From the Intern's Desk

thoughts, tools, tips, and tricks from the perpetual intern

Archive for the category “Public Relations”

Why All of Sports Needs Better Public Relations

Note: This post was written before the Manti Te’o fake-girlfriend scandal. However, I chose not to later add anything about it because, well, enough has already been said about it. But if anything, it further emphasizes the point of this post. -SS

The idea for this post came to mind a few days before this happened:

ESPN’s Brent Musburger “went too far” in comments about an Auburn grad, the girlfriend of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, who appeared on-air during the Crimson Tide’s victory Monday against Notre Dame in the BCS title game.

The network apologized for that.

During the cablecast, Katherine Webb, Miss Alabama, was caught on camera sitting near McCarron’s mother.

Webb obviously impressed Musburger, 73, who said, “You quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women. What a beautiful woman. Wow!”

(from USA TODAY Sports, Jan. 8, 2013)

I had the BCS game on in my living room and was standing in my kitchen preparing dinner when I heard Musburger’s comments. Besides the fact that, as a female, I was completely appalled by his brazen and (in my opinion) disgusting judgments involving a woman’s appearance, my brain clicked over to the public relations side of the incident. I shook my head and thought, just wait until somebody apologizes for that. No way can that be gotten away with.

And then I began looking for more examples of bad behavior in sports exemplifying the need for more effective public relations – and, to state the obvious, they weren’t too hard to find. USA TODAY Sports was ripe with unsavory exemplars.

Saying stupid things

Rob Parker (from helmet2helmet)

Rob Parker was recently let go from ESPN after this incident involving race-related comments toward RGIII.

“Parker, who is African American, made those comments on the morning talk show First Take, about Griffin, who is also African American, possibly being a ‘cornball brother’ who is ‘not really down with the cause.’”

(from USA TODAY Sports, Jan. 8, 2013)

Fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan told ESPNDallas.com about his former team (the Cowboys): “I inherited a team that was 31st in the league in defense and made them better. I (expletive) made them a hell of a lot better. I’ll be out of work for like five minutes.”

Ties to criminal behavior

Brooklyn Nets forward Andray Blatche was questioned by Philadelphia police in connection with a sexual assault complaint at a Philadelphia hotel, two people with knowledge of the investigation told USA TODAY Sports.

Bryan Thomas (from NY Post)

New York Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas has applied for admission into a special probation program to resolve charges of assaulting his wife and possessing painkillers and marijuana paraphernalia.

Thomas, 33, was charged Oct. 31 in Randolph, N.J., where he lives, with aggravated assault upon his wife at their home. The linebacker allegedly pushed his wife with a kitchen chair, punched her in the stomach, and grabbed her by the neck, causing pain and marks on her body, according to criminal complaints. (from USA TODAY Sports Jan. 8 2013)

Just generally being irresponsible

Ray Lewis’s dance around the field after the Ravens’ win over Indianapolis was perceived as disrespectful by one Colts player, who chastised Lewis’s behavior on a radio show. Lewis responded with something along the lines of, “I guess the trot around the field was disrespectful, too.” (from USA TODAY Sports Jan. 8 2013)

Mark Cuban (from the Village Voice)

Mark Cuban has ranked up over $2 million in fines since becoming the owner of the Dallas Mavericks in 2000. The most recent one of $50,000 came because of a tweet remarking upon poor officiating. While not a lot of money for Cuban, having to pay $50K for one tweet for a normal person is insane.

I found all this news just on the sports homepage, in one day. And to top it all off, running right next to the story about ESPN’s apology for Musburger’s comments was a photo gallery containing various glamour shots of Miss Alabama. Shameless.

The fact that this is all so easily found and that there is clearly an audience for all this scandal makes me extremely disappointed in American sports culture. Sports players doing good deeds rarely get a second look by mass media. Kevin Durant, whom for full disclosure is my favorite basketball player, recently retweeted a picture of himself with an adoring fan “making his birthday wish come true” at an Oklahoma City children’s hospital for kids with physical and mental disabilities– the picture, seen here, is truly heartwarming. But this was absolutely nowhere to be found on any national sports website.

