News

  • Fast Five: Larry Brantley at Chaloner & Associates Wants to Help You Land that Next Job

    Larry Brantley, President of Chaloner & Associates, brings more than 30 years of experience in the communications, marketing and design world to his role at Chaloner.  a national executive search firm specializing in communications, public relations and marketing recruitment. He’s worked with brands such as JCPenny, HP, EDS, Texas Instruments, ConocoPhillips and many others to place executive level talent in the marketing and communications roles.  PRSA Boston recently had the opportunity to ask him for a few insights into the current job market.

    Q: What are some of the key trends you are seeing in the hiring process these days?

    A: Firms are now offering signing bonuses, relocation packages, enhanced benefit plans and increased compensation plans.  It is a candidate market.  Employers are having to compete for talent.  It has not been this kind of employment climate since the late 1990s.

    Q: What skills should PR and Communication professionals be looking to refine / develop as they start a job search?

    A: We all need to be proactive in developing our knowledge in online content creation and management.  Social media is key to all PR professionals.  Whether you create online content or manage crisis communications, it impacts all of us in a world where everyone uses mobile communications on a regular basis.  It is a qualifier in resume screening.

    Q: There was a time when communications and digital marketing jobs were separate.  Is that still the case?  If not, are you seeing employers who are looking for candidates with both sets of skills?

    A: Employers are looking for people who are multi-faceted in their skills and ability to do more for their company.  It is imperative that we, as candidates, are able to multi- task and spin many plates at the same time. Larger firms may separate traditional communications and digital communications to different teams.  However, small to mid-sized companies expect individuals to do both.

    Q: Are employers paying more attention to diversity in the hiring process

    A: Employers are ideally looking to have a balanced approach to life experiences, cultural perspectives and gender views in their business.  We do not have the same constraints that affirmative action required in the 90s, but our customers and clients look to see that our business reflects the market in which we live.  We approach all candidates as “talent”, not male/female, gay or straight, Jewish, Muslim or Christian.  The only consideration for us is who is the best qualified candidate to perform the job function. Our salary range budgeted is the same for all.

    Q: How important is experience vs. an ability to adapt and learn?

    A: Both are critical to the success of a new hire; however, adaptability is a critical component into cultural fit in an organization.  You can have all the experience in the world, but if you are inflexible, you will be out the door.

    Q: What mistakes should a candidate avoid in the interview process? 

    A: We do our best to prepare a candidate for an interview with our clients.  We share a little background on the individuals you may be meeting to help you be relaxed and familiar with who you meet. There are in my opinion some important things to consider-

    • Don’t regurgitate everything listed on your resume.  The resume helped to get you in the door but now they want to get to know you.
    • Let the interviewer lead the conversation. Don’t come in with your own discussion plan.
    • Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you are not.
    • Thank the contact for their time and opportunity to meet.

    Looking for a new opportunity?  Check out the Chaloner website at http://www.chaloner.com or follow Larry on Twitter at @recruitinglarry

    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 or on the go. 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!

  • 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! 

    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. 

     

     

  • 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

  • PASSING THE BATON: ANNOUNCING THE 2018 CHAPTER LEADERSHIP NOMINEES

    In Chapter Events, News on

    PRSA Boston’s 2018 Nominating Committee of past presidents is pleased to put forth this talented Board and Leadership Slate for the membership’s vote at the Annual Meeting on November 16, 2017:

    2018 OFFICERS

    President 2018 (previously voted)
    Erin Callanan, APR
    President, Callanan & Klein

    Immediate Past President
    Dan Dent, APR
    Media Relations Manager, Draper

    Treasurer
    Jeff Caywood
    Director, Headquarters Communications, GE

    Secretary
    Cheryl Wheeler
    Director of Global Leadership + Associate Engagement Communications, Novartis

    VP Programming Co-Chair
    Michele Snyder
    Consultant, Snyder Communications

    VP Programming Co-Chair
    Rhiannon D’Angelo
    Senior Media Specialist, Eversource Energy

    VP Membership Co-Chair
    Matt Bashalany
    Senior Communications Manager, FTI Consulting

    VP Membership Co-Chair
    Eric Berman
    Director of Communications, Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®

    Director-at-Large/Content (thru 2019)
    Sofia Coon
    US PR Manager, kununu US

    Director-at-Large/Diversity (thru 2019)
    Kelley Chun
    President, Kelley Chunn & Associates

    Director-at-Large (thru 2020)
    Amy Riemer
    President, Riemer Communications

    Chapter PRSA Delegate (thru 2019)
    Diane Pardes, APR
    President, Pardes Communications

    Chapter PRSA Delegate (thru 2019)
    Josh Gitelson, APR
    Executive Managing Director, RF Binder

