Update On The Spill: New Orleans J-Term

January 27, 2011 by · Comments Off 

J Term Recap: After the Oil Spill from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

By Kwynn Kirkhuff

As the Corporate Communications and Public Affairs J-Term class set out to the Gulf Coast to cover the aftermath of the oil spill we had no idea just how much information we were about to receive.

We were determined to find out how key players in the BP oil spill used communication to get the message out to the public.

The above video offers a short glimpse into who we heard from and what communication lessons were learned.

Visit our blog for more photos and stories from our visit to the Gulf.

Election Blog: Professor Dan Schill Discusses Political Advertisements

November 2, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Video Posted by Sarah Bray

Corporate Communication and Public Affairs Professor Dan Schill gives advice on how to navigate through negative ads to discover the truth during midterm elections.

VIDEO: Professor Dan Schill Discusses Political Advertisements from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.


SMU Students on the Hill

October 12, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

SMU corporate communications and public affairs and journalism students went to Washington D.C. this fall break for Hilltop On The Hill. Here’s what they had to say about the trip:

Posted By Sarah Benchaita

Most of the time students look to fall break for rest and recuperation after midterms. Yet, some students are spending their fall break in Washington D.C. as part of SMU’s Hilltop on the Hill.

Hilltop on the Hill, a program offered to Corporate Communications and Public Affairs and Journalism majors, is designed to give students exposure to the real-world communication and political realm of the nation’s capital.

Rita Kirk, CCPA professor and faculty advisor of Hilltop on the Hill, said, “We want to expose the students to real life. My favorite part is watching the light bulbs go off, and seeing students go back with a renewed sense of purpose.”

On the first day of the trip students toured the Google facilities, and heard Federal Policy Outreach Manager, Frannie Wellings, speak. After Wellings spoke, students had the opportunity to speak with her and were encouraged to ask questions.

“It’s Google, which is something I use every day. So to be there and hear from an important member of their staff is really huge for me,” said junior CCPA and sociology major Ceci Hutchings.

Afterwards, students visited renowned strategic communications firm, Glover Park Group. There they heard from prominent key players in the company, including Mike Feldman, the Clinton Administration’s former Chief of Staff, and Press Secretary, Joe Lockhart.

“I never expected to meet with such high-profile and knowledgeable individuals,” said Derek Hubbard, SMU junior and Student Representative to the Board of Trustees on Development and External Affairs.

Other places students visited on the first day included the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Free Press, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office, and National Public Radio.

The second day of the trip proved to be more relaxed, with students and faculty visiting the Library of Congress and Washington’s Newseum. Afterwards, Deputy Press Secretary and SMU alum, Taylor Thornley, joined students and discussed ways to get ahead in the hard-edged world of political communications.

SMU’s Hilltop on the Hill Program at the Library of Congress from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

Additional trips included visits to the Holocaust Museum and hearing from a Holocaust survivor, Politico, CNN, AT&T, the National Association of Broadcasters, and National Cable Television Association.

Besides meeting with memorable guests from all over D.C., the group demonstrated excitement over the youthful environment.

“There’s no such thing as being too young here. I didn’t realize it was this way. It’s almost like it is catered to us,” said junior journalism major E’Lyn Taylor.

Other students found motivation in the endless possibilities.

“This is such a young, vibrant city. Everyone has a dream to move to the Hill after college, and once they do it, it seems that with hard work they move up fast. D.C. is different because if you’re driven, you will be successful and accomplish a lot,” said Hubbard.

To read blogs by Hilltop on the Hill participants visit SMU Adventures.

Marketing Specialist Stresses Networking

November 19, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Katherine Helms

SMU students congregated to listen as Melissa Anderson, marketing and communications specialist for Susan G. Komen For The Cure, discussed the importance of media relations, in particular media measurement and analysis, hosted by the Public Relations Student Society of America on Wednesday Nov. 18.

PRSSA has chapters across America, 17 in Texas alone. The national organization gives students the ability to network with professionals in the public relations field.

Anderson graduated from SMU with a degree in Corporate Communications and Affairs. Since then she has worked at prestige public relations firms such as Porter Novelli and Fleishman-Hillard.

After finding her way back to Texas, she engaged in a two-month job search, which ended when she landed a job at Komen. Anderson reiterated a message many professors drill into their student’s heads, the importance of networking.

“Network, network, network,” said Anderson who realizes she is where she is today partly due to connections she has made.

The networking obviously paid off because she is now working for the worlds largest and most progressive grassroots network. Part of her job is keeping the marketing team up to speed with the non-profits exposure in the media. Since the organization is dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer, October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, stays busy. Thankfully, their team stretches far beyond Dallas.

“Internally we are only about eight people, but really our team is comprised of hundreds of people,” said Anderson.

