, writing press releases and creating websites is just a small fraction of PR’s totality. Every successful company uses PR to explain to their customers why they are the best choice, a political campaign uses it to convince constituents why their candidate should win and individuals use it to put their best face forward in everyday life. PR practitioners are jacks(or janes)-of-all-trades. To be effective, we must have a creative eye to create beautiful things, a business skill set to speak to future partners and a strategic mind to out-think competitors.

So, the next time someone asks you what public relations is you can tell them exactly what it is.

Framing Failure

Janine Grey, Managing Director


As the new year and semester begins and we get back into our workflow, it seems as if everyone is feeling the glorified light of resolutions and #NewYearNewMe. Maybe you’re going to be more outgoing or lose a bunch of weight. Perhaps you resolved to give up a vice like smoking. If you have one of those, I sincerely wish you the best of success with whatever you aim to do. But don’t get upset if you fail.

In our society, failure has a negative stigma. Some people become so ashamed of their failures it becomes a dark secret that brings heat to their cheeks whenever a topic remotely similar is brought up. But why?

Failure is a part of life, and a great part of life. It means you put yourself out there and tried something. It means you took a risk, however big or small, and it means you’ve just been handed an opportunity to grow. It also tests your tenacity, your resiliency and your limits. One of my biggest failures of my life was simultaneously one of my greatest successes thus far. Of course, at the time, I couldn’t see the forest for the trees and felt that my life was over and I’d never have another opportunity like that again. But it simply wasn’t true.

Because of this failure, I was unemployed for six months, had to move back in with my parents after being on my own for nearly 8 years and barely had enough money to survive. But because of that failure I also decided to start taking more risks. I asked for jobs I wasn’t remotely qualified for and substantially over-qualified for. I opened my ear to advice from people I had once never considered. I focused on what I wanted long term while simultaneously working on what I needed short term. I reached out and networked with people both in and outside of my comfort zone. I decided to start bartending just so I could get comfortable talking with people I didn’t know. In fact, it was during this period of failure that I applied to USC – and when I was accepted, it became my opportunity.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to fail. I put blood, sweat and tears into everything I do and I’m devastated when I miss the mark. But it’s not about the miss-step. It’s about the redirection.

In PR we talk about framing your message quite often. We try to convey particular feelings to a specific audience for the greatest outcome. Failing, and how you react to it, is no different. You are the target audience. Is the message going to be “I failed” or is it going to be “I have an opportunity”? What will be the outcome?

The point is, everyone fails. The moral is, don’t be afraid or discouraged when you do. Perhaps you didn’t get that internship you had your eye on or you got a lower score than you expected on that test. Don’t focus on the failure, focus on how to improve. Door A didn’t open. Go check door B and C. Sometimes, even better things await.


TriSight 2017 Executive Board

The TriSight Communications Executive Board for 2017 has been selected and it is with great pleasure that we introduce this new team to you!

Manager Director
Janine Grey

Janine Grey is a first-year graduate student working towards her Master’s of Strategic Public Relations at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. While she is originally from Riverside, California, she earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Photography and Graphic Design at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio. After graduating from undergrad she served in Armenia as a Peace Corps Volunteer where she sat as Co-Chair of the Public Relations Committee and worked as the Public Relations/Marketing Director for the project Border2Border, in which a group of volunteers backpacked across the country to teach under-served youths healthy living habits. Janine has been with TriSight since her first semester at USC, working on the Dream Team Directors account. Beginning in spring 2017, she will work with Operation Surf as the account manager, as well as heading the agency as a whole.

“There’s so much great talent in TriSight and I’m so glad to be apart of the work we’re doing here,” Janine said. “It teaches everyone involved what it’s like to work with real-world clients and build connections and skills that are going to last. Being a part of the E-board will allow me to further develop my leadership skills while building upon previous years efforts to grow and make TriSight the best student-run agency it can be.

Deputy Managing Director


Lisa Curiel Parker is a first-year graduate student pursuing a Master’s of Strategic Public Relations and received her Bachelor’s of Communication from Annenberg as well. During this past fall semester, she worked with TriSight and closely with a virtual reality start-up called BiPolar ID. While working with them she learned the immense power virtual reality has and the amazing work many start-ups are doing in this realm.

Lisa joined the Executive Board to help rebrand TriSight into an even more amazing organization. This year she will be focusing on transforming TriSight and her ultimate goal is to focus on gaining real-world experience through her three job opportunities next semester.

When Lisa graduates, she wants to work with a company focused on technology and television – her two passions.

Outreach Director


Caroline Galbreath is a sophomore undergraduate student pursuing her Bachelor’s of Public Relations at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She is majoring in Public Relations and double minoring in Marketing and the Music Industry.

During Caroline’s first semester with TriSight, she worked on TriSight’s newest account, “BiPolar ID,” a Virtual Reality production company. After a successful first semester on Southern California’s highly competitive student-run PR firm, she recognized TriSight’s small client base and wanted to use her sincere passion and self-drive to personally contribute and oversee tremendous growth within the organization. Caroline will focus on establishing a well-known social media presence for TriSight. Her ultimate goal for the time she holds this position is to gain clients from various industries including music, education, energy and many others in order to expose TriSight members to diverse backgrounds that may appeal to members as potential career paths.

“I have learned more about TriSight in the past semester than I have with any other internship I have had. TriSight pushes you and teaches you to be proactive and always get ahead of the plan to produce the best final products for your client. While TriSight’s commitment is another thing to balance on your plate, I found that I have gained invaluable real-world experience that I can use in my day-to-day life both inside and outside of the classrooms.”

After graduating, Caroline plans to stay Los Angeles to pursue a career in the Music Industry.

Director of Events

Hinde KastHinde Kast is a first-year graduate student pursuing a Master’s of Strategic Public Relations. She received a Bachelor’s of Science in Communication (Public Relations Emphasis) from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 2015 and is expecting to graduate from USC in 2018. She has been apart of TriSight for one semester working on the HATS Account.

“TriSight has taught me how to work with real-life clients, an opportunity that I think can be rare when in school. We make a difference for these companies and it feels great to know that we are helping them reach their goals.”

She wanted to become more involved in TriSight and help it grow as an organization in order to see it reach its full potential. She will be focusing on coordinating events related to TriSight and managing the HATS account. Her ultimate goal for the semester is to successfully achieve juggling grad school and her positions with TriSight with grace and success.

After she graduates, she would love to work with a non-profit organization or for the corporate social responsibility department of a corporation. “I want to change the world and make this world a better place and I hope to work with organizations that give back and help others. I want to leave this world better than it was when I came in. I want to do good.”

Fall 2016 Welcome Message

Fall 2016 Welcome!

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to a new and exciting semester at USC! We hope you are all enjoying the first two weeks of school. On behalf of TriSight Communications, we are proud to announce that TriSight is implementing a new application process this semester in order to take our PR firm to the next level. We want active members who have special skills or expertise in either writing, pitching, social media, event planning or leadership. Please fill out the new application form attached here. We will carefully review each application and notify you if you’ve made it to the interview stage. Please submit the application by September 7th . We can’t wait to start working with you!

Irene & Amy