Events

  • Fast Five: with Richard Chacón, Executive Director of News Content, WBUR, Boston

    As executive director of news content for WBUR, Richard Chacón oversees all aspects of local radio and digital news content for WBUR, Boston’s leading public radio station.

    Richard’s career includes more than 20 years of experience in print and broadcast journalism, public affairs, politics and government. As a journalist, Richard has worked at The Boston Globe, where he covered Boston City Hall and higher education and was the Latin America bureau chief, based in Mexico City. He also served as deputy foreign affairs editor and as ombudsman. In addition, he has worked at New York Newsday, WCVB-TV in Boston and KTSM in his native El Paso, Texas.

    Beyond journalism, Richard also served as director of communications for Deval Patrick’s gubernatorial campaign in Massachusetts, and later served in the governor’s office as director of policy and then as executive director of the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants. He also served as a speechwriter in the New York City mayor’s office under David Dinkins and later as deputy media director for the 1992 Democratic National Convention in New York City.

    We caught up with Richard prior to the 2017 PRSA Boston Annual Meeting where he is scheduled to give the keynote address.  We asked him about the future of news and how media platforms like WBUR are evolving.

    What led you to become a journalist and why did you decide to join WBUR?

    Endless curiosity – about how things happen, why and about the people involved. I’ve had this curiosity ever since I was a young boy growing up in the desert in El Paso, TX. My very first job was as a newspaper delivery boy. I’ve been blessed to have had some wonderful experiences in print, broadcast and multimedia newsrooms and working with some talented colleagues along the way. I’m especially pleased and proud to help lead one of the biggest and best newsrooms in public radio. As WBUR grows and becomes more of a primary source of news and information – especially during this transformational time in Boston’s history – we have an opportunity and obligation to help lead the public dialogue on many important issues in our community.

    Will presenting news to audiences continue to evolve or change in 2018? If so, how?

    Newsrooms across Boston and the country are in the midst of rethinking and redefining how they collect and deliver the news – that includes WBUR. We know that over half of our audience experiences our multimedia content through mobile devices, so our content must be mobile friendly. Visual presentations of content – videos, photos, data visualization – are growing in importance for stories, especially those that are shared through social media channels. Although terrestrial radio continues to reach our largest audience, on-demand listening – whether through podcasts or streaming – is growing in popularity for our audience, especially younger listeners and readers. But even amid all of these changes, it is important that we always remain committed to the traditional values of fair, aggressive and transparent journalism.

    PR people continue to see the lines are blurring between advertising and editorial. Is this impacting how you and your team at WBUR report news? If so, how?

    News organizations are also constantly looking for new business and financial models to help sustain the journalism. Increasingly, we’re seeing the development of “sponsored content” which can sometimes look, walk and quack like newsroom editorial content. As a former ombudsman for the Boston Globe, I think it’s very important that news organizations are both very careful and very clear with audiences about what is advertising and what is news coverage. So far, I believe most organizations – including WBUR – has maintained that line between advertising and editorial but it’s an evolving and ongoing discussions (and debates) that we have on these issues.

    Why was it important to develop online niche sites, such as the ARTery and Edify, or podcasts such as Modern Love?

    As WBUR continues to grow as a multimedia destination for news and spoken-word content, we are constantly experimenting with new forms of presentations and platforms. We have national programs that reach millions of listeners across the United States; and we have sound-rich podcasts that share peoples’ personal stories and perspectives. In our local newsroom, we’ve developed a number of multimedia content “verticals” as a way to chronicle many of the dynamic sectors that are part of our knowledge-based economy around Boston. We’re building teams of journalists to bring WBUR’s high-quality storytelling to these sectors: “BostonomiX is how we cover tech and innovation; “CommonHealth” covers health and science; The ARTery is how we capture our increasingly diverse arts and culture scene; “Edify” is how we cover the many facets of teaching, learning and education. The great news is we are developing new ones for 2018!

     Why is hosting events important to WBUR? How will this continue to evolve in 2018?

    WBUR believes it has both an opportunity and responsibility to lead the public conversations on important topics with newsmakers, thought leaders, idea makers and diverse members of our communities. That’s already what we do every day on air and online. We do it through our selection of news stories and topics, our regular use of polling to key issues like the opioid crisis or climate change, and through our growing use of social media and crowd-sourcing. Convening more public events is a natural extension of our role as a public institution. We regularly host public events at WBUR that include many of our journalists. We also sponsor and produce dozens of other events all over the region because we believe strongly in our role of gathering communities together for thoughtful discussion. Sometimes these events can be a source of revenue for us, but more importantly, it’s an opportunity to constantly cultivate and grow our public media audience. There will be some more exciting news on this front also in 2018!

