Play Hard and Stay Truthful

PERSONAL CREDO

“As an aspiring public relations practitioner, I strive for excellence, not perfection. I firmly believe that committing to the truth, no matter how difficult it is to face and acknowledging mistakes today will help me improve myself for tomorrow. With Honesty, perseverance and hard work as my core values, I strive to be a better person both personally and professionally.”

Although my personal credo can apply to different aspects of my life, it is the core of my future career as a public relations professional.

As a result of all the ethical implications public relations carries, it can be a very delicate profession. From transparency vs. conflicts interest to confidentiality and integrity, there are many ethical standards set in the industry that PRSA and PR professionals must follow.

Although many industries where a PR professional can grow, my desire company would be inside the video game industry (interactive entertainment industry). However, as fun as it may sound to work for industry giants such as Sony Interactive Entertainment or an indie studio like Toby Fox, there will be many instances where my personal credo and its values will be challenged.

THE VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY AND ETHICAL ISSUES

header
No Man’s Sky, an action adenture game released August 2016 by indie developer Hello Games. Source: Hello Games.

Released worldwide in August 2016, No Man’s Sky is an action-adventure survival video game developed and published by Hello Games, an independent video game developer, for PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows. Although Hello Games is a relatively small developer studio with less than 15 employees, Sony provided with promotional and publishing help throughout the development cycle of the game.

Originally, No Man’s Sky would offer players a shared universe where players would be able to exchange coordinates with others and travel to worlds other players have discovered. The game promised an epic gaming experience in which each player would encounter unique worlds and adventures to experience and share those with others inside a massively diverse and complex universe that changed and grew with them as they played. Although what they promise was not impossible, by its release date, many of these aspects were not fully implemented or were too simplistic to be considered the finished feature of the game.

Although No Man’s Sky had an enormous commercial success being the best-selling game release on the PlayStation Store for the month of August, it was critically panned by both the media and online users as a result of the lack of promised features.

metacritic
Metacritic is a website that aggregates reviews of media products: music albums, games, movies, TV shows, DVDs, and formerly, books. No Man’s Sky for PC currently holds a Metacritic score of 61 with a 2.5 score given by its users. Source: Metacritic

WHERE DID IT GO WRONG

As an aspiring PR professional, my credo and values would have helped Hello Games prevent this situation by providing truthful information and offering factual context by addressing mistakes and taking a stance on them.

First, No Man’s Sky critical failure and Hello Games loss of credibility could have been prevented if Hello Games had been more transparent and genuine about things that may or may not make it into the finished game. Being honest, a core value from my personal credo prevents the public and the industry from claiming you tried to cover up mistakes or oversell a product. Instead, honesty helps state the truth and address the issue at hand by speaking to key publics and stating the importance of it and why it matters.

As game developers, Hello Games could have released a statement when the game was first delayed addressing features that were being worked on and may get dropped.

Untitled.png
Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida talks about No Man’s Sky backlash a month after release. Source: Kotaku

Secondly, an ethical public relations communicator would have offered more than just the facts, but the context of the story. Hello Games could have explained to the media covering the game and their publics about the missing features and inconsistencies between the footage shown on the marketing materials and the final product before the game launched. Sean Murray, director and lead developer at Hello Games, should have released a statement addressing the disparity between the game and its marketing upon release instead of going silent. If he had done so, it would have gone a long way to mitigate the anger and manage the crisis. The fact that he and his studio still did not address any of it until months later showed their unprofessionalism and hugely affected their credibility and how gamers perceived the game.

Advertisements

Trials and Tribulations of InDesign

Public relations is a very dynamic career path. As a PR practitioner, I can write, edit, market, design, plan events, edit photos, create press materials, pitch to the media and develop relationships with target publics.

However, to do all of those things, there are few skills that I must know regardless of what I want to do as a student in the public relations field upon graduation. One of those skills is Adobe InDesign.

Indesign logo
InDesign CC2017 Release start-up screen. Source Auris Guzman Bautista

During my spring semester at the University of Maryland, I was tasked with the creation of a newsletter for an organization. I was in charge of writing, editing and designing it from scratch. Although, I was overconfident since even though I had no experience with InDesign, I had done multiple print media projects with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I thought this project would be easy-peasy due to my previous experience. Oh, how wrong I was.

It all started with the workspace.

Indesign 1
CYCLED! Newsletter pages 2-3 in a custom InDesign workspace. Source Auris Guzman Bautista

Since all three programs look fairly similar, there is a clear distinction between Illustrator and Photoshop. However, InDesign and Illustrator look so similar, but the way in which both software worked was different which put me a period of confusion for longer than desired.

