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University Hosts First Public Relations Panel

The University hosted its first public relations focus panel on October 25. The panel, “Today’s Public Relations Strategy: Tools of the Trade for Effective Online News,” featured an array of local professionals in both the public relations and journalism fields.

The event was held in the Magill Commons Club Dining Room from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Over 40 students, faculty, and public relations and journalism professionals piled into the event, which was organized by Kristine Simoes, a Public Relations Specialist Professor.

The focus of the panel was to help expose the new tides of the industry from the point of view of local public relations and journalism professionals. These panel members discussed topics such as the changing of the industry and also highlighted new tools being used within both fields.

A big topic of discussion among panel members was tips for students entering the professional world. According to Kristine Brown, the Director of Public Relations for Barnabas Health, “the greatest skill PR professionals can have is the ability to develop relationships; get out there and start networking.”

Judy M. Feeney is the Digital Editor for NJ Press Media as well as for the Asbury Park Press. When questioned about skills she looks for in potential job candidates, she stressed the importance of spelling. She also went on to say, “I cannot stress how important writing is.”

Students were also given tips on how to better prepare themselves for life outside of college, more specifically job interviews. Advice given by the panel members ranged from making eye contact and engaging with the interviewer, to making sure that students are accessible for all facets of the industry.

The actual panel discussion lasted approximately an hour and a half, upon which time all those in attendance had the chance to have their questions answered by the panel. When the Q&A portion was finished students had the chance to speak directly with the panels guests in order to establish connections, network, and exchange resumes for business cards.

When asked about her overall impression of the event, MU’s PRSSA Co-President Kim Mahon stated, “I learned a lot of useful tips and valuable information; it is hugely important for someone like me to know how the industry is changing and how those changes affect how successful I can be in the industry.”

Mary Harris, a new PR professor who will be teaching Social Media in the spring, thought that overall the event had “an outstanding turnout,” and was excellent for anyone who attended because they got to hear a variety from the speakers.

Last year, the University became certified for education in public relations; it is the only other school in the state of New Jersey to have this accreditation besides Rowan University.