Whatever it takes.

Image result for metro world child

Metro World Child is an international, faith-based humanitarian organization dedicated to serving inner-city children throughout New York City and various urban centres around the world. As their slogan indicates, Metro World Child seeks on a daily basis to provide hope that promises to sustain a concrete future for boys and girls growing up in the roughest circumstances and environments.

Through weekly Sunday school services, child sponsorships, special programs and personal home visits, staff and volunteers from around the world endeavour to do as much as they can to support disadvantaged children and their families.

Having had the privilege to witness first-hand the hard working dedicated nature of team members in New York City headquarters it is no exaggeration that they work tirelessly with maximum determination to do “whatever it takes” to reach as many children and their families as they can.

Every semester a team of 40+ interns arrive in Brooklyn to volunteer alongside the devoted staff members.

It is through this “Sidewalk Sunday School” internship programme that I got to experience what ‘real life’ for the majority of inhabitants in New York City is like and not the glamourous, over commercialised, deeply coveted “city of dreams” that the media convinces us it to be.

Yes, Manhattan is all kinds of wonderful in its own way – but I was most shocked to find that within the five boroughs of New York City, it is a very small part.

Of course, it could be argued that media producers wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t highlight and enhance the best parts of the city and add their personal touches of creative flair to produce the perfect movie scene or the most eye-catching advertisement. But it did sadden me to learn from personally talking with children who lived in New York’s public housing apartments, there are kids living within New York City, that have never stepped foot in Times Square or Central Park.

From their tiny, cramped, bed bug ridden, weed-infused housing project apartment, it’s understandable that the children living there can’t appreciate that there is more outside the unpleasant environment that surrounds them daily. For many, their future is expected to be a snowball of their parent’s bleak reality; unless there is someone who will choose to encourage them to look past their present circumstances and see the potential they have within themselves in a city where anything is possible.

The Why

It is nearly 60 years ago now when a young boy sat on a street corner for three days and three nights waiting for his mum to return. Time passed and no one took any notice of him until a Christian man whose own son was suffering in hospital decided he would make it his concern to see if there was anything he could do to help, he brought the young boy home, prepared him food and paid for him to be sent to a Sunday school camp. It is from that point this young boy – known today as Pastor Bill Wilson – the founder of Metro World Child – came to know Christ – and today makes it his mission to ensure “whatever it takes” is done to meet the needs of underprivileged children around the world.

With 174,282 families living in NYC’s public housing apartments (NYCHA, 2017) you can imagine the overwhelming task of ensuring that every child has the opportunity to attend Metro’s Sunday school programme. Through this after-school kid’s programme (known as “Yogi Bear” to the locals) the children are taught valuable life morals and precious truths centred on God’s Word, the Bible. For many kids their day is filled with yelling, neglect, tears and hurt so to have the opportunity once or twice a week through the outdoor programme or door-to-door visitation of offering a hug, smile, word of encouragement or “I love you!” to these kids who feel so much rejection on a daily basis, you can imagine the joy it brings to their little faces.

Based on the principle that “It is easier to build strong boys and girls than to repair broken men and women” Metro has developed an effective method for building relationships with children and their families in order to be a consistent source of hope and positive influence in their lives.

I am SO thankful to have had the privilege of serving alongside the people that make Metro World Child what it is today and I am so thankful for the goodness and faithfulness of God that I experienced during my time there.

I have no doubt that this ministry will continue to grow under the guidance of leadership who have a desire to serve God and the people of New York wholeheartedly.  I pray that God will continue to bless the efforts of His people in this place so that they can be as effective as possible in reaching the next generation of New York City for Christ.

You can learn more about Metro World Child here: Metro World Child

Rachel Henry is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Linkedin at: Rachel Henry

 

Putting the PR in Pregnancy

What do you do to boost your image and get people to talk about you? Create news. And this is exactly what the Kardashian/Jenner PR machine is talented at.

You don’t have to like them, but on some level, you have to admire what this PR savvy family has done with our obsession with fame – accurately assessing it, exploiting it and profited significantly by it.

Nothing is unplanned when it comes to their publicity – the strategically leaked stories and careful management of the not-so-staged Snapchat or Insta story. When your product is the life you lead, then you have to keep it interesting, even if that means celebrity feuds, divorce and unclarified rumours – which leads us to the spectacular PR strategy behind Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy reveal.

