Trials and Tribulations of InDesign

As PR professionals, we need to possess a wide range of skill sets: Writing, speaking, social media use and…graphic design! Graphic design can be a difficult skill to perfect, but we cannot get discouraged when we don’t start out at the level of a professional graphic design artist.

Graphic design helps convey information to clients in a more interesting manner. Source: Google images.

Graphic design helps convey information to clients in a more interesting manner. Source: Google images.

One of the best software programs available for graphic design is InDesign. With InDesign, you can create:

However, InDesign is not easy to use on the first try. Below are some of the obstacles you may encounter when using InDesign for your first graphic design project.

Choosing a Color Scheme 

InDesign offers thousands of color variations and it can be difficult to choose which exact shades of colors go well together for your project. Once you have carefully chosen a base color depending on who your client is and the message you want to convey, InDesign has a Color Theme Tool that creates a color theme array with colors complementary to your base color.

Great designs have color schemes that work. InDesign's Color Theme Tool puts complementary colors together for you. Source: Google images.

Great designs have color schemes that work. InDesign’s Color Theme Tool puts complementary colors together for you. Source: Google images.

InDesign Terminology

One of the most important concepts to help master InDesign is becoming familiar with the software terminology. Take this quiz to see if you are already an InDesign terminology expert!

  • “Place” image, not insert photo
If you want to put an image into your InDesign project, you go to

If you want to put an image into your InDesign project, you go to “File > Place.” Most other programs have an “Insert > Photo” tab. Source: Google images.

If you want to undo one or two actions, you can use “Edit > Undo.” However, if you have a series of actions you want to undo, you can go to “File > Revert” and you will go back to the last time you saved your document. This is quicker if you have a bunch of steps you want to undo. There is also a history panel, where you can view all of your actions and manually select and delete whichever ones you want to undo.

Typeface Excitement

InDesign has hundreds of different typefaces to choose from. While all of the options are appealing, remember that your designs shouldn’t use too many different typefaces because it can distract from the message. Limit your design to no more than three different typefaces.


The Skills ALL Communication Specialists Should Have!

The public relations profession offers a a wide variety of areas to work in. My desired area of PR is communications, specifically a communications specialist. According to PRSA, communications specialists are responsible for moderating communications throughout an organization through the use of various resources. They work to ensure messages are consistent with the overall brand and meet company standards to maintain and promote a positive and professional image on behalf of the organization.

As a communications specialist, you want people to trust in your abilities to get the job done. Photo: Google images

As a communications specialist, you want people to trust in your abilities to get the job done. Photo: Google images

Communications specialists need to have specific skill sets to be effective and efficient:

  • Organization/Time Management
  • Writing Skills
  • Social Media Proficiency

These skills are imperative to being a successful public relations professional in the communications field.

Organization/Time Management 

Communications specialists should have a clear, organized layout for their assignments and tasks to ensure deadlines aren’t missed. They should also communicate messages in a timely manner. Asana is a web and mobile application that helps you to arrange your tasks and projects.

Writing Skills

Sloppy writing skills are detrimental to an organization’s reputation and brand. Communications specialists should always review their messages before releasing or sending to ensure for correctness and conciseness. They should also make sure their writing follows AP Style guidelines.

Social Media Proficiency 

Finally, communications specialists should be proficient across all social media platforms. Different social networks require different types of posts. For example, Twitter requires concise messages in less than 140 characters, with the use of hashtags and mention features. Facebook, however, has more room to attach graphics and write more information.

social media icons

Communications specialists should be familiar with various social media platforms and be aware of how the content differentiates and the prospective audiences change. Photo: Google images

Communications specialists need to master these skills because they are the backbones of successful organizations.

Visit to the Newseum: How the 9/11 Exhibit will Impact my Career

This Saturday, my classmates and I took a day trip to the Northwest region of our nation’s beautiful capitol area to visit the Newseum.

The Newseum has a spectacular and beautiful exterior design with transparent glass panels. Photo source: Google images.

