The importance of following current events

By: Leah Rodriguez

When it comes to the term “current events,” some may begin to have flashbacks of seventh grade history class. We’ve all dreaded being forced to read the newspaper and summarizing an article relevant to the week’s lesson plan. As we become older and more advanced in our careers and academics I feel it’s important to “stay relevant” with the news. I never understood this importance until I was in an interview for an internship and my potential employer asked my opinions on recent political news with Gov. Snyder; embarrassed, I asked myself “what news?” I knew it was time for a change and I made it a point to begin following the news more often.

One way I didn’t consider following up on current events is by utilizing social media. Twitter is arguably the quickest and most reliable source of news.. It harbors as much information that you allow it to when you follow relevant news outlets to your geographic location and demographics. Twitter allows you the opportunity to get news from the source the moment it goes online, without having to wait for it to print.

Another way I began to follow current events is by watching TV. If you’re good at multitasking try leaving the news on in the background while you do homework, clean your house, fold laundry, cook dinner, etc. Watching the news at prime times in the morning and evening can help you visualize what is happening around the world or in your city.

However you feel comfortable gaining your information is up to each individual; the importance of maintaining knowledge on current events is the main point. I believe my new efforts will help me during interviews, in social settings, and during lectures.

Leah Rodriguez is a senior majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing. This is her second year on EMU PRSSA’s executive board, having served as VP of PR and VP of Special Events and Programs in 2014-2015. She is the social media intern for EMU’s College of Arts & Sciences, where she manages their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Summer PR Tips

By: Scott Mullin



Summer is in full swing and many of us want to spend time avoiding any aspect of college. This is definitely understandable, especially for those who are young and just want to have fun one last year before you kick your career into overdrive. Here are 10 ways to witness and experience aspects of PR by just enjoying your summer.

1. Go to a baseball game

Baseball games are a great way to learn about promotions. The Detroit Tigers give away many items, like hats sponsored by different companies like Budweiser that want to get their name out there. Also after the end of every inning there’s usually some form of entertainment, such as dance-offs or trivia contests sponsored by local or national companies. Catch some innings and watch promotional work in play.

2. Enjoy Instagram

Many restaurants will share pictures of new summer menu items that look so good you will want to come in.

3. Follow your favorite food truck

Summer makes us a lot more mobile. If you are on foot or on a bike in Detroit, follow your favorite food truck via Twitter and get updates on their daily mystery location to find out where they will be. Good food may be only a Tweet away.

4. Host a Fourth of July party

What a great way to practice your event planning skills!

5. Read/Watch the news

You’ll see many PR related stories. It is also your civic duty to be aware of the world around you.

6. Ride some rides

Going to a carnival or amusement park is fun, but nothing is more fun than getting some pre-ride selfies that your Facebook friends will be envious of. Plus, those precious pics will last a lifetime. Awww.

7. Three letters: WWE

WWE SummerSlam is the summer version of WrestleMania. Watch supreme use of social networking as Superstars tweet junk about their opponents for the event, but at the same time interact with their fans.

8. Follow social media……literally

Yik Yak is touring America. Follow the Yik Yak app and check their tweets, Instagram, and of course Yik Yak to see if they are visiting a town or event near you. They will reward you with swag and photo ops.

9. Snapchat

Experience the world on your phone via pictures and quick videos.

10. Plan a road trip with a complete itinerary of things to do and when

If you can plan a major trip, you can plan an upcoming school week with no problem in the fall.

Ladies and gentlemen, my final thought is this: if you want to have a good summer, do so. Life is too short not to. Hit up an Indians game and cheer on the Tribe, have a Roman candle fight or a bottle rocket war, play some of that Marco Polo, take a spin on a Gravitron or Scrambler, and if you are legal, enjoy some summer beers. It’s summer, don’t take life too seriously. After all, for many graduating next year or so, it may be your last summer vacation until you retire.

Scott Mullin is the Vice President of Communications for EMU PRSSA.

