Five Reasons Why TheSkimm is Breaking Bad on the News World

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Like many, I am a creature of habit. I prefer to start every day, rain or shine, the same way. Coffee. Shower. News… Okay, so that’s a lie. Coffee- yes, shower – yes, but (lets be honest) I do not sit down and watch the news every morning… or evening… or ever.

But, to avoid running the risk of appearing uninformed in front of peers, co-workers or professors, I’ve discovered a new way to stay informed – TheSkimm, a daily e-newsletter created by Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin. TheSkimm isn’t your ordinary newsletter. It’s on the cutting edge of news, making it something it’s never been for most millennials – interesting, and even funny. Interesting, funny news stories? How is this possible you ask? To explain, here are five reasons why the new approach to news taken by TheSkimm and its founders is shaking up the world of traditional media.

  • It’s short. Do you want to know what I (and probably 95 percent of the world’s millennials) think about sitting down to watch the evening news for an hour or reading the day’s big stories from the New York Times? “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” I can barely make time to shave my legs, let alone stay caught up on current events. Most traditional news outlets are failing to reach today’s instant-gratification audience, whereas it usually takes me a total of five minutes or less to catch up my daily Skimm. You don’t need to make time to wade through the clutter that is today’s news anymore, because TheSkimm takes you straight to the juicy stuff. It’s accessible too. With it sent right to your inbox, you decide when and where to read up on what’s going down around the world.
  • They don’t take life too seriously. Just the other day, my dad said to me “The world is going crazy and it’s scary.” And I have to agree. The world is a little crazy and getting crazier every day. But, taking things too seriously takes the fun out life. This is why less and less twenty-something’s and even thirty-something’s are tuning in for Nancy Grace and Ed Shultz and all those other primetime news anchors that are screaming about politics and calling each other “right-wing sluts.” (Ok, so it is kind of) But TheSkimm’s witty “Repeat After Me” and “What to Say When…” headlines, and their satirical yet powerful “Quote of the Day” openers are enough to make you want to read more. Whereas Nancy Grace is enough to make me want to throw the TV out the window. Their novel approach softens hard news stories and spares you the daily dose of depression and anxiety offered by traditional primetime media.Skimm 2
  • They know their audience. “I think what differentiates us is that we have a very niche audience,” said Weisberg to the Huffington Post. “Women, 22 to 34, female millennials, smart, in a big city.” This decision to target a small audience set TheSkimm up for success. It has become common knowledge in the PR world that there is no such thing as a ‘general public.’ It’s also being preached to the PR and media choirs that with the digital age, audiences are becoming more and more segmented. TheSkimm isn’t afraid of this fate, but thrives on it.
  • They know how to make real connections. You see and hear it everywhere now. “Find us on Facebook!” “Tweet us at (insert twitter handle)!” “Connect with us!” But how many organizations have really, successfully connected with their followers? Not many. There are quite a few Fortune 500’s that could use some pointers from Weisberg and Zakin. They have mastered the art of two-way communication and community building. Many organizations make the mistake of posting only about themselves or their products. In fact, some companies these days are more narcissistic than 13-year-old girls. TheSkimm goes beyond that. They let you see the people behind the funny headlines. They reply to tweets and repost shout outs from followers. They post things their audience will enjoy. How do they do it? They know their “Skimmers” and take an interest in how they live their Skim lifestyle and make an effort to relate to them. They even give them a shout out on their birthdays in the daily Skimm. (How nice is that!?)
  • People like them. And more importantly, they’re rooting for them. Weisgerg and Zakin are smart, driven twenty-something’s trying to make a name for themselves as women in a male-dominated profession. They’re best friends and roommates. Wouldn’t you want to take on the world with your best friend/roomie? They both had great jobs at NBC, but took a leap of faith when they quit to create the TheSkimm. That takes guts. “Doing this for the first time is really hard…. We would walk into meetings and we looked young and we were two bubbly girls,” says Zakin, about the challenges of being taken seriously. But despite the challenges, they’ve managed to stay true to themselves. Weisburg described to the Huffington Post that success for the pair simply meant “being able to run a company and still be human beings– be sane, see our family and have lives.” They are relatable and admirable at the same time and that makes them likeable. Any PR junkie will tell you, likeability goes a long way.

