Meet your new executive board

This year’s executive board election was neck-and-neck.   The results were very close with a record number of members running for positions.  As a graduating executive board member, it was exciting to see our chapter grow this year and bring in new talent for next year.

Congratulations to our new executive team!

  • President — Genevieve Krier (2008-2009 Communication Director, Spring 2008 Vice President)
  • Vice President — Megan McIntyre (2008-2009 Newsletter Editor)
  • Firm Directors — Paul Spooner (Spring 2009 Firm member) and Tina Larson (Fall 2008 co-Firm Director)
  • Communication Director — Natalie Dubs (Spring 2009 co-Firm Director)
  • Public Relations Director — Brittney Wichtendahl
  • Newsletter editor — Danette Kapler
  • Secretary — Shannon Kane (Spring 2009 Public Relations Director)
  • Finance Director — Kelsey Thortsen
  • Social Media and Web Editor — Kelly Trettin (Spring 2009 Relay For Life Account Executive, Firm Committee)
  • Marketing Director — Hannah Lee

We are still looking to fill the Historian/Alumni Relations position.  If interested, please contact Tegan Zimmerman with your intent to run.  We will hold elections at meeting on Wednesday, April 29.

There were many wonderful candidates and only so many positions to fill.  There are still plenty of ways you can get involved if you didn’t get the position you wanted.  Volunteer on our various committees, write for our newsletter or blog, or propose an idea to an exec member.  We are always looking for new ideas and ways to grow as a chapter.

— Caroline Jones

‘Freezin’ for a Reason!’ Special Olympics Polar Plunge

On Saturday, March 28, the University of Iowa PRSSA firm participated in the Special Olympics Polar Plunge.  The tagline, “freezin’ for a reason!” rang true: it was cold.  The last few weeks of March had been surprisingly warm for Iowa standards, yet the one day we decided to jump in the Coralville lake, it was snowy and cold.  Despite my disdain for cold weather, I can say we all had a great time.  Our team costume theme was 80’s and special kudos to Sarah Washler, Allie Howarth and Paul Spooner who demonstrated the most team spirit!


From top left: Allie Howarth, Stephanie Block, Sarah Washler, Paul Spooner, Megan McIntyre, Caroline Jones, Natalie Dubs, Natalie's roommate

PRSSA is proud to have helped Special Olympics Iowa raise more than $33,000 in donations that went to help fund the Special Olympics competition in Iowa City.  This is an event I hope our Firm continues to remain actively involved with.

— Caroline Jones

They will see us waving from such great heights

I know not everyone in the world reads blogs, but if you plan to pursue a career in public relations, better step up your game.  I came across this very exhaustive list of blogs from  I’m sure they don’t have every public relations blog under the sun, but you could get your feet wet exploring these resources.

PR Blogs

104 West Blog
104 West Partners

6 A.M.
Richard Edelman

A Shel of My Former Self
Shel Holtz

Zeno Group

Altitude: 30,000 Feet
Moore Consulting Group

Andy Lark’s Blog
Andrew Lark

Bad Pitch Blog

Bite Marks
Bite PR

Beyond the Hype
Lois Paul & Partners

BlinnPR Blog
Steve Blinn

Brass Tacks
Horn Group

Jeff Jarvis

Bulletproof Blog
Levick Strategic Communications

Catching Flack
Jon Greer

Channel Talk
PR Channel

Cision Blog

Paul Ostreicher

Collective Conversation
Hill & Knowlton blogs

MEDIAtor Blog
CommCore Consulting Group

Corporate PR
Elizabeth Albrycht

Ron Culp, Ketchum

D.C. Public Affairs/PR Jobs
Gordon Barnes

Death of Time
Doug Poretz, Qorvis Comms.

Weill on Blogging and Social Media
Debbie Weill

Desirable Roasted Coffee
Allan Jenkins

Digital Influence Blog
Ogilvy PR Worldwide

Don’t Eat the Shrimp
Josh Morgan

Down the Avenue
Renee Blodgett

D S Simon Vlog Views
Douglas Simon (D S Simon Prods. Inc.)

Engage In PR
Kyle F. Flaherty (Horn Group)

E. Bruce Harrison

Ethical Optimist
Ann Higgins (Utopia Communications)

Expert Marketing
Stern Communications

FH Out Front Blog
Gay and Lesbian Comms.

First Person PR
Kari Hanson

The Flack
Peter Himler

From the Desert to the Sea…
John Stodder

The Good, The Bad, The Spin
Bob Conrad

Harding Place
Jerry Schwartz

Harold Burson’s Blog
Harold Burson (Burson-Marsteller)

Holmes Report Blog
Paul Holmes

Text 100

Patrick Di Chiro (Thunder Factory)

Carolyn Leber

Ideas to Use (PR/PA)
Ernest Landante, Jr.

Influence 2.0
Jim Nail (Cymfony)

Robert French (Auburn Univ.)

