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About prssautsa

PRSSA chapter @ UTSA

Passion for PR

Since my journey began at The University of Texas at San Antonio, I have always known that public relations is the perfect field for me. However, it wasn’t until I attended a Personal Branding seminar given by Bob “Pritch” Pritchard, APR, on March 19 that I was able to find my calling…Public Affairs!

This was a day filled with learning not only about branding, but also on who I am. I learned that branding is NOT a name, a logo, a slogan or a PR campaign. Branding is a PROMISE! If you make good on this promise, then you are sure to have loyal stakeholders. Why is it important to define your brand you might ask? If YOU do not define your brand, it will be defined for you!

At the daylong seminar, I learned steps to creating my “Micro-Swoosh,” which is “the powerful, clear, positive idea that comes to mind whenever other people think of you.” Your Micro-Swoosh stems from your values, passions and strengths.

Not only did I have a chance to learn about personal branding, but I also had the privilege to shadow PR pro Gretchen Roufs, who put together this beneficial and inspirational seminar.

From Gretchen, I learned tips on coordinating an event and the benefits of having contingency plans. Every moment that she had, she was sharing her knowledge with me.

I must say that students and professionals who did not attend this seminar missed out on some profound knowledge. Thank you so much to Pritch and Gretchen for guiding me down the right path. I know through the knowledge they shared with me, I have a successful future ahead! I also know that everyone at the seminar discovered or rediscovered their “Passion for PR” or in the Twitter world, Pritch says #PassionForPR.

-Michelle Jaramillo
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Posted by on March 23, 2014 in Uncategorized


Follow Your Whispers

Day 1 of the PRSSA Red River Conference was one that no one who attended will forget any time soon. During a delicious meal (a relief to all the college students who eat more fast food than they’d like to admit), PRSSA’s National President took to the stage to discuss some of the many reasons why PRSSA is the “it” organization for PR majors. Aspiring PR professionals were then in for a treat when Glenn Morshower was introduced as the keynote speaker for the night. An actor in the Hollywood business for years with appearances in shows like Full House and Law & Order SVU, as well as in movies with Brad Pitt and Steve Martin, Glenn had a special message for everyone. It all started with a fish.

He told the story of a small goldfish he met during a hotel stay. Rather than view the tiny creature as decoration, he considered him-or what he assumed to be a “him”-his roommate. Glenn noticed that the fish swam in a small circle, the size of his fish bowl over and over again. He thought of how different their lives were, Glenn traveling all over the country and this fish, never swimming past the small glass bowl. So, he took matters into his own hands and took the fish swimming in the bathtub the next night. At first, the little fish was still, not knowing where he was or what to do. After some time though, he began to swim…he swam in a circle the exact same size of his fish bowl over and over again. Glenn wanted the fish to explore new horizons so with a flick of his wrist, he nudged the little fish a little further out. The goldfish, frightened and confused began swimming again only this time, he knew there was more.

For the rest of Glenn’s almost two week stay, he took the little fish swimming every night. The fish grew bolder and bolder, swimming further each time. On their last night together, Glenn was saddened at the thought of the little goldfish never swimming further than his glass bowl again. He was sure the fish would never have another roommate like him…so he took the fish with him. He now lives in an aquarium even larger than the bathtub.

Aren’t we an awful lot like that fish? We are afraid of leaving our comfort zone. The thought of swimming out further than the size of our bowl scares us. Why? If we only took a leap of faith, we’d see that there is so much more out there to experience than we allow ourselves to enjoy. In order to reach our full potential though, there’s one thing we have to do…follow our whispers.

Glenn was really big on this one and with good reason.

“Have you ever walked into a room and just got this feeling?” he asked. “A feeling that said ‘I don’t belong here’?” A few people in the audience slowly nodded or sheepishly raised their hands. “That’s a whisper.”

A whisper is that inner voice that tells you when something is wrong or that you should walk a different way. Whispers give you good ideas and put you in contact with the right people. It’s important to listen to them. If you don’t you’ll get so off track, you won’t know how to recognize them anymore. Whether you believe that these whispers are God, fate speaking to you, or just coincidental gut feelings, they’re there for a reason. All you have to do is listen. They’ll take you out of your fishbowl.

