Name of Professional: Sarah Melton

Profession/Title: Director of Basketball Communications

Business/Company Name: Dallas Mavericks

Date of Interview: 13 October, 2017

Interview Assessment #4

My fourth interview was beneficial in that it provided me a view of my topic through the lens of human interaction and relationship building rather than strategy and technological mass communication. Ms. Melton’s job entails working primarily with Mavericks players- managing their activity on social media, working with them in crisis management, and doing publicity for them. However, she also manages the press on court at Mavericks games and works with ticket sales, event coordinating, other “game day” related happenings. This surprised me, as I had not previously pictured public relations as being so focused on direct human interaction. However, I learned from this interview that PR can vary, and that jobs in the department look different for each company that employs it. This interview made me believe that working with a PR professional like this, and getting experience forming media relations and working directly on publicity with individuals or teams, may be beneficial and push me even more outside of my comfort zone.

From Ms. Melton, I learned that public relations specialists are often the first people contacted when there is a crisis or conflict. A big aspect of PR is crisis management, a bigger part than I had previously assumed. From social media conflicts and negative rumors to player injuries, PR specialists are in charge of knowing what’s happening at all times, finding out details about the event and the next step, and communicating them to the media and therefore the public as soon as possible. Ms. Melton cited this—the constant busyness and nonstop work—as the most difficult aspect of working in PR. However, another valuable lesson comes out of this difficulty; finding balance in one’s life is just as important as the actual work is. Ms. Melton was quite passionate about the importance of finding time to take a step back from work, destress, and spend time with friends and loved ones doing activities you enjoy. This lesson will be applicable in any job that I end up in, and I will do my best to remember it in the midst of a whirlwind of work.

PR specialists have to be on top of everything happening at all times. As we advance into the future, communication only gets faster and faster, and a story from yesterday is old news. This puts a significant time constraint on PR specialists, as the time frame for writing and releasing press releases, statements from the company about a particular event in a game (in the case of the Mavericks), and other writings is only getting shorter and shorter. Thus, PR specialists have to be efficient communicators, succinct and to the point in writing while still conveying a clear and detailed message to the audience. This made me consider practicing my PR writing skills, as I am not as familiar with the type of material that PR professionals work with, how it should be formatted, or what kind of information it should contain.

After my interview with Ms. Melton, I feel as though I have a better grasp of the diversity that can exist within public relations; public relations is a huge industry that encompasses a wide span of jobs, and I am excited to learn more about each of them in the future.