President’s Column | May 2017

April has been Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) Month, and I want to recognize and say thank you to our chapter members who have achieved APR status, as well as those who are pursuing their APR. The APR will help you distinguish yourself from your peers and enhance the level of professionalism we offer our clients and companies. You can begin your APR journey on our website and connect with members on their journey and experiences in the APR process at our chapter meetings.

We are now a little less than two months away from the annual Crystal Awards Gala recognizing the incredible work being done by public relations professionals, educators and students across West Virginia. Each year at the Crystal Awards, we recognize individuals who have contributed to the public relations profession in significant ways.

Those awards, Young Professional of the Year, Student Chapter of the Year, Educator of the Year, The John Womack Chapter Service Award and Practitioner of the Year all represent the best of what we do daily.

Along with your own Crystal Award entries, I encourage everyone to nominate our peers for one of these prestigious awards.

The Crystal Awards Gala is Wednesday June, 14th at the Culture Center in Charleston, and we are working on a special event the day after the awards ceremony for our PRSSA student chapters. Stay tuned for more information!

President’s Corner | April 2017

First, I want to thank our PRSA Chapter members for coming out to support the annual Fox Trot for Parkinson’s Research which raised more than $50,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. This outstanding event has grown each year and that is due to fellow PRSA-WV member George Manahan and his team, and their outstanding commitment to supporting Parkinson’s research.

If you missed our special Professional Development, “Storytelling in a Digital Age” in Morgantown, there was an incredible overview of the new tools we as public relations professionals can use moving forward. It was a great pleasure meeting with PRSA-WV Chapter members from northern West Virginia, PRSA-Pittsburgh members and the team at the West Virginia University Reed College of Media.

Ben Roffee, Digital Director at Huffington Post’s RYOT, spoke about engaging with audiences through immersive storytelling and connecting with audiences through experiences. Even with new technologies, from virtual and augmented reality to 360-degree immersive video, speakers still emphasized that great stories matter. Join us April 19th as our monthly meeting focuses on Governor Jim Justice’s first Legislative session. Derek Scarbro, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Justice administration, will share his experiences from the campaign trail to the Capitol during the first 100 days.

Our annual Crystal Awards Gala is quickly approaching. The call for entries is now available on our website. We are using a new system that will enhance and make the Crystal Award entry process more user friendly.  The regular deadline is April 14.

The Crystal Awards Gala is on Wednesday June, 14th at the Culture Center in Charleston.

Chapter & Verse | March 2017

President’s Corner – March 2017

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.

PRSA-WV Member Spotlight- February 2017

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.

President’s Corner – February 2017

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.

PRSA-WV Member Spotlight- January 2017

Member: Tara Curtis
Company: WVU School of Nursing
Title: Director of Communications & Marketing
Joined PRSA: 2015

What has been your most memorable PR campaign you led, created, assisted with?
— When I worked in the energy sector, I started working more and more on crisis communications, including preparing for the “dreaded” Y2K. There was so much fear regarding what would happen. Even though we working on a crisis plan, it felt much more like an actual crisis. The amount of detail and work that goes into to developing this plan, particularly when the news was reporting large power outages to occur, was overwhelming. It was an extremely valuable learning experience in how to put a crisis plan together.

What would be your dream job?
— My dream job would be to oversee communications/public relations for a children’s hospital or an NFL football team.

What advice would you give your younger professional self?
— Don’t wake up saying “what if?” Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you fail. It’s better to take a chance then wake up one day questioning yourself. Those successes and failures will make you better at what you do.

What do you do for fun, outside of PRSA?
— I’m an avid college sports fan and love my Mountaineers! Traveling is also a passion for me, and I enjoy getting to out around the state and beyond for skiing, hiking, biking and kayaking/whitewater rafting. Photography is a fun hobby for me, and hope to continue to hone my skills.

PRSA-WV Member Spotlight- December 2016

Member: Emily Myers Duke
Company: Moroch
Title: Communications Manager, East Division
Joined PRSA: 2008

What has been your most memorable PR campaign you lead, created, assisted with?
–My client is McDonald’s, so every campaign is new, exciting and different! One of my favorites was a social media campaign to launch the new Egg White Delight McMuffin. We created a scavenger hunt throughout the market and took photos of the Egg White Delight McMuffin in iconic locations. I also enjoy working with Ronald McDonald House Charities as a result of my affiliation with McDonald’s, and the capital campaign to raise funds for our new House in Charleston has been exciting and challenging.

Who would be one of your dream clients?
–Fashion and lifestyle brand Lilly Pulitzer

What advice would you give your younger professional self?
–Networking and volunteering are key to making great contacts throughout your career, but especially when getting started. I have made some great friends, met future colleagues and even my husband through volunteering in community organizations that are near and dear to my heart. Keeping those relationships up and on a positive note are important to keeping your career moving forward. Relationships are the key to success in PR – whether those are with your coworkers, media partners or clients – and often help you win and keep business.

What do you do for fun, outside of PRSA?
–My husband I love to travel and explore new places and restaurants, both in and outside of West Virginia. We love kayaking in warm weather and Mountaineer football in the fall! I love to cook and recreate recipes that we’ve had on our travels, especially when they involve ingredients from our home garden. I also love flower gardening and hope to have time to become a master gardener someday!

President’s Corner – January 2017

As the new President of the PRSA – West Virginia Chapter, I’m inviting all public relations practitioners, communicators and educators to join us for an exciting year of programming, professional development, networking and other great events designed to engage our membership.

One new way we will engage our membership will be through our new chapter website. The newly designed site will make it much easier for us to share chapter events, news about our members, upcoming PRSA webinars and much more.

We will explore ways to incorporate technology to provide more access and sharing to chapter events, networking opportunities, mentoring and connecting with the next generation of our profession, our student chapters.

Our January meeting will feature a new face to the West Virginia landscape, as we will be on the campus of West Virginia State University to meet with public relations students and welcome WVSU’s 11th President, Dr. Anthony Jenkins.

Our Professional Development seminars in April and October will be hosted in the Northern part of the state to reach PR professionals who may not always make it to Charleston.

Our annual Crystal Awards Gala is on Wednesday June 28th, at the Culture Center in Charleston. The Crystal Awards has grown to be one of the most competitive public relations awards programs in the nation and the call for entries will be coming soon.

Whether you are a new public relations practitioner or a veteran of the communications world, whether your membership is currently active or has lapsed due to time constraints, I’m inviting you to take the time to join us for what will be an incredible year for our chapter.