Yes,  I am on vacation with my family in Mexico. We have lots of fun, soak up some sun and eat way too much food. But this is so much more than your typical “tropical drink with the fruit and umbrella” vacation.

Every two years, my home church Tri-County Church of Christ in Cushing, OK, sends several people to visit the Iglesia de Christo in Cancun. We, along with several other churches in Oklahoma, provide financial support to this congregation throughout the year. The best part about this arrangement is that every other summer we get to come spend time with our brothers and sisters in Cancun. We provide support, encouragement and lesson ideas but mostly just enjoy spending time with one another.

We buy food to take to smaller congregations in surrounding villages, teach classes and help invite people to services. That all seems really simple, but words just don’t do justice to what we do while we are here.

We just have so much fun and pictures are worth a thousand words, so I plan on posting pictures and letting you know what we are doing each day right here. Here’s just a few to start with!

Handing out invitations in the morning for evening church services.

"Abbie singing "I'm all wrapped up, tied up and tangled up in Jesus."

Assembly line to bag food to take to the village churches.

Jordy and I with our friend Weendii!

Daddy and Santi making friends, but Santi still seems reluctant.

9780800732516Would I say that God has been working in my life lately? Yes, definitely. I feel like he has just been waiting for me to open the door, and now that he’s got his foot in he’s not leaving any time soon.

It has been a lot of little things like small epiphanies I have throughout the day, and little remarks that stick on my heart more than normal.

The most clear cut sign has most definietely been the impulse to purchase the book Glimpses of Heaven. I would never have picked up this book by chance, and I’m still not sure where the impulse to read it before all the other books I currently have on hand came from.

This wonderful little book was written by a former hospice nurse who wrote down the stories of her terminally ill patients. In each story, God helps the patient find peace before they pass on. It’s a wonderful book that really gave me hope and perspective on the life here and the life after.

I would also say it is not coincidence a good friend of mines father passed away after a tw0 year battle with cancer while I was in the middle of this book. The story of his passing could have come straight from the pages of this book, and it was a beautiful story.

Does any of this really mean anything? I don’t know. I do know that Glimpses of Heaven was a good, quick read,one that will be added to my permanent collection and one I can’t seem to get off my mind.

For those of you reading this who aren’t in #jb4520 social media class PR professionals, PROpenMic is a social networking site where all who are interested in PR can post information, network and learn more about public relations and communications.

As part of an assignment for OSU’s social media class, #jb4520 for twitter users, we had the opportunity to take over the site for one week. By “take over the site” I mean that our class was completely in charge of producing content for the site, as well as stimulating conversation and feedback. Students were asked to create video and print stories as well as create new forums for conversation.

I had the opportunity to promote and inform students, faculty and the PROpenMic audience about a new Journalism and Broadcasting student organization, STATEments.  STATEments is a student-run public relations firm, under the umbrella organization of PRSSA. STATEments gives students the opportunity to work with real clients, and in teams of other students. You can read more about STATEments here.

Apparently, our class did a great job of driving people to PROpenMic to view our content. My professor, Bill Handy, ran all kinds of analysis on the traffic of the site while we were in control of the site. While some of it may be over my head, it is interesting information. You can see some of the facts and statistics here.

I look forward to monitoring what other schools do with the site when they get the chance to take it over. I hope that everyone can take what OSU did with PROpenMic and only make it better and even more interesting. Good Luck!

I currently serve as the Communications/PR Chair for an organization on the OSU Campus. I’ve served in this position for 3 years now, and feel like I have a good working relationship with the organization and feel like I’ve built a fairly well-known reputation as being a good, hard worker.

We are currently working on our Communications plans and strategies for the event which will take place in the Fall 2009 semester. During planning, I was approached by a superior who requested that we send out a press release to every steering members (every student who is invoved in the organization) home-town paper. The press release would be a template consisting of what the organization does, and we would just insert the individuals name, major and what their job within the organization is.

There are over 80 students that are members of this organization. The students are from a variety of places including small towns with populations of 100 to students from the OKC, Tulsa, Dallas and Houston areas. In the fall we will send out press releases about the students who are executive members of this organization.