The Newseum has a spectacular and beautiful exterior design with transparent glass panels. Photograph: Google images

Having been voted one of the top things to do in D.C., as well as winning the Traveler’s Choice Top 10 Museum Award by Trip Advisor, the Newseum is an experience that visitors, including myself, will never forget. Inside, there are five different floors with a multitude of exhibits that are engaging, informative, interesting, and simply put: cool. One exhibit is called “TV Reporting,” where you can practice reading off a teleprompter and then watch your recording on a television screen. There is also an FBI Exhibit that examines the relationship between the news media and the FBI in some of the bureau’s most notorious criminal cases. The exhibit has more than 200 artifacts, mind-blowing photographs, historic newspapers and interactive displays.

One part of the FBI Exhibit is the War on Terror. Photograph: Individual

One part of the FBI Exhibit is the War on Terror. Photograph: Individual

While all exhibits at the Newseum are memorable, there was one that still sends chills down my spine when I think about it: the 9/11 Exhibit. I think this exhibit will have a notable impact on my career because it reminded me of the devastation the terrorist attacks caused our nation and thus channeled my inner drive even further to want to go to law school and become a federal prosecutor. As a federal prosecutor, I would be able to prosecute terrorists such as the ones behind the attacks on Sept. 11 and help bring justice to the victims of their merciless attacks.

The exhibit features hundreds of front-page newspaper spreads from around the world in regards to the Sept. 11 attacks.

The 9/11 Exhibit features hundreds of front-page newspaper spreads from around the world in regards to the Sept. 11 attacks. Photograph: Individual

The exhibit also had on display a large piece of one of the World Trade Center buildings that remained after it collapsed, as well as the camera of Bill Biggart, a journalist who lost his life on 9/11 while attempting to capture news of the attack.

This quote is inscribed into the wall in the movie screening room at the 9/11 Exhibit, where you can sit and watch footage from that day, as well as post 9/11 interviews with survivors. Photograph: Individual

This quote is inscribed into the wall in the movie screening room at the 9/11 Exhibit, where you can sit and watch footage from the day of the attacks, as well as post 9/11 interviews with survivors. Photograph: Individual

The 9/11 Exhibit captured every ounce of terror and agony that the terrorist attacks caused our nation to feel on that unforgettable September morning. The feelings the exhibit left me are the new driving force behind my aspiration to become a prosecutor.

Final Take Home Multicultural/Diversity

SEO: Multicultural Sensitivity and Diversity Value

In a nation brimming with people of different cultures and ethnicities, it has become increasingly important for public relations professionals and organizations to be able to correctly and sensitively address people of other backgrounds in order to avoid offending them by stereotyping them with the use of commonly used, yet undesirable, informal classifications. Public relations organizations are also discovering that maintaining a wide range of diversity within the organization increases credibility and displays fundamental values of equality and balance.

PR Professionals recognize importance of diversity

As we know, the public is not limited to white Americans. Public relations professionals write stories about and communicate with people who come from many different backgrounds. It is important for professionals to know how to properly communicate with individuals of different ethnicities, genders, religion, ages, economic backgrounds, and sexual orientation to maintain professionalism and respectfulness while mitigating bias and prejudice. In addition, public relations professionals must also know the value of expanding diversity within their organization and how creating diversity is critical to building a strong ethical foundation.

Definition of Diversity

In the public relations industry, diversity is being able to indiscriminately cover many different groups of people from various communities, as well as having an organization comprised of employees of a wide range of demographics. According to PRSA, “the most important thing a public relations industry can have is a strong commitment to diversity.”

Many news organizations value diversity because it allows the organization to build a strong ethical foundation and establishes qualities of balance, trust, and fairness.

NBCUniversal passionately welcomes diversity into their organization by implementing programs and partnering with other organizations that value diversity and inclusion.


NBCUniversal has an entire website dedicated to its diversity and inclusion programs.