AG11

In late September initial word of the pregnancy broke and sent the world into a wild frenzy. We waited with baited breath for Jenner to give us some sort of sign or drop a hint to validate the news – but nothing. Months went by with Momager Kris Jenner neither confirming or denying the news and the other sisters remained surprisingly tight lipped, with Kylie remaining remarkably coy – or is it koy? Finally, on 4th February, just hours before the Super Bowl and after months of speculation regarding her pregnancy, Kylie finally broke the silence and confirmed the existence of her pregnancy and the birth of her baby girl.

The family are the epitome of an efficient PR machine, with Kylie’s pregnancy demonstrating how less is more to keep the public guessing and follower numbers growing and how a firm grip on the latest and best ways to exploit social media platforms is vital.

AG12

Jenner released a statement on her Instagram, justifying the months of silence which had led to fostered intrigue and sustained attention on the Kardashian/Jenner clan for almost a year. By neither confirming or denying the pregnancy, Kylie smartly let people to build conversations and propose ideas of their own and so we became so invested in the details that we waited for news, which was in this case – a baby.

AG10

A true testament to the power of good PR.

Mallory Blair, the cofounder and CEO of Small Talk PR, stated “announcing hours before Super Bowl stokes vitality,” she writes, pointing to the crowd mentality of such an event and the likeliness that those gathered together will discuss current events. “It also creates brand alignment with a major, national cultural moment.”

Speaking as a PR professional, Mallory expects that Kylie’s next steps will reflect the same careful strategy. “I’d guess that she’ll parse out the remaining assets as exclusives which will continue to get her leverage in how her story is shared and which of those stories receive the most attention,” she said. “For example, offering the first official baby photo or her first Q&A verses a first broadcast interview are all things that can be used to set the terms of what is and is not shared as a condition of the exclusive”.

Time alone will tell.

Amy Greer is a second year BSc CAM student at Ulster University. She can be found on Instagram: @amyagreer & LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/amygreerrr

 

UU School of Communication & Media Formal (1)

I don’t often abuse my role as editor of this blog, but after the best night I’ve had for months (literally), I couldn’t not post some pictures of our students at their formal last night.

There are far too many here with me in them, but I’ll post again in the next day or two with more (and more varied) shots from other students.

And because this selection is mostly posed shots, it doesn’t quite convey the whole atmosphere of the night!

 

Living Abroad; to Move or Not to Move?

I moved home last summer after spending 6 years away from Belfast. I spent over 3 years in London and another 2.5 years in China- yea, that’s right China. And I would recommend everyone to do it. If not China, at least get out of your comfort zone and work abroad for a few months. Ireland is a fantastic country but the experience of living abroad will enrich your perspectives of people, work and stresses. I understand not everyone can do it and honestly, it isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve been seriously thinking about it, then this listicle is for you. So without further delay, here are my top tips for living abroad:

  1. Just do it.

Nike had some sense with this line. Just go for it. This is the biggest challenge of moving away and is the hurdle that most people fall at. Living in another country, let alone a completely different culture is scary but you have to just trust me on this one, the benefits out-weigh any negatives you have. Now go, book your one way flight!

Image may contain: mountain, outdoor, nature and water

  1. Learn the language

This is my biggest regret. I have mediocre Mandarin, or as the Laowai (foreigners) in Shanghai call it; taxi Chinese. I know how to order a cold beer or ask for someone’s name but if I had a HSK2, it would do wonders for my career prospects. Whether you did GCSE Spanish or French, take some lessons before you go and while you’re there. Not only will it help you after you leave that country, it’ll also stop any confusion when you say ‘horse’ instead of asking a question- very easily done in Chinese.

No automatic alt text available.

  1. Find a club

I don’t mean party-til-6am club, even though they are great, I mean a sport’s club or knitting group or a ‘I love my Cat’ group. Whatever tickles your fancy! I joined the Shanghai GAA club and I met fellow Irish expats plus people from all around the world and locals. It was a great place for me to meet friends and help me find my feet. I recommend you do it as well. Having work friends is nice but you need a life outside the office as well.

No automatic alt text available.

  1. Travel

This seems like a silly point given you’re in a new country, possibly continent; why would you not travel? But honestly, it is something you’re going to have to remind yourself to do every month. When work, leaving parties and birthday parties start to build up, you’ll find yourself in a position when you haven’t left the city in 5 months. Not only does that drive you up the city walls, it’s a wasted opportunity when you live in this brilliant new country.

