PR at BCU

PR at BCU
PR at BCU

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Share Your Views

Student Events

Student Events
Student Events
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Interview with a first year broad course student - meet Jemma Lowman

In our latest 'ask a student' instalment, #BCUWeArePR talks to Jemma, a student who has just completed her first year at BCU and who has been bitten by the media relations bug... 



Nice to meet you!

Hi, I'm Jemma Lowman, a BCU School of Media Media and Communications broad course student from South Wales. I start my second year in September.

How is university life treating you? 
I love being at BCU! Not only is it extremely accessible, from the societies and sports teams right down to the tutors, but BCU also allows me to grow as an individual. I love being independent and also the nightlife isn't too shabby!

Tell us about your studies to date 
When I first got given my options sheet, I didn't have a clue what to choose as there were just so many options within the media that I could explore. However, as I was interested in TV already, I focused my modules around that and hadn't even thought of PR until I saw it listed as an option. I thought about it but wasn't sure what would be involved; wouldn't PR be tonnes of public speaking? I decided to give it a go and here I am, one module down. It was probably my best decision at uni to date as it was completely opposite to what I initially expected and I'm keen to do more PR related modules.


BCU's PR MA course receives national endorsement by CIPR

As Birmingham City University launches a new suite of postgraduate media courses, its Public Relations programme has received national endorsement by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).
Along with new courses in Data Journalism and Media Production, the University’s School of Media are hoping its refreshed postgraduate offer will help plug the skills gap in the Midlands region.

MEDIA COURSES
BIRMINGHAM CITY UNIVERSITY
Public Relations
Birmingham City University’s Public Relations MA course focuses on the skills needed to communicate on behalf of organisations – such as charities, NGOs and activist groups – dedicated to social change, including health, education, environment, and the public sector.
Philip Young, Senior Lecturer, Public Relations MA, Birmingham City University, said:
“Whether it is persuading people to give blood, eat more vegetables, wear a seatbelt, stop smoking or protect an endangered species, social change is driven by persuasion, relationships and trust. That is what public relations is all about.
“Our course concentrates on developing the skills needed to get causes noticed, to change opinions and then bring practical benefits, all using the latest media techniques. This is PR for people who want to change the world.”

A month of PR interning - reflections of a second year PR student

"My day-to-day tasks were never the same and was positively challenging." says Claudia, a Birmingham City University School of Media student due to start her third year in September, specialising in PR. Earlier this year, she was chosen as runner up in the regional B-Hive creative industries competition, scooping six weeks' worth of paid placements at her choice of top PR agencies in the Midlands. (In fact, the winner and all shortlisted entrants were BCU Media students).

Having completed a month working in PR at two of these - Rewired and McCann - Claudia has shared her thoughts on what she has learnt from this invaluable experience... and how she can apply this to her final year of studies, and beyond.


I've just finished a jam-packed month of interning at two award winning Midlands PR agencies; Rewired and McCann Birmingham.

Both placements were real eye openers into the world of PR and put a lot of what I have learnt in this past year (both in theory and practical modules) into practice. I had the pleasure of working alongside talented individuals who allowed me to work on live campaigns and have a real taster of what PR really is all about.

Fashion + Celebrities = the perfect PR fit

* Guest post from Jack Walton, first year PR specialist student

PR is that one thing that can apply to anything. Every industry will need some form of public relations, be that the media industry, hospitality industry, sport, healthcare, leisure... and of course, fashion, the list is endless. 

Fashion and public relations go hand in hand. Celebrity culture is more closely linked than ever in this. When I completed my media relations module, I had to analyse a section of a newspaper; I choose the style section of the Daily Mail. It was interesting to me how closely linked fashion and celebrities were - and just how prominent PR was in this industry. Prior to never studying PR before I was just a consumer of fashion, I was looking from the outside in. Participating in this module made me realise how much actually went into the clothing I buy and how PR has a big role to play in how it’s advertised, marketed and consumed.

Source

When superstar BeyoncĂ© was recently seen on Instagram sporting Gucci’s latest collection, her fans and the public went mad and obviously wanted to wear and get their hands on what she was wearing. BeyoncĂ© and Gucci undoubtedly had some form of arrangement for her to pose wearing their latest collection, because they have a strong team of PR working at Gucci who all know the power of social media, particularly within the fashion industry, and how influential Queen Bey is. 

One of the photos shared received in excess of 1.8 million likes. A short Google search later and I quickly found several articles which had re-posted the images and included how much some of the items were - another example of the press picking up on a PR opportunity. Many of us know that if someone in the limelight is seen wearing something many will then buy it, even if it is for a crazy price, so the potential impact is huge.

Interview with a current BCU PR graduate: Jodie Perkins

Jodie Perkins is technically still a third year on the BA (HONS) Media and Communication degree, PR pathway, here at Birmingham City University - but having handed in her dissertation and project early, she has started her PR career full time this very week.

