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ePro December edition


Welcome to the December edition of ePro, the electronic newsletter of the Houston chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Houston). Finishing off 2004 and ringing in 2005, ePro brings you the news you need.



PRSA Houston Hosts Bob Stein, Political Analyst, for Leader Recognition & Holiday Celebration
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Are you among the many mulling over the election in your head? Political Analyst Bob Stein has much to share with you on the topic. On December 15th, PRSA Houston is hosting a special meeting to provide a platform for Stein to share his insight and humor, and shed light on findings post-dramatic 2004-election. His vibrant career entails stints as a political science professor, researcher, author, and TV commentator.

Stein is the dean of the School of Social Sciences and Lena Gohlman Fox Professor of Political Science at Rice University. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science from Ohio Weslayan University in Delaware, Ohio, and his doctorate in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His responsibilities include overseeing the departments of anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology. Additionally, Stein continues to teach and conduct research in the areas of federalism and intergovernmental relations, state and local government, urban politics, and public policy. His main focus of his teaching and research is centered on federal spending. He continues to serve as the political analyst for KHOU-TV Houston and The Houston Chronicle. Stein played an instrumental role on the editorial boards for various major journals. Lastly, he has been the author of three major books, and his most recent is titled Perpetuating the Pork Barrel; Policy Subsystems and American Democracy (Cambridge).

WHERE: Bella Terrazza
2840 Chimney Rock, Houston, TX, 77056

WHEN: Wednesday, December 15
11:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.

If reservations are made December 13, cost is $25 for members, $40 for guests and $15 for students. After December 13, the cost is $30 for members, $45 for guests and $ 25 for students.

Reservations can be made by phone: (281) 870-1717 or online:

Houston Communications Alliance (HCA) Celebrates New Partnership
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TODAY: Wednesday, December 8, 2004, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., The Houston Communications Alliance will be celebrating its new alliance at The Dunstan, 2415 Dunstan.

In the holiday spirit and because we’re all “communicators”, we will be collecting new
or gently used cell phones and/or donations in lieu of admission into this event. All donations
will be given to the Houston Area Women’s Center to aid victims of domestic and sexual
violence in times of trouble.

HCA Mission Statement:
To promote partnership among leading communications-based organizations in Houston, in order to leverage and promote relevant community events, professional development opportunities and cooperation among professionals in the industry.

Participating Houston Chapters:
AMA (American Marketing Association)
CCRC (Corporate Community Relations Council)
HAF (Houston Advertising Federation)
HPC (Houston Press Club)
IABC (International Association of Business Communicators)

PRSA (Public Relations Society of America)

TPRA (Texas Public Relations Association)

Mark these Important PRSA Houston Dates:
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December 15— Monthly luncheon, leadership recognition and holiday party. Our speaker will be political analyst Robert M. Stein, Ph.D., dean of Rice University's School of Social Sciences and the Lena Gohlman Fox Professor of Political Science at a new location. To register, visit or call (281) 870-1717 by Dec. 13.

January 5—NEW DATE AND LOCATION—Courtyard on St. James when our speaker will be Houston Chronicle columnist Ken Hoffman in an event sponsored by Stevens/FKM. Start the year off right with a PRSA luncheon.

February 2Political commentator Rich Galen of will offer political insight of the day. Time Warner has committed to be an early sponsor, but additional sponsors are needed to bring our members this program at regular prices. Call 281-870-1717 for information

2005 Silver Spur/Best of Texas Awards Call for Entries Available
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The official Call for Entries for the Texas Public Relations Association's
2005 Silver Spur/Best of Texas Awards is now available at and should have arrived.

The PRSA Houston Chapter is again partnering with TPRA to sponsor the contest. Chapter members may enter at the "member" rate and the chapter will receive a share of the contest proceeds.

Entry deadline for the 2005 competition is 5 p.m. Jan. 20, 2005. Silver Spur and Best of Texas Awards will be presented at the annual awards banquet, Saturday, March 5, 2005, at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Dallas. The banquet is a featured event during TPRA's Annual Conference March 4-6. Find details on the conference at

The Silver Spur/Best of Texas Awards Competition is the only statewide contest for Texas public relations practitioners and recognizes excellence in programs, projects and tactics.

For more information, e-mail or contact Julie B. Fix, APR, at (281) 494-6097.

PRSA Houston New Professionals Group Moves Forward into 2005 back to top

Since its inception this September, the PRSA Houston New Professionals Group has received rave reviews for its events and professional development programs. Our leadership team looks forward to serving our members in 2005 and beyond.

The mission of the PRSA Houston New Professionals Group is to support PRSA Houston chapter goals while providing new professionals with a valuable outlet to expand their knowledge of public relations through networking and professional development opportunities.