And at this point, it’s not even a surprise. While people love seeing cute pictures of kittens and unborn babies grabbing doctors’ fingers from the womb, when it comes to sports figures, being a foul-mouthed, sexist, racist or otherwise inappropriate imbecile on national television will most certainly increase your media coverage two-fold. And let’s not even talk about criminal behavior. I’m sure you all can think of some examples of that (cough-O.J. Simpson-cough).

Of course, all the bad things sports figures do are news. I’m not advocating that media organizations stop covering the behaviors of the few. I’m advocating for more coverage of the marketable qualities of the majority. One thing the league offices for the NBA and NFL, among others, have in common is that their reaction toward player behaviors that deviate from the well-regulated norms is always to squash those behaviors. The big leagues take pride in the fact that they’re vanilla (not literally vanilla, but their reputations are pretty darn vanilla), and they disregard the fact that in these days diversity is what makes brands stronger. I bet if you asked PR professionals to describe the buzzwords surround pop-culture hits of the past year, “unique” and “individualism” would top the list. And of course, these sport figures are also role models to many youths aspiring to have careers of fame in a game they love. The last thing these brands should be doing is making themselves appear militant.

Well, with one exception: Zach Randolph, power forward of the Memphis Grizzlies, is afraid of cats.

Zach Randolph (from EliteDaily.com)

How to Gain Valuable Internship Experience

Seek and you shall find ... if you're looking in the right place, of course.

…without killing yourself. Here are some tips from my own experience as well as from other bloggers:

  1. What’s your value? Job experience, career exploration, résumé building – there are many reasons why you should intern. Determine the most important one to you. Tailor your cover letter to each employer – don’t just send out a generic letter. Show an employer why you would add value to their company.
  2. Where to intern? Analyze your needs and wants. Do you need a paying position? Do you want agency experience? Nonprofit experience? There are many outlets to develop your skills, but not all will be a perfect fit. Many internships are unpaid, but they offer college credit. Make sure to talk to your major adviser so they can approve your enrollment and even give you suggestions as to where to apply.
  3. Who can help you land your dream internship? People with contacts in your field, like a professional who can mentor you, would be great. You can develop contact at organizations that may have a local chapter, such as PRSSA or IABC. And of course, there’s always the career services office like the Cronkite Career Services Office for example that have a wealth of information. Make sure you’re on your college’s mailing list!
  4. When should you apply? EARLY. Early, early, early. Internships have deadlines. When I applied to an internship I saw in a career services email, I heard back right away because I was one of the first ones that applied. A job won’t wait around forever, especially if it’s one a lot of people want. Research upcoming opportunities, and if you see one you like, send in an application. Even if you don’t, anticipate the needs like how this One Day One Internship post said to search the Wayne Gretzky way. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
  5. What can you do to standout? Be creative. Emphasize your strengths by creating a social media plan for yourself – your Twitter page, YouTube, LinkedIn and how you communicate using these tools. Tell your employers how you did it. Advertise yourself. Use Prezi to put together a unique résumé that employers will remember. Reach out to employers on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter. (see other good Twitter resources below)
  6. How do you move on if rejected from an employer? Don’t give up! Every setback is a new opportunity to find a better fit. Change your approach to networking. See if you get results. Internships are not jobs, so not as much is on the line. Read more blogs, comment and interact with others. Now is the time to take chances – establish yourself as a brand and identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Before you play the game, you must know the rules. Internships are competitive, especially in public relations. You have to be known before you’re considered for the job. The best way to get known is establishing yourself in the digital world. Use #prstudchat and #internchat hashtags to join the conversation, and find good people to follow.

Follow on Twitter

@YouTern – YouTern is effective because they tweet both companies to intern for and articles about interning. They have a blog offering tips and advice from experienced people that’s updated regularly.

Similar: @VoxPopPRCareers; @PRWork; @InternAlert – All update regularly with job and internship opportunities in the US (and even the UK for VoxPop).

@ComeRecommended – Offering several how-to articles, ComeRecommended works for both interns and their future employers. Their posts offer advice tailored to almost any situation you may find yourself in. You can join and interact with other interns and reach out to employers on their site.

@InternQueen – Lauren Berger, aka the Intern Queen, has years of experience. She had fifteen internships while in college. She offers tips and tricks for breaking into the internship world. Her site allows you to directly fill out applications for internships, even in fields other than PR.

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