InDesign: Trials and Tribulations

I know what you’re thinking…InDesign is a nightmare.  All the tools and buttons make the average student shy away from this software.  However, InDesign is one of the best applications public relations students will use beyond the classroom.  Crafting the best newsletters, fact sheets and brochures require InDesign. Mastering InDesign elevates resumes and increases your job potential in digital media.

Get Started

          Before beginning to create a new project always draw it out first.  A rough sketch helps envision the design you want to create.  Diving strait into InDesign with no vision will lead to frustration.  I tried to work on my newsletter without drawing it out first and it stalled my productivity.  Additionally, pick out a few color schemes that will fit the organization based on what different colors represent.  In example, red is not a good color to use if you are writing a fact sheet for a diaper company.


Learn the Basics First

          I practice InDesign a couple times a week and I still struggle with the basics.  However, the more I practice the better I get. Placing images, drawing text boxes and resizing images are a few things you should learn immediately.  These are basic elements that go into making most documents in InDesign.  Also, while learning the basics take good notes.  Taking good notes allows you to remember what you learned.

Here is a video of the basics !

Edit, Edit, Edit

          Lastly, edit as much as possible.  The first draft of the front cover of my newsletter was terrible.  I thought I would never figure out how to make a successful newsletter.  Once I received more feedback and researched other visually stunning newsletters, I began to get the hang of it.  Try new layout, take creative license but be able to explain why you made those choices.  The ultimate goal at the end of the day is to get published.


Sports PR Today

Sports PR Today

Overseeing the public and community relations department of the Baltimore Ravens is no easy feat, but Kevin Byrne makes it look easy.  He captured University of Maryland students attention when describing his job.  Despite the late nights and early mornings, he would not trade this job for anything.  So how can you score a job like this?  Get the client to say yes to the interview.  

 Grades are not the deciding factor when it comes to sports PR.  GPAs do not help if you have no experience applying what you learn in class.  “No one in your adult life asks you about your grades,” said Byrne.  Internships are the key to landing a great job in sports PR.  Having that experience under your belt prepares you for the big leagues.  Like any sports team, not every player wants to give an interview.  As a PR professional it is your job to get the player to say yes.  Byrne advises students to learn the power of persuasion when it comes to communication.

Communication with players also comes in handy when there is a crisis, especially when there are two sides to every story. Players need to know they can trust their representation.  Being able to handle a public scandal efficiently proves that you have the organizations best interest at heart as well as your reputation.

Want to hear from more professionals ? Watch the UVA PRSSA Sports Panel

For more information on sports PR go to:


The New Tug-of-War: Public Relations vs. Journalism








The New Tug-of-War: Public Relations vs. Journalism


Photo Credit:

Is Public Relations Superior ?

Public Relations practitioners have a duty to follow ethical guidelines and think beyond the now when informing the public.  They conduct research to understand how different events will effect their target publics.  According to Rosanna Fiske, a writer for the Poynter Institute, she agrees that journalist are quick writers who have a knack for crafting good stories, however they lack in client management and research.  Other PR professionals agree that journalist are the urgent side or writing while public relation practitioners cover all realms.

Here is a spoof video produced by the Public Relations Society of America’s National Capital Chapter’s 2007 Annual Thoth Awards Gala.

Commonalities they Share

Although there are many differences between journalism and public relations they do share key values in common.  Writing is important to both of these professions.  Without strong writing skills success is not guaranteed in these fields.  Many former journalist are now members of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).  They also share a need to inform various public with credible information.  According to Bowles, journalists also care about their audience, practice fairness, accuracy and completeness.  Whether a Public Relations professional or journalist, there are common attributes that they share that can me integrated into each other.

For more information visit the following sites:

(Comm 232) Fun at the Newseum


Photo Source: Google Images

What is the Newseum?

Feb. 8, 2014, I went to the Newseum with my fellow PR students from the University of Maryland, College Park.  The Newseum, located in Washington D.C., is known for its amazing exhibits about different elements of news.  This interactive museum provides valuable information for everyone, and is a must see when visiting the Nation’s Capitol.

My Favorite Exhibit

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Photo Source: Amber Booth

As an aspiring PR professional in field of digital communication, I enjoyed the HP New Media Gallery.  Upon entering the gallery, screens with different information surround you.  The gallery is entirely touch screen and includes different facts from around the world on the screens.  Creating your own virtual newspaper in the center of the gallery, simulates how real layout editors place information strategically on the front page.  Screens also soar all the way up to the ceiling and display a presentation on why social media is important in society.  The images presented stimulate the importance of accurate information and credible sources.  I spent 45 minutes walking from screen to screen absorbing as much information as possible.  For anyone who enjoys social media, your first stop in the Newseum should the HP New Media Gallery.

Other Great Exhibits

  • Anchorman: The Exhibit (Ends August 2014)
  • JFK “Creating Camelot” (Ends March 16, 2014)
  • Hank Greenspun Terrace on Pennsylvania Avenue  

For more information about the Newseum visit:

II. Multicultural/Diversity


                                                                             Photo source: Google images

SEO: Diversity defines writing

American society defines different cultures in different ways.  Writers cover different tragedies all over the world and have to be culturally sensitive to avoid offensiveness.  In order to make sure your reporting fair you need to define diversity, follow diversity style guides and use the MIDS checklist.

What is diversity?

 Diversity in writing refers to the representation of all people.  Use the golden rule when writing.  You would not want someone to misrepresent your culture or a characteristic about you. Fairness and balance keep writers from making mistakes.  If you write without following these concepts your writing will not be diverse.    

Style guide to sensitivity

The Society of Professional Journalist offer a list of links that help writers say classify different types of people.  In example when referring to people who are not from this country you should never call them illegal aliens.  The correct terminology is illegal immigration.  Also, avoid using common stereotypes and re read stories to make sure you did not use them.

MIDS checklist

 MIDS is an acronym for Multicultures, ISMs, Diversity and Sensitivity.  Use this checklist to make sure you represent multiple cultures correctly in all you writing and avoid ISM words. If you respect all people and write fairly you are writing diversely. 


For more information go to these links:





I. Social Media Strategy for Job/Career


Photo source: google images

SEO: Brand strategically

Students in PR need to recognize their brand and use it effectively for your job/career.  The key requirements that lead to a successful social media strategy are profiles on all the top social media cites, a good online credibility and tailored post.  If you follow these three keys you are on your way to branding strategically.

Are you LinkedIn?

All professionals in the PR field look at potential hires on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.  If you want to work for a non-profit or event firm play up any skills you have in those two areas.  Also make sure your profile has no spelling or style errors.  Professional are impressed when you take the time to create profiles that are specific and fit you branding goal. Hiring managers do not want to search all over your profile to figure out your career aspirations.

 Online integrity

All of your professional and social profiles need to represent a person of integrity.  Posts that involve explicative language and inappropriate behavior disrupt your brand and turn off professionals.  Make sure you privacy setting are up to date and if you have different profiles make sure you give professionals the correct one.

 Tailor all post

I’m applying to the Cinderella Foundation for a spring internship in their event department.  All of my recent posts on my professional twitter are about new event strategies for non-profits.  I all tailor the post I make to the job field I am interested in.  This helps employers see that I am motivated and committed to events.  Using this strategy on you own social media account will help a lot.

 For more information check out these sites: