Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It's Not Too Late to Register for the Second Annual Spring Media Mixer!

Join the members of PPRA for a pitch-free networking event designed exclusively for public relations practitioners and members of the media in the Philadelphia region at Time restaurant in Center City. Save your story ideas for the office, and instead enjoy a drink and something to eat in the company of your journalism counterparts. There is one rule however – no pitching allowed.

Reporters from the top publications, broadcast stations and online media will be there, will you? 

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to strengthen your relationship with the press of Philadelphia or introduce yourself to those you’ve yet to meet. Use the hashtag #PPRASocial to join the conversation on Twitter before, during and after the event.

Tentatively confirmed media outlets include: Axis Philly
Bucks County Courier Times
Clear Channel Radio
Northeast Times
Philadelphia Weekly
Public Record
Flying Kite
Philadelphia Daily News
Courier Post
Philadelphia Tribune
Lansdale Reporter

When: May 16, 2013, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Where: Time- 1315 Sansom Street, 2nd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Cost: $40 for PPRA members, $50 for non-members, additional $5 fee for walk-ins

The last day for pre-registration is May 15th!! 
However, walk-in’s welcome for an extra $5 at the door.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Poet is Published – A Mere 50+ Years Later

The story of My Way to Anywhere by Jean Lisette Brodey Blog/Interview as it appeared on the author website of Lisette Brodey at www.lisettebrodey.com  

How many of you remember being read to by your mother or father when you were a child?

When I was a child, I remember my mother reading poetry to my brother and me, and as I grew up, I remember her writing it. During her 20s and 30s, she wrote hundreds of poems. In her late 30s, she went back to work, and her love for writing poetry was set aside.

My mother, Dr. Jean Lisette Brodey, a retired Temple University journalism professor, is now in her 80s. About a year ago, I asked her where her poems were, and she said she feared they were lost. I knew they were not, as I’d seen them in her house. During a visit back to Philadelphia in September 2012, I found the poetry and began making plans to choose 50-some poems for a small collection.

That is how the book My Way to Anywhere began. Most of the poetry, expressed through imagery, abstract concepts, and word portraits, is about people who affected my mother’s life. My favorite poem in the book is called “An Ending.” It is a poem that tells of the death of my mother’s friend’s 27-year-old husband who died of cancer.

Here is an excerpt:

Why do we rend the days with our grief?
He would not have it so
For he respected life
Too much to bewail its passing
And death was too obscure
To have a place in his philosophy.
The thing has been decreed
(he would have said)
So if you have to pause
Let it be to reason
Not to mutter or complain
Then go on to ponder things
That somehow can be explained.
Death is a void, that’s all.
He would not toy with idle questions
For reason was his God and he was twenty-seven.
 On a lighter note, there is a section of the book called FOR CHILDREN. Here is one short poem:

A wondrous number is 2.
There’s so much
2 can do!
2’s less than 3
2’s more than 1.
2 is an awful lot of fun!

My Way to Anywhere is not my mother’s first book. In the 1980s, through Westminster Press, she published Mid-Life Careers.

The heading above is probably the last thing you’d expect in a blog about my mother and her poetry book. Well, let me explain.

When Mid-Life Careers came out, my mother did a great deal of publicity for the book in Philadelphia, New York, and Los Angeles. One of her bookings was on an early morning Los Angeles talk show, and Jay Leno was one of the other guests. I have no idea why, but Jay was cooking up chicken wings on the show. My mother had five minutes to talk about her book, and while on the air, Jay came over to her and said he’d like “the doctor” to taste his chicken wings. My mother wasn’t about to give up her five minutes tasting Jay’s chicken wings and promptly declined, whereupon Jay called her a “party pooper” or something like that. After that, she was never a fan of Jay’s. I think she’s gotten over it, though. But I do remember having to rip off the cover of her TV Guide when he was on it.
On a New York talk show, my mother was lucky enough to be a guest along with legendary singer Eartha Kitt and after the show enjoyed a wonderful lunch with her.

But the most memorable moment after the publication of Mid-Life Careers was seeing a downtown Philadelphia bookstore filled with copies of her book. What author wouldn’t love that?

Throughout her career as a tenured professor at Temple University teaching public relations, my mother won many prestigious awards, including induction into the Philadelphia Public Relations Association’s Hall of Fame.

Well, enough of my reminiscing. I have interviewed my mother for this blog, and I do hope you’ll enjoy meeting her.

When did your love of poetry begin? When I was about five years old, my mother read Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses to me. It was better than hearing a story. The rhymes delighted me, and I found them to be lots of fun. Because the poems were read to me on a regular basis, they became a part of my young life. I still remember some of the poems by heart, such as “My Shadow” and “The Swing.”

