15 November, 2006


Oh come on, you try thinking of a Bond style title that isn't going to have people thinking a) you're an idiot or b)... erm well, that you're an idiot.

The Bond film has been everywhere this week, which is good. Bond and Christmas go together very weel. They are always shown in the UK at Christmas time and usually include some snowy scenes or two.

Whoever is doing the publicity for this on is doing a fantastic job - it is everywhere. I know that Bond creates its own storm, and having her Maj attend the premiere isn't going to exactly keep it out the papers, but still, kudos to them. Currently there are 167 google news Bond stories.

But where to go from here? How can they keep the story going? I fear that the end for this story is close. But I'm sure Bond'll be back in a year or so.

So to play us out, from You Tube - the Bond theme, done badly...

Right I'm off to look at Daniel Craig coming out of the sea again...

05 November, 2006

Happy Bonfire Night!

Remember remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason,
Should ever be forgot.

(For those who live outside the UK, all is explained here.)

Bad blogger, bad!

OK so after a couple of emails that verbally smacked me on the nose with a rolled up newspaper and said 'bad blogger, bad', I have decided to return once again. These days I seem to be constantly disappearing and then returning with a (small) flurry of activity and then disappearing again. For this I apologise, but sometimes real life does sometimes (*gasp*) get in the way of the online one.

So there is a lot to catch up on. People are moving, leaving, being promoted all around. Richard is advertising his old position for any students taking a year out and reckon that they can fill his relatively canoe sized PR shoes. Richard returns to his (whisper it now) events management degree, in which I wish him luck for the last year.

Seems like ages ago that Simon Collister was fishing for links, and now he sits proud astride the blogging beast, and has been recognised as such through a (now not so) new job for Green Communications, where I hear he is very much appreciated and having a fantastic time.

Steve Field is leaving the Pentagon and joining Edelmans. I am especially sad to see him leaving Pentagon, purely because of the shock I got when I first checked my site reader and 'the Pentagon' appeared under the IP owner. Cue, much fear, conspiracy theories involving a mis-spent youth and American travel and teasing from people I told, before I realised it was probably Steve at work (and I rather enjoyed the idea of at least one part of the American intelligence reading my idle witterings). But good luck to him as well.

New arrivals to blogging who are writing from my old uni, Leeds Met, include Kate Kilday and Paddy Doyle.

Other excitements have been a small appearance in PR Week by yours truly, as part of a sideline in an article on grads getting jobs. I thoroughly encourage anyone who is interested in this subject to take a look at this as it rather more sucessfully attempts to explain a few of the mysteries that I have attempted to over the last few months.

The very lovely Andrew Wake of Don't Panic, has continued to offer discounted tickets for young PRs for the Delivering New PR conference next Friday. Although I will be working I fully encourage anyone to snap up this excellent opportunity to go along. Email him here.

So now that this has broken the tip of the mountain of things to talk about I feel I can start again with a clean slate. And not even a mention of Wall-mart.

So please, no more 'bad blogger' emails, I'm sorry.

11 October, 2006

Back pain rocks!

I love this story:

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has created a Virtual rock band called Bäackpain to promote wider public awareness of back pain. The band has done well on MySpace and is getting mixed reactions from the press and media so far.

And as VNUnet.com says:
To add authenticity to the whole spoof, there are connections from the site to a Bäackpain entry on MySpace, and you can even buy Ben Yourney's spandex outfit on eBay.

What a fantastic burst of rare creativity from what I have always viewed as rather stuffy part of government. I know I'm usually cynical about all this kind of thing, and the more I think about it the more I think I should be. But credit where credit is due and the eBay touch is a lovely one.

It is perfectly pitched at the children of the eighties, those who are enjoying the Hoff's return (also through the medium of Internet and social media - interesting), and the slight revival of the fashions and 'rawk' attitudes and who are most likely to know and understand all the quirks of the social media (but not too much - lets not pretend that MySpace is massively cutting edge - just youthfully exclusive enough).

Anyway, this is an interesting, good example of how even unsexy, haggard back pain can be put through the harley street school of promotion by Internet, and emerge a pneumatic, and beautiful specimen. And the best example of one I can think of just now.

Now, I wonder if they will start touring?

09 October, 2006

So who reads?

Richard Bailey recently asked this, and yesterday the Observer asked 150 literary luminaries to vote for the best British, Irish or Commonwealth novel from 1980 to 2005 and tomorrow is the Booker Prize. It seems you can't turn today without some very credible source telling you you must be reading.

And, as credible sources often are, they are right. We should, I should and everybody should. But we don't.

While I was at school I was a bit of a bookworm (to be fair my house was always filled with literature), I read recreationally constantly throughout my degree. It does improve your writing, it gives you a wealth of different linguistic stylings, points of view and allows you relax for a while.

But these days I am stuck in a rut and reading has taken a back seat to other activities. So I have decided to run a little survey and see what people can recommend to me. What have you read in the last few months that I could learn further from. I'd rather not be lugging textbooks but in the same breath no Mills and Boon. Something I can learn from, be it through beautiful prose or a relevant storyline.

What do you think? What makes a good book?

08 October, 2006

Second Life

Months after first hearing about it and commenting that this was probably the future of the whole MySpace/blogging phenomenon, I have finally joined Second Life.

I am of course rather coy about the fact that I am coming to the party a bit late. But the reason I write is that as soon as I join Second Life the bloody thing crashes. Maintenance issues or something.

I'm trying not to take it personally.

26 September, 2006

The youth... wasted?

They say that the youth is wasted on the young. This implies that, should the more mature generations had their time again then they would spend it more wisely.

But what is wisely spent youth? And why are the older generations trying to hi-jack it and ruin it for all of us?

I use 'us' very flippantly as someone under 25, but I no longer really class myself as the 'yoof', and yet it still peeves me to see older people clinging on to the fragile rock face that is 'yoof culture'.

For example the BBC are running a story at the minute that the Arctic Monkeys have become a integral part of UK politics since the start of this conference season. Their reason? Because, embarrassingly, Ming Campbell misjudged the fact that his party has one of the highest student followings to mean he had to be 'down wit da kids' and know about this band.

And why not? the Monkeys (of the Arctic kind, not the ones he remembers) are symbolic, in a way, of the young voters he clearly wants and needs. They began on MySpace, they are almost offensively youthful and they are cool.

But the sad thing is that he is not the first and will no doubt ever be the last politician to latch on to the 'latest' musical or cool, hip offering of the day. But why do they do it? Is it for the 'kids'? Hell no, if the kids were that easily swayed then more of them would be voting.

No, it is for the parents, to show that Ming, and all the others that are planning on mentioning the Arctic Monkey and their ilk in their upcoming speeches, can really provide understanding for the offspring of the voters.

And who can really blame the politicians for trying? After all, they want to show an army of shifting voters that they care for the kids.

Well for a start I can. I don't really get worked up over much but when I see people commenting on things that are in no way relevant to their area of expertise. It irritates me.

It looks as false as it is.

So the youth may be wasted on the young, but for Pete's sake if you are going to comment on it, DON'T unless you know what you are talking about. The young famously never listen, and these days the young are vocal to a wider and more influential audience through social mediums.

After all if you are going to waste your time trying to relate to a group of people who don't want you relating to them, but want to see you doing your job properly. Then surely that means that not only youth is wasted, but political life is wasted on the politicians too?

25 September, 2006

Top Five You Tube

Right - been bad again, truly a poor blogging effort. Oh well, consider it a sabbatical; I have gone out to learn things and taken some time off to do so and now I return with more to say.

