Mock Interviews Give Students Professional Feedback

29 11 2010

By Tom Hanaway (@tomhanaway)

Wearing professional attire, portfolios in hand, and perhaps some butterflies in their stomaches, Journalism students sat down for interviews with some of the most prominent writers, PR professionals and advertisers in Wisconsin on Nov. 9 for the department’s mock interviews.

Mock interviews is an opportunity for Journalism students to practice their interviewing skills with real employers and learn what skills they need to improve on. This semester more than 20 students were interviewed by people from companies like Red Shoes PR, Coalesce Marketing and the Post-Crescent.


Mock Interviews

Students were interviewed by professionals during mock interviews. They were later critiqued and given advice about interviewing.


Barb Benish, Journalism lecturer and internship coordinator at UW Oshkosh, helps organize the mock interviews every semester. Benish said these kinds of interviews are essential for students so they can be fully prepared for post-college life.

“They offer journalism students a great  opportunity to learn what they are doing right and wrong, before they  graduate and apply for jobs,” Benish said. “Students receive invaluable feedback about their resume, cover letter, portfolio and interview answers.”

She said that mock interviews is a unique chance that only college students get to experience and learn from.

“It’s important since, once you graduate, employers aren’t likely to  tell you what you did wrong and why you didn’t get a job offer,” Benish said.


Mock Interviews


Senior Monica Jazwiecki said the process gave her motivation to seek out employers and she now knows how to act during interviews.

“I would definitely recommend it, it’s laid back and gave me a lot of confidence to go out and finally start applying for jobs and internships,” Jazwiecki said. “I gained a lot of confidence in my interviewing and learned that if I relax, I make a lot more sense.”


Mock Interviews


Junior Samantha Strong said she received a lot of helpful advice through mock interviews that she never would have received otherwise.

“They gave me a lot of constructive criticism, which was hard to take at first, but I really needed it,” Strong said. “Barb also tore apart my resume, which was good, because it also needed it.”

She said she highly encourages all Journalism students to try out mock interviews to better prepare them for their future.

“I would absolutely recommend this to other students because it is a great way to practice interviewing,” Strong said. “Although it is sort of nerve-wracking before hand, I got a lot of great advice that I know will help me in the future when I am looking for a job.”

The next set of mock interviews will be Wednesday, April 6, 2011 from 2-5 p.m. Read the mock interviews pamphlet to learn more.


Black Friday Deals Through Social Media

24 11 2010

This Black Friday the best deals and coupons won’t be found in shopping catalogs or in the newspaper. More and more retail stores are using social media applications to let their consumers save money, while at the same time having shoppers announce to their friends and family where they are spending their money.




When you use sites like Facebook and Foursquare, you can save on your purchases at stores like American Eagle, Hollister, JC Penney, Sears and more. Read the story from Mashable to see where you can save simply by “checking in.”

Any other deals you came across? Other sites where you can save big? Let us know.

Debra Stauffacher from Echo Market Media Answers the Question ‘Why am I Learning This?’

23 11 2010

By Melony Prothero (@prothm69)

This semester’s Journalism 353 course, Advertising Media, welcomed another guest speaker with an influential voice in the ad industry. Debra Stauffacher, owner and founder of the media-planning firm Echo Market Media, stopped by to help us intertwine our inside-the-classroom learning about media planning with her real-world experiences.

Debra started out in the financial services field where she acquired many transferable skills that she then applied while working at local advertising agencies and in-house production studios.  When the economy turned, she was presented with an interesting option of self-employment. She founded Echo Market Media, where she strives to provide marketing-minded media strategies.


Echo Market Media


During our class discussion Debra correlated past experiences with various companies and brands into her discussion that made textbook talk come to life in discussing all the aspects of media planning.  She spoke to our class about the “deep dive” into the media planning process, media objectives, media strategies, media buying, media management, and benefits of media planner and buyer services.

An interesting aspect about Debra’s discussion was when she made a statement about wanting to pursue training in new media, and found herself engaging in an on-going self-inflicted learning process.

Journalism is such a vast field that needs various types of people to contribute. It was great to hear someone’s real life situation and how everyday the things we are learning in just this one class are applied everyday by a true advertising professional.

J-students Tour Chicago PR Firm Burson-Marsteller

22 11 2010

Katie SteilBy Katie Steil (@ksteil2)

Students from Dr. Henderson’s Journalism 319 class, Public Relations Case Studies, and members of the Public Relations Student Society of America had the opportunity to tour Burson-Marsteller in downtown Chicago on Friday, Nov. 12.

Thanks to B-M employee and UW Oshkosh Journalism Department alumnus Shane Arman, UWO joined Loyola University, Columbia College and DePaul University on the tour.

