The warm weather is here already, and March brings some exciting opportunities for our members with two events to enhance our role in public relations.
First, our meeting on Wednesday, March 15 will cover a growing issue facing public relations practitioners and our audiences: fake news. According to the Pew Research Center, “Facebook has 1.8 billion users, and 44 percent of Americans get their news from the site.”
Don Smith of the West Virginia Press Association will join us to discuss the growth of fake news and how as public relations professionals we can help combat it for our clients, corporations or non-profit organization.
Then, mark your calendars for Friday, March 24 and the Professional Development Seminar “Storytelling in a Digital Age” with the West Virginia University Reed College of Media at the new Innovation Center in Morgantown. Featured speakers include communicators from the Huffington Post, FleishmanHillard and more.
We will join with PRSA-Pittsburgh to get a unique experience in story identification for traditional and immersive storytelling, engaging audiences in the digital environments and more!
Hurry! Space for this event is limited and there is an early bird rate of $30 if you register before March 3.
Again, our annual Crystal Awards Gala is on Wednesday June, 14th at the Culture Center in Charleston. The Crystal Awards has grown to be one of the most competitive public relations awards in the nation.
Thank you, and I look forward to seeing everyone at one, or both of these events.
Member: Jim Owston
Company: Alderson Broaddus University
Title: Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences & Associate Professor of Mass Communication
Joined PRSA: 2016
What has been your most memorable PR campaign you lead, created, assisted with?
— I did a massive promotion for a Foreigner/Guifferia concert in Charleston for WOAY-FM (Y94) during spring 1985. We called the promotion – the Y94eigner Great Giveaway. The promotion lasted two weeks. For each hour of the day, for 14 days, we gave away a concert related prize. I believe we gave away 80 pairs of concert tickets, albums, t-shirts, band ephemera, and 30 seats on our concert bus from Beckley to Charleston that included transportation, tickets, and a meal for each person. In addition, Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones came onto the bus before we headed back to Beckley. In addition, two grand prize winners were treated to an all-expenses paid trip to see Foreigner in Rochester, NY. Rochester is lead singer Lou Gramm’s home town and the band celebrated his 35th birthday at that show in his hometown. This package included concert tickets, flight, hotel accommodations, limo service to and from the airport and the show, and cash for meals. We covered all costs by working with ENTAM, Tri State Productions, Atlantic Records, MCA Records, the bands’ management companies, Chick-Fil-A, Piedmont Airlines, and the hotel and limo service in Rochester. Best of all, it cost the station $0.00 for the 433 prizes we gave away.
What would be your dream job?
— I’m in it.
What advice would you give your younger professional self?
— Look for ways to cross promote everything. You get more bang for your buck.
What do you do for fun, outside of PRSA?
— I am a genetic genealogist.
First, I want to thank everyone who came to our January meeting at West Virginia State University, and especially those PRSA-WV Chapter members who were able to stay afterward and meet with students of the WVSU Public Relations Student Society of America. We have already received thanks and gratitude from those students for taking the time to speak to them about their resumes and careers in public relations.
Looking ahead, we have some incredible programming coming up for our membership, including an event in March that is a unique and exciting opportunity, and will replace the traditional April Professional Development seminar.
Our regular meeting on Wednesday, March 15th, will examine how public relations can help battle the spread of “fake news” with Don Smith, executive director of the West Virginia Press Association.
But first, Charleston Restaurant Week (CRW) emerged shortly after the drinking water for more than 300,000 people was contaminated by a chemical leak to get people dining out again at those restaurants that had to shut down for the duration of the crisis.
Join us on February 15th at the Clubhouse Room at Appalachian Power Park as we meet with Dickinson Gould, president of Buzz Food Service and a key organizer for CRW, on how public relations has grown this event to have an estimated million-dollar impact on the region.
Our annual Crystal Awards Gala is on Wednesday June, 14th at the Culture Center in Charleston. The Crystal Awards has grown to be one of the most competitive public relations awards in the nation and the call for entries will be coming out soon.
Keep an eye on our social media and website for more information on all of these events coming up, and for news about our members and chapter.
Thank you for your time and membership with PRSA-WV.