PRSSA-UD in NYC: Spring Field Trip Recap

BY: FAWN BARTOK

On May 3rd, our chapter visited two PR firms in New York City; Derris and Momentum Communications. This field trip served as a great opportunity and extension to our general meetings. These two agencies introduced us to the real world of public relations and how PR firms operate. We were able to interact with a range of employees with varying responsibilities.

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At Derris, we had the opportunity to speak to the CEO as well as Account Coordinators, Assistant Account Executives, Account Supervisors, etc. The introduction of various employees and their individual roles was extremely beneficial. Learning about the day-to-day responsibilities of different positions gave a more in-depth explanation of how those in the industry work with their clients. At Derris, we were able to sit down with the CEO himself, Jesse Derris, and ask questions about his firm in particular, but also other questions about the industry. Some topics discussed were entertainment PR, client pushback, integrated marketing, and interpersonal communication. The conversation with Jesse allowed us to understand the PR industry in a more hands-on setting and we each had the opportunity to ask questions. It was a refreshing and a one-of-a-kind experience to sit down and pick the brain of the firm’s CEO.

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At Momentum, we also had the  opportunity to have an open discussion and ask questions about Momentum Communications, their mission, and the PR industry as a whole. Momentum’s focus is on non-profits.This is a specific area of PR that I knew little about prior to this field trip. Learning about non-profits, their mission, and their public relations needs was interesting and shed a new light on the PR industry. While at Momentum, we did an activity where we had to create a “good pitch”. This activity I found extremely helpful because a large part of working in PR is working with journalists. Therefore, creating an effective pitch is a crucial skill.

The Steps to a “Good Pitch”:

  1. Attention grabber (the subject line is very important!)
  2. Data (include statistics)
  3. Background information and brief mention of client (do not make your client the center of attention – this will appear as too self-serving!)
  4. Include questions the reporter can ask the client
  5. Include ideas for b roll (what the reporter can film, or take pictures of) – include details of what will be included in video and how you plan to get views
  6. Include a link to client’s website – reporter may want more information
  7. Keep it short
  8. Individualize pitches (do not blast)
  9. Ask a colleague to read it before sending
  10. Make it human

Overall, this field trip was extremely valuable. The opportunity to sit with professionals in a field I aspire to work in, and ask them questions, tips, and advice was an experience that I will treasure.

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