Do you remember when you wrote your first poem? I don’t remember my first poem. But when I was in the first or second grade, I wrote a poem and showed it to my father. I told him that I had written it, but he didn’t seem to believe me. He asked me again if I had written it and then asked me if I had copied it out of a poetry book. I was pleased that he thought it was that good, but I was also hurt that he didn’t think I had written it.

Did any of your grade school teachers recognize your talent for writing poetry? I can’t recall which grade it was, but I had a teacher named Mrs. Schulke who liked my poetry so much that she had it illustrated by a talented student named George Logan and put it together in a book for me.

Did your love for poetry continue throughout junior high and high school? Yes, as a matter of fact, under my photo yearbook in Philadelphia’s General Louis Wagner Junior High School, I stated that I wanted to be a journalist when I grew up. I didn’t really know what journalists did; I just knew that they wrote. And I figured that they wrote poetry.

I remember writing poems for special occasions. A poem I wrote for my aunt Nancy is still in my head. It goes like this:

          On Christmas and your birthday,
          Any occasion of the year,
          You can always depend on stockings,
          That come from Nancy dear.

You earned a degree in journalism from Penn State University. What did you hope to do with your degree? I wanted a job that involved writing, but I had no specific expectations. At a local youth hostel, while attending a meeting for hiking and camping enthusiasts, I met a man who was a job recruiter. Through him, I was hired at the Frank H. Fleer Company in Philadelphia. The company manufactured Double Bubble gum, and I was hired to edit the company’s internal publication and to write facts and fortunes for bubble gum wrappers. During my three years at this company, I got married and then became pregnant with the person interviewing me right now. J When did you seriously begin writing poetry? Once I stopped working outside the home, my love for writing poetry became more intense.

How did you judge your own work? Did you think you were a good poet? How does one define “good” in terms of poetry? The answers are complex. For every poem I wrote, I had a general idea of what I wanted to say and how I hoped readers would perceive it. Even though I wrote in abstract terms, it was always my hope that my words would stir the reader. My right to use the label “poet” often changed depending on my own feelings about a poem and other people’s comments. Sometimes how I felt had nothing to do with the poetry and everything to do with what was going on in my life.

You felt very strongly about the widow of poet Edgar Lee Masters, Ellen Coyne Masters. She had a great influence on your work. Please tell us more. I met Mrs. Masters at Penn State (Ogontz campus), where she was teaching an adult class in reading literature. When I first saw her, I had strong negative feelings. But those feelings changed very quickly into positive ones. She had a strong personality, and I suppose not knowing her at first, I perceived her differently.

Shortly after meeting her, I read her late husband’s masterpiece, Spoon River Anthology, which is a collection of fictional epitaphs about a community called Spoon River. I was inspired by the work of Edgar Lee Masters. I even wrote some fictional epitaphs of my own in the same vein. [Two of them are included in My Way to Anywhere.] I also was inspired to write poems about the poet and his wife.

Mrs. Masters was gracious enough to look at my poetry from time to time and encouraged me to write more. Positive reinforcement from her gave me an incredible joie de vivre.

Do you remember the first time one of your poems was accepted for publication? Yes! My family and I had been away on vacation, and the post office was holding my mail. When I went to collect the mail, I saw a letter from a national poetry magazine. I opened it up and found out that it was an acceptance. I was overjoyed, thrilled, and, most importantly, felt like a poet.

Who are some of your favorite poets to read? My favorite poet is Wallace Stevens. I also love Emily Dickinson, Amy Lowell, Walt Whitman, e. e. cummings, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Theodore Roethke, James Joyce, William Wordsworth, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and, of course, Edgar Lee Masters.

Your poetry is now being published some 50 to 60 years after you wrote it. How does that make you feel? Wonderful. I had stopped writing poetry after I went back to work. Several years later, I earned my master’s and doctorate degrees in education and worked until retirement as a journalism professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, so there was no time in my life to pursue poetry. Having this collection of my poetry published now makes me realize how important poetry has always been to me.

My Way to Anywhere is available in paperback at Amazon.com and BN.com. It is also available on both sites in the Kindle and Nook editions.
For additional information, please contact Lisette Brodey at lisette.brodey@gmail.com or via www.lisettebrodey.com.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Strategic Alliances: A Conversation with Helen Ubiñas, Philadelphia Daily News

Thursday, February 14, 2013
8:30 am – 9:30 am

Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau
1700 Market Street, Suite 3000
Philadelphia, PA                                   

Cost: $15

Last day to register: Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Meet Helen Ubiñas, a columnist at the Philadelphia Daily News. She writes a twice-weekly metro column that explores an array of social issues, from poverty to incarcerations to race. Before moving to Philadelphia, she was an award-winning reporter and columnist for the Hartford Courant in Connecticut. For nearly two decades she covered everyone from quiet neighborhood heroes to disgraced politicians.