Photo source: 

“We at NBCUniversal believe that attracting and retaining the best, most diverse talent provides a significant competitive advantage in the media and entertainment industry. We also understand that a diverse and inclusive culture where individuals of all backgrounds can succeed is the responsibility of each and every employee.”


One of NBCUniversal’s programs is Stand-Up for Diversity, a stand up comedy show with comedians of diverse backgrounds.

Photo source: 

How to Build Background

One of the most important first steps public relations professionals can take in increasing diversity is to develop background. Developing background enables professionals to be more culturally educated, have a better sense of community issues, and expand their sources.

According to the Society of Professional Journalists, public relations professionals can develop background by doing the following:

  • Bring in the community by asking questions such as, “What do you wish we covered more?”
  • Pick up brochures from community organizations to find out what they do and what issues they find compelling
  • Go out and look around by attending events in a range of different communities
  • Listen to and read and learn about different populations
  • Speak directly to sources and ask them questions
  • Learn a new language

Communicating Issues

Public relations professionals need to pay close attention to guidelines for writing about special groups. Certain terms used to describe special groups can come off as derogatory and offensive. There are formal, sensitive, and professional ways to address special groups when writing about them. Special groups include people with disabilities, people who have AIDS, and people who are aging.

In Carole Rich’s “News Writing and Reporting,” she says that “Every group has some special needs and concerns about language.”

  • A man who uses a wheelchair is not handicapped. Instead, say “A man who uses a wheelchair for mobility” or “A man who has a disability that requires him to use a wheelchair.”
  • A person who has AIDS is not a victim but rather a person living with AIDS
  • People over the age of 65 should not be called “gray-haired” or “senior citizens” or treated as if certain accomplishments are astonishing because of their age.


Final Take Home Social Media Strategy

SEO: Social Media Branding and Job Searching

Social media is at the forefront of the public relations industry. It has become the largest tool in helping public relations professionals search for jobs and monitor prospective organizations they want to work for. However, in the eye of the public, professionals must be careful in how they brand themselves on their social media sites.

Social media becomes largest tool in public relations

Public relations professionals have taken social media to new levels. Social media has expanded considerably from its original purpose to socialize with friends and family. Professionals are now using social media to find jobs and network with organizations. But with the power that social media holds comes great responsibility. Professionals must always be careful to “brand,” or represent, themselves in a professional and respectable manner.

How to Use Social Media to Find Jobs

In today’s digital age, jobs are no longer found in the job listings section in the newspaper or on flyers posted on building walls. Hundreds of job opportunities are only a click or search away.

Twitter is a popular social media site used to find jobs. Once you login to your account, you can go to the search bar and type in #PRJobs or #PublicRelationsJobs and a list of tweets from different organizations will come up that advertise a range of available public relations positions.


This is how the jobs page looks on mediabistro

Photo source:

Mediabistro is another helpful media site that can be used to find jobs. Once you go to the site, you can click on the “Jobs” tab and then go to “Find a Job” and a list of job titles will appear with the related company or organization. You can then click on the jobs of your interest and it will bring you to the contact information of the company or the application.

Networking Using Social Media

In addition to finding jobs, public relations professionals are using social media to connect with potential organizations.

LinkedIn is the most popular social media site for networking purposes. LinkedIn is an online resume and portfolio, including a photo of you, a summary, experience, honors and awards, projects, skills and expertise, education, references, and any additional information.

On LinkedIn, you can connect with any public relations organization or official of your choice. Once you do this, you will be able to monitor what they post and familiarize yourself with their goals, values, and activities. This will enable you to get a feel for the company before you go in for an interview.


Image                                                                   This is an example of a professional’s LinkedIn page

Photo source:

Successful Branding

Beyond the confines of resumes, cover letters and interviews, employers are turning to social media to get to know their prospective employees. According to Career Builder, 37 percent of employers are using social media to screen potential job candidates. Employers want to see if the job seeker presents himself or herself professionally and if he or she is a good fit for the company culture.

Perhaps the most important reason why companies say they look at potential candidate’s social media sites is “to look for reasons not to hire a candidate.”

