The 5 Stages of Using InDesign as a Beginner


“You should learn InDesign,” said every public relations professor ever. This one Adobe application is what separates one resume from the rest, and could be the “golden ticket” for that coveted internship. “It can’t be too hard,” you tell yourself, “I’m great with Photoshop!” You eagerly click on the pink InDesign logo and wait for what seems like an eternity before the interface opens up.

You’re about to embark on a great journey. You open a new document and the blank page is calling out for you to design the world’s best newsletter. This awesome picture of President Loh is going to be the focal point of the page, so you place the picture. Like a pro, you’re ready to scale this image down. “Wait…I just cropped off his head.” This is where the five stages of InDesign grief begin.


  1. Denial

You tell yourself you just made a silly mistake. Using InDesign isn’t that hard; you just press command + Z and brush it off.

“Here we go with take 2… not that hard –“ Now you’ve cropped off Loh’s hand. How can resizing an image be so difficult?! Don’t you just drag the boxes at the corners?! You’ve hit stage two.



Credit: Calvin & Hobbes Source: Barbara Denny


  1. Anger

The creators of InDesign must be evil people. How could they make something so difficult into an impossible feat? You get frustrated at your repeated failed attempts at resizing and may even throw your AP Style book. It’s time to turn to a higher power: Google.


Source: Lead Krabi


  1. Bargaining

“Why didn’t I pay attention to Annie Laurie?” or “Please Google… guide me!” are among the common expressions uttered at this stage. If only you had paid attention to those in-class tutorials. You vow to never daydream in class again as long as you can avoid this frustration and torture again.



Credit: Jason Stitt


  1. Depression

It’s come to that point…you reach for the Ben & Jerry’s. Maybe these frozen dairy geniuses can show you the answer. The more bites of Half-Baked you eat, the clearer the solution will become. You begin to wallow in the realization that your newsletter will be the premise for your demise.



Source: Liberty Voice


  1. Acceptance

Beaten and broken, you create one of the least aesthetically pleasing newsletters to ever leave the printer. It’s as if a 5-year-old pasted newspaper clippings onto a sheet with Elmer’s glue. It’s been an uphill battle but you’re too tired to care. InDesign…you won.


Source: Dreams Live


In the meantime, maybe you should brush up on your InDesign tutorials.


A Glimpse of Sports PR with Kevin Byrne


Source: Lester’s Legends

PRSSA welcomed Senior Vice President of Public and Community Relations Kevin Byrne Tuesday for a lecture at Skinner Hall. Byrne’s presentation offered students a look into the world of sports public relations and also recommendations for getting into the field. As a student interested in working in sports public relations, Byrne’s advice was invaluable.

While many people brush off sports as no more than a pastime, Byrne emphasized that our culture is measured by how many eyes are on the TV, and the most-watched programs of all-time have been Super Bowls. Football has become a religion and a passion for fans across the nation. Byrne stressed that the NFL brings the community together in ways others can’t.


Keep it Covered

Some of the most surprising information Byrne shared was about the amount of coverage NFL games receive. The Washington Post and Baltimore Sun have no reporters covering the Middle East and only one reporter covering the White House. Last year, the Baltimore Sun sent 27 reporters to the Super Bowl and 35 in 2007. There are more than 100 reporters at every game, more than 200 at Sunday Night Football and Thanksgiving Day games, and more than 300 at playoff games. “Despite having all of our own weapons, we find it impossible to break our own stories because we are so covered,” Byrne said. The Sun has three reporters assigned to cover the Ravens full-time, and Byrne noted that the Ravens PR team tries to convince these reporters to leave the newspapers and work for the franchise so they can break their own news.



Ravens QB Joe Flacco faces a crowd of reporters following the team’s win at Super Bowl XLVII. Source: Voa News


In the Face of a Crisis

A high point of the presentation was when Byrne spoke about how the PR team handles a crisis, and specifically the recent scandal with Ray Rice. He received calls in the middle of the night immediately following the incident and the first step the PR team took was to have a representative say that they were aware of the incident and were gathering more information. In the case of a crisis it’s important to notify all members of the franchise including the head coach, general manager and the players. Byrne said that the first audience is in the locker room. “They want to see how it’s handled because they’re thinking, ‘What if it were me?'” He stressed the importance of communicating and keeping every member of the team and management informed. This information was extremely helpful to hear because there are so many incidents of scandals in the NFL and advice like this will be useful for a future in the field.


Getting In

The field of sports PR is as competitive as the teams it covers, but Byrne gave some advice for making the cut. When applying to work for a team, a transcript and grades don’t matter. Employers are looking for a resume that shows you did more than go to school. They want to know what are the things you’ve done to make you different? Many of the interns the Ravens hire have worked for school newspapers, radio, ESPN and especially their university teams. Internships and experience are key to advancing in the business.

