The aquarium was open on christmas day and negative feedback was being given from some patrons about the employees having to work on a national holiday. The following in the blog post I wrote to explain why we are open. Many employees also commented on the fact that getting paid time and a half was worth it for them, which was comforting as well.
George Hutchins as a veteran and Marine Corp looking to run for republican US Congressman of South Carolina. I will attach a view of his website, which is what the topic of the memo I am writing to him about.
To: George Hutchins
From: Heather Johnson
Date: December 2, 2011
Subject: The design of your website may be hurting your campaign
While inquiring on information on your campaign, I realized the layout of your website may seriously be hurting your progress. Websites can be used to present necessary information, but when it is presented poorly, it reflects on the subject of the website.
The appearance is the initial shocker of your website. BLOCK letters, as well as using a bold font, can be overwhelming to the eye, making it seem like the person typing was "shouting." Use bold or block letters to show emotion in only few words throughout the entire website to bring attention, otherwise just write emotionally and people will understand.
The colors of the website are also too powerful and even confusing. Keeping with a continuous color scheme can be helpful when the colors are meaningful like red for power, blood, and being patriotic. Changing between color fonts in the middle of a sentence is usually not advised, especially three or four times in the sentence. When you do this, people do not understand what part of the sentence they should be focusing on. The same is true for highlighting, which you would be better off without completely.
The changing of alignment is also hindering to your website, which changes from center to right to justifying (newspaper spaced). "The Non-Designers Design Book, Design and Typography for the Visual Novice" explains that a consistent alignment can give strength, organization and sophistication to a page.
The length of the page is also questionable. When someone has to scroll 3 or more times to reach the end of the page, it shows that the one page can be made into two or more pages.
When pages are added, a tool bar with directory and even a search bar will make it easier for them to find the points you are trying to make.
Pictures and videos should enhance your website and not blow it away. Pictures just for pictures sake is not advisable and the pictures descriptions should be made the boost its meaning. Also, descriptions need to go under the photo, not on of it. The background would do better with one simpler picture, and not two different pictures.
Finally, a great improvement for your site would be to add some hyperlinks to the other sites that you are constantly making reference, like the NRA, Fox News, and The Tea Party's website.
I strongly suggest making these changes soon, as the 2012 elections are already getting attention. As more people visit your site, more people will begin to decide who you are by what they see. A strongly presented website can make for a powerfully presented subject. It doesn't need to be expensive or too flashy to be any of these things, but some organization and consistency can make all the difference
Good luck in the 2012 Congressional Race
In october I had an amazing opportunity to meet with and interview a local journalist. I chose to interview with Mike Mullen from the City Pages, who writes for the "hard news" type blog The Blotter. The interview was quite casual but helped me learn more about the workings of an alternative news publication. He spoke about how he uses social media and RSS feeds as news source. It made me feel as though I need to become more connected with more important news feeds out there to get better information from different types of news sources.
The interview was also very enlightening on how he sees news with an agenda, and even as someone who writes for a blog with an obvious objective and attitude, he made it very clear that if he had been writing for a hard-hitting news publication, the idea of writing with a bias is very wrong and against his ethics. When I asked how he feels about blogs and news in general, he mentioned he wished it would slow down and people would be able to research further into a story, rather than learning about it as they write to be the first one with the story. It was an interesting day of alternative journalism and new learning through Mike Mullen's eyes. Thanks Mike!!
On November 11, 2011, I came across an article about Michele Bachmann in the Star Tribune. I am not looking to get political on this blog, but lets just say I have always been a fan of her views (as shown by the flattering picture of her below). But I also feel that everyone should be treated fairly, even if they are public figures. The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics has four major points: Seek truth and Report it, Minimize Harm, Act Independently and Be Accountable. The following article is not reporting the whole truth, and after is my letter to the editor.
Bachmann speech is interrupted by chanting protesters
Posted by: Jeremy Herb under 2012 Presidential election, 6th District, National campaigns Updated: November 10, 2011 - 3:45 PM
Rep. Michele Bachmann's speech was interrupted Thursday by a group of chanting protesters who were reportedly part of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Bachmann was giving a foreign policy speech on the USS Yorktown in South Carolina Thursday when the group began call-and-response chanting.