Read one of Helen's most recent articles HERE! 

Here are some special Twitter handles and hashtags to use for this event: 

**This is a PPRA Members-Only Event***

The goal of the Strategic Alliances programs is to identify, create, and maintain valuable relationships with organizations and individuals outside of the PPRA organization - and to create invaluable educational and networking opportunities for PPRA members to learn more about these organizations. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tips from the Experts: How To Get Your Story Heard!

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be asked to address PPRA members at a Strategic Alliances program. It was a great chance to introduce them to Region’s Business and meet some savvy people.

For those who were unable to attend, I hope we’ll have the chance to connect and work together. In the meantime, here are a few points we discussed.

Region’s Business is a weekly print news magazine focused on business and politics in Philadelphia and the city’s Pennsylvania suburbs, aimed at C-level executives, politicians and, in general, the people that shape our region. We started publishing in August (Wednesday is deadline day as we distribute on Thursdays) and we’ll be relaunching our website later this month.
If you haven’t gotten your hands on a copy, first check out the PDF version online, then drop me an e-mail so we can get some hard copies to you.  After you’ve seen it, I hope you’ll agree that it’s a publication your clients should be part of since each of them likely has something to offer our readers.

How do we make that happen? Here are some thoughts from our side.

These move all story pitches to the top of the list: Economic impact, jobs/job creation, innovation, startup, entrepreneur, development. Also, anything that highlghts the intersection of business and politics. We are distinctly pro-business and pro-Philadelphia, political but not partisan.

By all means, please send along your press releases. But don’t stop there. We’re always on the look out for great story ideas – both big and small – as well as contributors for standing features like op-ed columns and Ideas columns (that’s where experts offer guidance, advice and tips to business leaders).

Some at the PPRA event seemed surprised when I said we welcomed story ideas from agencies. I guess I was surprised that they were surprised. After all, we certainly don’t have the market cornered for great story ideas and you certainly know what your clients have to offer better than we do.

We’re just getting started at Region’s Business, but the momentum we’ve built out of the gate is both exciting and encouraging. We have some exciting projects in the works for 2013 and I hope that more people will be a part of it.

I’m looking forward to those conversations, so drop that e-mail or give me a call.

Karl Smith is the Editorial Director for Independence Media, publisher of Region's Business. Previously, he worked for AOL's Patch.com, where he was the third employee hired in Southeastern Pennsylvania and played a pivotal role in helping to build the network of hyperlocal news websites across the Philadelphia region. He worked for more than a decade at Calkins Media'sphillyBurbs.com, directing the interactive operation after several years as managing editor of that company's flagship newspaper, The Bucks County Courier Times. His newspaper background includes stints at The Asbury Park Press, The Pottstown Mercury, The Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader and The York Daily Record. A regular presenter at Pennsylvania Newspaper Association workshops, he's taught as an adjunct instructor at Monmouth University and Rutgers University and has held consultancies at the New Jersey Press Association, the U.S. Air Force, the Society of Newspaper Design, the American Jewish Press Association and The Times News (Lehighton, Pa.).

Friday, October 12, 2012

Using Social Media to Increase Engagement with Philadelphia’s Public Art

Philadelphia has one of the largest collections of public art in America; but how do we take this existing resource and make it seem new again? The Association for Public Art (aPA, formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association), the nation's first private, nonprofit organization dedicated to integrating public art and urban planning, has been making a concerted effort to find news ways to engage audiences in an online conversation with the city’s preeminent collection of artwork.

In the past year, we have increased our use of social media to help raise public art awareness. Audiences who follow us on Twitter or Instagram, read tips from us on Foursquare, or like us on Facebook have the opportunity to ask questions and tell us what they would like to know about public art. The aPA’s extensive public art archive of historic photos and facts, as well as our award-winning Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO program, provide a rich stockpile of content from which to draw.

Through social media, we are re-introducing artworks to the public as well as encouraging the viewer to participate in a dialogue that enhances their experience of the city’s historical and cultural assets. Through this growth of online engagement we have been able to encourage participation on a new level with our most recent public art installation, Open Air.

