Mentor: Leah Davies

Profession: Community Relations and Alumni Affairs Coordinator

Location: The Star

Date: January 2, 2018

Time: 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.


Mentor Visit Assessment #2

At my second mentor visit with Leah, our primary task was revising, editing, fact-checking, and proofreading my original work. For the whole hour, we meticulously read through my press kit, line by line, rewording the content and consulting the Dallas Cowboys media guide to ensure that my facts were accurate. Even the language, such as key vocabulary words and spoken tone of the sentence, was reworked to guarantee that even the underlying messages of my work were positive. Going through this incredibly thorough process taught me just how important every single piece of information published by an organization’s public relations department really is; people pay attention, and you do not want to leave any room for speculation or assumption. As a public relations professional in the future, I hope to set myself standards of the same caliber.

One interesting aspect of the visit was when Leah began correcting the formatting of all of my documents—press release, backgrounder, and fact sheet—to AP Style. This was interesting because while I learned AP Style in my journalism study last year, I did not know that published public relations materials also had to be in AP Style. This revealed yet another similarity between public relations and journalism, another opportunity for me to apply knowledge from my ISM 1 study to my ISM 2 study. Throughout this year’s study, I continue to find similarities between my two topics, which helps me attain my original goal of applying my journalism knowledge in a different sphere of the communications industry.

This visit taught me the importance of exactness, accuracy, and professionalism in any material put out by an organization’s public relations department. Not only are individual consumers looking to this information for updates and enjoyment, but large press and media organizations look to a company’s public relations material for publication content. If any careless mistakes are made, and that information ends up getting published, it could reflect very poorly on the company and even impact the public’s perception of that same company. It also raised the question; how do public relations professionals regulate and ensure the same level of perfection in non-written material such as a speech, social media post, or video? This could be the object of an upcoming research assessment.

As we move forward into future mentor visits, I want to discuss my Final Product with Leah, as well as how I could have something to show for my involvement in her overseeing of upcoming NFL Draft events. As these events are hugely important to the corporation and its image, I do not yet know how much actual hands-on involvement I will be able to have. However, if I could even produce a piece of marketing material, help with planning, or even just attend the events, it would greatly enrich my learning and certainly be significant enough to be Final Product Material. I have learned a lot about public relations from Leah even in our short time together thus far, and I believe that our future visits will continue to further my knowledge of the industry.