New Pros Objectives include encouraging participation in PRSA Houston and connecting New Pros throughout Houston; scheduling regular professional development and social events for New Pros; integrating members into the National New Pros Affinity Group; and encouraging New Pros to become accredited in public relations.

New Pros programs and activities target PR professionals with up to five years of experience in public relations, as well as graduating students and professionals new to the industry. PRSA members and non-members are welcome.

PRSA Houston' New Professionals Group stems from the PRSA National New Professionals Affinity Group, which was organized in January of 2004. To learn more about benefits at the National level, visit

If you are interested in learning more about PRSA Houston's New Pros Group, or want to become involved with a committee, please contact Kelly Papinchak at or (281) 497-6567, ext. 508.

The 2005 PRSA Houston New Professionals leadership team includes:

Kelly Papinchak chair -
Holly Hagerman - vice chair
Mari Pillar - programs chair
Tiffany Johnson - sponsorship chair
Eric Herrera - mentor program chair
Jenn Haines - member communications chair

Holiday reminder is from the Excalibur Awards Co-Chairs, Kristin Pacheco and Bill Zander
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(To the tune of "Deck the Halls")

Heed this notice; A call for entries
Fa la la la la la la la la
Tis the Season To Get Ready
Fa la la la la la la la la

Don We Now Our Best Achievements
Fa la la la la la la la la
Comb Through Faxes, Files and Folders
Fa la la la la la la la la

Hurry Spring is fast approaching
Fa la la la la la la la la

Don't be Caught Past the Deadline
Fa la la la la la la la la

PRSA Wants Your Entries
Fa la la la la la la la la

You Could Win the Grand Excalibur!
Fa la la la la la la la la

PRSA Houston Welcomes New Members! back to top

A warm and inviting welcome from PRSA Houston to our fabulous new members:

  • Dawn R. Adair
  • Amy Adams of Marble Slab Creamery Corporate
  • Margaret Bolton of Baylor College of Medicine
  • Sarah Carpenter of Vollmer Public Relations
  • Courtney Galle of Lake Conroe Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Shannon Keil of U.S. Pro Tennis Association
  • Christina Woolwine of Galveston Park Board and Convention & Visitors Bureau

Encyclopedia of Public Relations Available to PR Practitionersback to top

Dr. Robert Heath, communications professor at the University of Houston and director of the Institute for the Study of Issues Management, along with Sage Publications, announce the inaugural publishing of The Encyclopedia of Public Relations (Sage Publications, 2004).

This two-volume set, of which Heath served as editor, is the first compilation of the subject, and would serve any library serving patrons in business, communication and journalism. The publication explores the evolution of the PR field with examples from history describing events, changing practices and the key figures who developed and expanded the profession. It explores challenges facing the public relations profession and its practitioners, such as earning the trust and respect of critics and the general public.

These volumes cover ethical policies and challenges facing practitioners, and include full details of the code of ethics of the Public Relations Society of America in an appendix.

The Encyclopedia of Public Relations has also been put together with the knowledge that PR does not exclusively reside in the United States. Major international figures, research and various organizations play a key part in the project.

Local practitioners and PRSA Houston members who contributed to the Encyclopedia include Dr. Shannon Bowen, Sabra Gill, Holly Hutchins, David McKinney, Gayle McNutt and Kelly Papinchak.

To order your copy, visit:

Notes From November Luncheon Seminarback to top

Greg Gordon, vice president of research and strategy for L.C. Williams & Associates, stepped in at the last minute for his boss and ably presented November's chapter meeting program and afternoon workshop on research and measurement. Scheduled presenter Lou Williams, ABC, APR, chairman and CEO of L.C. Williams & Associates, was unable to attend, so Gordon did an excellent job of addressing both topics in his two presentations.

During the luncheon, Gordon covered various methods of measuring communications results in addition to discussing the future of public relations research and the link between public relations and the bottom line. He also suggested ways that practitioners could learn to become more "research ready."

The afternoon workshop was a more in-depth look at the practicalities of communication research and how to sell it to management. He also used case studies to illustrate successful research programs and helped attendees understand how to develop a more successful survey instrument.

Sponsors for the events included: Business Wire, Houston Speaks, Ipsos-Insight, PR Newswire, PRtrak and Saurage Research. Proceeds from the luncheon and workshop will benefit PRSA Houston's Public Relations Foundation of Houston (PRFH).

PRFH supports educational excellence by helping prepare high school and college students for careers in public relations and communication. PRFH, which will award its first student scholarship in spring 2005, also aims to distribute funds to educational programs that support public relations and communication.