Visit our “Open Air” pop-up living room at our Project Information Center at Eakins Oval (24th and the Parkway), open nightly from 7:30pm-11pm until October 14

On September 20, aPA launched Open Air by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer running nightly, now through October 14, from 8pm-11pm, on the Parkway. Open Air is a spectacular interactive light experience directed by participants’ voices and GPS locations, illuminating the night sky from the Parkway. Using a free mobile app developed by Lozano-Hemmer’s studio, participants are invited to submit messages of up to 30 seconds in length. In response, 24 powerful robotic searchlights, stationed along the Parkway, create a unique, dynamic light formation in the sky. The lights react in brightness and position to the GPS location of the participants and the frequency and amplitude of their voice recording.

 #OpenAirPhilly trended according to @TrendsPhilly during our “Open Air” Opening Night Celebration on the Parkway

Because Open Air is activated through audience participation (the artist calls the project a “platform for participation”), utilizing social media to promote the project seemed fitting. We included #OpenAirPhilly in printed and online materials and are engaging in conversation with people who use the hashtag on Twitter or Instagram. For the public Opening Night Celebration held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, we held a Tweet Up through Visible Tweets. Using a large screen, we displayed all tweets that included our hashtag. This not only highlighted the language we were encouraging the audience to use, but also rewarded them for using it by displaying their tweet for others to see. We are also running a photo contest through Offerpop. To enter the contest, the participant either loads the photo through a tab on our Facebook Page or uses #OpenAirPhilly on Instagram or Twitter; they are automatically entered into the contest. After the photos are entered, users must vote for the best ones. The three photos with the most votes will win a signed print of an Open Air simulation.

The result of these initiatives is a citywide conversation about Open Air. Not only do participants’ voices transform the night sky, but their online dialogue is enhancing their experience of public art in Philadelphia. 

ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION FOR PUBLIC ART (aPA, formerly Fairmount Park Art Association) commissions, preserves, promotes and interprets public art in Philadelphia. Since its founding in 1872, aPA has worked with artists, communities and civic leaders to make encounters with art a part of everyday life, creating a Museum Without Walls that is free and accessible to residents and visitors. As the nation’s first private nonprofit organization dedicated to integrating public art and urban planning, aPA has an unparalleled and pioneering history, characterized by artistic excellence, creative initiative, collaboration and civic engagement. Working closely with city agencies, aPA remains today a central resource and contributor to Philadelphia’s enduring reputation as an important place to view and experience the evolution of public art. Through aPA’s free, interactive public programs, website and publications, Philadelphians and visitors are invited to experience civic spaces enlivened by artists and art; to discover the city’s vast collection of public art; and to connect to a shared cultural legacy. associationforpublicart.org

This blog post was written by Caitlin Martin. Caitlin Martin graduated with a degree in Architecture from Louisiana State University. She currently works as the New Media Manager for the Association for Public Art. In her free time, she is a long distance cyclist. Read her blog headwind2011.blogspot.com about her cross-country bike trip. She is currently writing a food guide for cyclists based on her journey. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

#StateofPhillyPR - PPRA Kicks Off the 2012 Year!

As fall officially gets underway, there is much to be excited about at PPRA!
For those who do not know, PPRA is the Philadelphia Public Relations Association, a trade group of nearly 300 of the top PR practitioners from Southeastern Pennsylvania, South and Central New Jersey and Northern Delaware.  Founded in 1945, PPRA is the largest independent public relations association in the country, and our purpose is to elevate our industry and bring awareness to what is happening in our region.  Our members represent every level of experience, including college students, freelancers, agency representatives, corporate and non-profit communicators, and much more, plus representation in a diverse cross section of public and private sectors, including arts and culture, film and television, education, government, healthcare, law, sports, science and technology, philanthropy, tourism, hospitality and the worlds of corporations, non-profits and agencies. 
PPRA exists to help fellow professionals further their craft, develop relationships, network and mentor one another.  Our panel discussions, skills-based workshops and signature programs are relevant to PR professionals at all career levels and offer best practices, access and insight into what matters for our industry TODAY. 
Already this year, our association has hosted its first social program of the season, "Mix, Mingle and Snap" at one of our city's newest spots, Urban Enoteca at the recently renovated Latham Hotel. Our members enjoyed great networking, but also some interesting insight from those in our area who are making the most of visual social media. They shared tips and case studies on how to make instagram, pinterest, foodspotting and tumblr work for our clients, companies and agencies alike.
And just yesterday, PPRA was a part of the second annual "State of the Industry" event at the PA Convention Center. This partnership with PRSA and BPPRS offered excellent breakout discussion on non-profit PR, corporate philanthropy, brand management and public affairs. We also played host to Judy Smith, author of Good Self, Bad Self: Transforming Your Worst Qualities into Your Biggest Assets and the inspiration for the hit ABC series, Scandal. Smith was fantastic as she dialogued with PA Convention Center CEO Ahmeenah Young. See a recap of the event here.
As we look ahead to October, I hope you are ready to be terrified and inspired with two great events. Stay tuned for more info on a special behind-the-scenes tour and cell block cocktail reception PPRA is planning at Eastern State Penitentiary on October 16th. You also should have received an invitation to one of PPRA's most prestigious events of the year, the Gold Medal celebration on October 22. We will honor the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) with a special presentation, and guests include Monica Malpass of WPVI ABC 6, Philadelphia Eagles President Don Smolenski and City of Philadelphia Health Commissioner Donald Schwartz.
But before all that, please remember to renew your PPRA membership! Renewals are due soon, and if you get yours in before September 30th, you can take advantage of our discounted 2012 rates. That means you'll continue to receive awesome value on all the great member benefits PPRA provides: member ONLY events; discounted fees to attend educational, social and signature programs; monthly newsletters; access to our career corner; the member directory; mentorship programs and discounts on offers that help us do our jobs as PR professionals better.
So what are you waiting for? Renew now, save the dates and get ready for a great year ahead.
Kera Armstrong
President, PPRA 2012-2013