Not one person left that night not feeling inspired and determined. It was the perfect start to what was a wonderful conference.

It didn’t hurt of course that Glenn is the voice actor for Call of Duty. I’d never seen men squeal in as much excitement as when he began addressing the crowd in his Call of Duty voice. That however, is another story for another day.


-Victoria Reyna

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Posted by on March 11, 2014 in Uncategorized


PRSSA Volunteers For Asian Festival Communication Team

When I initially heard about the 27th Annual Asian Festival from Mr. James Benavides at PRSSA’s first meeting of the semester, I felt a bit nervous. After a semester of getting used to the organization, I knew that it was time to start getting involved and this would be the perfect opportunity to do so. However, the idea of working alongside the highly professional people in our chapter without any experience of my own was daunting. I was afraid of seeming unprofessional, of not being useful enough in comparison. I didn’t even have a camera, or any public social media accounts to promote the festival like everyone else. After some reassurance from Mr. Benavides, however, I signed on.

My worries were unnecessary. Both my fellow students and Mr. Benavides were very welcoming, and gave me everything I needed to feel comfortable and productive. When I needed a ride to the event, a single email got me into a carpool. When I was sent with three other PRSSA volunteers to promote the festival at a separate event, the four of us traded tips on how to get out all of our fliers.

Afterwards, when everyone else went off to promote the event on Twitter and Facebook, I recorded the details of pictures as Mr. Benavides took them, and helped him keep track of events. This last task in particular gave me the advantage of working directly with a professional to offer helpful advice on event coverage. It didn’t hurt to have an excuse to watch the cultural displays either.

Volunteering through PRSSA has been comfortable, educational, and available. Furthermore, the relevance of these volunteer opportunities puts students in contact with helpful professionals as potential future contacts in the field and sources of guidance.

For a student without experience, PRSSA provides a great first step into the world of professional Communications.

-Kelsey Hart

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Posted by on February 21, 2014 in Uncategorized


PRSA Luncheon: A Review

On January 9, I was given the honor of representing UTSA at PRSA’s monthly luncheon at The Bright Shawl. This month’s guest speaker was Sean Wood, multimedia manager at KGBTexas, who shared some advice on digital media and creating a company “newsroom.” Wood began by explaining that response to traditional media is declining while digital media is on the rise. His presentation outlined the need for a tailored approach when managing a company’s online and social media presence. I found the Zachary Holdings example particularly enlightening. They publish a monthly magazine/newsletter and mail it directly to their target audience (clients, employees), but the publication is also available on their website, so anyone with a casual interest in nuclear power plant development has access to the same materials. This way, ZH targets the right audience while also advancing their name and online presence. Between the excellent food, pleasant company, and an interesting presentation from a knowledgeable speaker, this event was a great experience. I encourage current PRSSA members to come out to one of these luncheons in the future and enjoy the surroundings while growing as young PR professionals.

-Oziel Alvarez

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Posted by on February 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


PRSA Luncheon: A Review

Within my first week being a member of UTSA’s PRSSA chapter I had the wonderful privilege of attending PRSA’s February luncheon on Wednesday, February 6th.  The focus of the luncheon was titled “Working with Journalists: Best Practices and Insights for Public Relation Pros”.  Other than being aware of the main focus for the luncheon, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Upon arriving early to the luncheon, I was asked to sell raffle tickets, along with another PRSSA member, to support the Marilyn Potts Scholarship for PRSSA students at UTSA.  I really appreciate the PRSA member’s support in contributing to the scholarship. 
I was really impressed with the panel of journalists whom are members of the Society of Professional Journalists that attended the luncheon.  The information they all shared was extremely helpful.  I gained a lot of insight to what exactly a journalist expects from a public relations specialist.  The overall relationship between public relation specialists and journalists is key to working together smoothly and successfully.  A great example of tips provided by the panel of journalists is from Mike Gaytan, News Executive Producer at Univsion San Antonio, KWEX-TV.  He suggested to always contact via email unless it is urgent, to provide relevant and current events that matter to the station’s viewers and to always plan for story coverage with plenty of advanced notice.
I want to personally thank the board members of PRSA for giving me this remarkable opportunity.  This experience has most definitely proved my interest in the public relations field.  I look forward to attending future luncheons and having the opportunities to meet professionals to further my experience in the public relations field.
-Megan Sauer
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Posted by on February 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


