The journey is almost complete: What I’ve learned from my service-learning project with BRAC

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Wow! When I reflect on my experiences this semester in MC 4001 (PR Writing), that is the first word that comes to mind. From the sleepless nights resulting from completing assignments at the last minute, to having the task of completing a mini-campaign, this semester in MC 4001 has been hectic. As a junior mass communications major at LSU, I can truly say that this course has been the most demanding mass comm course that I have taken by far. Although this course has been demanding, frustrating and very stressful at times, being in this course has also been a rewarding experience. This course has prepared me for a career in public relations, and I would like to share a few reasons why in this blog.

As I shared in a previous blog post link, when I sat in MC 4001 for the first day I was overwhelmed. Listening to Dr. Jensen Moore read the syllabus was equivalent to a child listening to a horror story. Thoughts instantly rushed through my mind. How am I going to do all of this work? What kind of grade am I going to get? Will I have to drop this course? Throughout the course, all three of those questions have been answered, and I am satisfied with the answers.

MC 4001 has given me knowledge and experience that will be applicable to my future job. I have gained a lot of experience as a writer. I now have to ability to write a long list of documents that include: pitch letters, media advisories, social media releases and fundraising letters. Before enrolling in this course, I had no idea what some of those documents were.

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This service-learning course has also given me the opportunity the work on a campaign with a real life client. Working on a campaign for a real life client has been an exciting and eye-opening experience. My agency, Spotlight BR, has focused on helping BRAC expose visitors and residents of Baton Rouge to entertaining nightlife options.  We have developed a SCVNGR trek that features eight venues that can serve as source of entertainment for adults at night. The trek is composed of a series of challenges that take place at the eight locations. Rewards are given to application users who check-in and complete each challenge at the locations listed. If you would like to find out more information about SCVNGR, here is a link with more info here.

It is amazing that I can finally see the finish line. The end of this service-learning course is near. The journey has been long, difficult and tiring at times, but if I had the choice, I wouldn’t change anything about it.

Below is a link to a video of me describing my experience as a MC 4001 student.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQ0CbcWBD2Y

If you are interested in seeing how this course affects the rest of my tenure as a college student and how it propels me to successful career in PR, you should continue to follow my blog. You can also follow me on Twitter @_Ramon_H.

The Importance of Ethics and Professionalism in PR

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Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do.” This quote by Potter Stewart sums up the meaning of ethics. As the son of a Pastor, these words have constantly been preached to me my entire life. Acting in an ethical manner was not an option in my home; it was a way of life. As I transitioned into college, I realized that some ethics lessons that I was taught as a child are also essential to having success in the profession that I have selected.

In this blog post, I will be discussing ethics and professionalism in PR. As a student in LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication, we are taught the importance of ethics and professionalism in our career fields. As a PR professional, acting in an ethical and professional manner should be a priority. It is important to present yourself as a competent and trustworthy individual. Following the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) code of ethics is expected of all PR professionals. The PRSA code of ethics is designed to help its members carry out their ethical responsibilities. To find out more information about PRSA and its code of ethics click here.

Professionalism is also a necessary quality to have in every career. The standard definition of professionalism is very vague and ambiguous. To see that definition click here. As you can see, I am not a fan of that definition, which is why I created my own definition of professionalism. Professionalism is the act of presenting yourself as a competent, well-mannered and educated individual in the workplace. In the “professional world” you take on a slightly different identity than in your personal life. It is important to act in a professional manner in the workplace and while dealing with clients, because it causes them to respect you. It allows you to create a positive image for yourself. Professionalism is also essential to relationship buliding in the professional world which is a component of success in PR. I discussed the importance of buliding relationships in my previous post about stewardship. If you would like to read that post click here.

PRSA also recognizes the importance of professionalism. Their statement of professional values represents their idea of professionalism. The six professional values are advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyal and fairness. To read more about those values click here.

Ethics and professionalism have been very important during this service-learning project. Working with our client BRAC has shown me the importance of making ethical decisions and acting in a professional manner. If you would like to learn more about the progress that my agency is making on this project continue to follow my blog http:\\ramonhardy13.wordpress.com. You can also follow our agency on Twitter @SpotlightBR. Also, to find out more about BRAC’s missions and initiatives click here.

A new understanding of public relations through working with BRAC

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Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, I sat in my Mass Comm 4001 (PR Writing) class not knowing what to expect. I knew that I would gain necessary experience for the field that I plan to enter one day, but I didn’t know to how much experience I would gain. As I sat and listened to my professor recite the course objectives and syllabus, I became aware that this would be a service-learning course. Not only would I have the opportunity to gain experience writing documents that PR professional write, but I also would be given the opportunity to work with a client.

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The client that my class has been given the opportunity to work with is BRAC, a nonprofit whose mission is to propel the community of the Baton Rouge metropolitan area to a more prosperous economic future. If you are interested in learning more about BRAC, you may click this link here. Working with BRAC has helped shape my view of PR. Through this service-learning project, I have learned the importance of communication in PR. Communication skills are essential to a successful career in PR. Basically, if you are considering having a career in PR but you do not have good communication skills, then you should consider choosing another field. Here is a link to an article that discusses the importance of communication in the PR practice link.

Public relations professionals are in the middle of the communication cycle. The client communicates its message to us. We communicate that message to the target audience through the most effective medium to reach that audience. The audience receives and reacts to the message. Then we evaluate how effectively we delivered the message, and we figure out if the message or medium needs to be altered. Working with BRAC, has allowed me to see the importance of this cycle. So far in this project, we have focused on communicating with BRAC so that we can effectively communicate with their target audience(s). We want the message that we deliver to align with BRAC’s message.

This service-learning project has also shown me the importance of building mutually beneficial relationships with clients. This relates to my previous post about stewardship. If you would like to read the post, click this link here.  I have realized that Spotlight BR, my group’s PR agency, and BRAC cannot have a successful partnership if we aren’t “on the same page” with one another. For each of us to achieve our goals, we need to have a relationship that functions well. The partnership of Spotlight BR and BRAC has definitely accomplished that.

As this service-learning project progresses, I am learning more about PR and what it takes to work in this field. If you want to learn more about my service-learning experiences, continue to follow my blog https://ramonhardy13.wordpress.com/. You can also follow me on Twitter @_Ramon_H for more updates.