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    Looking for Experts to Zoom in to Media Relations Class

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    A message from Brendan O’Hallarn, Ph.D.

    Old Dominion’s Department of Communication & Theatre Arts, home to public relations at the University and the source of many current and future members of PRSA Hampton Roads, is rolling out a new curriculum for its students this fall.

    Dr. Ted Gournelos, associate professor and our new division head in what is now known as Strategic Communications, led a comprehensive overhaul of our course offerings, which will be delivered to students starting this fall. The new curriculum reflects the rapidly changing reality of our profession, incorporating significantly more digital, marketing, social media and hands-on application of integrated communication campaigns. It’s exciting!

    Entering my fourth year in the Department, I interact with many of the talented professionals in PRSA Hampton Roads in my role as faculty adviser for ODU PRSSA. I took over leadership of the club and am still guided by my colleague Carol Hanna Branch, APR, also a PRSA Hampton Roads member.

    We’re eager to talk about the changes to our platform in the months ahead. I’m writing today, however, with a plea.

    The course I was responsible for developing, and will teach, is Media Relations. It is specifically focused on interaction with external publics – covering topics like pitching, interviews, official statements and public events, data analytics, as well as emerging fields such as social media influencers.

    Many of you know that I am not shy about approaching PRSA members for practical opportunities for our students. Through other classes, and through internships, many of our students have gained valuable experience and insight from you. I hope this will continue, specifically in Media Relations this fall.

    Our class is being delivered online via Zoom this fall. That is both a challenge and an opportunity. Using an online platform makes the type of connection I hope for in my classes more challenging through a Zoom link. However, it’s far simpler for experts in any field to visit our classes virtually, which I plan to take full advantage of.

    If you would be willing to serve as an expert guest on the topics that will comprise the class, please email me at [email protected]. I would love to expose these emerging professionals in strategic communications to your many years of experience.

    Thank you, and I can’t wait to see you all at a face-to-face meeting someday!

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