PRSA conference to discuss importance of media in election

Brittany Senary

CHECK OUT photos from the primary election.

The Akron chapter of the Public Relations Society of America is sponsoring a two- part conference called “YouToo: Social Media Boot Camp and Leadership Summit” tomorrow in Franklin Hall as a part of the grand opening celebration of the building.

“YouToo: Social Media Boot Camp and Leadership Summit” will feature a leadership conference and a professional development “boot camp.”

The conference is called “Packaging the Presidency Online,” and it is a statewide summit that will discuss the effects of new media on this year’s presidential coverage from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

The leadership conference will feature a panel of experts including Gary Hanson, associate professor of news, and David Meeker, adjunct faculty member.

Hanson said this political election is historic because of the use of blogging, social networks and YouTube.

Jeanette Drake, associate professor in public relations, event chair, and Akron PRSA president, said this event will be a discussion among experts to look at the change the country is experiencing in the political process such as the ethical issues and the impact this will have on PR professionals.


The ‘boot camp’ will feature six hands-on workshops and seminars about blogging, podcasting, search engine optimization and online tools. It will be held from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

• Session on Strategic Considerations & Best Practices by Michele Ewing and Bill Sledzik

• Blogging by Rob Jewell and Bill Sledzik

• Podcasting by Michele Ewing, Dave Smeltzer and Jeff Drake

• Search Engine Optimization

• Copyright Compliance in the Digital Age

Noelle Pennyman, senior public relations major, is a media liaison for this event through Flash Communications, a program in which students develop projects for real-world clients while working with public relations and marketing professionals.

“This is a great opportunity for students of all majors but especially PR students to network with the Northeast Ohio’s top professionals,” Pennyman said. “Not only are you getting the networking aspect out of it, but you are also attending the panel with top players of social media, PR and politics. This is the election year that young people are being watched. Never before have the college generation had such an impact on the presidential campaign and the technology that has impacted the campaigns.”

Drake came up with the idea to have this event last fall because she said she knew it would be a historic election when the first woman announced her presidency online.

Akron PRSA holds a professional development program every year and this year the organization joined together with Kent State and Kent PRSSA to train and inform others about social media.

Drake said there are several reasons students in PR, or students who are interested in politics and the elections will benefit from attending the event.

“Students will learn about strategies and tactics through social media, it provides a great opportunity for networking and it gives students hands on experience,” Drake said.

Anyone interested in attending can register by e-mailing [email protected] The social media boot camp sessions are already filled but students can attend the free leadership summit and round table discussions.

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Brittany Senary

at [email protected].