Professional Interview-Brandi Wigley

April 2, 2010 at 4:02 pm (Assignments) (, , , )

I’m fortunate enough to be interning at a place with so many talented individuals I thought I might try doing a series of sit-down interviews with the marketing team at the Atlanta History Center because of the diversity of their PR education, personal background and internship experience.

To start the series I have decided to first interview my boss Brandi Wigley. Mrs. Wigley is the Community Initiatives Manager with the Atlanta History Center and Margaret Mitchell House.

The opportunity to sit down with my boss never arose until this assignment was presented. I’m glad that I was able to talk with her more about the different ways I see her perform her job. Here are some questions Brandi answered during our chat:

What’s a typical week like?

No week is ever typical for me, which I love.  I have never been one to like a monotonous schedule.

Last week I setup meetings with several different hotels in the area.  I met with some last week and will meet with others this week.  These meetings served and introductions to their staff to the offerings we have on our campus.  I also wanted to build relationships with them so that we are on the forefront on their minds when visitors come and stay with them.

I serve as the main link to the “outside world” for the AHC and MMH – building relationships and working as a facilitator.   Most partnerships are waged by me.  These partnerships can include hotels, convention and visitors bureaus, travel organizations, and other cultural institutions in the area.

I am the main contact for festivals and community events.  Last week I secured a sponsorship for the Decatur Book Festival.  I have to logistically plan for any presence we might have there. 

Last week I also received the contract for the Midtown Festival of the Arts – which we are also a sponsor.  I have begun coordinating with all of the departments for logistical priorities that will take place during the festival including planning the Children’s Literary Component of the Festival, Free Admission for all attendees, Docents that will lead the tours, planning for the Cultural Arts Kids Section of the festival, Security, and Special Events.  A ton goes into the planning for these types of events.  It is my job to make sure that the event goes smoothly.

Tell me about a project you worked on that you are especially proud of.

There are two projects that I would like to highlight.

One being “Atlanta’s Gone with the Wind Tour.”  This tour has been me and my partners’ “baby.”  We have been working on the planning process of this tour since conception.  The tour allows groups to purchase a packaged tour which includes tickets to Road to Tara Museum, Stately Oaks Plantation, Gone With the Wind City tour of Jonesboro, Margaret Mitchell House, Atlanta History Center, Atlanta Cyclorama and Mary Mac’s Tea Room.  This tour is the largest Gone With the Wind tour that has ever been put together.  It has required a lot of planning with the other organizations, and a ton of promotion.  We have gotten International attention and the State has been very supportive of this endeavor – helping us to spread the word about the tour.  We just know that it is going to be a huge success in the group tour market.

The second one I would like to highlight is one that is currently going on.  I have worked closely with the Boys and Girls Clubs in Atlanta to do a huge promotion, reaching out to ALL locations in Atlanta. It’s in conjunction with our new exhibition, Let Your Motto Be RESISTANCE: African American Portraits. 

I have worked with all of the clubs to get them “activity sheets” which encourages the kids to draw a picture of themselves and write “their motto for life.”  All entries will receive “One free child’s admission” and the winner of the contest will receive a free summer camp at the Atlanta History Center as well as a family membership. 

It’s exciting to get the kids involved and give them a chance to experience the exhibits in a different way. 

What do you do to keep current in the PR industry?

I read blogs, attend industry meetings – and ask my interns what they are learning in classes.

What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR?

I wish I would have known more about the importance of networking.  If I had known how far networking would take me, I would have begun collecting business cards in college.

How important is writing in your career?

EXTREMELY important.  Knowing how to write (and write well) makes such a difference in my career. From media to relationship building, writing is the main link that tells people what you have to offer.

What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?

  1. Every organization is different.  Don’t be set in your ways.  Learn how the organization works and then be flexible.
  2. NETWORK as much as possible
  3. Its okay not to know everything.  Ask questions.

Did your education prepare you for working in PR? How?

Yes, very much so I would say.  My education taught me how to build mutually beneficial relationships.  It taught me the importance of a company’s reputation.  It taught me how to interact with media… and as much as I hated doing them – media contact lists have served me well. 

