Public Relations for Thought Blog

May 13, 2010

VCU’s Tuition Rates On the Rise

Filed under: Uncategorized — jordanma2 @ 2:33 am

By Maya Jordan ’11


Richmond, VA.,(May,2010)–The university would wait until my upcoming senior year to raise tuition and fees  for the 2010-2011 school year. In an e-mail sent by President Michael Rao he said “VCU cannot sustain its mission with a combination of low tuition and a low state appropriation.”To all of you all that haven’t guessed it yet we are losing money. The university has about $13 million less in state funding than it received 10 years ago. It’s a crying shame.

  Budget In Layman Terms?

  •  In-state tuition and mandatory fees for in-state for students will now sky rocket to  $8,817, an increase of $1,700.
  •  Non-resident undergraduates will pay $21,949, a $1,200 increase.
  •  The rates for university housing and meal plans will increase $191  to $8,526.                                                                    

Other Students+Me=Reactions

  • Keauna Lyles, a freshman fashion major said “I just feel like the university is not to blame but its the fault of the goverment because we’re losing funding. I guess it’s to be expected.” You know what Keauna maybe your right the excuses for everything going up is the fact that were in a “recession” is starting to sound real cliché even if it is true. I mean really VCU had alot of bullets to dodge, I’m just glad the budget cuts arrived now as opposed to 2 or 3 years ago or I would have had to suffer the consequence of transferring. And I can assure you I would not have been the only one. But whose to say that students still won’t.
  • Well Keauna, don’t talk to David Cascante, a senior Spanish major because he has a totally different take on the rise of  tuition. “I think it makes it difficult, especially for those who don’t have money, need financial aid and a lot of people can’t apply or qualify as the tuition keeps increasing.”  If I must say so myself, I do need financial aid my parents amongst other students here at the university don’t make $100,000 a year. And the fact that VCU is a public university contributed to my selection of the school. Because I figured if I attend a public university, the government would send big bucks here. I guess our time is officially up.

Pros Outweigh The Cons

    I’m just glad I don’t attend  Va.Tech or William & Mary. Don’t get me wrong those are great schools for learning but when it comes to tuition people you will pay. It costs $11,190 to attend Va.Tech and $11,100 to attend William & Mary. Even though I dislike the cutbacks of majors, faculty and class sections. I must point out that VCU has provided me with so many wonderful things that I refuse to leave this university. And when your parents’ tell you they’ll find a way for you to stay, then that leaves you with no choice but to stay put.


April 20, 2010

VCU’s Advisors Guide your Light

Filed under: Uncategorized — jordanma2 @ 2:55 pm


Picture is taken from the television series "Everybody Hates Chris"

Are you in need of help with selecting  your major, minor or merely just undecided? Well, VCU’s  pool of advisors can assist you with these mind boggling decisions.  Advisors are supposed to give you guidance on which classes to select, as well as which prerequisite classes you must take in order to get into your major.

Take Charge

Advisors can only do but so much to help VCU students on their guided career path. But it is really up to us students to take charge and understand our educational program and the requirements needed to stay within a curriculum.  As many of you may know, you must receive a certain GPA in order to stay within a major or move onto the next course.


Registration forms can be found in the School to which you belong.  For people like myself enrolled in the School of Mass Communications, forms such as graduation worksheets, internship deadlines, internship opportunities  and  critical examination dates can be found in the Mass Communication office in the Temple building. Also, if you don’t meet with your advisor at least once a semester the university has a right to place a hold on your account and disable you from registering for the next semester.

Find Your Advisor

Not really sure who your advisor is?  The university gives students an advisor as a freshman through the University College located in Hibbs Hall. After you have decided what major best suits you, a faculty advisor in your major department is given to you.  Once you complete 60 credits as a sophomore it is imperative that you work intensively with an advisor.


Many students in the School of Mass Communications often claim that some advisors really aren’t helpful.  I know for me I have only met with my advisor only once. And from that one meeting I realized that I would have to take initiative and plan my classes myself.  Why is this? Because of budget cuts from the university some students have to guide themselves. In other programs such as the College of Humanities, department of Psychology graduate students help advise current undergraduate students. Psychology professors rarely take on the role as academic advisor. In order to avoid planning out your collegiate career alone, make sure you know a few if not all of your  professors because they may help you more than your advisor.