The organization, which is headquartered in Dallas, relies heavily on affiliates across the globe to spread the word and raise awareness about the non-profit. In October alone the non-profit appeared in numerous magazines, ranging from SHAPE to Ebony, as well as shows such as Ellen, Martha Stewart, and The Biggest Loser.

In order to keep track of all of their appearances in the media, Komen depends significantly on vendors to gather the information. After the information is gathered, Anderson reports back to her team so that they can evaluate where they stand and where to go next.

Unlike in the past, Anderson has not had to beg media outlets for coverage; instead people beg to cover Komen.

“I feel like I am at the peak of my career. I’m not beating people’s doors down. They are beating mine down. People love Susan G. Komen,” said Anderson.

Maggie Easterlin, a senior Corporate Communications and Affairs major, explains how valuable her involvement with PRSSA has been. While she has learned the foundations of communications in the classroom, the speakers bring the information to life.

“I think speakers are an invaluable part of the learning experience,” said Easterlin.

Anderson urged students to look for internships. Not only do internships provide students with connections, but also with skills that cannot be taught in the classroom.

Arts Beat: Blues Music Then and Now

March 19, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Tuesday as part of the CCPA Diversity Week, 93-year-old Blues legend David “Honeyboy” Edwards made an appearance on SMU’s campus.? The performance, sponsored by the Corporate Communications and Public Affairs division of SMU and The Blue Shoe Project, was a combination of blues music and stories from Edwards’ life.

As I listened to Edwards’ hearty guitar strings and soulful voice, I realized that through the immense amount of change our country has gone through, blues music has always? remained consistent.? The sound, lyric and foundation of blues music has been successfully sustained from segregation through September 11.

Before Honeyboy came onstage, a younger man named Marquis(on tour with B.B. King) was playing a few of his original tunes.? ? He had the same heartfelt blues voice and even the same mannerisms as Edwards and? several blues predecessors.? Marquis’ lyrics described the common blues themes of tough economic times and marital? suspicion.? And although he is several decades behind Honeyboy Edwards, Marquis thrust the audience back into the 1930s as if that’s where he wrote his songs.

The? parallel I saw in the two performances was proof of the purity of blues music.? Edwards told stories that inspired his songs-living on a plantation, witnessing death and going to the local saloon- that were not only his history, but our country’s history.

Many people believe those times are over, but the truth is that history and tough times are ongoing.? The Blues are not history, they are a part of history.? The Blues are timeless and the performance for Diversity Week brought old and new reditions of Blues music onto the same stage- but they really weren’t all that different.

-Posted by Christine Ricciardi

Welcome to the Global News Blog

January 27, 2009 by · Comments Off 

During the Spring 2009 semester, The Daily Mustang is pleased to be partnering with the “Communications, Technology and Globalization” course taught by Eric Van Steenburg of SMU’s Corporate Communications and Public Affairs (CCPA) program. Students will contribute weekly blog posts analyzing how technology is used in coverage of international news events. The blog posts will begin in early February. Please check back soon!

Politics blog: SMU Contributes to CNN Debate Coverage

October 17, 2008 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Donnie Wyar

As the debate portion of this election cycle concluded Wednesday, many voters’ eyes will be closely following poll results in the days leading up to the election less than three weeks away.

Anyone watching the four debates on CNN has seen a real-time chart across the bottom of the screen. The line-graph, which provides instant feedback by monitoring the responses from undecided voters in focus groups selected by the network, was recently mentioned in the Wall Street Journal and the Dallas Morning News.

Drs. Rita Kirk and Dan Schill, professors in SMU’s division of corporate communications and public affairs, are responsible for conducting the studies for CNN and providing those instant results live from Columbus, Ohio, with the help of students Lizzy Brubaker, Elizabeth Langdon, and Rachael Russell.

Langdon, a junior, recent transfer from the University of Central Florida and soon-to be CCPA major, found time to make a difference despite being a member of the rowing team with its off-season 20-hour per week training regimen.

She said the opportunities and connections for SMU students to get out in the real world and obtain job experience “can get you anywhere,” but young people – and students especially – should acknowledge their responsibility to get involved in this election.

“I think it is essential right now,” Langdon said, “but I don’t think a lot of people realize that.

“Being involved is the most important thing,” she said.

Russell, a senior CCPA major and admitted political-news junkie, has worked as head research assistant for Schill and Kirk during the debates. She also answered the call to get involved in what she called a “remarkable experience.”

She, too, found it important for young people to get out to the polls, after making up their own minds.

“Politics is not a place for peer pressure,” she said. Instead, “The election gives young people the opportunity to make decisions for themselves.”

More than anything, Russell said, “Its important that you vote – volunteering and getting involved is great, but bottom line, just vote and make that the priority.”

Final Presidential Debate Brings Out More Students

October 16, 2008 by · Comments Off 

By Austin Reed

The SMU Forensics program ended its fourth and final presidential debate-watching session with a bang as students gathered for what was considered by many to be the most intense debate of the election season.