Writing is clearly one of the most important skills for PR practitioners because if you can’t write, you can’t be in the business. However some of the most useful advice Byrne gave was that you not only have to have the ability to communicate, but also be able to get people to say yes. You must get players to say yes to the interview. This skill trumps good writing skills in Byrne’s opinion. This was new information to me and will be important moving forward.


Kevin Byrne’s Super Bowl XLVII ring. Credit: Kendra Fernandes



This summer I will be interning with the Boston Red Sox. Although the MLB is fairly different than the NFL, I’m hoping that this experience and Byrne’s advice will give me a good foundation to continue in the field. Byrne noted that it is often more difficult for women in the sports PR business because they want males who will be able to enter the locker room for statements and information. This gives me the drive to work hard and essentially “win the game,” and I’ll be sure to keep information from Byrne in mind during every play I make.

Journalists and PR Professionals: More Similar Than We Think


“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”― George Orwell

Journalism and public relations are inextricably linked by the fundamental elements of writing and reporting. Although each field is unique in its style and purpose they share a core skill set that is necessary to achieve the task at hand. It’s imperative in both practices to uphold integrity and credibility, which can only be established by expertise in both writing and editing. Beneath the surface, journalists and public relations practitioners have more in common than either professional would like to admit.


It’s All About AP 

Journalists and PR professionals must be masters of AP Style. Knowing the correct words, spellings, and punctuation can be the difference between getting a story published and getting fired. They adhere to the rules of the AP Style book and establish themselves as credible experts of writing.





 Be the Voice

Journalists and PR practitioners have a voice. It is up to the writer of the news story or press release to represent the subject in the appropriate manner. Journalists are known for reporting the facts, while PR practitioners are often known for spinning the truth. No matter the angle of the story, the reliability of reference sources is crucial to the credibility and success of the writing. A quote by Warren Buffett emphasizes the importance of credible sources and fact-checking. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it,” he says. In “Creative Editing” Bowles and Borden write that not all references are created equal, and writers “must exercise good judgment before relying on any information source” (80). PR practitioners must obtain and use their sources just as an unbiased reporter would.


Practice Ethics

Like journalists, PR practitioners have a duty to write releases and represent clients in an ethical manner. These ethics apply to the writing they create and the actions they take. Bowles notes that readers rely on news outlets for fair, accurate and thorough reporting; However, research done by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that more than half of people surveyed agreed with the statement, “I often don’t trust what news organizations are saying.” It’s imperative for both journalists and PR practitioners to abide by their respective code of ethics to maintain credibility and trust with the audience and client.


Although journalists and PR practitioners often oppose being compared to each other they do have a shared set of values and practices that are necessary to do their jobs successfully. Journalists can depend on PR practitioners to get background information that is necessary to their story. In turn, PR practitioners can depend on journalists to get coverage and reach a larger audience. This mutually beneficial relationship is only possible due to their shared skills and values.

Lindsey Goldwert, a senior program executive at a global PR firm and former journalist, discusses this relationship and the opinions of other professionals in an article, “Hack to Flack: A Former Journalist’s Guide to Better PR Pitches.”

A Trip to the Newseum: 9/11 Memorial


There are events that occur and define the lives of a generation. Our grandparents remember the World Wars, our parents witnessed the Civil Rights movement, and our generation endured 9/11. On Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. was the target of a terrorist attack that destroyed the Twin Towers and part of the Pentagon, and many brave reporters were there to capture it all.

My visit to the 9/11 Memorial at the Newseum in Washington D.C. was eye-opening. Although we see the footage over and over again on the news, I never took the time to think about how that footage was captured or who was behind the coverage. The wall of front pages from around the world was incredible and ranged from emotions of sadness to emotions of anger.

Photo by Kendra Fernandes

Headlines from newspapers across the world. Photo by Kendra Fernandes

There was a section of the exhibit dedicated to photographer Bill Biggart who was the only working journalist killed covering the attack. This part struck me because it made me realize how dedicated this man and many others that day are to their work. Journalists and reporters responded just as the firefighters and police did: These individuals did their duty to bring information to the viewers.

This exhibit stirred my interest in communication in the wake of a crisis. Public relations is a fast-paced environment that demands specialists stay on top of developing information and help diffuse this information to the media. At the time I was too young to realize how dedicated the journalists were that day. This day not only changed our political affairs and national security, but it also changed the population and the men and women in the journalism and public relations fields. Visiting the exhibit as an adult gave me a new perspective on how the media responded and has helped motivate me to be as passionate and dedicated to my career as those men and women were that day.