Rebuilding a Sports Image

This time of year in pop culture is a prime time for thought on upcoming award shows and draft seasons. Do they have Sports Razzie awards? If there were a film about January 2013's sports headlines, it would certainly be considered for a Golden Raspberry.  The start of the year brought two big PR storms: Lance Armstrong is finally "clean" and Heisman runner up and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o is involved in what could be one of sport's most infamous hoax stories. Far too often sports fans are confounded by headlines of doping charges, cheating allegations, both in the sport and in relationships, and stories so unheard of they seem to belong on film.

We're seeing a double-wing from the sports and PR industry. The basic rundown of Manti's weak-side:
1.Boy fakes meeting girl.
2. Fake girl and real boy fake online date.
3. Real boy fakes fake girl's death.
4. Boy's friend Ronaiah appears to be IRL friend, and real involved.
5. Notre Dame finds out fake girl has a fake death story because she's fake.
6. Real boy cries wolf.
7. Notre Dame believes him, investigates, and cries wolf.
8. Real tweets cause real big mess.
9. The Internet does internetty things.
10. Next day, "Teoing" is a thing.
You gotta love memes.

Could the stories be part of some elaborate work of PR art right before Manti's stint on NFL draft? Can he even maneuver his way through the PR power pitch to make it to the draft? As one of America's most decorated collegiate football players, will Te'o face the same fate as others like Reggie Bush (whose crime of receiving fringe benefits increasingly seems more innocent) and have to forfeit awards, wins, and titles?

The process of rebuilding an athletic empire has been a combination of perseverance, humility, and public relations crisis management for the likes of Bush, Michael Vick, O.J. Mayo, and countless others. Sanctions by national sports regulation authorities have changed the careers and reputations of once powerhouse  teams like the SMU Mustangs, now on a rise after rebuilding for over twenty years. Another recovered fumble is TCU quarterback Casey Pachal, whom admitted defeat, enrolled in rehab, is now back in spring practice.

As Te'o moves forward, will he face the same forgiving sports fans and coaches? Charles Davis of the NFL Network thinks "teams are going to smoke him over pretty well," to make sure they make the right, punked choice. Te'o doesn't believe the headlines will affect him at the draft, to take place this April. After all, it's been about a month since the story dropped. How will the first round go? Can Manti persevere simply by reminding folks of his talent? He thinks so.

"I have to just go out there and perform and all that other stuff is behind me, [...] The only thing I have to do is just do well, run fast, just be myself, be quick." 
- Te'o interview with USA Today.

New Year, New Web Obsessions

Hello 2013, I thought I'd miss you, what with the Mayans and all the rumors they spread. This year is starting quickly and giving me a lot of new networks to explore. After an "unplugged" vacation, (to catch up on "chick lit," referring to the memoirs that collected dust on my nightstand during a busy semester) I'm back to work to explore the bounties of the World Wide Web, complete with mastering the art of Instagram.  I'm also looking forward to learning more about CSS and other web authoring tools, as I've relied on a few WISYWIGS in my day.

Today, I'm learning the lost art of inline style coding. Before you web authors cringe and call the Webby cops on me, hear me out. I'm attempting to create some simple HTML email templates that can be applied by Outlook. I found a great step by step here and 10 tips for designing HTML emails on Design Shack. 

Design Shack is quickly becoming one of my favorite sites, which just received a fancy face lift. Their filters are pretty neat and you can now save your favorite designs to a collection. 

Another social network captivating my time right now is I just love being able to create my own channels with updates from my favorite blogs and the interface reminds me a bit of the visual impact of Pinterest. Remember? Visual impact is the new black for social bookmarking sites. Sulia is easy to set up and quickly replacing my need for Facebook lists. 

Those are my new favorite bookmarks. I'm surfing on Google Chrome too, so let me know your favorite apps or sites!

That's a Wrap!

This is it. This December 14th will conclude my last full semester of graduate school. I chose to give myself some breathing room this semester and refrained from taking the comprehensive exam before I graduate in the spring. 

Although a lot of people are saying good bye to the academic writing, the posts to Blackboard Learn, and the three hour lectures, the learning process never stops. I have personally grown from lessons in PR that I’ve picked up outside of class. My highlight reel from the last four months includes lessons related to the Page Principles of PR.

Manage for tomorrow. 
I have to admit that I have had more stress in this semester than I am used to. For my final project in qualitative research, I’ve rewritten the proposal for my case study about three times now. The problem I was having was getting buy-in from an organization that would let me feature their strategic use of social media. I gave myself a personal deadline for this paper with enough time to switch things up if I didn’t get an interview. When I started dipping into this extra allowance of time, a contact I haven’t worked with for a few years came to the rescue. I’m happily coasting into this weekend with time to edit before turning in the final paper thanks to a connection I’ve kept and managing time wisely.

Conduct public relations as if the whole company depends on it. 
I will be a little vague with this story, but this year gave me the biggest PR challenge of my career yet. I learned the importance of keeping decorum, sticking to the facts, and focusing on the future.

Realize a company’s true character is expressed by its people. 
I have a ten year old car. I will have this ten year old car until she absolutely refuses to continue. This year, she’s gone through a lot. Her adventures this fall have taught me a lot about the promise that Denton, voted the best small town in the nation, lives up to the title.

  • Someone hit her in the parking lot and ran off. Denton’s community vendors do a lot to help out students. Kay’s Paint and Body has been in town for 50 years, and quickly scheduled me in at the lowest repair price I could find, and the repair took less than a day.
  • Her battery died on one of many road trips. Again we learned about the amazing network of Denton auto shops and their continued support of community. Express Care literally pushed my car to their shop a couple of years ago and they remain a favorite. 
  • She was towed after an illegal sign covered the actual warning sign. After some snarky remarks from the tow truck guys, we realized they weren’t from Denton. Tow truck companies might need a little help, but they too need a smile and a thank you.

Remain calm, patient and good-humored. 
As my classmate Sheila posts in her last blog of her graduate career, stress is high this semester. To end on a silly note, here are some of my favorite ways to combat stress:
Grad School Barbie
  • Keep up with news from the Smithsonian.
  • Follow up on Mattel’s new line of dolls: Graduate School Barbie comes in two forms: Delusional Master’s Barbie (TM) and Ph.D. Masochist Barbie (TM).

And my favorite:
  • Reading about hyper reality in photography and innovation diffusion theory then putting it into practice with Instagram: 
Look how real he looks!