Ethics and the right thing to do

On a daily basis, we make decisions. I might not think to myself “oh, is this ethical decision?”I might think, “is this the right thing to do?”

PR firms come across myriads of these situations on a daily basis. What to do in ethically sticky situations? What is the right thing to do?

According to Bowles and Boden in Creative Editing, ethics is “a set of principles of conduct governing an individual or group.” These principles can see the success or failure of a company.

In my (hypothetical) future…

One day, I want to work in the world of luxury events, automobiles and products. Inevitably, I will come in contact with situations that will require ethical thinking.

  • In the luxury services industry, for example, it may be common-place for clients to give gifts. I’m imagining some nice stuff, trust me. I would have to either reject the gifts or be able to not let those gifts influence the way that I would portray that company from a public relations standpoint.
  • If I do become influencial or successful, I may want to use that to my advantage. Unfortunately, ethics dictates that I should not use my status to gain advantages in my personal life. Should I mention my status when trying to get a home loan? Probably not.
  • Say I receive some nasty information about a client, what do I do? Do I withhold the information because it would damage that client’s reputation with the adage that I am not being transparent, or do I release the information to maintain my integrity and honesty? A stinky situation, but in the end, PR is all about integrity, so telling the truth is key.

On the PRSA website it states, “The practice of public relations can present unique and challenging ethical issues. At the same time, protecting integrity and the public trust are fundamental to the profession’s role and reputation. Bottom line, successful public relations hinges on the ethics of its practitioners.”

Granted, I may end up living large out in Los Angeles, taking clients to dinner and flying across the world to represent all the fabulous companies that have hired me, but when it comes down to it, the only way I can truly live that lifestyle is by maintaining my integrity and thinking carefully through those tough situations.

The elements of a good newsletter

As someone looking at a newsletter, the reader wants to be instantly attracted to the front page. Why else would they continue reading? Grabbing an audience’s attention is imperative to gain their interest and for them to continue reading.

As Bowles and Borden explain in Creative Editing,

“The main purpose of publication design is to communicate, to help move readers easily and efficiently through the page. Editors who design pages are responsible for telling readers which stories are most important and for helping readers find the stories they want to read.”

An example of a good newsletter that quickly attracts the eye. Photo courtesy of Google

An example of a good newsletter that quickly attracts the eye. Photo courtesy of Google

There are many things that could attract readers, but these elements can truly define the impact of a newsletter:

  • type of body copy
  • display type (headlines)
  • borders or rules
  • open space
  • art
  • color (as a design element)

These aspects of a newsletter are used to grasp the reader’s initial interest before giving them the pertinent information within the newsletter.

In Sarah Mitchell’s post about Five Essential Elements to a Great Newsletter, she identifies brevity, storytelling, reader focus, call to action, and design as the most necessary elements in a good newsletter. You want your reader to be instantly attracted to it from its look and then continue reading it based on its subject matter and style. No one wants to read a ten page newsletter with 30 articles.

Audiences want color, highlights, infographics, and easy-to-read articles that articulate what the purpose is without overdoing it with unnecessary words and content.

A picture is worth a thousand words

When I think of the Newseum in downtown Washington, D.C., I think of boring newspaper articles, stone faced reporters talking in monotonous voices, maybe an exhibit or two on the ethics of writing and reporting. I don’t think of walking through vast halls, being assaulted by visual stimuli, personally interacting with a newsroom. Among all the exciting exhibits in this museum, one stuck out to me the most.

I did not expect to walk into the Pulitzer Prize Photography Gallery and feel compelled to cry, to show any emotion at all. I did not expect to stand next to each photograph one by one and read its description in full, analyzing each one for the work of art that it is.

I was surprised by the captivating emotion that engulfed me as I walked through that gallery, each photograph burned into my memory. The violence, the passion, the anguish, the death, destruction and mutilation of people, the yearning and the tears. What a wide range of emotions captured in one small space among dozens of unique photographs.

Where do i go from here?

