Career Review Presentation

After reading Leonard Mogel’s thorough novel on being successful in public relations and interviewing one of GSU’s own PR specialists, I have created a presentation that gives a brief overview of what PR professionals really do in the field.

To see my Prezi, click the following link:

The presentation gives a brief overview of typical jobs in public relations and the education required to enter the field. For more detailed information, explore my book review. For real-life information from a PR specialist here at GSU, check out my interview with LaTina Emerson.

I hope this presentation makes PR a bit easier to understand. Instead of getting caught up in Olivia Pope’s version of public relations, remember that PR professionals are communicators, just like us.



Gestural Annotation: Jones and LeBaron

This girl’s dance may not show a direct relationship between verbal and nonverbal communication, but she is the definition of “like.” She watched dancers on YouTube, and she modified her dancing style to dance like them. This gestural communication seems to be rooted in the “like” of human communication.

They didn’t teach her directly, but their bodies communicated with her.

Like the study described on page 514 of the journal, the audio of this video would be slightly difficult to interpret without seeing the accompanying gestures. In order to fully understand the relationship between verbal and nonverbal communication, we cannot separate them.


Oakley, Tyler. “Flirting in Sign Language (ft. Nyle DiMarco) | Tyler Oakley.” YouTube. YouTube, 2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

Fusion. “This Amazing Girl Mastered Dubstep Dancing by Just Using YouTube.” YouTube. YouTube, 25 Jan. 2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

Interview Summary

Getting a Start in Public Relations

Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with LaTina Emerson, one of Georgia State’s Public Relations Specialists. Ms. Emerson composes articles and press releases that pertain to significant scientific research at the University, and she promotes the scholarly work that professors are publishing.  Ms. Emerson’s career, though impressive, was accidental. As an undergrad, Emerson studied Psychology and Pre-Med, but instead of going straight to medical school, she decided to pursue a M.F.A. in Screenwriting at Boston University. After a short stint writing about business for a newspaper in Georgia, Emerson took a position at the Augusta Chronicle as a business reporter. The struggle of writing about business in the recession prompted her to look into other options: thus began her career in PR.

After working in media relations for the Colleges of Dental Medicine and Nursing at Augusta College, Emerson found herself missing the bustle of a bigger city and took her current position at Georgia State. She enjoys what she does here at GSU because it allows her to combine her interest in scientific research and her love of writing. She has published numerous articles and press releases for the University, but her favorite story so far is “America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic.” 

“It kind of took on a whole life of its own,” she reflects. The original story was supposed to focus on the work of GSU’s Dr. Eric Wright, but after researching the issue, Emerson discovered the inherent connection between prescription drug abuse and the heroin epidemic. “It just kind of snowballed into this bigger thing,” she remembers. This story, unlike other research articles that Emerson has published, allowed her to look outside of walls of Georgia State. The article features interviews with a former heroin and prescription drug user (now an addiction counselor), the founder and chief medical officer of the Atlanta Healing Center, and even a technical consultant to the Georgia Health Policy Center.

Rhetoric in Public Relations

As a writer, Emerson recognizes that audience awareness is crucial. “We always try to make sure that we’re reaching a general audience. . . I try to break down the language as much as possible.” Emerson writes research- and data-heavy articles for such a broad audience that it is crucial to make the content relatable and intriguing. In order to keep reporters and readers from glossing over the content, Emerson says “I have to make things understandable and interesting.”

In regards to the shift away from a linguistically dominated realm of composition, Emerson reflects on her own experience in working as a PR specialist. In recent months, GSU’s public relations department has been incorporating more videos and images into their stories and press releases. Emerson has experienced this firsthand; she’s learned through social  media that people like images and videos, but she’s hesitant to make a shift to a visually-dominant style of writing. She states that the writers and photographers/videographers are “. . . still trying to figure out what that balance [between visual and linguistic] is.”

Georgia State in the press

As we wrapped up the interview, Emerson showed me a few of pieces she has written that gained significant media presence. A number of her releases have done extremely well, including pieces on the history and implications of the Paleo Diet, food additives and their correlation to intestinal inflammation, and a release from a study promoting a four-day school week. These three releases have warranted impressive media coverage, and Ms. Emerson was kind enough to provide me with a list of the agencies that picked up each story. Media coverage for the Paleo Diet, food additives, and the four-day school week can be accessed below.