"Mike check. This will only take a minute. We have a message for Ms. Bachmann," the protesters said, according to video from the event.
Bachmann's supporters began yelling back to "sit down," and eventually the Minnesota Republican was escorted off the stage by a police officer.
MSNBC said that Bachmann returned to the stage minutes later, saying: "Don't you love the First Amendment?"
Dear Star Tribune Editor
The story about Michelle Bachmann was interesting and I like to hear the OWS protesters are doing what they can to make a voice for themselves. But I had a problem with how your article ended. Bachmann's quote "Don't you love the First Amendment?" which makes for a very rude statement indeed, but that wasn't the end of the statement. She had said "Don't you just love the First Amendment? It's great, we have a great country and I want to thank you all for your understanding."
The quote was still inappropriate, and I may not be supportive of Michelle Bachmann, but cutting her quote off early to make her seem worse was not appropriate journalistically. Yes, she said that, but the original quote makes her seem unpatriotic, which she clears up in the next five words, by saying this country is great. I think you should add to the article online and state that you made the correction. Many of the comments show that people do not know the quote was longer, which is unfair to readers and Ms. Bachmann as well.
This is a customer service response letter written to another student in my journalism class Public Relations Campaign and Writing Tactics. Ms. Block had a poor experience at Buffalo Wild Wings and the following is my response to her letter from the point of view of the public affairs associate:
Dear Ms. Block
Thank you for bringing our attention to the service you experienced at one of our Buffalo Wild Wings Stores. We would first like to thank you for choosing our establishment earlier and for being a loyal customer.
We apologize for the poor service you received. That you had to wait as long as you had for service is frustrating for myself as well, it is not a usual characteristic of our organization. Hot food is something we would like to pride ourselves on, and that you received you food cold tells us that there was something abnormal happening at that Buffalo Wild Wings on that particular day. It may have been that they were under staffed and in turn were very busy. We are doing what we can to ensure our stores are well staffed in preparation for increased guests during busy times.
Enclosed is a gift card for Buffalo Wild Wings, reimbursing the purchases you made that day, as well as a coupon for your next dining experience, which I hope will be much better this time. We very much appreciate having loyal customer who give feedback in anyway and are grateful for you letting us know about your experience. Sorry for any inconvenience that evening. If you have any more questions or comments, do not hesitate to give a call or send me another email.
Thanks for your comments,
Buffalo Wild Wings Public Affairs
I start by addressing her Professionally, not just casually with her first name. Notice how I thank her for even writing a letter and from there, thanks her being a loyal customer. Next I apologize with examples for the situation and try to give a reason for why that may have happened and what we as a company are doing to prevent it from happening again. I also reassure her that this is not a normal characteristic of the company. She requested that Buffalo Wild Wings refund her money, so I granted her request and gave her a coupon so her feelings are hopefully more than satisfied. Then I apologize again and let her know I will help her again if she has any future issues or comments.
On Saturday, December 3, 2011, I was able to work with a small production crew for the television series Made, an MTV production at my internship at SEA LIFE MInnesota Aquarium. It was a very enlightening experience. To start off, the PR for having an organization as big as MTV coming to SEA LIFE is quite exciting. And in turn, that MTV seems to replay the episodes of Made, what ever the episode or season, over and over is great repetitive PR for our organization.
The girl getting Made, her name was Mary I believe, was going a date with her boyfriend by scuba diving in the Sturgeon Lake and Atlantis tanks. Sturgeon Lake is all Minnesota fish and a kind of intro tank to prepare you for the dive, with out the high stress of dangerous animals like sharks and saw fish, which live in Atlantis. As part of the production and filming, we had to ask the divers to enter the water twice in each tank, to ensure the camera crew could get two shots of the entrance: one from the top of the aquarium and them going under and another of the camera being in the tunnel "under water" so the viewer would be able to see what the divers are doing better.