Schedule an Appointment

  • Call (804) 827-UNIV or (8648)
  • Through myVCUportal and click on the tab  for Academics
  • Send an email

Invasion of Persuasion: Welcome to PR

Filed under: Uncategorized — jordanma2 @ 3:29 am


Persuasion is a tool used by many that consider themselves public relations writers. Many individuals refer to persuasion as the interwoven fabric that threads publics, brands and stakeholders together. Ultimately, persuasion helps to persuade individuals to become pro-active. Basically, asking the public to get up and do something whether it be to adopt a kitten from the SPCA of Richmond or to vote in the VCU SGA race.

Integrated Marketing

In addition, the approach of getting publics to become involved is known as the integrated marketing communication  approach. This  is strongly affected by public relations writers for two main reasons. First, it is the public relations practitioners  responisibility to get any message across to any medium. Secondly, its imperative that public relations practioners exercise not only why they need to persuade but also how to persuade the information effectively.

Persuasive writing focuses on:

  • Recipients of the message (intended vs. unintended)
  • Message construction (behavior or attitute change)
  • Source (where are publics recieving the message TV, online, newspaper etc.)

3 Basic Processes of  Persuasion

  • Learning Process (getting publics to know or do something)
  • Power Process (to get information to a specific public or publics in order to force information on them)
  • Emotional Process (evoke emotions)

Otto Lerbinger’s Design for Persuasive Communication

  • Stimulus-Response
  • Cognitive
  • Motivational
  • Social
  • Personality

Steps  in the Persusion Process

  • Presenting (present the message in the most compelling way)
  • Attending  (ensure that publics attend to the message *pay attention)
  • Comprehending (use symbols that your publics can understand)
  • Yielding (make sure that the message is communication through persuasion)
  • Retaining the new position (message must be retained long enough for the public(s) to take action)
  • Acting (incorporate all 6 steps, however the final step involves the public giving in and becoming active)

In conclusion, persuasion is needed for public relations practitioners to raise public’s awareness and requires their active participation. Persuasion is a great technique that marketers use in the forms of advertising and marketing. The act of persuading someone to do something can allow public relations practitioners the chance to alter attitudes, opinions and beliefs. A great example of persuasion can be seen with PR firm Persuasion.

December 3, 2009

Corporate Philanthropy

Filed under: Uncategorized — jordanma2 @ 12:41 am

In response to the quote from Media Ethics: Cases and Moral Reasoning I agree that organizations that donate money for various uses sometimes seek handouts in return. For instance, philanthropist Oprah Winfrey who has donated millions of dollars to several organizations was viewed as skeptical. In the summer of 2009 she assisted Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) with gaining consumers by offering the public a free meal coupon for the restaurant’s latest menu item. As a consequence many consumers later criticized her and said that she only participated in helping KFC to earn a tax deduction. Nonetheless, that is not always the case, I do believe some organizations take pride in giving donations because they envision that their input can lead to an effective end result. Lastly, although organizations are not expected to give donations I think that strategic giving proposes several advantages for internal as well as external publics of an organization.

What is corporate philanthropy?
Corporate philanthropy or corporate giving is the act of corporations donating some of their profits, or their resources, to nonprofit organizations. Corporate giving is often handled by the corporation, directly, or it may be done through a company foundation. Corporations most commonly donate cash, but they also donate the use of their facilities, property, services, or advertising support. They may also set up employee volunteer groups that then donate their time. Corporations give to all kinds of nonprofit groups, from education and the arts to human services and the environment. Overall, corporate philanthropy is synonymous with the term “strategic giving”. 

