Friday, April 15, 2011

Liam O’Mahony, MBA, APR

By Amy Fleishans

Liam O’Mahony, MBA, APR, information specialist for the City of Chandler, spoke to PRSSA members Tuesday evening. With a diverse background in sports PR, Liam gave unique insight into this niche area of PR.

Working in the media relations departments of the Chicago Bulls and later for the Seattle SuperSonics & Storm (WNBA), Liam traveled with the teams during each basketball season, doing PR on the road as well as in the marketing front office, practice facility and home games.

Sports PR is different than agency or government PR because the media coverage is reactive from a communications standpoint, Liam said. He explained how coverage comes naturally and his job sometimes entailed  “turning away the press” (when the volume was too much for certain star players), rather than “hustling for coverage” on behalf of a client as in an agency setting.

When asked who the “client” is in a sports PR setting, Liam explained that the players, coaches and general managers are the clients as well as media outlets. In addition to media training the players, Liam was responsible mediating interviews between reporters and players, drafting collateral (fan yearbooks, team media guides and playoff game guides) and coordinating community appearances.
Liam said working for a team is exciting, especially for someone who loves the game. But, he warned that the hours can be long during the season when there are often 60-hour work weeks, and the job takes up a lot of nights and weekends when traveling with the team.

Tips for students wanting to jump into sports PR include interning—Liam started as an unpaid summer intern for the Chicago Bulls before working another full season in a full-time capacity. He offered other career advice such as  negotiating a budget for association memberships, pursuing graduate school before age 30 and always keeping a jump drive with an electronic copy of your resume and portfolio materials on your keychain. He also suggested volunteering at PR events such as races, fundraisers and galas—that’s where the movers and shakers are, he said.

Thanks to Liam for spending Tuesday evening with ASU PRSSA!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Julie Kurth, APR

By Amy Fleishans

Tuesday’s meeting featured Julie Kurth, APR, public relations manager for ASU’s Biodesign Institute. With 21 years of experience in the PR industry, Kurth brought plenty of career advice to PRSSA members.
You do marry the management

Each business Julie worked for had a distinct culture, set by executives. “When you’re working, you are expected to fit into the culture that the leadership of the company sets,” Kurth explained. “You have to represent that culture when you’re at work.” She advised students to consider a company’s culture before accepting any job. “I know the most important question is how much a job pays—but you have to make sure it’s going to be a good fit, too.”

Immerse yourself in the industry

To make yourself invaluable to a company, be sure to know as much as you can about its industry, Kurth suggested. “I never thought I’d know so much about cells as I do after working at Biodesign.” When you know more than just PR strategy information and can intelligently discuss business operations of your company, you become an invaluable employee.
Get your APR

In 2005 Kurth choose to earn her APR. She said that it had always been in the back of her mind since a professor told her PRSSA chapter about it when she was in college. She feels that the APR creates an industry standard, legitimizes the profession and builds accountability. Kurth also feels candidates with their APR appeal more to hiring managers that may not know much about the industry. In her experience, she has noticed that people looking for PR executives will gravitate toward those with certifications.

Work for a company that values PR

Kurth also pointed out that potential new hires can see how much a company values PR by who the department reports to. “If the PR executive reports to the HR team or marketing, that company probably doesn’t place a high priority on PR. Try to find a job where the PR executive reports to the CEO; it shows that the company values PR.”

Thanks to Julie Kurth for spending Tuesday evening with ASU PRSSA!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cronkite Launching PR Lab

By Amy Fleishans

Dean Callahan and PR professor Dr. Fran Matera stopped by Tuesday night’s meeting to share exciting news with ASU PRSSA. The Cronkite PR Lab will open Fall Semester. The program is the PR equivalent to Cronkite NewsWatch and News Service, capstone experiences for broadcast and print majors.

The lab will service actual clients in an agency setting, providing students with experience similar to what they will find in entry-level PR jobs. In addition to creating campaign proposals, the lab will also implement the campaigns which students design. “This lab is like an accelerated campaigns course [JMC 417],” Callahan said.

To join the lab, students must have the same pre-requisites as required for JMC 417. Students may opt out of the current campaigns course, instead choosing lab credit. To earn three credits in the PR Lab students must work two full days per week. A full day will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Six and nine credit options are also available.

“This is going to be more work and time than JMC 417, but the benefits will be greater, too,” Dean Callahan said.

