Public Relations playbook: some thoughts – Philly AdNews

TOOLBOX TOPICS – Reprinted from AdNews – Philly Ad Club – November -December 2010

Public Relations playbook: some thoughts

 Every now and then seasoned communication professionals need to review the basics. Here are some thoughts from Larry Litwin’s The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook (AuthorHouse – 2009)

 

By M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA

 By M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA

Whether the profession is public relations, public communication or strategic advising, it all begins with the ABCs of strategic communication: anticipate, be prepared and communicate clearly, concisely, consistently, calculatingly (measured tones – weighing each word), and completely (specifically and simply).

Anticipate the reaction to a strategic message before communicating it. As Sir Isaac Newton said, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The reactions to a CEO or spokesperson’s comments may not be equal and opposite, but they could take a strong opposing viewpoint that could damage a client’s image or reputation. Messages could be misinterpreted. “Test” them to be sure the “C” is achieved.

As columnist George Will points out, “Clarity is achieved only if our message is received and interpreted as we intend it.” That’s where the “B’ comes in. Through proper planning, effective strategic communicators are more likely to achieve their objectives and goal, which means synergy is achieved.

So, what is public relations?

Back in 1971, colleague Ralph Burgio and I brainstormed a definition of public relations. Here is what Ralph scribbled on a napkin at Mom’s Peppermill Inn just off exit 7A of the New Jersey Turnpike. It remains relevant nearly 40 years later:

PUBLIC RELATIONS?

Public relations is as simple as a thank-you note and as complicated as a

four-color brochure.

It’s as specific as writing a news release and as general as sensing community

attitudes.

It’s as inexpensive as a phone call to an editor or as costly as a full-page

advertisement.

It’s as direct as a conversation between two people and as broad as a radio or

television program reaching thousands of listeners or millions of viewers.

It’s as visual as a poster and as literal as a speech.

HERE, MY FRIENDS, IS THE BIG QUESTION: What IS public relations?

It’s a term often used – seldom defined!

In its broadest sense, public relations is “good work, publicly recognized.”

Believe me, there are no secret formulas. Public relations is simply:  the group itself saying —

• “This is who we are;

• What we think about ourselves;

• What we want to do; and

• Why we deserve your support.”

The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook (AuthorHouse – 2009) contains hundreds of proven tips and techniques. Here are a few:

“Tell the truth, provide accurate facts and give the public relations director access to top management so that he/she can influence decisions,” said Ivy Ledbetter Lee, recognized as an early media relations professional.

Warren Buffet said, “If you lose money for the company, I will be understanding. If you lose one shred of the company’s reputation, I will be ruthless.” Buffet, one of America’s wealthiest individuals, is chair and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

Jack Welch, former General Electric chair and CEO, said, “I want strategic advisors who tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. Honesty and integrity are the only way.”

There is a common thread to the ethical practice of public relations. Arthur Page, recognized as the “father of corporate public relations,” developed these seven principles: tell the truth, prove it with action, listen to the customer, manage for tomorrow, conduct public relations as if the whole company depends on it, realize a company’s true character is expressed by its people, and remain calm, patient and good humored.

Strategic counselor James Lukaszewski, in his book Why Should the Boss Listen to You? stresses that public relations counselors should strive to be the “number one, number two” person in an organization – the go to advisor, associate or assistant to the CEO. Lukaszewski pushes company and organization leaders “to look over the horizon and see what’s there – have a clear vision.” He points out that the best leaders “have in place the people and skills necessary to achieve the goals and objectives the boss promised to accomplish. He also encourages CEO’s “to promise less and achieve more.”

A favorite public relations tip is credited to Patrick Jackson – the “Double Bottom Line Theory,” which has evolved into the “Triple Bottom Line”:

First Bottom Line: Create relationships. If the organization has already achieved that important first line, work on enhancing the relationships and, at the very least, maintain the relationships you have. It costs far less to retain a customer or client than it does to attract new ones.

Second Bottom Line: Revenue. It generates from sales developed from the relationships created and built in the first bottom line.

Third Bottom Line: Profit. After all, that is what it is all about – making  money. To make money, though, revenue must be generated and costs controlled. Like the other tips, the “Triple Bottom Line” is more than theory, it has been proven time and time again – just look at Southwest Airlines, Staples and Wal-Mart.

