Tag Archives: Tara McElmurry

Public Relations Everywhere

A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I took a road trip to Boston. It was kind of an impromptu trip. I mean we had hotel reservations and such, but Boston was a destination that we just thought would be cool and didn’t really look into very much besides the hotels and how to get there.

So, after a stop in Latham, New York for the night, we woke up pretty early and pulled into Boston around 11:00 a.m. Parking in a parking garage that took us around 20 minutes to find and that was way too expense, we just wanted to go explore, the only problem was we had no idea where anything was.

Standing on a corner about a block away from the parking garage, we both had our smart phones out searching our GPS apps for a way to find the harbor. Just as we were about to cross the street to go to who knows where, a voice behind said, “What are you looking for?” We turn around to find a stout, aging business man in his suit and tie holding his briefcase and presumably on his lunch break. We told him we were looking for the harbor. This is when the amazing part happened. This business man basically recited the cliff notes version of everything we need to know about how to get around the city of Boston and how to do it efficiently because we told him we were only in town for one day. This guy knew everything! He said he was going to write a book about his own version of the Freedom Trail because the original takes too long and had too many zig zags. He knew what ferries to take to get to get to other parts of the city and the most direct routes to everything else worth seeing. He even named a few places for food at the different places he was telling us about. Someone was obviously looking out for my boyfriend and I, two of the probably most inexperienced tourists in Boston, because we ending up having a great time!

Sitting on the ferry on the way back from seeing the U.S.S. Constitution, I was thinking about how it amazing it was to run into that man and how even more amazing it was to hear how much he knew and loved his city. It got me thinking that was pretty much the definition of public relations happening in real life, in person, right in front of me.

PRSA defines public relations as, “Public relations helps and organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.” That is exactly what that man did for me. He immediately in the quick five to ten minutes we stood on that street corner with him adapted me to the city of Boston. He made me so excited to be in that East Coast town.

My view on this whole situation is that we have to remember that is what we are doing in public relations. By being honest, creative, and personable, we can do our jobs in public relations well. I think every PR firm needs a “my Boston business man” working for their clients.

-Tara McElmurry

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Filed under PR, PRSSA, Public Relations

Stop, Collaborate, and Listen…

After just finishing my first year in college as a journalism major with a news editorial concentration, I’m still not sure where exactly I want to end up in the media world, but I know I want to be in it. I find the industry greatly fascinating.

Ever since I took Introduction to Journalism my freshman year of high school, I was hooked. Just learning about the power the media has over the whole world was exciting and intimidating at the same time.

Five years later, that excitement is even stronger. This past semester in my Mass Communication class, we had to read a chapter out of the book Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. In that chapter, it explained how collaboration can really help businesses get new ideas and increase profits.

That got me thinking: What if we used wiki’s to help solve the bigger issues, such as ones the government is dealing with? Now I realize that would be difficult because the businesses that use this wiki idea had to put lots of their company information on the wiki to give enough information to the people that were trying to help. So, I’m not sure how the government could go about doing that without it being a national security issue, but I’m sure there’s way (cliché alert but if there’s a will, there’s a way).

My ideas that I suggested in my Mass Comm class were things like using wiki’s and collaboration to figure out more efficient strategies for the war on terror and ideas for finishing the still unfinished clean-up of Hurricane Katrina. The business in Wikinomics that used wiki’s would get idea entries from people all over the world including people that wouldn’t normally be considered qualified for the job that was needed to be done.  Ideas would be flowing in from neutral parties that wouldn’t need votes for the next election or other reasons to protect a public image like many politicians do.

I just got back from a vacation in the Pacific Northwest. My uncle lives in Kirkland, WA, which is a small town right outside of Seattle. We took a road trip around the Olympic Peninsula. Surrounded by the constant green scenery and mountains, the tree-hugger in me came out. Between all the green, we would see logging trucks pass us on the road and go past patches of what I like to refer to as “tree graveyards” where only the stumps and woodchips were left behind from loggers. It was kind of a reality check while driving through the otherwise lush coastal area.

Another reality check that followed us around was the headlines about the continuing oil spill in the Gulf. Ahh! It stresses me out just thinking about it and what it’s doing to the environment down there. With all the major government and BP officials running out of ideas, what are we going to do to stop this? Well, there was a bright spot in the reality checks that followed us: a story in USA Today told about a retired engineer who traveled down to the gulf area to lend his ideas about how to stop the spill. I got super excited when I saw that because it was embodying my idea of using mass collaboration to solve problems. So, my newest idea for wiki’s and mass collaboration: BP should create a wiki with all of the information about the oil spill and that exact drilling site and have engineers, oil-specialists, and other problem solvers from around the world submit their ideas to help end this major crisis using the new media’s massive power to do a massive amount of good.

-Tara McElmurry

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Filed under Crisis Communication, PR, Public Relations, social media