An Unexpected Journey Into PR History

This book review is more than a decade too late. Published in 2002, Leonard Mogel’s Making It In Public Relations: An Insider’s Guide to Career Opportunities seemed to scream outdated, already overdue as I pulled it off the library shelf in 2017. Looking at the cover didn’t help its case, either. It has that classic 2000s look of modern, cutting edge word processor graphic feel with a teal cover with a fade in brown banner across the bottom of the cover. The summary on the back cover detail the highlights of the textbook: “Profiles of the ten largest public relations firms, An insider’s look at a small PR firm, A study of corporate communications at the Bank of America, Discussion of public relations for diverse organizations.”

Interestingly, the back cover wasn’t exactly wrong,

even to an audience from the future.

I have to be honest with you all: My gut was wrong when I took the book off the library shelf. I was wrong when I thought this book would be a waste of time. I have to give past me some credit, though. Think back to 2002, if you can  (I’m painfully aware that there is a chance that someone could be reading this article without having the likelihood of even remembering 2002) or are willing to (I’m pretty sure the early 2000’s are is a collection of cringe-worthy decisions for most participants in American Culture). I think we can agree that it was a very different cultural time from what we experience today. Fast-culture was the staple of the early 2000’s with a penchant for trends, yet those trends didn’t have the fast-track options of today. The hashtag was still a pound button in 2002, and was practically irrelevant. Liking something wasn’t a declaration, though be sure that we knew what things were So Hot. Social media was years away from being anything akin to today’s efficient machine. The internet was still restricted to flash and java levels of development, and the closest thing we had to social media was anonymous chat-rooms with the constant demands of ASL?

Anyone else remember the Palm Pilot boom? Key early 2000’s technology:isolated in purpose and device,increasing the difficulty of literally keeping it all together.

The early 2000s is a big deal to reading this book today. In reflection, this is the era of technological limbo. As American Culture had growing pains and changes, the technological industry had to fine tune its vision and purpose. The population was divided between the need for faster, more efficient communication literacies (think texting, emailing, and IMing) and classical modes of communication (phone calls, mailing–including the fax). Text Talk was considered a fad, but what if it was the beginning of what we know in modern communication today– emojis, hashtags, social media campaigns. At some point, our culture committed to the technological realm of community. The Early 2000’s are an era of Technological Limbo, and how we defined communication in that time shapes the ways we use the internet today as business entities and consumers.


As I wrap up my flashback, I want to make it clear

that this book does not have the original intent

of addressing Early 2000’s American Culture.

This lens is merely a mode in which I found the book a helpful guide into today’s Public Relations market and practices (I also had immense pleasure in the compare and contrast reading experience it lends).

This book was clearly intended to be able to stand on its own as a resource textbook, with the option of supplementary material for a deeper understanding of the book’s references to top companies and anecdotes. However, by now, this book has transformed into a supplementary text. The “Top Agencies” list is sorely outdated with it’s cataloged numbers and what companies are considered heavy hitter clients (AOL, anyone?), but the conclusions of this section are what matters when reading the text. It still holds true that Ad Agencies and Public Relations Agencies compete for the same type of employees, and that Public Relations Agencies are still making a lot of attractive offers to pull top candidates with broad skill sets into the field. The section on small firms fits the theme–it’s small. The chapter does well to make it clear that small businesses have a hard time making their stake competitive. This clear preference of large,sprawling corporate businesses is, I believe, indicative of the time. In today’s market, small businesses have an allure of exclusivity and contributing to the local economy. In fact, companies like Google, MailChimp, and Costco aim to have the environment (and therefore some identity) of a small business. Businesses don’t necessarily depend on their accounts and capital gain to prove themselves in today’s market. Now that international communications are eased and the movement for better community and business relations are considered, businesses are defining themselves in more interesting ways.

Overall, this book is an informative and interesting read if you already have established knowledge on the topic and time period (otherwise you’ll miss the chance to chuckle to yourself as the book marks its age with quips like “Coffee is hotter than ever”). This is an informative read because the main morals of the book are still valuable. There is still a need in the PR market for creative, collaborative, and network-savvy employees. Public Relations also holds a lot of the same potential job requirements the book lists, albeit with some technological upgrades:

Media Relations

Employee Communication/Relations



Issue Management

Reputation/Representation Management

Strategic Corporate PR and Integrated Communications

Financial PR

Entertainment/Personal PR

Crisis Management

Healthcare Marketing/ Communication

This list is comprised from the book, and you can imagine how the internet and fast media culture has complicated these responsibilities. With the average consumer entertaining modern research practices (with a tool they keep in their pockets, no less), client and product representation is incredibly important to maintain. Many PR professionals dedicate much of their time considering web presence and representation within their solutions for their clients. In today’s world, there’s a higher chance of communicating with a bigger audience via the internet. There’s a considerable movement to “cut the cord” with cable, which drastically reduces the impact of television ads, while there is a technological siren song pulling readers away from traditional print media, too. The traditional Ad spaces are becoming ineffective, and the opportunities to express yourself cheaply on the internet are growing.

The world is different today, and so is this book. We don’t idolize banks and their revenue, anymore (maybe, in part, to the bail-out frenzy and recession).Similarly, we don’t value companies the same way socially. The decision to work for a company is not only weighed by the company’s importance and net worth. Instead, we go the web and see what the employees are saying. The company is the product we are wanting to buy into and work for, and as such we research the work environment, benefits, and what the company does with the community. Maybe this is spurred on by the availability of information, or maybe this prioritization of employee review is brought on because the recent professionals and graduates witnessed the culture of lay-offs as they were growing up. Regardless, we have changed and the book has not (understandably), but this holds a historical review of the field and still packs a morally meaningful punch.

