A team of first year students from the Media Relations class of the Kwantlen PR Diploma Program succeeded in getting national television coverage for their client – Pacific Assistance Dogs Society or PADS. They wisely chose to profile “Poppy,” an assistance dog at Canuck Place in Vancouver. The group prepared a media plan and a media kit including a news release, biography, profile and even an opinion-editorial. They contacted local media with their pitch and were successful in achieving both print and television coverage.
Kwantlen PR Diploma Program courses are built on these types of hands-on, “real life” projects.
To see what the team accomplished, check out the Global National web site: globalnational.com.
The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games were an incredible opportunity for many current students of the Kwantlen PR Diploma Program. Justinne, pictured here on the far right of the photo, is one of those Kwantlen PR students. Justinne had this to say about her experience:
I worked for Jet Set Sports/CoSport, sponsor of the Olympics, and also the official provider of hospitality packages to corporate clients and consumers during the Olympics.
I learned that it is important to act professional at all times. The way I presented myself in public was the way the public would look at the company. Every single one of us workers were the ultimate representation of Jet Set/CoSport; thus we had to behave appropriately and professionally. At times, the public would ask questions about our company. We had to choose our words carefully, managing to keep certain information confidential, and be helpful at the same time. Our Media Relations manager gave us typical questions that could be asked by the public and the media and how to answer accordingly, so this gave me more confidence on how to handle myself if such a situation occurred.
Other Kwantlen PR students also volunteered and had many useful and enjoyable experiences:
Working with JetSet Sports was perhaps the best way to fully experience the Olympic Games and make money at the same time. My clients were exceptionally generous and took our team with them to all the events and functions. The people I met were incredibly warm and enthusiastic about the games, and most were high level executives from a number of major international corporations. My primary job was to transport them from the airport to the hotel, but I also escorted them to the events and dinners. They shared their stories with me and I got to know some of them on a more personal level. This made my Olympics experience that much more fulfilling and left me with memories I will never forget.
I volunteered for the Richmond O Zone Olympic celebration site during the games, as a content management volunteer. In the end, I was responsible for news releases relating to the O Zone, creating web copy for the O Zone site, monitoring and contributing content for Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. I felt very lucky to be given creative freedom and trust from my supervisors, and by the end of the period, was grateful for the opportunity to be seen as a valuable member of the communications team. I learned that sometimes, it's not worth it to agonize over the perfect word in a release, and just get something done competently and on deadline. I learned that I know more than I thought I did (and more than most people in structured corporate communications know) about the best practices for social media engagement. Lastly, I learned that once I relaxed, I was more than capable of doing whatever was asked of me.
Throughout the course of the Olympics, I worked as part of the City of Richmond's communications division for the O Zone (the largest Olympics celebration site). My role was to create media for both press and public in regards to what was happening each day - events, shows, exhibits, etc. Some of my jobs included writing press releases and web copy, capturing and editing video, and maintaining various social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook. It was an incredible opportunity that allowed me to work in a fast-pace environment and put my skill set to test - every day I was either learning something new or how to do something better. Though, perhaps the biggest thing I learned was this: no matter how "to-the-point" you think your press writing is, there's always fat to cut. Aim for trim and narrow, leave no room for assumption or guessing; be the only source your audience needs.
I worked at The Richmond O Zone via City Hall in Content Management and Media Center. This included writing news releases, updating online materials, monitoring social media, video and picture taking, working with media, editing one pagers, and general organizational writing. I had one-on-one experience with Andrea Lee and Angela Hogan who are both in the communications department. I learned a lot of about CP Style and the best ways to organize news releases.
What I experienced about PR:
Corporate culture, working on things in a template, structure, doing things the way an organization wants them done, having releases edited several times before send out.
I was hired, last summer after an interview, by the Olympic Broadcast Services (OBS). OBS is the Host Broadcaster of every Olympic Event. Their head office is in India, and their crew is comprised of 30% local staff, like me, and 70% international staff.
My position was a Logistics Assistant at the two best venues! Canada Hockey Place (normally called GM Place) and Canada Stadium (normally called BC Place) were the places I went to for at least 8 hours a day for the whole month of February. It was the best experience I have ever had in Vancouver. The people I met made the work I did hardly seem like work. Even after a long day on the broadcast compounds filled with physically tiring work, I didn't want to leave.