Image may contain: people standing, mountain, sky, outdoor and nature

  1. Phone home

This is an iffy tip. Yes phone home, it’s nice for your parents to know you’re alive but also, don’t let it hold you back. Being homesick is awful and is something you’re going to have to deal with at least once. I didn’t get my first bout of homesickness until after 2 years in China. It can hit at any point, but don’t let it control your life and decisions. If you do get homesick, I’d suggest getting out of the house. Get your mates and go for a hike, go discover a new part of the city or book a weekend away. There’s nothing like exploring the country you live in to remind you why it’s so good to live there.

  1. You’ll get ‘those days’

And nicely leading on from homesickness, you will get days where you hate everything about that country. This is acutely different from homesickness- we called them ‘China Days’. Sometimes it’s the culture difference that gets you or the work culture, or the simple fact you can’t communicate that you want a Fanta, not an orange juice (see point 2). They start to kick in around the year mark, once you’re properly settled in and feeling at home. They’re normal. Just carry on, have a tea or beer, have a rant and then forget about it.

Image may contain: 7 people, people smiling, people standing, child, shorts, outdoor and nature

And that’s it. There are many more things I haven’t mentioned but I believe these are the main things to remember when you move away. And honestly, whether you’re thinking about doing a J1 this summer or moving to Singapore, do it. If you have any questions or want to talk about moving, shoot me a message.

Emma Catney is a MSc student in Communications, & PR with Advertising at Ulster University. Contact her on Twitter at @emma_catney

Blogger Brunchin & Insta Launchin’

Welcome to the ‘Blogosphere.’

The beauty of having a creative mind means that I am constantly daydreaming, sketching and thinking of new ideas (98.8% daydreaming about food).  Recently I have been thinking about life living in the ‘Blogosphere.’ No matter which city or countryside that you choose to visit, there will be an abundance of beauty, fashion, foodie and travel bloggers.  However, each Blogger has a unique story to share. If you wish to find out more about my recent blogging and PR adventures, then you have come to the right place.  I have also included my all-time favourite ‘blogger girls.’

In November (3 months ago, I know I’m a bit late) I was encouraged to attend the ‘NI Blogger Brunch’ in Babel, Belfast.  I could write a single blog post about Babel itself as the interiors are just so dreamy.  Marble coffee tables, bubble gum pink and forest green walls with a splash of 1950’s & 60s design- let’s not forget the foliage, did I mention the cacti? Babel really was the perfect setting for this event and I instantly fell in love with this gem of a rooftop bar (even before glancing at the cocktail menu).

AZ1

AZ4

 

Ok so, I may have just got majorly distracted by all things interiors, however it played a huge role in the success of the event.  As Student Ambassador for CIPR NI, attending the brunch enabled me to network with bloggers, online influencers and PR professionals.  It was surreal meeting bloggers that I follow on Instagram. In fact, I felt as if I knew everything about them before we engaged in conversation.  A little bit creepy, right?  This is the beauty of the ‘blogosphere.’ Over the last decade blogs have evolved from glorified online journals to much more personified accounts.  It is something that we should encourage, we often perfect our CV’s ‘on paper’ (Amber Davies eat your heart out) and forget about building our online portfolios.  Showcase your writing skills, upload that cute picture of your Doggo and share your passion with others.  You never know what positive leads will evolve from a well written blog post.  On a side note, can you guess why I chose to include this Instagram account? Basic.

AZ3

Aware NI- It’s ok not to be ok.

The fabulous Sinead Doyle from MCE Public Relations and previous Chair of CIPR NI opened the Brunch, providing insight to supporting charity ‘Aware NI.’  This amazing charity aims to support those with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders.  Many of the great workings include their support programmes which help to educate communities, schools, universities and the workplace. It is all too easy to feel disengaged from our social circles, feeling isolated online.  I believe that Instagram has advantageous frills however like all social media platforms it harbours bullying and negativity.  As someone who cares way too much of what the world thinks of her I have quickly recognised that I am not alone.  I used to care about those likes and comments to a point where I would question what I uploaded.  Now, I ask myself if I feel happy with the content that I am posting.  The bottom line, do not post for others as they cannot determine your happiness. Only you can.  Learning to be mindful and to relax has helped me immensely with my anxiety.  Take a step back and observe others, you might just gain much-needed inspiration!

