FCPRA chapter meeting a success

By on February 9, 2005

Over 50 students packed the Mancheski Executive Center in the Lender School of Business on Feb. 3 to listen to the advice of three professionals in the field of public relations: Steve Gaynes, Marven Moss and Jane Lazgin.

Gaynes has enjoyed a long and productive career, including 35 years at Motorola and a current position as vice president of Public Relations at Cashman & Katz Advertising and Public Relations in Glastonbury, Conn. He opened the seminar by highlighting the points of what to do and not do in media coverage.

He also underlined the necessity to be able to accept rejection, to remain resilient, and to keep a sense of humor while always remaining professional.

“If you can’t laugh and stay loose during certain situations, it’s going to make your job that much harder,” Gaynes said.

Moss shared his 50 years of experience, including work with The New York Times and the Associated Press, with students. He pointed out the realities of the press release. Moss said that on average only 10 percent of finished press releases see the light of day, and even then they can be changed and distorted at the will of the media.

Moss gave his input on how to make a press release stand out above the rest, emphasizing close attention to detail and structure. He asked those in attendance to re-write one of his old press releases and promised personal feedback and criticism.

“I just think that it is amazing how an established professional like Mr. Moss can take time out to help us sharpen our skills,” Wendy Wei, sophomore public relations major, said.

Lazgin, current director of corporate communications for Nestle Waters North America, got the crowd energized by shouting, “You got to be ready to fight!” This was in reference to the task of public relations crisis management.

Lazgin made it clear how one person can single-handedly tarnish the reputation of a company simply by manipulating facts and getting the media’s attention before the company has a chance to respond.

“It is a difficult task to change someone’s view who has already made up their mind, but knowing that day in and day out we are fighting for truth and doing the right thing is a wonderful feeling,” Lazgin said.

The seminar initially got off the ground when Russ Barclay, public relations professor, and Kristin Davis, senior public relations major and current Public Relations Student Society of America liaison, teamed up with FCPRA.

“I was worried that holding this event shortly after the break ended would not draw as many students as we hoped, but we had a great response from students and exceeded our expectations,” Davis said.

The program was a part of the Fairfield County Press Association’s new pilot program to establish a student chapter by bringing the knowledge and experience of public relations professionals to different universities.


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