     

    Do you have a candidate for a FAST FIVE interview? Email Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your expert! 

     

     

     

  • Darlene Hollywood

    PRSA BOSTON TO PRESENT DIANE DAVIS BEACON AWARD TO DARLENE HOLLYWOOD

    In Events, Membership, News on

    Annual Meeting Event Will Also Feature Keynote Address from Richard Chacón, WBUR Executive Editor of News Content

     

    BOSTON, MA (November 13, 2017) – The Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Boston Chapter will honor Darlene Hollywood, founder and principal of Hollywood Agency, with its most prestigious honor, the Diane Davis Beacon Award. The award recognizes the extraordinary achievements of a Boston area PR professional. Hollywood is being recognized for her numerous professional achievements, service to the communications community, and contributions as a mentor and industry leader. Hollywood will accept the award at PRSA Boston’s Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony, held on November 16, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. at the NonProfit Center of Boston.

     

    “On behalf of all PRSA members, I’m honored to recognize Darlene’s great impact on the communications profession. She is an inspiration to all those who have worked with her,” said Dan Dent, president, PRSA Boston. “Darlene’s creativity and enthusiasm have enabled her to accomplish great things throughout her career, and we are grateful to have her as part of our community.”

     

    Hollywood is founder and principal of Hollywood Agency, an integrated communications firm headquartered in Hingham with an office in San Francisco. At Hollywood Agency, she sets the strategic direction for how the firm’s client stories are positioned, pitched, placed and measured. Hollywood has more than 25 years of experience, and her background includes consumer goods, footwear and apparel, business services, not-for-profits and enterprise software. This year, Boston Business Journal named her firm one of Massachusetts’ fastest growing private companies for the second year in a row, and PR Week named her a Champion of PR for challenging the status quo, pushing for the big idea and striving to make a difference.

     

    Hollywood has been a member of the PRSA Boston leadership team for more than a decade, serving in roles including board member, treasurer, president and delegate. In addition, Darlene serves on the executive committee of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce and is on the board of the British American Business Council of New England. She also dedicates time to mentor students at Bridgewater State College’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Chapter.

     

    More about PRSA Boston’s 2017 Annual Meeting

    In addition to Hollywood’s recognition ceremony, PRSA Boston Annual Meeting will feature keynote speaker Richard Chacón, WBUR’s Executive Editor of News content, who will give us his perspective on the news business and its future in Boston. The event will take place on November 16, 2017, at The NonProfit Center of Boston, 89 South Street, Boston, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  For more information or to purchase tickets, visit https://prsaboston.org/events-registration/.

     

    About the Public Relations Society of America, Boston Chapter

    The Boston Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is among the largest and most influential of the 112 U.S. chapters that make up the PR industry’s foremost professional association. With over 300 members, PRSA Boston is comprised of recent graduates to PR professionals with decades of experience who work in corporate, agency, nonprofit, and public settings. Members strive to share their diverse knowledge and experience to create a continuous learning community and networking opportunities.

     

    About the Public Relations Society of America

    Based in New York, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the largest professional organization serving the U.S. public relations community of more than 22,000 members. With a mission to “advance the profession and the professional,” PRSA provides news and information, thought leadership, continuing education and networking opportunities; sets standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct; and advocates for the business value of public relations and greater diversity among public relations professionals.

     

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    Contact: Joshua Milne, josh@joshuamilnepr.com, 617-501-1620

  • Fast 5: Making Social Media a Judgement Free Zone

    Jenna Reynolds, Planet Fitness

    @JennaAReynolds  @PlanetFitness


     

    Jenna Reynolds is a proud tiny-house owner and dog mom who spends her days as a Digital Communities Manager professional at Planet Fitness World Headquarters, the home of the Judgement Free Zone. She spearheaded the creation of Planet of Triumphs, the company’s very own social community, where elevating positivity and inspiring members is the goal.

    We caught up with Jenna to talk about how social media can help people achieve their fitness goals, what she is looking forward to at the Social Media Summit, and what life is like in a tiny house.

    Q. Just when the news feed couldn’t seem to be any more crowded, the flow of information seems to have picked up to a dizzying pace. How can brands break through that noise?