Learning Leadership

Originally posted on leahPR23:

During the Unity in the Mitten Conference hosted by GVSUPRSSA at Grand Valley State University this Saturday, the topic of leadership was brought into focus. PRSSA Executive board members sat and listened to discussions on ways to become better leaders, and how to manage transitions of leadership from college to career. Leadership is no small task and a never ending learning process. What I’ve learned from #UnityintheMitten will help me with my upcoming year as President of EMU PRSSA and I hope I can help create leaders and learn from my team as much as I wish they can learn from me.

unnamed Natalie Burns, EMU PRSSA CFO and Myself

Here is a recap of what I’ve learned…

Derek DeVries, Digital Strategist at Lambert, Edwards & Associates, spoke about how to create other leaders while in your leadership position. There is importance of teach ability within any leader and…

View original 303 more words

EMU Remembers Dr. Motschall with Public Relations Scholarship

Eastern Michigan University continues to remember Dr. Melissa Faulkner Motschall, APR, a former EMU professor who taught public relations and created EMU’s PRSSA Chapter. Motschall was known as both an outstanding teacher and public relations professional whose efforts touched and inspired countless students and fellow professionals. Many of her students went on to successful careers in corporations, public relations agencies, nonprofit organizations, health care and education. As part of the EMICH Public Relations community, students are encouraged to care for others and give back.

This year the Eastern Michigan University’s Interdisciplinary Public Relations Major Undergraduate Scholarship returns with a one-time award of $596. Students applying for the award must be undergraduate majors in public relations with a grade point average of at least 3.0 and demonstrate financial need.

To commemorate Dr. Motschall’s dedication to EMU, a short essay of no more than 1,000 words is required describing the importance of caring for others, giving back to one’s community and how the two characteristics connect to the field of public relations. To prepare for the essay, first read the memorial on Dr. Motschall and reference her accomplishments and how you believe they advanced the field of PR and humanity in general. Dr. Motschall’s memorial can be found at

To apply please fill out this Google Form:

How to organize your to-do list

By: Rachel Dwornick

Many times schoolwork, life, and our job become overwhelming in college. According to the College Stress and Mental Health Poll , 85 percent of students feel stressed daily (source). Here are five tips to organize your to-do list and hopefully relieve some stress.

1. Make a list

First and foremost just grab a piece of paper and make a list. Write everything down you have to do that day or that week. That way you can see all you have to do.

2. Prioritize

Next grab a new piece of paper and prioritize your list. Write out your tasks in order from most to least important. This will allow you to see what requires your attention first.

3. Time requirement

The next step is to figure out how much time each task will take. Write the time requirement of each task next to that task so that way you can track how much time you allotted and how much time the task actually took. Don’t worry too much, though, if you go over time on some tasks. There will be tasks that also take less time than you allotted.

4. Find balance

Find a balance between each task. Don’t complete all your long/hard tasks one after the other. Balance some hard/long tasks with some shorter/easier tasks. That way you don’t feel overwhelmed or stressed.

 5. Plan a break

One of the most important steps: plan a break in your to-do list. We need breaks to just de-stress and let our mind rest. Even grabbing a cup of coffee or a 15 minute break will help. Plus a break will allow you to come back to the task and have a fresh start.

After completing these five steps you may want to write out your list again on a blank sheet of paper and make any changes you wrote down.


Is your college student stressed? Probably.
Energy, Time, Priority, Work/Life: 4 New Ways to Organize Your To-Do List

Rachel Dwornick is a senior at Eastern Michigan University studying public relations with a minor in communications. She holds the position of Member Relations in PRSSA and is an active member of Alpha Xi Delta. Follow her on Twitter at @racheldwornick.

A typical day in PR

By: Natalie Burns



The alarm has been chirping for over 15 minutes. I know it’s early, and I don’t want to get up. I think of a hot cup of coffee, and I am able to open my tired eyes. My alarm says 6:30 a.m. I am up, coffee in hand, iPhone in the other. Days begin early and end late in the life of a public relations professional.

I stare at my long list of emails that surged in since I left the office last night. I stare blankly with my glossy eyes, adjusting the e-mails from the most important to the least. I start making a checklist, even though the one from yesterday is still incomplete. There just isn’t enough time in the day. The company I work for is launching a new product, and I need to coordinate what feels like a million things. A press conference needs to be arranged, and I have to make a list of all the attendees, as well as print all the literature for the product. I also need to manage the social media, and help design a brochure. Press kits needs to be formulated, and accommodations for the conference need to be arranged. I have to think of everything for the press conference, including what kind of bagels people will want. I need to get Michael on the phone from the Alkera Chronicle to talk about the press release. Deadlines are racking up minute by minute, and I can feel the pressure rising up from my stomach to my head.

This is how I imagine a typical day would be in the world of PR.

Every student that studies public relations has been asked the question, “So, what kind of job are you going to be doing?” There are so many answers; it takes me at least five minutes to explain. A typical day in the life of a PR professional is not a walk in the park, and that’s why I chose it! I love to know that every day is going to be different. To me, it’s exhilarating to know that the type of work I engage in will be filled with a lot of hype and buzz.