A great deal of my role here at the Atlanta History Center has to do with relationship building and presence in the community – from public speaking, PR Writing, PUBS, to event management… all of these classes have served me well.

You started your career in hotels, how did you make the switch to non-profits especially museums?

If you had asked me high school or college if I thought I would ever work in a museum, specifically a history museum – I probably would have laughed at you… and so would my teachers.

I actually did my internship with the Cobb County Convention and Visitors Bureau and immediately I knew that I liked the travel and tourism industry.  I was lucky enough to land a job at a local hotel as Director of Sales.

While I was there, I learned even more about the tourism industry.  I became involved with the Regional Tourism Association, the Atlanta Metro Travel Association (AMTA) and began networking with other tourism organizations.  I met my future colleague with the Atlanta History Center, Sean at one of the networking events and the rest is history (pun intended).

What are the similarities and differences of community initiatives and public relations?

Public Relations is all about building mutually beneficial relationships while maintaining the reputation of the organization through communication.  This is exactly what I do. 

What are some things that you wish people knew or understood about community initiatives or public relations?

Many people don’t understand what I do as Community Initiatives Manager.  They think I push flyers or just attend festivals.  While I do distribute collateral and do attend festivals, I also wear many other hats – I promote every department, serving as a sort of “walking talking billboard” for the History Center.  I am involved with special events, education, historic houses… It requires me to think in broader terms.  I have TONS going on at all times.  Our department has several different “plates spinning in the air” at once. 

This isn’t a job that I am ever going to become rich off of, but its definitely rewarding.

Brandi Wigley and Miss Piggy from the exhibit Jim Henson's Fantastic World


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Styrofoam and Social Media

March 4, 2010 at 1:56 am (Assignments) (, , )

Twenty years ago (possibly even less) marketing terms like brand and branding would have only applied to business but, with the constant changing of technology (social media specifically) these terms have evolved to include people too. Students like you and me are now a brand and our online presence is helping to shape that.

In the realm of social media I like to think of myself as ‘modernly old-school,’ I approach these sites with cautious resistance. This could be both a good and a bad thing. The good thing is that my brand is closely controlled by me; I am not where I don’t want me to be. The bad thing is that I am difficult to find, my future employers could think that I’m trying to hide something, I’m not. 

Now let’s move on to the important stuff!

 The Benefits of Social Media:

 1.Networking.  Two websites, New Media Hire and Partner Technology; cite Linkedin as the best tool for networking. The fantastic thing about the internet, social media, and networking is that there are different venues for presenting your brand. For instance, myspace has been used for artists, photographers, musicians, and other content creators (New Media Hire).

 2. Relationships. I’ve been reading about several ways of implementing social media into my internship and the fantastic thing about this ‘new’ form of communication is that it opens up a dialogue between company and customer. Companies are using blogs and other on-line media as ways of building mutually beneficial relationships with their clients.

 3. Job postings. Twitter is becoming a big outlet for job ad distribution (New Media Hire).  Hiring managers have turned to these microblogging sites so they don’t have to weed through so many resumes (Partner Technology). Less resumes means a better chance for you!

 4. Know before you go. Social networking sites afford a unique opportunity to see what’s important to the company that you’re applying for. My dad takes me to a lot of his company stuff to ‘trophy me off’, before we get there I like knowing a little info about the key people at the table. Boss to the left is a University of Florida Alum, we chit chat about those things. (Keep up with the news). You want to go into your meeting with people so that “they know that you roll like a boss” (This is what one of my boss’s told me while I was preparing for a Familiarization tour)

 The Negatives of Social Media:

1.Think Styrofoam.  Styrofoam takes forever to breakdown, in fact it never decomposes! ( Think of what you post online like Styrofoam, it won’t go away as easily as you think it will. Jeff Lipshultz’s Blog discusses this a little more.

While looking for more information on the ills of social media I came across this PowerPoint that I thought was extremely informative and creative in its explanation of social networking.

Here is the link to the powerpoints creator Ms. Annalaura Brown.

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“As If!”: Body Language and the Interview

January 28, 2010 at 6:50 pm (Assignments) (, , , , , , , )

5,480,000. This is how many results you will generate if you type ‘body language and interviews’ into Bing’s search engine.