    A. Every brand’s focus should be on what works for them and their brand personality. Planet Fitness members’ feeds are filled with the latest fitness and diet trends. We aim to break through that noise by empowering our members with positive messaging about our Judgement Free Zone and by celebrating their fitness triumphs, big and small.

    Q. What was the drive behind creating Planet of Triumphs? Why was it important to create a social community for Planet Fitness?

    A. We have seen first-hand the amazing things that are possible when our members encourage and support one another in our gyms. We wanted to forge a special community where they could do so digitally as well. The platform has truly taken on a life of its own and our members have used it to detail their fitness journeys, cheer each other on and ask for support when they need it.

    We surveyed a focus group of our members, and more than 70% said that they don’t post their fitness experiences on traditional social channels as they are afraid of being judged; Planet of Triumphs provides them a place where they can feel comfortable doing so.

    The platform has become an important part of our brand, and our CEO visits the site every day to learn about our members’ stories and offer words of encouragement. As a company, we are diligent about keeping the site from becoming overly promotional and instead have let our members build their own community and celebrate their everyday wins.

    Q. What advice would you give brands that are nervous about engaging on social media?

    A. It is all about trust. Using social media helps immediately open up direct feedback and establish trust between your brand and consumers. It isn’t just about pushing out content. It should also be about how your fans respond and the learnings that you can distill from that, not just in terms of social media, but in all areas of your business.

    Additionally, my biggest piece of advice would be to closely monitor your response volume and ensure that your social media strategy is equipped to handle it.

    Overall, don’t overthink it. You’ve got this!

    Q. What are you most looking forward to about the Social Media Summit?

    Lanyards. Besides that, connecting with other social media advocates. No matter the industry, it is always a positive learning experience to hear about other brands’ successes and challenges, along with the trends that they are witnessing, when it comes to social media.

    Q. You say you are a tiny-house owner. Doesn’t it get a little cramped?

    The winter months can test my two dogs’ patience but otherwise, we utilize our yard which has a mini outdoor theater, fire pit, dining area, etc.  I am social by profession and personality, so not being able to entertain a lot of people has been the biggest challenge; however, I am also addicted to re-decorating, so living in a smaller space has helped me to successfully limit my HomeGoods visits.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics (https://prsaboston.org/hot-topics/) blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is on the fly! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, authors’ books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com (mailto:josh@joshuamilnepr.com) and pitch your subject expert!

  • Fast Five: Tweeting from the Train

    In Crisis, Events, Fast Five, News, Social Media on

    Lauren Armstrong has been a Public Information Officer at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority since June 2014. A passion for helping others motivates her to provide the best customer service to those who ride the T. Communicating via social media, managing mbta.com, and tracking operational performance data, is a glimpse into her day.   @MBTA

    We caught up with Lauren in advance of the Social Media Summit to talk about how the T uses social media and what she looks forward to most about the summit.

    Q. What role can social media play in a crisis?

    I think social media is one of the most powerful, and sometimes underestimated, communication tools available. It can be used to interact directly with stakeholders during a crisis, answer their questions/concerns and provide accurate and timely information.

    Q.How does the MBTA use social media to communicate with its audiences?

    Our use of social media is two-fold. Firstly, we use it to announce service delays/disruptions, news/updates, media stories and important reminders. Secondly, we use it as a tool to engage one-on-one with riders. We can answer their questions, resolve their complaints and pass along the much-appreciated operator shout-outs that we receive.

    Q.Can you give an example of how you may have effectively managed social media during a crisis in the past?

    Winter 2014/2015 was an opportunity to announce service schedules and updates to answer questions like, “What kind of service will be running tomorrow?” “Is my bus on snow route?” or “Will my commuter rail train be cancelled?” But it also gave us a few opportunities to highlight the work being done by MBTA employees to keep platforms and bus stops clear of snow and ice.

    Q. How can organizations use the vast amount of data available from social media and website traffic to spot and address potential crisis situations?

    Organizations can use data available to get ahead of a potential crisis. For example, when our web team spots a high increase in traffic to our winter service updates page, we make the decision to redirect our homepage right to our winter page. That way, customers get the exact information they’re looking for and don’t have to spend time looking around for it.

    Q. What are you most looking forward to about the Social Media Summit?

    I’m excited to connect with other leaders in the social media industry, and am looking forward to sharing what we do at the MBTA.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics (https://prsaboston.org/hot-topics/) blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is on the fly! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, authors’ books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com (mailto:josh@joshuamilnepr.com) and pitch your subject expert!

