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

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!

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


Shadow Day

By: Christian Navarrete

My first PRSSA shadow day I learned valuable real world experience in action. The purpose for this shadow day experience was to assist Lilliana, KGBTexas , with her client’s media relations. Her client, Walmart  donated $75,000 to fund a health community program for San Antonio’s east side. Intriguingly, several crisis management processes occurred during the event.

First, due to her client’s schedule change, she had to acquire a new speaker to speak on behalf of her client. Secondly, due to several concurrent San Antonio events, the media didn’t show up. We had to quickly adjust to meet the client’s needs, such as utilizing social media to promote the check presentation. After, the check presentation Lilliana informed us on the crisis management process in which she said “you must always be prepared for the unexpected”, and “You should always have contingency plans for your client’s publicity”. She also mentioned that you should follow up with the media with news releases, and photos of the event for quick dissemination of information.

Media relations is an imperative element to public relations because the primary objective is media exposure for the client. Experience acquired!

Media Shadow Day Experience

By Rosemary Clark

On September the 14th I had the privilege of shadowing Mrs. Lilli Gonzalez with KGBTexas. Mrs. Gonzalez was so sweet and gave Christian and I wise words of how to get into the Public Relations world. The event itself was put together wonderfully. I took pictures for the event along with directing the media that showed up to the main stage. I was able to see what work was put in to put together an event like this. Since I arrived early to the event, I was able to meet other PR directors from St. Phillips College along with Incarnate Word. Just like Mrs. Gonzalez, they gave me some great insight to the PR world, their own experiences and how that has helped them in their career today.
    Because of the shadow day I am proud to say that I know the Public Relations field is just right for me. I loved every single moment of it. I was nervous going into the shadow day but looking back I had no reason to be nervous. Mrs. Gonzalez stressed to me that experience is the main thing that Public Relation students need. I am so ready to jump right on in and look into more shadow days. I think that everyone, no matter what field they are going into, should be able to have the same experience I had with Mrs. Gonzalez. Not only was it wonderful networking but I was able to expand my view to the PR world.

My Comm Week Experience

Written by:

Sharon Daniel



Did you know that 75% of all families give in the United States?! Hopefully, by you learning the steps to being an effective fundraiser will be motivating enough to not being afraid to ask. There will be times were you will be told “no,” but just by you being knowledgeable and confident enough to ask makes asking so worth it. Just remember the “no” can mean not at this time, or that there’s simply no money to give at the moment. Special guest speakers Jim Eskin and Michael Bacon talked about how to be behind a successful fundraiser.  Michael Bacon put it into perspective when he said you have to “check your ego at the door, because it’s not about you, it is about the mission and funds that you raise.” I am happy to share some knowledge that I learned with you, so hopefully when you go on your own fundraising mission, you will have a solid game plan!

What to expect:

-People don’t give unless asked.

-Donors’ might donate a small amount at first to see what you will do with it, before they give a bigger gift. You have no control of donations of donors.

-Not everyone will donate.


Planning your ask:

What do we know?

-The list of donors.

-Amount received.

Where are you going to ask?

-Best places are in a person’s home or office, not at a restaurant because it is in an uncontrolled environment (waiter coming through).

How are you going to ask?

-Face to face is the best, phone call if you met and spoken to the person already.

-Don’t tell of the discussion over the phone. If you say to the donor that you need the “practice your sing and dance,” chances are they will not say “no.”

-Most likely there will be a gate keeper; it is helpful to have a friend of the donor to call so the call will go through.

-Set an appointment with the clear purpose of sharing a gift proposal, no surprises!

-Get as many people a part of the donors goals that also support your mission to back you up when you ask for a donation (ex. Staff members, peer volunteers, board members), so that it will give more reason for the donor to say “yes.”

-Offer if anyone would like to be there (spouse? CPA?), so everyone is there at once.

-Summarize and ask for the steps next taken, like “how do you feel about me calling you in (X) months for a donation of (X) amount?” or “can we count on you for a gift of (X)?”

Materials you need:

-Specific proposal with cost estimates or benefits noted, like of the donors target audience is also the audience you will be serving.  

-Tell a case for support, like a story (ex. of family we served).

-Financial or fundraising progress report. Donors want to know who else donates.  Note: Ask for part of but not the whole amount of something.

Things to remember:

-Don’t judge a book by its cover. You never know who your next donor will be.  

-Be conversational.

-Practice in the mirror.

-Always have a plan B.

 It dawned on me that this advice was not just beneficial for fundraising purposes but can also be applied to your own personal life. As a tip, Michael Bacon said when you go into someone’s house and you are asked “would you like a glass of water?” you should say “yes.” That way when you ask for a sum instead of twiddling your fingers while waiting for a response, to give yourself something to do “you can pick up your glass and take a long sip or water!” Also, keep in mind that listening is prudent; it is 75% of the work while the other 25% is you leading the conversation. By being an effective listener, you will be able to shape your proposal to better fit the donors’ interest and ethics, which will help you gain their trust. Hopefully this information helps you build the confidence to ask and helps you plan a successful fundraising. Good luck in your ventures!