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Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/29/theskimm-founders-news-danielle-weisberg-carly-zakin_n_5413314.html

http://www.theskimm.com/homepage

Headshot_SKSamantha Kirby, Spring 2015 Account Coordinator

Samantha (Sammy) Kirby is an account coordinator for NinerNation Relations. She currently serves as Global Marketing Communications Intern for Momentive Performance Materials Inc. Prior to Momentive, Sammy completed a Communications Internship with Facilities Management at UNC Charlotte. Her other public relations experience includes PRSSA leadership, Outreach Committee member with the UNC Charlotte Writing Resources Center and Newsletter Committee member for the University Honors Program. Her skills include copywriting, editing, media relations and event planning.

Public Speaking Tips

When it comes to communication there are many things that have a factor in how the subject being discussed can be portrayed. It has to deal with how the speaker is communicating to the audience. If the audience is a judgmental audience then the speaker will be careful to what is being said.

The speaker needs to be honest about his or her subject they are discussing. Dishonesty can be seen through non-verbal communication, non-verbal communication is 75% of speaking.

A speaker seems more authentic when they speak about subjects that are important to them or personal. When a speaker is communicating about a personal subject adding in examples from their own life, it makes the speaker seem more authentic all together.

Creating good speaking habits is a way to enhance your competence when speaking. One way to enhance your competence is doing away with verbal fillers, reducing unnecessary hand gestures, and maintaining good eye contact with your audience.

When speaking in public about certain emotional and political concepts, the speaker needs to do away with his or her own biasness. Dogmatism is when a person confuses his or her own opinions with facts. This will make a speaker seem less knowledgeable about the subject they are trying to enlighten others about.

When addressing an audience in public, a speaker needs to shy away from negativity. Negatively speaking often gives the audience an unsettling view of the speaker, which in turns prompts the audience to pay less attention to the speaker.

On the positive side of public speaking, reducing uncertainty and having clear goals of the conversation is a great way to ensure and understanding audience.

On subjects of persuading people to be active in certain matters, having integrity is an important part; leading by example is a way to confirm to the audience of your own integrity.

Also, maintaining a specific pace and order is a strong tool to use when communicating publicly. Using a pyramid like way of ordering information is a useful way to ensure that the important information is presented first. Presenting the information from most to least important or specific to general is one way to use a pyramid like theory of ordering information.

Making sure the speech covers the information and is presented in an interesting way is something to keep in mind to keep the audience’s interest. When using some of these methods that have been discussed the speaker can enhance their public speaking capabilities.

97cd81_23464d2fe70545ef9e4e8ed31d10dbd8.jpg_srz_p_134_135_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzWyatt Goodman, Spring 2015 Account Coordinator

Wyatt Goodwin is an Account Coordinator for NinerNation Relations. His internships were marketing and public relations, and he is currently a graduating senior in the Communication Public Relations field. Previous public relations work includes UNCC Confessions and recruitment work for Ameripark. His skills include social media management and public speaking.

Things I Wish I Would Have Known

As a current senior graduating in May, I have reflected quite a bit on where I am now, what I have done and where I want to go. Looking back there are things I wish I had realized when I sat down for my first class my freshman year, because what I didn’t realize then was that those next few years would fly by. Therefore, I made a list of the top four things I thought every Communications/PR student should start thinking about day one:

Tip #1: Begin by defining what you want to do. I defined what I wanted to do late in my junior year and by the time my “expected graduation” rolled around, I had fallen short of a couple classes that I needed for graduation. If I had defined what I wanted to do earlier on, I could have been more involved and actively taken advantage of the opportunities available. At the same time, if you are not sure, then begin by joining as many clubs as you can in topics that interest you. You may even be able to include PR in those clubs/organizations (further information in Tip #3.) When you begin to define your career path and goals, you can tailor those activities to suit your needs. But do not do nothing, I can guarantee it will pay off to have participated in these activities in the long run. Experience is everything.