AZ8

AZ9

An appetite for the ‘Digital Diet.’

Whilst I am trying not to type forever, I am a self-confessed Instagram addict and have no shame.  It is nice to know that your friends may worry about you if you haven’t posted in a while!  To some it may feel like I use Instagram every hour of my life, well you are not far wrong.  When I visit a small or local business, I feel an urge to share and promote their story online, especially if I feel connected to their brand/story. Sharing my experiences with others is something I value, we should inspire others through creative content. I pledged that I would spend less time on my phone this year (good joke Kathryn). It has been a challenge to say the least, especially when you are immersed and study in the world  of PR/Digital communication.

It is also important to note that not everyone will be your biggest cheerleader along the way, so keep it real. If you are honest what is there to fault? You cannot be someone who you are not, people are not so slow in this digital age.  One valuable piece of advice that I gained from the Blogger Brunch was to post what you want, when you want, do not be put off by negative judgement.  So, what if your post does not reach 150 likes or you have not hit the 1k follower mark?  If you post a photograph that you feel good about then let that be your success.  If posting boosts your confidence, then do it.  The basic algorithm behind a successful Instagram is authenticity, interesting content and engagement.

Taking inspiration from this funky lady.  A groovy gran with style that would put your own wardrobe to shame!  ‘Baddiewinkle’ rose to fame after her granddaughter created an Instagram account for her.  What can we conclude from this? Age has no limit. Do you really think ‘Baddie’ cares about the negative comments? Absolutely not. She’s living her best badass life with no shame!

AZ6

AZ7

Finally, for a nosey…

To round off this post I have picked out four special ladies that I feel I can relate to the most.  Each of their Instagram accounts are a true representation of just how lovely they are.  First up we have Niamh Serena.  I am proud to call Niamh a friend and what she has achieved so far is amazing, recently collaborating with ‘Pretty Little Thing.’ For fabulous fashion and outfit inspiration take a peek at ‘Niamhserena.’ For all things lifestyle, blooms, family life and fashion follow Anna (‘blossomingbirds’).  This girl has the most amazing interiors and collection of Emma Bridgewater mugs (an obsession of mine) I just love how humble Anna is.   She fosters an incredible work ethic combined with family life but is never afraid to voice the blips along the way.  Last but certainly not least twins Lucy and Zoe (‘allthingsbeautifullymade’ & ‘alittlebitoflife’). These ladies are incredible.  Once you visit their blogs you will understand how brave, courageous and beautiful they are.  With every story that they post I feel inspired and empowered.

If you would like to check out some of latest illustrations, fashion posts and travel adventures then hit me up at ‘the_fashion_fairypr.’

AZ2

Warning: may contain the occasional photograph of the Eiffel Tour.

Love,

K x

Kathryn Bigger is a third year student on the BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations at Ulster University. She is currently undertaking her placement year at Marks Design Collective. Kathryn can be contacted on: Instagram – the_fashion_fairypr / Twitter – @KatieB_05 / LinkedIn- Kathryn Bigger.

 

Choose PR

Before heading back to uni in September I had to choose which modules I would like to undertake as part of my final year degree. The choice was between; Communication and Organisation or Critical Perspectives of PR. Being a Communication, Advertising and Marketing student made me think the communication module would go more in line with the title of my degree. However, aware of the fact that in previous years I found the communication modules to be lifeless and a bit ‘dull’, I opted for the PR module and quite frankly, I’m so glad I did.

If you had asked me at the beginning of the semester, ‘whats PR?’ I would have responded with some sort of amateur answer like ‘free advertising’. But with a little more milage under my belt it’s clear to say, that’s certainly not the case.

At the start of the semester I was a bit overwhelmed, the lectures seemed to be made up of a string of riddles and the weekly readings left my head in a ‘spin’ and I was starting to rethinking my choice of a module in PR. However, I found that, after the weekly seminar, if I re-read the reading, it all made a little bit more sense. Sometimes it just takes you to look twice at something to comprehend what it’s trying to say.

 

A14

As the weeks rolled in, the lectures and seminars left me with many questions and wondering what was actually said but, I started to realise that this was the aim and therefore got me thinking about what the lecture meant and forming my own opinions.

