The Fall of Glory at Penn State



It goes without saying that by now the entire nation knows of the scandal that has unfolded at Penn State University the past week or so. Not only is this a chance to view the fall of glory that is Joe Paterno (his legacy alone is a discussion in itself), but is also a chance for public relations professionals and students to watch a case study unfold. The details of what is happening at State College are still unfolding, and surely it will be days, possibly weeks, before the entire truth is uncovered, but in the midst of all this, we are able to watch an institution practice the public relations that we’ve all learned.

Has the university done all it can do, or is there more that could, or can rather, be done? That question will never truly be satisfied because on such a large scale as this no one will ever be satisfied. But what is intriguing to witness is how the Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees is going about its business in the wake of this scandal. The firing of all involved came as a shock to all, but I for one praise the BOT for doing this. With a scandal like this, it is imperative that the higher ups clean house, and did they ever. The university itself should investigate the riots that ensued in the wake of the firings that occurred, and I personally feel, as a PR student, that the highest punishment should be enforced on these students.

It goes without saying that a public relations case can present itself without even trying, and not since the BP fiasco have professionals waited for a chance to examine the actions that have and/or will occur.


Marriott Takes a Brave Leap into Unknown Territory



If anything can show people that public relations professionals aren’t all just “spin doctors,” it’s the newest website launched by Marriott. Guests of the successful hotel chain can now post reviews on a website that is created just for them and their comments. Good or bad, you can say what you want right there on their own site. Visitors must be confirmed to have stayed at the hotel before their review will post, but once you’re cleared, post away!

 PR News called the move by Marriott “brave and worthy.” I’ll second that. I think the bold move is worth every negative comment that will most assuredly be posted. Not to say their hotels are bad, but don’t we all know someone (or are someone) who likes to voice their negative opinion so others can “benefit” from their experience? Of course we do… it’s human nature. According to an article in USA Today, monitors of the site will respond to comments when necessary.

If you’re like me, when I first saw this, I thought, “Why don’t they just use Twitter like everyone else?” Well, that wouldn’t have landed them an article in USA Today or gotten praise from PR News, would it? The website is also targeted at more frequent guests of the hotel who are probably on the website more than the rest of us. Not using Twitter is a good move considering the Twitter blasts that have thrown Netflix (among many other companies) into trending-topic-level of chaos more than once. Bad news travels faster with social media, and don’t you dare forget it.

The move by Marriott is bold, it’s never been done by a hotel and it got placement in major media outlets. Kudos to you and your PR team, Marriott.

Lady GaGa starts new foundation


The ongoing battle against youth bullying is something that many celebrities are becoming advocates for. I believe that Lady Gaga supporting this movement was a very good move career wise. She has many fans and nationalities that follow her lifestyle. Due to the extremes of her shows and appearance, many youth who may be somewhat different look up to her as well. And I think that the name of the foundation “Born this Way” was a genius idea. I really think that the foundation’s name really speaks to children who have been bullied and let them know that you were born the way you are and be proud of who you are.

In the media, Gaga has really has shown her passion for youth and emotions towards the acts that have occurred because of bullying. After the recent death of a young homosexual young man in New York due to vicious taunting Lady Gaga tweeted, “The past days I’ve spent reflecting, crying, and yelling. I have so much anger…It is hard to feel love when cruelty takes someones life….Bullying must become illegal. It is a hate crime. I am meeting with our President. I will not stop fighting. This must end.” The words she expressed in this tweet really showed her compassion for the youth who go through bullying daily and shows that she will be a great celebrity influence for the fight against bullying.

Kim Just Out For MORE Publicity?


Whether a fan or not it is practically impossible not to know whom Kim Kardashian is.  She is everywhere, on national news, Facebook, Twitter and TV constantly!  What I find interesting about her is whether you like her or not, you know who she is!  This is how she makes her money, and I think she is very successful at it.  She is almost too good at making money off of constantly doing ridiculous things.  It does make me wonder just how far she will stoop to keep her career going.

In saying that, her career consists of 1 publicity stunt after another, in my opinion.  Which brings me to the question: was the wedding and divorce all simply for TV and publicity?  I would have to say yes.  She has received more attention than ever with the wedding and just when it started to die down a bit BAM!  She is getting divorced after only 72 days.  I bet the next publicity stunt will be she is pregnant with her soon to be ex’s child.  Can you only imagine the attention that would bring?!?!

Whether Kim is getting good or bad PR/publicity apparently she knows what she is doing.  If she didn’t then we wouldn’t have all been talking about her today during class.  I bet her PR person is a nervous wreck 24/7 wondering what crazy thing she will do next.  Or maybe they do not have much work to do because Kim is pretty good at getting attention on her own.

JetBlue and the PR Recovery


This past weekend, JetBlue received a lot of attention for their lack of urgency and quick action after allowing several planes to sit on the runway during the winter storm that struck the Northeast. The most discussed story was of a plane that sat at a Connecticut airport for 8 hours with unreliable electricity, no food, no water, and no working toilets. Needless to say, the media have picked up on this story, after numerous phone calls from passengers on the plane, and has brought this small airline company negative attention.