But I am not going to dazzle you all with my charm, wit and new found learning just yet. Instead I shall continue a meme started by Jon on the LEWIS 360 blog.

So here are my top five YouTube videos:
  1. Wishmaster - The Misheard Lyrics
  2. Bush Sunday Bloody Sunday
  3. The Exorcist in 30 seconds re-enacted by bunnies
  4. Spaced - Unspoken Telepathy
  5. The Llama Song!
Looking at this I do tend to verge towards the sublimely ridiculous. There are so many other good YouTubes, but five is my limit. To be honest with you YouTube is good but if you enjoy distractions then you should check out Albino Black Sheep, Jib Jib, Weebl and Bob, Zefrank and ifilm.com

These are my favourites from those sites:
  1. Mashed Taters
  2. Kenya
  3. Zefrank - Ugly MySpace
  4. This Land
  5. Mr T's Rap

And that is that I will be back tomorrow - I promise! All that is left to do is to nominate so Jeffrey, Owen, Stephen, the Girlz and Jill - TAG! You're it!

12 September, 2006

These blog tour days are yours and mine...

Paull is off following his bliss (although after all the Brit abuse he still wants to come and sample our 'warm' beer). I haven't commented on this properly yet because I was horrifically jealous! But now I can swallow my bile and wish him well.

I adore travelling, it truly is a bug. And when I say travelling I don't mean a holiday, I mean really travelling.

Remember that feeling when you were off sick from school, but you weren't that sick? There was the feeling that anything was possible and no one would know because they were all at school. It is a lot like that, although you can share it and you have money to actually do something and you are somewhere new and shiny... Just believe me it is good, OK?

I am a big believer in Gap years. For the uninitiated, Gap years are literally the year out you can take between school and uni. You travel, you grow, you learn, you explore.

But this thing with Paull got me thinking. If the 'Gap year' is the gap between school and Uni then what stops us having a series of smaller gaps, and what if the gaps contained things that we learned from? Every new thing we experience, we learn and then we can revel in the freedom of our new found knowledge.

So while I would love to visit Karel, I have done my Gap year and am currently embarking on something which will shape me just as much as my year out did, possibly more. And that makes every day a bit of a 'Gap day'; full of learning, achievement and exploring. And suddenly I don't feel too bad.

Caribbean would be nice though...

10 September, 2006

Here I go again...

There are no excuses, it has been too long, I throw myself on the mercy of the blogosphere - deal with me as you will.

During my extended absence (sorry) I have been thinking of what to write, this obviously gets harder the longer you leave it. I have even got close to posting twice during my time away (sorry). But when push came to shove I couldn't press the publish button.

You see, there is a certain level of pressure at this stage in the game or at least you could perceive there to be pressure. The fear sets in if you don't post for a while. Will people still be reading? Will they never comment again?

But the biggest fear that comes from starting again; will I win them back? Will I be unable to remind the readers why they read in the first place?

So this is why I wasn't able to hit the publish button. There is a need for redemption and a comeback post should dispel any concerns in the reader that you have in some way lost it.

Your first post back need to be searingly funny, wildly academic, intrinsically philosophical and relentlessly innovative. The pressure can be immense.

Or you could just get back in the saddle, apologise and ramble on about comebacks, and remember that the only person that the blog has to matter to is yourself. The choice is yours.

30 August, 2006

A code of conduct - would that do?

Constantin Basturea has written about the need for a code of conduct or "rules of engagement in social media commons" for PR professionals. This comes off the back of the revelation that some PR companies are offering to write wikipedia entries for clients, for a fee.

Now when I read this I got all high and mighty. In fact I can show you just how high and mighty because I sent Mr Basturea an email, and in it I said:
For the record I think that it is unethical for PR people to edit wikipedia
posts for their clients, the true facts will out as they say.

So despite my pomposity Mr B wrote back pointing out that he would like to see:
1. a mechanism that will allow PR pros to correct false information
2. a code
that PR pros could subscribe to - something that will back them
when their clients will ask them to do act unethical in Social Media Commons as
Wikipedia, del.icio.us or digg.

I wonder whether it is more telling about me, or the reputation both inside and outside the PR industry, that I instantly assumed that if PRs were changing things on wikipedia it would be on unethical terms, rather than righting wrongs.

Sometimes I worry the cynicism will get me, sometimes I think it already has.

If I could play devil's advocate, I would have to say that while it would be great for us all to sign a code of conduct, it would only take one person to sign it and then carry on regardless, acting unethically, for the code to be made a mockery of.

I suppose that is the joy and curse of this social media malarkey; everyone is included, no one could be excluded (and wouldn't that be unethical in itself?) and sometimes, as with all things, we all get tarred with the same brush.

On the positive side; if anyone were to 'cheat on the code' nothing escapes the blogosphere - and increasingly this is where potential clients are turning to for reference on their PRs. An unethical PR can no longer brazenly get away with it.

Social media has worked well to add to the 'human face' to the PR industry. People can go online and see that PR people function in just the same way as in any other industry. We are silly, serious, charming and (think we're) clever across the board, and it provides a transparency which shows that while there may be the occasional Machiavelli, we are all just people who do and enjoy communications.

Of course I would sign a code and abide by it (it wouldn't be a stretch), but would I put all my faith in it? Now there is a question.

I don't like to be the cynic and I certainly believe the principals of a code of conduct, but if we were all ethical we would not need the code, and signing a code is not going to make everybody ethical.

These are things I have been thinking about for quite a while, as - I'm pretty sure - everyone else does too, and a thorny subject like this deserves a lot of thought. I don't have the answers.

I shall certainly be watching this discussion with interest.

28 August, 2006

That was the week that was

So my first week as a go-getting Lewisian... Well despite the unnerving feeling that I was asking a lot of questions that I ought to know the answer to, and pretty much forgetting everyone's names on Tuesday, I think it is going well.

I am currently in the process of remembering who everyone is and what clients they work for. I am also researching my own clients and undergoing training. I have also succumbed to tea and coffee making (sorry Richard).

Rumours of my death due to sudden early mornings were very greatly exaggerated. While it is true that the early starts are very different to my usual unemployed routine (I’m up a whole five hours earlier), I am suffering less than everyone (myself included) anticipated.

I have also spent a lot of the week seeking out someone who speaks Polish. I am just curious as I have received a lot of referrals from this site. Unfortunately I cannot read it, perhaps someone can help?

21 August, 2006

This is the story of how Alex got offered a job…

I was sitting about in my pyjamas at about midday on a Thursday. This makes me sound an awful slob, but the pyjamas are more of a uniform for the unemployed. A holey jumper is also a necessity, but because it was warm mine was merely nearby.

Now at this juncture (only three lines in), you may well be wondering what all the detail is about. Alex, you could say, we neither care nor want to know about your holey jumper or pyjamas, seeing as these things are not strictly integral to your employment story. I would have to answer that this is one of the big moments in my life – my first proper, grown up job – and I want to set the scene correctly.

So I am sitting there in my pyjamas at this very computer, most probably contemplating having a cup of tea, when the phone rings. On the phone is a lovely lady called Julianne. Julianne is a HR Executive at Lewis PR and a very nice person with whom I had had two interviews with over the last two weeks.

You can probably guess why she was phoning. She was offering me a job. She gave me the weekend to think about it. I spent the whole weekend being very excitable. Last Monday I accepted.

So now I am the newest Account Executive at Lewis PR. This means I have a job title, possibly a desk and (very exciting) a wage. This makes me a grown up. I shall have to start doing sensible, grown up things like owning a shed, discussing house prices and listening to the Archers (maybe not). The time of pyjamas at midday is over; holey jumpers shall be cast aside. The relentless tedium of unemployment will be over and merely a memory. I am employed!

