One of my greatest pleasures as a teacher is seeing my former students as public relations professionals. During a recent visit to CooperKatz & Company I had the chance to watch Annik Spencer and Gabriella Miranda, not only in their work environment, but leading a tour and an insightful presentation for a group of current PR students. I was very proud and impressed.
The students went to midtown Manhattan for another agency tour arranged by Hofstra’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). CooperKatz is a mid-sized firm founded in 1996, and has an impressive list of clients from Amway to Zipcar and other name brands including Volvo, TD Bank and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. They’re an award-winning agency with expertise in public relations, creative services and digital media.
CooperKatz is a thoroughly modern agency and yet Annik and Gabriella started their talk by asking the group to name the top five newspapers in the United States. They also challenged them to name two major news stories of the day and to describe the difference between an op-ed and byline. Our students answered the questions well.
But why were they quizzed about traditional print media in our age of Twitter and YouTube? Annik and Gabriella were making the point that a basic job requirement of a good PR person is a fundamental understanding of media, and print media remains the foundation of all that has followed. The two Hofstra graduates also emphasized the need for intellectual curiosity, cultural awareness and the willingness to freely express “out-of-the-box” ideas.
I’m so proud of Annik and Gabrielle, and our future PR professionals. I recall that in January, Annik posted to CooperKatz’s blog, “How I Landed My Dream Job Before I Graduated College.” Her major points, which she repeated during the visit, were: 1) Be clear about what you want; 2) Arrange informational interviews; 3) Do your homework; 4) Prepare your resume and portfolio; 5) Network with everyone; 6) Don’t be afraid to promote yourself. I’d add at least one more: Read a newspaper daily and become closer to the world around you. Your thoughts?