Jeff MorrisPosted: September 24, 2012
Jeff Morris, Vice President for Communications and Marketing at K-State spoke to a group of journalism students on Aug. 30. He, along with a PR writer and PR director, presented a detailed account of the challenges they face daily. Morris began his presentation with suggesting we, as students, be wired all the time. Jennifer, the PR writer, said every morning she scans the news and updates herself on both domestic and foreign current events. Morris visits the department heads, averaging about thirty meetings a week. Jennifer said some of her responsibilities include writing quick news releases, updating issues on the website with real time information, and arranging interviews. She said it’s vital to create good relationships with key publics, especially during crisis communication. She told us that it’s hard to earn a reputation but can be easily lost. Greg, the PR director, highlighted how important it was for PR firms and professionals be transparent.
Morris pointed out that on a daily basis they will interact with a wide variety of key publics such as students, alumni, faculty, reporters, parents, fans, and local/national media. When asked why he loves his job he responded, “We get to tell the great stories of our universities.” All three speakers agreed that while it can be dull work, they enjoy what they’re doing and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
When asked what it takes to be successful in the field of PR, Morris told the students, “It takes people skills, writing skills, and the ability to adapt to new technology. These won’t go away. Also, add flexibility.”
It was interesting to hear about the daily encounters Morris and his team have. I wish they had done a better job about showing us examples of the work they’ve done in the past or finished products but all in all I enjoyed attending the presentation because they use skills and tactics we’re learning about in class.