Near Record-Low Confidence in U.S. Public Schools

To comment:


As reported last week, according to the most recent Gallup Poll on the topic, Americans continue to express near record-low confidence in U.S.
public schools — holding in the range seen throughout the past few years of tumult for the U.S. economy and state budgets. The 34 percent who say they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in public schools is unchanged from last year and statistically similar to what Gallup
has found since 2005.

For the full  report,

Check out the protocol. It makes use of cell phone technology in its audience selection. Let me know your thoughts…


Internship Follow Up

“Ragan’s PR Daily” has pubished Jeremy Porter’s “9 things to do at the end of your internship.” This is a MUST read for all of MY students and others serving (present and past) internships. To comment: [See next week’s blog on the latest Gallup Poll on public school confidence. The results are not good.]







Did you do an internship this summer? If
so, congrats, you’re a smart cookie.

Internships are 100 percent the No. 1 thing you’ll need on your resume to get
that first job after college. The No. 2 thing you’ll need is proof you can
write. Guess where you get that writing experience? Yep—internships.

To round out the list—and some will disagree with me on this—the No. 3 thing
you need to land a job after college is connections. Again, if you play your
cards right, you get some through internships.

If you did just put your internship to bed, or you’re about to, there are a few
things I’d like you to do on your way out the door:

1. Say thank you.

Personally thank everyone you’ve worked with this summer. A handwritten note is
my preference, but a sincere, verbal “thanks for the experience” is the minimum
requirement. Provide specifics and leave the door open for future contact. For
example: “I really wanted to thank you for the time you spent with me this
summer. I know my knowledge on X, or what you taught me about Y will be useful
in my career. I look forward to staying in touch as I continue my education or
begin my search for my first job.”

2. Get connected.

Make sure you have people’s business cards. Make sure you’re following everyone
on Twitter (or are subscribed to their blog). And for Pete’s sake, make sure
you connect with them on LinkedIn. Turnover is high in PR and journalism;
LinkedIn goes with people from job to job. This is how you’ll build your
network over time. It’s important.

BONUS: If you did a great job in your internship (be honest, you know if
you did or not), ask the highest-ranking person you worked with to recommend
you on LinkedIn. Don’t be shy about this—endorsements on LinkedIn can save you
time later on when you need references. Make it easier for the reference writer
by giving them some starter points.

For example: “Would you please write a recommendation for me on LinkedIn based
on the work I did this summer? It would be great if you could comment on the
work I did on project X or your satisfaction with the writing I did on Y.”

Whatever it was that you did, having somebody comment on your work does a
couple of things. It draws attention to you in their network, and it
sticks with your profile for a long time.

3. Get your samples.

I hope you’ve been collecting copies of the work you did this summer. In most
cases, the work you’ve done at your internship is the legal property of the
agency or its clients. Make sure you ask your supervisor for permission to use
those work samples in your portfolio. You’ll want electronic or hard copies of
all the work you did this summer, because there’s no guarantee you can access
this stuff later. Websites get replaced. Blog posts get deleted.

You might not think some of the things you worked on are relevant, but believe
me, they will be. Save them all so you can customize your portfolio for each
interview you do when you start your search.

4. Get coached.

You might be awesome. You might not. Regardless of what you think about
yourself and your performance in this internship, ask your supervisor to
suggest three areas you can improve on, based on his or her observations this
summer. Tell them you want them to be brutally honest with you, because it’s
the only way you’re going to improve. People would tell me how great my writing
was in my internship, but when I look back a lot of it was sloppy and littered
with errors (you know, like a lot of my blog posts). I wish they would have
told me to keep working on my writing and editing, and that attention to detail
is important.

5. Keep working?

Is there something you’ve done so well this summer that everyone is talking
about it? Are people sad you’re leaving, because you don’t be able to do that
thing anymore? Suggest to your boss that you keep doing it as a freelancer
while you go to school. When I did my first internship in New York, I put
together monthly clipping reports for clients (copies of all the press mentions
for the month). They were a lot of work back then. I suggested I do the work
from my dorm room in upstate New York. The company bought me a computer, leased
a copier, and paid me a very good rate to do the reports each month.

This type of opportunity is not the norm, but if you do something exceptional,
you might be able to gain valuable work experience (and make some money) while
you finish your coursework.

6. Stay in touch.

If you don’t keep working with them, be sure to stay in touch. Keep the lines
of communication open. Let people know what interesting stuff you’re learning
in school. Attend local Public Relations Society of America or press club
events so you can socialize with former co-workers. Interview your co-workers
for class projects (or consider inviting them to speak to one of your classes).
Of course, if you’re following them on Twitter or Facebook, you can interact on
a regular basis through those channels as well.