Applications are available at the second floor Academic Advising desk and should be submitted to Dr. Matera, Room 475,

Thursday, March 24, 2011

PR/Social Media Internship Opening at Local Agency

Zion & Zion is currently accepting applications for a PR and social media intern that would work a minimum of 15 hours per week. There is one immediate opening and multiple openings for the summer.
The ideal candidate is someone who is hungry to learn about the industry and can provide innovative, strategic and creative ideas. Strong writing skills are also required.
-Tracking media hits
-Drafting releases
-Producing and issuing media alerts
-Creating social media campaigns
-Creating media kits
-Producing client meeting summaries
Send your resume to and tell her ASU PRSSA sent you!
Zion & Zion currently holds Number One PR Firm in the Phoenix Business Journal Book of Lists, Number Three Ad Agency in RankingArizona and Number One Social Media Firm in Arizona Foothills Magazine.

Agency internship opportunity

Looking for an internship? Martz Agency, located in Scottsdale, is looking to hire a PR intern to start immediately.

Duties and Responsibilities:

-Assist in the development of appropriate strategies to meet client needs
-Attend client meetings
-Attend media related events and programs
-Assist in drafting collateral and media materials (news releases, media
advisories, photo captions, announcements, etc.)
-Develop and maintain media contact list
-Create daily media clip reports for assigned clients
-Assist in coordination of special events, possibly requiring weekend/night hours

Preferred skills and qualifications
include previous internship experience and the following:

-Understanding of proactive media relations tactics and strategies
-Ability to draft concise, newsworthy press releases
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook, etc
- Excellent organization skills and attention to detail
- Excellent verbal and written communication
- Ability to work both independently and on a team
- Confidence working with the public and the media

The internship is 10-15 hours per week, starting immediately and working through the end of July. Successful intern candidates will have an opportunity to apply/be considered for paid Account Coordinator position, when available.

Send your resume and availability to and tell them ASU-PRSSA sent you!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Recap: presentation from Mindspace PR Director Jason Meyers

By Samantha Hauser


Tuesday’s PRSSA meeting featured Jason Meyers of Mindspace, who gave a presentation on crisis communication and offered some great advice for those pursuing a career in public relations:

The Basics of Crisis Communication

-  Asses your weaknesses and vulnerabilities:  Brainstorm all the of the potential crisis situations your organization could potentially face, from legal issues to recalls to natural disasters.   Keep in mind that the internet and increasing social media usage connects consumers with the media more than ever before, so be prepared for a customer complaint to become a crisis situation: as an example, see this CBS 5 investigation — and how Meyers handled the response.

 Even press releases put out by your organization could develop into a crisis.  Meyers’ advice is to always read over releases before you put them out and think “How could this blow up?” 

-  Always have a plan: Have a crisis team.  Establish who is allowed to talk the media.  Know who the experts are in your organization and media train them.   In other words, make sure they understand how to drive the content of an interview and stick to your organization’s messaging, even when fielding tough questions from reporters.

- Hold to your word: It’s important to maintain your credibility during a crisis, so don’t back yourself into a wall by making commitments you can’t follow through with.


General Advice

-       Technology is your friend: the most successful PR practitioners make the best use of technology and social media.  So stay up-to-date. 

-       Set yourself apart: Meyers recommends getting video, editing, and even on-camera experience to help you stand out against other applicants. Meyers regularly hosts fundraising segments on KAET/Channel 8.

-       Remember that there is no set path in or out of the PR field.  Realize that you may leave PR for a while and then come back… Or not.  Just keep an open mind and don’t dismiss opportunities just because they don’t sound like something that’s made for your degree.


About Jason:

Meyers has national-level crisis communications experience relating to hot-button immigration issues, and he currently works on major market clients from coast-to-coast in the U.S. Prior to Mindspace, he was Director of Marketing & Public Relations at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, a $3 billion financial institution. He has also worked as Director of Marketing Communications at the Heard Museum and Senior Editor Creative Services at The Arizona Republic, & 12News.

Before transitioning to public relations, Meyers spent a decade in the radio and records industry as an advertising production director and on-air personality in major markets. Follow him on Twitter @Meyers_PR

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Paid internship opportunity

EmpowHER, a health media company for women, is looking to hire a public relations intern immediately. offers one of the largest women’s health and wellness content libraries on the Web in addition to one of the most active online community for women discussing health and wellness issues.

Intern Responsibilities:
•    Drafting media meterials (press releases, media alerts, etc.)
•    Develop and manage media lists
•    Conduct research for media opportunities
•    Assist coordinator in press-related efforts

For more information, or to apply, contact Joanna LeBlang (, and mention PRSSA told you about the internship.