PRSA General Sessions: Jim Cantore and John Lewis [National Conference Session Recap]

Jim Cantore at the 2015 PRSA ICON. Courtesy of PRSA and Albert Chau.

Jim Cantore at the 2015 PRSA ICON. Courtesy of PRSA and Albert Chau.

Do What You Love and You Will Never Work a Day in Your Life

Event: Weather or Not: Making Connections in the Dynamic Media World

Presenter: Jim Cantore, Host and Meteorologist, The Weather Channel

Recap: When Jim Cantore was in high school, in the event of snow, he would stay up all night to shovel his driveway so that his mom could go to work in the morning. Because he was a “freak when it snowed,”his father encouraged him to pursue weather.

Flash forward to present day and Cantore’s passion for weather is still apparent. His enthusiasm is evidenced by his live reactions to “thunder snow,” a thunderstorm during a snowstorm, and his distaste for the handling of the coverage of live weather.

Since Cantore began working in weather pre-social media, he has experienced the takeover of the social phenomenon. With technology advancing each day, Cantore begged the question, “where will we be in the next five years?”

Takeaways:

  •      Keep up with technology.
  •      Know your business and your audience.
  •      Monitor all media.
  •      Expect the unexpected.
John Lewis at the 2015 PRSA ICON. Courtesy of PRSA and Ellen Levitt.

John Lewis at the 2015 PRSA ICON. Courtesy of PRSA and Ellen Levitt.

Use Your Skills to Make an Impact

Event: PRSA General Session

Presenter: John Lewis, U.S. Congressman and Civil Rights Leader

Recap: Congressman John Lewis grew up in rural Alabama. Being raised in the segregated south, it wasn’t long before Lewis began to ask questions. He was told to avoid making trouble; to simply do as he was told.

When Martin Luther King Jr. emerged in 1955, Lewis got in the way. He got in trouble.

On Sunday March 7, 1965, Lewis marched for the right of the African American vote. The protestors were met with hostility from law enforcement, but the media spread the message around the world. As a result, hundreds of people across America joined the protest, ultimately leading to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

Without communication, “The civil rights movement would have been like a bird without wings.”

Because this demonstrated the power of storytelling and spreading messages, Lewis urged those in attendance to use their skills to “call the citizens of the world to a higher calling.”

Takeaways:

  •      Use what you have to communicate effectively.
  •      “Make it plain, make it real.”
  •      Get in the way.
  •      As public relations professionals, we have a moral obligation to tell a story.
  •      Never give up. Never hate.

Samantha Peer is a senior public relations major at Waynesburg University. She is a current intern at WordWrite Communications, a small public relations firm in Pittsburgh, and the director of Waynesburg University’s upcoming Regional Conference, Caffeinate Your Career. Follow her on Twitter @Sam_peer.

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