June 2018 Print

Welcome New Members

Matthew Cassidy
Associate Member
Digital Communications

Ellisa Cruz
Communications Coordinator
Blank Rome, LLP

Laura Hanes
Public Relations Manager
Independence Blue Cross

Mike Lauer
Associate Member
Marketing Communications Specialist
McCormick Taylor, Inc.

Kim Menard
Media & PR Manager

Ryan Wall
Associate Member, PRSSA Grad
Brian Communications

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Summer is in full swing and the hotter conditions are bringing you this sizzling offer from PRSA! If you are ready to heat up your career, join the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) now and take advantage of learning and networking opportunities to help you strengthen your personal brand and portfolio.

Join by August 31, 2018 and PRSA will waive the $65 initiation fee AND send you a $25 Amazon gift card* — when you use the promo code SUMMER18.

What you will receive when you join PRSA:

  • 24/7 access to our exclusive online community, MyPRSA
  • Access to the member discount program with savings on hotels, travel, office supplies and much more
  • Discounted access to a wealth of training programs and webinars
  • Easy access to your benefits with this PRSA Membership App -- receive the latest PRSA publications, including Issues & Trends and Strategies & Tactics, top-rated webinars, PRSA’s online community and membership directory
  • Tools designed to help advance your career development
  • Access to the PRSA Jobcenter
  • Opportunity to network with more than 21,000 communication and public relations professionals

If you have any questions, the PRSA Membership team would be happy to help. Feel free to call (212) 460-1400 or email Member Services.

*Amazon gift cards will be sent electronically by the second week of September. Offer is not valid for current members, renewing members, PRSSA Graduates, Graduate Students, Associate Members 1 or Associate Members 2. Refer to https://www.prsa.org/membership/membership-categories for details.

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PRSA Philly Volunteers Wanted!

Are you looking to volunteer your time and engage in professional development? PRSA Philly is looking for chapter members to volunteer on our various committees, including Programming (events), Membership, Communications, and more. This is a great way to boost your resume for a time commitment of just a few hours per month and help make PRSA Philly the best chapter in the nation! Interested in learning more? Email admin@philly.org and we'll connect you with our board members.  

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Events in Review

PRSA Philly Hosts Tony DeFazio for Earned Media Workshop

By Mellany Armstrong, Associate Director of Communications at Moore College of Art & Design and PRSA Philly Communications Committee member

At a time when newspaper staffs are being slashed and TV reporters are chasing more sensational stories, how do you get your client’s name out there? You EARN it.

On May 23, members of PRSA’s Philadelphia Chapter took a field trip to the Conshohocken offices of DeFazio Communications, where Tony DeFazio discussed "The Rise of Earned Media."

“Consumers view earned media as more authentic and credible than paid media and owned media,” he told the attendees, describing earned media as "thinking beyond the press" and engaging influencers.

“Earned media is using the power of persuasion to win hearts and minds to create influence for clients and their products,” he said.

DeFazio gave four examples of engaging stakeholders to create influence:

  1. Community engagement – Partner with a community, have an information table at a local event, seek sponsorship opportunities.

  2. Use elected officials – DeFazio said the biggest trade organizations don’t go through lobbyists. Their money goes to public relations people to influence elected officials. Work your network, use LinkedIn. Use relationships to get entrée to elected officials.

  3. Industry relations – Look for opportunities for board of director appointments for your client, make the case for a subject-matter expert to get on the board.

  4. Influencer relations – Companies are using celebrities like Kim Kardashian and sports figures to tout products. Zero in on someone who has a huge following as a potential influencer.

DeFazio also gave tips on creating an earned media strategy.

  • Define and record to memory your client’s mission statement. “You will always stay on track as to what they are looking for.”

  • Understand and document obstacles and hurdles to storytelling. “You better know your client’s weak spot and vulnerabilities to understand how to get around criticism.”

  • Identify gatekeepers and decision makers in the industry. “It’s not all about the press. It’s getting more difficult to find journalists.”

  • Gauge what they are looking for and how your client can add value. “Engage, engage, engage. Sit down with them—what do they need?”

  • Engage your targets often, circulate feedback to your clients and showcase the results. “If a reporter is interested, tell the client. Let them know opportunity is in the works.”

  • Develop an editorial agenda that highlights client products and services.

“There are lots of ways to get media for clients without using traditional media,” DeFazio said.

DeFazio said a trend he sees is that more public relations professionals are using the elite niche industry media, such as industry newsletters and trade group publications. "They have lean staffs," he said, "but they are influential."

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Event Recap: PR Institute Awards Ceremony

By Ellisa Cruz, Communications Coordinator at Blank Rome LLP and PR Institute committee member.

PRSA Philly members, family, and friends gathered on Thursday, June 14 to celebrate the newest graduates of this year’s PR Institute.

Participants and guests enjoyed drinks and appetizers at City Tap House in Center City to mark the end of an eight-week-long PR crash course completed by 13 young pros, and to recognize the 2018 winning team and this year’s nonprofit client, Ralston Center.

This year’s participants were grouped into two teams and met weekly to learn from leading industry professionals who led sessions on research, strategic planning, budgeting, social media strategy, presentation, and more. They implemented those new skills when designing a strategic communications plan for the client aimed at increasing awareness and membership of their Ralston My Way program.

“They really understood the mission of Ralston My Way and how it helps their community and clients,” said Jean Papaj, director of communications and marketing at Ralston.

Following the PRI presentations on June 5, where participants presented their plans to Ralston Center and a panel of judges, Papaj also praised the teams for their professionalism and top-notch plans.