While I was going through one of the sites dos and don’ts list I thought to myself, “I’ve never done a proper office interview.” You might be wondering how I got my internship if I didn’t properly interview. I did what I would consider an unconventional interview; I met my boss at GSU’s PR Mocktails event. Through this process I’ve been learning that, yes it’s okay to play by the rules, but you have to rip out the essential pages and write your own book. The thought of deviating from the convention scares me, but the last year has been economically scary, so why not burn a few dated books. Hey! Everyone likes a good bonfire!

Back to the Mocktail

I’m secretly a shy person (probably why I still cling to the book of convention), so I had one of our professors introduce me to the person I wanted to talk to. After that, I presented myself as an energetic, self-motivated learner, who was truly interest in the museum world. My then possible employer presented me with her business card; I then followed by saying, “Here let me give you my awesome business card.” It wasn’t as awesome as I could have been, but I was excited about it.

My second interview with my boss happened to be a phone interview. Yes, they are great because you can have all of your information in front of you, but it does have unique challenges that an in person interview does not have. For instance, moments of silence while you collect your thoughts can be misconstrued as not understanding or hearing the question.

Phone interviews I feel should be prepped for just like in person interviews.

•Dress the part. The idea of landing a job in your PJs is cool but it doesn’t help you get in the game (sorry for all of the athletics references, the Super Bowl’s coming up, GO SAINTS!)
•Use facial expressions. The true tone and meaning of your remarks can get lost without the visual of your lovely face. In my younger glee club days (jk!) we used to have to go on stage with these larger-than life, deer in headlights look on our face, so that everyone in the audience could see our faces. Also, the muscles in your face affect the pitch of your voice.
•Have someone you don’t know (friends parent, etc.) practice a mock phone interview with you.

Here are three articles that discuss body language:

•Forbes: Is Your Body Betraying Your In Job Interviews?
• Body Language During a Job Interview
•MSN w/ Body Language and the Interview

Points that were mentioned repeatedly were posture and body position. A funny way I remember body language is from the movie Clueless. The teachers are having coffee on the park bench and Cher is telling Dionne that both teachers are really into each because of their body language.

Just remember, you might be saying one thing while your body is saying another. Happy Interviewing!

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A Transistioning Me

January 15, 2010 at 5:52 pm (Assignments) (, , , , )

Hi! I’m Shannon, I also call myself the “Southern Girl,” because of a new blog that I started over the winter holiday. Instead of shutting down this blog that was originally created for my PR Publishing class I’ve decided to transition it into my Practicum blog.

Here’s why I’m the “Southern Girl,” I was born and raised in the South (30mins from Florida), I attend Georgia Southern University, and I love the University of Southern California Football.

Currently, I am the Marketing Intern at the Atlanta History Center. You should come by, we would love to have you. We are working on so many exciting exhibits this year. Check out my other blog(mentioned earlier to see how the internship is going).
In May I will be graduating with my frist degree in Public Relations, then starting my second degree in Spanish. One of my dreams is to work for the Disney Corporation.

I’m really excited about the information Prof. Nixon has asked us to blog about.

~ Shannon

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The Meat of a Magazine

November 30, 2009 at 2:09 pm (Assignments) (, , , )

I mentioned in the previous post that I would give more details about certain parts of the magazine. I came across information about the front cover and the back cover; and I thought this look ridiculous if I posted about that, so, I’m not. What I wanted to write about were the inside and outside pages.

Inside Pages

These are pages that carry feature articles and are often designed as spreads. The features found on these pages are editorials of information that are relevant to the events occuring in society. The placement of these articles is what differentiates them from other pieces in the magazine. Another aspect of the feature is that it ties the textual message with a visual message to explore a topic or tell a story.

Most features are spreads. Spreads are two pages of a publication that are designed as one visual unit. These two facing pages allow for increased design options. With these increased design options are the ability to break and bend design principles like keep white spaces to the outside and consisten spaces beetween related items. There are two types of spreads a photo spread which is mainly photographs and an article spread which is primarily text.

Grids are used by designers to provide a structued but varied look to the layout of a finished magazine.  Linda P. Morton states that grids are advantageous because they do not require that individual pages be redesigned from issue to issue. One of the best uses of a grid is the baseline grid. The grid is set to your text’s leading size or half of it and then locked in place so that items align horizontally.