Dropping pictures instead of place, not following the bleed margins, sorting to using layers for easier organization, are so of the few things I struggled with during the first week of this project.

Although I sort of “mastered” InDesign, there are a few things I would have liked to know before I started working on this project:

♦ Make multiple objects the same size: I like my items to be the same size. To make multiple objects the same dimensions, first set the height and width of one object. Then select the remaining objects and choose Object> Transform Again> Transform Sequence Again Individually.

♦ Fit Image or text to Frame: To fit a frame to a graphic: Double-click a corner of an image frame. Or press Cmd-Opt-C (Mac) / Ctrl-Alt-C (PC).

♦ Replacing an image with another: Choose File> Place to select an image. Then Option (Mac) or Alt (PC) click on an existing image on the layout you would like to replace with the new one.

♦ Preview a document: To see how your project looks without all those lines distracting you, just press W.

Despite the trials and tribulations I experienced while working on this project, I found the greatest lesson to be learned is to utilize the resources that already exist.

Indesign 2
Video overview of InDesign, the industry standard app for both online and printed media. Source: Adobe Help

By searching the Internet, I was able to find a lot of Adobe help resources. Some of my favorites include Adobe InDesign Tutorials, What is InDesign? The video, and Mark-Antony’s Website. Regardless this was a one-time project, I would also recommend subscribing to Adobe Creative Cloud newsletter and magazine since they offer free workshops for their software and they are mostly beginners-friendly.

A story behind a story

newseum42
(Photo credit: Newseum)

Last weekend, I visited the Newseum. I had never been there before, but since I like going to museums, I was looking forward to visiting it this weekend. The Newseum documents the past and present of the Press, Media, and Reporting. Although it may sound pretty boring, The Newseum is anything but boring. As I was walking through the museum, I noticed how The Newseum shows the behind the scenes of reporting, news and media as well as the risks and implications that journalist has while doing their job.

During this visit to the Newseum, I have to admit that I felt shivers several times. It wasn’t just the stories that made me evoked emotions, but the stories behind those stories. I believe it is important to understand the way journalists work. By understanding a journalist job, we become better News consumers since it allows us also understand the reporter’s perspective and the role they play in stories. One of the exhibits that made me come to this realization was the 9/11 Exhibit.

xexhibits_current_911_promo-jpg-pagespeed-ic-vcje6uurug
(Photo credit: Lara Martin)

The 9/11 exhibit is a very touching and moving display located on the 4th floor of the Newseum.

This exhibit has a large antenna of one of the towers of the World Trade Center as well as the front pages of many newspapers from around the world the day after behind it the terrorist attack. Around the antenna, there is a timeline of how the news was responding to the events happening since the first plane crashed to the next day. There is also a dark back room which plays video interviews of the Journalists that were reporting about the events that day from Manhattan.

As a public relations student, I believe that if 9/11 taught us anything, it’s that we can’t anticipate every crisis. 9/11 was an event that proves that a healthy relationship with news organizations is essential in times of crisis. While thousands of people ran away from the scene, journalists were heading towards the towers. Not to get their name out or to sell copy, but because it was a story that needed to be told. Sharing information, right there, on the spot. Crisis communication is an essential part of public relations. During this kind of events, we, as PR professionals, need to find ways to communicate quickly, accurately and efficiently to key publics, whether consumers, investors or employees. A failure to adequately address public safety intensifies the damage from a crisis. Therefore, it is essential that we, as public relations professionals, understand that Crisis Management is designed to prevent, in this case, lessen the damage a crisis can inflict on an organization and its stakeholders.

While it was certainly a short visit, I learned so much from the Newseum, I highly recommend others to visit.

image1
From left to right, Auris Guzman Bautista, Lara Martin, Brianna Provost, and Joe Dewitt (Source: Auris Guzman Bautista)

 

 

First Presidential Debate: “This Was A Boxing Match With Lots Of Sparring”

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – High spirits sounded Monday night as University of Maryland students gathered together to watch the first presidential debate between Democrat Nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Nominee Donald Trump.

Over 200 UMD students watched the first presidential candidate debate in the Hoff Theater at the Stamp Student Union. The event was hosted by University of Maryland College Republicans in association with Students for Liberty and College Democrats among other university groups.

“I would normally watch this on my laptop inside my dorm, but my roommates mentioned how it would be interesting to watch it together and discuss it as a group at the after party,” said Jean-Luque Zephir, a junior broadcast journalism major.

One of the most awaited topics for UMD students was education and college debt.

“There weren’t any satisfying responses,” said business major Vanessa Montiel.

