Cal State Fullerton’s Public Relations Department took center stage last weekend when participants hosted and planned the Public Relations Student Society of America’s regional conference, which highlighted entertainment public relations. Nearby schools, including USC, UCLA and CSULB, attended in order to partake in the workshops, tours, ceremonies and food.
“It took months of planning,” said Monique Macalinao, a student coordinator. “It is such a huge learning experience and undertaking trying to arrange all the speakers and plan fun things to do with entertainment PR. The event is finally here and none of us have slept in a week. We are so tired.”
A few students went on tours at Clear Channel in Burbank and took a behind-the-scenes look at The Orange County Register, which allowed participants to sit in on a real news meeting where reporters and editors discussed how to shape the next day’s paper.
“It was so cool to watch the news meeting,” said Peter Martinez Jr., a radio-TV-film major. “I thought it was weird that they talked more about a pie contest than they did about Earth Day, but now when I look at tomorrow’s paper I will have a better idea of how it came about.”
“We could not have put this conference together without the support of [College of Communications] Dean Rick Pullen who helped us keep the costs low for students and our amazing adviser Joseph Massey,” Macalinao said.
When Pullen was asked why CSUF seemed to be one of the stronger programs in the College of Communications, he said that it was simply a matter of a strong commitment from students and faculty to make the Public Relations Department stand out and stand strong.
Breakout sessions included workshops featuring speakers like “E! True Hollywood Story” Producer Heather Heath, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim publicity and community development Director Charles Harris, and Rick Weinberg, the public relations and marketing director of the Bowers Museum.
Students were able to hear the professionals explain what happens behind the scenes in public relations for high-profile entertainment companies, and were also given the opportunity to ask questions. Disneyland Resort’s Bob Tucker, the director of media relations, suggested that public relations students get familiar with a newsroom via an internship because it will better prepare them for the needs of reporters. Tucker was a broadcast reporter for many years before he turned his career toward public relations and said that having a foundation helped him become a highly effective publicist.
CSUF’s PRSSA regional conference offered a green room between sessions, a live concert featuring local bands like Butane, Forever in Fall and Four-Fingered Mel at Lamppost Pizza in Fullerton, dancing, happy hour, a school cheer contest, and a red carpet award banquet.
The CSUF Public Relations Department raised $10,000 in last year’s five to 10k walk/run campaign, which benefited “New Beginnings for Animals,” and was able to present the organization with the check during a the kick-off luncheon.