Open Up Your Options


February 3, 2016 by Kathryn Kuttis

IMG_0223It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a deadline. We’ve all been there. Panic races through your body. Your mind is blank. The page is blank.  A small inner voice tells you that all the best ideas, jobs, internships or classes have already been taken. Given enough time, these thoughts can start to seem real.

In an article for The Federalist, Rachel Lu writes about the popularity of public panics and how they reflect our collective unease. Despite our worries about global warming and terrorist attacks, she points out that we have “opportunities for fulfillment that have been available to only very few in the history of the world.” Managing panic so that we can look for opportunity is one of the challenges of modern life.

As students in my J452/552 class move toward graduation, many of them are thinking about career planning. How they think about it is as it important as what they do to prepare. Some students thrive through this transition and others struggle. None of them need to panic. In my experience, the key is to be receptive to new ideas that can open doors and create new possibilities.

This week’s kernels (what’s a kernel?) invite students to consider the ever expanding ways to use a communications degree. Don’t panic about finding work after graduation, use your hard earned-research skills, social media know-how and intuition to identify emerging communication trends and open up your options.

S.E.C. Is Criticized for Lax Enforcement of Climate Risk Disclosure (NYT) Interested in energy or the environment? Companies are going to need help understanding new regulations and finding ways to talk with investors about the effects of climate change. What other career opportunities are talking shape around climate change?

Lego, In A First, Will Unveil A Minifigure In A Wheelchair (NPR) Would you like to work for the world’s most powerful brand? They want to show more diversity in their offerings. What other organizations are paying attention to diversity? How does communication help them navigate this new terrain?

Film industry can be ‘narrow minded’, says John Boyega’s agent (BBC) What happens when organizations no longer reflect the world accurately? How have the Oscars responded to criticism? What could they be doing better? How has communications played a role in the discussion? How are actors using the issue to promote their own interests?

How an Inspired Late-Night Idea at Notre Dame Began Helping Those in Need One Shirt, One Body at a Time (Sports Illustrated) When nonprofits find a way to make an authentic and useful connection why is it important to let audiences know about it? How did this campaign represent Notre Dame? What other university

How Studying Abroad Makes You A Better Leader (Forbes) Chances are your next potential employer needs to think globally. Can you? To be competitive in the workforce, you’ll need to work your worldwide connectivity. What can students do to cultivate and promote their worldview?

Massachusetts Mobilizes to Treat Addicted Moms ( As state legislators work to improve the criminal justice system even the smallest victories need to be reported in the press. Communication professionals tell the stories, raise awareness among voters and secure funding to support these programs. How could other states be tackling these complex problems?

In Defense of Instagramming Your Food (Atlantic) Imagery is playing an increasing role in our cultural communication. How did Instagram capitalize on a trend to build brand awareness? Who else uses images to speak with their audiences?

FBI joins Flint drinking water investigation (DetroitFreePress) When a city’s water supply is contaminated to save money, there is a lot of explaining to do. How are communicators working to unravel the details of the criminal investigation? Where were the regulators? How could this happen? What do people need to know? As environmental crimes are detected who is responsible for talking about therm?

The Zika Virus Is Coming. Here’s What You Need To Know (NDTV) How do health officials talk about a rapidly spreading outbreak? Is the media working to inform or panic audiences? How do global audiences know when to react to news and when to ignore it?

How to pair wine with your favorite Girl Scout cookies (LATimes) Now here’s a creative way to get the word out about this season’s Girl Scout cookie sales. Is this a hit or a miss? What could possibly be in conflict with this pairing?

The Real Winners and Losers of the Iowa Caucuses: Social Media Edition (TheBlaze) How are the presidential candidates stacking up on social media? Communication pros are working to analyze the results. What do they mean and why should we care what social media thinks? Is this the way to influence voters? Who has the best strategies?

America’s favorite coffee trend may be coming to an end (WashingtonPost) As a communicator, what advice do you have for the company? How could they respond? What other factors are playing a role in their sales slump? What do you think the CEO should say in their next press release?





One thought on “Open Up Your Options

  1. jaeriley says:

    SO tempted to write on “In Defense of Instagramming Your Food.”
    Guilty of being “that friend!” But, credit to Alexandre Gauthier (Grenouillère) and Jo-Ann Makovitzky (Tocqueville) for encouraging foodies to be “in the moment.”

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If you share an interest in public relations, media and visual design, this might be a good place for you to hang out. I started this blog to exchange ideas with my students at the University of Oregon. They keep me (and maybe you too) at the forefront of social media, visual communication and career development. Here you'll find our best ideas, links and learning as we write, create and blog our way through a course on Strategic PR Communication.

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