PRSA Luncheon: A Review

“Your website is like a night club. If you don’t update the drink menu and
the bands, people get bored and stop coming”.

With analogies as vivid and current as this, who wouldn’t have an
enjoyable time listening to Sean Wood talk about the emergence of
organization-made/self-made publicity.

Coca-Cola is kicking out the press release, and many organizations are
headed in the same direction: using the mainstream media less and using
their owned media more.

It’s a genius move. Who can tell your entity’s stories better than you? It
makes perfect sense to use your multimedia to reach out to the audience
that is willing to follow you. You reach an organic audience who truly
cares about your brand’s news.

The articles on PRSA Issues and Trends was starting to reveal this trend,
but it was refreshing to hear a local practitioner, Sean Woods relate it
to the San Antonio market.

Thanks to the Bright Shawl for a wonderful meal, as always. What was your
favorite quote from Sean Wood’s presentation?

-Ariana Trevino 
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Posted by on February 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


PRSA Luncheon: A Review

On February 6th, 2014 I attended the PRSA Luncheon at The Bright Shawl from 11:30a.m.-1:00p.m.  The theme of the luncheon was “Working with Journalists: Best Practices and Insights for PR Pros.” After engaging in a brief meet and greet with some of the PR pros, we sat down for a delicious lunch, and listened to several different journalists speak. These journalists were members of the Society of Professional Journalists and were informing the audience on more effective ways for PR practitioners and journalists to communicate with each other. According to the speakers, communication between PR practitioners and journalists can be tricky at times, but the speakers refreshed our memories on how there are always more flexible and efficient ways to communicate. The journalists that spoke during this luncheon included: San Antonio Express-News reporter, Francisco Vara-Orta, Texas Public Radio Reporter, Eileen Pace, Express-News Community Newspaper Reporter, Edmond Ortiz, and News Executive Producer at Univision San Antonio, KWEX-TV, Mike Gaytan. Each journalist had great information to share with the audience, although, the one journalist that stood out to me the most was Mike Gaytan.  He made a very valid point on how the Spanish-language stations can be overlooked sometimes by PR practitioners, even though their station has potential for national and international reach for stories.  One thing that I have learned through my time in college is how communication thrives on diversity.  Pitching a story to a Spanish-language station is a perfect way to reach a more diverse audience.  Another important piece of information that I learned from each journalist that spoke was how to never excessively contact a journalist about a story that you want pitched. They all agreed that they would overlook your pitch if you bombarded them with phone calls and e-mails! Overall, I learned something valuable from each journalist that spoke, which will help better prepare me for when I enter the Professional workforce. I enjoyed my time at the PRSA luncheon and I can’t wait for the next one!   
-Jordyn Cavin
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Posted by on February 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


My Cookie Drop Day Learning Experience

I have sat in class and listened as my professor lectured on the importance of a press release. I have also written a few press releases for assignments, but I had never actually seen how a press release really helps to get the media out to an event. This was all true until I had the privilege of shadowing Stephanie Finleon and her communication team on Cookie Drop Day for the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas. It was such an amazing experience to see the lessons that I had learned in class put into action. I not only had the opportunity to see the hard work it takes to bring the media out to an event, but I was also able to be part of the action. I learned that it takes much more than just sending a well-written press release out once to get the media’s attention. If you want the media to come out to your event, you must follow up and reach out by phone as well. Oh, but the process does not end there. At the actual event, you must ensure that someone is there to greet and direct the media. I was fortunate enough to be that someone. This was more than any other shadow day where you are just taking notes and watching a professional hard at work. From putting together media kits to greeting and directing the media at the event, I can truly say that this was a hands-on learning experience for me. I could not be more grateful to everyone who made me apart of the team and taught me so much in just a few hours. I highly recommend that any student wanting to learn more on how press releases work or how a media event is run that they should take advantage of an opportunity such as this. I sure am glad that I did take advantage of this informative and fun opportunity.


