The Best Show for a Great Cause - Children's Rehab Rockout

I know last week I promised more about Russell Williams, but my presentation was over 20 slides, and I really don't want to put all that on my blog.  Instead, I thought I give everyone a little update about my IPP.  

Like most of you know, I'm working with my partner, Christa, to plan Children's Rehab Rockout, a concert to raise money for the Children's Rehabilitation Foundation.  So far things are going really well.  I've got four bands on board so far, which makes me really excited.  I have quite a bit of anxiety about the whole thing, though, because I'm terrified that some of them will end up cancelling on us.  I'm staying positive, and I do have faith that the bands will show up and do an awesome job.  But there is always that thought in the back of my mind that something WILL go wrong.

My next step now is to set up meetings with the bands that are onboard.  I need to get them to sign a contract so they are, hopefully, less inclined to back out at the last minute.  I also need to get some music and photos from them so that we can start our contest for "Winnipeg's best local band."  I need to get that done in the next couple of weeks so that our website can get up and running - October is virtually over and before we know it the concert will be nipping at our heels.

One thing I'm really impressed with over the course of planning this event is the enormous amount of help from the foundation.  On Tuesday for the first time, I met the new fundraising coordinator, Erin Kangas.  Because of my job this summer, I never had the chance to meet Erin, but when I finally did I was overwhelmed with how amazing and helpful she is.  She gave Christa and I some really positive feedback, and overall she is an amazing person.  She offered to get me in touch with a lady who works with local bands in order to help fill the last spot. I couldn't believe how quickly she got in touch with the woman and directed her to me, so that I could answer any questions she had.  Erin was also really impressed with the work Christa and I have done so far.  I just want to say that Christa is doing an amazing job with the sponsorship stuff, so I have a lot to live up to.  Erin thinks we are way ahead in terms of getting our stuff together.  In the "real world" she said we are way ahead of the game, which is really nice to hear.

There is still so much to do, but at least I feel good about what we accomplished so far.


Mistakes we maybe don't want to fix

What is one to do when they've printed out a bunch of promotional materials, like Red River College for example, and someone that they've used in their material changes jobs?  Does one A) make the change and get the poster reprinted, or
B) leave it because they use to work there and that's good enough anyway?

This is precisely one of the issues I came across the other day when I saw one of RRC's promotional posters hanging in the atrium highlighting Ms Eva Kovacs.  If you don't know, the RRC promotional posters highlight graduates, where they work and the position they hold.  The poster with Eva says she's the co-anchor of Global Winnipeg's Prime News.  Well if any of you ever watch Global News, you will know that Peter Chura has been the lone anchor since December.  Eva has moved over to the "dark side."  She currently works in the Public Relations department at the WRHA.  

So RRC, what are you going to do?  She was an anchor and that's cool, but now she works somewhere else; highlighting her new job will show the rest of Manitobans how versatile your grads are.  Time to update RRC's promotional material.  I wonder how many others are outdated? 


"Canada's golden lie"

I don't want to spoil my presentation on Tuesday, but there was some serious PR today on the part of the Canadian Government about the Russell Williams case.  Both Prime Minister Harper and the Air Force made statements today regarding Williams.  I haven't had the chance to really dig too deep into it yet, but from a quick google search the earliest statement that I could find from the Air Force was on February 8, 2010, the day after Williams arrest. Lieutenant-General AndrĂ© Deschamps, Chief of the Air Staff made the statement on behalf of the Air Foce, but there appears to be no other statements in the months leading up to Williams court appearance this week.

So it seems as if the the government and the Air Force were letting police take the lead on any comments to Canadians, and decided instead to keep their comments to themselves after Williams was convicted and sentenced off his 88 offenses.  Now I'm not going to say too much more, because I have a lot more research to do and I don't want to spoil anything good I've found or might find for my presentation next week.  Check out my blog next week when I post my presentation of my analyses on the PR surrounding this case.



I'm sorry, but I don't know if I have anything to say about editing this week.  I'm trying to think how having a crappy week has anything to do with editing.  I don't think it does.  Maybe instead I'll talk about how disappointed I was with my own editing this week.  Well not this week, but an assignment I got back this week.

