Chicago trip introduces Ambassadors, honors students to nearby media outlets
Media School Ambassadors and the freshman classes of Ernie Pyle and Media scholars traveled to Chicago Jan. 31-Feb. 1 to network with alumni and visit media outlets.
On Jan. 31, they attended an evening networking reception with Media School alumni. On Feb. 1, they split into groups and visited eight media organizations: the Chicago Tribune, Edelman, Framestore, Greentarget, Mode Project, rEvolution, Spark Performics and WGN.
By Victoria Updike
On the coldest day in Chicago in 50 years, Media School students and faculty braved the polar vortex to visit the granddaddy of all public relations firms: Edelman.
Rocketing up 63 stories in a high-powered elevator made our ears pop, but not our anticipation. Recruiters Alyssa Goldman, BAJ’12, and Cindy-Lee Pijoos found us in the reception area snapping photos of the incredible view — the Edelman office offers a bird’s-eye glimpse of beautiful Lake Michigan and Chicago’s most iconic architecture.
After ushering our group into a chic yet casual conference area, Goldman and Pijoos introduced us to a panel of young Edelman professionals. Two panelists were IU alumni, but all were eager to answer our questions and give us an inside look into the PR giant. Their specialties ranged from production to project management to creative.
We learned why this 66-year-old firm still dominates. Edelman’s cross-functionality and in-house capabilities allow its representatives to be independent — especially to take risks and maintain Edelman’s reputation for cutting-edge campaigns.
The firm also boasts digital leadership and state-of-the-art research capabilities. Edelman holds the trust of household-name clients such as Kellogg’s, Bush’s Beans, Huggies, HP, Samsung, Motorola and others. It also dedicates resources to nonprofits such as the American Heart Association.
When asked for their best career advice, each panelist had his or her answer ready to fire:
- “Don’t burn any bridges! PR is a small world, and you never know when you will need to work with someone again.”
- “Bring your authentic self to your work.”
- “Know the difference between mentors and champions, and put effort into both of those relationships.”
- “You are your own best advocate. If you want something, voice it.”
The main lesson we took away from our site visit to Edelman was Goldman’s sage advice: “You might think you know what you want to do, but expect it to change, and that’s cool and OK.”
Everyone we met had originally wanted a different career trajectory. But, as they learned about the PR industry through Edelman, new doors opened. Our panelists advised us to stay flexible, stay positive and not be afraid of change.
After all, this is the world of public relations. Embracing change is our raison d’etre.
By Jennie Grace Moran
Work hard. Fail forward. Be authentic. Embrace curiosity. Drive creative thinking. Grow as individuals and as a team.
These core values are painted on the walls of Greentarget’s office under corresponding buckets of brightly colored tokens. Each token corresponds to a different value, and employees who are seen embracing these values receive a token for it. This sort of enthusiasm and dedication made our visit to Greentarget lively and interesting.
We all introduced ourselves and were led around the office, which felt both open and exciting as well as familiar and intimate. We were led to a conference room and offered pastries and other refreshments as some of the employees filtered in.
After doing some research on the company beforehand, I felt like I had a general idea of what it specialized in. But after listening to some of the younger employees share their experiences, I was blown away.
It was encouraging to hear their stories and how they have adapted to the PR lifestyle. We also listened to some of the more experienced employees share their stories and how they felt Greentarget stood out from other PR firms and how the crisis management department varies greatly from the day-to-day experiences.
In my opinion, the best part of the whole experience was hearing from the new interns. One of the main draws of the Greentarget internships was the interaction with clients. Furthermore, I loved the idea behind the big project for the interns, which is to create a presentation for a communications strategy/PR campaign for an issue they’re passionate about. The interns’ passion and excitement were contagious.
As we left, we took a group picture in front of the Greentarget “plant wall” and received notebooks and fidget spinners emblazoned with the logo. All in all, I felt as though I gained an appreciation for a line of work I was unfamiliar with.
By Marie Helen Gryl
Mode Project is a small, independent video production company. Based in Chicago, it has eight core employees and hires freelancers as needed from job to job.
Founded in 2002, Mode Project’s philosophy is to tell a variety of stories while remaining small and nimble – hence the single-digit staff. It has certainly succeeded in telling many diverse stories in creative ways, working with organizations such as Northwestern University, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet and more.
The visit began with employees showing us one of Mode’s earlier projects for Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet. They went into detail about how they had convinced the company to let them tell the story of the grills – meant to sell to very wealthy people – from the perspective of the factory workers.
They explained that keeping the client in the loop is one of the most important elements of the workflow process. When they showed us a more recent piece for Northwestern University’s engineering program, they emphasized the importance of being informed themselves. In order to make the piece to the best of their abilities, they had to research engineering.
Mode Project makes a diverse range of videos not only in terms of content, but in terms of length. The longest film it has ever produced is a half-hour documentary piece. The shortest is a still picture.
The employees have a variety of skills, but sometimes freelance experts are required, such as animators.
There is a job for people of any background at Mode, whether they’re freelancing or looking to work full-time, from directing, producing, public relations and advertising.
Mode Project brings all those elements together to create a company with one ultimate goal: to tell stories.
By Joey Bowling
Media School students and faculty braved the cold on our way to Performics, a Publicis Media company. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. In the middle of a polar vortex, it seemed that everything was stuck in a perpetual state of cold. Numbness spread through me as I tried to stay optimistic. When I walked inside, I knew it was worth it.
No matter what I read on the website, nothing could have prepared me for the sleek, polished look of the inside of the building. As I showed my ID to security and got my guest sticker, I tried to take in everything I saw. The lightning fast ride up made my ears pop.
When I stepped out of the elevator, I was greeted by leafy foliage hanging from rafters in the ceiling. We were quickly ushered into a conference room, where food spreads awaited us. We walked to our seats and waited for the initial presentation to start.
As I listened to the speakers, the purpose and vision of Performics began to become clear to me. This is an advertising agency that specializes in directing people to a product and helping people realize what they can buy.
Several of the employees we met had their own accounts, such as Motorola and Toyota. Some of them preferred having one account to dedicate themselves to, while others enjoyed the hustle and bustle of juggling multiple clients.
The employees described a workplace culture they were enamored with. They talked about Nerf gun fights to help stimulate the mind. They even discussed how exciting their work for the community was.
The workers discussed the exchange programs Publicis facilitates between the different international sites, as well as the weeklong training seminar new hires go through to ensure they know how the company works.