7. Say only good stuff.

There’s a chance you didn’t have a good experience this summer. Don’t talk
about it publicly; it will get back to the agency. I’m not suggesting you lie
to anybody, just don’t go around bashing the company that gave you a shot. (It
will make people wonder what you say about them when they’re not around.) It’s
OK to warn future internships professionally about what to expect, but keep it
professional. Along the same lines, keep proprietary information confidential.
Don’t talk about the new products clients are working on or their secrets to
getting coverage in The New York Times. This will strengthen your own
reputation over the course of your career.

8. Don’t burn bridges.

As an extension of No. 7, I have one “don’t” for the end of your internship.
Don’t burn bridges. Even if you hated working with somebody with every ounce of
your soul, don’t tell that person off on your last day. Don’t decide you’re
never going to talk to that person again. It’s a mistake. If you follow the
suggestions early on in this post with everyone you worked with this summer,
you’ll establish a firm foundation for your network to grow in the future.

9. Share your experience.

You learned a lot this summer. Don’t keep it all to yourself. Blog about it.
Talk about it in class. Encourage other students to pursue the same
opportunities. Use that experience to fuel you. Learn more, keep practicing,
and you will succeed. Share your experience and others will succeed with
you—and that’s what it’s all about.

Jeremy Porter is the founder of the blog Journalistics,
where a version of this story appeared.


College grads’ gowns going green — The future is now

USA Today ran the following on Friday, May 27, 2011. Wendy Koch gets the byline. To comment:

Some students are picking up diplomas in gowns made from recycled plastic bottles (they’re actually quite soft), and others are using ones made from wood pulp.

More than 250 institutions have ordered the attire this year from Virginia-based Oak Hall Cap & Gown, up from 60 in 2010, says vice president Donna Hodges. She
says it takes an average of 23 plastic bottles to make each GreenWeaver gown set.

A handful of U.S.-based companies, seeing bottom-line green in the eco-conscious world of higher education, have entered this booming market within the past
three years. Some donate a small fraction of the proceeds to participating colleges.

• Minneapolis-based Jostens makes graduation gowns out of wood fiber from sustainably-harvested North American forests. “We’re seeing a significant
increase in demand,” spokesman Rich Stoebe says, though he declined to detail the sales numbers.

• Omaha-based Willsie Cap and Gown sells a GreenGown made of the same resin used in plastic bottles and reuses the fabric if it’s returned. Sales are up 300% from a year
ago, says the company’s Steve Killen.

Some say being green costs more green.

Richard Spear, owner of American Cap and Gown, a New Jersey-based distributor, says the new gowns often cost much more than the polyester ones he sells for about $30,
and most colleges still have students buy rather than rent them. “College bookstores are there to make money,” Spear says.

Last week in Fairfax, Va., George Mason University graduated 7,392 students in the GreenWeaver gowns, which Hodges says typically cost $4 to $5 more than
traditional ones.

“Some students suggested a (gown) swap” but since it was the first year GMU used the green gowns, it wasn’t able to start one, says Karen Eiserman, merchandise
manager at GMU’s Bookstore. She says the undergraduate gown set costs $49.98, same as last year’s polyester ones, and a 25-cent donation included in the
price goes to the campus’s Greening Initiative.

Andrew Reid says he hasn’t worn his gown since his 2009 GMU graduation and probably never will again. His take on the situation, posted on Facebook:

“They would be even more ‘green’ if we could sell them back!”

Remember, to comment:

Types of Advertising of “Special Interest” to Public Relations Counselors

With Rowan University’s graduate comprehensive exams coming up this week, here is information vital to pubic relations practitioners when it comes to political and advocacy advertising. [To comment:]

IssueAdvocacyAds – These ads try to influence public perceptions of proposals being debated in Congress or state legislatures, often by putting public pressure on lawmakers. Like political ads that aim to defeat or elect a candidate, for the most part, issue ads are not regulated. Sponsors are neither subject to spending limits, nor must they disclose sources of funding.

Political Advertising – The purpose of political ads is to persuade people to vote for a candidate, or in some cases, an issue. While the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission and Federal Election Commission view political ads liberally when it comes to “truth in advertising” and “deceptive” practices, there are certain guidelines that must be followed:

•  Political advertising does not have to adhere to truth in advertising as other types of ads do. They may use deception and misleading information (PR Play 11-21) in “The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook.”

•  If a printed piece is mailed, the name and address of the candidate or representative must be on the ad.

•  All printed pieces, brochures, fliers, and newspaper and magazine ads must indicate who is paying for them.

