My Million-Dollar Letters

Every week, it seems, I get posts from COM PR alums. I’m asked to meet them for career advice or just to catch up (“been so long!”). They ask for endorsements, letters of recommendation for grad school, and whether it’d be OK with me if they used my name as a reference for a job interview. Understandably nervous, they ask for advice on how to handle a job interview. Or if I have a contact with whom they can network or pitch. Sometimes they just want to reach out and say ‘thank you’ for something they learned in my class. 

When I was hired to teach PR 30 years ago at Emerson College, the professor who recruited me apologized for offering me a salary less than half of what I’d been making at a PR firm. He’d done well enough, himself, he told me, supplementing his own salary with lots of consulting assignments. Then he pulled open his desk drawer, which was brimming with letters — some open, some in their envelopes.  

"These are my million-dollar letters," he said. 

He read a couple of those letters to me. Letters from his former students and others he had mentored. They were the letters of successful and happy men and women. Letters that were like songs of gratitude. Letters that attested to his influence in helping to shape the ideas and ideals of all these men and women.  

Ten years later, I was being interviewed in a dean’s office for a teaching position at Salem State. The gentleman seemed impressed with my background in public relations. “So how’s your teaching?” he asked, at last.

I came prepared. I had a looseleaf notebook. It was filled with my own million-dollar letters. I rose from my chair and handed the notebook to the dean. 

He opened it and smiled. He began reading the letters. Then he said, “It looks like you’re hired,” he said.

That was 20 years ago. Factoring inflation, I figure those million-dollar letters are probably worth even more today.

At least, they are to me.

Written by Dr. Robert Brown

Communications Professor Helps Young Girls of the Nation

Photo source: anitafinlay.com 

Rebecca Hains is an expert in her field. She is the author of Growing Up With Girl Power: Girlhood on Screen and in Everyday Life. She has often spoken on radio and television about the gender bias in marketing to children. She is a frequent guest blogger for The Christian Science Monitor. And most importantly, she’s one of the most influential professors at our very own Salem State University.

More recently, Hains has caught the attention of Brenda Chapman, Oscar-winning director of Brave, who has since decided to partner with a new organization Hains is involved in called the Brave Girls Alliance. This group of artists, educators, and activists has come together to help change the image of females across all media. It’s an amazing project that has gained recognition rapidly, mostly through their billboard in Times Square this past year that urged toy creators to give female characters a less sexualized image.

It’s refreshing to see a professor feel so passionately about her beliefs outside of the classroom. Keep up the great work!

Written by COM351 student: Jaycce Diaz

Salem State University Purchases and Reopens Historic Diner

Photo source: The Boston Globe

The Salem Diner is open for business! The historic restaurant is now under Salem State University’s ownership and is being operated by Chartwells, the school’s primary food vendor. The diner was purchased by the rapidly growing university in the summer of 2013 and reopened just in time for the Spring 2014 semester. To give the classic style diner an updated look, the walls were painted and each of the 47 seats were reupholstered.

Guests who have eaten there since the reopening say the food and the atmosphere have the same great feel as it did before it closed. The only complaint was the absence of a popular favorite: french fries. This is only temporary, until a fry-o-lator is brought in. In the mean time, there are plenty of other options, including breakfast items that are served all day long.

Hours of operation will be 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. The diner will also reopen daily from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Written by COM351 student: Samantha Washer

Student Theatre Ensemble Makes a Killing

For communications students also interested in theater at Salem State University, there is one student group whose dedication, enthusiasm, and professionalism shows that a student group can be so much more than something to throw on your resume. The group recently travelled together to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival where they did a brilliant job of presenting the group as young professionals. The group spent the week supporting the fellow theatre department members, helping out with the production the group brought, and creating connections with other schools in our area.

The group has their own publicist who posted on their social media outlets throughout the whole day keeping everyone at Salem State and in the community updated on everything happening at the festival. She did an impressive job of updating the pages throughout the day with updates, photos of what the group was doing, and videos. She showed attention to detail that would be necessary to bring to any job in the work force. The duties of the group’s publicist is a great simulation of what you would be expected to do when you are getting paid for PR work.

The Student Theatre Ensemble shows dedication and care to their work. The past two student directors went to the festival to compete for directing. One of the students won the whole competition and the other received honorable mention. This group shows the professionalism and quality of work necessary for entering the work force after college. Kudos to the Student Theatre Ensemble for all their hard work and passion! 

Written by COM351 student: Hannah Wagner

SSU Campus Construction Underway

Salem State University began Phase III of the residence hall construction February 24. There is currently no parking in the lot between the Classroom Building and the Enterprise Center on Central Campus. Beginning February 24, the entrance to Central Campus between the University Police Station and the Classroom Building will be closed for 3-5 weeks to all traffic. Traffic will enter Central Campus from the south entrance. A police detail will be assigned to manage traffic entering and exiting campus during this time.

