Skype as an Interviewing Technique

By Eli Gibbs, Photographer/Videographer
The invention of communication via webcam has allowed the possibility of face to face global communication. No longer does an individual need to be physically present in a room to participate in the conversation. Since its inception, webcam communication has proven to be a vital tool for conference calls, interviewing and much more.
Prior to learning about its professional applications, I always imagined Skype as a way to interact with my family while away from home. Communication has many nonverbal cues that are missed in phone calls and not entirely portrayed in photos. The only way to truly track these cues is through video, which Skype can offer. 

About a week ago, I had my first Skype interview for an entry-level position after graduation. This particular public relations firm has offices in many major cities, but I interviewed for the San Francisco branch because it is best for my desired practice, technology.  

While each employer is sure to differ, here are some tips following my first and only Skype interview thus far:
1. Connection problems are expected

If you miss some information, do not hesitate to ask someone to repeat it. Consider using a cell phone for the audio component.

2. Eye contact is not as necessary as it is in face to face communication

If you were to truly resemble eye contact, you would be staring into the webcam, when it is expected that your attention would be on the screen. Make sure to look both at the screen and the webcam when speaking.
3. Be sure to ask questions, not just answer them

Do your research on the company and ask questions that will allow the interviewer to elaborate on what you can do for the company – not what the company can do for you.
For some tips about what NOT to do in a Skype interview, this article is sure to help.

A New Wave of Photographers

By Carter Caldwell, Photographer/Videographer
Photography exists in a variety of forms and is practiced and interpreted by people in many different ways.  
Few people consider themselves professional photographers, compared to the number of people who call themselves amateurs.  Somewhere within this category of amateur photographers lives a rather large group of people I like to call “Instagram-ers.”  
The very existence of these Instagram-ers produces a troubling argument regarding the individual, artistic aspect of photography.  Instagram is a smart phone application that manipulates an image, using a provided filter and posts it online for followers to see.  The company website  describes Instagram as “a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your photos with friends and family.  Snap a picture, choose a filter to transform its look and feel, then post to Instagram.”
“Transform its look and feel.”  Hm.  
I believe photography is all about getting creative and finding your own, unique perspective through the lens.  Putting thought and work into taking a photograph is what sets apart the true amateur and professional photographers from these Instagram-ers.  
Instagram has brought about a sort of cookie cutter take on photography, where everything ends up looking the same.  All it takes is selecting one of its filters, and the picture looks just like every other photo posted to the site. 
Kate Bevan, a writer who specializes in technology and social media, says Instagram is the “antithesis of creativity,” and that it requires no creative or artistic thought to post. 
So why buy into all the hype?  Why not get creative in your own ways?  
To all the Instagram-ers out there, I say break away from what’s trendy, and make something unique.  Don’t blend in with the crowd, blaze yourself a new trail and do what nobody has done before!

A World Through Rose-Colored Glasses

By Lindsay Smith, Graphic Designer
Coming from an artistic upbringing, I feel that I see the world in a way that some people may not. Growing up, my grandmother would always point to a flower and tell me the name of it, mention how beautiful the trees were in the fall, or insist I look at the stars with her in the early morning hours before the sun came up. She was also the first to teach me how to draw, to examine the details of the object I was drawing, and to pay attention to things most people might not think about. She showed me how to consciously perceive and to enjoy the things I took the time to look at. 
I cherish these memories, and I think about how her consciousness of the beauty in our natural environment has influenced me. She is an artist herself and encouraged me to look at the world around me, consider the aesthetics and to pursue any artistic inclinations that I had. As a result I have had the fortune of working with an assortment of art media including: ceramics, photography, painting, drawing, printmaking and even quilting.

Because of this upbringing, I still have an insatiable need to try new things and refine my abilities in art. This has contributed greatly to my professional pursuits in the world of graphic design. I feel as though I live with my eyes wide open, always conscious of the world around me. A world through rose-colored glasses; a romantic idea that truly is a sight to be seen.