So there you have it, one of THE moments of my life. The prospect of employment can be daunting, but I can’t wait! I know I shall receive excellent training and the opportunity to work with some of the most exciting clients and co-workers available. And I would like to thank all at Lewis PR for this chance.

Today is my first day, so wish me luck!

15 August, 2006

RIP blogging?


I worry about the state of blogging when its explained on Richard and Judy, even if it is by my hero Dave Gorman.

Does this mean its dead or am I being a snob?

On reflection: Probably being a snob, as surely more publicity for blogging will only add more people to the conversation.

But on the eve of my 23rd birthday I am clinging to anything that keeps me youthful, and anything that I do being explained on Richard and Judy makes it very uncool. It puts blogging on a par with stories of gadgets from the 1950's that still work and couples who win big on fruit machines. Surely it is more important than that?

UPDATE: R and J fail to kill blogging

Having just watched Richard and Judy (the first time in ages - has it always been so banal?) they touched more on the ridiculous blogs of the bizarre and mildly insane. This created the impression that bloggers were all slightly odd egotistical creatures celebrating their own eccentricities. Which may be true, but there was no mention of the possibilities of corporate blogging, educational blogging and collaborative blogging.

So the whole story was not represented - but then what do you expect? It is annoying that all the blogging possibilities were not explored but you need longer than a ten minute section.

My Dissertation

I have decided to upload my dissertation onto Writely. It is entitled 'Them and Us - An Empirical Investigation into the Confusion of PR Officials over the Differences between Publicists and PR Practitioners' and is available here.

I decided to use Writely after my recent collaboration with nine other blogger to create How to Ruin Your Corporate Blog: 100 Tips by 10 Bloggers for Business Blog Wire.

By way of an extract from my dissertation this is my Executive Summary:

This Paper aims to investigate the confusion within the PR industry over the differences between Publicists and PR Practitioners.

The research highlights uncertainty within the Public Relations community as to the correct labelling of roles with in PR. Although not many texts have been written on the subject, the author identifies that this lack of clear labelling may inhibit the Public Relations industry from progressing to professionality, through its direct contribution to building mistrust of the profession.

An extensive critical Literature Review has highlighted the need for such an investigation. This allowed the author to formulate certain key theories. These themes and theories have then been put to professionals from Public Relations vocations. Primary data was then reviewed by the author and recommendations are made with regards to future research.

Although this research offers few solutions, it adds depth to existing theory and will aid further study into this area. It was found that there is indeed confusion amongst the PR community regarding the job descriptions of their peers. The conclusion suggests that further research is partaken in this field. There is also a need for further education for PR personnel as to what the correct job descriptions are for their peers, to help reduce the existence of confusion and misinterpretation.

Although at the time it was the bane of my life, I am now very proud of my dissertation and the achievements it stands for. Thank you to all who helped, although you are not named I am sure you may recognise your answers at the appendices.

08 August, 2006

"Have you ever beaten or killed a co-worker?"

Oooh its all been interview fever round here. Very exciting times. Whilst researching techniques I came across some jokes and cautionary tales regarding the interview scene. Some are meant to be real, some are obviously not, all are funny.

Netfunny.com has some of the worst questions that an interviewer could ever ask. Here are some of my favourite:

- "You see a wounded puppy bleeding and whimpering on the side of the road while you're running to work ... Do you let the puppy die?" "Why not?"

- "Do you object to bullwhips in the workplace?"

- "Have you ever beaten or killed a co-worker?"

- "How do you work in a team situation when all the other team members are fools and idiots?"

Strange (but true) job interview behaviour also has some classic weirdness, this time from the interviewees, ranging from:

An applicant who "said he was so well-qualified that if he didn't get the job, it would prove that the company's management was incompetent."

to "she threw-up on my [the interviewer's] desk, and immediately started asking questions about the job, like nothing had happened."

and my favourite:

"While I was on a long-distance phone call, the applicant took out a copy of Penthouse, and looked through the photos only, stopping longest at the centerfold."

If you want to know what to say at the all important interview visit this site. Some of the best are:

- After detailing your greatest achievement, qualify with, 'Of course I was totally hammered at the time.'

- Mention your resume would have been stronger, but you didn't feel like making anything else up.

- Ask if there is only one emergency exit, grin and say; 'Boy!, I bet this floor would be in trouble if someone barricaded that.'

Some other humourous interview sites include Monster's feedback from HR people, this advert for a temping agency and of course Borat.

03 August, 2006

New-ish, new and student PR faces to watch out for

I have had a bit of a re-shuffle here are 'wages' towers. As you can now see from the right hand side of the page I have re-jigged my links to add more new / student bloggers. I think that reading other PR students and new starters often will provide the freshest look into an issue, as well as providing an insight as to who could be the big hitters of the future. There are some new faces in the link list and in the spirit of all the PR love and blogtipping going around, I'll go through some of them for you now.

All things PR was set up last month by Sam Oakley, who is based in the North of England. He describes his blog as 'forum for UK PR professionals of all stripes to contribute towards a better understanding of how new phenomena like social networking sites etc.. are impacting on PR here in the UK'. Sam has interests in Political PR and Public Affairs and already has a loyal following. Check out his 5 myths of the public sector.

Ashley's Blog is from another of Robert French's students. Double majoring in Spanish and PR would be a lot for most people but Ashley writes a wide range of thoughtful, insightful and sometimes funny posts. His insight into the differences between his Spanish and American experiences are fascinating.

At D-Ring PR the US army, Chipotle Mexican Grill Recipes and Public Relations are all addressed by Steve, a 24-year-old graduate of American University, working in the Office of the Chief of Army Public Affairs. Great inspiration for his Monday fun posts!

Chris Clark at Student PR already has a huge following, and it is well deserved. Although now an ex-student and working at Thornley Fallis Group as an account coordinator Chris has appeared in the FIR podcast and says 'As long as we want to work, we need to be willing to learn.' Recently he has been waging war on fake 'PR' advertisements and providing us with one of the funniest promo videos I have seen in so long.

Jeffrey Treem, of Inside the Cubicle, is an Account Executive with Edelman's Employee Engagement Practice with a 'quasi-obsession with new media'. He has his own podcast and posts about the PR working environment.

Jill Pyle has one of the coolest blog pages I have seen for quite a while. She is a fourth year public relations student at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, NS. Like me she enjoys discovering new social media and often writes insightful posts about her course and what she has recently learned. I particularly like her recent posts about her job in September.

I love Laterstudy! Heather Smith's often hilarious look at being a 'mature' student on a Public Relations course is 'about Flash and semiology and narrative and ucas forms and writing and mise en scene and spaniels and lectures and lecturers and camper vans and photography and finding the right bank account and books and other things' and very definitely doesn't disappoint or hold back! She also has one of the most comprehensive list of links for everything that a sensible UK student could ever need, and much more.

I realise that some of the people on my New / Student list have bigger and better known blogs than I, the term 'New' is for 'New to the industry' or sometimes 'New to me'. So, if you are on the list and are not mentioned I apologise and will endeavour to do you a write up in the future. You are probably just so well known that there is no point in introducing you (Stephen, Paull, Owen, Ed, Marie, Richard, I could go on...) . Like-wise if you have a new blog and want to have some link love leave your address in the comment section and I'll pop you on.

02 August, 2006

Get the Forward Podcast! Now!!

