Let’s Talk Video

This is the digital age, which means we should be thinking visually more than ever before, according to Studios 121 Account Manager Dani Dufresne.

During her presentation to PRSA this week, Dufresne offered three basic tips to keep in mind when planning to tell your organization’s story via video:


1.Be Professional: Because visual storytelling leaves little room for distraction (vs. reading online text), poor video quality will be reflected without proper attention to audio, lighting and graphics. Therefore, beware of bargain packages, which may or may not offer excellence along those lines. Another sign of good video quality is the addition of other elements, which add interest and pace. No one wants to watch a talking-head-only video, so consider cutting away to B-roll footage and including graphics to add appeal.

2.Be Real: Coaching is highly recommended, and videos should be scripted, not read. Consider using what is “real” about your organization (e.g., featuring an employee, the campus, parts of the community, etc.), to convey authenticity.

3.Be Different: Dufresne likes the phrase, “be bold, not beige.” In other words, transform your dry content, be distinctive, and think outside the box.

When communications planning, consider using video in any way you can, such as for VNRs, brand awareness, community outreach, crisis management, and more. To contact Dufresne, send an email to: dani@studios121.com

Grass Roots Media Relations and Social Media for the Small Non-Profit

The Greater Fort Worth PRSA took an opportunity to give back to the local community with our annual service project. This year’s event was a free presentation and panel: “‘Grass Roots’ Media Relations and Social Media for the Small Non-Profit” and was held at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

Small non-profits, operating on limited budgets, need information, assistance and training to use media relations, social media and other public relations tools to help raise awareness of their important missions. The free workshop was the chapter’s way of providing some insight in these areas for local non-profit organizations.

The event included panelists (L-R) Sandra Brodniki, APR, Gigi Westerman APR, moderated by Nancy Farrar and Richie Escovedo.

Attendees had a chance to address and question panelists and speak with them one on one.

The following is the presentation:


Special thanks to PRSA members Kendal Lake and Dustin Van Orne from the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth for organizing the community service event.

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Truth and Consequences


President’s Column: Andra Bennett House, APR

Remember the long-running game show Truth or Consequences? Sometimes in the world of PR, it’s a game known as Truth AND Consequences.

Everyone agrees if we lie about, hide or omit critical facts, we will eventually pay the consequences. But truth – or personal opinion – has consequences as well.

Some months ago, this debate hit the blogs regarding Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who penned an Aug. 11 opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal regarding health care reform. It prompted thousands of comments on Whole Food’s Internet forum, and protesters called for a boycott of the store.

Mackey certainly has freedom of speech, freedom to his opinions. But were the public relations implications – and the financial ripple effects – worth sharing those opinions in such a public forum? Health care as a philosophy is certainly tied into Whole Foods’ mission, but taking a political stance may have unnecessarily alienated too much of the customer base. The jury is still out.

Another example that comes to my mind recently is Rush Limbaugh’s bid to become co-owner of the St. Louis Rams. Some high-profile NFL players said they would not play for Limbaugh, based on racial comments he has made in the past, so he was dropped from the bid. Others, like Time magazine’s Bill Saporito, think that the NFL “is just another big business — why should it be anything less — only with a huge amount of ego attached to it. Rush should fit in quite well.”

Rush, as a nationally-known public figure and entertainer who often says polarizing things on the airwaves, is either worshiped or vilified. Anyone entering into a business relationship would certainly be within their rights to weigh the benefits vs. the risks of teaming up with a person whose larger-than-life reputation could impact the value or operation of a franchise.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise when a public figure cannot separate unrelated business dealings from his or her reputation. We cannot separate a pastor’s / CEO’s / radio host’s personal opinions or private behavior from their public responsibility to their trustholders. They can’t live their lives in compartments. Is that fair? Not always. But it’s the way it is.

Public figures have always been scrutinized and held to higher standards. With today’s 24/7 media, now more than ever, freedom of speech does not guarantee freedom from the consequences of your speech.