A Whole New World

By David Anaya, Graphic Designer
A completely different world was revealed to me once I started my graphic
design education. I realized that design is all around us. Just by reading this
blog post, you’ve already seen the work of three different graphic designers. This
website, your web browser, and your computer or mobile device interface were
all meticulously refined into the final products that you see before. What I find
most fascinating is that each of these designs play a vital part in the core
concept of delivering information to consumers in an easily understandable form.
The great architect Louis Sullivan once said “form follows function,” which means that the form of the design all depends on how it will function in its finished state. You probably
wouldn’t design a bright and colorful brochure using Comic Sans font for a
professional ‘Fortune 500’ business, nor would you design a highway billboard
with a typeface that is meant to be read at arm’s length.
To the untrained eye, mistakes such as these may not seem like a big
deal, but they are enough to make graphic designers cringe.
Our view of the world is both a gift and a curse, as designers involuntarily
analyze every design we see. Every product package, every clothing tag and
every flier posted on a college board is imprinted in our minds in some way. To those
who have accepted this curse, life is more interesting.
We designers are in a continuous state of learning; constantly observing, evaluating and
absorbing designs. The world is our source for inspiration and our playing field
for practicing creative critiques. We learn and we improve.

A New Kind of Wavelength

The New Age of Police Scanners and Their Impact on Journalism
By Joelle Cabasa, Photographer/Videographer

“There’s a 4-84 (petty theft) on West 6th Avenue and Esplanade.  He stole a man’s wheelchair and has taken to crashing into buildings.”
“We have a possible 4-15 (disturbing the peace) at West 3rd Street and Pomona”
“There are reports of a man rattling the door and shaking the fence, trying to get in.  Now he’s picking up a potted plant and shaking his fist. 10-23 (standby) on this one.”
These events transpired in a matter of five minutes, overlapping each other and each more entertaining than the next.  On that lazy Sunday, nothing was more entertaining than a live stream audio of the Chico dispatcher.  Yup, you heard right – a free live stream of the chaos in Chico on Sunday.
Next call in – with my handy dandy police codes in hand.
“There’s been an 11-82 (accident: property damage) on East Avenue, right off of Nord.  The car is on fire and we have the fire department reporting to the scene.” 
Now I know what I’m doing during my downtime on the weekends.
For journalists without a police scanner at the ready, perhaps jumping to Seattle is more appropriate?  In the last month, the Seattle Police Department has released 51 new Twitter accounts, where the average citizen can scan, uninhibited, real-time updates on Tweets by Beat, @SeattlePDB2.  
Snooping through the latest happenings in real time versus Twitter, in any moderately populated area, is cause for concern, especially – for a journalist.
A journalist’s bread and butter is to be on the scene right alongside the police.  Getting a stab at pushing your colleague’s story, which took two weeks to gather, off the front page with a simple hit-and-run comes with the territory.  
So on the other hand, maybe one doesn’t want to wait for the hourly-automated Tweets by Beat?  Just something to keep in mind.
Decisions, decisions.  Twitter or scanner?
Although it’s not 1997 and the Wireless Privacy Enhancement Act has been put behind us, wielding the police scanner is like having a teleportation device at your beck and call. You know, like the Batman’s calling card.
Admittedly, it is reassuring to know many of the old-school journalistic practices are moving into the new age of public relations that is our playground: social media. 
(Insert applause here)
So for now, I guess Code 5 (stake out), while things continue to progress in the world of journalism.

