As a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America I had the privilege of participating in a job shadow with the UTSA Office of University Communications team. On November 9, 2011, I met with four great professionals who shared their roles and responsibilities within the university’s communication structure.
Christi Fish, associate director of media relations, manages external affairs. She described how she manages media relations and how assignments are divided among the team in much the same way as in news reporting. Each member of the communications team has their own beat(s). Tim Brownlee, associate director of internal communications, manages internal affairs. He described his work in communicating with students, faculty and staff through e-blasts and through UTSA’s own online newsletter, UTSA Today. Omar Hernandez, public affairs specialist, manages social media and video production. He described his work in communicating university information through social media platforms that include Facebook and YouTube. Kris Rodriguez, public affairs specialist, monitors external news events. He described the importance of environmental scanning and how it helps keep the university aware of news events that may influence or impact the UTSA community.
The experience of being able to participate in the PRSSA Job Shadow Day gave me the opportunity to see pubic affairs in practice. The flow of the communications operation is a defined process with team members that have designated roles and responsibilities. They are directly accountable to the chief communications officer and ultimately the office of the president of the university. They define the identity of UTSA to the various publics that make up our university’s audience.