Major budget cuts, disgusting

 

So today, it happened. The United States has taken a toll for the worst. I think a lot of people think they know what this means. Yes, the government will be cutting spending. But I don’t think that the average American understands the true outcome of this situation.

Federal employees will experience 10% budget cuts, from April until September. That means that federal government employees will receive 10% less pay for 6 months. This even applies to teachers who teach at Department of Defense Schools, the type of schools I attended.

These schools teach the children of our countries soldiers. Their parents have dedicated their lives to serving our country and these children have to deal with moving, missing parents and live with the fear for their parents safety every day that they are deployed. Teachers at these schools will start working for only 4 days per week. This means that the children of our soldiers, will only go to school 4 days per week.

An already failing education system is now being cut down by time in the classroom. How do we think this will affect our children? The number of students who attend these schools is not small, like most people believe. There are around 79 schools in Europe alone. This number excludes schools in America and in the Pacific, which have even more schools.

This also affects the very people that keep our country running. Without the thousands of federal employees, our government simply would not and could not exist. I find it amazing that congress is so unwilling to compromise that they would rather take away from the individuals who run our nation than agree on something.

Post offices, air ports, safety regulation organizations, and basically any aspect of our country that you can think of are going to be affected by these budget cuts. Where does that leave our country? If all of our government employees lose 10% of their paycheck, how can our nation continue on? The government hosts most of the employment opportunities in our country and without this resource, I believe we are doomed for failure.

I’m so disappointed in the United States. Coming from a military family that has given so much of their lives to protect and support our nation, I am disgusted. Both of my parents will be affected by these budget cuts, two of the most dedicated and hard-working individuals that I know.

This is undeserved and could have been prevented. I just can’t express my distain in any other words other than “I feel like I want to vomit.”

It amazes me that all President Obama has to say is that “he is not a dictator” and can’t make the republicans agree with him. It’s time to stop bashing republicans and democrats. It’s time to make a CHANGE, the very platform he ran on in 2008. It’s time to support the people who actually contribute to our country.

Check out this video about what President Obama has to say http://cnn.com/video/?/video/politics/2013/03/01/bts-obama-forced-spending-cuts.cnn
Check out this article about the budget cuts http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/01/forced-spending-cuts-begin-today/

But don’t let these things fool you. It’s a lot more serious than they’re letting on.

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I didn’t vote.

I didn’t vote this year. I’ve seen a lot of negative posts on social media about people who didn’t vote. They call us “un-American” and claim that we have no right to comment on what happens in the government. I don’t think this is right and I think it’s important for voters who make such accusations to try and understand the decision not to vote.

Typically, non-voters are characterized as uneducated or lazy. I would not consider myself either of those things. I really researched both candidates and even the third party candidates (which is probably more research than a lot of people who voted did). I’m pretty much a complete moderate. Pretty liberal on social issues, moderate financially, more conservative on foreign policies. As you can see by that mix of political views, it’s really difficult to chose one candidate, especially when they’re both completely right or left wing.

I agreed with some of Obama’s policies and also some of Romney’s but there were fundamental aspects of both candidates that I just could not support. I’ve been flip flopping since Romney was declared as the official GOP Presidential Candidate. One day I thought that Obama was the best choice and the next day I’d be on Romney’s side.

Throughout election day, I was still divided. I couldn’t make it to my polling station until 6 p.m. and when I finally got in line, it hit me. I was going to wait two hours in line at the library, to vote for a candidate I felt uneasy about. It was then that I decided it was better to just not vote at all.

I’m usually a very decisive person and pride myself on being able to make a decision and stick with it, so this whole decision was out of character for me and kept me awake for quite a few nights. This election really opened my eyes to a lot of things. I have to say I’m kind of disappointed in our country and it’s political system. No country is perfect and we are very fortunate to be Americans, but I don’t know how much longer our country can deal with such a severe division. Something’s gotta change.

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Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy was a lot weaker than we expected here in Syracuse New York but just because we got off easy, we need to remember that many other places didn’t. A lot of my Facebook friends have been posting about how the media “hyped things up” when the hurricane “wasn’t even bad.” However, I take a different position when it comes to this situation. I think the media did a great job keeping us informed and updated with the warnings.

Without the media, many of my friends wouldn’t have been able to keep tabs on their hometowns that were greatly affected by the storm. My mom was even able to keep her eyes on Syracuse – all the way from Germany!

We also need to remember that the hurricane really could have and should have been worse in Syracuse. We got lucky that it shifted course and passed us. Hurricanes are forces of nature and cannot be controlled or 100% predicted. As we can see from the damage in New York City, Hurricanes such as Sandy should not be taken lightly.