“Team members really listened to our needs. They went beyond creating a plan to meet our objectives and put it into the real world context of our organization and its resource limitations.”

She also noted that “the quality of their work products and presentations were as if they were hired by the client,” adding that it was simply “outstanding.”

Though Papaj and the judges were left impressed by both teams, the winning title was given to Team 2, consisting of Kaitlyn Butcher, Jessica Floersch, Megan Kring, Thomas Logue, Mika Manson, Kelley Simon, and Thomas Venditti. 

Members of the 2018 PRI winning team: Jessica Floersch, Thomas Logue, Megan Kring, and Thomas Venditti. Not pictured: Kelly Simon

Winning team or not, participants felt they had gained invaluable lessons from the PRI program.

“The presentations alone were enough to make it worthwhile, but the part of the program I found most rewarding was problem-solving with the other members of my group, said Nate Adams of Team 1. "Getting to collaborate with people I wouldn’t have otherwise caused me to think critically and was eye-opening and fulfilling."

“The PR Institute is easily one of the best professional experiences I've ever been involved with,” added Thomas Venditti of the winning Team 2.

“Each session was well done, the speakers were excellent, and as someone like myself who is looking to switch careers, I appreciated the hands-on opportunity to create a real PR plan.”

And though the coaching, practice, and networking are invaluable, perhaps one of the greatest rewards of the program is that it offered a meaningful opportunity for participants to give back. 

“The fact that our work benefited a nonprofit client like Ralston was a major strength of this program,” noted Venditti.

Melanie Wright, chair of PR Institute explains that, “PRI is more than just a great professional development program for communications professionals.” She notes that the teams “learn how to create in-depth marketing and public relations plans for our nonprofit clients that support a worthy cause.”

“The plans created by the PRI teams provide a positive social and environmental impact that benefit the community.”

Front left to right: Brittany Eifert,  Melanie Wright, PR Institute Chair, Ellie Cruz, PR Institute Committee member; Rear left to right: Thomas Logue, Madison Fertell, Jessica Floersch, Megan Kring, Thomas Venditti

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AKCG President Named Rowan University Distinguished Alumnus

By Ashley Flear, Associate at AKCG – Public Relations Counselors

AKCG President Christopher Lukach, APR, an active contributor to PRSA Philly, recently accepted Rowan University’s 2018 Distinguished Alumnus Award at the university’s commencement ceremony. The award, which honors alumni who exemplify Rowan’s tradition of excellence, symbolizes Lukach’s years of service to the South Jersey and Philadelphia communities, as well as the public relations industry.

Since 2004, Lukach has not only helped shape the region’s public relations industry, but the business community at large. Lukach continues to give back to both his alma mater and industry and is involved with several professional organizations and advisory councils. He is dedicated to helping communications students and practitioners in the Philadelphia area through discussions about professional development, leadership, and ethical responsibilities within the business.

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Meet the Media Q&A

By Mellany Armstrong, Associate Director of Communications at Moore College of Art & Design and PRSA Philly Communications Committee member

The PRSA Communications Committee talked with John McDevitt, a reporter for KYW Newsradio. John is a Temple grad who has reported on fires, floods, and furry animals.

Tell me about your background. How did you get into radio?  

After graduating with a Radio, Television and Film degree from Temple, I landed a job as a desk/production assistant at KYW Newsradio. I stayed for about a year, then went to Los Angeles, where I worked as a news production assistant for KFWB AM. I submitted voice and writing samples to the news director. I got my on-air break when several Southern California wildfires were threatening to merge. Extra staff was needed to cover, and many of our employees were at a farewell party for the news director, who was leaving the business. The program director gave me approval and the rest is history. I did writing, editing, and reporting shifts, then moved back to Philadelphia, where I did similar tasks part-time before becoming full-time. I've been with CBS for more than 25 years.

What do you like about being a reporter?

I think I like the spontaneity the best. I'm one of those people who works best under pressure, and not knowing in many cases what I'll be doing on a given day keeps me on my toes. I enjoy meeting people and getting a crash course of their world, doing my best to tell their story in the confines of 45 seconds. 

We see you on CBS3, too. Do you enjoy TV reporting and is it very different from radio?

Yes, I have been doing mostly fun feature stories for CBS3 over the past few years. It's the same story I do for Newsradio on a given day. Sometimes the story is an idea from me or someone else here at the station, or from a press release. Once I have the story, I take care of radio first, doing live shots and preparing one or two recorded versions. Then I go into TV mode, writing a separate script, because writing to audio is different from writing to pictures. I'm assigned a video editor and the piece airs normally in the 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. shows on CBS3. The radio stories air two, three, four times a day.

Where do you see radio news in 10 years?

I think we'll see more partnerships, more than we are seeing now. Cost-effective ways to pool resources. Digital media content will be stronger than ever. And who knows what gadgets and methods will be available then.

You do a lot of animal stories—why?  

Ahhh, you noticed!? I like animals. I think there are a lot of other people that do, too. The latest pet information, recalls, or trends interest listeners and viewers. I think I've been to almost every birthday party for animals at the Philadelphia Zoo over the past few years. The story is more than a birthday party for a lion, gorilla or, most recently, four lemur siblings. Most of them are ambassadors to their species in the wild, and I usually include animal conservation in there somewhere.

What advice would you give public relations professionals when it comes to working with the media?

One of things I don't understand is when a press release is issued and no one is available to talk about it. It happens often. We need to have a soundbite in a story, otherwise it doesn't air. We are a broadcast outlet, not print.  

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