Integrated Perspective

K Street Cafe
Adfero Group

Ishmael’s Corner
Lou Hoffman

IT Security & Public Relations
Tony Mackey

It’s All Very PR
Alyson Campbell (Amp3 PR)

Judy Cushman’s Blog
Judith Cushman & Assocs. (exec. search)

KD Paine’s Measurement Blog
Katie Paine

KWE Group’s Luxury Travel & Lifestyle Trends Blog
Karen Weiner Escalera

Left Brain
Ruder Finn (RFI Studios)

Lewis 360 blog
Lewis PR

Loughlin Michaels Group

The Living Room

The Lois Whitman Diary
Lois Whitman/HWH PR

LT PR Blog

Steve Lubetkin

Marketing Begins at Home
David Parmet

Measuring Up
Ed Moed (Peppercom)

Media Guerrilla
Mike Manuel (Voce Communications)

Media Mindshare
Michael Tangeman

Media Orchard
Idea Grove

Media Savvy Leader
David Henderson

Mediashop PR Blog
Mediashop PR

Micro Persuasion
Steve Rubel (Edelman)

Minnesota PR Blog
Ryan May (BAE Systems)

My Three Cents
Ken Makovsky

My 2 Cents
David Reich (Reich Communications)

Karen Blanchard

Neville Hobson

New York Buzz
AMP3 Public Relations

The Next 50 Years

Novell Open PR
Novell PR staff

Online PR Thoughts
Jim Horton (Robert Marston Associates)

Open the Dialogue
Tom Biro and Chris Thilk (MWW Group)

Page Turner
The Arthur W. Page Society


PerkettPR, Inc.

Phil’s Blogservations
Phil Gomes

Peritus PR Blog

Pierce Mattie PR Blog

Pollack PR Marketing Group Blog
Noemi Pollack

Pop! PR Jots
Jeremy Pepper

PR 2.0
Brian Solis

PR Differently
Peter Shankman

PR Blog News
Mark Rose

PR Coach
George Rosenberg

PR Conversations
Global opinions
on PR from local perspectives

PR Differently
Peter Shankman

PR Meets the WWW
Constantin Basturea

The PR Lawyer
Gina Furia Rubel

PR & Publicity Blog
Ivan Chan

PR Rock & Roll
Drew Kerr (Four Corners Comms.)

PR Squared
Todd Defren, Shift Comms.

PRactically Speaking Online
RGM Communications

Press Release PR Blog
Press Release PR

John Lonsdorf (R&J PR)

PR Talk
Denis Hiller

Jay Rosen (NYU)

PR Jobs List
Andrew Hudson

PR Newser

PR Workbench
Jack Monson

Racepoint Group

Reason Enough

The ReidWegs Report
Reid Wegley

Reputation Excellence
Morrissey & Co.

Rosica PR News
Rosica Strategic PR

Seat at the Table
Ephraim Cohen

Steve Cody (Peppercom)

Leslie Gaines-Ross (Weber Shandwick)

Reputation Gurus
GCI Group (corporate practice)

The Reputation Doctor
MGP & Associates PR

Ruder Finn Ethics
Ruder Finn

Rx for PR
Russo Partners

The Saxum Perspective
Saxum Communications

Steven Silvers

Seth Godin’s Blog
Seth Godin

Silicon Valley PR
Tim Dyson (NextFifteen)

Small Guy PR
Brian Lustig (SunRocket Inc.)

Spark PR Blog
Spark PR

The Spectrum Blog
Spectrum Science Comms.

Jane Genova

Stern + Blog
Stern + Associates

Straight Talk
Michael Kempner (MWW Group)

Strategic PR
Kevin Dugan

Amanda Chapel

Style & Focus PR

Tech PR Gems
Topaz Partners

Thoughts from Ronn Torossian

Marsha Keeffer

Keith O’Brien

Voce Nation
Voce Communications

Westbound Blog
Westbound Communications

What’s Your Thing?
Horn Group

Wheatley & Timmons Blog
Bob Wheatley, CEO

The Zone Read
Paul Walker (GCI Group)

Remember that one meeting where I went on a rant about setting up Twitter, LinkedIn and PROpenMic accounts and Google reader to save time and keep up with blogs (also Joel Johnson discussed this too)?  There is a method to my madness because this will come in handy to you someday.  A former co-worker of mine told me the other day he was hired at a job that he LOVES because he had sent his now boss a Twitter message after his interview.

Internship Spotlight: University News Services

by Caroline Jones 

Are you looking for an internship or another way to gain more writing experience? If so, the University News Services internship is the perfect opportunity to get a solid start to a career in public relations.

The University News Services (UNS) office is located at 300 Plaza Centre One in downtown Iowa City. The internship lasts one semester, or you may work there during the summer months if you will be living in Iowa City.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to: interviewing media contacts and writing press releases and news stories for various University publications, identifying relevant University of Iowa stories and pitching them to local, regional, national and international media outlets, archiving news stories and assisting in various administrative tasks.

