Thursday, December 17, 2009

West Michigan Man Heads National School PR Association

Ron Koehler, assistant superintendent of the Kent Intermediate School District, is the president-elect of the National Schools Public Relations Association. He will serve as president in 2010.

Koehler is past president of the Michigan School Public Relations Association and a member of West Michigan Public Relations Society of America.

This is no doubt a great honor for Koehler. It also represents the West Michigan PR community well that one of our local colleagues was chosen to lead the national association.

Here's a recent podcast interview with Inside Michigan Education in which Koehler speaks about school PR in a tough economy.

MDOT Using Online PR Well

I noticed a good example this morning of a government agency using the latest online technology as part of their public relations efforts.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) posts VNRs to its YouTube channel. This is a no brainer for anyone, but seems especially useful for a government agency. Yeah, there was criticism of government use of VNRs a few years ago, but that was overblown and more the fault of local TV news directors using them without attribution. MDOT's channel is clearly labeled as MDOT, the video news releases have a pre-roll with MDOT clearly identified, and the content is informative to citizens.

The quality is decent as well. It might not work for broadcast (but then again it might). Certainly these VNRs could be mashed and edited by TV stations if there's good (i.e. informative, not boasting) SOT (sound on tape or soundbites) and enough b-roll to edit and localize for use on their own Web sites. I would just stop ending every VNR with an articulation of the MDOT mission statement.

Of course, the MDOT YouTube channel can circumvent news stations altogether for citizens who want to stay informed and subscribe to the channel, or click links from MDOT's Web page, Twitter stream, or Facebook.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

GR Creative Circle Closes

Just a day after I touted the Grand Rapids office of Creative Circle I learn that it is closing. I got this email from the local office's staffer:

I’m Kristen Myers-Chatman – I launched Creative Circle here in Grand Rapids – however after only 2 months or so of servicing this area….CC execs have decided to close the doors feeling it’s not a viable market for the company after all.

Bummer. Looks like the Creative Circle for area communication pros looking for work has become a...wrecked angle.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Grand Rapids Part of "Creative Circle"

Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and....GRAND RAPIDS?!

Yes. Grand Rapids is one of seven office locations for Creative Circle, billed as an advertising and creative staffing agency. That means they connect creative talent to clients who need all manner of creative help, from animation to writing. Area creatives can register to get freelance gigs and potentially full-time positions.

This is not only a good service for the West Michigan creative community; it's validation that West Michigan has an attractive creative climate.

(Hat tip to GVSU alumna Lisa Travnik)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

West Michigan PR Students, Pros Make National Impact

It's been a good week for West Michigan public relations students and professionals getting national recognition.

First, Derek DeVries, manager of communication technology for Grand Rapids Community College, had an article called "Managing Your College's Online Reputation" published in the Community College Times, a national publication.

Then I learned that Leah Zuber, president of the Grand Valley State University PRSSA chapter, and Angela Hernandez of the Central Michigan University PRSSA chapter, were among 14 recipients of the PRSSA National President's Citation for 2009.

Finally, I noticed that Mikinzie Stuart, a student at Ferris State University, had a nice blog post called "20 Ways PR Students Can Beat the Winter Blues" in the BrazenCareerist blog. The post scored a mention in Ragan's PR Daily.

Kudos to everyone for representing West Michigan and the public relations professional so well!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Michigan Radio's West Side Stories Has GVSU Alumni Story

Three comments about this item from the current Rapid Growth Media:

1. This new Michigan Radio podcast called "West Side Stories" is an obvious boon to the West Michigan PR community. Not only will the stories--focused on the west side of Michigan--air on Tuesdays on WVGR 104.1, they will also be podcasts that Michigan radio will have on it's Web site and probably push via its Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets. West Michigan PR pros should warm up their pitching arms, since local Michigan radio reporter Dustin Dwyer says he's looking for ideas in the lifestyle genre.

2. Podcasts. Are they on your media lists? They should be. Media isn't just conventional broadcast and print anymore. My advice is to listen before you leap. Make sure the tone and treatment are fair, and that the audience is there, before you start pitching podcasters. Also, PR folks should think about doing their own podcasts--YOU are the media now.

3. Finally, the first episode (which aired November 11) featured a former student of mine--Kelsey Duda. She's the only student I ever had who did internships for both a large PR firm and an African NGO. Now I see how she's put the two together. I've noticed in her tweets that she's been working on a business plan. Turns out it's for Six Stone Jars, a wine business that donates significant proceeds to providing clean water in developing nations. I am so proud.