PR, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

PR the bulletproof vest for the rich and famous, the lying politicians key to the white house, the reason we help others.

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Why is it whenever you mention PR, people automatically think of all the negatives behind the word? The bad that has come about because of it? The rich and famous pay a large team of PR Practitioners to protect them from the public eye. People like Harvey Weinstein have been protected, even after the monstrous things he has done. Companies like BP have been hiding in the shadows for years and then one day, like Harvey, things got out of control and stories were let out and reputations were destroyed. Tony Hayward would like his “life Back” after destroying the environment with his “little Oil Spill” and after saying things like that I don’t think we should let him have it back.

And I wont even go into the “bad and ugly” things we see in politics because we’d be here all day. But not all PR practitioners do these, what are seen as ‘immoral’, things. PR can be seen like people you have the good guy and the bad guy. Batman and The Joker. But what the good guy does surly out weighs all the things done by the bad guys?

Charities all work with a PR team to persuade people into donating, volunteering, helping. But then why is there such a negative view on persuasion by a PR practitioner. Propaganda is a word that usually comes hand in hand with PR but what is done isn’t lies or manipulation most of the time PR shows the public what is truly happening.

Those God-awful advertisements we see on TV about drink driving  and speeding are hard hitting but it shows the truth behind what happens when you get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or if you break the speed limit. Its not lies or propaganda it’s the truth. Choosing to use such gruesome and traumatic visuals could have had a very negative effect, but the opposite happened as it scared many out of the notion… well we still have the odd idiot that will get behind the wheel… Here we can see a PR team using unusual (at the time) tactics to make an impact on the public in Northern Ireland.

Another campaign that has been a huge success for the past 33 years has been Band Aid. Every Christmas this single raises over £2 Million for famine relief per year. I’m sure that you are all sick of Christmas songs by now but this, I feel, is a great example of PR at its best. The song, written by Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats and Midge Ure of Ultravox, has been a huge success and a very strategic way to raise money. The song has been released a few more times by more current artists, the most recent one included artists such as, One direction, Paloma Faith, and Ed Sheeran. This campaign raises money every year and therefore is a huge success in my books. This is another example of the good PR does. So why are there so many negative connotations with regards to PR?

PR is an extremely important aspect of all major charities and without it many audiences wouldn’t be reached. So all in all I feel the good most defiantly outweighs the bad. Who cares if the spin doctors are meeting in dark alleyways, or if we are being persuaded to donate to Dogs Trust. Shouldn’t we be doing our bit anyway?

Tierna Garvin is a final year student on the BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: and on LinkedIn: 


Students: we have it all… Right?

Yes, we get our student loan and many of us don’t take life too seriously as we enjoy our final years without major responsibility. My aunt will often ask me how I do it; concert here, night out there… a little trip to Barcelona. But that was last year and the year before… this year I don’t even remember what a night out is! But there is a dark side behind all the fun you see on Snapchat and Instagram. We make it seem that we are living the dream but when we sit stop for five minutes and think about our future, or lack thereof, that’s when panic sets in.

University is a scary place filled with people who are supposed to be ‘grown ups’. Well, I can tell you the majority of us here are far from grownups and many of us don’t even know how to ‘adult’ yet.


After fourteen years of school where we were looked after by our parents, our teachers and all other staff at the school, we are now expected to make huge life changing decisions about what we want, where we want to go, and who we are. I can’t even decide what I want out of the Chinese on a Friday night.

In our fast-paced society are we asking too much of ourselves? Are we putting unnecessary pressures on ourselves? I think so. The pressures are there and too much is expected of us. I understand that our parents only want to see us succeed but does success come at the cost of our mental wellbeing?

Real statistics about Student life and Adulting


People say that pressure makes a diamond, well I’m sure many of us don’t feel shiny and new especially when you have five deadlines coming up to Christmas, a list of Christmas shopping to be done, a job to hold down and not to mention the private individual problems people are dealing with on top of this. We are the generation with the world in our hands, literally, information is so easy to access and it’s instant. Does that leave us expecting instant results ourselves?

