Monthly Archives: September 2013

Light the Night: A Walk to End Blood Cancer

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If you’re new to New York and what the city that never sleeps has to offer, you may not have heard about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s “Light the Night” walk this weekend at the Midland Beach Promenade on Staten Island.

Each year, participants walk the boardwalk after sunset carrying red, white and gold illuminated balloons – red for patients currently battling blood cancer, white for survivors and gold for those who’ve lost the fight. Last Saturday, about 2,500 people gathered to honor loved ones who have suffered or are suffering from blood cancer. It really is a great excuse to go out on the weekend. There’s always live entertainment from local bands, DJs, dance groups and school cheerleaders as well as dinner and snacks. Not only was it a beautiful night to walk along the boardwalk admiring the balloons lighting up the night sky, it was also reason to do good for the community.

They also hold a touching ceremony in remembrance of those who passed. Although I’ve been participating for a long time, this was the first year I went to the ceremony. They recited a poem titled, “Remember Me,” followed by a moment of silence. Then we took turns signing a banner for our loved ones.

For the past six years, I have led Team Knighttour in honor of my friend who lost his life to leukemia at the age of 15. Having started this team in high school, I have always found fundraising to be very difficult. The more people I got involved, and the more I shared our story and homepage on Facebook and Twitter, the more money my team raised. Makes sense, right? Normally this would be the case. But this year I was very surprised with the overwhelming support my team received. With only a day left, we not only broke our team goal of $300, but raised $510.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society set a goal of raising $275,000 by December 15 on Staten Island, and has currently reached $200,000. Knighttour continues to receive donations from people and have made $550. Team Knighttour now ranks 68 out of 221 on the Team Leader Board for Staten Island. If you’d like to learn more about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, visit www.lightthenight.org/nyc. For Team Knighttour, visit http://pages.lightthenight.org/nyc/StatenIs13/knighttour.

Public Relations: A Misunderstood Profession

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The results of a poll conducted by LinkedIn show that PR  is ranked No. 7 out of 10 jobs on the list of most confusing professions. Social media manager ranked No. 3. The professional networking site surveyed about 8,000 parents worldwide. Nearly 42% of these people who have children working in PR management said they could not describe what it is their son or daughter does for a living; for kids in social media management jobs, about 59%. To read the full article, click here.

While it may not come as a shock to some, it opened my eyes to how misunderstood our profession really is, part of the reason being that people simply don’t know what it is we do or understand the value. LinkedIn suggested a solution to this problem: make November 7 “Bring Your Parents to Work Day.” As clever as a reversal of “Bring Your Kids to Work Day” sounds, I feel like there should be a better way to raise awareness (PR professionals of the world, UNITE!). All kidding aside – maybe we should start by explaining what public relations is. Often times PR is broken down to handling the media and gaining publicity for a client to make them look good. It’s so much more than that. It’s a craft.

PRSA describes public relations as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and their publics.” For more information on the PRSA and its definition of PR, click here. PR is all about an exchange of information. It’s about engaging and keeping an open dialogue with a client or company’s stakeholders (employees, customers, the media, investors, activists, etc). This builds trust and credibility which raises the client’s reputation. As students, we learn that reputation is key. A damaged reputation is very hard to fix once that trust is broken. That’s why to be a successful PR person, it’s important to have a code of ethics to set boundaries and protect reputation. It’s also good to be adaptable, trustworthy and be able to write.

Ethical or Not? A Red Lobster Waitress Gets Suspended After Posting Photo of Receipt with Racial Slur

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Trying to decide the topic for my first blog post this week was a little challenging. As I searched for inspiration, my mind couldn’t help but wander to an article I read this weekend on PR Daily. It is a topic I plan on discussing in my Ethics class this week.

A Red Lobster in Franklin, Tenn. suspended a server for posting a photo of a customer’s receipt with a racial slur on Facebook this week. According to the article, the customer wrote “none” on the receipt’s line for tip and the n-word on the line for total. The waitress, who is black, showed a picture of the receipt to her father, who later posted it to Facebook. In the original image, the customer’s name is easy to make out. The waitress was suspended without pay. A Red Lobster spokesman said the suspension was “standard procedure” for employees who break company policy by doing things like posting pictures of customers’ receipts on social media networks. He also said the customer’s use of a racial slur was “completely disgusting,“ that it has no place in the restaurant or anywhere else and they plan to get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible.

What we don’t know is how long she was suspended for or if her suspension was really much of a suspension at all. In the article, the spokesman states that her suspension hasn’t actually caused her to miss any days of work and she’s scheduled to work a normal schedule next week. The only way I could see her not actually missing any days of work is if she was only suspended on the days she has off.

Should the company have suspended the waitress for violating company policy? Or should she have be given a less harsh punishment? The server could have argued that she didn’t know the company policy, though I don’t think that would have made much of a difference. While I feel sorry she was subject to such ignorance, the bottom line is she violated Red Lobster’s policy and her/her father’s actions could potentially put the company at risk of being sued by the customer.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments! To read the full story, visit PR Daily.