Video poker industry forms association | Business | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA Monday, May 6 2013 

Video poker industry forms association | Business | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA.

Through Love and Cold War Friday, Feb 8 2013 

I think I have a problem. I thought I had reached my limit on how many TV shows I can become addicted to, but I was wrong. I’ve been sucked in, again. Last week, the first episodes of The Americans on FX aired. To be honest, I immediately thought this would be a violent, action-packed plot I would never be interested in watching again. Ironically, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the screen, which was exactly what happened when I assumed The Walking Dead wouldn’t keep me entertained either.

Since I’m somewhat of a history nerd, I was drawn to the show. The story takes place in the 80s during the Cold War. A couple who works for the KGB in Russia comes to America to spend the next 20+ years working as Soviet spies. Little did they know, they’d eventually move across the street from an FBI agent whose sole purpose was to find Russian spies. It’s brilliant.

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You know how sometimes the pilot of a series is fantastic, but the show dies a slow and drawn out death? I don’t think this will happen on The Americans. The second episode aired last night, and I found myself glued to my chair. You don’t know what’s going to happen next, and you definitely can’t get up to make more popcorn during this show.

I remember Kerl Russel from one of my all-time favorite moves, August Rush. I’m sure many of you have heard of it. In The Americans, she plays an entirely different role than her innocent musician and loving mother in August Rush. She is so loyal to her country that she agreed to leave it, have an arranged marriage and a set timeline of when she’d have children. That’s what I call dedication… or rock bottom.

Thankfully, this show is brand-spanking-new, and you can catch up on FX.

Told ya!
Rachael

Fight the dead. Fear the living. Friday, Jan 4 2013 

For those of you who haven’t caught onto the addicting AMC thriller, the Walking Dead, boy are you in for a treat. This show brings action, adventure, gore, drama, romance and, of course, crazy walkers to the comfort of your couch on your living room TV.

A “sickness” has taken over the world. People’s loved ones have turned into crazed, people-eating machines. It seems as if they’ve risen from the dead and rely on instinctual habits to do the bare minimal to stay alive. Among all the chaos, some have managed to stay sane and keep themselves from being bitten, as to avoid themselves turning into these animals.

Friends are made, enemies attack and zombies are constantly trying to eat these poor survivors. They’re lucky if they get a hot meal; they can forget about brushing their teeth or sleeping on a pillow at night.

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Scary, right? Without giving too much away, the story follows a cop named Rick who wakes up in a hospital after being shot in a police chase. He’s completely alone, and his town is abandoned. You’ll just have to watch to see what happens. I promise, it’ll be worth it.

Until next time,

Rachael

There and back again… and there and back again Sunday, Dec 23 2012 

Although I wasn’t there on opening night, like I usually would be, I was able to see the Hobbit this week. I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan, and I read the Hobbit and the trilogy years ago, so naturally I had high expectations for this movie.

Peter Jackson did a phenomenal job directing Lord of the Rings, and I don’t believe that the Hobbit film would have had the same affect on the fans without him. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, is the first part of a three-part movie series, which I think is obviously drawn out to make a larger profit.

Part 1 was a magical, epic introduction to the series. Gandalf recruited Bilbo Baggins to be a burglar on a journey to reclaim the dwarves’ home, the Lonely Mountain. He initially refuses, but his eagerness for adventure and lack of excitement in his life prompts him to see this through, like his nephew, Frodo, in the Lord of the Rings.

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The movie has heartfelt moments, action, epic scenery and, of course, adventure. It had a lot more humor than the Lord of the Rings, but managed to keep a serious tone throughout. The only major critique I have is that it was too long. The opening scene should have been condensed more, and after all, it was over two and a half hours long.

My favorite scene was between Gollum and Bilbo. Gollum has always been an entertaining character, and provides comic relief to the series. In the scene, he and Bilbo had a game of riddles. Gollum tried so hard to outwit Bilbo, and the whole theater was cracking up.

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All in all, I’m glad the makers finally got the rights to make this book come to life and look forward to see what they have planned for Part 2.

The end of the road is near: What I’ve learned from working with BR PRessworks, SCVNGR and Bywater CDC Thursday, Nov 29 2012 

Hey everyone,

This semester in my public relations writing course, we learned how to produce various written pieces including news releases, feature stories, press releases, media kits, TV and radio advertisements, business letters, résumés, cover letters, social media releases, memos, position statements, PSAs, pitch letters, brochures and SMPs. Learning how to properly write and design all of these pieces gave me a small insight into what I will be producing for clients in the future.