Reasons to not hire a candidate include:

  • Typing grammatically incorrect
  • Inappropriate language in posts
  • Derogatory or stereotypical language towards others
  • Inappropriate photos

For these reasons, it is imperative that public relations professionals brand themselves in a professional and respectable manner at all times. As a public relations professional, you are in the eye of the public. You should only post things that represent yourself in a positive light. A good tip for this is to pretend your boss will see everything you post. If you have to second-guess if you should post something or not, then you most likely shouldn’t post it

You never want to lose out on a job opportunity because of something you posted on your social media site. Employers will be eager to hire you if you successfully brand yourself on your social media sites.



A#3 Background

Rich Chapter 17 Coaching Tips for Profiles

  • Show source in action
  • Find a unifying theme that you can weave through your story
  • Plan an order for your story; consider organizing it by topics or time frames
  • Use visuals to enhance your story

GOAL Method

I used the GOAL method to develop the focus, theme, background, and turning point for my story

  • Goals – I outlined Cordon’s goal in the first paragraph of my story: “His goal was simple: to build a life for his young family and give them opportunities that they would not have in Guatemala.”
  • Obstacles – I included that Cordon had to battle learning English, qualifying for citizenship, finding a job to provide for his wife and soon child, and finding a place to live.
  • Achievements – I showed how Cordon persevered through his obstacles and now owns a beautifully decorated home, owns his own company, has put both his kids through college, and has maintained a strong relationship with his family
  • Logistics – I included the defining moment in Cordon’s life and information on his childhood that influenced his decision to make the journey from Guatemala to America

Face to Face Interviews

I conducted face to face interviews with my profile person.

I used the following tips during the interview process:

  • I was sensitive to Cordon’s Spanish ethnicity and made sure I did not use offensive language such as “immigrant”
  • I took detailed notes using a shorthand system
  • I asked Cordon to elaborate/go into depth on important topics
  • I asked open-ended questions to elicit more detailed responses
  • I made eye contact with Cordon when he was speaking
  • I verified spelling and other information
  • I thanked Cordon for his time by mailing him a thank-you letter

Secondary References

I visited Latia and NCSL to get more insight on Guatemala and updated information on growing Latino population in America and the obstacles they are presented with.

Ideas Generated for Web Story: Alternate Story Forms

  • Photo Gallery
  • Timeline
  • Poll

blank-timelinephoto gallery template

Think Piece (Take-Home Midterm)

SEO Head: Social Media Blogging in PR

Social media blog sites are at the forefront of today’s public relations industry. Sites such as mashable, mediabistro, and socialmediatoday are an invaluable resource offering a variety of information that ranges from social media news/utilization to networking strategies to PR job listings that all prospective public relations professionals should take advantage of in their career hunt.

Social media pros to be hired in no time

Aspiring public relations professionals who can master the use of social media blog sites are essentially jet-fueling their journey to finding a career. By learning to navigate through the tabs on these sites, future public relations professionals can take full advantage of a world full of helpful tools to connect, engage, grow, and survive in the public relations industry.


photo source:

Personal branding key to job hunt

“78 percent of company recruiters are using social media to hire potential employees/interns—a 20 percent increase in three years,” according to Veronica Segovia, the Employer Brand Marketer for VOCUS.

This alarming statistic highlights the essentialness in today’s digital age to successfully brand yourself in a professional, respectful, and promising manner on your personal social media sites. Soon-to-be public relations professionals need especially be cognizant of this, because they will one day be the face of a company. If they make poor social media posting decisions, they ultimately damage the credibility, professionalism, and reputation of the company they represent.

Prospective public relations professionals who can grasp and utilize the tips, specifically those outlined in media blogging sites, for successful social media use are well on their way to positively branding themselves and getting one step closer to finding their dream PR career.

Top Social Networks for Recruiting 2013:

  • LinkedIn (94 percent)
  • Facebook (65 percent)
  • Twitter (55 percent)

wct: 295