Category Archives: Blog
Suffering from writer’s block, while maintaining a blog for a class, is a bad thing for a PR student. Sadly, this happened to me last week. I stared at the screen for a half hour and had nothing. Zilch, nada, not one thing to say about PR or blogging. You can see on from this post, I eventually overcame my writer’s block and assembled my required posts on schedule. I can tell you though, at the time, I felt like I was trying to dig my way to China with my bare hands.
To avoid this in future, I decided I would write this post for those suffering from writer’s block and as a reminder to myself.
1. Don’t Stare at the Screen.
I’m horribly guilty of this. My mindset becomes, “I’m writing this post even it takes me all night!” Unfortunately, this is not a healthy mindset to take before trying to write an essay or blog post. I realize we all have deadlines, but I feel the most important thing to do when faced with this dilemma, is to walk away from the screen. I’m not recommending that you give up responsibility of writing the paper or post, but rather to take at least ten minutes to clear your head.
2. Free Write
I know this is lame, but I picked up this hint from the film “Finding Forrester”. When I feel stuck, I just start writing whatever is in my head. Even if it comes out gibberish, I at least know that it possible for me to still write. Doing this, typically, helps to clear my head of whatever I’m thinking about. I also see it as a means of stretching my mind for the process of writing.
3. Write in something else besides your laptop.
Writing an entire draft of work on paper has become something of a lost art to me. I don’t like it because I can’t immediately go back or erase what I’ve written. I’ve noticed though, by writing on paper or in a different location, it’s easier to get the words out . The writing may not be organized or neat, but it gives me something. I imagine this is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy.
I don’t mean for these tips to be an end all to your writer’s block problems. As with everything, the important step is finding what works best for you and moving forward.
I’m often asked by friends who have a different major, “What is public relations?” Usually the film,”Thank You for Smoking” (which I love by the way) pops into their head before I can give a proper explanation. Then, the conversation diverts to something about me being a spin doctor in training, and I wake up several hours later covered in nicotine patches with the song “Two Princes” playing in the background. My definition of public relations changes depending on the capacity an individual serves in, but I typically define it as managing relationships between an organization and its public’s.
An agreed upon definition of public relations is often hard to find, but most have common themes. Rex Harlow, a public relations pioneer, researched 472 different definitions of public relations before he decided on his own definition. I believe Harlow’s definition encompasses many of the facets, which make up public relations. Harlow defined public relations as a management function that “helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance, and cooperation between an organization and its public’s”.
We need to change the general consensus of what public relations is in the public’s eye, or get some better representations in film. I researched to see how movies have presented the PR industry and the results were interesting. I can’t say the profession is generally viewed in a positive light, as far as Hollywood is concerned. The closest I came to a positive representation of public relations was “Jerry Maguire” and possibly, “Hancock”. Then we have our other films, such as “Wag the Dog” and “Network”, which don’t necessarily paint the prettiest picture of what the public relations profession can be.
The picture I think people need to put in their heads for this profession, is most of us are not the bad people represented in the media. Most PR professionals are normal, stressed, employees. Public relations practitioners are trying to represent themselves or an organization as accurately as possible to the public. Moral of the story: don’t let a few bad PR media representations make you distrust an entire profession.
I wasn’t sure where to start on our required blog post for this week to take pictures of a subject. As I was driving home from class and thinking about the post, I decided to stop and explore downtown Ozark. I’ve been living in Ozark for the past year and hadn’t really taken the time to see what the town had to offer. I parked in the square and started walking around, looking at the different buildings. I soon realized that downtown Ozark is quite small. I enjoyed that aspect, as it was easy to walk around the entirety of downtown snapping pictures. As I was exploring, I noticed a strange monument by the town center. According to this article, a group of vigilantes, known as the Bald Knobbers, were hanged in the square after three of their group assaulted and killed two men in the region.I didn’t realize until writing this that the Bald Knobbers are featured on the Silver Dollar City Ride, Fire in the Hole.
A building I wish I could have explored more was the Ozark Mill. I’ve seen many people having their senior photos taken by it, but I’ve never stopped to take a look. The building resides beside the Finley river and has an interesting layout. I would’ve taken more pictures, but many of the sections were blocked off by no trespassing signs. I considered ignoring them, but barb wire convinced me otherwise. I peeked in through windows and there was construction equipment inside. I wonder if someone is planning to renovate the building.
My favorite picture is of the orange Volkswagen. When I look at it, I get this Fall feeling inside. I also like the pictures of the building with the flower garden, but I can’t seem to remember what the building was for. I’m a sucker for old mills and exploring abandoned buildings.
After the presentation in my social media class on podcasts, I decided to download the program Audacity to see if I could teach myself a few things with the audio editing program. I’ve used the video-editing program, Final Cut Pro, in the past, so I assumed the learning curve for using an audio-editing program wouldn’t be too dreadfully steep.
The installation process is easy, along with knowing how to access the different areas of the program. I read through the FAQ on the Audacity website to get a grasp on what exactly the entire system is. At first glance, the system reminds me of the other freeware program Gimp. Gimp is a photo-editing tool, similar to Photoshop, that is unique for offering an intricate program that rivals high dollar photo programs. Audacity strikes me as having that same high quality at no cost.
A simple Google search for Audacity tutorials provided me with a great how-to video on Audacity for recording podcasts. My MacBook has also made a recording setup easy, as it already features a built-in microphone. Here is an example of what the main screen looks like after I uploaded an MP3 file from my iTunes.
After fiddling around for an hour or so, I found the system easy to use. I can’t do any complex tasks yet, but tasks, such as cutting audio files and restructuring, are simple to learn. Using Audacity is much easier to learn than using Final Cut Pro, simply because I don’t have to make sure the audio syncs with any other data information. I would include an example of my audio work, but I don’t think my skills are good enough yet for it to be worth anyone’s time to listen. For anyone looking for more information on the tutorial, I would examine this website and download the Audacity program. I highly recommend at least giving the program a try. It costs nothing, is easy to learn and you will learn a beneficial skill to add to your public relations toolbox.