•  Radio commercials must contain the candidate’s voice and television commercials must show the candidate’s face (even a still shot). They must also state who is paying for the commercial.

•  Candidates for federal office must disclaim their radio and television ad – either at the beginning or end – stating their name and saying “I approve this message.” On TV, they must be shown saying it.

•  Generally, both print and electronic media charge the lowest rate on a rate card for a section or page in the newspaper or magazine, or “day part” in radio or TV. (Congress is considering legislation related to political pricing charged by TV stations.)

•  As a safety precaution, most media outlets require that payment is made at the time ads are placed.

Weaning Yourself Off Plastic

[To comment:]

Recently, Rodale’s editors blogged, and received many comments and tips, at One way to begin the wean is to start amassing all the plastic you can in a week. Analyze it. There’s probably a lot of packaging you could eliminate.

Some tips:

  • Carry your own cutlery.
  • Skip single-use items.
  • Use metal or glass food storage containers.
  • Wrap lunch sandwiches in waxed paper.
  • Try laundry detergent powders that come in a box.
  • Carry reusable shopping bags.
  • Carry a reusable bottle or buy drinks ina glass or aluminum.

Send your suggestions to We’ll post a follow up blog.

Eagles’ great, Bill Bergey named Sports Writers’ ‘Living Legend’

[To comment:] For PSWA:

Former Eagles linebacker Bill Bergey will be honored by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association with its 2010 Philadelphia Living Sports Legend Award at the PSWA’s 107th annual banquet on January 31st, 2011.  With the Eagles, Bergey was voted into four Pro Bowls in seven seasons as an Eagle and was named Eagles MVP three times, once making 233 tackles in a single season and setting the NFL record for most single season interceptions by a linebacker.  Bergey helped the Eagles back to the playoffs in 1978, 1979 and to the Super Bowl in 1980.  He retired in 1981 and was inducted into the Eagles Roll of Honor in 1988.

The Sports Writers Association’s 107th annual banquet will be held on Monday, January 31st, 2011 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Route 70 in Cherry Hill, N.J. In addition to the Living Legend award, other awards to be presented will be the Team of the Year (Philadelphia Flyers), professional and amateur Athletes of the Year, Humanitarian, Good Guy Athlete, Native Son, Outstanding Penn Relays collegiate performer, MVP of the Army-Navy game, and several special achievement presentations.

The Philadelphia Sports Writers Association was founded on May 12, 1904, and the first of what would become an annual Awards Dinner was held Feb. 15, 1905.
For more information, contact John Weber at (267) 408-7500.   Visit or friend us on Facebook.

The Public is Invited to Philly Sports Writers’ Banquet

PSWA Dinner


The Public is Invited to Philly Sports Writers’ BanquetPosted: 30 Dec 2010 07:33 PM PST [To comment:]

Dear Sports Fans –

Tickets are still available for the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association’s 107th annual sports awards dinner, which will be held Monday, January 31, 2011, at the Crowne Plaza hotel on Route 70 in Cherry Hill. Click here to purchase tickets online.

Below are some clips from recent press releases about the dinner.

Phil’s ace Roy Halladay named Pro Athlete of the Year
Phillies Cy Young Award-winner Roy Halladay, the only pitcher ever to throw a perfect game and no-hitter in the same season, has been named the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association’s Pro Athlete of the Year, it was announced by PSWA president Rich Westcott.

Halladay, who also won a Cy Young with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2003, led the Phillies to the best regular season record in major league baseball in 2010 by going 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA and 219 strikeouts.

Former Eagle Bill Bergey named Living Legend
Bill Bergey, one of the greatest linebackers in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles, has been named the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association Living Legend.

Bergey, who was acquired in a trade with Cincinnati , was voted into the Pro Bowl in four of his seven seasons in Philadelphia . He played here as a middle linebacker from 1974 to 1980 with his last game coming in that year’s Super Bowl against Oakland.

Ian Laperriere will accept Flyers’ Team of Year award
The 2009-10 Philadelphia Flyers, who came within a shootout of not making the NHL playoffs at all, will be honored by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association as the 2010 Team of the Year at the PSWA’s 107th annual banquet on January 31, 2011.

After upsetting the No. 2 seed New Jersey Devils in the first round, they found themselves down three games to none in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Boston Bruins. They forced a seventh game in Boston, and after trailing 3-0, pulled off the biggest comeback in franchise history, winning the game – and the series – 4-3. They are now only one of three teams to win a playoff series after trailing 3-0.

Tickets for the dinner at $95 apiece are available online by clicking here.

Fans can also friend PSWA on Facebook.