We also spent a lot of our time working on our service-learning campaign, as I’ve mentioned in most of my earlier blogs.  I think my teammates and I made a great team. We all worked hard in trying to collaborate with Mrs. Cindy, but there were some communication issues. We were unaware that our main client was supposed to be a man named Mr. Skip of the Bywater Community Development Corporation. We had tried to contact Mr. Skip numerous times prior than our event day, but he informed Ms. Cindy on the day of our event that he had never heard from us, and she informed us that she wasn’t our main contact. It was very confusing and frustrating.

Although we had many difficulties throughout this campaign, I believe that we did a great job in maintaining professionalism throughout the mini-campaign process. We were always on time, extremely responsive and wanted to help the nonprofit succeed. I think that has been the hardest part to wrap my mind around. Why wouldn’t the Bywater Community Development Corporation want to have free help from us students?

I also gained a lot of experience in this campaign. I was able to create a news release for the event and a brochure describing what the SCVNGR trek was and the places to visit. BR PRessworks is working on our final touches for our final plans book right now and preparing for our presentation next week.

Even though things didn’t work out perfectly, I’m glad that the public relations writing class has a service-learning component. This gives us an opportunity to work with clients outside of the classroom as well as learn the basic concepts of public relations writing.

I have included a video to tell you a little bit more about my experience. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter and my website.

Until next time,
Rachael

Professionalism and Ethics in PR: How working with Bywater CDC gave BR PRessworks a whole new perspective Tuesday, Nov 20 2012 

I’ve learned a lot in my service-learning public relations course. I’ve learned the ins and outs of writing various promotional pieces, news releases and assembling media kits. One thing we haven’t touched on too much is ethics (probably because there’s a whole course I have to take next semester that will cover it.) However, in every public relations course we learn some basic rules.

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Photo credit: Public Relations Society of America

Practicing public relations can present different ethical issues. What information can you include about someone’s personal life in a press release? Can you include a graphic picture if it has news value? Questions like these arise all the time for communication professionals, and that is why Louisiana State University has included a required course for us to take so that we will be fully prepared for obstacles in our careers. An organization I’m involved with on campus, the Public Relations Student Society of America’s (PRSSA) code of ethics outlines our agreement to uphold the highest ethical standards modeled after our parent organization, PRSA.

PRSSA’s code of ethics:

“I pledge to conduct myself professionally, with truth, accuracy, fairness and responsibility to the public, fellow members and to the Society; to improve my individual competence and advance the knowledge and proficiency of the field of public relations; and to adhere to the articles of the Member Code of Ethics/Conduct by the PRSSA National Committee.”

While representing the Bywater Community Development Corporation, BR PRessworks made it a top priority to always act professionally and uphold these terms in PRSSA’s code of ethics.

However, we do not feel that they conducted themselves professionally. After agreeing to work with BR PRessworks, Bywater CDC’s representative failed to stay in communication with the firm. It was our goal to help promote their nonprofit, but we could not do so when there was such a lack of communication. We were unable to work together with Bywater CDC because they were not responsible enough to communicate with us nor High Hat Management. BR PRessworks was disappointed with this client and wish that they would have notified us sooner if they were uninterested in what we had to offer for their organization.

This nonprofit and other companies may not realize the seriousness of not responding to emails and phone calls, but people remember these actions and words can spread like wildfires and ruin reputations.

On a more positive note, everyone in BR PRessworks has been a pleasure to work with. I could not have asked for a better group of girls to have been able to work with all semester.

Until next time,

Rachael

P.S. Follow me on Twitter and check out my Facebook page

Being a part of BR PRessworks, service-learning and how it has shaped my view of PR Tuesday, Nov 6 2012 

Hey everyone,

Since my last blog topic was about social responsibility and civic engagement, if you haven’t done so already, I would like to encourage you to go vote. You may not think your vote can make a difference, but if everyone thinks that way the results will be drastically different.

On another note, I would like to discuss how being in a service-learning class has helped me better understand the vast world of public relations. Working with clients can be challenging, especially when your clients drop you. However, the experience thus far has been very rewarding.

BR PRessworks has been working closely with the Bywater Community Development Corporation to come up with a trek for the St. Claude Art Walk on Saturday, Nov. 10. We’ve had a number of obstacles along the way, but they have shown me the realistic challenges of the public relations world. Not everything will work out as smoothly as planned, and not everyone will agree.

Photo Credit: St. Claude Main Street

I’ve realized that the service-learning component of my public relations writing class requires a lot of time and effort. Public relations is a unique career to have because you have to use a lot of your creative juices while maintaining a punctual approach. Meaning, you have to come up with new ideas and ways to solve problems, but you also have to always make sure everything is 100 percent error free, always be reliable and maintain a business-friendly relationship with your client. It can be difficult to balance the two aspects of public relations, but I love it.

I don’t think the service-learning component of my class has changed my opinion of public relations. I just think that it has given me more of a definition of what public relation professionals do on a daily and weekly basis with the clients they put on campaigns for. Last semester, I took the public relations cases course and learned about so many different cases. The service-learning component of my current class allows me to apply what I’ve learned and see what works/does not work when working on a campaign and dealing a long-distance client. I think the service-learning component has also prepared me for my final public relations class next semester, campaigns.