I attended the tour as both a student in the Journalism 319 class and a member of PRSSA.  Overall, everyone who toured the firm learned a lot. For those of you who missed out, here is an overview of the morning.

Our tour started with a brief explanation about the history of B-M (one of the largest PR firms in the world), an overview of their clients and a description of their practices.

Harold Burson, who was a freelance PR professional, and Bill Marsteller, who was the owner of Marsteller Advertising, founded Burson-Marsteller in 1953.  Some of their main clients today are Discover Financial, Boeing, McDonald’s and Hormel. Yes, the maker of Spam is one of their largest accounts.

They have a wide variety of practices including public affairs, corporate and financial communication, advertising, healthcare, technology, brand marketing, and media relations to name a few.

After giving us a brief overview of the firm, the presentation moved into the advice portion.  The advice was focused mainly around The Harold Burson Summer Internship Program (HR at B-M will answer questions about the internship on Twitter if you include #HBSI2011 in your tweet). The human resources team of Ashley Greene and Erin Trier did a great job of explaining how to be a stand out when applying for the competitive summer internship program. The advice they gave is useful for any position you apply for, whether it is an internship or an entry-level job.

The first piece of advice they shared was to find your niche.  They suggested finding an area of public relations that you are interested in and getting an internship or volunteer experience in that area.

They stressed being connected on social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn.  Being connected demonstrates that you follow what’s happening in your profession and are up-to-date on current events.

The last two bits of advice they shared about being a standout are to come polished and prepared, and be ready to communicate.   These are two key areas of any interview.  Arrive on time and before you sit down to interview, think of important messages you would like to convey about yourself during the interview.

After the presentation, we got to take a walk through B-M’s very modern office space in downtown Chicago.  They had cool, modern pictures on the walls and funky furniture that most of us on the tour didn’t even know how to sit in.

To wrap up our trip, Shane took us to Lou Malnati’s for some Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. It was the perfect way to end our insightful stint in the Windy City.



UW Oshkosh students on the Burson-Marsteller tour posing with the Harold Burson bobblehead doll.

Ad Club Meets the Voice Behind the Pillsbury Doughboy

18 11 2010

By Monica Jazwiecki (@monicajazz)

This past Tuesday the UW Oshkosh Advertising Club made the trek to a Fox River Ad Club event at the Grand Meridian in Appleton, to hear JoBe Cerny speak on creating “something out of nothing.” Cerny is well known for his voice as the Pillsbury Doughboy and the silent actor in the old “Cheers” commercials.  He even asked the audience to poke his belly, and believe me, he’s still got the cute little “whoo-hoo” giggles.

The speech was mostly about creativity and where to find inspiration.  One thing Cerny wanted us to walk away with was the idea that “thinking is hard.”  This sounds simple, but was a great transition into the real message that creativity doesn’t rely on anything but your own thoughts and visions.

This could mean talking to imaginary friends in the shower, watching the clouds float by, or whatever it takes to get your creative juices flowing and to find your own “happy place.”  Cerny also pushed the notion that no one can tell you what you can’t do, and if they do, use that as fuel to prove them wrong.

Cerny offered to meet up with Ad Club after the event, and gave us some tips on interviewing with large companies and how to set you apart.  He said to be available, create goals to strive toward, and know exactly what you want in the future.

UWO Ad Club members are officially part of the Fox River Advertising Club and affiliated with the American Advertising Federation. We will continue to attend events and share our experiences.

Ad Club meets Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. in Clow 152, the Journalism Reading Room.

Ad Club

Members of the Ad Club met with JoBe Cerny, voice of the Pillsbury Doughboy.

From Prison to the Beach: Students Learn “Beyond Classroom Walls”

17 11 2010

By Tom Hanaway (@tomhanaway)

Last Thursday was the “Beyond Classroom Walls” event, a night showcasing projects done by students outside of the typical classroom setting, like the beach, a historic theater, and prison.

A presentation was given in the Reeve Theatre to highlight five projects that were completed by students from the College of Letters in Science, including Journalism students, who created an advertising campaign for the Grand Opera House; Radio-TV-Film students, who made a documentary film about a family of life-saving volunteers; Biology students, who tested the water from lakes all over Wisconsin; and more.

One of the biggest presentations of the night was about the documentary, “Airboat Rescue 1: When the Ice Breaks,” a film made by RTF students and Journalism lecturer Grace Lim. Lim talked about her passion for storytelling, the hurtles of creating a documentary, and how she collaborated with two RTF students, Mark Mazur and Trent Hilborn. The film is about a family of rescue boat volunteers from Wisconsin.

Lim said that Mazur and Hilborn were two of the bravest students she had ever worked with, describing how the students were flown in a homemade airplane, clung on to a speeding aircraft on the icy waters of Lake Poygan, and leaned out of a moving vehicle to capture video footage.