Despite a claim by SMU Forensics assistant director Chris Salinas that Thursday’s debate was statistically the “least hyped, least viewed” debate, more than 60 students were in attendance at the O’Donnell Lecture and Recital Hall, making it the most attended watch party of the series.

Following the televised debate, an overwhelming majority of the students agreed that Republican candidate Sen. John McCain delivered his finest debate performance yet. Students who stayed through the group discussion gave him 27 votes as opposed to 11 votes for Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama.

“McCain seemed much more genuine, more so than any other debate he’s been in,” said freshman Alex Ehmke, a member of the newly created SMU Debate team. “He finally connected with America and he understands what it is like for American families struggling today.”

Ehmke also pointed out that Obama seemed to be extremely hesitant and on the defensive during much of the final debate, an opinion expressed by many of the students in attendance, — Independents and Democrats included.

“If you pay close attention, you realize that what [Obama] is saying has no promises. He may have eloquent speeches, but no real substances. McCain really made that clear tonight,” Ehmke said.

Over the course of the three presidential debates (and the only vice-presidential debate between Democrat Sen. Joe Biden and Republican Gov. Sarah Palin), SMU crowds have been consistent in giving the edge to McCain.

According to Dr. Ben Voth, the SMU Director of Forensics, Obama failed to receive more than 15 votes during any of the three debate-watching parties, while McCain usually received 35-45 votes. Only the vice-presidential debate offered any substantial minority support, with Palin winning by a slightly narrower margin of 35-25 votes.

So how is it that the SMU polls differ so drastically from much of the mainstream media polls, many of which claim that the Democrats won all four events?

“It’s a very interesting question,” said Dr. Voth. “College students in general are not as conservative as other demographics can be, but SMU remains an anomaly.”

Dr. Voth attributed this to a number of circumstances, not the least of which being the generally conservative stance of the Highland Park area of Dallas.

“Often I’ve noticed many more Obama supporters at these events than the numbers will have you believe, but they’re usually sitting silently in the forum,” said Dr. Voth. “I think intimidation can play a key factor here, especially with the high number of CCPA students in attendance, many of whom are conservative.”

Voth pointed out a similar experience in 2004 when he was giving a lecture to journalism students in Ohio on ‘Conservative Speaking’, only to discover that nearly every essay they had written in advance was in heavy support of former Democratic candidate John Kerry, compromising his lecture altogether.

“It’s a shame when the minority doesn’t take more of a stand at these events,” said Dr.Voth. “I think that people in leadership positions need to be able to respond to real differences of opinion, and it’s hard to make sense of that when there is no diversity of opinion to begin with.”

Julian Brazier: An English View of Abraham Lincoln

September 26, 2008 by · Comments Off 

By Amanda Mervine

Julian Brazier, a member of Parliament, talked to students about the British view of the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln at a guest lecture Thursday at the Meadows Museum.

Brazier, part of the Conservative party who represents the city of Canterbury, opened with a few witty comments before diving straight into the similarities and history the United States shares with Britain.

“We share much more than economics, the same language and the same legal system,” he said. “We share freedom, respect and rule of law.”

During a lecture sponsored by SMU’s Division of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs (CCPA), Brazier touched on the topics of the British Civil War, slavery, the English Reformation, American colonization, the American Revolution, the American Civil War, World War I, Winston Churchill and World War II.

“I thought it was extremely interesting learning about the history of British-U.S. relations and how it’s impacted our relationship with them today,” senior Will Cooper said.

Brazier, however, spent a majority of his speech on Abraham Lincoln, the American Civil war and how Britain viewed both the Union and the Confederacy.

Brazier argued that the U.S. was a country divided from the moment settlers arrived in Jamestown, Va., in 1607.

“From the beginning the American colonies were forming two religions, not one,” Brazier said, referring to the Puritans of Jamestown and the Catholics of Maryland.

He then discussed the American Revolution and the role slavery had in causing a constant national divide.

Brazier talked about the time right before the Civil War, discussing the anti-slavery stance of the North and the pro-slavery stance of the South.

“Abraham Lincoln was born into a country divided amongst itself,” said Brazier, referring to the growing tensions between the North and South even before Lincoln took up politics.

When Lincoln became president, Brazier said, Britain supported him because of his good reputation and his stance on issues like slavery.

“Britain was ready to back Lincoln,” he said.

He went on to describe how relations between the two countries weakened during the war but were eventually revitalized with Lincoln’s decision to sign the Emancipation Proclamation.

As Brazier’s speech ended the audience let out a loud applause, which filled the Dr. Bob Smith Auditorium in the Meadows Museum.

Following his speech was a question and answer session, which allowed the audience to hear Brazier’s more personal take on the U.S. and Britain’s long history.

“His speech gave me a very informative and fascinating opinion of a British citizens view on Lincoln and his efforts in the Civil War,” junior Lacy Radcliff said.