Advantages of corporate philanthropy

  • Strengthened reputation and brand recognition
  • Increased media opportunities
  • Improved community and government relations
  • Facilitation of employee recruitment and retention
  • Enhanced marketing
  • Access to research and development
  • Increased corporate profitability

Home Depot Case Study
Between 1997 and 1999 the homebuilding supplies chain Home Depot was boycotted by environmentalists. In a sense strategic giving should be regarded as ethical. The environmentalists were concerned that Home Depot was aiding in deforestation. As a result Home Depot the company stopped using products from endangered forests, and established timber agreements with countries around the world. Yes, I do believe that Home Depot’s donations of timber and lumber to Habitat for Humanity can be seen as beneficial. Not only for the organizations but for the environment. This also helps put a family or persons in a home which is always a great deed.

Corporate Logo  
Exxon Mobil is one of the world’s leading organizations in the oil and fuel industry. Exxon Mobil’s corporate logo features a tiger. The organization is known for its 1995 partnership with the Save the Tiger Fund or (STF).  The partnership involves the Exxon Mobil  Foundation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. STF gave 313 grants totaling $15.7 million between 1995 and 2007 amounting to be one quarter of all philanthropic funds spent on tiger conservation globally. This is a prime example of strategic giving and illustrates Exxon Mobil’s contribution to saving a species.

Another Example of Charitable Giving:Toms Shoes
TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what Toms Shoes is all about.

Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) is the process in which organizations improve their reputation and citizenship to its employees through acts of kinds that benefit society, strategic giving is a form of this.

November 19, 2009

The Pros and Cons of a CC License for PR Practitioners

Filed under: Uncategorized — jordanma2 @ 3:40 am


Founded in 2001, by Lawrence Lessig, Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization with a main office in San Francisco, California. With the help of the Public Domain, CC has been able to grow into a prosperous organization.  The primary mission of CC is to expand the knowledge of creative works. Basically, allowing publics access to educational, cultural and scientific works by the use of public sharing. The organization has given the public the right to get works licensed for free. I believe CC should be used however it  offers several advantages and disadvantages for public relations practitioners’ method for distribution of content.

CC Advantages:

1.CC aims to increase public awareness about various subjects. For instance, publicity allows others to take content and use it in various manners. However, attribution is required. This also helps public relations practitioners gain support from different publics.

2. CC allows for public relations practitioners to provide a communicational effort between the organization’s publics and how they go about receiving information. By living, in an “informational society” publics prefer to receive information faster rather than later.

3. CC provides organization’s with a free exposure tool. As a result, an organization can get its brand across alongside a copyright. A copy right is a form of property that gives the author of an original work ownership rights for a certain time period in regards to that work.

CC Disadvantages:

1. Attribution. Licensees may copy, distribute or perform the work however they must give the author or licensor the credits specified by the author. When public relations practitioners reuse a work they must attribute it. The format varies but must include a byline.

2. Noncommercial or NonCommerical. Under this license (nc), the condition states that licensees may copy, distribute, display and perform the work and make derivative works based on it only for noncommercial purposes. Public relations practitioners cannot seek any form of monetary gain from another author’s work.

3.  CC does NOT provide legal advice about its licenses. The organization is not permitted to share legal advice but will share legal documents if the site offers any. If a public relations practitioner has any legal concerns regarding CC, they may want to consult a volunteer lawyer.


CC is a set of copyright options that clarifies how others can use a work. It is voluntary and exists outside the US copyright law. By 2008, there was an average of 130 million CC licensed works. For instance,this year the band Nine Inch Nails released their album under CC.Lastly, CC can be beneficial and harmful for the  use of public relations practitioners distribution of content.


October 28, 2009

5 Service Tools To Use In The PR Industry

Filed under: Uncategorized — jordanma2 @ 9:10 pm


With the birth of the Internet in the 1990s technological communication has grown. Specifically, the use of the computer with the help of the Internet has driven the success of communication. Nowadays, living in the 21st century or better yet what is known as the “Digital Age” different methods of communication have developed. As for the future of technology I believe trends in technology will continue to advance. Consequently, social media will offer an advantage  for PR practitioners. For instance, PR practitioners will have an easier way to contact publics through digital devices and services. As a result, I believe that there are five services and tools PR practitioners can use to strengthen the relationships between an organization and its publics.