    Chapter PRSA Delegate (thru 2020)
    Loring Barnes, APR, Fellow PRSA
    CCO, Clarity

    2018 LEADERSHIP TEAM

    Content Chair
    Joshua Milne
    President, Joshua Milne Public Relations

    Accreditation + Awards Chair
    Josh Gitelson, APR
    Executive Managing Director, RF Binder

    Social Media Chair
    Shannon Giordano
    President, Serendipity Social Media

    Young Professional Network (YPN) Chair
    Kristin Foley
    Senior Account Executive, Sleek Machine

    Faculty Forum Chair
    Maureen O’Connell
    Subject Matter Expert, Bay Path University

    PRSSA + College Co-Liaison
    Nikki Vergakes
    PR Specialist, Trevi Communications

    PRSSA + College Co-Liaison
    Ermolande Jean-Simon
    Student Programs Manager, New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University

    Ethics Chair
    Nancy Sterling, APR, Fellow PRSA
    Senior Vice President, Strategic Communications, ML Strategies

    Independent Practitioner Network (IPN) Chair
    Henry Stimpson, APR
    President, Stimpson Communications

    The Ted Chaloner Learning Fund Liaison
    Dan Dent, APR
    Media Relations Manager, Draper

     

    We wish to congratulate our colleagues and thank their 2017 predecessors for going above and beyond for their service to our 300+ strong members. This talent pool points to a tremendous year of networking and programming ahead.

     

     

     

     

  • 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!

    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. 

     

  • Meet the PRSA Board: Sofia Coon, Director at Large

    Who is Sofia Coon?
    I’m 26 years old and am originally from Syracuse, NY. I’m currently a Senior Account Executive at Scratch Marketing and Media in Cambridge, MA. I’ve been with the company for about a year and a half and love the technology startups and companies we work with. I enjoy that I can nerd out on things like data integration, mobile apps, customer experience platforms and more. Trying to find a basic way to explain complex things is a fun challenge for me. I am extremely passionate about public relations and love that I get to help shape the strategy and messaging used by a client to provide awareness for them within their industry.

    You’ve been a board member for a few years. What is your focus for 2017? 
    I was a PRSSA member at both Curry College in Milton, MA where I earned my Bachelor’s and Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY where I earned my Master’s. When I moved back to Boston, I immediately got involved with the Boston chapter as I knew it would give me the networking contacts and friends that I would need throughout my career. I started on the junior leadership team, working to reinvigorate the young professionals network (YPN) with a colleague. The two of us recreated the program structure for professionals with 5 or less years’ experience, hosting networking sessions and events that catered to what the new PR professional needs to know. In 2016, I was asked to become a Director at Large on the board. I am now in my second term, continuing work with YPN as well as being a part of the committee for the 2017 PRSA International Conference, which will be held in Boston this fall.  I am also working with our campus connection program – providing Boston area schools with information on the tools and resources PRSA can provide rising juniors and seniors. I look forward to seeing what all three opportunities bring in 2017 and continuing to be a part of the board for years to come.

    Why are you involved with PRSA and what has it meant for your career?
    PRSA has always been a rock for me. The seasoned professionals I’ve met have been through a number of the same obstacles and challenges that I have. I know I can count on them to respond to an email, help me with a recommendation or provide me the advice and guidance that will continue to send me down a successful career path in the future. All I can do is to continue to have the same “pay it forward” mentality and do what I can for the generations of PR professionals behind me. I also know that I can reach out to a PRSA member internationally and more likely than not they are happy to answer any questions I may have. I was recently doing some industry research in Canada and had multiple members that were willing to have phone and video conversations to tell me about their experiences.

    What is your recommendations for individuals thinking about joining PRSA?

    I always offer them a chance to be a guest at an event or to look at what the national website has to offer in terms of webinars and mentorships. I have a number of examples of how PRSA has helped me navigate my career and I can share how it will help them if they become a part of the network.

    When you’re not involved with PRSA Boston or doing your full time PR gig, what do you do?
    I love reading and reviewing books. I have so many daily adventures in my job, but I love reading about other worlds and time periods. I’m also a big musical theater and drama nerd. I used to be on the board of a theater company in Wayland, MA and now volunteer for box office or front of house management when I have the opportunity. My boyfriend and I also love going on road trips. Vermont is one of our favorite places to go when we have a long weekend.

    Tell us something not many people know about you (Don’t worry….we’ll keep it a secret!).  

    I have a bookstagram! I’m getting it back up and running in 2017 as I had to take a small hiatus, but follow me on @BookishBlueFox for some book recommendations and to follow my personal reading challenge of 60 books in 12 months (I read 55 in 2016).