From the Minnesota Daily to Minnesota Public Radio:

Advice from Anna Weggel's Journey from Journalism Student to Producer

Minneapolis - The year 2007 marked a major year for Anna Weggel. She was the acting Editor-in-Chief for the Minnesota Daily, graduating in May with a degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota, and on a whim pitched herself to the New York Times as a potential blogger for their new series "The Graduate." Luck was on her side, as by April, Anna was blogging about her expectations, hopes, and fears as a graduating senior. Her posts read like they are my own thoughts, anxieties, and obsessions over the future. One post read:

"I want not just any job - I want one that's going to make me feel like a worthwhile citizen, contributing to the betterment of society. I want a job that's worth something. I want a job that's going to pay me dirt and make me not mind."

Anna spoke openly about her post-grad job search that started long before her commencement ceremony. She spent hours a day online searching different publications and organizations for opportunities in entry level positions. She was willing to work any position, while at the same recognizing if a position was not the appropriate match to again seek new employment options.

Anna found that her blog posts for the New York Times had allowed her an amazing opportunity, to list the New York Times as a past employer. She graduated college eager to find a great job and happily took her first official position as an intern for an organization in San Francisco. It wasn't long before she found herself anxious to explore new options. Within six months, she was traveling to the East Coast for an internship in Washington, D.C. Her internships began to build credibility to her already impressive resume. Each new position she took, she continued to network and seek new and greater opportunities. By the end of her first official year out of college, she had begun to hear news of an innovative public journalism project based back in St. Paul. It didn't take much to convince her to head home and grab that opportunity by the horns and prove her capability as an insightful and inquisitive journalist.
Anna credits her New York Time freelance and her two internships as being the significant reasons behind the Minnesota Public Radio even granting her an interview.

This leads me to Anna's most voiced advice about graduating from college and entering the job market, job hunt until you've sent your resume to a hundred possible options just to send one hundred more.

The Tipping Point:

Can social media be that instigator?

Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference quickly rose through the charts following its release ten years ago. Publishing Weekly calls the book, "Fascinating enough for the general reader, Gladwell's work is a particular boon for business people looking for inspiration on how to tip their own ideas into popular crazes."

This type of acclaim and popular success probably came to no surprise to Gladwell as his book outlined how various products or ideas can spread like an epidemic just as easily as the flu will spread over the holidays. He accredited three rules to the spread of social epidemics - 'The Law of the Few,' 'The Stickiness Factor,' and 'The Power of Context' drawing on Paul Revere's infamous midnight ride, the popularity of Blues Clues, and the decrease in crime in New York City as key studies of each of these factors. After ten years, does The Tipping Point still hold relevance? Or has the Internet, which successfully consumed the decade as its own epidemic, proven the tipping point may fall short of explaining social epidemics.
While the medium of the message has changed, it is apparent that the principles of 'word-of-mouth' have not changed. Fundamentally, Connectors are actively bringing the world together, which has become even easier through a world made much smaller through the Internet and social media. Mavens now have more access than ever to find the information that they so successfully pass on to others. And Salesmen are as charismatic as ever, reaching into our lives through not only radio and television but also through email, blogs, and social media alike. Messages can find stickiness, especially with research and intent. And now, social media has expanded the context of messages. Social media has effectively made The Tipping Point out of date, as the unexpected phenomenon of social media has change the playing field; yet the fundamental rules and theory can easily find its way on to the court. And mastering these rules will lead to success in any profession.

Sarah Palin's Alaska: O' dear, politics are a-changing

The 2008 presidential election marked a huge change in how political campaigning would be conducted. Social media became the forum for President Obama to launch his campaign during which he embraced interactive communication with 'the people' like no election had ever seen before. It appears already the next presidential election may be facing a another transformation in campaigning, as Sarah Palin's new miniseries Sarah Palin's Alaska reaches television screens everywhere on Sunday, November 14.

The TLC 8-episode series follows Palin and her family as they highlight the beauty of Alaska (while also creating an attack free zone for Palin to address her political ideologies). Palin is estimated to be earning over $1.2 million dollars per episode and the series has drawn attention to many political heavy hitters as they call the show the most expensive campaign tactic the U.S. has ever seen... Especially since Palin won't be paying for a cent for advertisements, but will be receiving all the publicity she could ask for. Better yet, the platform is hers to dictate what is addressed and what is left in the cutting room.

Should we expect to see our candidates and their families in t.v. shows in the future? As technology and media becomes more intertwined with out daily lives, should the public anticipate another evolution in campaigning? I guess we'll just have to wait to find out. But I'll have to check out at least one episode... How could I pass it up with a tag line like, "I can see Sarah Palin's Alaska from my living room!"