Electronic mail also known as email is used by many people. Electronic mail is a method of retrieving digital messages from one party to another. Primarily, email is often used in the workplace, school and for an individual’s own leisure. Google and Yahoo are two organizations that provide email services.With this service tool and individual can store and forward messages. As well as save Microsoft Word documents and send one message to several users.

Video and Audio News Release Distribution

A video news release (VNR) is a news story that looks like national or local TV news. VNRs are video versions of press releases. They help to shape public opinion and promote services, public figures, or other interests. In addition, this tool is usually paid for by a PR firm, organization, or agency. Whereas, an audio news release (ANR) is a news release that can broadcast on the Internet, radio etc. As an example, National Public Radio (NPR) has audio news releases that have been converted into podcasts.

Corporate Blogs

A corporate blog is used by most fortune 500 organizations from CEOs and others. Corporate blogs provide organizations with the opportunity to post and add comments of the organization’s latest product, service and the organization’s objectives and goals.


Just four years ago the video phenomenon YouTube was created and later bought by Google. YouTube is a video sharing website on which users can upload and share videos. Also, YouTube is beneficial for PR practitioners for product and issue placement in other videos. With this service tool, YouTube enables its users to choose from a wide variety of videos. Video content  from TV clips, video blogging onto music videos. However, government regulation is involved because copyright violations are prevalent. It is not wise to produce a video unless your organization has diverse publics.

October 21, 2009

Recognize. Respond. Re-Build.

Filed under: Uncategorized — jordanma2 @ 6:04 pm


Crisis management is the process by which an organization deals with a major unpredictable event that threatens to harm the organization, its stakeholders, or its publics. Three elements are common to most definitions of crisis (a) threat to the organization (b) the element of surprise, and (c) a short decision time. Strategic conflict management is the use of applying strategies to influence the conflicts to the benefit of the organization as well as to benefit of the organization’s many publics.

In addition, a PR practitioner can assess the potential threats and find the best solutions to avoid those threats, this is known as risk management. I am a firm believer that it is the responsibility of a PR practitioner to serve as a mediator between the organization’s external publics as well as internal publics especially during the time of a crisis. I also think that PR practitioners are problem solvers, however PR people do not solve crises. Primarily, PR people  realize that problems are routine and can be solved quickly.

Once the communications plan goings into effect the return to normal is formed. This allows the organization to start anew, while keeping problems from happening in the near future.  Possible opportunities can arise from a crisis. For instance, heroes can be born like the Pepsi Corp.  Pepsi is an corporation that  took charge of their crisis.

3 Methods to Use During a crisis:

  • He or she must recognize and analyze the issue.
  • Then respond truthfully to the issue.
  • Re-build the organization’s reputation.

A successful example of a crisis, and how the three methods above were used can be seen through the soft drink, Pepsi. In 1993, Pepsi was accused of having syringes in the cans. As a consequence, Pepsi started to recognize the issue, and by doing so Pepsi urged retailers not to take the product off the shelves while an investigation took place. Afterwards, Pepsi responded truthfully by making a video news release of how the cans were assembled in the factories. Then, another video news release was made of a public arrest, and how the individual was caught on tape for tampering with the Pepsi soft drink can. As a result, Pepsi re-built its brand because it was honest with the consumers. This example, is now seen as a beneficial crisis model for other crises.

It is not the PR practitioner’s fault if a crisis results. There are many different types of crises. Crises can result as an act of nature or merely by accident.

Types of crises:

  • Natural Disasters. Natural crises are ‘acts of God’ and can be identified as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and landslides.
  • Technological crises. Computers are a major tool used in the workplace. However, accidents such as human error can cause software failures.
  • Confrontation. Confrontation crises take place when unhappy consumers want an organization to change the values of their brand or product.

 Risk management  is used to access the threats of a crisis.  With the help a crisis management team, the CEO, lawyer, PR representative, CFO, technical experts, and support personnel a company can rise from any situation. An apology from an organization could be seen as mortification from publics and is not needed during a crisis.


September 30, 2009

Public Opinion: Theory v. Hypothesis

Filed under: Uncategorized — jordanma2 @ 4:04 am

opinion-poll-2 INTRODUCTION

What is Public Opinion?