Group Meeting (11-8-2016)

During this meeting, we edited poster design and discussed the plan to finish this project.


  1. Have all the information on the posters, ready to edit, by Thanksgiving Break (during this time the information will be organized into the pre-decided layout)
  2. During/Post Thanksgiving we will curate a packet prioritizing the following information:
    1. Login for Piktochart
    2. Information Regarding printing, including suggested locations for the posters
    3. A source guide in order to allow rotating themes– if they desire to do so– or to create information to prepare staff members for the potential questions/events that members may encounter.


  • I believe that our current progress is strong for the project, and I look forward to presenting the final product.

Pitch Presentation Reflection

We presented the very first– Not the first of the day or of our presentation type, but the first presentation period. Needless to say, it was nerve racking.

However, I have to say I really loved a lot of our presentation. We each did separate presentation pieces and pitches, but I feel that our presentation was smooth. The only thing I would change about our presentation is allowing more continuity in the PowerPoint style. Between the four of us, there was drastically different proficiency in PowerPoint design. Some slides were too wordy or had pictures that didn’t make the most efficient display of information.

However, it was clear that we really cared for this project and wanted to please the company and its residents. I enjoyed how we each remained friendly and informed– we know who was going to cover what information.

Unfortunately, we finished our presentation review without any concrete information for the end project. It seems that we did an overly good job, as they had no idea what to prioritize or what they needed at this point. Of course, they are discussing and deliberating their options and visions.

From the presentation, I actually gained inspiration for a project I really want to do for them– signage. It was a passing idea that really has picked up steam among our group, but we don’t want to pursue a project without approval.

Overall, I think this was a great way to communicate our project inspirations to our clients. It made me feel more personally involved in this project and more comfortable with our relationship to the client.


If needed, review my personal work log to see the details I focused on for the presentation.

Midterm Meeting Notes

Our House Project Q&A: With this section, I felt the most lost before this meeting. Every other group seems to have a very clear idea of what they’re doing– and actively working on those deliverables. I was worried that we may not have control over what we can do in a short time frame.

  1. “Our Client still has not responded with a direction for our deliverable, what should we do to facilitate this?”
    1. Have your email coordinator email them with suggestions of what you believe will help them the most with the feedback you have received. Suggested project topics: signage for the rooms and activity centers to remind residents of policies, ect; Recommendation Report compiling research into a efficiently organized booklet to help communicate needs and interests to commercial entities.

Potential Career Q&A: I have been reflecting on my enjoyment of our readings and projects and have decided to venture into this career field. However, I could not find any useful data or listings with job titles or requirements. 

  1. “What is this style of field called in help ads?”
    1. Content/Knowledge Manager
    2. Copy Writing (More Writing centered)
    3. Communication Design
    4. Public Relations
  2. “What can I do to prepare for that field?”
    1. Code Academy (CSS/ HTML)
    2. Linda
      1. Layout
      2. Design

This Week’s Expectations: Here, I just wanted to clarify what was expected to be turned in this week and how I can do it all. 

  1. Annotations 3&4: 10/12 Midnight
  2. Midterm Reflection/ Meeting Notes Thursday
  3. Presentation Reflection Post: Thursday
    1. What you  gave to the client
    2. Your presentation (ppt)
    3. Reflection on your project thus far.

Pitch Notes

Rhetorical Situation: Pitch

  1. Author
    • You
      • Professional
      • Informed
      • Interested, engaged with topic and audience
      • Responsive to feedback
      • Student (understood learning Curve)
  2. Purpose
    • Client Approval
    • Client Feedback/critique
    • Client expecatation clarification or confirmation
    • Building group cohesion
    • Sell your work/ideas
    • Learning to give presentations
    • Working through process with client
    • Learn to take critique effectively
  3. Audience
    • Clients
      • Non Profit Representatives
      • Audience for deliverable(s)
      • End Users
    • Dr. Wharton
    • Peers
  4. Arrangement
    • Slides
      • Each Presenter in the group has a max of 5 Minutes
      • No more than 30 seconds a slide
      • 5-10 (max) slides
      • Think about your message beyond written information
      • Could do a group-wide presentation
  5. Grading/Review Focus
    • Quality of Presentation Values
      • Deliverable
      • Visual
      • Vocal

RA 1&2 Take Away Class Assignment

RA 1 (Wicked Problems)

  1. interdisciplinary groups can create multifaceted studies and solutions for issues
  2. The definition of issues, priorities, and terms may change as more disciplines are introduced into the dialectic
  3. Sources can be difficult to maintain uniform ethos across disciplines, particularly in a time sensitive issue

RA2 ( Usability Testing)

  1. Different communication professions study and prioritize differently
  2. communication is a largely scientific endeavor
  3. Finding ways to integrate users into the perception of information delivered is key to creating effective material.

Primary Meeting 9-13-16

Project Topic: Best Practices of Safety for Shelter (Particularly in relation to the renovation of the Shelter)

  • Focus on the current and new practices for shelters/group care facilities.
  • Layout correlation to safety
  • Security concerns
  • Most activity is at night (most employees and when families are in the shelters)
  • Downtown; keeping privacy with window location,ect
  • Correlation of mental safety and surrounding environment
    • Could cause irritation, leading to potential aggression

Building Layout:

  • Floor One:
    • Sign in lobby with waiting area.
    • Direct entrance to stairs and to dining area
    • Child Care and Education Facility.
    • Storage and offices
  • Floor two:
    • 18 Rooms
      • One family each room
      • Lockable
      • Windows in each room
      • Closet space
      • Counter space
      • similar to old dorm style
    • Communal Bathrooms
      • similar to old dorm style, as well
      • showers, sinks, ect
      • separate room with tub for children
      • Communal living area
      • Couches
      • bright light
  • Shelter Staff Offices