Yesterday I got my PR communications strategy back.  My good ideas where lost on the fact that my editing skills were crap.  I'm not sugar coating it, I lost big marks because of it.  How upsetting.  How stupid.  As I reread the document and the comments all I could think about was, "What the hell was I reading when I edited this?"  It's hard to believe I actually spent time editing this document, because my editing sucked so bad.  To be fair to myself, because I'm starting to sound like a Debbie Downer, all the attention I paid to proper names paid off - that's a bonus.

I find it amazing that you can spend an enormous amount of time editing something and there are still errors.  It's funny how the eye plays tricks on you when you're brain knows what you wanted to say.  The moral of this sob story, give yourself time and give yourself a break when editing so that you can catch all the little tricks your brain is playing on you.


33 miners freed, but what happens now?

Over the last 30 hours, 33 Chilean miners were rescued from the San Jose copper and gold mine over 600 meters underground.

The rescue was absolutely amazing.  Family, friends and countrymen gathered at the site in Copiapo, Chile, and over a billion people around the world watched and waited as each man came up to deafening cheers.  According to cbc.ca, the rescue took only 22 hours and 39 minutes much quicker than the he original estimated time of 36 to 48 hours. 

But what happens now?  The mine collapsed because of poor conditions and lax safety standards.  This time the Chilean government and the mining company, San Esteban, can’t put a band aid on the problem and make it go away.  The whole world witnessed this ordeal, and the safety issues and overworked miners have become front and centre of the issue.
Now it’s time major public relations comes into play from the government and the San Esteban company.  In a cbc.ca story updated October 14 at 10:59 a.m., Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said, “This mine will definitely never open again.”  Pinera also acknowledged that his government will not allow safety issues to be ignored, and that the accident “will not go unpunished.  Those who are responsible will have to assume their responsibility.”

Great.  Pinera is beginning to restore his country’s faith in this ability to look out for THEIR best interests.  Talking the talk is not all Pinera’s been doing to restore his country’s faith in his government.  He’s fired top regulators, and created a commission to investigate the mine’s regulatory system and the San Jose mine collapse.  He’s also been at the site.  He’s talking with family, friends and miners; he’s working hard to be accessible to family members and the miners.  Pinera was also one of the first people to greet each miner after they came up.

So what has the San Esteban company done to build relationships?  From what I can see it’s not done much.  On its website there is a link to a small story, but no mention of the collapsed mine its news section.  Also company press releases can only been seen by logging in with a special username in password.  Not very open and transparent.

As President Pinera works to better protect Chilean workers the company that employs many of them remains silent.  Sooner or later the San Esteban company will have to issue something publicly.  As a president and his country look for answers, and 27 of the 33 rescued miners are suing the company for negligence and compensatory damages San Esteban better speak up soon.


Editing more than words

I’ve been thinking all week how editing works its way into our lives.  Last week in class, Sandy brought up a really interesting point about editing a debate.  I never thought about that before, I mean editing outside of writing.  But editing is a part of everything we do.  We edit our lives by keeping secrets and deciding whom we share them with. 

We also edit photographs.  We shape the poses and gestures of the models so they tell a story the way the photographer wants.  We edit photos to show perfection or the impossible.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before.  This class is called Editing for Print and Online Media and my class after is called Image Editing. 

And that’s precisely what we do.  We’ve learnt how to create one holistic image out of many different images, and we’ve learnt how to manipulate objects and people to make them look exactly how we want.  The image editor can take off years or pounds or blemishes simply by clicking on the right tool. 

It’s amazing the amount of editing in suspected and unsuspected places, and it’s amazing how it can affect people in different ways.  By re-touching a model a girl can feel ashamed about herself and idealize a look that’s impossible to achieve.  But by putting together images of hungry children people feel inclined to give and that child gets a second chance.  


Where do you draw the line?