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Tip #2: Do Not Be Afraid. College goes by so fast and there are so many missed opportunities that can happen if you are too afraid to put yourself out there and try something new. This is the time to mess up and make mistakes and figure out who you want to be for the rest of your life. It might take a couple of tries but do not be afraid. Apply for that internship you always wanted and work your best to get it, if you don’t it means it wasn’t the time for you and you can always try again. Don’t be afraid to fail because if you never give up, you are not failing.

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Make it work for you: Sometimes many students choose or need to work while in school. And while you may be thinking, “I don’t have time to do this or that,” sometimes the places you think don’t need PR, might need it the most- or don’t have it at all. For example, I was a server at a restaurant for my first 3 years in college. It was only after I got out of the restaurant industry and into my major that I realized I could have been doing PR the entire time. I could have worked on their website, I could have developed a Facebook or Instagram page for internal communication, and I could have had a bigger voice and used what I was learning in classes and applied it to the real world. So you do not always have to choose one thing over the other, make it work for you and your long term career goals. It will give you something great to put on your resume and you will still get the bills paid in the process.

Make Lasting Connections Last but not least, make lasting connections. In PR, one of our duties is to build and maintain relationships with clients, consumers, businesses, etc. But before you get in the real world, make those connections with those around you who have the same goals and who are aspiring for the same thing.

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I took a study abroad trip to London for an International Seminar in Public Relations and I can say, as good as the class was, the benefit was meeting an amazing group of girls that were just as driven to succeed in the field as I was. They are girls I can call and ask for help on an assignment, run an idea by and girls that I know I can count on when I get into the “real world.”

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These are just a few of the many tips I wish I had known when I first came to college. Remember, it is never too late to take that risk, always begin by thinking ahead, make those connections and do not be afraid.

149188_1390391014418_2509937_nNatalia Schiappacasse, Spring 2015 Account Manager

Natalia Schiappacasse is an account manager for NinerNation Relations. She is currently a senior majoring in Public Relations and International Studies. While in her couple of years in college she has been an active member of the PRSSA, has particpated in the Disney College Program and spent a study abroad month in London studying international public relations. She is currently the PR Director for the PRSSA and also has an local internship with a small remote team based out of Miami, FL. Her skills include speaking English, Spanish and Portuguese fluently, organization and her eagerness to continuously learn.

The Relationship Between Public Relations and Twitter

In this day and age, most people are on some form of social media or at least know of it. Twitter, can be considered one of today’s most popular social media sites. Many people look to twitter not only for entertainment but also for news. In many situations, the public may look to twitter as a play by play of a live event. For example, while watching an award show, such as the MTV Video Music Awards, people will tweet their opinions about who won, what a celebrity was wearing, or any controversial event that may have happened.

So with twitter being so prominent, would it be smart for public relations professionals to take advantage of this media outlet? I can think of three good reasons for why the answer is yes.

First, a tweet can only be comprised of 140 characters, this will allow PR practitioners to share their information in a very straight forward and concise way. When looking at a twitter for a certain company, a client will be able to easily find the information he or she is looking for without all the extra fluff.

Second, tweets are not just a once a month update but because they are shorter they can happen more often. This will ensure that everyone is up to date on the happenings of that particular company, especially in a crisis situation.

Lastly, twitter is not just a one-way communication outlet. Followers can retweet, favorite or even tweet back their responses and opinions. Therefore, the feedback is still a factor in this form of Public Relations.