To whittle down an explanation about how this exhibit relates to my dream job is proving difficult. How can I describe the pull I feel to do more with my life after seeing all of those photographs that have been celebrated for their vivid storytelling in one shot?

Photographs I have taken using Instagram that could represent a company or act as PR. From top left clockwise: a Miata on the road; Union Station in D.C.; the downtown Los Angeles skyline.

Photographs I have taken using Instagram that could represent a company or act as PR. From top left clockwise: a Miata on the road; Union Station in D.C.; the downtown Los Angeles skyline.

A picture is truly worth a thousand words. Whether it’s of a celebrity getting out of car, disheveled and intoxicated, her skirt skimming the top of her thigh, or maybe of a group of tired protestors standing in front of an abortion clinic, a photograph can tell a story that words cannot seem to grasp in their entirety.

I want to have access to those photos. I want to tell a story with those photos. Social media platforms like Instagram are apps that show just how easy it is to take a beautiful photo for free and release it to the public– instantly branding, marketing, and advertising the work that a company is doing.

The impotance of copy edtors

See what I did there?

With the fast pace of this modern world we live in and the speed at which our brain reads, letters become jumbled and words can be formulated and understood for their true meaning without having proper spelling.

The importance of copy editors. That’s better.

Everyone makes mistakes in their writing, but as professionals publishing different content, precision and accuracy is not only key to understanding, but to maintaining credibility.

In CNN’s opinion article Why ‘Amercia’ needs copy editors, professor Merrill Perlman details the reasons copy editors are so incredibly important in all aspects of proofreading, from newspaper article titles to drink descriptions in menus to major presidential campaign slogans.

Romney should have used a copy editor to catch this obvious misspelling of “America.” Photo courtesy of CNN.com

With the evolution of media and the process of digital instant gratification, the job of the copy editor become increasingly important, and yet  is now almost obsolete, replaced by inadequate spellcheck and insufficient time spent on proofreading.

What happens when proper and necessary copy editing is ignored? Embarrassment for whichever outlet released the slogan/brochure/article etc.

To be blunt, Romney looks like an idiot for not only having a slogan that has our nation spelled incorrectly on it, but a team that looked over it in the first place.

In Perlman’s article, a screenshot of a newsroom with an anchor in front of a screen labeled “The Propsal” is shown. Credibility lost. Why should I watch a news program that didn’t spend the time correcting its spelling? Why would I choose to believe what the anchor is telling me?

In summary, copy editors are magicians. They save the asses of the writers and editors that may not have the time to go back over their writing to correct all mistakes. To quote Lisa McLendon on the American Copy Editors Society website,”Traditionally the fact-checking, question-raising, prose-clarifying and typo-fixing was done by copy editors. Now, it is still done by the copy editors.”

Defining diversity in the fashion industry

The definition of diversity is simple, “the condition of having or being composed of differing elements especially the inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Diversity is very important when promoting a certain brand or product in order to attract the most amount of publics.

The multiple personalities of diversity

I believe in diversity. I believe in the mélange of cultures, characters, body types, skin colors and religions. I believe that without diversity, promoting a brand or product is a one-way street. On a more personal level, diversity educates people on the differences in the world that we should be understanding of and accepting of.

Diversity for me

            I grew up in a diverse environment. My classmates were Asian and African American and India. My neighbors were Catholic and Jewish and Buddhist. I celebrate Hannukah and Christmas, Easter and Passover. Diversity is a critical component of my ever day life.

I believe that without diversity, the world is a boring place. I love embracing the differences of the people around me.

Diversity for my field of interest

             Fashion is an extremely broad field. Target audiences for different fashion designers are vast and never static. It is crucial for successful designers to target different groups of people in order to spread their brand and create a positive image.

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Diversity within Gomez-Gracia

           Gomez-Gracia, the designer I am interested in interning with, uses models of varying skin color as well as a women of different sizes. The brand prides itself on knowing a woman’s body and targets a multitude of different types of women.

I believe that this display of diversity in a brand will result in the success of the brand as a whole.