How My Passion for Words Led Me to PR

By Rosana Torres, Editorial Assistant
Ever since I was young, I have had a passion for words and the English language. My free time consisted of challenging myself to read books at the highest level I could. When I was in fourth grade, Mrs. Tarbox told me she had good news for me:
-“You are at the eighth grade reading level!”
My sixth grade teacher thought I was advanced enough to place me in the G.A.T.E. program; this is when I began to help other students write and edit their essays. Then my desire for copy editing was born.
Even though I wasn’t confident enough to enroll into AP classes, my counselor encouraged me to take two college-level English courses among other subjects. I succeeded in them and applied for college.
In the process of the Chico State application, I applied as a journalism student because I knew that I liked to write and had fun with grammar and spelling. Once classes began, I learned that there is more to journalism than just writing; I was introduced to the world of public relations by the end of journalism 101.
Fast forward three years to my senior year; I’ve worked as the public relations director for nonprofit organization ‘Relay for Life’ and have been accepted into TGC as an editorial assistant. It is only week six, and I have already gained so much insight as to what life at a PR agency would be like after graduation.
When I am asked what it is I want to do with a degree in public relations, most people are shocked to hear my career goals. Most people have developed an idea of what they think PR is, rather than actually knowing what we do. A recent article by the Huffington Post also disproves myths about what people think we do in public relations.
Many people think that social media are not very important, but in my world, how active I am in cyberspace can determine if I get a job or not after graduation. Being socially aware of what is going on in the industry can separate a candidate when looking for a job. 
Being in TGC has taught me how to manage my time more effectively as well as how to work in a team environment. I’ve learned how to balance four different schedules and mesh with people’s different work styles. Working in TGC has been the most beneficial learning experience in my college career.

How to use Pinterest for PR

By Christopher Tavolazzi, Editorial Assistant
People love Pinterest.
Pinterest combines life planning, self expression, and a visual escape into a cohesive online community. I love firing up my home page and scrolling through all the images, sometimes finding a picture of a cute seal right next to a hilarious captioned photo of the NFL replacement refs.
Pinterest’s self described mission is to connect everyone in the world through the things they’re interested in. Shareable content is king, and it seems to be working. 
An article in TechCrunch states that Pinterest is the fastest ever to break the 10 million user mark, doing so in two years. Traffic to the site increased 4000 percent in 2011 to 11.7 unique users, and now the site has almost 15 million users. That’s a lot of eyes.
So how can PR professionals capitalize on the fifth most popular social media site in the world?
First, get an account. Do it right now. I’ll wait.
Signed up? Good. Familiarize yourself with what the site and how it works.
The payoff: referral traffic.
As people share your content, you’ll get increasing free exposure from people interested in your product or organization. Obviously, this is great and pretty exciting, but how exactly do you do this?
Blogger Brian Solis says to think of content as “social objects” in his Sept. 24 blog. He advises us to produce content with optimized shareability and resonance, in an effort to get your audience’s attention. 
In a sea of pins, you want your image to stand out from the rest.
Aim to release content compelling enough to make this happen. Make sure your image immediately captures attention and interest. Try to release content on a schedule in order to keep your base interested. You want people to want to share your stuff, of course, and people re-pin what they like, what makes them laugh, and what makes them say “woah.”
Social media moves fast, with one viral video or cool image giving way to the next shiny thing within hours. 
Solis also draws a comparison to Back to the Future III, when Marty McFly is trying to get a train to reach 88 mph, but regular wood only gets the train moving so fast. Doc Brown engineers special logs that-when thrown in at certain intervals-allow the train to reach a higher speed. 
Use this scene as a model for your Pinterest campaign. Have something that whizzes through the social media scene getting re-pinned, shared, and tweeted like crazy. Then, when it dies out, release your next batch of content and watch the fire ignite all over again. 
Just make sure your log will catch with ease.