As brand new PR people, we should all be regularly checking in at Forward, not to mention downloading their wonderful Podcast. Although Forward is meant for PR students, I can't help but think that there must be some old school PROs listening in and learning as well. And as regular readers of 'Wages' will know; in my book, anything that can help stimulate continued learning, has to be pretty cool.

Especially this fortnight, where Richard Bailey (of Leeds Metropolitan University) along with Robert French (of Auburn University in Alabama) and Luke Armour ( the author of Observations of Public Relations) impart some of their pearls of wisdom to Paull Young. You can get the podcast from here.

This is absolutely essential listening to anyone hoping to have a career in PR. Especially anyone who is thinking of taking a PR degree and wants to see what they are letting themselves in for! Although in some places Forward can offer us a rather 'American' view of PR student life, it is all still massively helpful and regular contributions by some of the best PR Academics (like our Richard) help to keep it relevant no matter where you are listening.

31 July, 2006

Speading some Monday Cheer

Seriously very very funny. Perfect for the Monday Blues!

Now after me: Hamster! Dentist!...

30 July, 2006

Too Dull to Blog? Not likely!

Chris Lewis (he of Lewis PR) has decided to quit blogging, citing his reasons as
I’m way too dull to have my own blog

But all is not lost as Chris promises to continue contributing to the official Lewis blog (Lewis 360). However his words interest me - is he implying that all bloggers are fascinating? I'm sure this can't be right (but I suppose that is rather flattering).

Springboarding from this train of thought I began to think how on earth Chris can imagine that he is 'too dull' to blog. Let's have a look at his history. He has achieved so much with his Public Relations career, and I do find it a shame that he thinks that we would not be interested in learning from his experiences.

But you cannot force someone to blog (no matter how much you want them to). I must remember it is not the end of Chris blogging, merely a move. I hope that he realises that we are interested in what he says, and I look forward to hearing from him at Lewis 360.

27 July, 2006

Some new social media

Following on from my previous post on social media I have a couple of new ones I have been playing with:

If you scroll down you will see that I am playing with Flickr. I am quite sheepish that it has taken me a while to come around to Flickr. I have Bebo and Ringo accounts but Flickr seems better. I can also post on my blog from my account at Flickr which is very clever! I really like the idea that members of my family around the world can also see my pictures too, as well as having a portfolio group of pictures for potential employers.

Another social media is LinkedIn. I was actually signed up to this back in May, but had completely forgotten (it was a hectic time). This is rather like the 'old boys network' online. I currently have 10 'connections' (a bit like MySpace 'friends'), and through these ten connections I am connected, by various degrees, to virtually everyone else on LinkedIn. The programme will tell you who connects you to your ideal network person, so you know who you can ask for introductions. For example I am connected to Paull Young and he is connected to Constantin Basturea. If I wanted to talk to Constantin I could ask Paull to introduce us.

Whether LinkedIn will be used as anything other than a popularity test remains to be seen but it is quite fun, so sign me up! Who knows it may help with the job hunting too?

Seriously though - how wonderful is the Hoff?

'The Hoff' has just been signed up with pipex as the face of their new campaign. You have to love their tongue in cheek website in homage to all things Hoff.

I am loving all the retro endorsements like the Happy days theme of Citroen C3 and the 118 188 guys in their eighties sportsman glory!

Anyway it is definitely keeping me amused!

25 July, 2006

I am a Graduate!

Outside the Uni
Originally uploaded by alexpullin.
Yes I have photographic proof that I have graduated!

(This is really a test of Flickr)

21 July, 2006

Bloggers Beware!!

Yesterday the BBC had this article on their website. The tag-line was:
As a growing number of people claim to have been sacked over their blogs grows,
what safeguards can bloggers take?

Now I don't know if this is scaremongering, whether it is the backlash against blogging as predicted by some at the CIPR Northern Conference or whether some people just don't realise (a trap that I fell in) just who reads their blogs.

It is worth thinking about. Blogging is merely conversation that others can see and contribute to. Sensible, conscientious Bloggers therefore have nothing to fear if they do not forget this.

20 July, 2006

My favourite five social mee-jar

Now I have never seen myself as particularly 'techy'. Sure I can operate an iPod and a DVD player. I have my own blog and occasionally (although not always successfully) dabble in HTML.
You see having a blog instantly signs you up to an exclusive club where we all think we are fairly 'cutting edge', or at least we wish to receive recognition for embracing the new possibilities for communications, that the Internet and new technology sends us, or bloggers just want to have a bigger platform for conversation and reflection of these relations we call public. but I propose that really it is about exploration. Our need to discover.

You see, to seek out new things is something that we all do and it is this appetite for the new and shiny that lead us to blogging long before the vast majority. We like to try new things out; metaphorically stand in front of the mirror with them and see if they fit.

But how does this link with my 'techy'ness? Well I was tagged with this latest meme first by Stephen, and then by Simon. Like many things I read from both of these guys it had me pondering, this time (as I was meant to) on what I use social-media-wise.

Initially I couldn't think of anything. Nope, nothing at all. Does Yahoo fit? Could I use (as Simon did) Google? Would I be shunned by other bloggers for my lack of knowledge?

But then I calmed down and began to think logically, and discovered that actually I do have experience with much of this new 'social media'. In the same way that my appetite for discovery had led me to blogging in the first place, I have also flirted with many different online tools. In my blogging enthusiasm, every time I read about some new tool I like to sign up and try it out. (As long as it is free of course.)

The key thing is that I do not use any of them particularly regularly - but I am signed up to possibly the majority of them. So here are five of the social media that I am signed onto and I reckon I use possibly more than the others...

Technorati - I mentioned this before. You can see who is linking to you and search the blogosphere for various tags. As far as seeing who is linking to you it is always nice for a little ego boost on days when you feel all alone on the information superhighway. Or you can check out how many link to other sites, if you want. I actually don't use this all the time but I like to check in once or twice a week.

YouTube - I love this! It is an excellent way of wasting so much time. You can watch the latest trailers and music videos. Strangly addictive, I probably find myself on YouTube every couple of days.

The 'new PR' wiki (Crispy News) - This has been a recent discovery for me. On one hand I can just go there and read what blog posts have been voted as the most interesting, informative or just plain amusing PR posts on the web. I have uploaded two articles (the first one was my own as way of an way of seeing exactly how 'New PR' worked.

Blogger - although I have occasional issues with Blogger, I cannot fault all the good work that its doing; helping so many people set up their own blogs in a (very) cheap and simple way. And I reckon I use it at least twice a day, just checking things and messing about.

Now what for the last one?...

So many choices. Should I go with Frappr? or perhaps MySpace (although I have slagged it off I still guiltily return to check out various sites)? Maybe Del.icio.us? Actually no, not Del.icio.us. I'm still getting to grips with it and so I can't really lie and say I use it all the time.

So I am going to go with:

Podcasts - just great. I have recently been so inspired by other PR podcasts that I have even began experimenting with the medium myself. As we say in South London - Nuff said.

So on to the tagging:

I would be interested in hearing what Owen, Ed, Richard, Chloe and Sam have discovered.

13 July, 2006

Busy Busy Busy!

I have been having a few teething problems with a wireless Internet system, which left me in a rather dazed and confused state for a while! No excuse I know but I shall endeavour to bring you up to speed.

I was in the Guardian Last Saturday - in the 'Rise' section that's for graduates and you can find nestled in the jobs section. I had to review some books on job hunting.