  • Fast 3: Q&A with Eduardo Crespo, Founder and CEO of Hispanic Market Solution

    PRSA Boston Q&A with Eduardo Crespo, CEO, Hispanic Market Solution

    Why do some communities thrive while others become ghost towns? Building an audience is already tricky, but establishing a true community in today’s global marketplace is even harder.

    PRSA Boston took some time recently to speak with Eduardo Crespo, CEO, Hispanic Market Solution to learn more about his take on diversity in the workplace. Eduardo will be one of the featured experts at the Community Building Workshop on Thursday, March 16, at The NonProfit Center of Boston. You can get your ticket here.

    The Hispanic market is growing rapidly in the next 25 years – One in four U.S. residents will be Hispanic in 2050. What are the two most critical issues facing companies planning to enter or expand in the U.S. Hispanic market?

    The two most important issues are dealing with cultural issues and linguistic considerations. Companies must be proactive in understanding, reaching and servicing the U.S. Hispanic community.

    Recently, the “white ceiling” for people of color has replaced the “glass ceiling” that limited life choices for women 20 years ago. How can companies engage and mentor a diverse workforce to achieve competitive advantage?

    Being genuinely interested in responding to the major change in demographics happening in the U.S. by hiring, retaining and promoting Hispanics at all levels of the organization is one way. It has been proven that Hispanic cultural values can become a major asset in progressive companies.

    What three strategies can small- and medium-size companies use to foster a respectful and inclusive workplace?

    1. Welcoming and recognizing Hispanics as an integral, high-value asset of a company’s workforce.
    2. Offering Diversity and Inclusion training to all employees to create a friendly, employee-centric workforce that recognize its differences and works in unison to achieve the company’s goals.
    3. Hiring and promoting Hispanics to leadership and executive positions while encouraging them to become mentors and company spokespeople.

    Crespo is a bilingual/bicultural professional with more than 20 years of regional and national U.S. Hispanic and Latin American marketing and recruitment experience. Increasing awareness about these markets and providing strategic thinking, generating new business and creating “out of the box” solutions are his core strengths.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand. But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

     

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  • The Interview: GE’s CCO Deirdre Latour Chats About GE’s Corporate Culture, the Presidential Campaign Aftermath for Journalism and Why She’s a Closet Bruins Fan

    For seventeen months, Deirdre Latour (@deirdrelatour) has been the lead communications strategist rolling out one of the biggest US business stories of 2016: the corporate headquarters move of Fortune Global 25 company GE (NYSE:GE) to Boston’s burgeoning Seaport District. On Wednesday, November 9th, she will, for the first time, share that story directly, as keynote of PRSA Boston’s C-Suite Conversation with Deirdre Latour at The NonProfit Center of Boston, just one block from South Station.

    In anticipation of her presentation, we wanted to know why she thinks GE’s move to Boston will be good for the company as well as our region. PRSA Boston President Loring Barnes catches up with GE’s busy global communications leader:

    LB: You’re a College of the Holy Cross alumna, so welcome ‘back’ to Boston. I’m going to jump right in: What are GE’s goals for being a leader in the Greater Boston community?

    DL: We really want to become integrated within all facets of the community and before too long, be known as an important value-add neighbor. The fact that the GE Foundation is headquartered in Boston gives us a solid anchor from which to build out our philanthropic investments in STEM education for local public schools and to support innovative responses to urgent public health challenges. We just announced our latest foundation grant to fund opioid addiction response resources at Boston Medical Center within a $15 million dollar healthcare pledge overall (Boston Globe, Metro, Oct. 10, 2016). Through our actions, we want to convey that GE is here to make positive contributions to Greater Boston, in part through investments in innovation to drive solutions.

    LB: GE’s corporate communications is located in NYC, Boston and Washington, DC. You’ll be speaking to an audience of public relations professionals. Are you hiring?

    DL: We really are in good shape. We run lean and mean and of course with the use of technology where we located is less important than the capabilities and connectivity that we provide. GE is in 180 countries, and this is the communications team that got us here so we really didn’t have a need to rebuild it. Of course, I always love to meet new talent!

    LB: You will be speaking the night following what feels like an interminable and bruising presidential election. What will US journalism look like as we head into 2017, and in your view how will this be reshaped by this electoral process?