I believe public opinion is used in making publics aware of issues by engaging their attention.  Public opinion is represented through an individual’s attitude and behavior. However, public opinion is really formed by the views of people who have taken the time to sift information, evaluate it, and form an opinion that is expressed to others. Basically, public opinion is a collection of views held by persons interested in a subject.

Mass media plays a major significance in raising various publics awareness about different subjects. For instance, with the latest cellphone, BlackBerry. BlackBerry is the world’s leading smartphone, if an article is written in the New York Times about how great the phone works and later seen on a local news station that may persuade someone who does not have a BlackBerry to purchase one.

Pros and Cons of the Agenda- Setting Hypothesis:

• The media does not tell people what to think about.

• The above statement is related to the fact that the media does not try to persuade its audiences to think one way or another, but most media outlets carry the same top stories, thus, the audience, is led to consider what is “most important”, no matter where it looks.

• The media outlets set an agenda, but also convey positive and negative attributes that are remembered for public opinion. For instance, 9/11 all mediums such as newspapers, televisions, radios all displayed this tragedy on their network. The printing press for newspapers captured images of the towers, papers were going so fast that the press had to keep the newspapers coming. As well as, posting breaking news as soon as updates with the attacks became discovered.

Pros & Cons of the Uses and Gratifications Theory:

• The uses and gratifications theory grants power to the individual audience members.

• The audience chooses which messages will be received and acted upon.

• The audience also has an influence on the media because the audience can give feedback on the major issue by way of polls and surveys.


Public opinion is a part of our daily lives’ it is seen in the morning when individuals awake until the day has been completed. As a result, in the workplace he or she will come into contact with the agenda-setting hypothesis and the uses of gratification theory. Consequently, they may not be used at the same time. However, they can moderate points of views from the targeted publics. Overall, the main difference is that the agenda-setting hypothesis allows the media to reinforce thoughts into the audience. Whereas I believe the roles are reversed in the uses of gratification theory allowing the audience to influence the media on certain subjects.

September 23, 2009

PRSA’s PR Plan for Credibility

Filed under: Uncategorized — jordanma2 @ 2:36 pm


The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) was founded in 1947. After many years PRSA has evolved as a student and professional organization. PRSA is the world’s largest organization for public relations professionals. It has more than 22,000 members, organized into more than 100 Chapters, representiing businesses and industry, technology, counseling, firms, government, associations, hospitals, schools, professional services firms and organizations. We believe that we can further expand our organization by using public relations as a method to communicate with media outlets, the local community, students, pr practitioners and other targeted groups. We have a great story to share, we simply need to be more effective telling our story in order to be more credible.

Where Are We Today?

  1. Review PR Initiative
  2. Review history, mission, state of  the PRSA organization
  3. Conduct a PR Audit
  • Interviews with PRSA internal staff
  • What are the current issues within PRSA, problems and opportunities ?
  • Define the “publics” we want to influence (media outlets, local community, students, internal staff, future PRSA members etc.)
  • Create awareness with media outlets, local community, students, internal staff,  and future PRSA members
  • What is the overall message of PRSA? Is this message ethical? Is the message being conveyed influencing PRSA members?
  • Current Goals of PRSA

Where Do We Want To Be In The Future?

A.  Explore target audience(s)  in order for our message of credibility to get established

  1. Media outlets
  2. Local community
  3. Students
  4. Internal staff
  5. Future PRSA members

What Is Our Mission?

PRSA builds the public relations profession in three components:

  1. Advancing the Profession.

Advancement in the profession is systematically providing development programs for our targeted audiences in order for them to become even more successful. We  serve our members by enhancing their knowledge of public relations and providing access to professional development. Then we help to maintain this development by serving the public relations professionals by assisting them to become more well prepared professionals in the workplace.

2. Strengthening the Society

Members of PRSA believe that strength in numbers is seen as a great thing. Within our organization are people of various backgrounds from internal to external staff at organizations. We can then come together to ensure promotions, student internships as well as other benefits the PRSA has to offer.

