Creativity in Public Relations?


For the past couple of days in my PR Planning & Problems class with Professor Tom Hagley, we have discussed the idea of creativity in public relations. Creativity

My roommate is an advertising major and has spent the bulk of her most recent J-School classes drawing and brainstorming for creative pitches. As a public relations major, I have spent my time writing press releases, backgrounders, and more recently, blog posts. She uses the pencil to draw, and I use it to write. Is this what gives advertising the reputation of being a more “creative” field? 

I don’t quite think so, but I do think that there are different boundaries in these two fields that reinforce this reputation. For the majority of my PR Writing projects, there was a format, a specific way in which we were to convey our ideas. The examples were basic and in turn, so was our work.

My roommate has little guidelines. She was instructed to interpret the assignment in her own way and run with it. These are obviously two extremes, but it begs the question, “Is there room for creativity in public relations?”.

With the advent  of the use of so many social media outlets, public relations seems to be distancing itself from the classically formatted press releases. This gives me hope. While some PR practitioners likely have more creative license than others, I like to think that I am entering an exciting, constantly changing, challenging profession. 

In the world of PR, we can be creative with our words, our ideas, and our actions. Yet in order to do this, we must be encouraged. I have learned about how to write a press release and how to communicate with the media, but I would like to see more examples of the PR practitioners who have pushed the envelope. These cases would help me to better understand the creative possibilities within the field.

While we may not be encouraged to draw or brainstorm images, I believe that the realm for creativity in public relations is expanding with the diversity of the industry. I look forward to learning more about this topic as I become more exposed to the world of PR.


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Social Media: A Conversation, Not a Monologue

As I enter the world of social media, there are many things to keep in mind. I have to keep up with my feedreader. I have to reply to that comment on my blog. I have to accept that friend on PROpenMic. Yet there are a few things that David Finch recently pointed out that I neglected to realize. \”Creating Social Media Rituals\”

In his post, “Creating Social Media Rituals,” he first reminded me that “social media is not about crossing off a list of tasks, but really tools and opportunities to build relationships with individuals.” I am a task-oriented person who loves a good to-do list.

Yet social media is not about lists. One can’t approach it as a series of to-do’s. I must remember that the purpose of utilizing social media is not to get posts done or to update my twitter, but to learn, explore, and most importantly, converse.

It is a relationship builder. Just like one would approach building a face-to-face relationship with a client or colleague, I need to learn about the people and the ideas of the industry and utilize that knowledge in my social media world.

The internet is not a place for me to post information and then sit and wait for replies. I must be proactive and curious, and I look forward to the many social media conversations and relationships that I will soon build.

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PR & Technology…. boy am I learning a lot….


Sitting in either of my two PR classes or my AHPR meeting I notice one thing first: almost everyone has either a blackberry or iphone by their side. I have observed this in other classes, but never before have I noticed their frequency of use more than in these settings.

Sure there are important emails waiting and news sites to check, but never before had I felt the sense of urgency that my peers convey. 

In my Advanced PR Writing course I am learning more and more the importance of technology in public relations. I understand that sites like Twitter and LinkedIn are becoming the tools of the trade. I, too, am beginning to really enjoy the world of blogging, but I am still hard pressed to find a legitimate reason to be on or nearby a computer 24-7.

As Sara Nielsen of the Tehama Group puts it best, “As young public relations professionals eager to produce high-quality work and living in this very connected world, we are susceptible to dependence on the technology resources at our fingertips.” TGC

Nielsen points out that technology is important to this industry. Our generation needs and utilizes its benefits more than anyone, but I hope that in this new world of technology, we don’t forget the power behind a good handshake, eye contact, or a voice-to-voice conversation.

In my Mass Media & American Politics course, we are reading about how technology is isolating us from one another. Sure we can be connected to people worldwide, but we are talking less with our friends and neighbors and spending more time checking our phones for new emails. I find that my roommates can sit on the couch together for hours, totally mesmerized by their computers and not say a word to each other.

I am hoping to enter this profession through connecting with people, not their email addresses. This may be naive considering the times in which we live, but I value a good face-to-face conversation. I simply hope that those instances don’t become obsolete.

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Linky Love: Non-Profit PR

Windy Hovey’s post on the blog PR Post highlights the unique qualities and tasks involved in non-profit public relations.

Growing up, my dad worked at a few different non-profit arts organizations. I enjoyed watching him interact with people around him because his work, in particular, was so focused on building relationships with the community. These relationships lasted throughout the years and proved to be incredibly helpful for the organizations. 

