An Unanticipated Realization

There was built up excitement as I was in my car on the way to the Bright Shawl for the August luncheon. Knowing that the professional presentation topic was on “pitching to the digital world,” I was ready to engage in the presentation. A topic like this is vital for my understanding and learning experience as a student.

My school books constantly reinforce the effectiveness of the press release and good relations with local news reporters. As a pupil of the new generation it is hard for me to grasp just how effective these “old school” public relations tactics can be. And so I walked through the doors expecting to have my views on the unquestionable effectiveness of digital pitching reinforced and learn how to better equip myself to do just that.

Not only were my expectations met, but speaker James Aldrix, Digital Editor of the San Antonio Business Journal, detailed that old school PR is still vital for client coverage. Here’s where I’m coming from: I worked at a PR division office in town for an ad agency based out of another city for the past eight months. My boss’ daily communication with coworkers was over the phone, email and skype. Telecommunications is a significant factor of the company’s culture. Also, I am the sole reason for greatly increasing the engagement on a client’s social media outreach (Sorry, don’t have the stats on that just right now!). All of this new tech hub bub can cloud a person’s thoughts when it comes to recognizing that older PR methods still have relevance today.

And so I stopped to think. At my internship, we sent out mailers for a big client of ours; we’re working on a direct mail campaign for another really big client of ours; and we’ve done press releases for a trade show that another client was involved in. When I took a step back, I was able to confirm Mr. Aldrix’s message. It was also good to hear him explain that the pinstripe model is in effect not only at the San Antonio Business Journal, but also for most of the printing world as well. This way, the new digital PR realm and the old way of practicing PR are both satisfied.

In summary, I anticipated learning more about what I thought I already knew. The truth is, there was a bigger message that I learned at the August luncheon. The past hasn’t been boxed away and placed in a dusty corner of the attic. Old PR approaches are still relevant and have a long way to go until they have run their course.

New age techniques require a greater precedence, as the new generation obtains information in a different way than previous generations did before them. However, the pinstripe model that Mr. Aldrix spoke of strives to make the best of these two different PR realms by first printing and then digitizing. I’d say that the pinstripe model could define this era’s PR approach, and it’s something I am looking forward to refining once I get well on my way after graduation in the near future.

By Rachel Browne
• UTSA student • PRSSA •


Online First

After having attended my second PRSSA luncheon, I think I might be addicted. The food was great but what really got me coming back were the guest speakers. This month I had the pleasure of learning more about online news from James Aldridge, digital editor of San Antonio Business Journal (SABJ). While my notes talk about Sharknado 2 and Becky Hammon, I did also get tips on having a multi-tiered strategy for pitching stories. I won’t be sharing all my tips today, but I will highly urge everyone to keep up with Aldridge online. Take a good look at how Aldridge formats his articles along with the website in general.

I am a student working as a waitress, and I have noticed more and more people, of all ages, staying connected on their phones. As noted by Aldridge at the luncheon, being online is how to get a reader’s attention. Sales of print media has dropped. What is actually catching the audience’s attention today? Readers want their news stories faster, to the point and a picture to go with the story. Website entries such as spotlight pages, photo galleries, and “listicles” are what helps to gain page views.

Although luncheons are quick, Aldridge gave an information packed presentation that left this listener wanting to read SABJ. I will be trying to get more print versions of SABJ, because they have more detail than their online versions, but I also love new Business Pulse 2.0 when I’m short on time.

-Jessica Tapia


June PRSA Luncheon Review

Well color me flattered. I just finished my first PRSA luncheon as a UTSA PRSSA student and I cannot believe that I did not take advantage of this opportunity earlier on in my college career. Everyone was very welcoming, even when I went around asking for money. Speaking of, the 50/50 raffle was a great way to support my fellow peers. I am very appreciative of the opportunity because I know some students have a hard time finding a way to pay for school.

Besides that, I was able to get great tips from Sara Hicks, marketing manager for The San Antonio Orthopaedic Group. Her presentation showed what she did for last years San Antonio Business Journal’s Social Madness competition. The presentation shared her tips for creating an action plan, “Doing More With Less.” My hats off to Hicks because that competition looked fierce.

The luncheon also discussed Time Warner Cable and their hyper-local cable news channel. The news director, Michael Pearson, and managing editor, Crestina Chavez, shared the mechanics of how the channel would work.
I can’t believe the presenters were able to share so much information in just a short lunch session but I very appreciative of the opportunity and can’t wait for the next one.