Twitter will not always be one of the hottest forms of social media. But for the time being, it can be a very affective platform for public relations. So it is smart to take advantage of all that twitter has to offer for a company and its publics.

http://www.shiftcomm.com/2014/02/why-pr-pros-should-use-twitter/

http://mashable.com/2011/04/14/pr-pro-twitter-guide/

Natalie McNeil Bio 2Natalie McNeil, Spring 2015 Account Coordinator

Natalie McNeill is a junior at UNC Charlotte. She is a member of PRSSA and has one internship experience so far. Natalie hopes to venture into fashion PR or event planning.

Deciding Where to Live: Five Best places to Live for PR

One of the main decisions when graduating college is deciding where you want to live. I know that I’ve had a hard time debating whether I should stay in Charlotte or go begin an adventure in another city. When narrowing my searches of the “other city” I started with what places would be the best for someone seeking a job in public relations. These are the “Top 5” places to live if you are pursuing a job in Public Relations.

  1. Washington D.C.: First, Washington, D.C is an amazing place to live, especially for people in there twenties. However, for a Public Relations specialist D.C. has the best jobs that also pay the best than the national average. The average mean is $81,000 compared to the national average at $46,000. So, if you love politics and great museums D.C. is the perfect place for you!
  2. Toronto, Canada: If you love Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling then Toronto is the place for you. Toronto was listed the second best place to live for quality of life. In addition, it is a great place to live for Public Relations because it is home to the leading integrated strategic communications and public affairs firms, Fleishman-Hillard. Toronto is flourishing with opportunity!
  3. Denver, Colorado: Skiing isn’t the only good thing about Denver, but also it’s great careers in Public Relations. Known as the “Mile High city” it delivers top salaries and also has the second highest concentration of jobs. In addition, it has the highest concentration of Public Relations Specialists as well. If you like the cold and outdoor sports, Denver is the perfect place for you!
  4. Austin, Texas: Austin is located in central Texas and surrounded by many lakes. It is listed as the best city to live in for the next decade. This city is great for Public Relations Specialist because it offers ample opportunities in social media and has a great salary. However, keep in mind that salary isn’t everything, Austin also has a great nightlife and great food!
  5. Boston, Massachusetts: Boston is a huge city and home of the Boston Red Socks! It is also great for Public Relations Specialist because it is home to many agencies including Allen and Gerritsen, who was voted the best place to work in 2011 and offers a great internship program. The company also is active in community service.

Overall, you should choose what you want to do and what works best for you! I know that it can be hard to step out of your comfort zone but these are only five places to get your search going. If you’re not ready to take the leap yet, maybe you will be in a few years. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best!

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Jade Hudson, Spring 2015 Account Coordinator

Jade Hudson is a senior at UNC Charlotte with a love for social media. She is currently the Public Relations Intern for the non-profit, NC MedAssist. If you would like to connect with her follow her on twitter @Ehudson20 or on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/elizabeth-hudson/83/3a3/455

Social Media Accounts: Private or Public?

Every student comes to the point in their college career when the end is near and it’s time for job applications and interviews. Time to change out of the usual class t-shirt attire and trade it in for dresses and suits…but will that be enough? As popular as social media has become over the past couple years, it’s no surprise potential employers will look at your profile before hiring you, and they’re probably right to.

What does this mean? Well, a couple things actually.

1) The picture of you dancing on the table at the bar needs to go

 

We understand- you like to have fun! However, not every fun thing you do needs to be in the public eye. Have a mentor go through your pictures and delete what may seem unprofessional or make it private! Who knows, your co-workers may enjoy dancing on tables too…but find that out before you let them know the real you.

2) Beware of TUI

It’s always entertaining scrolling through your TL the morning after a night out and receiving favorite notifications on a tweet you don’t remember tweeting…you had no idea you went to cookout! Tweeting under the influence can be a dangerous thing. Luckily, there’s a delete button…but if you have friends like mine then you know there’ll be screenshot copies to remind you the next day. A big part of Public Relations is social media and tweets with accurate grammar. Businesses want to know they can trust you to not tweet anything harmful about their company…and what better way to prevent that than starting with your own account?