Hovey put it best by stating, ” How lucky are nonprofit staff to get to relate every day with individuals who demonstrate the most inspiring personal qualities you could ask for in people: philanthropy (means love of the human race) and voluntarism?”

I was able to experience this firsthand last summer when I worked as an intern for the Sausalito Art Festival. I enjoyed the work I did, but what kept me coming back each day was the people I got to interact with: A long-time firefighter, the CEO of a local grocery store chain, a young woman who had worked at music festivals across the country. I learned so much from each and every one of these individuals, and they helped me realize that my ideal work would be in the non-profit sector.

Any line of work that I end up in will surely be worthwhile because it will provide me with experience. Good or bad, I can learn about the work world through the tasks that I complete and the people I interact with. Yet, I feel that I would be happiest working for a non-profit because it would be rewarding, interesting, challenging, and an opportunity for me to really work with my community.

A Window into Non-Profit PR Work

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The Misperception of Samantha Jones

The first question everyone has when they find out that you’re in college is, “What is your major?” For some this is a frustrating question because they don’t know the answer. For Public Relations majors this is a frustrating question because the other person doesn’t understand the answer.

I’ll admit that before I studied PR I, too, did not have a full understanding of the area and was not sure that it was something I wanted to do. You could say that I just kind of fell into the major.

In high school I wrote for the school newspaper. I enjoyed the process: the research, the writing, and seeing the final product and reactions to it. Based on this interest, I entered the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. One of my favorite things? Writing. What do I find interesting? The media. Sure, why not? 

Then you must pick a concentration. Everything sounds interesting, what’s best for me? After a lot of discussion with my advisor I found my answer: Public Relations. Upon sharing this idea with friends, everyone had surprisingly excited reactions. I wasn’t sure why friends majoring in Political Science or family who were doctors and sales reps could become so enthusiastic about my writing-intensive choice.

Then came several comments that explained the excitement. “Wow, that’s like what Samantha Jones does, right?” “I didn’t know you could major in something like that. How fun!” “Do you take classes in party planning and stuff?”

Ouch. Everyone thought I had selected a major to get myself into the hottest parties and buy myself $500 pairs of shoes. 

In Professor Duncan McDonald’s Writing for the Media class I heard him emphasize several times that Public Relations is one of the most misunderstood and most challenging careers. “Writing intensive” & “requires complex and strategic thinkers.” If only my friends and family could hear this lecture.

They would then understand that I am not choosing this course to follow a glamorous lifestyle but to utilize my love of words and writing, to interact with various groups, and to share all kinds of information in all sorts of venues.

As I approach my college graduation in June and begin to look for work, my goal will not only be to find a job that suits me best, but to use my work to make positive changes. I will not strive to live a fabulous life. I will strive to do the best work that I know how to do and to prove to those who misunderstand that our work is important and powerful.

Mistaken Stereotype of Public Relations

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Hello world!


About Me

Hello world! My name is Marissa Phillips and I am a senior at the University of Oregon majoring in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Business. Originally from Marin County, California, I love to travel, exercise, spend time with friends and family, and meet new people as I continue to learn more about the world around me.

Throughout my life I have had a number of unique experiences that have shaped who I am today. In high school I was able to travel with a school group to Vietnam and Guatemala where we toured the countries, learned about their culture and history, and volunteered in the poorer areas at hospitals and orphanages.

Also, at 17, I participated in the Amigos de las Americas program where I spent a summer in a rural Mexican village teaching the local children about hygiene. Most recently, I was able to pursue my love of travel by studying abroad in Madrid, Spain last spring. I was able to tour the country as well as visiting England, France, Portugal, and Italy.

In addition to my travel experiences, I have done three different internships. I spent time doing a wide variety of tasks at Accolo, a Bay Area-based recruitment process outsourcing firm, the California Film Institute, and at the Sausalito Art Festival. Each of these internships taught me about the variety of existing work opportunities and helped me to realize what I may or may not want to do upon my graduation in June.

Why am I Blogging?

For my Advanced Public Relations course, my professor, Kelli Matthews, has asked us to create and maintain our own blog for the length of this quarter. In a world where technology is constantly evolving and social media is overpowering public relations, this assignment is the perfect way to familiarize myself with the world of blogging.

I belong to social networks like Facebook and Linkedin, but with my first blog I intend to share information about public relations from my position as a student, a soon-to-be college graduate, a former intern, and a woman who is constantly intrigued by the changing world of social media. 

My Goals:

-to share my views

-to participate in discussion through responses to other blogs

-to connect with those who share my interests.

Let’s Elaborate:

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