-Jessica Tapia

PRSA Luncheon: A Review

As a member of PRSSA for a year, I was excited to finally attend my first PRSA Luncheon with a fellow PRSSA member, Jessica. The June luncheon was held at The Bright Shawl and the topic was “Social Media: Creating Your Own Action Plan.” At the start of the luncheon Jessica and I were able to hand out raffle tickets, where PRSA members could win half of the earnings and the other half would go to the Marilyn Potts Endowment Fund for PRSSA students. It is wonderful to see that PRSA professionals are happy to invest in our future.

At the opening of the meeting a few members from the Time Warner Cable news team discussed the launch of the TWC News San Antonio channel that debuted June 2 for the local San Antonio area. They talked about the importance of finding newsworthy stories that were more than just gunfights and thefts. TWC seeks to find heart warming stories that showcase what a great city San Antonio really is. This is great news for local nonprofits that are looking for a platform to share their stories.

Following TWC’s team, the main speaker, Sarah Hicks began her discussion of a successful social media campaign. Sarah Hicks is the marketing manager for the San Antonio Orthopedic Group. To increase her company’s social media participation she took part in the San Antonio Business Journal’s “Social Media Madness” competition last year. Sarah was able to discuss in depth which social media strategies worked best and least for them. I really liked her idea of creating a stuffed orthopedic mascot that they took pictures with around the office, it seemed like a fun way to get everyone involved. They ended up winning the small business category of the entire competition.

Attending a PRSA luncheon was a fun experience that gives you a little taste of the professional world. I am thankful I was able to attend and I know this won’t be my last one!

-Chelsea Campbell

PRSA Luncheon: A Review

On January 9, I was given the honor of representing UTSA at PRSA’s monthly luncheon at The Bright Shawl. This month’s guest speaker was Sean Wood, multimedia manager at KGBTexas, who shared some advice on digital media and creating a company “newsroom.” Wood began by explaining that response to traditional media is declining while digital media is on the rise. His presentation outlined the need for a tailored approach when managing a company’s online and social media presence. I found the Zachary Holdings example particularly enlightening. They publish a monthly magazine/newsletter and mail it directly to their target audience (clients, employees), but the publication is also available on their website, so anyone with a casual interest in nuclear power plant development has access to the same materials. This way, ZH targets the right audience while also advancing their name and online presence. Between the excellent food, pleasant company, and an interesting presentation from a knowledgeable speaker, this event was a great experience. I encourage current PRSSA members to come out to one of these luncheons in the future and enjoy the surroundings while growing as young PR professionals.

-Oziel Alvarez

PRSA Luncheon: A Review

Within my first week being a member of UTSA’s PRSSA chapter I had the wonderful privilege of attending PRSA’s February luncheon on Wednesday, February 6th.  The focus of the luncheon was titled “Working with Journalists: Best Practices and Insights for Public Relation Pros”.  Other than being aware of the main focus for the luncheon, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Upon arriving early to the luncheon, I was asked to sell raffle tickets, along with another PRSSA member, to support the Marilyn Potts Scholarship for PRSSA students at UTSA.  I really appreciate the PRSA member’s support in contributing to the scholarship. 
I was really impressed with the panel of journalists whom are members of the Society of Professional Journalists that attended the luncheon.  The information they all shared was extremely helpful.  I gained a lot of insight to what exactly a journalist expects from a public relations specialist.  The overall relationship between public relation specialists and journalists is key to working together smoothly and successfully.  A great example of tips provided by the panel of journalists is from Mike Gaytan, News Executive Producer at Univsion San Antonio, KWEX-TV.  He suggested to always contact via email unless it is urgent, to provide relevant and current events that matter to the station’s viewers and to always plan for story coverage with plenty of advanced notice.
I want to personally thank the board members of PRSA for giving me this remarkable opportunity.  This experience has most definitely proved my interest in the public relations field.  I look forward to attending future luncheons and having the opportunities to meet professionals to further my experience in the public relations field.
-Megan Sauer

PRSA Luncheon: A Review

“Your website is like a night club. If you don’t update the drink menu and
the bands, people get bored and stop coming”.

With analogies as vivid and current as this, who wouldn’t have an
enjoyable time listening to Sean Wood talk about the emergence of
organization-made/self-made publicity.

Coca-Cola is kicking out the press release, and many organizations are
headed in the same direction: using the mainstream media less and using
their owned media more.

It’s a genius move. Who can tell your entity’s stories better than you? It
makes perfect sense to use your multimedia to reach out to the audience
that is willing to follow you. You reach an organic audience who truly
cares about your brand’s news.

The articles on PRSA Issues and Trends was starting to reveal this trend,
but it was refreshing to hear a local practitioner, Sean Woods relate it
to the San Antonio market.

Thanks to the Bright Shawl for a wonderful meal, as always. What was your
favorite quote from Sean Wood’s presentation?

-Ariana Trevino