Outside Pages
These are pages that are toward the front and back of the magazine, they surround the feature. Readership is improved with these pages because the reader has to pass through these pages to get to the feature and they typically are similar in each issue. For instance, I know that on the page opposite the back cover of every Sports Illustrated there is an editorial piece that is  brief yet extremely insightful.

Front Matter Pages
Simple enough, these are the pages cloeset to the front of the magazine. Commonly found amongst these pages are title pages, table of contents, letters from the editor and the like. The title page is that long list of names and job titles as well and publisher’s name found after the first few advirtisements and the table of contents. The letter from the editor could be considered the preface, it explains why that particular publication was written and produced.

Black Matter Pages
These are the pages closest to the back of the magazine. The items most commonly found in this matter that is undetectable by its emitted radiation (astro humor).  Maybe it’s called black matter pages because people don’t always think to look at or for them in a magazine. What you would find here are all the things found in the back of a book like the appendix, bibliographies, glossaries, indexed, directories, and all that other fun stuff that gets lost in space.

My favorite part of a magazine used to be the feature, now it’s the black matter pages. (in the magazines I read that’s were all the information about designers and pricing of clothing is found)

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“The Language of the Image”

October 19, 2009 at 1:30 pm (Assignments) (, , , , , , )

Photojournalist Dirk Halstead (left) and David Hume (right) in Vietnam

Photojournalist Dirck Halstead (left) and David Hume (right) in Vietnam

For class this week we have to blog about the “Language of the Image,” from I underestimated how long this course and the blogging would take (course is about two hours). So, I have decided to give myself a little pre-test to see what I know on the subject the “Language of the Image,” before I take the course and quiz this afternoon. Shall we begin?

  • Images are timeless
  • Odd objects in photos look more appealing than even. A vase of five flowers is more appealing than a vase with only four or six flowers.
Chelsea, Aunt Michelle, Mom

Chelsea, Aunt Michelle, Mom

  • Items in the picture should be balanced. If something is physically taking up one side of the picture the other side should be balanced by a similar object or smaller objects that balance out the picture.
polar bear in the city

polar bear in the city

  • Photographing with a light source behind the subjects will put the subjects in a shadow. Ever have everyone and your cousin in a photograph, have a perfect shot only to find out after it has been printed that you can barely see anyone’s faces? The culprit to this photo disappointment could have been the light.
GUS and I

GUS and I

Once I finish the course and the quiz I’ll let you know how I did and what I learned!


After The Quiz

After taking this only course I’ve learned quite a bit more about photojournalism than I did before. Before, all photos were seen through the perspective of what I liked not necessarily the composition of the image. There are three distinct types of photos, informational, passive, and active.

Informational photos don’t tell a story they provide visual record of a person, place, or event taking place. An example of this type of image would be a speaker at a conference.

 USC's coach Pete Carroll leading the "Trojan Walk"

USC's coach Pete Carroll leading the "Trojan Walk"

Passive photos are primarily publicity photos. They have staged by the photograph and are noticeably static. NewU states that passive photos should never be passed off as active photos. An example of this would be some of the billboards in Las Vegas advertising shows.

publicity photo for Bette Midler's show in Las Vegas

publicity photo for Bette Midler's show in Las Vegas

The last type of photograph is considered to be active because it shows situations that are occurring to real people in real time. Images rescue works going into the flood zones of Hurricane Katrina would be considered active photographs.

Some of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Some of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

The most interesting thing I learned from the course was the point of entry. This is the particular angle at which a photograph is taken. You may have the same subject but a different arrangement of the subjects changes the mood and emotion of the photograph. The example used in NewsU was that of a baby being born. One point of entry was the baby’s birth and the other was the emotion on the fathers face.

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September 28, 2009 at 1:05 pm (Assignments) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

rihanna typefaceHow much time do you spend thinking about fonts? If you’re like most people you only think of fonts when you’re typing up documents on the computer.  Honestly, the most I ever think of fonts is when I’m looking for the tab in Microsoft Word to change the font from Calibri back to Times New Roman.  Or the time I spent about 45 minutes trying to set TNR as the default. That little quest was a fail (if you know how to make another font your default please let me know).