I often question my sanity for choosing my profession, as I have done my research. PR is not for the weak and lazy. As it’s true that you need to be both a good writer and speaker, you also have to be able to deal with multiple personalities, and put out fires in a flash. If you’re looking for the typical nine to five, PR is not the job for you! PR jobs on nearly all levels are loaded with stress. Typically, people who work in this field thrive off the commotion and excitement. Deadlines dominate your to-do list, and juggling different projects are vital. So, if you’re quick on your feet, a strategic planner, and at the same time the world’s biggest suck up then PR might be just the field for you. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you jump into the hectic world of public relations.

1.  Are you a transformer?

Literally. Are you able to instantaneously morph yourself and change how you handle situations to best meet the needs of your client? Can you schmooze the media and answer tough questions during a press conference? If you are good at juggling different personalities and hobnobbing at an event, then this field may be the one for you.

2. Can you manage numerous duties and meet deadlines?

Are your multi-tasking skills up to par? Are you able to write press releases, plan an event, answer emails, design brochures, post on social media, and meet your clients for lunch all in the same day? PR is heavy with hour-to-hour chores.

3. Can you build relationships and keep them?

The entire focus of the work in public relations is to build relationships with the people who buy the products, use the services, or have other affiliations with the company you represent. Depending on the type of client that you are representing, there are many ways to spread the word. Once the word is out, being able to maintain those relationships on a corresponding level is key.

4. Do you want to be the face of a company?

Building relationships are one thing, but being the face of your company is another. You are a professional, and you have to act like one. This means knowing what is appropriate at all costs, and understanding the ethics behind your job.

5. Are you creative and strategic?

Can you come up with a quick design for a brochure? Could you lay out plans for the launch of a product in Ireland? Would you be able to think of everything at an event that involves over 2,500 people? PR professionals use their creative skills to not only plan big events, but to think fast in sticky situations that may involve journalists and the media. When you’re the go to, it’s your job to make sure that everyone is happy. Even if you thought you thought of everything — think more.

Writing press releases, planning book signings, booking your company big shots as guest lecturers, newsletter production, blogging, tweeting, and attending speaking engagements are only a few of the numerous tasks during a typical day as a PR professional. If this sounds like something you thrive on, well jump on in!

Natalie Burns is a public relations major and marketing minor. Her writing, communication, and multitasking skills have allowed her to do especially well in her field. She has an outgoing, bubbly personality. Natalie is currently a public relations intern at SOS Community Services in downtown Ypsilanti. She is also Chief Financial Officer of PRSSA. Connect with her via Twitter @burns_natalie and Instagram @natattack03. Follow her blog at

Tips to get writing experience

By: Katie Gerweck

We all know that in public relations the ability to write clearly and concisely is key. It’s important that, as students, we gain as much writing experience as possible so we can sharpen our skills. Although we get a good deal of practice in the classroom, there are other places we can get experience as well.


Internships are great for many reasons. You get real-world experience, make connections, and learn new skills. You also get a fair amount of writing experience. Beyond the typical press release, you’ll likely have the opportunity to work on writing projects that you normally wouldn’t cover in the classroom–  like writing Tweets for a business, or working on its blog. (Not to mention it’ll give you some great pieces for your portfolio).


Blogging allows you to establish a presence online, and have some fun, too. With blogs, you can write about the things that interest you, and can design it to match your personality. Maintaining a blog keeps your writing skills sharp but gives you more flexibility in the topics you cover. You can start your own blog on free platforms like WordPress or Blogger, as well as be on the lookout for other blogs who allow guest submissions.

School Newspaper or Other Publications

You don’t have to be a journalism major to write for your school newspaper, and it’s another great way to get writing experience. Whether it’s a hard news story or a more feature-y arts and entertainment story, writing for the paper will help strengthen your skills. Like public relations practitioners, journalists use the AP stylebook and often have short deadlines.

However, you can write for other publications as well. Whether you want to write essays, poems, or non-fiction, there’s a place you can submit it, and hopefully get published. You can either do your own research or start with a list of publications, like’s Young Authors guide. (Although this guide includes many publications that only accept submissions from kids, there are also some for young adults/undergrads).

Regardless of which method or methods you choose, it’s important to keep practicing and strengthening your writing. Let me know how you get writing experience in the comments below!

Katie Gerweck is a senior majoring in public relations with a minor in journalism. She is the editor-in-chief for EMU PRSSA, and also works as a copy editor for the Eastern Echo. She was the copy chief for the Echo during the summer of 2015.