This all came from when I was approached by a Chris Alden, a journalist completing a piece for the Guardian Newspaper. More specifically the Rise section of the Saturday paper that is in the Work section and is aimed at graduates. Chris had found me through this blog and wanted me to help reviewing eight books that are written to aid job seekers. They were:

What Should I DO With My Life? - Po Bronson
The 2006 What Color [sic] is Your Parachute? - Richard Nelson Bolles
How to Get a Job You'll Love - John Lees
Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions - Martin John Yate
How to Get The Best Graduate Job - D. Williams, P. Brown and A. Hesketh
Pitch Yourself - Bill and Michael Faust
How to be Brilliant - Michael Heppell
Brilliant CV - Jim Bright and Joanne Earl

Some of which were rubbish and some were rather helpful. You can read the article here.

They also put me on the front cover which was nice!


I also went to the CIPR Northern conference! I was incredibly disappointed that not one single student took the CIPR offer of cheap tickets! - Come on guys at this rate they will never offer again!!

Anyway I went and had a wonderful time! I have some pictures (courtesy of Andrew) but Blogger is misbehaving so I'll put them up at another time.

Anyway on what was probably the hottest day in the history of Leeds (6th July - write it down) over 150 delegates descended on the Electric Press in the Millenium Square. I handed out some badges (which - future student helpers note - was an excellent way to meet people too) and showed all the delegates about and then got to see all the keynotes and visit three workshops. Bargain!

I was also interviewed for the podcast being done of the day and it is well worth listening to as you get to hear large chunks of the conference including behind the scenes questions. There is also a videocast too!

Stuart Bruce's blogging workshop really opened my eyes as to the rather shocking lack of knowledge by so many of the other delegates about blogging and a lot of other social media. I found this fantastic and incredible - I can't imagine not having a blog and not reading others. After all, blogs and other web sites where I get my information from for the most part!

This continued to be the theme of the day and certainly most people there will have gone home with their heads ringing to the tune of podcasts, RSS feeds and blogs!

Anyway I shall let you know tomorrow how I am preparing for the Hill and Knowlton Graduate Project Day on the 19th!

04 July, 2006

I Have a PR Degree!

Hurrah and indeed hurray.

I am now the proud owner of a BA PR (2:2)!!

I got the results a few days ago which probably explains why I have been scooped with my own story! (Is there nothing that Stephen Davies chap doesn't know?)

Anyway massive thank you's to all those who helped with my dissertation research and any other projects I was doing.

Wages of Spin - in French?

Well I discovered this through Google today and it made me laugh a lot.

You see Mme. Wright? Who knew that forgetting my handbook and chatting with Iona Sherlock at French GCSE wouldn't have the catastrophic effect you predected. Despite my B at GCSE I can still communicate with the good people of France!

I'm off to look at other frenchified pages.

If you use the links from my frenchy page you will see other blogs like Richard Bailey's and Stephen Davies' frenchified.

28 June, 2006

"Who said protest was futile?!"

Andrew Wake, one of the organisers of the CIPR Northern Conference, has just left a comment on one of my other posts saying:

CIPR have now approved 10 student places at £25 on a first come first served basis so anyone interested needs to e-mail us (andrew@dontpanicprojects.com) or give us a call on 01706 828855.

Who said protest was futile?!

I thought I would highlight it and look forward to meeting anyone who applies.

To get a job... or not?

Like many in my position I am pondering whether to get a summer job.

You know the type, a bar job or waitressing. Something with very little reponsibility that will pay me weekly and keep me sweet until the grown up job of my dreams arrives.

Now I will need something that will allow me to go to interviews, attend the conference and my H&K day and graduation weekend. If I do get a job that starts straight away I will need to be able to ditch rubbish job fairly quickly - a week or so's notice.

It's a pretty tall order really. But I reckon it will keep me out of harms way and maybe I'll be able to afford a holiday at the end of the summer? A holiday....

27 June, 2006

CIPR Northern Conference

It seems that some people were listening when I posted about the CIPR Northern Conference and other PR events seemingly shunning students and young PR personnel with their ridiculously high prices.

Within a few days I had received an email from Andrew and Nicky of Don't Panic, offering me the chance to attend the conference for free, which I though as very interesting. Of course I took them up straight away and will therefore be attending on the 6th. So big thank yous to them.

I am really looking forward to going. I do, of course, have to earn my ticket to a certain extent through working the reception a bit and shuffling various delegates about. But I get to attend all the keynote speeches and three workshops. So if you are attending I shall see you there.

I wonder whether they will be extending similar offers to other students? I reckon that if they really want some good publicity they should offer a free spot to one or two students that ask every time.

Or maybe even have a student conference?

Hmm ... I feel an idea or two coming on...

Email me if you are interested in the idea of a student and Fledgling PR conference.

23 June, 2006

Lunacy of the job seekers!

At this time of the year there is a certain graduate panic that takes hold, and some people will apply for any job with PR in the title. This is lunacy. For example I was talking to a recruitment consultant this morning who's client is in the financial PR arena. He said that most of the applicants he had phoned regarding this job were unaware of what was involved with that industry, despite having applied for a job in it!

Now these are not just PR grads. Apparently PR is the industry du jour amongst grads, a bit like finance in the eighties and advertising in the nineties.

The PR industry at this level is highly competitive and I love the fact that so many people are interested in pursuing a career in PR from so many different backgrounds and are accepted.

But a lot of the people who are applying with no real clue will learn quickly that PR is not for everyone and that you have to research each of your job applications thoroughly before you apply, so you are not caught out.

Another Graduate day!!

Hurrah upon hurrahs, I have another training day with Hill and Knowlton this time.

Hill and Knowlton was recommended to me as a graduate scheme by my boss at Genius Creative PR.
The reason why I am so up on graduate training schemes is purely based upon the training aspect. I may have left university but I certainly don't know it all and would hope that this is merely the end of one section of my learning process, not the entire.

I know that a lot of my fellow grads are unsure of what will be expected of then in various sectors, despite university training. Graduate training schemes are very good for people who are interested in many different aspects of public relations and therefore can't commit to a specific sector (as they all sound so good). But also give you a chance to understand better exactly what is required from each sector through actually living it from day to day for periods of time. This added to fast track options and other perks I don't see why everyone doesn't apply!

So thank you to the Hill and Knowlton people and wish me luck for the 19th July.

12 June, 2006

Pass the PR love to the protégés...

Wow it has been about a month since I last posted! I must break these bad habits before they become a problem.

Feeling strangely philosophical at the minute as I try to set myself on a new path. I am still job hunting - the philosophy comes from discovering more about myself and what I believe in as I sit through more interviews and fill out more application forms. Recognising your personal philosophies and goals makes this a lot easier to undertake. But more on the process of job hunting on a later date.

Whilst I have been away a couple of things have caught my eye beginning with this:

A while back now Simon posted about this CIPR Northern Conference 2006. As a non member of the CIPR, although I would like to be, I would have to fork out £185 for a ticket. As Simon points out I shouldn’t be outraged by this – after all “One of the recent PR Week conferences cost £1000+ for one-day.”

Surely this is wrong. £185 (plus VAT) is, and continues to be, a lot of money. Although obviously this will be an amazing event and if I can quote from Simon:

“The two confirmed keynotes so far include:
John Willman - UK Business Editor, Financial Times
Rob Skinner - Chief Press Officer First Direct and Marks & Spencer Money

While the three main workshops that I want to sit in on include:
PR in the voluntary sector - delivered by the team from Oxfam
The Regeneration Game - a panel discussion on the role PR plays in regeneration
Blogging and New PR - Philip Young and Stuart Bruce (but of course!)”

This is a terrific event that I and I’m sure many of my peers would love to go to. But then why put such a price tag on it so that so few of my generation of PR people can attend?