“Most of my financial aid is loans, and I am planning on going to graduate school. Hillary briefly touched the subject, but not enough to go in depth and get a meaningful argument going. It is worrisome.”

Faculty also took part in the conversation on campus.

“It is a concern for all of us,” said Communications Professor Jessica Lu.

“Both Clinton and Trump needed to reach beyond their own ‘games’ and tap into the needs remaining,” Lu said.

Michael Spivey, an American politics professor, said “There were non-substantive arguments about student debt as are most debates. There was not a serious discussion of the issue related.”

Despite candidates’ efforts to reach young voters support, many students and faculty questioned whether or not candidates were actively thinking about their situation.

Students’ opinions were diverse as to which candidate won the debate.

Aliyah Downes a sophomore government and political science student said “It was madness on Trump’s part. Hillary was more factual and civil. I appreciate that she tried to appeal to the little guy and college students. Despite the interruptions, it was a clear win on her part.”

However, many students claimed Trump was the winner despite his setbacks. “He was born a winner,” said Ryan Morris, a member of Terps for Trump.

While students like Downes and Morris saw a clear win, many say there is much to be done by both candidates to win their vote.

“Undecided voters who have not yet found a positive reason to actively support one or the other at the polls in November will be the ones choosing the winners and losers of tonight,” said junior business and politics student Jayden Thompson.

“The only reliable indicator, I think, of the public’s response to this debate, and the others that will follow will arrive in November,” said Thompson.

Much anticipation is building up to the November election. The Vice Presidential Debate Watch will be hosted on Oct. 4 for UMD students to get involved and discuss the vice presidential candidates.

Post-election: UMD Students express their concerns and opinions

umcp-stamp-dining-1(University of Maryland students gather at Adele H. Stamp Student Union. Photo Credit: Henry Adams)

College Park, Md – While protests against President-elect Donald Trump have spread all over the country since Thursday, University of Maryland students are voicing their concerns and opinions on the election’s outcome.

What felt like it had nearly split the country in half, many agree that this election has been exhausting.

A few UMD students from College Park shared their opinions on how the United States can move forward as a united country.

Bruce Hoffman, a communications junior at the University of Maryland, woke up Wednesday sad and distressed.

“As a gay man, I am among one of the several demographic groups consistently targeted by Trump, his running mate, and a majority of Republicans who now have full control of Congress. I cannot speak for other groups, but I have a lot to lose personally regarding rights from a Trump presidency,” said Hoffman.

Through his comments on the election, Hoffman expressed his fear and anger about his voice not been valued by voters; that he, as a gay man, was at risk now for new forms of legal and social discrimination that may come as a result of the 2016 elections’ outcome.

“I feel overlooked by my peers who express platitudes of support for LGBT rights, but didn’t consider how policies of the people they vote for will hurt people like me in material ways,” Hoffman added.

Meanwhile, other students like Rubidania Arnaud, a biology sophomore, are not so sure about how to handle their thoughts on the new president-elect.

“I’m a little underwhelmed. I mean, somehow knew this was going to happen, but it feels so unreal [sic],” said Arnaud.

“Although I think people should just move on, I don’t know if the country can move on and overlook the things he boasted about during his campaign,” she said.

Like Arnaud, many students also find it hard for the country to move on and unite despite Clinton’s and Obama’s plea for unity. However, others still have hope.

Alex Park, an economics major, said, “The faster we move on, the better. It is just four years. The faster people wake up to reality the better it will be for all of us.”

“I did not support either candidate, but acting like it’s the end of the world or something is not healthy for anybody.”

As tensions grow, students wait to see the actions of the now president-elect, Donald J. Trump.

umd-studnets(University of Maryland students Vanessa Montiel (left) and Viany Reyes (right) as they express their thoughts and opinions on the post- 2016 elections. Photo Credit: Auris Guzman Bautista)

“I am scared about my health care situation, to be honest. I just want to wake up from this nightmare,” said Vanessa Montiel, a business major.

Many students woke up Wednesday stressed wondering what the future will hold for them.

Wallace D. Loh, President of the University of Maryland, sent an open letter the entire campus community calling for post-election unity in diversity.

“The divisive election is over, but the mission and core values of our University remain unchanged,” said the president.

In his letter, the university president said how unity is important now more than ever. Not only in times of political divide, but also in times of social and economic social divide.

He urges students “As a nation, we must come together, heal the wounds, and expand opportunity and mobility for all of our citizens.”

Moreover, The Stamp Union is providing space and other resources for the days ahead for students and anyone who needs post-election self-care.

“People are also encouraged to seek out Wags for Wellness at the Health Center tomorrow; the Labyrinth at the Memorial Chapel, and the Counseling Center as needed.”