The more I came to terms with PR, the more I found the classes fulfilling. PR is endlessly interesting due to it’s highly creative nature. It allow you to express your own opinion about what you believe to be right and wrong. With creativity and writing being such fundamental players in PR; it’s so satisfying when you finally think you’ve ‘hit the nail on the head’ with a creative idea to fit the job at hand. With consumers responding to emotions more than sales pitches now more than ever before and storytelling being a vital component of PR today, how could it be boring?

Throughout the module I have realised the importance of PR in business. In order for businesses to compete, constant human interaction and communication are central functions.  We live in a world where it’s easier to criticise now more than ever, with social media and the internet we can ruin reputations with the click of a button. Failing to acknowledge PR can increase the risk of the public assuming the worst if something does go wrong and ultimately, destroying the reputation of the business. Having a PR employee will mean that you can combat these risks and divert public attention, saving the name of the business before things get out of hand. With consumers expectations on the rise along with ease of criticism, PR is an essential part of success today.

PR is a mix of everything and definitely not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ subject. PR involves writing, pitching, researching and strategising which means you’ll rarely be doing the same thing for too long. Being such a broad subject helps to keep up the momentum and excitement, keeping you on your toes. One minute you’re writing a press release and the next working on promoting a product; so being able to adapt quickly is a must! Being such a fast-paced industry that is constantly changing and evolving, it’s great for those who like a variety and get bored easily.

A15

PR is an excellent skill to have and in many ways is totally invaluable. The world is not decreasing in problems anytime soon, only increasing so there will never be a shortage of PR jobs. It’s true that people usually do not get employed solely based on what they have learnt, but often on what it is they can add to the future of a company and PR gives you the ability to add value to any business.

Jessica Patterson is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @JessPatterson16 / LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-patterson-79a755113/

FOOTBALL VS PUBLIC RELATIONS Volume 1: Part I

FOOTBALL VS PUBLIC RELATIONS Volume 1: Part I

FOOTBALL VS PUBLIC RELATIONS

Volume 1: Part I

How are football and Public Relations Similar?

One thing that I’ve always enjoyed since I was a young boy was football. I loved watching football, I loved playing football, and I even collected trading cards. I have enough jerseys to wear a different one each day for a month. It is one of my greatest passions and not for one moment did I ever stop and think about how it could relate to my course until recently. Since starting the Advanced Public Relations module this semester, I have grown to realise how much the two have in common.

Think I’m crazy? Well let me explain. In football it doesn’t matter how good you are, you’re always going to need help from team mates. You need to listen to each other and communicate effectively to carry out the tactics put in place. Everyone has a job to do and it is their responsibility to do it the best of their ability. If not they run the risk of letting the whole team down. This is the exact same for someone working in PR, you are part of a team and you need to work together and use your communication skills to carry out the strategy which was created to make the campaign as successful as possible. This goes for whatever role you were assigned, whether you are analysing the situation, carrying out research or putting a video together.

Still not convinced? Maybe this point will change your mind. In a recent lecture I was told that there is no one right way to create a successful PR campaign and that different people will use different models depending on what they feel comfortable with. Football is no different. When a manager is setting up his team there are a variety of different formations and different play styles that they could use. The manager will obviously have one he is familiar with but may have to change it to something which best suits the squad of players he has at his disposal or the team they are facing. If you go on to a career in PR you may have to adapt, because you never know what is going to happen in the future. Something that worked for you once may not work the next time, so you’re going to have to find a way around this.

 

I’ll give you one more point so you definitely see where I’m coming from. When creating a PR campaign one of the first things you ask yourself is “What do I want to achieve from this?”. Objectives are a very important aspect in everything as it provides you with motivation and gives you the opportunity to look back and see how successful you have been. You will always have objectives, both for the campaign and personally. These may be to improve your own skills as no one is perfect and there’s always room to grow. Football teams also have objectives they aim for across a season in order for them to consider it a success, but each individual player will also want to continuously improve to be the best they can be in their position.

Hopefully by this stage you can see how there are similarities between football and PR and I have only scratched the surface, there are many more ways in which they are similar, but I feel I have taken up enough of your time so this is where I’ll leave you.

Stay tuned for future posts and I hope you have a very nice day.

Joseph McAuley is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. He can be found on Twitter: @JosephMcAuley96 / Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joseph.mcauley.3