Flash Communications

Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University

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Entitled to a Little Bragging: Showcasing Student Work

OK, I’ll admit it. This blogging thing is hard to keep up. I thought I’d be able to crank out at least one post a week, but with everything else on my plate, this is the task that falls to the bottom of the priority list. From this point forward, I hope to do a better job sharing news and updates about my students’ experience at Flash Communications, our student-PR agency housed in University Communications and Marketing. More importantly, I hope you’ll chime in and let me know what you think of the projects the students are working on and if you feel their work at Flash is preparing them as future public relations pros.

Flash Communications fall 2009 staff end-of-semester party.
Flash Communications celebrates the end of the fall 2009 semester. Good luck to Anna, Abbey, Amanda and Judd, who graduated in December, and to Shantae and Mary Jo, who are pursuing other opportunities. We’ll miss you.

Before we embark on a new semester (THIS WEEK!) with new students and new projects, I’d like to take a few minutes to reflect on agency work from fall 2009, which I still can’t believe has come and gone. Students wrote and produced stories and multimedia pieces for e-Inside, the faculty and staff e-newsletter; e-Flash, the Alumni Association’s e-newsletter; Profiles of Excellence in Action, a monthly e-newsletter distributed to university friends and stakeholders; and the Kent State University Web site.

Writing Samples
Here is a sampling of student stories, primarily from the faculty and staff e-newsletter:

Teamwork and Design
But their experience goes beyond writing stories. Students manage internal and external communications for the Wick Poetry Center, the College of the Arts, the Kent State University Museum, and the Department of Human Resources. The also have a chance to collaborate with professional photographers, videographers, designers and editors on university projects.

One of my students was able to work with UCM designers, ensuring she followed university design standards, etc., as she created a mock-up of a centennial squirrel calendar for the university’s 100-year anniversary. The project didn’t pan out due to funding, but she was able to exercise her creativity and professionalism and produce a nice deliverable for her portfolio.

Multimedia Samples
Students work with photographers to produce multimedia slideshows using SoundSlides and Audacity. Here is a sampling of some of the fall 2009 student-coordinated/produced multimedia pieces:

Special Event Presentation
One final project worth mentioning: My assistant, Anna Riggenbach, worked with the public relations coordinator in Human Resources, the library archives and the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program at Kent State to prepare a Powerpoint presentation and narrative for the University’s Veterans Day program – a pretty high profile event! She was even recognized during the program for her work on the presentation.

As you can see, it was a productive semester, and this is only a sampling of the work produced by the student public relations agency. So, are you as impressed as I am? Are we building skills and providing them with the experience they need to be successful in the workplace? I think so.

I’m looking forward to spring 2010!