Thank you,

Robbie Kenney
Ticket Chairman
(609) 702-7473

‘Flyin’ Hawaiian’ Earns PSWA’s Humanitarian AwardPosted: 30 Dec 2010 07:21 PM PST

Shane Victorino, PSWA Humanitarian

Shane Victorino of the Phillies, the “Flyin’ Hawaiian,” has soared to new heights this year, landing the 2010 Humanitarian of the Year award given by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association. The centerfielder will be in Cherry Hill, NJ to receive his award at the PSWA’s 107th annual banquet on January 31, 2011 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Route 70. Tickets are available to the public.

The former All-Star and his wife Melissa have created the Shane Victorino Foundation to promote opportunities for youth in Philadelphia and Hawaii by engaging in projects which provide children with educational, recreational and wellness programs. Beneficiaries of the 2010 Shane Victorino Foundation Celebrity Dinner & Golf Classic in Maui include the Waipio Little League program, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui and St. Anthony’s School Shane Victorino Scholarship Fund.

Through a $900,000 pledge to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, the Foundation’s first effort in Philadelphia will be to renovate the Nicetown Club, located in one of the most impoverished, economically challenged areas of the city, with no positive after-school options for neighborhood youth.

Shane was also honored recently with the Phillies’ Roberto Clemente Award, the 2010 Phillies Charities Community Service Award and named the prestigious Union League’s Sportsman of the Year. Previously, he was honored with the 2009 Phi Delta Theta International Lou Gehrig Memorial Award given annually to the MLB player who best exemplifies the giving character of Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig. Shane is also a member of the Philadelphia Action Team, a national young volunteer initiative by the MLB Trust and Volunteers of America and is featured in a national ad campaign promoting volunteerism.

On the field, Victorino recently finished his sixth season with the Phillies and became one of nine National League players to win 2010 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, his third Gold Glove Award in as many years. Victorino posted a .995 fielding percentage, committing only two errors in 373 total chances. He finished tied for the NL lead in outfield assists with 11, first among all National League center fielders, and ranked second in double plays (4). Victorino is now the sixth Phillie to have won at least three Gold Glove Awards, joining Mike Schmidt (10), Garry Maddox (8), Manny Trillo (3), Scott Rolen (3) and Jimmy Rollins (3).

The “Flyin’ Hawaiian” will join other Phillies personnel – teammate Roy Halladay (2010 Pro Athlete of the Year), general manager Ruben Amaro Junior and manager Charlie Manuel – at the PSWA’s head table.

Other announced honorees include Bill Bergey, the former Eagles great selected as Living Legend; and the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers, selected as 2010 Team of the Year. The award will be accepted by popular Flyers right winger Ian Laperriere.

Other awards, including Amateur Athlete of the Year, Good Guy Athlete, Native Son and Outstanding Penn Relays collegiate performer, will be announced soon.

The most coveted award, the Most Courageous, is kept secret until the night of the dinner.

The Philadelphia Sports Writers Association was founded on May 12, 1904, and the first of what would become an annual Awards Dinner was held Feb. 15, 1905.

Tickets for the dinner are $95 apiece and can be purchased online by clicking here.

Fans can also friend PSWA on Facebook.

Tips on coping with winter weather

Gannett’s Courier-Post ran the following weather tips for those of us affaceted by today’s snow storm. Be careful out there. [To comment:]

Here are tips on coping with winter weather:

Road conditions

Check on road conditions by going to the state Department of Transportation’s website for up-to-date traffic information and images from live traffic cameras. Go to /transportation and click on Commuter Information and then click on Real Time Traffic information.

You can also visit for up-to-date weather information.

Driving safety

Keep an emergency kit in your trunk in case your car breaks down. The kit should include: a snow shovel, ice scraper, jumper cables, tools, flashlight with fresh batteries, paper towels or rags, bag of rock salt or cat litter for added traction, blanket, warm clothes, gloves, bottled water and food, extra washer fluid, oil and antifreeze.

Keep your car’s gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.

Let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.

If you get stuck in your car:

— Stay with your car. Do not try to walk to safety.

— Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.

— Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won’t back up in the car.

— Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so you can be seen.

— As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and to stay warm.

— Keep one window away from the blowing wind slightly open to let in air.

Home safety

Keep an emergency kit at home. The kit should include: several days’ worth of food that needs no cooking or refrigeration, such as bread, crackers, cereal, canned foods and dried food, baby food and formula, bottled water (five gallons per person) in case your pipes freeze or rupture, any medicine you may need, portable radio and flashlights with fresh batteries.

Important numbers for Southern New Jersey. Check in your local area.

New Jersey Transit: (800) 772-2222

PATCO Hi-Speedline: (856) 772-6900

Atlantic City Electric: (800) 833-7476

PSE&G: (800) 436-7734