After gaining the trust of my Venue Managers and co-workers alike, I was given countless life-changing opportunities. I watched the Dress Rehearsal of the Opening Ceremonies, watched the Closing Ceremonies, drove in the Olympic Lanes, got into an embrace with Gordon Campbell (funny man!), said hello to Stephen Harper, got to watch a piece of all the important Hockey games....and sat - while getting paid - and watched the whole Gold Medal Hockey Game...while remaining neutral of course...since I was in the commentary stands.
During all of these great opportunities I was filled with knowledge of how Broadcasting works, what goes into planning the largest event in the world and how important communication is during every single process. I worked with up to 90 different media outlets at one time. I was an assistant in the commentary sections of the large events...I looked after the needs and concerns of high maintenance journalists while beating off the deceitful ones who weren't supposed to be there!
All in all, February 2010 was an event I will never, ever forget. I thank Angela Teran (Venue Logistics Manager) and the rest of the Olympic Broadcast Staff for the experience of a lifetime. And Thank You Terri for giving me the permission to live out that experience.
During the Games I worked for Olympic Broadcasting Services, which provides footage to the rights holding broadcasters, NBC and CTV. As a Logistics Assistant my job was to ensure that things ran smoothly behind the scenes. I wasn’t sure what to expect at the onset but the experience was amazing, no two days were ever the same. I was able spend some time working in the broadcast commentary positions at Canada Hockey Place and watch a lot of fast-paced hockey. Being a part of such a large international organization gave me an appreciation for how much hard work it takes to coordinate an event of this magnitude, as well as a sense of pride when you pull it off with the whole world cheering.
Kwantlen PR alumni, Jenn Currie (left) and Karin Lornsen (right) receive prestigious
industry awards for academic excellence and exceptional community leadership.
Kwantlen public relations (PR) alumni have received prestigious industry awards for academic excellence and outstanding achievements. Vancouver resident Jenn Currie received the 2009 Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) Dean Miller Award and Karin Lornsen, a Vancouver resident, was honoured with Student Communicator of the Year by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).
Terri Smolar, Kwantlen PR diploma program coordinator, says "These awards prove that Kwantlen's PR program is totally on point with the expectations of professionals in the PR industry. That is why so many Kwantlen alumni are hired right out of university. We are proud of our outstanding scholarship winners and all of our PR alumni."
The CPRS Dean Miller Scholarship awards $1,000 annually to one deserving student who demonstrates academic excellence and leadership in the community, and is a model of a responsible, ethical and professional public relations practitioner.
"The judges found it remarkable that Currie was able to juggle so many things in her life and, at the same time, do all of them so well," said Michael Bernard, CPRS Vancouver's awards chair. "It is one thing to be an excellent student, as she obviously is, but to excel in the eyes of her fellow students, her community, her practicum employer and CPRS, all before she has completed her education, is really exceptional."
The IABC Student Communicator of the Year Award recognizes an outstanding student who demonstrates excellence in the general field of communications. Based on the success of a communications project in class or at work, $500 is presented to the award recipient.
Kwantlen's PR program provides students with the strategic thinking and technical expertise to successfully work in PR. For more information about the Kwantlen PR program, contact:
Program Coordinator, Public Relations
For more information about Kwantlen, contact:
Director, Marketing and Communications
Students and grads from the Public Relations Diploma Program of Kwantlen Polytechnic University were actively involved in the planning, organizing, as well as hosting and on-site, live blogging for the 2009 On the Edge national conference of the Canadian Public Relations Society, held June 7-9 in Vancouver, BC.
With the support of the Dean of Applied Design & Communications, Barbara Duggan, Kwantlen PR students and grads attended a session on Building Your Career in PR Consulting Companies.
Kwantlen PR students impressed the conference organizers as well as delegates with their professionalism, dedication, and knowledge of public relations as well as social media techniques. Here is a comment from Promotions Co-Chair Deborah Chatterton about the on-site, live blogging:
"I’m so impressed with the Kwantlen students. Not only are they keeping up (and spelling correctly while they do so!) but also they are cooperating well with each other, great at posting links, and effectively handling questions from both Twitter and me... I would recommend them in an instant."
The Kwantlen students and grads involved in the On the Edge conference include:
The Coordinator of the PR Diploma Program, Terri Smolar, held the post of Program Co-Chair for On the Edge. The conference broke the record for the Canadian Public Relations Society for attendance at a national conference and delegates gave the conference a rating of "outstanding."
To view the conference web site, and see the archive on the on-site blogging, click on on-the-edge-vancouver.com.
Well done Kwantlen PR!