Even before the Phillies became perennial winners, president David Montgomery recognized the value of relationship building. He turned an evening at the ballpark into an experience – a family experience – from the moment you pull into the parking lot and scan your own ticket until the final out.  Those relationships turned into revenue, the revenue into profits and, with Pat Gillick, Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manual’s strategies and tactics, the Phillies have won their fourth straight division title.

Former Rowan University marketing director Ed Ziegler says, “Reaching the desired outcome – is a process.” He says, “By educating your publics, you give them the knowledge needed to develop the proper attitude that leads to the behavioral outcome you want. When the organization’s output equals the outcome, synergy is achieved.”

However, none of these tips and advice mean a thing if the following principle isn’t followed. It comes from Melissa Matthews, Rowan class of ’01 and Woman’s Day beauty editor. She said it in the October 2011 issue in response to “What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?”

Said Melissa: “Make sure everything you do is open, honest, thorough and valid. I follow this advice from my college mentor, Professor Larry Litwin. It helps me make decisions, especially when evaluating beauty products.”

M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA, is an established strategic advisor, teacher, mentor, role model and ethicist, and an award-winning public relations counselor and broadcast journalist.

Traffic Light Cameras – Warnings must be posted near intersections

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

Traffic light cameras have become the craze in Southern New Jersey. If you try to run a yellow light, “big brother” is going to get you. On Oct. 30, 2010, The “Courier-Post” ran

some common questions and answers to the red light cameras throughout South Jersey.

Question: How do I know if an intersection is being monitored?

Answer: Any municipality that authorizes the use of a red light camera, including the 22 in the state pilot program, by law must post a sign warning of the enforcement on each street leading to the intersection. Some South Jersey communities in the pilot program expect to add more cameras in the future, but for now, they have been authorized at the following intersections:

Cherry Hill: At Route 70 and Springdale Road

Deptford: At Route 41 and Deptford Center Road

Glassboro: At Route 47 and Dalton Drive

Gloucester Township: On Blackwood-Clementon Road (Route 534) at Cherrywood Drive, at Blenheim/Erial/New Brooklyn Road (Route 706), at Little Gloucester Road (Route 759), and at Millbridge Road

Monroe: On Route 322 at Route 612 and at Route 42/Route 536 Spur

Q: If I see the cameras flash, does that mean I’m going to get a ticket?

A: Not necessarily. Sensors in the road trigger the cameras after determining that a vehicle is traveling fast enough to potentially cross the white stop line when the light turns red. Each camera company operates differently, but usually the devices snap at least two photos showing the back of the vehicle at and in the intersection during a red light. Some companies also record a short digital video. Before any tickets are issued, the camera provider reviews the images and sends suspected violations to the local law enforcement agency. Police officers then determine whether to issue a citation. Tickets are mailed to the registered owner of the license plate, not necessarily the driver, and usually include copies of the photo evidence and a link to view more online. Drivers won’t know if they’ve been caught running a light until they receive a ticket in the mail.

Q: What if someone else is driving my car?

A: According to state statute, you will still be held liable for the fine unless you can show your car was used without your consent. In that case, you would be able to take the driver to court to recover the amount of the fine. That differs from Philadelphia’s program, which uses only still photos and exonerates the vehicle owner if he can prove he wasn’t driving, even if he knowingly let someone else take the wheel. In New Jersey, only rental car owners can get a ticket excused by providing the name and address of the person leasing the car at the time the ticket was issued. The law doesn’t say if the court then sends the violation to that driver.

Q: Will I get a ticket if I’m traveling through the intersection when a yellow light changes to red?

A: You shouldn’t. According to service providers, the cameras focus on vehicles crossing the white stop line painted on the road after the light turns red.

Q: What if I inch forward for a clear view to the left before making a right on red?

A: As long as you first come to a complete stop before the white line, local police say you shouldn’t get fined. Those who stop but overshoot the line, whether heading forward or into a turn, could still face a fine. Authorities will see from the series of pictures where the vehicle was when the light turned red and whether it continued progressing into the intersection just after that. It’s up to them to decide whether to ignore a violation if a vehicle has only nudged past the stop line.

Q: Will there be any forgiveness for special circumstances like emergencies or funeral processions?

A: Yes. If examiners can tell that an emergency vehicle or funeral procession ran the light, the violation would be dismissed, local police chiefs said. However, because the cameras capture only the backs of the vehicles, any other nonvisible circumstances would have to be raised in a court hearing.