PRSA member Jaryl Strong of Shell Oil Products Co. won a drawing for Lou Williams' book, Communication Research Measurement & Evaluation. (below)

PRSA member and sponsor Angela Jeffrey of PR Trak (below)

Joe Raia of Ipsos Insight, a sponsor of the PRSA Foundation program, describes the research services his firm offers. (below)

Beverly Freeman, Freeman Communications, a board member of the PRSA Foundation of Houston, thanked the sponsors: Business Wire, Houston Speaks, PR Newswire, PR Trak, Ipsos Insight, Saurage Research, Inc. and Panhandle Energy. (below)

Cindy Suggs of Tractebel, president-elect of PRSA Houston, asks a question. (below)

About 65 people turned out to hear the benefits and strategies used in public relations research. (below)

Rick Russell of American Medical ID won the door prize at lunch: "Communication Research Measurement & Evaluation," a book by Lou Williams, valued at $40. (below)

Penny Todd of CenterPoint Energy describes a research method (below)


Mentors Needed for PRSSA Studentsback to top

Attention all communications professionals: Please consider donating your time and expertise to PRSSA students in need of mentors.

The PRSA Houston/PRSSA Mentor Match Program is designed to give students an advocate and a friend as they grow into public relations professionals and PRSA members. Mentors are asked to meet with their student once a month and be available for phone calls and e-mails.

Both students and professionals who are interested in participating in the mentor program can access the application at Applications can be returned to Kelly Papinchak at or fax to (281) 497-1083.

The PRSSA Liaison Committee goal is to provide public relations students with access to public relations professionals, activities and programs that will strengthen their skills and prepare them for a career in public relations or a related field.

To join the PRSSA liaison committee, please contact Mari at (713) 513-9574 or

Get More Referrals!
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A listing on the Business Directory enables us to point potential clients towards those they might call for help in a way that is fair and impartial. We frequently get requests for a list of PR firms in Houston. In addition, if you provide services to corporate public relations departments or PR firms, this directory will put your firm before all the qualified buyers. A listing is only $100 for 12 months and may be paid by credit card or by mailing a check to the chapter office. Call (281) 870-1717 for more information or list your firm directly at

Planning to Add Staff?
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Be sure to use PRSA’s job bank, also on a website that receives over 20,000 visits each month. A listing is $100 for three months. If you have filled a position, please call us to mark the position as filled.

Budgeting for Next Year?
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Please think of PRSA in your plans. Not only do we offer a business directory, but we have numerous sponsorship opportunities available with good exposure to our membership. Call (281) 870-1717 to learn more.

Texas A&M University PRSSA Chapter visited the GolinHarris Houston Offices

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The Texas A&M University PRSSA Chapter visited the GolinHarris Houston offices on Nov. 18, 2004 to learn what public relations agency life is really like. Students talked with an intern, two assistant account executives, a senior account executive and an account supervisor to learn what daily job responsibilities agency employees have. Students asked many questions and continue to contact GolinHarris for career questions. The Texas A&M PRSSA Web site is available at

For more information about the PRSA Houston PRSSA Liaison Committee, please visit or contact Mari Pillar at or (713) 513-9574.

And Now for an ePro Special Section: Press Primer with Melanie Brenneman
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He’s fearless, he shoots from the hip and he has 34 years of experience in broadcast journalism as an accomplice. Introducing … Jim McNabb.

Known for presenting at conferences armed with examples of sub-par news releases (to the horror of attendees who might have written them), Jim McNabb is the Managing Editor of Austin’s KXAN-TV. Included in Jim’s day-to-day duties is management of the 55-member newsroom staff while planning and coordinating the coverage of stories.

What catches your eyes in news releases?

Clarity and simplicity. What your teacher told you is true—keep it simple. The next, and really the most important thing, is content. The news release must show me quickly that there is an important reason for me to take time to read it. Will my life change if I do/if I don’t? It should seem that way.

What is the best way to introduce a new company that might fall in your beat?

Make us know why we care. How is it different? Why is it unique? What sort of impact might it have on the community’s workforce or environment? If it’s just a new business, they might consider buying advertising unless they can favorably answer the questions above.

Many thanks to Jim McNabb for contributing to Press Primer. If you’d like to reach him, his e-mail address is .

If you have questions you’d like to contribute to Press Primer, please e-mail

ePro is the electronic newsletter of the Houston chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Houston), and is a tool for you. Deadline for submitting items for next year, the January newsletter, is Wednesday, December 22, 2004. We welcome your thoughts and news, so send generously to

Lauren Hammit
(713) 798-7595
(713) 798-7413
Author: Lauren Hammit
Phone: (713) 798-7595
Fax: (713) 798-7413
Category: newsletter | Sub Category: epro