And what about the other conferences that cost £1,000 a day? Wow-ee who would you get there?

A lot has been said about the possible barriers to entry for young Public Relations practitioners, monetary being one of the biggest. The CIPR does a fantastic job to remove so many of these, with reduced rates for student and the Behind the Spin magazine.

But where is the free or reasonably priced PR love for fledgeling PR people in the form of these amazing days out? It saddens me that these price tags can be perceived as anything but ridiculous

So many Bloggers are also educators (not just the academically associated ones), and though their blogs have taught me so much, all for free. Same goes for the amazing podcasts available from forward and FIR. But despite all these amazing mediums, nothing really compares to being in the same room as someone who can impart wisdom, and the atmosphere of being at such events, and learning new information face to face.

Surely if the industry shuts out its younger members then it also shuts out their ideas and feedback, and all the things that we can teach them, all the creativity that is blocked.

I know there will be people who feel that all conferences are this expensive - from accounting to computing - so why should PR be any different? But does this really excuse it? As anyone whose mother has said 'if everyone else was jumping off a cliff would you?' can tell you - no, it doesn't.

So I suppose it is back to personal philosophy again. I just reckon that there should be greater breaks for those who are just starting out in the industry such as the students and the new PROs. And ultimately won't this will help to build a stronger, better PR industry in the future?

17 May, 2006

After discovering Technorati Alex realises she has some catching up to do...

Philip Young tagged me a long time ago (all the way back in February - sorry) and I did not even know. But today I discovered exactly what technorati actually does and it's fascinating!

So now I have the chance to right all my wrongs and thank all those who have linked to me but I have been too ignorant to thank them, starting with Philip - I shall complete the questions and keep the meme going (albeit a bit late).

Four jobs I’ve had:

  1. Lighting Department of Peter Jones
  2. Waitress in Cypriot restaurant (in London)
  3. JD Wetherspoons supervisor
  4. Designer Clothes shop
Four movies I can watch over and over:

  1. The Godfather
  2. Drop Dead Gorgeous
  3. Life of Brian (if pressed to put only one Python)
  4. Amélie
Four TV shows I love to watch:

  1. Spaced
  2. Doctor Who (guilty geeky pleasures...)
  3. CSI - any of them
  4. Scrubs

Four places I’ve been on holiday:

  1. Kathmandu (well trekking)
  2. Cape Town
  3. Clearwater (Florida)
  4. Toronto
Four favourite dishes:

  1. Melintzanosalata
  2. anything with chillies in
  3. Shellfish
  4. bread and butter pudding (has to have golden syrup in otherwise its not right!)

Four websites I visit daily (aside from my own):

  1. Yahoo
  2. Radio one
  3. The Onion
  4. PR Blogger (Stephen Davis' site)

(perhaps I should now add technorati)

Four places I’d rather be:

  1. Shoe shopping
  2. Reading, on holiday in Southern France (St Emilion area preferably)
  3. Getting rather tipsy and listening to some good live indie rock and roll with excellent company
  4. Painting / Drawing

Four bloggers I’m tagging:

  1. Chloe Chaplin
  2. Amy Golledge
  3. Erin Caldwell
  4. Kami Huyse

Well the results are in from Edelman.

There is of course the good news and the bad news. I have failed to secure a place in the next round of interviews. This is of course a set back. Rebecca was very willing however to answer any questions relating to where I could have gone wrong. Frustratingly they seemed to think that I had not fully prepared my individual presentation sufficiently, although I scored highly in all the other tests (especially grammar). This is of course irritating but there is little that I can do about it.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that one of the women there was Jackie Cooper, who heads up Edelman’s sister company JCPR. They represent more consumer based clients than Edelman. She was apparently impressed by me and is interested in giving me an interview on the 6th June.

I suppose, from the purposes of this blog that it would have been fairly dull if I had just strolled into a job straight off the bat. Now I represent the job seeking PR graduates slightly better, I will also have more time to write all about it again due to less academic constraints. I can also spend all my time preparing for June 6th and trawling PR Week Jobs, Guardian Media Jobs, Brand Republic Jobs, Monster, Reed, and the rest.

So although I am fairly annoyed that I have been knocked back, I have been offered a second stab. So I can take their criticisms on board and this time leave no doubt in their minds that I prepared fully for this interview.

16 May, 2006

BBC Interview

I hope that none of my interviews are this pressured! Guy Goma turned up for a job interview with a BBC website and due to a case of mistaken identity he was then interviewed live on BBC News 24 about the Apple vs Apple court case .

He says his appearence was "very stressful". I hope that he got the job, I reckon that he will possibly be the most memorable of all the candidates!

It's Eurovision on Saturday!

And to celebrate an extract from Father Ted.

Dougal: I've got Eurosong fever, Ted.
Ted: Yeah?
Dougal: Oh god, yeah. I love the Eurosong competition. I just can't wait. What time is it now?
Father Ted: Half past one.
Dougal: Half one?! And the competition is on in...
Father Ted: May.

07 May, 2006

The Edelman Interview

As you may or may not be aware, I was invited by Edelman to participate in the next round of interviews for a place on their graduate scheme.

Now before you worry - and I know you do - that we might descend into unpleasantness again I have received the thumbs up from the people at Edelman. I am allowed to reveal their graduation scheme selection as much as I please – thank you.

In a word, wow.

It is hard not to feel initially uninitiated when sat in a room with a group of undoubtedly talented people. There was Mel, a Masters student at Cambridge, Daniel, who had flown over from Washington DC where he is currently studying the legal system, and Mark who had flown from St Andrews. In total there were eight of us.

But I had to remain positive. Yes I’m sure that most of them have more A levels than you can shake a stick at, but I had made it this far and there must be a reason.

It is always difficult to know how to act at this point, should one sit back and assess the situation and risk being forgotten? Or perhaps one should speak up and risk everyone thinking you are a pompous pillock?

Well, I always reckon that it is important to stand out on these events and so was soon having a conversation with a girl who had come all the way from County Cork to be there, which soon spread and I am happy to say there didn’t seem to be anyone there who wasn’t very friendly.

We also met Stuart Smith and had the opportunity to ask him some questions. At this point I was thankful for Morgan McLintic’s tips!

We had individual presentations, from a choice of seven topics from which I picked five minutes on the last five days top news stories. I felt that this went OK. There were very very tough questions afterwards from a group of people that we hadn’t met before. We had been warned about this and I assume it was to test what we knew, our ability to think on our feet and to assess how we handle pressure.

Later we had group presentations where, with limited facts, we were to put together a pitch in an hour. This was really interesting as we were observed whilst we put our plans together and then questioned as to why we made those decisions, after we presented.

But these are all things that you can prepare for. You can read about what to say, how to prepare and top tips for how to act. So my favourite part of the day was the tests, for which, preparation was limited.

This seems a little masochistic but really I find these things fascinating. We had verbal and non verbal reasoning and spatial awareness. These were really tough and were time controlled. Finally we undertook a personality test which we were told would be able to show how we reacted under pressure and what position we tend to take in a team. There are always a bit difficult for someone like me. I always get bogged down on these things thinking 'well am I more X or Y, and what does this mean and how can it be construed?'

I am on the edge of my seat wanting to know what I got! I will most probably phone them even if I do not make it through to the next round, just to find out. There are just so interesting!

Well I will hear from Edelman's HR department either way some time in the coming weeks. As soon as I know, you will.

Dissertation Update

Ever so nervous. I have just heard through the grapevine that my dissertation is the only one that Karl has properly marked yet. I wonder whether it is better to be the first while things are fresh, or the last?