While this is a public relations disaster, it is also a great time for the company to regain trust and establish a better business plan. According to, Rob Maruster, CEO of JetBlue, released a video on Youtube apologizing to its passengers, investors, and the public at large for what had happened. This is a great beginning, but if I was Maruster, it should be immediate free tickets with no blackouts for all the customers who were stranded. It then begins a reinvention of image for the company similar to what Toyota had done following their recall incidents.

This is all a small step, but for JetBlue to come out of this crisis with some respect, the company needs to begin the long road of media and client recovery.

Kardashian madness!!

Today, just 72 days after getting married, Kim Kardashian files for divorce from Kris Humphries. The only thing you can say is really? If anyone really believed that this wedding wasn’t fake, when they made 10 million dollars off of it then you are truly mistaken. The thing that gets me most is the fact that people continuously support this family when all they do is find any way to get money. What will they do when they are all old? The world we live in today sometimes just distresses me.

On another note you have to respect how they continuously find ways to get money. Kris Jenner might be one of the best managers in the country. She alone has driven a talentless family, minus Bruce Jenner, to one of the best known and powerful in the country. I wish she were on team Paul, instead of team Kardashian.

Haute Pink

I recently accepted an internship with a new fashion magazine in Birmingham called Haute Pink. Haute Pink will be an online magazine much like the Daily Candy that is based out of New York City. Haute Pink will cover fashion, food, make up, hot spots, etc. The plans are to eventually expand into seven southeastern cities; some will include New Orleans, Nashville, Atlanta and Charlotte. Haute Pink’s Editor and Chief is Lydia Wilbanks who founded Wilbanks Agency in Birmingham. Wilbanks Agency is one of the largest PR agencies in the Birmingham area. Haute Pink will be launched online in November.

It’s really interesting to see first hand all of the hard work that goes into making a magazine. From a PR stand point, I know one of the most important things is going to be getting the name out to the public and making sure they know our brand. I am so excited about seeing everything come together so quickly. Our website is not available for public viewing yet, but we do have a Facebook page so feel free to check it out!

Multicultural PR



One of my biggest regrets over my college career was my decision to take computer science over a foreign language.  It was only last semester that I realized how much this would affect me in my job search.  For years I have been told that learning a foreign language would be beneficial to me, but I didn’t want to take Spanish because in high-school I didn’t feel like I learned enough to be successful with it. Now, considering multiple cultures in everyday business practices is extremely important, and knowing Spanish, for instance, would be a great asset to a future employer. According to an article about multicultural audiences, approximately 1 in 6 Americans are Hispanic. One in six…not such a small minority now. Being knowledgeable about the Hispanic culture is huge because that is a significant amount of the population that you would want to hold on to for a client’s sake. There is even an advertising agency called Hispanic Advertising that is designed specifically to help people connect with the Hispanic population. This company specializes in search engine optimization and Internet advertising that target the Hispanic audience. What a forward-thinking idea. This audience is a huge portion of the American population and their needs have to be met just as everyone else’s.  For those companies out there who do not have someone on staff who understands this culture, you can contract out the work for that now.

Job’s Death



Only one day after Apple introduced their iPhone 4S and ISO5 they announced the sad news that Steve Jobs had died.  To many this came as a complete shock.  He had just stepped down as CEO in August.  Stocks fell then and have now too.  According to an article from The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s shares fell 1% after Steve Job’s death.  Here is the link to the article discussing further the implications of his death.

The news of his death created a huge chatter around the world.  So many tributes have poured in about his life and how he touched millions.  Some have called him the Edison of our time.  One thing is true he did truly change the way we connect with the world in so many ways.

But now the question becomes will Apple die with Jobs?  I think only time will tell, but from all accounts Jobs had already placed the timeline and direction of his beloved company.  The other question is will Apple be able to actually achieve their goals without Jobs.  Will they become more or less secretive?  I think part of why people are so interested in Apple is because of how they keep things such a huge secret.  This secretiveness keeps the public on edge and constantly digging to uncover the next huge Apple thing.

Apple 4s disappoints consumers



Yesterday was the launch of the new Iphone 4s. There had been many misconceptions that the renowned company Apple would be releasing a new version of the Iphone, but instead the company just released the same phone just with updated features. Many consumers were disappointed with the release of the 4s, because of the fact that the 4G had just came out a year ago, and now the company released the same exact phone just with ICloud and video camera capabilities. If I were an Apple customer, I would probably have been disappointed as well. Not only were Apple users upset about the launch of the 4s, but also Apple released an announcement about the death of its co-founder Steve Jobs. This has upset and outraged many consumers of the Apple family. CNN recently talked about how new Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook announced the release of the 4s, and how it was somewhat disappointing. In the article some one states that not only is Cook not as charismatic as Steve Jobs but he had to announce the new product that wasn’t an exciting product that everyone is disappointed about. This is definitely a bad look for the new CEO because of the negative comments that many consumers are saying about the Iphone 4s. But, I believe that although there have been so many complaints about the new Iphone it is still going to do well, because where the phone is coming from. Once more people use the new capabilities, there will be more positive things to say about the new phone. Apple will continue to thrive, and one negative launch will not damage the companies reputation.