Q: What if I believe I didn’t do anything wrong, regardless of what the video shows?

A: You can request a hearing to contest the ticket in municipal court. The ticket will include directions on how to set that up. Steve Carrellas, a state representative for the National Motorists Association, encourages drivers to request the latest available speed survey and yellow light timing for the intersection to use as evidence in court. With that information, he said, drivers can determine whether the yellow signal lasted long enough for them to come to a stop based on state regulations.

Networking – It IS effective

M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA

Hone your networking skills now. Here’s start from M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA.

Networking begins with a firm handshake, a look into the eyes and exchange of business cards. It is an important step in anyone’s personal [job seeking] plan that could lead to an interview and first “real” job.

To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

Ready, Set, Resume

By M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

          Timing for a PRomo article about resumes couldn’t be better. As the new school year started, the world was celebrating “International Update Your Resume Month.” Who would have thought?

          How big a deal is the resume? Recently, on NPR [National Public Radio], experts agreed. “It’s the biggest deal. That’s what opens the door to the interview,” said Louis Barajas, finance expert and author.

          “If you don’t stick out like a sore thumb, if you don’t push yourself in front of everybody else, you won’t even get through the front door.”

          According to Laura DeCarlo of Career Directors International, “It’s completely an issue of whether you are going to stand out from the pack of what could be hundreds – even a thousand candidates.”

          How do you standout? First and foremost, applicants must sell themselves – emphasizing what they’ve done and how well they have done it. And, they have to do it in 15 to 20 seconds.

          Are you up to the challenge?

[  ]   Be a storyteller in few words. Help the employer recognize how you are above the competition with the same or similar skills and experience set.

[  ]   Use key words [scannable – meaning, keys words recognizable by certain computer software] that the prospective employer might be looking for. Many times, they’ll jump right off a firm or organization’s website. “The biggest problem I see with most people looking for jobs,” says Barajas, “is that they haven’t done enough research on the company or the position. They’re not using the words that the employer is looking for.”

[  ]   Customize your resume for the employer and position. Ask yourself the question, “If I were hiring, what would I be looking for.”

[  ]   Proofread, proofread, proofread. Typos can turn the perfect resume into an office joke. [How many times has a public relations agency received a resume with the word public missing a key letter? Do not place your trust in spell check.

          Now some strategies and tactics that will get you noticed:

[  ]   Ditch the “objective.” Polish your resume by including a summary paragraph [just under your personal information] stating what you bring to the table, qualifications, experience and examples of a job well done. It should be succinct and contain buzzwords human resource managers look for –many of the same key message points you would include in an elevator speech. If that statement can be attributed to a third party, all the better. Here is an example:

Applicant Statement: My professor/advisor (Anthony J. Fulginiti) describes me as “mature beyond her years, articulate, well tailored and polished, loyal, has a passion for the profession, outstanding writer, and a skilled organizer and strategic thinker.” It is my dream to bring those qualities, passion and dedication to ELLE’s readers – just as I do the residents of Cherry Hill. My zest for knowledge and new challenges is contagious and should appeal to ELLE magazine’s staff and target audience.

[  ]   Do not exaggerate. Even recent graduates should be able to list positive outcomes on their resumes without stretching the truth.

[  ]   On entry-level resumes, present your college experience – including PRaction and PRomo. Highlight PRSSA, AdClub, AdDyamics and other results-oriented activities, and note if you attended college on a scholarship. Include summer jobs, highlight internships and jobs relevant to your degree.

[  ]   If your resume is two pages [do not go over two], and many PRSSA students will go over two pages, be sure to include contact information on the bottom right side of page two. One never knows if a hard version gets separated.

          In response to whether a resume should be one or two pages: According to NPR and its guests, “Some people are adamant that the resume should be only one page. Then others say, ‘Well, if you really want to let people know the breadth of your experience, then, of course, you should take two.”