Although I shouldn't be nervous, at the end of the day I worked bloody hard on that document and I hope that my grade will reflect that.

As ever with these things I am hoping to be able to post it here through Writely after it has been marked.

22 April, 2006

Rated or Slated?

I have been reprimanded for not posting recently - I apologise profusely. There will be further posts I promise and I shall tell you all about the prep for the interview.

I have also managed to gain a google rating of importance. I really don't want them to take it away and it is very flattering to be rated 5/10, but how do they work it out? For example - on their scale I am more important than the BBC Radio One homepage (4/10), again flattering but misguided I think.

I would also like to say that yes, I heard the rumour that PRWeek have interviewed me about the contraversal post a while back. But no one from the magazine has contacted me in regards the this so I have to say that it does look unlikely. I wonder what their take would be on the whole thing.

10 April, 2006


Sorry I haven't been particularly good about writing recently, I will endeavour to do better in future. In all honesty there really hasn't been a fantastic amount to report.
I have been working full time at Genius Creative PR now that they have moved to Harrogate. (Check out the website - it's finally up and has been a bit of a labour of love for Paul!)
Currently working on 20/20/02Vision and getting some great pieces for my portfolio - which is the next major stress!
I will be travelling down to London for the bank holiday weekend - hopefully missing the vast amounts of people who take the four day weekend as an excuse to go to the country. This will be where I can really crack on with the portfolio.
The portfolio, I reckon, is possibly the most important thing that you have and so it has to be first rate. In recent years I have not particularly excelled in this area (much to my frustration, because although they were not poor grades I felt I should have got better) and so this year all the stops are being pulled out. I will also have to take it with me to interviews so that makes it all the more important. I just hope that this year I get it right!
You will know more as and when I do.

03 April, 2006

New Opportunities...

Finally my first ever interview for a graduate scheme - Edelman has replied!

I am to go there on the 27th of this month for a day of tests and tricks to tell whether I am what they require. There shall be intelligence tests, presentations and other skill tests - I'm rather looking forward to it, actually - I haven't done anything like that for ages!

It has really hit home that I shall be graduating in just a few short months. Feels very odd - far too grown up and somehow right, very strange.

Gosh once I get a job I will have to be adult about things and understand insurance and mortgages. I will buy shoes because they won't hurt my feet or disintegrate within one month, rather than because they are red, pointy and shiny, and I shall take up gardening and listening to the archers... such things are expected of sensible people, or so I imagine. Or maybe that's the elderly...

Anyway I ramble, I am really excited about my first interview, and although I am very pleased I hope it won't be my last, that way I stand a better chance that I will land the job that is perfect for me(please) and it won't matter so much if things do not work the way I would like on the 27th (although I really want them to).

That's rather sensible isn't it?

01 April, 2006


Well the dissertation has been handed in and I have slept solidly for the first time in weeks!
I have checked with my dissertation tutor and once I get the mark back I can pop it in Writely and put a link on here if you are interested?

Now to go and celebrate!

26 March, 2006

Thinking Forward...

Some students of Auburn university in Alabama have set up Forward to help and guide all those starting out in PR (like me!). Their managing editor Erin has already got a really sucessful blog of her own and has brought together a group of students, practitioners and lectuers to 'provide a comprehensive, ever-evolving, online springboard for students and young professionals in PR'. Really cool stuff.

I am a little behind the times it seems, but spreading the word futher is going to do no harm.

The website is full of career advise, basics, and pretty much anything you would wish to know about going into the industry. I've only been on it briefly but already I can see that this is going to be so helpful to me over the next few months!

They are also open to contributions (I think I might have a go if they will let me!) whether you want to leave a one off or undertake regular postings. As far as I am aware they haven't got any regular British writers - So get in quick!

all those lovely, injurious tars and resins...

I smoke. I love smoking. I'm smoking right now (not really but by the time you read this I could be). Every day I contemplate quiting and everyday I think about it over a cup of tea and a ciggy. Of course, I smoke in the privacy of my own home where whether I am allowed to smoke is never comes into question.
I joke that the reason that I smoke is because it is clever and grown up but its not. I kid myself that I will give up when they reach a certain price (£4.50, £5, all came and went).
Because I shouldn't smoke and I don't think anybody else should either. The Packets say it all: emphysema, heart disease, cancer, cancer, cancer and, the loveliest of all, impotence (I don't understand the packs that say - DON'T START, presumably if you have dedicated a, considerable, amount of money for this pack I would guess you had already started smoking).
But I enjoy it. It's gross. It stains my lungs. It kills people. It goes so well with my tea. It de stresses me, and I love it.
I fully appreciate that other people dislike smoking. If I am at someones house where they do not smoke I have no qualms about going outside (I do this at my Parents house.) .
Anyway didn't Oscar Wilde say: "Let us go and lie on the grass and smoke cigarettes and enjoy nature." (I'm rather proud at finding that quote.)
People argue that 'It's perfectly legal to have sex, be naked, urinate, but try doing any of those things in the dining room of a restaurant and you're looking at a hefty fine, if not jail time. The same should hold true for smoking.'
This is a very strong point - but why can't we have smoking bars and non smoking bars? Forest, the 'pro-choice' smokers rights society (they even have awards) have suggested this from the start. Their argument is if you are going to ban it in some places ban it everywhere, don't victimise people over a lifestyle choice. They use the D-word (Discrimination) a lot.
Anyway I shall be watching the progress in Scotland carefully, it is a sign of things to come.
On a similar note - there is a film out in the states called Thank You for Smoking, which delves into the American lobbying system, following a man who represents the tobacco industry. It looks rather good - I wonder if anyone has seen it?
Interestingly they have their own MySpace and the director(Jason Reitman) has his own blog too. Is this becoming the norm for all film promotion?

25 March, 2006

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

Only a few more days and then the Easter Holidays are going to feel like:

Of course I am not going on holiday - apart from a trip down to london to see my folks and friends. Although I am really looking forward to that, I haven't seen people since Christmas.

The picture is how I am going to feel once I have handed in my dissertation. I'm sorry to keep banging on about it but there really isn't room in my life for anything else until this is done.

Until Easter I will have many sleepless nights and about one hundred panic attacks to look forward to - and after...

(And portfolio..)

24 March, 2006


Excellent news locally. The BNP has been rejected from Keighley, diminishing their number of seats on Bradford City Council to three. Hopefully the whole of Yorkshire will soon be freed from these people and stop voting them in! They drag the reputation of this beautiful county through the mud.

For the Americans who read this the BNP (British National Party) are a particularly unpleasant extremist party from the UK they are are racist and fascist scaremongers. I would provide a link so that you can see for yourselves but I don't want it on my site.

The church for one opposes them and Stephanie Rybak, executive secretary to the West Yorkshire Ecumenical Council (WYEC) has said:

'We feel the BNP is a deeply worrying movement and its policies are racist and fascist.' She added: 'Were concerned at the level of voter apathy, which means people wont vote. If they don't, there's a real danger that extremist parties might get elected.'

But why aren't the other councillors in these BNP prone areas working together with the church to get rid of them through a massive campaign to get people voting? Surely with a common problem such as this they should be working together.

Local PR firms should get involved, I would do it pro bono, to lobby against this kind of extremism and to build stronger local links and links to local authorities to give the public hope that their vote will make a difference and will not have any adverse consequences. Surely some corporate social responsibility from local businesses would help. There are also loads of anti BNP groups on the internet - although some of them are just as extreme.

23 March, 2006

He ain't heavy...

