Don’t blow in a dog’s face - unless you want to get bit

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday.  Don’t blow in a dog’s face because it will bite you.  Don’t ask me why I didn’t know this, but any time I’ve done this before dogs just squirmed and tried to get away – this apparently is not the case, especially if the dog is quasi-crazy and dominant.

So now I have this freaking ugly looking scratch on my face.  But I guess we’re both responsible, because he should have know better and I should have know better – it’s a case of the should have known betters.

I was crazy upset at first, but when I had a chance to calm down I realized this was a valuable life lesson.  Not only did I learn dogs don’t like this, but also that this lesson can transcend into my relationships with people both in and out of the PR profession.

One, if someone doesn’t like something stop doing it, because the last thing you want to do is ruin a perfectly good relationship or the chance of one.

Two, stay away from crazy people and animals.  Sometimes a fight is just not worth fighting; so don’t even waste your breath.

And three, try, try, try your hardest not to piss people off especially ones with exceptionally large teeth and those who are your superior.

This ugly looking scratch on my face is now a constant reminder of how I should leave stuff alone, but only sometimes.  Sometimes battles are worth fighting.  However, the key is to know when it’s worth it, what price you’re willing to pay and what you’re willing to lose.


RRC Princess Street Campus, what’s the real name?

Since I started school here last year and since even before that I’ve been calling the RRC campus downtown the Princess Street Campus.  But it came to my attention last week that the campus might actually be called the Exchange District Campus.  So what is the campus actually called?

I can understand why the college might have all these names flying out there for the college.  The Exchange District Campus for one is an homage to the area and the combination of the old and new architecture.  The Princess Street Campus, on the other hand, is a signifier of where the campus is and makes it easy for people to find.  So how do you edit the name of a place to both blend it into the area and make it easy for people to find?

But wait, there’s another name to add to the list: Roblin Centre at the Exchange District Campus.  Will this name become THE name for the campus, or will it just be another name people use?


Gleeful news conference

The PR students put together a news conference on Thursday for the Broadcast J students.  It was so much fun – for us PRs.  If you don’t know about Broadcast J all I have to say is be very afraid.  No, I’m kidding.  It actually sounds like a really fun class, but it’s intense.  The students have very strict deadlines to meet, and both Journalism and Media Production students are thrust out of their comfort zones and have to swap jobs very once in awhile.

Needless to say, there was a huge difference between the PRs’ experience at the press conference and the Broadcast J students’ experience.

First, I want to extend my kudos to Melanie for creating an excellent assignment.  At the beginning she was so excited about the day of the press conference, but I had my doubts.  Melanie, I’m sorry I doubted you.  I thought it would be a lot more nerve racking then it actually was.  But I digress; the assignment was actually super fun.  In our group we created and put together a media kit.  We did it all.  We wrote the content, took the pictures, and created the design and concept for the media kit itself.  We had a lot of fun.  We ate candy and listened to music and literally did arts and crafts all day Tuesday.

Then came the day of the conference.  After meeting at school bright and early at 8 a.m. to get ready, our news conference started at 11 a.m.  I admit I was nervous, but once we started playing the soundtrack from the first season of Glee and every one in the room was dancing and having a good time all the anxiousness went away.  I even did an interview with Kiran Dillion, and I think I did a great job.  I stuck to my group’s key messages and had a lot of information to provide.

So while the PRs were tickled pink that it was all over, the Broadcast J students went about doing their thing.  From what I hear it was hell.  Most of the shooters and editors this week were Journalism students, and well some of them are more apt with shooting and editing than others.  To be fair they don’t get a lot of chance to practice with final cut pro.  There was some crying and sadly a lot of assignments that weren’t handed in on time.  So while the PRs were hugging and eating candy, the poor Broadcast J students were quietly crying in their edits suites.  Sometimes us PRs cry too.  But the thing to remember is that CreComm hurls the worst at us, and hopefully when we get out of school and into the real world it really won’t be as bad – at least that’s what I tell myself.


