Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Welcome Deanna McKinley

Tonight our guest speaker is Deanna McKinley, Public Relations Coordinator for Frito-Lay North America, a PepsiCo business unit. McKinley is responsible for community media relations nationwide. She is not only an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America, but is one of the youngest APRs in the nation. 

Deanna earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism / Public Relations as a Presidential Scholar at Florida A&M University. Currently she is in the Master’s program in Communication and Leadership from Gonzaga University. 

She criss-crosses the country highlighting the work of the company's sales teams, touting their "Million Mile over-the-road drivers," and some of their facilities’ top environmental milestones. She helps organize and implement major community outreach events and juggles countless media requests. In a recent blog, Deanna claims she has "the coolest job in the company." Our students are anxious to hear her explain why.

Thank you for coming, Deanna.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's been a while, but the blog is back. I started this blog in winter 2005 as a class project for my Advanced Strategic Communication students. Blogs were new (see student comments from '06), and many deemed this concept a waste of time, destined to fizzle. It didn't, and the SMU Communication (CCPA) students kept at it until summer 2008. I got sidetracked by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. And the Comm Strategies blog sat dormant. Until now. Time to crank it up again. 

The seismic impact of online communications has exceeded all predictions over the last five years. Today's communication students teeter on the fault line of the latest aftershock — the social network explosion. Tracking the broader impact with an eye on what's next is the job description of current communication professionals of all stripes. What does it mean? This semester our class will look at the implications and ways of leveraging online media, with sources ranging from Noam Chomsky and Richard Edelman to John Stewart and Perez Hilton. We'll examine crisis comm, brand marketing, PR, global, corporate, agency, public affairs and cause communication in the age of social media. Plus, we'll consider how the digital age has impacted communications at its most basic level — crisp writing, critical thinking, solid research, relationship building, networking, and everyday skills that drive the message. 

So what's next? What skills will shape the next communication leaders? Where do today's students fit in to the comm field. Where is online communication going? Students will be blogging on these questions and various issues surrounding the field in 2011. But these questions and insights are not limited to students in this class. Outside comments are welcome, especially from former CCPA students, who might be checking back. I'd love to hear from you former students in "real world" communications or where ever you've landed. --Prof. Nina Flournoy