Gomez-Gracia weaves through social media

For companies today, increasing online presence and social media notoriety is key to reaching desired clientele. The ability to access a wide number of publics has become available through the use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Increasing the presence of Gomez-Gracia online

           Gomez-Gracia, a trendy London-based fashion designer, is the perfect small business candidate to utilize new social media for its benefit in order to reach new publics. Although the company does use Facebook and Twitter regularly, its Facebook page could use some work, there needs to be maintenance of its Pinterest page and the creation of an Instagram would be beneficial.

Facebook

Having a well-designed and frequently updated Facebook page entices users to visit, which broadens the

Gomez-Gracia's current Facebook Page. Courtesy of Facebook.com

Gomez-Gracia’s current Facebook Page.
Courtesy of Facebook.com

company’s reach. Currently, the page is too boring. Items posted include unprofessional photographs and videos from the designer and pictures of celebrities wearing the company’s clothing.

To amp up the page and to increase traffic, the cover photo and profile picture should change to something more eye-catching and vibrant. The “About Me” section should be updated and expanded.  Pictures posted on the wall should be professional. A Facebook page similar to that of ASOS would draw more attention to potential clients.

Pinterest

            Pinterest is like a virtual pin board for things that interest the user. In this case, Gomez-Gracia has only “pinned” pictures of the brand’s clothing. In order to attract more viewers, different “boards” should be created focusing on the theme of designs and things that relate to the brand.

Users will be able to get to know the personality of the brand if the Pinterest page stays updated with new “pins” every day. Esther Boutique does a good job to promote its image through Pinterest while also expressing itself as a brand.

Instagram

            Gomez-Gracia should consider using Instagram because on a daily basis, employees are able to take pictures and upload them with nice filters to the site. Instagram makes users feel directly and personally related to the people they follow because the pictures are generally taken with personal phones during every day lives.

With the expansion of popular new social media, it is crucial that companies take advantage of new ways to brand themselves and stay up to date with their pages. The growing number of social media platforms requires much consideration into which ones will benefit the image and propagation of the company.

Profile: Finding a new identity through disease

Prep

  • I wanted to find a compelling story. Something that students and faculty alike could enjoy reading in the Diamondback.  I decided to write mine about Christina Rowland who was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata two years ago.
  • I was able to schedule interviews with her through text messaging and we met for a 40 minute face-to-face interview.
  • Things I considered when interviewing Rowland:
  1. Her privacy
  2. Her comfort level
  3. Making sure I got all the information I needed

    Christina Rowland looks forward to helping people find direction with their own problems.
    Photo Courtesy of Christina Rowland

  4. Focusing on her and remaining engaged
  • I wanted to make sure that I did not invade on Rowland’s privacy when writing this article, so I let her tell the story how she wanted to. If there were gaps that needed filling, I asked follow up questions, but made sure to let her know that she only needed to talk about things that she was comfortable with. The interview was recorded along with some handwritten notes.
  • I decided to arrange my article chronologically, sandwiched between descriptions of Rowland herself and the trunk show benefitting the Alopecia Areata Foundation.
  • Her progress and her focus on her new identity and the meaning of beauty reminded me of a tree, that is how I got my idea for the branches in my storyboard.

GOAL Method

  • Goal: Rowland’s goal is to raise awareness and money for Alopecia Areata.
  • Obstacles: Her disease is obviously the obstacle that she has had to overcome. Unfortunately, she will most likely be affected by it for the rest of her life, so it is a constant obstacle for her.
  • Achievements: Rowland has been able to rise above this disease that has taken her hair and move forward with her life. She has already started bringing awareness to the disease; her sorority sister planned a trunk show with a sale percentage going toward the Alopecia Areata Foundation. Rowland is also in the process of planning a philanthropy event next semester to bring awareness to her disease and other diseases, with an emphasis on maintaining beauty and confidence.
  • Logistics: Rowland has used her family, friends and faith to reach the place she is in now. She has also talked to doctors and specialists about the disease and about methods to maintaining a healthy and beneficial lifestyle.
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