    DL: It’s really a shame, but journalists have been denigrated and even traumatized throughout this campaign. In too many cases, reporters have become the story. While video, audio and digital content will continue to be king for PR and media alike, I think the journalism landscape will look very different coming out of this election. It will be interesting to see how some of the big networks are reshaped.

    LB: What is the biggest misconception of GE in your view?

    DL: I think any organization of our size – we employ 330,000 employees across 180 countries – gets saddled with the label ‘big business’ meaning large, inefficient or monolithic. But what is big business really? It’s the people who believe in innovation to make our world a better place. 125,000 of our employees are here in the US. This workforce brings diverse perspectives, education and ideas to a singular mission of driving change. GE offers an environment of urgency for bright minds; these are people who are drawn by the energy of innovation and who are determined to make a difference.

    LB: Do you think GE’s personality will change with its move to Boston, and if so, how?

    DL: It already has, and definitely for the better. Whenever you change your physical surroundings, the process of relocating requires that you shed excess material things and you think fresh about what you want to do differently. For GE, I think we consciously didn’t transport any sediment of bureaucracy that likely built up over time simply from years of being in one place with a consistent operational routine. Any move is disruptive, but that’s proven to be good for us. It’s exciting to be reinventing what a corporate headquarters looks and feels like. Our CEO (Jeffrey Immelt) is working in a very visible, centrally located office. He likes it as do our employees. For anyone with the ability to compare, they would have to say that the GE in Boston feels faster, leaner and more engaging. Our new Fort Point neighborhood, with so much building going on around us, truly fits the sense of transformation that is happening within our company.

    LB: Let’s talk about your career journey a bit. PRSA Boston will be your first speaking opportunity in the city, and to other public relations practitioners since this big news and GE’s subsequent arrival. You’ve had a meteoric rise from your early days on the agency side (Porter Novelli, then Edelman). How would you appraise your career path?

    DL: Yes, I never thought I would be as senior in my professional role as I am. I came into GE not knowing how little I knew, but I was fortunate that this company incubates learning and gives every employee the opportunity to reach and grow. While I benefited from that, I really never had a master plan to advance my career. I just worked hard in the moment and the rest happened as a result.

    LB: What would you tell your 21-year old self about how to shape a successful and fulfilling public relations career? Is there an insight or lesson you wish you knew then that you want to share now?

    DL: I would say, be kinder to people. Assume that people are coming from the best place and that they have their own context for how they approach problem-solving or work in general. Things don’t have to be done your way to get accomplished.

    LB: By virtue of directing a global communications function, you have a 24/7 job. What do you enjoy outside of work to recharge or take a break?

    DL: I think everyone needs boundaries to protect personal time. I have a great team that helps me to accomplish this so that I can be present with my family. When I’m not traveling, reading for work or otherwise busy with my kids, I’ll turn on HGTV. I love interior design, home décor, photos of architecture and fashion and anything having to do with the arts. Where I’m in New York, I love Broadway! I’m a huge ‘Hamilton’ fan.

    LB: Important questions to wrap this up. Yankees or Red Sox? Has the GE move influenced your pro sports allegiances?

    DL: Oh I’m definitely loyal to Red Sox from my days back at Holy Cross. I watched David Ortiz’s last game and I was sad. He’s really been such a beacon, not only for baseball but also as a humanitarian. We’re going to miss him. I probably shouldn’t mention this but by marriage, we watch a lot of the Ottawa Senators because my husband is originally from Canada.

    LB: We won’t tell the Bruins. One more chance: Starbucks or Dunkin?

    DL: Starbucks. Remember, I’ve been in New York for twenty years.

    LB: Thank you for your time, Deirdre. We’re looking forward to hearing more about your vision for GE, some of the insights you’ve gained as a communications professional that inform your work today, and to offering this opportunity for more people to meet you and your PR team.

    DL: We’re looking forward to it.

    Early Bird Registration to the November 9th Program can be found HERE (payment via Eventbrite).

     

     – About Deirdre Latour, Chief Communications Officer, GE

    GE's Deirdre Latour

    Ms. Latour leads the company’s global communications functions, shaping the company’s culture and supports its business growth worldwide. She has worked for GE for over twelve years, having made the shift from respected PR firm Edelman. She is an alumna of College of the Holy Cross and member of the Arthur W. Page Society, a community of senior and chief communications officers, PR agency CEOs and academics. (@deirdrelatour)