Why Paying My Bills Has Made Me a Better PR Student

By Rebecca Seylar, Editorial Director
Only months after turning 18, I got hired at my first “real” job. Three years later, I’m still at the same locally-owned restaurant, serving my regulars dirty martinis and spaghetti with meatballs. 
What has three years as a server taught me? Often I’m simply reminded to never underestimate the value of patience, but generally I’ve learned things about myself and others that apply to various aspects of my professional and social life. 
Most importantly, paying my bills throughout college has taught me not only to prioritize, but how to be responsible and realistic. Sometimes I really, really want that new pair of shoes, but I know my AT&T bill is just days away, waiting to be paid. Learning how to budget is tricky, but it is an incredibly important skill for young professionals to grasp before graduating college.
Time management and organizational skills have also proven to be exponentially important as the years go on. School, internships and work can sometimes take up so much of my time, the hours left for sleep can be tallied on one hand. Avoiding distractions is often hard, but it’s a necessity if you often find yourself sucked into the time machines otherwise known as Facebook and Netflix.
As a public relations student, I’ve learned all about building relationships, and that effective communication strategies result in positive outcomes. As a server, good communication often can be the difference between getting stiffed on a $50 bill and receiving a tip that will pay for my meal that night. When at work, I have to display a positive image and get a feel for the type of person I am serving at that table. Adapting my attitude and responses accordingly is often helpful, and I’m constantly finding myself putting what I’ve learned in my PR classes to work in real life. 
Maintaining a job through college was financially necessary for me, but in reality it has been rewarding in so many ways. In addition to career related internships, I have a paid, real-world job that taught me personal skills and a lot about myself. If you don’t have one already, consider one of these 10 jobs that U.S. News says look good on your resume. Luckily for me, waitressing made the list at number five!

What Weddings and PR Have in Common

By Amber Whiteside, Social Media Director
Yes, it is true, most women are obsessed with fantasizing about their wedding day. Pinterest has contributed to the hype for planning an “imaginary” wedding.  
However, my love for weddings is at a whole new level since deciding I want to involve wedding planning in my profession. As I currently plan my sister’s wedding, I am constantly reminded of basic public relations principles that can be applied to weddings:
1. Always listen to what the client wants. 
Suggestions have their place, but ultimately your job is to make your client happy. Make sure you listen to their needs. Discuss strategy with them and propose your own. It is important for them to be on board with everything you are about to produce and create.
2. Stay organized. 
Make to-do lists, put reminders in your phone, and always make sure to update your client on what you are working on.
3. Risk management. 
Event planners are considered risk managers in a sense, but it is important for public relations practitioners as well. Be ready for a disaster at any moment. It is better to prevent chaos, than to deal with the aftermath.
4. Utilize social media and mobile apps. 
With social media becoming increasingly popular, there are new ways to enhance your client’s presence on the web. Do some research and find out what apps and social media might benefit your client. This applies for wedding planning too. The new app, Wedding Party, directly uploads your guests’ photos to one collaborative Facebook album.
So yes, I may spend most of my time browsing through wedding blogs and magazines and tearing up while I watch wedding videos, but I am also helping myself get that much closer to reaching my dreams.
Think about your hobbies and interests. Don’t all experiences help you learn? The answer is yes. So pay close attention, there are PR lessons in our everyday lives that we may not fully understand from just learning them in the classroom.

Where Will Textbooks Take Us Next?

By Shelby Hudak, Account Executive
I can remember just three years ago when I was purchasing my textbooks for my first semester at college. And now, just three years later, it fascinates me how buying textbooks has changed.
Back in 2009, my freshman year,  I wasn’t even aware textbooks were available to rent online. I remember the A.S. bookstore being jam-packed with students and the “TextLink” pick-up line being extremely long. 
My second semester of freshman year I overheard people talking about a book rental site called Chegg, but I was not convinced enough to try it.
Now as a senior, I look back on my freshman year and tell myself how crazy I was for spending $100 on a textbook from the bookstore, when I could have rented it for $30 or $40 at an online book rental site such as or
In my opinion, renting textbooks online is the most popular way students are getting their textbooks. I don’t think this will be the case forever, or even in the next five to 10 years. I believe there will be another huge shift in the textbook industry and students’ buying habits will shift to e-books. 
Forbes says students are in no hurry to follow the e-book trend. My prediction, however, is that textbook publishing companies will adapt and create e-books that students actually want to use, and the industry of e-books will flourish. 
We live in an exciting and evolving world that makes me eager about what technology will bring for future textbooks.