-Michelle Jaramillo

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Posted by on February 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


Sneak Peek!

PRSSA recently elected three new officers for the Spring semester! We can’t wait to see all the wonderful things they are going to bring to our organization and we know you can’t either, so you don’t have to! They want you to know that their plans for PRSSA Spring 2014 are big. If you missed their platforms or just want to know more about them and their plans, look no further! They took the time to write something for our blog for everyone to see. Enjoy! 

Chelsea Campbell
Spring 2014 Vice-President

PRSSA in an amazing organization that allows our UTSA students to learn real world experience from people that are actually doing what we want to do. I am excited to become more involved in helping our chapter grow. It is important to get our chapter known nationally because it will afford is more chances to grow and I would love to help with that by helping PRSSA UTSA apply for awards. I also want to be involved in helping students become aware of all the opportunities PRSSA has to offer them and allowing them to be more active in our organization. There are so many ways to get what you want out of PRSSA whether it is learning a new skill like event planning or social media, or if you are looking for a scholarship or intern possibilities. I want to focus on offering more volunteer opportunities where we can get a large group together to participate. Who knows…maybe we can organize a Fun Run! There is so much potential for our chapter to grow next semester and I am just to thrilled to be a part of it!

Corinne Mason
Spring 2014 Director of Membership

My journey to the executive board started when I attended my first PRSSA meeting. I was a little apprehensive at first because I wasn’t sure I would fit in, but once I met some of the officers I was convinced that one day I would become one. PRSSA helped me find my passion for public relations through events, webinars, guest speakers, and socials. This passion is what I want each and every member of PRSSA to find, and this year I plan on making it my goal. As Director of Membership I want to build our organization’s membership to be 50 percent larger than this year. I would like to create a better incentive program for members who are actively seeking out prospective PRSSA members. I want to increase membership to enhance networking opportunities, become more diverse, and to receive more recognition on a national level. This increase will lead to greater opportunities to raise money, access to more professionals in PR, as well as more internship and job opportunities. Let’s all work together next semester to help UTSA students find their own “PR passion” through PRSSA. 

Oziel Alvarez
Spring 2014 Director of Events

Thank you for the honor of serving alongside a talented executive board as Director of Events. I have some experience with event coordinating from back home, where my friends and I used to put together shows featuring local and touring bands. As a result, I’m familiar with talking to venue owners and talent/performers/speakers as well as budgeting and promoting to a wide audience. I hope to carry that experience into this position and to gain new skills while contributing to our organization. I know many of us attending next semester’s banquet will be graduating in May (myself included), and I will work diligently to ensure that it’s a night worthy of honoring our accomplishments. In addition, I hope to work closely with our members and utilize their ideas to help organize socials and other networking opportunities and create a great environment at all our events in which we can get to know one another comfortably. As an active member of PRSSA, I look forward to getting to know you all throughout this semester, and I’m even more excited to work alongside you in the Spring!


There you have it! Of course, in the midst all the excitement, there are three wonderful people we still have to thank. Tanya Balderas (Fall 2013 VP), Jaylon Brinkley (Fall 2013 Director of Membership), and Tanya Ledesma (Fall 2013 Director of Events), thank you so much for all of your hard work and contributions to PRSSA. We know that you have nothing but great things destined for you in your future. You will be missed on the executive board. Thank you for paving the way for our new officers! 

Study hard for finals, everyone! See you at the banquet!

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Posted by on November 22, 2013 in Uncategorized


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National Convention Recap

As most of you know, national convention just wrapped up this week. Many of our own officers were able to attend and our UTSA chapter even won two awards!

With school, work, and other obligations, it was impossible for many to attend the conference. For those of you who missed it, here’s a recap of all the PR fun that took place! 