          If you’ve ever wondered what terms employers search for, here are results of a recent CareerBuilder.com study:

Problem-solving and decision-making skills (50 percent)

Oral and written communications (44 percent)

Customer service or retention (34 percent)

Performance and productivity improvement (32 percent)

Leadership (30 percent)

Technology (27 percent)

Team-building (26 percent)

Project management (20 percent)

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

Philadelphia Sports Teams – Litwin gets some “ink” – in conjunction with the Sport Industry Research Center at Temple University

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

Philly fans ranks Cowboys as greatest rival
Philadelphia Daily News
Larry Litwin, of Berlin, NJ, said the rivalry could have something to do with “that big star” the Cowboys wear. Litwin says that somehow his daughter Julie

 Fans rank Merrill Reese as Philly’s No. 1 play-by-play voice
Philadelphia Daily News
In a follow-up interview to the survey, Larry Litwin, of Berlin, NJ, said that “Merrill is not afraid to criticize when need be.

 
Phillies color commentator Larry Andersen in the booth before a
Philadelphia Daily News
According to Larry Litwin, of Berlin, NJ, “the chemistry between Larry and Franzke gets better and better.” Litwin adds that “LA is as close as you could


Special Edition – Flyers Discount Tickets

Major Discounts for Flyers games…

The games are as follows:

10/26 at 7 PM vs Buffalo Sabres

11/22 at 7 PM vs Montreal Canadiens

12/20 at 7 PM vs Florida Panthers

1/20 at 7 PM vs Ottawa Senators

2/22 at 7PM vs Phoenix Coyotes

3/8 at 7PM vs Edmonton Oilers

To get the discounted tickets, you just logon to: www.philadelphiaflyers.com/promocode.  Type into the promo code box: 703College2, and it will bring you to the games.  The code will automatically be registered to Rowan’s Brooke Schrider.

Tickets are $25 for upper level (reg price $46), $35 for mezzanine level, and $79 (reg price $96)

To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

Meet the PR Pro: Michael Gross

[This is a Philly PRSA blog dated Feb. 16, 2010. To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]


by Amy Merves, public relations, healthcare, and media professional and PRSA Philly Chapter Publicity/Web site Chair

Welcome to “Meet the PR Pro,” a new column designed to highlight professionals in the PRSA Philly chapter through conversations that reveal career paths, industry advice, and a touch of humor. For this edition, we interviewed Michael Gross, vice president of public relations with Jack Horner Communications and PRSA Philly’s 2010 president.

Can you describe your daily responsibilities at Jack Horner Communications?
Generally speaking, my job is twofold. First, I oversee many elements of the firm’s accounts, such as plan execution and making sure our clients get the best work and the best results. Second, I have leadership responsibilities as the supervisor of our PR and creative team.

What was your first PR position after college?
I was hired by Cherry Hill Township following an internship with the municipality. There, I worked in the recreation department planning the township’s events. We planned more than 60 events a year and my job involved everything from organizing event logistics to speech writing to media relations.

What newspapers/blogs do you read on a daily basis?
I get most of my news online. I wake up to www.cnn.com for national headlines and www.kyw1060.com for local news. Then, throughout the day, I follow most major news outlets’ Twitter feeds for breaking news and current events. I often read the hard copy of The Philadelphia Inquirer, too. And for fun, I follow www.myextralife.com, which is a fun blog (and podcast) for the other stuff I’m into.

What are your top three favorite books?
The geek in me still loves the “Lord of the Rings” series by J.R.R. Tolkien. “The Road” (Cormac McCarthy) is great. And I’d be remiss not to mention “The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook” by Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA. It’s a great tool for any PR pro, no matter what level of experience.

What advice do you have for anyone entering the PR field?
Network, network and network. Our industry is all about building relationships.

What is the top goal that clients have in mind when they hire a PR company?
Results. Everyone is looking for results. We as PR practitioners are, in essence, sales people. We’re selling ideas, concepts, stories, etc.

What is a common misconception that people have when they think of PR?
I can’t tell you how many students tell me they got into PR because they are “people persons.” While it’s nice to like people, PR is more about strategy — understanding attitudes, opinions and behaviors and knowing how to move the proverbial ”needle” by persuading or influencing an audience. Being good at PR takes a bit more than being a ”people person.” Rant over. Oh, and we don’t “spin.” We “position.”

Outside of work, how do you enjoy spending your time?
Wait, there’s time of outside of work? Just kidding. I enjoy spending my time with my family (boring answer, but it’s true). I also love the outdoors, so I fill the rest of my spare time hiking, fishing, camping, etc.

What was the best advice you received when you were just starting out in your career?
The best advice I got when I started out was to “speak up.” Don’t be shy. Go out, meet people. If you have an idea, express it. The only way to get ahead is to find a way to be heard. Hopefully at least some of your ideas are good ones!