In business there is a fine line between the bottom line and pleasing the customers.  Now just let me be clear, I don’t have an business degree and the closest I’ve gotten to a business is working in restaurants.  But, I do believe that pleasing the customers to the best of your ability creates an excellent relationship between business and customer, which in the long run will benefit the bottom line.  This is especially true for small business, because there is a much, MUCH smaller customer base.

For five years I have worked as a server/manger at a local St. Vital restaurant.  Throughout my years of serving, I’ve notice that nine times out of ten customers appreciate you going the extra mile; not only in the tips they leave behind but the fact they return time and time again.  So why would I not continue to help make my customers’ experience the best possible one they can get?  As a public relations specialist, the goal is to meet or increase the businesses’ bottom line by creating valuable, long-lasting relationships with clients.

Last Friday, for example, I was at work and friendly couple came in to have a couple of drinks and some food.  I could tell they were good for business – they ordered drinks, one of them a double, and a bunch of food.  The guy ordered a plate of our famous nachos, and asked me if it would be ok if he substituted the salsa for an extra sour cream.  No problem, until I went into the kitchen and told them what I wanted.

“You’ve got to charge them,” the guy said to me.

“You can’t be serious?!!  They only want to swap.”

“Sour cream is more expensive.”

“I really don’t care. Give them what they want.”

According to the cook, my bosses informed the kitchen that anything more or extra needs to be charged for the bill.  This is bull.  I mean, what are they thinking?  Money, money, money, mon-eh.  The business has quite a bit of competition with some pretty serious companies, like earls and Montana’s, pleasing the customers should be common sense.

If you make the customers happy they’ll come back again and again and again.  But where does that fine line end?  When is it time to put the breaks on giving the customer whatever they want just to keep their business? 


Feed the Sex Line?

Regardless of whether you’re a sports fan, you may have heard of the big, BIG, B-I-G typo that hindered the fundraising efforts of Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.

On a box of Ochocinco's, that's a cereal in Ohio, there was a toll-free number that was suppose to connect people with the charity Feed the Children.  Instead a single number error sent would be donors to a sex line where seductive voices answered the phone.  OOPS.

Once the error was discovered late last week, Ochocino cereal was pulled from the shelves, but will be sold again once the mistake is corrected.

Ochocinco’s went on sale in early September so either no one called the number until recently, or no one has wanted to donate until last week.

According to the Detroit News, Ochocinco told a local TV station the number was CLEARLY a mistake and he’s sure the maker will fix the problem. 

When was the last time a typo was big news, or even news for that matter?


Planning what? Confessions of a non-planner

I've never been one to plan, anything.  I just kinda go with the flow, and if it ends up biting me in the butt later than, well, I have no one to blame but myself.

Most of the time it works for me.  I've travelled around the world and only one time did I have most of my trip planned out.  Even then we deviated from the plan and almost missed a huge part of the trip, but there were unforseen circumstances, like our bus getting tear gased.  But if we had stuck to the plan I guess that wouldn't have happened.

Let's take Tuesday as the most recent example.  There was a bake sale at school and my boyfriend suggested that we make cream puffs, what were we thinking?  Cream puffs need to be refrigerated, hence the cream part.  Ok, covered.  I brought a cooler to school and figured I'm set.  NOT.  A cooler is not a fridge.  The cream melted and, of course, I didn't think to bring whip cream to school.  So, with melted cream on the cream puffs, I set out to Young's Market on William to get whip cream.  Needless to say that was a disaster, because not to many people had ever bought it.  I was stuck with moldy Cool Whip - one of the grossest things I've ever come across.  So the cream puffs were not all that creamy, but I'm told still super good.  Ugh, stress.

But I digress.  The point is I'm going in to the professional field of public relations, and it's high time I step it up and plan.  I'm going to need to be prepared not only for my sanity, but also the fact that I need to keep my clients happy.  I've heard other people mention that in second year CreComm Melanie talks about being prepared for EVERYTHING - absolutely everything - and having a "what if" kit.  This kind of terrifies me.  Not only because I'm not a planner and have NEVER really planned anything out in my whole life, but also what if I forget something?  I don't even know where I'd begin.

Can a non-planner be reformed?  I really hope so, because if I don't I have a long, hard road ahead of me.