February Program Recap – FAMU SJGC Program: Exploring Careers in Public Relations
Article by Ja’Caiya Stephens, Third-Year Broadcast Journalism Student, Florida A&M University
Date: February 21, 2023
Location: FAMU School of Journalism & Graphic Communication
- Tonja H. Ward – Strategic Planning & Digital Content Consultant / Weekend Announcer, praiseLive & Co-Founder, Charlie & Tonja Ward Family Foundation
- Chirag Shah – Founder & CEO, The Current Agency
- Kelly Corder, APR, CPRC – Director of Media Relations, Sachs Media
- Nipa Eason – Creative Director, SalterMitchell PR
- Kyya Smith – Account Coordinator, SalterMitchell PR
Moderator: Asya M. Griffin – Fourth-Year PR Student, FAMU SJGC
On February 21, more than 70 students from Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism and Graphic Design (SJGC) attended a program featuring five panelists from a variety of backgrounds in the public relations and marketing fields. Each panelist provided insight on their professional journey and shared tips with the students.
What are good skillsets to have coming out of college, and what should recent graduates keep in mind?
- Digital media has advanced the skillsets needed to begin as a PR professional. However, the relevance of traditional PR skills will assist with what potential hiring managers are seeking in an aspiring PR professional.
- Remaining a lifelong learner is how you stay relevant. Learning and freshening up on old and new skills helps mold foundational strengths when you enter the workforce.
- Having a mentor to guide you – whose story may resonate with yours – is a fantastic way to gain connections and knowledge.
- Bringing your own flare to your work is important. Highlight your voice throughout your stories and pieces you are sharing with the public.
How can students network with professionals?
- With the rise of social media, it is easier to form connections with other professionals and create a name for yourself. Social networking is one of the most common ways to connect and to brand yourself through content and social interaction.
- You must be able to pitch yourself. Who knows you best? The answer is you. Think of yourself as a brand, and pitch yourself as such with the formalities of an aspiring or current PR practitioner.
What are a few of the misconceptions about working in public relations?
- Creativity is not limited to graphics and visuals. Creativity is being flexible and being open to opportunities and people around you. You must be willing to listen to others’ stories and deliver them in your own way.
- Most of the time when you are new to the field, you are afraid to ask questions. How will you learn if you never ask? It is imperative to express your curiosity.
The expansion of professions in the PR field provides opportunities for future PR professionals to express their creativity through the art of communication. As a result, there is a wider range of skills and diversity within the PR profession.