“They have no fear,” she said.

The family that is featured in the movie was also present at the event. They received a standing ovation from everyone in the theater after a special preview of the movie was shown. Several members of the audience wiped away tears as the Lee family stood and waved to the almost 150 attendees.


Lee Family

The Lee family receives standing applause from attendees at the "Beyond Classroom Walls" event. Photo by See Xiong, Integrated Marketing and Communications.


There was also a special performance by professor Andre Gaskins and his students who played music from the documentary. Gaskins, a Grammy-nominated performer, created original pieces for the film and recorded the music with some of his students, Callie Soddy and Amanda Martin.


Andre Gaskins and students perform at "Beyond Classroom Walls."

Andre Gaskins and students perform original music at "Beyond Classroom Walls." Photo by See Xiong, Integrated Marketing and Communications.


During the event, students from Lim’s Multiplatform Storytelling in the Digital Age course were documenting the entire night. While some students were snapping photographs of “Beyond Classroom Walls,” others were videotaping interviews or live-tweeting about the event using the Journalism Department’s Twitter account. The whole presentation was also streamed online for people all over the country to see.

Pictures and videos about all of the class projects are currently being displayed in the Steinhilber Art Gallery on the third floor of Reeve Union. Also view the College of Letters and Science Special Reports homepage to read about all of the projects showcased at Beyond Classroom Walls.


Beyond Classroom Walls

The "Beyond Classroom Walls" exhibit at the Steinhilber Gallery in Reeve Memorial Union. Photo by See Xiong, Integrated Marketing and Communications.


The official premiere of “Airboat Rescue 1: When the Ice Breaks” will be held on Jan. 22, 2011 at 2 p.m. at the Grand Opera House. The event, titled “Hometown Heroes,” will honor firefighters and other volunteers.

How a J-Alumnus went from PR Student to PR Professional

11 11 2010

Shane ArmanBy Shane Arman (@ShaneArman)

Professor Julie Henderson’s Planning and Management Case Studies in Public Relations class is heading down to Chicago today to tour the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller. The tour will be given by Journalism Department alumnus Shane Arman. Read about his current position at the firm and how his time at UW Oshkosh helped him get his ideal job.

It feels like five years ago, not just five short months ago that in Public Relations Campaigns 455 at UW Oshkosh, I was wracking my brain at 9 p.m. on a Thursday night over the final PRSSA Bateman competition book. It’s experiences like those at UW Oshkosh that prepared me to land my dream job. After graduating in May 2010, I began an internship in public affairs at a global public relations agency, Burson-Marsteller ,in Chicago, Ill. and started to put my UW Oshkosh education to the test.

Before I began at Burson-Marsteller, I paged through the biography booklet that profiled all 40 interns at offices across the U.S. My intern class included alumni from Harvard, Yale, Northwestern and other schools that would have never allowed me to grace their campus. Full-time employees included former presidential advisers and some of the most decorated communications professionals in the business. I admit I was intimidated.

But I soon understood that my time at UW Oshkosh, along with the people I’d met, the experiences I had, and the skills I learned, gave me confidence and positioned me to succeed.

When I started at Burson-Marsteller, it was amazing to see the things I read in books, saw on PowerPoints and stressed by professors like Dr. Henderson, come to life every day…

  • I used my teamwork skills and knowledge of goals, strategies and tactics to help prepare and present a new business pitch in front of Harold Burson, the most influential public relations figure of the 21st century.
  • I used the networking skills I learned through extra-curricular involvement in clubs like PRSSA to help me land a full time position with Burson-Marsteller in the Brand Marketing practice.
  • I used what I learned about the media from UW Oshkosh’s Journalism Department, from reporting, to editing, to being on a deadline, to understanding news value, almost every day of my job.
  • I used the pesky research skills I learned from UW Oshkosh’s Journalism Department to find valuable information for clients and provide evidence for campaign proposals. I was surprised to learn that my co-workers use some of the same research tools I used in college – like ProQuest and Factiva.

Today, the clients I work with include Discover Financial, Hormel Foods, and Hain-Celestial. My specific job duties focus heavily on working with the media, including drafting media materials, creating media lists, developing creative pitch angles, pitching reporters, monitoring media and compiling client reports.


Shane Arman

Shane Arman at PR firm Burson-Marsteller


What I do on a daily basis is fueled by my education, my experiences and the relationships I developed as a journalism student at UW Oshkosh. And I feel indebted to the all the professors, fellow classmates and others that made it possible.

Shane Arman is a UW Oshkosh journalism alumnus, class of 2010. He currently works at Burson-Marsteller in Chicago, Ill. as a client staff assistant in the brand marketing practice. He is happy to provide recommendation letters, offer career advice or answer any questions you have about public relations in general. He can be reached at