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Archive for April, 2009

 *Mackenzie Whalen*

Public Relations CoordinatorMackenzie Whalen

I intereviewed a friend of mine who is currently working in the PR field. Her name is Mackenzie Whalen and she has been someone I’ve admired and respected since I came to GSU in 2007 as a freshman. Presently she works in the PR department of the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta as a PR coordinator.

1) What is a typical work week like for you?
            “Well no two days are ever the same. But most of my days are spent coordinating logisitics of media shoots and interviews at the Aquarium. We’ve been very fortunate that journalists are still very interested in coming to the Aquarium. So, most of time is spent answering requests that come into my inbox.”

2) How important is writing in your career?
             “Writing is very important in the PR industry. It is your job to communicate your company’s message to a wide range of audiences. So, I believe that it is a crucial aspect of being a PR professional.”

3) What do you do to stay current in your indutry?
            “I am a member of all professional organizations (IAAPA, AZA, AMA, PRSA) and subscribe to all newsletters. It is important to watch the trends and issues to see how news originates. Also, being up-to-date on everything allows your to better pitch your news items because you are current.”

4) Did your education prepare you for your job?
            “I think that my education gave a good foundation but my internship experience prepared me the most. But I do know that I could have never made it to where I am now had I not had a great foundation from the classes I took at GSU.”

5) What do you wish you would have known before you graduated?
              “Hmm, good question 🙂 I wish I had been prepared to be a better PR writer. GSU requires a lot of journalism classes, but this is NOT PR writing. If I could say what my biggest weakness is now, it would be writing. So I wish (even though I would have hated it haha) I had been required to take more PR writing clasess.”

6) What three tips would you offer to someone new starting out in PR?
             “Keep current with the news — of all industries.
Find a mentor and learn everything you can from that person.
Build relationships with members of the media early on.”

7) How does technology affect your daily work?
            “Technology is constantly changing how we work as PR professionals. With the emergence of social media, we are having to rethink how we reach our audiences. The traditional ways have been thrown out the window and we now must learn all the new aspects of social media to keep up with the trends of our public.”

Mackenzie’s various social media and career sites:

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/profile.php?id=33001928&v=wall&viewas=706655467

Linkedin– http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/mackenzie/whalen

Georgia Aquarium website- http://www.georgiaaquarium.org/newsroom/printern.aspx

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