I can’t believe our SCVNGR event is right around the corner. This semester has really flown by. Hopefully, it will all go smoothly. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter and Bywater Community Development’s progress on their Facebook.

Until next time,

Rachael

BR PRessworks will utilize social media and technology to promote the Bywater Community Development Corporation Art Walk Wednesday, Oct 24 2012 

As the weeks go by, the closer the event gets. Bywater Community Development Corporation has decided to host a art walk in association with SCVNGR on Satuday, Nov. 10. The art walk will incorporate the SCVNGR trek, and atendees will be able to check in different locations to gain points and get rewards.

How important can social media really be? Statistic brain’s statistics tell us that 98 percent of young adults use social media. Social media has been around for a while, but it wasn’t until recently that businesses and corporations realized the benefits of promoting themselves and their goods and services on websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Since there are so many people logging onto these websites multiple times a day, why not do the same with your company and interact with them? By utilizing social media, you can reach out to different audiences and interact with them.

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Photo credit: johnhaydon.com

Bywater Community Development Corporation has a recently launched a Facebook page, and you can choose to “like it” or “subscribe” to it. They post information about events and the work they are doing to benefit the community. BR PRessworks plans to work with them to promote the art walk on their Facebook page.

 

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Technology will also be an important factor in BR PRessworks’ campaign. SCVNGR is an interactive mobile game, and the atteendees will be instructed to download the application on their phones prior to attending the art crawl. If they do not have a smartphone, the game can be played using text messaging. SCVNGR is not to get confused with Foursquare. Although they are both location-based services, SCVNGR is a much richer experience because there is a lot of preparation that goes into creating a good trek.

Creating a trek will take a lot of time and effort, but BR PRessworks feels that this will be a great way to get the art walk atendees involved in the event. We will also be able to promote the SCVNGR trek and art crawl through the use of social media by posting pictures and status updates while the event is going on.

By using techonology, the Bywater Community Development Corporation will be able to keep those who are not able to attend the art crawl updated during and after the event through their Facebook page.

For those of you who can make it, the art walk is Nov. 10 in New Orleans. I will have more details for you in my next blog after we come up with a detailed trek with Mrs. Cindy. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter and like Bywater Community Development Corporation’s Facebook page.

BR PRessworks uses SCVNGR to help North Rampart Main Street Tuesday, Sep 25 2012 

BR PRessworks, our student-run public relations firm, consists of Kirsti Ortego as the account liaison, Samantha Rebowe and Jayme Tumminello as strategy directors, Austin Fairey as the design director and I have been appointed as the writing director.

Our firm chose the word “PRessworks” because public relations professionals work with the press on a daily basis. “BR PR” is a catchy way to let people know that we are a Baton Rouge based firm. For our logo we incorporated the fleur-de-lis and the color gold to represent Louisiana, the Saints and LSU.

BR PRessworks has recently been assigned to work with North Rampart Main Street Inc., a New Orleans nonprofit, to help restore the street to its former glory before Hurricane Katrina’s destructive forces in 2005. Their mission statement:

“North Rampart Main Street, Inc. is designed to revitalize North Rampart Street that encompasses the properties located between Canal Street and Esplanade Avenue. These properties, whether through abandonment, neglect, or Katrina damage, are to be nurtured back to the glory days when Rampart Street meant prosperity, vitality, and life on the edge of the historic French Quarter and Tremé.

The goal of North Rampart Main Street is to strengthen existing businesses and attract new businesses who have the vision to stay the course, and help rebuild the street to its rightful place of honor.”

Many of you may not know that North Rampart Main Street is full of historic interest. On the West side of North Rampart Street is Congo Square, which was once a great gathering place of the slaves on Sunday evenings. The street is also home to:

  • Ninth Circle, one of the oldest gay bars in the U.S.
  • Clothes Spin, Cosimo Matassa’s recording studio
  • NOAC (New Orleans Athletic Club)
  • Bar Tonique
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe, a famous burial church
  • Mary’s Hardware
  • French Quarter Suites
  • Starlight by the Park
  • Armstrong Park, which consists of Congo Square and the Mahalia Jackson Theater
  • The Golden Place, an Indian Mardi Gras place
  • Decadence Coffee Shop
  • Discoveries Store
  • Best Western Hotel in the French Quarter
  • and more!

We will use SCVNGR, a smart phone application that rewards users for competing challenges in specific locations on North Rampart Main Street between Canal and Esplanade Avenue. BR PRessworks will design a trek on the street that will incorporate challenges and great deals. The SCVNGR challenge will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20 and finish with a party at the end of the trek.