What is the funniest PR story that you have read?
Have you heard the one where a news release, a brochure and a newsletter walk into a bar?

Key Communicators – It all started at Rowan University

     To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com and check out Billy, Ashley and Eileen’s blogs.      

 It has been nearly half a century since Rowan University Professor Emeritus Don Bagin coined the term Key Communicator. And while Key Communicators are still an authorized grapevine that delivers facts to a community quickly and honestly, the channels used to get those facts to KCs has changed with the times.

            Key Communicators remain a school system’s lifeline to the community – especially in time of crisis or when the district needs public support. KCs – properly “schooled” – can be and are strategic message “carriers.”

            While face-to-face or word-of-mouth is still number one to assure that messages are received and interpreted to produce intended results, other modes of communication have evolved from primarily print and regular mail to cross platforming (sometimes referred to as convergence of distribution –print, Internet, wireless, broadcast [radio/TV]).

            No longer is a printed, hardcopy of such newsletters as Keynotes the preferred, but rather an inline version – which appears on the computer screen the moment an e-mail is opened. E-newsletters and blast e-mails have taken on a life of their own. The cross platforming might include newsletter attachments, text messaging, Podcasts, Vcasts, social media, Blogs and blast voice mails.

            Key Communicators – sometimes referred to as influencers, connectors, consumption pioneers or opinion leaders – are “a collection of individuals who have influence over part of a community,” says Tom Salter, senior communication officer, Montgomery (Ala.) County Schools . “A Key Communicator network is a loose-knit panel of opinion leaders who can shape community perceptions.

            “Nothing moves faster than a speeding rumor, is more powerful than an editorial board or able to leap tall special interest groups in a single bound,” states Salter.

            Three South Jersey school districts established Key Communicator programs years ago – during the 70s.  Heather Simmons, Glassboro (Gloucester County), Jan Giel, Washington Township (Gloucester County) and Susan Bastnagle, Cherry Hill, inherited and have nurtured their programs assuring they would continue to be their lifeline to the community.

            No matter how effective, Key Communicators should be only one of a school system’s feedback techniques. But KC programs serve as the hub of the face-to-face public relations program because “they (Key Communicators) will gladly tell you what they – and their friends, neighbors and local businesspeople – think,” Salter says.

            “No matter how many times we’ve heard it,” says Glassboro’s Simmons, “as public relations professionals in education, we always have to be mindful that we are dealing with the two things that take priorities in the life of a family – their children and their wallets.           

            “Key Communicator groups are helpful as we attempt to communicate to these families and other stakeholders with sensitivity, accuracy and efficiency,” states Simmons who serves as public relations consultant to the Glassboro Public Schools.

            “Key Communicators are valuable because they provide an opportunity to learn or confirm information, which helps us anticipate issues and make educated and researched decisions that relate to the public,” says Katie Hardesty. Hardesty, a Rowan graduate, is in the process of establishing a Key Communicator network for the Cherry Hill Public Library where she serves as public relations and special events director. She is using what is often referred to as the “Rowan University KC model for schools.”

            “KCs will help us gauge the community, give easier access to focus groups and other informal research, and help us counter misinformation that might arise,” Hardesty explains.  

            Like Cherry Hill, Washington Township has about 100 core Key Communicators who receive regular e-mails. Jan Giel, community relations coordinator for the district, reflects that it takes time to develop and maintain a successful KC program. “But it’s worth it,” she says. “In the long run, KC programs save far more time than it takes.”

            To make her point, Giel cites one recent example: “We used it (KCs) for rumor control when two of our middle schools were found to have mold.”

            Like most districts in the country, New Jersey school systems rarely, if ever, bring their KCs together for formal meetings. Two-way communication is accomplished through e-mails, interactive newsletters, phone and face-to-face.

            However, the Glassboro Public Schools have taken the route of bringing their 130 KCs together three times a year to inform and discuss issues of importance and to seek input as the district develops its budget.  The final meeting of the academic year – usually in April – is reserved for a post-mortem following the annual school election and to preview issues that may be coming up for the following year.

            While many think only in terms of influential residents or businessmen and women, a district’s internal family must be included among those who play a vital role in a district’s two-way communication process. One reason is because it’s the right thing to do. Another is because school employees are among the most trusted to tell the truth about what’s happening inside a school or at the district.