For more information about Sarah Palin's new mini series, check out this great article by Shushannah Washe on The Daily Beast:

Teach for America

Wednesday, October 27 marked one of the largest recruiting days of the year. No, it wasn't for Wal-Mart, General Motors, or Bank of America, but rather the preliminary round of applications accepted to the Teach for America Program. Over 18,000 people will apply, and less than 3,000 applicants will be chosen to teach for two years in a low-income community throughout the United States. Programs such as Teach for America, the Peace Corps, and others have become beacons to students seeking alternatives to the unsettling job market and the equally competitive graduate school programs. Nevertheless, students are finding themselves among great competition, hoping to be amid the few to be placed within a national school district.
wendy-kopp.jpgPhoto: Wendy Kopp, Founder and CEO
Teach for America doesn't just consider any student applying for the program. Strict guidelines help the best of the best applicants get chosen to integrate themselves into a community. TFA takes students of all majors, certifying this diverse range of recent graduates during a 5-week intensive course, dubbed the "Teach Boot Camp," before the academic year begins and with continual training over the next two years. TFA applicants hail from all sorts of backgrounds, with the large majority of the students coming from top universities throughout the United States. Last year, over 12% of applicants came from graduating Ivy League seniors. Teach for America is looking for the inspired leaders from the top of their classes to take on the education reform head on.
As a graduating senior, it's hard not to consider programs such as Teach for America. The job market isn't great and money saving options such as moving in with my parents post-graduation seems like a gut-wrenching move away from independence. Additionally, the goals and idealism found within Teach for America would grant purpose and drive to my young career. While I am set on continuing my education post undergraduate studies, I am truly proud of all my friends applying to Teach for America.
For more information about Teach for America, visit

Letter to the Editor

This weekend the Star Tribune sought events and celebrations on behalf of this Thursday's Veterans Day. While the University of Minnesota is hosing the 4th Annual Student Veterans Appreciation Day, I found the University's treatment of the holiday interesting.

Therefore I sent this response about the topic to the Editor:
This Thursday marks the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I, which is now celebrated as Veterans Day in the United States. While many veterans of all ages look back and reflect on their service, I wonder as I sit in my classes at the University of Minnesota, which students surrounding me have spent active duty for the armed forces. Why is it that on this day honoring their dedication and service to our country is it also expected for these students to come and attend class? Why is Veterans Day treated differently from Thanksgiving during which time is granted off from classes? I sincerely believe the University of Minnesota should consider granting a holiday commemorating our student veterans, especially as our classrooms begin to fill with more and more veterans.


The Good and the Bad... What makes the difference?

Website: MapMyRun

Why Bad:
I use MapMyRun several times a week. Nevertheless, its pop-ups, numerous advertisements, and overwhelming amounts of graphics make this URL difficult to use in an easy manner. Only because this is the only website of its kind, do I continue to use and visit this URL.

Website: The Daily Beast

Why Good:
The Daily Beast has become my source for finding relevant news. This website supplies news from all different publications, sorting out the must reads from the duds. This website uses the right amount of graphics to stimulate the reader. It organizes news in a simple manner and is almost completely free of advertisements (is completely free of advertisements on the home page). This website has successfully integrated multimedia.

PR Student Seeking Law Degree:

What I've learned from my undergraduate degree in PR

It's fall semester at the University of Minnesota and it's becoming more and more clear that my time at the U is coming to an end. Freshmen gossip about their crazy nights in the dorms, while my fellow senior classmates thrust open calendars to schedule mock interviews (and real ones too!), resume building workshops, portfolio reviews, and networking events. Their lives are consumed in getting that perfect PR job, which can be seen in the post after post in the PRSSA blog roll But my schedule has taken on a different set of objectives, ranging from practice LSATs (Law School Admissions Test), setting up coffee dates with past mentors and professors to request the ever-important letters of recommendations, and writing personal statements regarding my future as a law student.

Why not just be a political science major? Or history?
Well, let me be honest about this one. I have minors in both political science and history. BUT I wanted more. I wanted a field of study that felt applicable to the real world. Not a regurgitation of theories and famous dead philosophers and social deviants. And my studies in Public Relations have given that to me.

Being able to properly communicate is an incredible feat. Not being able to do this, quite literally is detrimental to your career prospects. PR tactics and strategies have truly provided a solid foundation for writing and communicating ideas in a thorough manner.

Social media
We are living in an ever-changing world in which technology is constantly creating new forums for discussions. PR is one of the leading fields to take on social media and create opportunities within this uncharted land. I seek to take this unabashed lull into new realms as I seek to crawl my way through three years of dry, black and white jargon. I will not forget this willingness to explore new opportunities as I one day seek a career as an attorney.

PR professionals could not be successful without their expansive relationships with people in the media industry and throughout the community. Never have I been more impressed by a profession in actively creating and maintaining relationships as I have been with the Twin Cities PR industry. This mentality will bring me opportunity, whether it be finding a mentor, receiving advice, or even finding a career.

Cap and Gown Ordered, Gradation Here I Come
Looking back at my undergraduate choices, choosing to study Public Relations has created grounds for me to walk into law school with a different perspective. I love history and I love political science, but now, I truly feel like I can understand the principals of several communication professions in actively participate in the media driven world. So bon voyage PR, I may be leaving your presence for the next three years, but something tells me that you will reappear throughout my working career in one form or another.

About Me

My name is Michelle Hersh and I am currently in my final year of undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota. My Professional Strategic Communications degree will be completed in May accompanied with History and Political Science minors. While my days as an undergraduate will be finished, I have already begun refocusing my attention to furthering my media and communication education by attending law school next fall. While not at school, I spend my time as an Administrative Manager for the Minnesota Daily or exploring the best locations to run, bike, and dine in Twin Cities area. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at any time at