Can you imagine if New York City didn’t take the necessary precautions? The damage would have been unthinkable. I don’t see anything wrong with being safe rather than sorry. I personally went out to the store and bought myself some canned food and water bottles, just in case. Without the media, I wouldn’t have even known to do that and if Sandy did indeed hit ‘Cuse, I would have been caught unprepared!

So I guess that this post is just a little shout out to all those reporters out there who kept us updated! No matter what people say, the media is necessary and I believe that they handled Hurricane Sandy well.

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SU Veterans’ Club

My blog post this week is a topic of my choice and I’ve decided to talk about my job at the Syracuse University Veterans’ Resource Center. I think it’s a really great opportunity for me and I wanted to share it with my followers.

First things first, I think it’s a really great way to meet people who… understand me. I can talk military lingo with them and they don’t look at me like I have three heads. It’s really refreshing to be around people who I feel comfortable with, people who remind me of home. It surprises me how often I find myself feeling out of place, even after two years, because of my military background. There’s just nothing that reminds me of home like sitting around with a group of veterans.

Besides the social and comfort aspect, I’m really getting some public relations social media experience out of this job. Before I started working for the resource center, the Veterans’ club had virtually no social media at all. I was able to establish a facebook page and a twitter account for the club and a facebook page for the resource center.

In just two short months, I’ve managed to get 42 likes on the Club facebook and 32 twitter followers! Considering the fact that most of the veterans at SU don’t have twitter at all and rarely use facebook – if they even have it, I’m really proud of this! In fact, other groups and clubs at Syracuse have been contacting the Veterans’ club to collaborate. It’s really nice to see my work paying off.

Overall, I think that working at the Veterans’ Resource Center is a humbling experience. I can truly say that I appreciate what every one of our veterans has sacrificed for our country and if I hadn’t seen what true sacrifice was from my 20 years of being an army brat, I certainly see it now. These men and women deserve the educations they are getting and are equally determined to succeed and become productive members of society once again.

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Twinkie Crisis

There’s a crisis in the world of Hostess revolving around their recent bankruptcy declaration.  To combat bankruptcy… Hostess has announced that their plan of action is wage cuts.

From a public relations stand point, I think this needs to be done very carefully. Employees are not going to be happy about wage cuts, no one in their right mind would be. The Bakery Worker’s union could possibly go on strike, so the entire situation is on rocky ground right now.

Hostess needs to be very particular about what messages they relay, when, and how. Word on the street is that their plan really doesn’t stand a chance at saving the company and Hostess really needs to come out and say something to counteract this rumor! If they really believe their plan can save the company, they need to say so.

The bakery worker’s union has been speaking out against Hostess with quotes like “This is a company that is controlled by Wall Street private equity and hedge fund firms, whose sole objective is to maximize their own returns, not rebuild a company for the long haul,” he said.

I think Hostess representatives need to communicate with the bakers union, explain the plan in detail, and ensure everyone that they are doing everything they can to save the company. But of course, saying it isn’t enough, they need to actually do it.

Check out this link to read some more about the Hostess bankruptcy situation: http://money.cnn.com/2012/10/11/news/companies/twinkies-hostess-bankruptcy/index.html?source=cnn_bin

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Apple – Iphone 5

So we’re all aware of Apple’s recent iPhone 5 release. I was looking for something interesting to blog about this week and this was the first thing that came to mind. There was a lot of controversy with the iPhone 5, especially after Steve Jobs’ passing.

ImageDespite the controversy, it seems like Apple had a really good opening sale. According to apple’s press information story, just three days after the opening, Apple sold 5 million iPhone 5s. The demand has been significant and I even noticed in daily life that a lot of my friends got it. Although I can’t afford it right now, I’m definitely getting when my next upgrade rolls around!

The release of the iPhone 5 was certainly well received.

“Demand for iPhone 5 has been incredible and we are working hard to get an iPhone 5 into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible,” Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

I think its a good branding and PR move that apple also released its new software, iOS 6 for free to Apple users who can’t quite afford the iPhone 5 yet. I’ve been pretty happy with the updates.

For more information, check out this press release on Apple’s website: http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2012/09/24iPhone-5-First-Weekend-Sales-Top-Five-Million.html

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Mitt Romney’s 47%

I’m not here to engage in a political discussion, because those of you who know me, understand that I’m just fed up with entire election situation. Instead, I’m here today to talk to you about Mitt Romney’s response to the leaking of his “47%” video through a public relations standpoint.

If you don’t know the situation, it might help to check out these videos before you continue reading:
Leaked video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MU9V6eOFO38
Romney’s response – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxWXLxsEbO8

For the sake of this post, I’m going to ignore the fact that a lot could have been done to prevent this from happening in the first place. But if you look at the aftermath, I think that Mitt Romney’s public relations team failed him. There are a lot of things he could have done better after the video was released, especially with so much at stake.