            No rule, written or otherwise, states that all Key Communicators must be strong school district supporters – or supporters of public education in general. In fact, it might be best if some are detractors.

            All, however, should be recognized as opinion shapers, community leaders, or just the woman or man next door willing to listen, talk and serve as a liaison (connector) between the schools and those with whom they come in contact. KCs are vitally interested in the welfare of their municipality, schools or the company or organization for which they work.

            No community, company or organization is immune to rumors – and rumors continue to grow unless they are snuffed out in their earliest stages.

“Research is clear,” says Mark Marmur of Makovsky & Company Public Relations, New York City, “Key Communicators, effectively chosen, are the pulse of their community.

            “It is an incredibly successful concept that helps build and maintain relationships and will quickly become an integral part of any organization’s ‘relationship marketing program’,” states Marmur, who holds bachelor and master’s degrees in public relations from Rowan University.

            Marmur notes that it is not only school systems that incorporate Key Communicator-type networks in their over-all public relations plan. Major corporations like Walt Disney World Resorts, Staples and smaller retailers like Hello, Sports Fans! (Cherry Hill) have relied on KCs for years to give them constant feedback and to relay positive and negative stories of their experience.

            Public schools starting a KC program might include PTA presidents and other officers, barbers, beauticians, lawyers, doctors, dentists, bankers, real estate and insurance agents, teachers, support staff, bus drivers, students, shopkeepers, and former school board members.

            While Bastnagel, Cherry Hill’s public information officer, courts Key Communicators, she believes, as does Disney, that electronic communications empowers everyone to be a Key Communicator. “Within minutes,” she says, “we can have a video message from our superintendent or other administrator on our district Web site and I can e-mail the link to thousands of subscribers on our e-mail notification list. 

            “I’m obsessive about sending out my e-news every single week during the school year, so that anyone who sees it is equipped to be a Key Communicator. And even if they don’t read it carefully each week, they know it’s there as an information resource.”
            In Glassboro it’s known as the Bulldog Bulletin, in Cherry Hill’s the CHPS e-news and a number of districts publish their own Keynotes. While they may have started as printed newsletters – one-way communication – all have evolved into e-newsletters with many of the articles containing links to “landing sites.” Many times, those links contain a “casual” survey asking for comments, reactions and other input to certain questions.

            “When I need our Key Communicators for something and send an email to that effect, they are used to seeing my name and know they can trust me,” says Simmons. “You can’t put a value on that.”

            Like many others responsible for coordinating school system KC programs, Bastnagel faces the challenge of “rethinking the entire Key Communicator concept – how to meld the power and pervasiveness of electronic communications with the one-to-one, face-to-face feel of a Key Communicator program.”

            Says Bastnagel: “As with every other aspect of my job, the Key Communicator program has changed as the power of electronic communications has evolved. Ten years ago, we reached out to our 100 or so Key Communicators with letters, phone calls and periodic face-to-face meetings.  But, 10 years ago, I didn’t have a cell phone, lots of parents didn’t have (or didn’t use) e-mail and our district Web site was still under construction.  Today, third graders have cell phones.  It’s a lot harder to stay ahead of the message.  (And, as Montgomery, Alabama’s Tom Salter said) News travels fast and bad news travels even faster.”

            During the recent National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) annual seminar, superintendents agreed, “Communication is a contact sport. If you are willing to mix it up in terms of communication and get close to people, face-to-face human contact, then you and your district will be successful.”

            Well thought out and effective Key Communicator networks should be an integral tactic in every school systems’ communication plan.

——————————————————————————————————————————-

M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA,  is an associate professor of public relations at Rowan University in Glassboro and a former school public information director in Washington Township, Gloucester County. He is the 2006 recipient of the National School Public Relations Association’s Lifetime Professional Achievement Award for “excellence, leadership, contributions to the profession, and advocacy for students and our nation’s public schools.” His two books, The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook and The ABCs of Strategic Communications, both published this year, have won national acclaim.

Nice to be remembered

Melissa Matthews

Rowan grad Melissa Matthews, beauty editor of Woman’s Day magazine, writes in the October issue about the best career advice she ever received. “Make sure everything you do is open, honest, thorough and valid. I follow this advice from my college mentor, (Rowan University) Professor Larry Litwin. It helps me make decisions, especially when evaluating beauty products.”  (First spotted by Rowan U. Prof. David Hackney. Thanks David for the heads up.)