Conference Recap: Brian Solis On the Future of Public Relations

October 27, 2013

Image credit: @leeodden
Image credit: @leeodden

Despite his status as a noted author, blogger and social media expert, Brian Solis said that he never stops learning.

“I’m still a student,” he said during today’s General Session at the PRSA 2013 International Conference in Philadelphia.

And he implored attendees to keep learning as well.

“Everything you think you know isn’t all you need to know. It takes a new perspective to see what the future is,” said Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group. “And that’s why it’s such a wonderful time to be where you are right now. Everything can change, and everything will change because of you.”

But that change will come only if PR professionals look differently at they way they do business — particularly with social media.

“We try to amass followers and likes as if it’s a ‘thing.’ We try to get views because that’s how we justify and substantiate our work. But why? What’s it all for? What does it mean? What does it matter?”

As he said, public relations is about relationships. And relationships are about people.

“Public relations is bigger than a department within an organization — it’s actually how your organization talks to people and steers and guides them in ways that they couldn’t get before they connected with you,” Solis said. “Public relations is an extension of everything that the organization does. Without it, it becomes social chaos.”

He talked about the journey that consumers have to take with organizations, whether it’s through a website, press release, an app or Facebook page.

“We go through this journey and that journey is a mess. Why? Because the people who own mobile don’t talk to people who own the website. The people who own the website don’t talk to the people who are running Facebook,” he said. “It’s the same problem over and over again. So you see multiple brands, multiple voices instead of one company. That is PR’s opportunity — redefine the whole journey, the entire experience.”

Social media gives PR professionals something remarkable — the ability to feel and to make other people feel, the ability to not just count the likes and views but also to change outcomes, guide behavior and steer actions.

“I call it the ART of social media,” he said. “If you think about it as Actions, Reactions and Transactions … if I have the opportunity to have your attention for a moment, what am I going to do with it? That’s why this is a new opportunity: It makes us think about what we want to have happen in a meaningful way.”

Understanding influence

Public relations sits at the intersection of brand experience, user experience and customer experience.

“You are responsible for communicating that experience and building relations upon it,” he said. “That means we need to start talking to people we don’t talk to right now, and giving them purpose and giving them direction, a sense of value.”

Public relations has the ability to be even more influential.

“If you define influence not by a Klout score, but by effect — the cause and effect that you have through your work — then you have a whole new metric system.

He cited Old Spice’s much-heralded social media campaign in which its spokesperson, the Old Spice Guy, created more than 150 personalized videos for fans.

“They influenced how people think about the brand. They influenced a shift in perception. They also influenced a ton of sales. We have to move in this direction,” Solis said.

Reaching a connected generation

Using an iPhone as a prop during his 30-minute talk, Solis said that it is the job of PR professionals to think about what goes on the mobile screen and how they can prompt consumers to share that information.

“It’s about talking to someone and through someone at the same time,” he said. “When you try to talk through someone you shift from creating content that is viewed or consumed to creating content that is shared. And it’s a different strategy. In order to share it, it means it had to touch you in some way.”

Sharing experiences

He asked attendees to think about what they consume and share on social media platforms.

“It’s always an emotion. It’s always something related to an experience,” Solis said. “The future of public relations is about creating those experiences.”

Too often, he said, brands die because companies fail to recognize how customer experiences are shifting or don’t bother to improve those customer experiences.

“They’re too busy competing for now. ‘We’re profitable right now,’” Solis said. “The future of public relations is to change that — it’s to be relevant now and relevant for a different type of connected costumer. Connected customers value things differently. This is our opportunity to create and collaborate what that brand, feeling and experience is. “

And he said not to get caught up in the newest channels, social media platforms or devices. There is always going to be something new.

“But what isn’t going to change is the experience and the value that you use these channels for, how you make things matter,” he said. “Those channels just become the outlets for you to do what it is that you do.”

He ended with another message about learning.

“If we learn, then we can lead. And if we lead, then we can bring about change.” — John Elsasser


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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Uncategorized


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