Times are constantly changing, it’s not enough now to just get married and have kids, or just have a successful career, you are expected to have it all. But at 22 years of age that seems extremely unachievable. When you look at those who came before us, who have the family and the career, it looked so easy but in fact it’s one of the hardest things we go through in life. Many come to university for the experience, and what a great one it is… In first and second year but final year is something I personally (like many others) was not prepared for.

Sitting up until two in the morning to finish coursework is not something that benefits any one. It doesn’t benefit you, nor does it benefit your lecturer who must try to make sense of the mush you spent all night typing up. My advice is, spread things out and manage your time. (That’s easy for me to say, I haven’t even taken my own advice)

The pressures put on us are far too much, but there’s no point whining about it you just have to power through and get it done. So, take the extra time to look after yourself, have a bath, go for a walk because sitting at your laptop for two days straight with the same pyjamas on is not only unhygienic but its not a look many of us can pull off.

Relax students. We’ve got this.

Tierna Garvin is a final year student on the BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @MissTierna and on LinkedIn: 

Gin Makes you Sin

I have always been a Gin drinker and no more than four years ago when I told people I was drinking Gin, they would turn up their nose and I would get chorus of “yuck’s” and “how do you drink that stuff”. So how has a drink that was once considered a drink for ‘older’ people or ‘posh’ people become so popular in today’s society? Where has the sudden craze for Gin come from? Was this an opportunity seized or is it just Gin’s turn in the limelight?Image result for Gin makes you sin

Gin was created accidentally when the British tried to copy the Dutch spirit Genever. This ‘accident’ has definitely worked in the favour of the British. The Gin craze was ripe from the 1600’s right through to the 1900’s. Then the spirit that was once seen as ‘fashionable’ and ‘elite’ became ‘unfashionable’ and ‘boring’ as many didn’t want to mess with the original recipe. Gin used to be one of London’s most valued export and then, overnight, it wasn’t.

There were never any offers on Gin so to go out I was spending a fortune while others were spending far less because the ‘beloved Vodka’ was always on offer- Vodka red bull £3, Vodka Slushy £3. Were as for a G&T you would pay nearly £6. But now due to the development of cocktails the reputation of Gin has been restored! Does this mean that other spirits will soon plummet due to the rise of Gin?

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The recipe for Gin has been enhanced as berries and elderflower are being added to the refreshing spirit for more flavour. New Gin innovations are constantly being made and I personally would like to thank all the brains behind it all. We have Gin, Pink Gin, Gin Cocktails, Gin Bars, Gin advent calendars and even Christmas decorations filled with GIN! As the ‘Gin Revolution’ comes about you have to wonder how did Gin become so popular? Have the ‘Hipsters’ of the world influenced us? Or am I just a trend setter? Doing my Christmas shopping I am exposed to all these new ideas, but I have to ask, do we really need them or is it just another way to make us spend more this year? There are even Christmas jumpers with ‘Gin-gle Bells’ written on them. And dont get me started on Gin menus and Gin bars (The Gin Palace is a must go for any Gin fan) Even Thomas Shelby is now making Gin.
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According to the guardian over the last year Britain has exported enough Gin to account for approximately 1.7 Billion Gin and Tonics. That would be one hell of a Christmas party. Not only has the spirit itself been enhanced in a vast amount of ways but how we drink it has too. Gin glasses (or Goblets as I call them because they are HUGE) are now on sale in every major retail store I have stepped foot in. You can also buy Gin and Tonic scented candles, greeting cards that I have personally received and every time I go on Facebook there’s another Gin recipe that I have to make and try. I think I even spied a recipe for Gin and Tonic cheesecake… Now I love my gin… But in a glass.

These innovative ideas make for great stocking fillers and someone is definitely pocketing some profit due to it. The Gin craze is really just that, a craze and we will all be obsessing over something new this time next year. I’m just glad that for now I can buy my gin for less.

Tierna Garvin is a final year student on the BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter> and on LinkedIn>