There are people who spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about fonts, I mean how we would have gotten those great sites with millions of fonts? My focus isn’t on how the create the font, but the many factors that go into a designer choosing a font for a publication. Linda P. Morton’s book Strategic Publication: Designing for Public Relations describes fonts as a family of type styles that share the same name and distinct characteristics.

In class one day we watched a great video about the different personalities of fonts.

Other factors go into choosing a font besides its personality. The designer must be able to answer questions about the organization’s mission, dominant attitudes, core values, as well as the key message they want to communicate with the font. Two factors that should also be noted are the type of publication the font will be used for.  Whether your publication is online are a hard copy effects how it will be received by the publics. Morton mentions how italics don’t “reproduce well on computer monitors,” but works well in print and should be used only for emphasis; or how a reader’s computer may default to a more common font if it doesn’t have the publications specialized font.

For print publications like business cards fonts should range in size from 7-8 pt for the address and 9-12 pt for your name and 12-15 pt for your organization’s name. The fonts for brochures should range between 12 pt for body text with the headline text set at 14 pt.

Now you know some things to consider when choosing font but do you know where to go to get those great fonts just waiting to be chosen? is a great site that has free fonts. This link also has easy steps on how to download the fonts to Windows Vista.

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Reaching My Publics

September 21, 2009 at 1:44 pm (Assignments) (, , , , , , )

The question was, how would I segment my clients publics? Well, to get to that answer we have to take a look at the client.


Backpack Buddies is a national program that was created by the Second Harvest to feed school children over the weekends. Without daily school meals many of these children go hungry on Saturday and Sunday. The beauty about Backpack Buddies is that many communities around the nation are working together to end hunger for these kids. Statesboro happens to be one of those communities. While there are two known locations in town operating a Backpack Buddies, one being the First Baptist Church and the other being Pittman Park United Methodist Church, this brochure will focus on their  partnership with the Episcopal Campus Ministries at Georgia Southern University.

With these many differnt groups working together to eradicate hunger, a few types of publics will have to be segmented to to best reach the program’s objectives. There are several ways to figure out segmentation because there are three types of public characteristics as outlined by Linda P. Morton in her book Strategic Publications. The first is demographics, things that you can not change about yourself like your age, race and gender. Second, psychographics; these are your personality and psychological characteristics. Lastly, sociographics are the groups that you belong to; this characteristic also influences how you perceive visual messages.

Taking these characteristics into consideration I have decided to segment my public by life stages. Life stages are the particular points of progression in the human life that are mainly identified by age. I want to focus on the provisional adulthood stage (18-29) and the second adulthood (55-85+).  The brochure design will be a challenge since both groups like markedly different things as far as information presentation is concerned. In this challenge maybe two brochures will have to be used.

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September 14, 2009 at 2:10 pm (Assignments) (, , , , )

The word CRAP doesn’t bring to mind the image of sunshine and daisies. But the thought of following CRAP seems counter-intuitive. But as a PR Publications student CRAP is fundamental in all design decisions. The letters of this dirty little acronym actually stand for Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity. Four things that make publications appear clean, concise, and consistent.

What I want to focus on is Repetition. I know that I appreciated consistency with in a publication. Basic Principles of Visual Design mention how repetition can unify documents.

Some points on repetition from Robin WilliamsNon-Designer’s Design Book.

  • Repeat some elements of design throughout the piece through color, shape, texture, and bullets
  • It helps to organize information

Oil painting by Thom Evans titled Repetition

Repetition mainly concerns itself not with the repetition of text, but with the consistent use of visual elements on a page. For instance, all of the sub-headers on a page should be the same font; all bullets should remain the same throughout the document.  When I think of repetition I think of visual consistency. The benefit of this is that it improves readability of the document. On several occasions I have found myself reading something and becoming frustrated because the layout of the article was not consistent.

Another thing to remember with repetition is that just because the layout of a document is the same throughout doesn’t mean that it is boring. Repetition allows for creativity. The repeption allows for the readers eye to led throughout a document. So that reader frustration doesn’t ensue.

Repetition=Consistency=Reader Happiness

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