3.  Establishing Global Leadership

With the profession of public relations being well-known globally. It is the duty and responsibility of the PRSA organization to provide members with global partnerships. Organizations that are nationwide in the United States possibly may have satellite public relations firms elsewhere.

How Do We Achieve This?

  1. Create consumer awareness about the  PRSA organization by 30% before the upcoming year.
  2. Distribute PRSA brochures throughout the local community, universities and workplaces.
  3. Increase targeted audience(s) overall opinion of PRSA. (trust)

Our Main Goal:

PRSA is an organization that emphasisizes strong work ethic in the PR workplace. It is our goal to prepare future public relations practitioners for the real world. While engaging those in the real world to better opportunities. We are looking out for the greater good of our members.


  1. In order for awareness to increase by 30 %. PRSA will join forces with the reputable PR Week Website to host information about our organization. PR Week is highly trusted in the PR industry. This will ensure credibility for us through our relationship with PR Week.
  2. The distribution of the PRSA brochure we give insight to members as well as future members.
  3. Interviews with top PRSA staff will be displayed on the PRSA website as well as PR Week Website. This will allow for  members and other targeted publics to gain trust within our organization by providing them with a face-to face meeting.



September 6, 2009

3 Steps Towards Visibility Through PR’s Accreditation

Filed under: Uncategorized — jordanma2 @ 9:43 pm

Public Relations is defined as the values-driven management of relationships between an organization and the publics that can affect its success.

♦Professionalism, Licensing and Accreditation are three essential topics that will be discussed in this session.

Accredited In Public Relations

Some of you may ask is Public Relations truly a profession? Well,  Public Relations is a profession. However, unlike professions of being a lawyer or doctor there is a difference. According to PRSA ( The Public Relations Society of America) an individual working in Public Relations must “act like a professional”. In order to do so a PR practitioner must have:

  • A sense of independence.
  • A sense of responsibility to society and the public interest.
  • Manifest concern for the competence and honor of the profession as a whole.
  • A higher loyalty to the standards of the profession and fellow professionals than to the employer for the moment. The reference point in all public relations activity must be the standards of the profession of the client or the employer.

The licensing method is one tactic that some practitioners oppose because it only focuses on individuals who pass verbal and written examinations. The examinations, test the personal integrity that public relations professionals possess or merely do not possess. The founding father of PR; Edward L. Bernays believed that the licensing approach would serve as protection for Public Relations and the public from those who would not have the knowledge or ethics required of public relations professionals. Some advantages of licensing include (a) establishing uniform educational criteria (b) raising the overall credibility of public relations practitioners and (c) protecting qualified practitioners from unfair competition from the unethical and unqualified. However, there are also some disadvantages to the licensing method which include (a) violating the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech (b) civil and criminal laws already exist to deal with malpractice and (c) licensing is a function of state governments and public relations people often work on a national and international level. This method has gone downhill and in the public relations industry their is no sign that initiation in any form of legislated licensing will take place.

One of the largest professional organizations of public relations is the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). The accreditation program went into effect in 1965. Accreditation is a volunteer effort that some public relations practitioners decide to forego in which they become “certified’ by a national organization that they are proficient in the field of Public Relations. Before the reconstruction of the program in 2003 it was not mandatory that a portfolio of work be submitted. After mastering the tests an individual will earn “APR” (Accredited in Public Relations).

3 steps Towards Visibility Through PR’s Accreditation include (1) making it mandatory for PR professionals to be members in PRSA or other PR organizations (2) ask professionals to recite ethical codes of conduct (3) must be willing to advance in PR.

Primarily if all PR practitioners become members of PRSA, IABC (International Association of Business Communicators), IPRA (International Public Relations Association), it will allow for business leaders to acknowledge that PR practitioners are serious about their field. Secondly, if PR practitioners know and thoroughly can recite ethical codes of conduct to future employers that can serve as way to keep trust between the employer and the employee. Because the practitioner can justly identify between what is fair and unfair. Lastly, PR practitioners must be willing to advance in PR. For instance, as mentioned by the PR FAQ’s advancement should take place through the profession and by the professional. This fundamental note is the core foundation for professionals changing the profession and working their way up through a “leading voice into becoming the leader.”

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