Project purpose or objectives.
As a student of public relations, it is essential that you be aware of all current events that could potentially impact your client either positively or negatively. This year, I made a personal goal to increase my own public awareness in order to develop good public relations specialist habits for the future. The more news you consume, the more you’re aware of what people and journalists are talking about. Reading, listening and watching the news also helps improve your writing skills. Writing skills are very important for all communication professionals.
Reading the news on your own is one thing, but it is quite another to read to a level where you feel comfortable conversing with another person about current events. I found a mentor who was willing to engage in a high-quality conversation with me about current global news on a weekly basis. This was very beneficial to me as she was able to push me beyond my own ideas and really look at global events from a wider and deeper perspective. The project began with me sending over a few news articles each week prior to our discussion but blossomed into a mutual correspondence between the two of us where we were both initiating conversation about certain topics. I would also choose one article each week to construct a written analysis for that my mentor would look over and discuss improvements during our call. This gave me the opportunity to not only begin paying more careful attention to current news, but also to improve my analytical writing skills.
Challenges encountered in completing this project.
Probably the largest challenge that I encountered throughout this project is that Russia invading Ukraine largely took over the global news sphere for much of the time period that I spent completing this project. This was not necessarily a bad thing, but perhaps it would have been more difficult to pinpoint the most relevant news had all of the news being reported on not been so significant! We did have a conversation earlier in the semester about COVID-19, but weekly if not daily updates on the Ukraine crisis took up the majority of our analysis and conversational topics.
Each week I would read current news from a variety of sources including BBC, CNN, The New York Times and a variety of other publications. My mentor requested that I follow most closely the live updates that have been being posted by CNN regarding the crisis in Ukraine over the last few months. I would keep my mentor updated with what I was reading, sending her articles that I found to be particularly well-written or significant, then choose one article per week to write an analysis on. Usually on Saturdays, my mentor and I would have a conversation over Facetime or phone call where we would discuss what had happened over the previous week and what potential impact that would have on life and business in the United States.
An overview of the experience you had.
I am very grateful to my mentor. This would not have been nearly as meaningful of a project if she had not been so willing to be involved and share her own ideas with me. Not only do I feel more aware of current events and their significance, but I think I received very good experience communicating with someone in the professional communications sphere.
What insights and takeaways you have gained from the project?
I think that it should be stressed so much more that everyone who is a communication student or professional needs to be aware of current events and following credible news sources. This project has deepened my understanding of the importance of journalism, public relations and pretty much everything under the communication umbrella. The only way we can reach our true potential is through learning from others and exposing ourselves to a plethora of opinions and experiences.