Editing reality

I’ve been sick the last couple of days, and like I’m sure you all know when you’re sick you really don’t want to do much – except lie on the couch and watch TV.  There isn’t much to watch on daytime TV, so I find myself watching “reality” TV.  Some stations are now entirely dedicated to “reality” TV, like Global reality and A&E.

But how real is the “reality” TV we watch?  For example, is Chef Ramsey on Hell’s Kitchen really that mean or is it all an act?  To be honest, I never really thought about how fake things on reality TV could be until I watch a CSI: Miami episode about a reality TV star that gets killed.  Horatio and his team find out that every single thing on that TV show is a shame – even the characters aren’t who they claim to be.  I know it’s only a TV show but it got me thinking.  Before I might have thought certain things on reality shows were staged, but now I’m questioning the entire existence of “reality” TV.  Needless to say, “reality” TV can’t get anywhere near as real as a documentary.

Here’s a thought, maybe it’s called “reality” TV because it changes the lives of real people.  What do you think?


Remembering our veterans

*this story is something I wrote last year but wanted to share. Lest we forget.
Quiet tears stained the faces of people at the Remembrance Day ceremony at Bruce Park on Portage Avenue yesterday.
As the parade of service men and women, family members of fallen solders and Girl Guides and Scouts of Canada made their way onto the grounds from Portage Avenue not a sound came from the crowd except the cries of a young child.
The service began with the singing of ‘O Canada’, and the flag that began resting at half-mast slowly made its way to the top.
The crowd this year was bigger than Muriel Barton has seen in awhile.
“We usually get over 1,000 people, but today because of the beautiful weather there was more,” said Barton, who has been involved with the St. James Legion branch number four for over 25 years.  “I handed out around 700 programs, on top of the 700 my husband Bruce handed out, and there was still a lot of people that didn’t have one.”
After the opening prayer by chaplain Captain Gordon Mintz, Major Brian Slous read a somber thank-you to the veterans of the First and Second World Wars and a heartfelt message to the men and women serving in Afghanistan.
As the Canadian flag once again descended to half-mast during the Last Post, a young boy holding a portrait of a family member killed in Afghanistan buried his face into the arms of his silent family.
At 11 a.m. for two minutes not a word was spoken as the crowd silently thanked the men and women who put their lives on the line so that Canadians would never have to experience war at home.
Near the end of the ceremony, wreaths were placed on the war memorial that read, ‘Their names live on forever’.   MP Pat Martin, representing the Government of Canada, laid a wreath in memory for all those who sacrificed their lives.  MLA Bonnie Korzeniowski laid a wreath for the province, and Councilor Scott Fielding presented one for the city.
With the sun shinning bright, the solders gave their final salute and began the parade down Portage Avenue.


Editing my habits

The other day I was asked to do a survey regarding my drinking habits. Now you may be thinking the survey was just asking about my “drinking” habits, but it included how much coffee, water, pop and alcohol I consume. So I was pretty honest about most things, but when I got to the section about how many servings of alcohol I may drink each week I really had to think about my answers.

This is another form of editing. While I don’t have any “issues” with alcohol, I still wanted to lower the number of servings. I edited my habits to so that the person on the other end of the survey didn’t send me an email with a link to AFM – even if the survey was anonymous. You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to rack up the number of servings of alcohol you consume each week.


Over thinking headlines

Part of this week’s headline assignment was to revise two of our own headlines from our blogs.  Picking the bad headlines I wrote wasn’t hard, but I did find it challenging to revise them.  I knew what I hated about my headlines, but it was difficult to figure out what was the best way to fix them.

The Canadian Press Stylebook provides a lot of useful information when writing a headline, but it can also be very daunting.  The Stylebook says to be specific; give enough information about the story but don’t give it all away; use strong verbs, and the list goes on.  But as I struggled to revise my headlines I tried to keep all these “rules” in mind, and come up with headlines I would find interesting but that a larger audience would also understand.

After working on this assignment, I realized how very important headlines are in the editing process.  Not only does it sum up the basis of the story, but it also gets people interested in the story and the newspaper, website, journal or whatever as a whole.  A headline is what sells, and if the headline editor doesn’t get it right people won’t be interested in reading what the publication has to say.