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Mark of Excellence – PPRA’s 2012 Hall of Fame Induction

On May 7 in the Ballroom of Philadelphia’s Four Seasons Hotel, PPRA inducted its newest member of the esteemed Hall of Fame, Mark Tarasiewicz. Mark, the Associate Executive Director of the Philadelphia Bar Association was honored with PPRA’s highest award for his many contributions over the last 20 years to not only PPRA, but the greater Philadelphia region. 

A Philadelphian through and through, Mark has spent his life in this city and has become an integral part of its fabric. He shares his knowledge and experience as an adjunct professor of public relations in the Temple University graduate program in Strategic Communication, and has also lectured for a variety of organizations from the Public Relations Society of America to the American Society of Association Executives.  An active member of the National Association of Bar Executives (NABE), he serves as treasurer of the organization’s Communication Section and a member of its Program Committee, not to mention is a three-time recipient of the NABE Luminary Award.   In the community, Mark has volunteered his time to the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including the Young Advocates for Mural Arts and the Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia.

Friends and former colleagues showered Mark with warm wishes and congratulations at the Hall of Fame luncheon, telling stories of their experiences with Mark over the years.  PPRA member and Penn State Abington Lecturer Dan Cirucci began by recalling how impressed he was with Mark’s work at The Legal Intelligencer – so much so that he hired him to work at the Bar Association 17 years ago. First Judicial District Judge Annette Rizzo and Chancellor Savoth, on the other hand, credited Mark with successfully connecting the legal community with the community at large and commended his effort to humanize the legal profession in Philadelphia.  But Bobbi Booker perhaps expressed it best, simply saying, “Mark made my life easy.” 

Emceed by NBC10’s Aditi Roy, the event was also attended by a who’s who of Philadelphia personalities, including Mayor Michael Nutter; Bobbi Booker, Lifestyle Leisure Reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune; Dan Martin, musical computer;  Valerie Knight, co-host of the Breakfast Club on Philadelphia’s 98.1 WOGL; Dr. Betsy Leebron Tutelman, Temple University’s Senior Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Communications; and John E. Savoth, the 2012 Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association. 

At the conclusion of the afternoon, PPRA President Chris Lukach presented Mark with the Hall of Fame award and surprised him with tickets to Disney World. Mark sincerely thanked his friends and family, mentors, Temple University, and the Bar Association for helping him earn this great honor. He ended his remarks with a quote from Maya Angelou, “When you learn, teach; and when you get, give.” 

Mark embodies this quote and serves as an example of someone who has received a great deal from others but has given back what he has received tenfold.  Congratulations from all of your fellow PPRA members, Mark! 

Many thanks to Dan Cirucci and Lisette Bralow, co-chairs of the 2012 Hall of Fame committee, and all of the hard working committee members whose efforts to arrange and publicize this event made it the great success that it was.  If you missed the event and would like to view pictures, you can visit the PPRA website

Thomas is working towards his Master of Arts degree in Strategic Communication at Villanova University. An active member of PPRA, Thomas served on the 2011 Gold Medal banquet committee, the 2012 Hall of Fame banquet committee and he serves on Philly PRoactive. His work can be viewed and he can be contacted at his blog The Good Word(smith).