Assigned parking for commuter students and faculty is in the process of being relocated. A portion of the parking lot in the O’Keefe Center has been dedicated to the creation of 81 faculty/staff spaces. Fifty-nine spots have also been created for commuter students on North Campus now that the old library has been deconstructed. The two Zip car spaces on Central Campus will also be moved to 57 Loring Ave. Several spaces for accessibility purposes (handicap parking) will be created near the classroom building.

In addition to the new housing facility for students, campus police has been relocated. University Police has moved into their new space, which can be accessed on the side of the Classroom Building on Central Campus, facing Marsh Hall.

Turner Construction Company will oversee the construction of the new residence hall on Central Campus. The new residence Hall is scheduled to open in 2015. For more information, please visit Salem State’s construction blog at campusconstruction.salemstate.edu

Written by Com351 student: Michael Tavares

SSU PRSSA Breaks the Myth of Agencies

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Interested in connecting with public relations and communication professionals, and seize internships and jobs opportunities? Join Salem State University’s chapter of PRSSA, the Public Relations Student Society of America, in its tours of communication agencies in Boston and New York City in February, March and April 2014.

The first agency visited was Mullen, a marketing firm located in Boston that works with clients worldwide. The trip to Boston was taken on Monday Feb. 24.

The second agency to be visited is Allison+Partners, a leading public relations firm located in the nation’s biggest cities. The students will visit the firm’s New York City chapter. The trip to New York will be taken on Wednesday, March 12 at 7 a.m. During the same trip, another agency tour is planned. Waiting for confirmation, SSU PRSSA has not released the agency’s name yet.

The third and last trip of this semester will be taken again to Boston on Monday, April 7. This time, visitors will have the privilege to witness the integration of public relations, social media and search marketing at 451 Marketing Agency.

The SSU PRSSA chapter is organizing these tours in its effort to help members and communication students connect with professionals in the field, and break the myth of agencies that frightens most of the newly graduated students. These tours provide networking possibilities for students to learn about internship and job opportunities.

The Public Relations Student Society of America is the nation’s leading organization for students interested in public relations and communication. The SSU’s chapter goal is to prepare its members for their professional careers through workshops, speakers’ sessions, conferences and networking opportunities.

For more information and to sign up for a trip, please contact the Chapter’s board at ssuprssa.org

Written by COM351 student: Rosie Lebela

Salem State University PRSSA Students Attend Regional Conference

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The Public Relations Student Society of America hosted a regional conference at Boston University on Saturday, Feb. 15, named PR Advanced, Fuel The Future. Students from PRSSA chapters all over the east coast attended the conference, including the chapter at Salem State University.

Various keynote speakers were featured throughout the day including C.C. Chapman, John Edelman, Aedhmar Hynes, and many more successful businessmen and women. Students were given the opportunity to attend six different breakout sessions, including activities such as Google Glass, Startups and YouTube, presented by Pixability, a YouTube marketing software company. Other speakers talked about topics regarding content creation, crisis communication, political communication, non-profit organizations, and sports marketing.

Students experienced a speed networking session with businessmen and women from successful agencies throughout Boston. This gave students a chance to interact in the business world and practice their “elevator pitch,” a short summary of who they are and what they plan on doing with their degrees upon graduation. Sessions like speed networking helped to better prepare the students for internships and interviews.

Speaker Aedhmar Hynes hosted an activity in which students broke up into several groups and competed against each other in an ad campaign challenge. The winning teams received a book, Amazing Things Will Happen, written by keynote speaker C.C. Chapman. Students also had the opportunity to talk with representatives from nearly 15 different agencies and learn about internship and job opportunities at the PRSSA career fair. 

The Public Relations Student Society of America was founded in 1967 to help students seeking a position in the field of public relations. Colleges are able to host their own chapter and hold different programs including resume, social media, and interview workshops. PRSSA strongly encourages all students considering a career in public relations to join.

For more information on the Salem State University chapter of PRSSA, please visit them on the web at ssuprssa.org.

Written by COM351 student: Brooke Drost

LinkedIn Workshop to be Held at Salem State University

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Salem State University will host “The Power of Being LinkedIn” on February 27, 2014.

“The Power of Being LinkedIn” is a free workshop designed for Salem State’s alumni and seniors. The workshop will provide professional instructions on how to use LinkedIn for networking and job and internship searches. The participants will obtain new knowledge about LinkedIn usage strategies directly from the employers leading the event. In the course of the three-hour workshop, students and alumni will be guided through LinkedIn with specifics addressed in detail.

To register for the event and learn more about it, visit www.salemstate.edu/26734.php.

Written by COM 351 student: Volha Alizarovich

Rob Brown in the Salem News

Students, alums, friends…join us on October 15th!

Students, alums, friends…join us on October 15th!