Media Coverage – Paleo Diet.docx

Media Coverage – Food Additive Study.docx

Media Coverage – Four-Day School Week (Mary Beth Walker)-3.docx

My interview with Ms. Emerson was intriguing and informational, and she provided me with a wealth of information on how public relations professionals operate in today’s ever-changing digital world. Her insight demonstrated how many opportunities are available for English majors, specifically those concentrating in Rhetoric and Composition.



Sonic Annotation: Stadler

Besides the visual implications of this video, listen closely to the lyrics and how they sound. Why did so many people take offense to this song? Beyoncé is celebrating black culture. Her voice is raw and unapologetic, and for a white audience that is accustomed to hearing her melodic voice, this version of Beyoncé’s music is provocative. Mainstream music is historically white, and Beyoncé tore that barrier down.

When looking at sound studies, human diversity must be discussed. Since I grew up in a relatively safe neighborhood (and honestly, since I’m white), I don’t feel fear when I hear police sirens.  The dichotomies that Stadler poses and identifies are not wholly unrealistic, as racial identity plays a large part in a person’s reaction to this sound. If we are to truly analyze the sonic branch of rhetoric, we must take demographics and personal experiences into context. Sound credit: goose278

When I think about the struggle between races, I hear a physical struggle with something. Racism is often thought of as an idea: an abstract thing that we can only fight through ideology. But racism, to those who experience it, is real and concrete. The study of sonic rhetoric has the chance to modify academic discourse because it allows us to look beyond the textual and visual elements of racism and examine inequality in other areas, such as radio and music. Sound credit: ScreenplayTheatre

The difference between hearing and listening is exemplified in this famous song by The Police. Many people listen to this song and hear a man talking about an ex-lover, but when actually listening, the song is quite sinister. This can sound especially sinister to anyone that has had experiences with stalking.


Sonic Annotations- Lipari


Lipari speaks on the philosophy of Levinas and how his ideas tend to “blur” the division between speech and ethics. When I think of this blur, I don’t imagine a foggy photo. I see a bend, but not one that is uniform. I don’t see a bend in the road or the bend in a bobby pin; rather, I hear a sound that bounces back and forth. Instead of bending once in one direction, the sound in this clip bends away from its original pitch multiple times.

We often underestimate the importance of listening. Remember when our elementary school teachers told us to “put our listening ears on?” Why do we treat listening as something that has to be chosen, rather than something that is a crucial component to basic communication? Listening is seen as the “other,” but it is essential. Sound credit: E330

Maybe one of the reasons we resist composing with sound is because it is harder to pin down. Writing is more straightforward, and even if something is written in a language that is foreign to the reader, there is most likely a translation in existence or someone that could translate the text. Sound is harder; we try so hard to illicit images with the sounds we create, but what about how sounds make us feel? Sound credit: Wadaltmon

Listening is multimodal activity. We don’t simply listen with our ears, we listen with our minds and our feelings. It’s rare that we passively listen to music; i.e., why are there mood playlists on Spotify? Music and sound don’t just rift through our ears. We feel them, and we respond accordingly. As Lipari notes, we are embodied beings that can experience sound as a part of the face’s existence. Sound credit: ShadyDave

How do we explain the revelation of speech and the face? After reading the first paragraph of the section “Speech and Voice,” I immediately thought of my last trip to the beach. It was not a static event. It felt almost like a revelation because it took much more than my sight to experience the beach. I saw the people and the sand, I felt the sun, and I heard the waves and the seagulls. Even listening to ocean waves now can reduce my stress, because the sound alone is enough to transport me to the coast. I have built an “other” identity for the beach through its sounds. Sound credit: John Sipos

“At the same time, the silence of the face points to the unsaid and unsayable—it reminds us of the ineffable inexhaustible infinity of the saying” (Lipari). This “unsaid and unsayable” resonated with me because it speaks to gesture and sound. When I swam, I would take a minute after every practice and just sit underwater to listen to the sound of it. After a grueling practice, I had nothing to say, so I let my face remain silent and listened to what the water had to say. Sound credit: yossarian

Lipari speaks on the difference between hearing and listening, and this sound clip can be used as an example of that difference. If we simply hear the recording, we hear a man talking about wire tapping. But, if we listen, we can hear the almost sarcasm in his voice, and the discontent when he says “I didn’t like the implications of that.” As Lipari states, listening allows a sound to “resonate.” Sound credit: uair01

All sound clips were taken from freesound and are licensed under Creative Commons.