Here, Jodie tells us more about her studies, why she chose to specialise in PR and how it's helped prepare her for her career and exciting new role as part of The Big Sleuth; Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity fundraising event taking place across the city this summer...





Tell us about your studies and why you chose the PR pathway


I’ve just finished my three-year degree at Birmingham City University, I handed in my Dissertation and Final Year Project a couple of weeks ago and I’m just waiting to hear back what my final degree classification will be before officially graduating later this summer. 

I started the course as a broad course student, which allows you freedom in choosing different modules on offer, meaning you can have a go at TV, have a go at radio, have a go at PR and then see what you like before specializing. I started the course wanting to pursue a career in journalism as I liked writing and my favourite subject at school was English. I quickly changed my mind when I did the Media Relations module in the first semester of first year, I straight away loved the creativity involved in a career in PR and how it still incorporated the key skills needed for journalism and my love of writing. Following this module, I did a placement in a PR company during the Christmas holidays of first year, I went to an agency called Connect PR, now 8848 Agency, for two weeks, and my love for PR was confirmed. 

I then chose to specialise in PR at the beginning of year 2.

What was your perception of PR in the beginning? What is it now / how has it changed?



In all honesty, I didn’t know much about PR at all at first. At the start of my degree, I was mainly interested in journalism and through journalism modules, PR was portrayed as the ‘dark side’ and as though PR was the reason for the decline in journalism, and so I guess this was my initial thoughts. 

Now, I believe that journalism and PR need each other, and journalists need PR more than ever. Through studying the industry for three years, I now understand a lot more about PR and the academic history and theory behind it, I could talk until I’m blue in the face about what PR is, and why it’s important. 

I guess my perception of PR now is that a company who boasts a good PR team has a better chance of been understood by its target audience, and has a better chance of achieving its desired reputation and public opinion. The PR industry is a fast-paced one, and is constantly having to adapt to digital and social advances, for example 10 years ago, blogger outreach wouldn’t have been heard of in PR, but now it’s integral. 

I think that as a PR professional, and as a PR student, you have to be willing to constantly learn and develop your skills as this industry is ever changing, which means that what my perception is now of the industry, could change within the next few years.

PR disasters: who are the real winners?

Guest post

A couple of weeks' ago, we saw an incident occur within the American airline group United take place, only made worse by the fact that many of the passengers proceeded to film the ordeal on their mobile phones, then sharing it with the world, and the press of course.

The video appeared to show a male passenger being literally grabbed and pulled out of his seat, then physically dragged down the aisle of the aircraft, along with screaming and shouting from himself and his fellow passengers. Watching the short video the next morning all over UK news was one of those open mouth moments, I really was speechless. The man was being treated like a criminal, he was actually a doctor and passenger of the flight from Chicago to Louisville. 

The real reason? 

Because the plane was overbooked and the airline needed to free seats. 

It really was a PR disaster, in more ways than one... or perhaps it was a triumph for others?

Source


The days that followed were really interesting, particularly on social media. There were multiple photos or what are now known as memes, basically taking a joke at United’s expense, people were not happy and this made me wonder if a boycott of United Airlines would appear sometime in the future. If they keep having this kind of negative press than sadly it could be a possibility and tarnish their reputation even more so than it currently is.

But PR disasters like this aren’t actually bad for everyone; many parties can actually benefit from such a scenario. 

UNLEARN // REDEFINE - highlights from the BCU School of Media PR conference

Yesterday, second year PR students from our course organised, facilitated and participated in the UNLEARN // REDEFINE conference hosted here at Birmingham City University. The conference was an opportunity for students to showcase their research and understanding of PR in context and to network with practitioners, whilst there were three prominent guests on the bill. 



Jill Pearcy, Head of Corporate Communications for HS2, gave an insightful talk about the communication challenges ahead over the next twenty years. Following lunch, we then welcomed a panel consisting of Rachel Roberts, Founder of Spottydog Communications and CIPR Midlands committee chair, and Ollie Purdom, Co-founder of Pitch Consultants, discussing how to pursue a career in PR and bridging the gap between study and entering the profession.

It was a packed agenda and we had visitors from various different backgrounds join us to hear what the students and speakers had to say, with some lively debate and interesting points raised.


Here's the full report, as covered by the BCU press team (view the news article here)...



Jill Pearcy discussing HS2


Student presentations focused on a range of topics including the recent brand reputation crisis of Samsung mobile products catching fire and the engagement ideas behind  EDF Energy’s ‘I Am Pretty’ campaign, aimed at encouraging more young females to consider careers in science and engineering.
The keynote speech at the event was delivered by Jill Pearcy, Head of Corporate Communications at HS2, who shared insights into the importance of building trust with communities and consumers.

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