March 18, 2018
By Nikki Vergakes, PR Specialist at Trevi Communications
Every February, Boston University PRSSA hosts all the regional PRSSA chapters at their school for an enriching day of learning and networking. It’s not surprising that only the most engaged students attend this conference, since it’s on a Saturday. This is just one of the many reasons why I attended the conference along with my Co-College Liaison, Ermolande Jean-Simon, seeking out talented seniors and grad students to join our chapter.
By the end of the day, we gained much more knowledge than just students to keep an eye on. Since we were allowed to hop around the sessions (thanks for the opportunity, BU PRSSA), we picked up almost as much information as the students.
During my days in PRSSA, my two favorite times of the year were regional and national conference. It was like Christmas came more than once a year! I also just graduated in May, so I can’t say that my mindset is very different from that of the students. Either way, you never stop learning. This conference would’ve been beneficial for professionals and students of any age.
The first breakout I attended was hosted by Michal Desalvo, VP of Healthcare at OIlgivy. He took us through his seemingly treacherous job search path. I think that everyone could relate to what he went through, however, even if you had a job secured after graduation. His presentation was supposed to be a super-secret, life-changing tip to land a PR job. Not surprisingly, the secret was that there is none! His advice is the be true to yourself and what you want, work hard and to treat the whole process of networking like making friends. Look at how ridiculous it would be if we treated relationships like we do networking.
I also really enjoyed the keynote session by DJ Capobianco, Manager of Research at Twitter. I was happy to catch this after networking with students at the career fair. The left and right side of my brain were buzzing after his presentation. I missed the part where he explains what he did, but from what I gathered, brands approach Twitter for market research, and he gathers the research for them. If that doesn’t sound like a cool job, I don’t know what does. My two big takeaways were that there is actual revenue increase due to a pleasant customer service via Twitter (talk about an ROI), and the best quote of the day, “All research is wrong no matter who does it, it just depends how wrong it is.”
Thanks to BU PRSSA for having us – we already can’t wait for next year!
Nikki Vergakes is a PR Specialist at Trevi Communications, working in professional services and clean energy PR. Having just graduated in May, she’s learning so much about what you can do with PR in her role, and is also putting the skills she learned in (and out of) school to the test with some side projects. She just launched a podcast with her friend, writes in the free time, and just joined She Zine as a news & culture contributor in March.
November 13, 2017
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and pitch your expert!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or board of directors of either organization.
November 12, 2017
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.
Contact: Joshua Milne, email@example.com, 617-501-1620