Another interesting part of the dive was speaking with the crew of MTV and hearing about how extensive their work is with these clients. About 50 minutes of television show comes from 12-16 hours of filming every day for six weeks. The crew seemed exhausted but were on their A-game and didnt miss a clip of important entrance shots, juicy gossip, or adoring looks between the couple.
I am very grateful to have had this opportunity and want to thank MTV, John Sullwold and the whole crew at SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium for letting me in on the experience.
sometimes it is easier to just say what it isn't.
There is a short video on YouTube of how people, American's seem to be the target of this video, understand public relations called What PR is NOT. It starts with a cursor blinking and cello music and continues by typing in different phrases of what "people think" is PR. As a strategic communications/PR student who spends a lot of time explaining to people what I'm going to school for, this was interesting to see how some people see my profession of choice. This was also helpful, so I can frame my explanation better and more clearly in the future.
The first thing that comes from Google is "what public relations is NOT" and hits that come up are "PR is NOT marketing's step child" and "public relations and publicity are not synonymous." This was a great way to start, because if someone felt they "knew" what public relations was, and it was any of the quick hits of what public relations wasn't, their attention was now given, they had just been proven wrong.
Some of the phrases that are used next are things like "Samantha Jones" "Kim Kardashian's SPINdustry" and "Manipulation." Which are all terrible key words for PR, and make public relations seem promiscuous. Hiding secrets and "spinning" things to be seen in one direction is not what I, or my industry is about. It almost scares me because I don't want to been seen as any of these ill lighten phrases. I don't want someone to hear what my profession is, and think I'm a manipulator.
In general, people get this opinion from society itself. Maybe they get it from what Public Relations used to be seen as, but even though the times have changed, some of the opinions haven't.
I want people to see me as a communicator, someone that knows who to reach out to any stakeholder and make a connection. Or to have people know it's even more than a connection, but to have interaction with people. There is a response and a relationship made with my organization and the public. That's why so many organizations are getting into social networking; it is interaction on a personal level between company and stakeholder. People have better views of something if they can give a point of view, a feeling, an experience, and someone speaks back to them about it, if a relationship is made.
The real thing I learned from this short video was that if I want to be seen as a peace maker, communicator and an equal, rather than a spin doctor. Public relations are all about image, brand, reputation and substance. If I want to change that brand, I have to make people aware of it and live up to it. So maybe along with my career goals, I will be creating better PR, for PR.
Following in Kim's Foot Steps
Swim Kardashian is leaving SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium
to head south and Take Texas
Bloomington, Minn. (November 9, 2011) After a short 34-week relationship with SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium at Mall of America, Swim Kardashian, a Giant Green Sea Turtle, is following in her "sisters" foot steps by leaving Minnesota for good. It turns out Swim didn't want to settle down here either. She is heading south to SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium in Texas. There are several sea turtles at SEA LIFE Minnesota and Swim is looking forward to living the single life at SEA LIFE Grapevine.
Swim Kardashian arrived at SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium in March 2011 and received her name for being one of the new "Celebrity turtles" here at the aquarium. She was a rescue turtle from Florida who had been hit by a boat and cracked her shell. Swim's condition is called a "bubble butt" because air gets under the shell and gathers in the back by her "butt". A weight patch is added to her shell to enable her to swim again. This "bubble butt" also gained some weight when she started here in March, so now she is working on slimming down with a salad diet to prepare herself for being the hot new turtle in Texas.
Swim's condition has made it so she will not be able to go back into the wild, even though the doctors at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida have made her condition stable. Swim has a safe home in SEA LIFE Aquariums and heading to Texas will make her the only sea turtle at SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium.
About SEA LIFE
SEA LIFE Minnesota gives kids and families a new level of excitement and understanding for the world's oceans. Based in Bloomington, Minn., the unique and interactive aquarium provides visitors with a fun and educational experience thanks to fascinating displays, creative hands-on activities and new sea creatures - 10,000 in total. SEA LIFE Minnesota is the second U.S.-based SEA LIFE aquarium and is located within the Mall of America near the East entrance. For more information, visit www.sealifeus.com or call (952) 883-0202.