Here is my dillema. I feel like this mass press release, goes against everything I am being taught in the School of Journalism and Broadcasting. As a public relations student, one of the first things I was taught was to send a press release only if it contains real news. This doesn’t seem like news to me. The second reason I feel that it is a poor plan strategically is because when we are sending press releases about our actual event to same of these same media outlets, I am afraid they will be overlooked. I also recently found out that the umbrella organization of this group is using this “mass press release” technique in other areas of their organization as well. I believe this will hurt the organizations overall credibility.

While I understand they are trying to reach some of the smaller communities, I think it is a wasted effort to use the “mass press release” technique and there has to be a better way to reach this audience. Your comments, advice and thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Will the blogosphere adhere to the same standards of objectivity, fairness and truth as traditional journalists?

Just one of the 25 big questions for the future of journalism; according to Scott Hepburn.

Personally I think this is one of the more important concerns facing the future of journalism. Anyone who has the most basic computer and Internet navigation skills can create their own blog. Journalists, or at least good ones, go through years of training.

Speaking as someone who has received training in both Journalism and the “blogosphere” I think I’m probably in a minority.  As a student of OSU’s School of Journalism and Broadcasting, I’ve received training in writing, classes in law and ethics of Journalism. I have also been fortunate enough to have professors who are interested and aware of the way journalism is changing today and therefore have been educated in the ways of blogging.

How do those bloggers who aren’t as fortunate as I am, get their lessons concerning the ethics of posting information? I realise that in today’s world of sharing information we have to have some level of trust in one another’s information, but how far do we go in trusting the honor’s system?

I don’t think that I will ever be able to trust just another user’s information as much as I can trust someones information who is backed by a long-standing organization. It’s just not the same level of professionalism. Professional journalists have to be trustworthy because they are held accountable by their employers and reputation. What holds bloggers accountable? I realise that most people’s own reputation as a trustworthy person is enough to hold them accountable, but what about for those who don’t care?

I think that if we are going to one day move to solely relying on bloggers over journalists, that there will be need to be some type of rating system that ranks more credible blogs over others. I’m not sure who would be in charge of doing so, maybe AP. In any case, there needs to be some system for separating the news and the noise.

If you are looking to get some real, hands-on public relations experience without leaving the comfort of campus, you should apply for PRSSA’s new student-run firm, STATEments.

The 8 members of STATEments, me included, have been split into smaller groups and assigned clients to work with including the OSU Foundation, Smart Start of Payne County and OSU Racing. As members of STATEments we have to opportunity to perform real client work for the organizations. Some of the work I have done is creating a social media plan for OSU Foundation and working on branding issues with Smart Start of Payne County.

STATEments began meeting and taking on clients in January of 2009. Before the firm had even begun meeting PR professor, Gina Noble, had a dozen potential clients asking for the firms assistance. As STATEments and its client-base continues to grow, the firm is looking to double its membership in the fall. The organization meets weekly or as needed, and is a great way to gain experience. Because the organization is a new one, some of the kinks are still being worked out, but I believe that everyone who is interested in being a PR professional should apply to be a member of the firm.

I’ve included a copy of the application and job descriptions in the pages section of my blog. You may also find the application and job descriptions on sociallyorange.org

 

I have what feels like my first real, big-kid interview next week. I’ve had plenty of interviews before, but this is this first one that I feel like it matters. Tuesday evening I’ll be packing up and driving to Tulsa, OK to stay the night with my grandparent so I don’t have to wake up at an ungodly and drive. Plus, who wouldn’t want a little extra love and praise from grammy and pa right before an interview?

All week, I have spent my extra time researching the company on their Web site and asking those “in the know” what this company is really about. I also had an appointment with my Career Services counselor, Kiera Mann (Who is amazing by the way. You should make an appointment with her if you haven’t already.). Kiera had all sorts of great advice and suggestions for my portfolio, changes that I will most definitely be making before my interview next week. I also had some concerns with some particular questions I thought would be asked and she helped me walk through them and find the right answer for me. She even offered to look over my outfit if I brought it in for her to look at!

I wouldn’t say that I’m quite prepared yet, but I’m well on my way. Wish me luck!