Chloe is right this whole blogging phenomenon is very infectious! More and more people are getting themselves involved and it is pleasing to see.

I was talking to my brother earlier and even he is interested and wants to know what to do and where to go. He is a first year student at Nottingham University studying Psychology so I reckon it will be great. He assures me that he will let me know his address as soon as he sorts one so I will post a link from here! This goes for any other new bloggers out there as well.

Blogging is a fantastic way of communicating and getting your opinions out there. I have commented before that it does get rather addictive, but this is by no means a bad thing. Often a blog will force you to read further into your professional area. As well as examining your own beliefs. Blogs also are an easy way of getting acquainted with a subject you were previously unsure of, after all there are experts out there expressing their superior wisdom and all you have to do is tap in.

Although having said that it is not all easy sailing and quite often I have to look things up!

22 March, 2006

Thank you

A quick thank you to all those who took part answering my questions for my dissertation. You know who you are. Without your contribution the dissertation would have never happened.

21 March, 2006

Why is ambition bad?

Today I was assessed on 'the pitch' module of this semester. Our entire year got in groups and were given a brief from Harrison Cowley, we then Pitch to our tutors and the top four pitches would go on to present again for Harrison Cowley. The best group of those four wins £1,000 to make things a little more interesting.

The brief this year was on Gatecrasher, or rather the re-branding of the Gatecrasher image and the launch of Discotheque, their new club in Leeds (which has already opened but we were to imagine it hadn't). I think we did OK, I doubt we will be the ones picked - although it would be nice.

Now I do not mind working in groups, but I found this assignment particularly taxing. It wasn't just the timing - dissertation time is really when you want to be putting together mood boards and writing 'a short supporting document' that goes over 70 pages .

It wasn't a bad atmosphere as such, it was just that although the girls were friendly it was clear that we had very little in common. None of them for example had any desire to go into PR, with two of them admitting that they really should have done events management because 'its more fun'. There was just a complete lack of ambition that I have never understood, I got very odd looks just revealing that I want to (some day) have my own consultancy and want to be an account exec in the next 2 years and will go on to be a director of communications, or an MD or the like.

I am sorry to say that this group of unambitious peers are not remarkable - in fact most of my year seen quite happy to go and work in shops after they graduate, move back with mum and dad until m and d cave and buy them a flat ('I never want to pay my own rent' said one) and don't want to work in PR. Ambition is frowned on.

Its all very depressing - why would you lose three years, and get 9 grand debt not to continue? What happened to being proud of our ambitions and aiming high? Where did all the defeatism come from?
UPDATE: Some people seem to think that I was having a personal swipe at the people in my group - like I said in the post they were really friendly.
UPDATE 2: I will not be subjected to personal attacks on my blog. I don't mind criticism or disagreements and in fact, I encourage it to stimulate further discussion, but I will not allow personal and false comments from anonymous commenters who are not contributing to the discussion to remain on my site.

17 March, 2006

The inner Librarian

The People from the Bad Pitch Blog are running a petition to end bad PR once and for all, which includes a map so that you can see where all the bloggers are. I think this is great - after all bad PR practices affect everyone in the industry, but also (mainly) because you can see where the majority of bloggers are.

Not that I am not for the cause, I just think its really fascinating to find PR people all over the world, sorted into categories of what they do (in-house, agency, etc). I find this kind of thing really interesting - maybe just because I am nosey - or perhaps it is my inner librarian coming through.

But I find it rather embarrassing that only Stuart Bruce and myself have signed up from the UK so far - where are you lot?!

13 March, 2006

The CV updation continues

Just had a call from the Guardian Fuller CV. To be honest I had forgotten that I had uploaded my CV, all that time ago. However the guy was really great and offered to re-shedule for April as I was so busy.

I wonder what they will add to it?...

Damned Dissertation!

Dissertation is making my mind wonkey. Not having read Heat magazine or anything else for that matter that I do not have to operate my mind for (including newspapers), for longer than I can remember is really rather disturbing.

I wonder if I will ever have the neeed to discuss pheonomenology again? If I never have to again I will be very very happy!

11 March, 2006

Behind the Spin - New Horizons?

As I am sure you are all aware I wrote an article for the current issue of Behind the Spin. This was an excellent experience and really forfilling - in fact it is what convinced me (well that and Richard Bailey) to start this blog and continue writing. If you wish to read it there is a link.

Anyway that was months ago. Before Christmas before dissertation hell, before even (gasp) I had a blog! The reason why I bring it up now is that John Hitchins is applying for a National Teaching Fellowship to develop Behind the Spin into new territories. Very exciting you may squeal but wait, there's more.

The application requires evidence that the magazine has "promoted and enhanced the student learning experience" and supported colleagues in other universities who wish to "stimulate learning."

What?! How can the magazine be anything but a way of stimulating learning. For my own article I learnt so much on my chosen subject (and no not just the practical side), and also about research and writing. Especially writing. To have to justify the learning benefits that are so clearly obvious is madness, and why need to spell it out when you can just send them a copy and be done?

But I wonder just how big the Behind the Spin mag can really get? I reckon it could go all the way - a kind of student version of PR Week, perhaps with constant updates online too (like the Guardian Unlimited), or monthly interactive DVDs, and a constant blog (natch).

The possibilities are endless.

08 March, 2006

The Joys... Of Marketing?!

One of my optional modules this semester was retail marketing. I wasn't really looking forward to it, after all I reckoned that it would just be full of the same PR girls who assumed that, because it had retail in the title, they could use it as an excuse to go shopping. So before I had even been to a lecture I was considering swapping.

Unfortunately most of the other options were Law and EC Business, which I longed to do for the challenge, but they are time consuming, often with loads of jargon to learn. After a discussion with Les Hamilton, one of the module leaders, I decided to stay on board.

(The conversation went something like this:
LH: You want to quit because you think it will be too easy and you will get bored?
AP: Yep
LH:So let me get this straight, you have your dissertation, your portfolio, you are retaking last semesters exam to improve on your grade and you have a pitch to assemble. And you want to quit a module because you won't find it difficult?!
AP: Errr...)

And I am so very glad that I did reconsider. I do find it a little obvious in places but I am genuinely enjoying being able to put all those years of working in the retail industry to some advantage.

So I don't particularly care whether some people turn their noses up at retail marketing, or question my loyalty to the PR cause, I've found something new that I am good at and that is always a joy.

Possible Sneaky Peek...

I intend to find out whether I can post my dissertation on here like I have with my CV. I need to find out if this will break my ethical release of informaton agreement It shouldn't because I have upheld my promises of complete anonymousness to my interview subjects. I will find out and let you know...

06 March, 2006

Flat hunting - mmm fun!

Looking at flats today. raising all these questions; is it better to live alone or get a flat share? And what if i move in with loonies who murder me in my bed? I've seen shallow grave it can all go very very wrong!

There is also the fact that although I am originally from London I am fairly clueless about where I want to be. Not having a job yet means that I don't have a centre of operations. Which makes looking even more bizarre. I suppose it is rather early to look and I am very fortunate to have my parents still living to London so that should the worst come to the worst I can stay with them for the time being.

It is probably a bit early to be stressing about it anyway.

03 March, 2006

Alex - just a guinea pig?

Well I have allowed myself to become an online experiment! All part of Stuart Bruce's master plan. My CV is now posted on Writely and any changes people want to make are all welcome.

Do you think my CV could benefit from your expertise?

Anyone who wants to collaborate needs to be ok-ed by me so email me if you want to be involved! This should not only help me improve my CV but also see what people judge to be the most important things on a CV.