3) Everyone likes surprises

There’s nothing wrong with a public account. If you do it the right way it can be a great tool to show employers your personality, and hey, it could even help you land that interview (13 Retweets?! I mean you’re basically already famous). However, if you’re not 100% confident that there’s nothing there you may regret, it won’t hurt to make it temporarily private until you land the job of your dreams. Be that mystery job applicant that they have to call in for an interview to find out more about, not being able to see your accounts may be intriguing enough for them to want to learn more…like I said, who doesn’t love surprises?

So what’s the answer? Well that’s up to you. With positives and negatives on both sides, it comes down to your own judgment…take down those embarrassing photos, proofread your tweets, and put yourself in the employer’s shoes. If you saw your profile from their standpoint, would you hire yourself?

947205_10151501836448645_1619887963_nCady Ray, Spring 2015 Account Coordinator

Cady Ray is a senior majoring in Communications Studies with a concentration in Public Relations. She is set to graduate early in December 2015. Cady Ray finished her term as Secretary of PRSSA and her internship with 49er Athletics Media Relations department last semester. She’s currently an intern at SPARK Strategic Ideas and is excited to experience the agency side of PR. She works as Resident Advisor on campus and is a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. Cady Ray also serves on the Panhellenic Executive board as Director of Recruitment Counselors. When she isn’t working or in school, Cady is usually planning or stressing about something… In her spare time though, she loves to read books and watch movies, or even splurge for a ticket to watch her favorite sports teams play.

 

 

 

Public Relations and Why You Need it

In today’s digital world, the need for public relations professionals is at an all-time high. Effective communication can be the key to taking your business to the next level. It is vital to yourself as well as your company that you have invested in quality PR. As expert communicators, PR professionals are equipped with the tools necessary to deliver key messages to your desired audience. It is important to note that your social media effort will be a waste of time if your intended audience is not attending to your message. Public Relations also play a major role in maintaining you and your company’s reputation. Reputation is something that companies work hard to keep in a positive light and since PR professionals know the importance of two-way communication, they know the steps that need to be taken in order to achieve the company’s goal. If you want to be successful, it’s also important that you are prepared for crisis. Crises can occur when we least expect them, but with a PR team readily available those crises can be solved before you or the image of your company is ever tainted.

The Public Relations Society of America defines the management of public relations as:

  • Anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion, attitudes and issues that might impact, for good or ill, the operations and plans of the organization.
  • Counseling management at all levels in the organization with regard to policy decisions, courses of action and communication, taking into account their public ramifications and the organization’s social or citizenship responsibilities.
  • Researching, conducting and evaluating, on a continuing basis, programs of action and communication to achieve the informed public understanding necessary to the success of an organization’s aims. These may include marketing; financial; fund raising; employee, community or government relations; and other programs.
  • Planning and implementing the organization’s efforts to influence or change public policy. Setting objectives, planning, budgeting, recruiting and training staff, developing facilities — in short, managing the resources needed to perform all of the above.

From this definition, it is obvious why public relations professionals are needed. Companies and individuals wanting to enhance or build their reputations through the media hire an agency or a PR practitioner to formulate key messages and turn them into positive media stories. The hired PR agency or practitioner can also take negative coverage and turn into a favorable story for the individual or company. Public Relations is a profession that has been helpful to companies for many years and will continue to help business flourish for years to come.

10463883_10203168810892766_1647003029750752444_nDominique Yost, Spring 2015 Account Coordinator

Dominique Yost is currently a senior studying Communication Studies with a concentration in Public Relations. She has had previous PR experience as a marketing/media coordinator for Lain consulting, a small firm based here in Charlotte, and TheLilaRoseProject, an image consultant group. She is currently a member of NinerNation Relations where she is an Account Coordinator. Her skills include social media management, marketing, leadership, and web design.