Romney did not comment on the situation right away and I think that hurt him a little bit. I don’t particularly believe that he should apologize for what he said, because after all, if those individuals are voting for Obama there isn’t much he can do about that. However, I think instead of basically repeating himself when he commented on it after the fact, he could have focused more on the political strategy aspect rather than essentially calling Obama supporters ‘moochers’… again.

Romney’s public information officer should have better prepared him for these questions and provided him with better strategy. Perhaps if Romney had defended his political stance from a different angle, people would understand that he is indeed a human being who makes mistakes and sometimes badmouths his opponents when he’s not expecting to be recorded. I’m sure Obama has said rude things about Romney behind closed doors as well. But because Romney’s PR team failed him, in more ways than one, I think this is a really big deal.

This very well could have been the final straw for a lot of voters.

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My Summer

As promised, today I’m writing to you guys about my summer. I did a lot of things and quite a bit of traveling! I interned for the U.S. Army Garrison Baden-Wuerttemburg public affairs office and Herald Post newspaper. The experience was great and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Because of staff shortages, I wound up doing a lot more for the newspaper than the PAO. Although I don’t particularly want to  be a journalist, I gained a lot of experience. I became more comfortable talking to people I didn’t know during interviews, I networked with military officials and I made a name for myself in publication.

Three of my articles were published in six weeks and several photographs that I took were used in the newspaper. If you would like to read my articles and see my pictures, please visit the Sept 6, Aug 30, and Aug 23 editions of the Herald Post newspaper here: http://www.bw.eur.army.mil/news/PDF.html

One picture that I took even got featured in a German newspaper!

I also got a lot more familiar with AP style and it is certainly helping me in my public relations classes! AP is more of a habit now, a way of life, rather than forced the chore it used to be for class.

I also went to a 4 day concert fest, Rock im Park, in Nuremberg, Germany. I went with my brother, his girlfriend, and two other friends from high school. We had a great time!

In July my Mom, Dad, brother and I all went to Croatia. It was gorgeous. We spent our week on a 20 person sail boat along the coast of Croatia.

Then, I went to Boston and New York City for the first time before heading back to ‘Cuse. It was a little hard to go back after such a great summer, but I was greeted by my amazing friends and I came to realize that I’m really happy with where I’m at. 🙂

Thanks for reading guys!

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Libya Attack and Public Relations

Last week, J. Christopher Stevens died in Libya when rebels stormed the American consulate. I’m sure many of us have read the stories, seen the videos, and been caught up on the tragedy at hand. However, what some of you may not realize is that this is a very hard thing to deal with for our government’s public affairs people.

First things first, communication in times like this is very important and the distance between the United States and Libya adds extra difficulty. The consulate’s public affairs had to communicate with the press and each other in the midst of all this chaos. I can only imagine how challenging this was for them.

Although it’s hard to tell who is managing the public relations for this tragedy, I think they have done a decent job so far. The information was put out publicly fairly quickly and updates have been regularly announced.

I think that more statements need to come out about how this will be stopped in the future, but thus far, I think the PR team behind this has done a good job.

The Libyan side has also practiced public relations, when Libyan leader, Mohammed Magarief, apologized to the United States for the attack. Magarief’s statement, “”We apologize to the United States, the people and to the whole world for what happened,”does not change what happened, but it doesn’t deny it either. I think it’s good that he was transparent about the situation.

My heart goes out to those affected by the attacks.

 

ImageHere’s some articles that I got information from for this post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/12/libya-attack-leader-apologizes_n_1876711.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/world/middleeast/us-envoy-to-libya-is-reported-killed.html?pagewanted=all

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Online News Releases

Public relations, like many other fields, is increasingly reliant on the internet and online resources. One example of this in the Public Relations field is the online press release. In my PR writing class, we talked about how printed releases are becoming less and less common. Online releases are much more convenient because they do not require the price of stamps and journalists can even look them up themselves in some cases.

Online releases give public relations practitioners a lot of options. The ability to use links helps readers stay interested and provides them with quick and easy information, without having to contact the practitioner. It also makes the press release more interactive. The reader is able to discover what they desire at their own pace. Photos and videos are also a great feature that is unavailable in a print release. These can help provide the reader with a greater understanding of the story or the organization and help keep the reader interested.

One extra perk is that now the price of postage is not an issue!


However, on social media there are also some unique challenges. It’s really easy to make spelling mistakes online because the process can be so fast and easy. It’s important to make sure to proof read carefully! Also, I think that search engines may be a challenge. It’s hard to get your link to the top of google. Tags help with this a lot though, tagging is a great way to link your release to other resources. I personally love tags on social media, I’m sure that when I’m out in the real public relations world, I’ll take advantage of them.

I think it’s great that most professions are using social media and the internet more often, I can’t wait to get out there and try some of it out myself!
Also, here is a boring video I found about social media releases. You probably won’t want to watch it unless you’re interested in PR but it has some truth to it.

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