As a student you may be thinking, “What’s in it for me?” Or “How will I benefit from this experience?”

“From the UNS internship, I was able to hone my AP and press release writing expertise–two basic but essential skills for a PR professional,” said Jennifer Ferm, former PRSSA president and recent UI graduate.

By the end of the semester your portfolio will be full with writing samples you will be proud to submit to an employer.

“During my Golin Harris internship, my account team really trusted my writing skills and therefore gave me assignments above the intern level writing materials on behalf of the client,” said Ferm. “I cannot say definitively if Golin Harris would’ve hired me without my strong proficiency in writing that I perfected at UNS. I’m forever grateful for the experience.”

On top of that, the staff members at the University News Services office are friendly and willing to help you in any way possible.

Lois Gray, the assistant director/editor for UNS, is quite possibly the kindest woman you could ever work for. No matter how busy her day is, she is never too busy to listen or help you with anything you need.

“Once I met Lois and started my internship at UNS, I was much more productive under someone who was so genuine, helpful and upbeat,” said Gloria Hurtado, PRSSA vice president after her internship in spring 2008. “As an intern, it’s easy to feel intimidated taking on tasks that require skills still under development, but she took the time to help with every step of the process. I’m greatly appreciative of her mentorship.”

Gray assists with writing and editing news releases and the entire UI News Digest, provides media support to the UI College of Education, International Programs as well as to a number of other areas on campus, including Women’s Resource and Action Center, the Rape Victim Advocacy Program, Honors Program, Registrar’s Office, UI Center for Human Rights and much more. She updates news headlines on the UI Homepage, serves as managing editor for the UNS web site and is the assistant editor for UI faculty and staff newsletter, fyi. Aside from that, she oversees the internship program and recently coordinated the video production internship.

A native of New Hampton, IA, Gray received her bachelor of arts in journalism from Grand View College in Des Moines and obtained her master’s degree in journalism from the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication. After a decade of working in daily and weekly journalism, she realized she wanted to work in higher education media relations, combining her experience from studying abroad and her love for higher education.

“Some of the best moments in my current position with University News Services, University Relations, is when we know we’ve helped educate the public about really significant research or when we’ve really made a difference in people’s lives through an outreach event or big news,” said Gray.

“A recent example was during the Flood of 2008, we were able to work with this natural disaster and help educate people on campus as well as work with members of the media – locally, regionally and nationally – as well as alumni, friends, students, faculty and staff and members of the general public – through a Flood Blog, press conferences, press releases and other communications vehicles. It was an opportunity to show the resilience of our campus and how teaching, research and service continue despite the obstacles.”

The experiences of an internship with UNS will vary from each semester.

As we have mentioned before, you never know when a crisis will hit.  As an employee of any organization, you must be prepared to face new challenges and demonstrate your willingness to accept more responsibility.

PRSSA Public Relations Director Aly Dolan provides a first-hand account of crisis communication.

“When the flood hit, my boss’ had their hands full with crisis communication,” said Dolan after interning with UNS last summer. “Fortunately, a lot of press releases and stories that were originally assigned to higher positions were passed along to me. It definitely improved my writing.”

Perhaps most importantly, PRSSA has built a positive relationship with the University News Services office, one that will be your responsibility to uphold and build upon in the future. As a member of PRSSA, you already have an advantage when applying for this position. UNS has been an invaluable resource to our chapter and we hope to continue to send our talented members to work there.


Dodgeball Madness

by Tina Larson
OurCampus360 hosted Dodgeball Madness, Thursday, November 13 from 7-9 pm at the Field House, which raised nearly $800 for the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge.

   The Firm committee was in charge of planning the event. Members worked diligently to get donations from local businesses for raffle prizes and gift baskets. In addition to bragging rights, the winning team and consolation team received a prize basket filled with a trophy, shirts and gift certificates from local bars and restaurants. Local restaurants, such as: Atlas, Blackstone, Micky’s, Z’Marik’s, Pizza Ranch, Carlos O’Kelly’s and Bruegger’s donated gift certificates.

   The event had a total of 14 teams, all of which used Patches O’Houlihan’s Five D’s of Dodgeball: “Dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge!”

(Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, 2004)

Players warming up

   Colleges Against Cancer had a table and representative handing out information about American Cancer Society and fliers about their upcoming Z’Marik’s fundraiser on  Monday, November 17th, in which one dollar from each Mac and Cheese bowl sold went to Relay for Life.

Colleges Against Cancer table  

Talya Vexle , The University of Iowa gymnastics coach and cancer survivor, was also in attendance to show her support.

   Once the championship game was over, the adrenalin filled participants headed to Short’s Burger and Shine, 18 S. Clinton St., for great deals on delicious burgers and beverages. The Summit also offered participants free cover till 10:30 pm.  

Participants of Dodgeball Madness 

The American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in Iowa City welcomed their first guests earlier this year. They provide a temporary home-like residence, without charge, to cancer patients. For more information, visit