PRSA Rochester Connect Newsletter

October 2019  

Message From Your President


Welcome! Thank you for taking a few minutes to catch up on the latest from PRSA Rochester. 

This newsletter is full of resources, helpful tips and news related to our chapter.  You’ll also learn more about our partnerships with several local nonprofits, who are doing great work in our communities.

There is one thing, however, that ties all the initiatives and educational opportunities together: Our PRSA Code of Ethics.

The Pledge

All Public Relations Society of America members sign the PRSA Code of Ethics pledge when they join. The first part of the pledge reads: To conduct myself professionally, with truth, accuracy, fairness, and responsibility to the public.

Locally, about 167 public relations professionals have taken the pledge.

Ruth Harper-Rhode, Ethics Chair for PRSA Rochester, wrote in a recent column for the Rochester Business Journal that the Code of Ethics helps PR practitioners navigate day-to-day challenges.

“Living in a world with increasing layers of complexity – especially new technologies emerging every day – means practicing PR ethically has never been more critical, because it’s the right thing to do but also because the health of your business and the PR profession depend on it,” she wrote.

Click HERE to read the full Code of Ethics. Save this link and don’t forget to consult with the Code of Ethics from time to time.

If you know Cynthia, congratulate her!

Please congratulate Cynthia Kolko!

Cynthia, a fellow Rochester PR pro, recently attained the one of the highest honors in public relations. She earned her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR).

Several other local PR pros are also on the path to accreditation. If you’d like to join this group, please reach out to our APR leaders Patty Corvaia and Jamie Frumusa.

As always, we’re also looking for volunteers, especially for our committees. Please let me know if you have any interest. Thanks, - Joy

Joy Auch, PRSA Rochester President

Manager, Internal & Strategy Communications, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

[email protected]


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Northeast District News Update

Save the date for next year's Northeast District Conference— Friday, June 12, 2020. Hosted by our colleagues from the Yankee Chapter, the one-day conference will be held at the Sheraton Harborside Hotel in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. What to expect? Engaging keynote speakers, a wide variety of breakout sessions and networking amid the charm of a lovely New England town. If you're interested in becoming active at the district level and would like to represent Rochester, the planning committee is looking for volunteers for programming and sponsorship. This would involve a few hours of time mostly on conference calls to share your expertise and input. Members who have served on the conference committee enjoy working and getting to know colleagues from throughout the eight Northeast District chapters.

The District will be updating its website shortly, but before they dive in, we are looking for your input. Please help out by completing this brief five-question survey to help us understand how the site is being used now and what expectations members have. It will be very helpful to the district council and the folks working on this project.

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Event Spotlight

Coffee & Conversations: What to do when a crisis hits

Another edition of Coffee & Conversations, presented by St. John Fisher College and PRSA Rochester, focused on crisis communications and issues management. While teams had great discussions around individual case studies, a couple of key themes surfaced:

  1. Plan before a crisis hits. The most important time of an issue is before one hits. Anticipate and prepare for potential crises before they happen so you can quickly and calmly move into management mode.
  2. Cultivate relationships. Prior to a crisis, consider which partners can help during an unplanned event, such as local media or community members. Establish regular communications and develop these relationships to lean on them when handling a situation.
  3. Communicate. When handling a crisis, it’s important to quickly and accurately communicate to all parties involved – including separate brands, departments or audiences. A situation can get more out of hand when individuals are unsure of what is happening.   

Internal Communications

Missed the Internal Communications panel last month? Here are the top three takeaways to help you with internal communications:

  1. People want to know about their colleagues.In organizations big and small, the top internal content always came down to employee spotlights. Be sure to rotate around buildings, floors and departments and have their friendly faces above the fold on your site or in your email to get clicks and engagement.
  2. Speaking of clicks and engagement – measure!To continue serving up content that your colleagues will read and take action on, set key metrics and goals. This could be opens/clicks, number of people showing up for the potluck or the high fives you get in the hall. Check in with how your content is being received and adjust your schedule to include more of what’s working.
  3. Create editorial standards. It’s the best way to make sure you don’t feel bogged down with promoting every candy sale or book club. Set expectations for what employees can—or can’t—submit to go in the newsletter or on the intranet in advance to increase your chances of getting

Navigating the Maze of Data & Analytics

Our morning workshop on measurement was jam-packed with great information! We first had the pleasure of hearing from Nicole Moreo, SVP, Ketchum Analytics, followed by a panel of experts from RIT, University of Rochester and Edelman Intelligence. Here are some of the great tips we learned:

  1. Data is the journey, not the destination. Collecting data is not enough. Your measurements should provide insights that allow you to make real-time adjustments and influence your strategy.
  2. Just start somewhere. Begin by benchmarking where you are and what you’re currently doing. Before starting a new campaign, think about what data you can track, and how your short-term efforts will relate to your overall goals for the year. Consider partnering with other organizations to share other stats and measurements you may not have access to on your own.

For more tools and resources, visit

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Ethics Corner

Ethical Measurement: Tips to Help Keep You Honest When Reporting PR Results

By Craig Troskosky, SVP, Measurement, Monitoring and Analytics at Edelman Intelligence

Ethics isn't typically something that jumps into the front of your mind when you're thinking about measurement, especially PR measurement. But there are a few things that you should consider when presenting the results of your campaigns and efforts.

First, you should think about how you're going to measure your campaign before you start it. Having a solid measurement framework laid out before you start the campaign will enable everyone to be on the same page about what success will look like. Measurement starts in the planning stages when you envision what the successful completion of your goals and objectives will consist of. Addressing that up front will keep you honest as to whether you were able to achieve the results that you expected.

You should also think through how you're going to measure those objectives and make sure that process is well documented. In the research business, we refer to that as clearly documenting the methodology. You want to be transparent about exactly how you're going to measure something, what tools you're going to use, the time periods that you're going to look at, and exactly what is included and not included in the results. You may also want to note anything that you're not going to look at or any limitations of the measurement. That way, there aren't any surprises and if someone has different ideas about how things will be measured – you'll be able to clear up those discrepancies up front.

When you're measuring the results of a campaign, resist the urge to give yourself or your campaign straight As. While everyone wants to look good, the purpose of measurement isn't to show what a great job you did – it's to show if what you're doing is meeting your goals and objectives. The risk here is that if you present the results as if you achieved all you set out to do, then you could fall into a trap of continuing to do things that don't really advance your efforts. Measurement should shine a light on what is working and what is not, so that you can course correct the things that aren't working and learn from the stuff that is. Obviously, you never want to fudge results or play with the numbers to present a picture that isn't representative of the success or lack thereof in a campaign.

Lastly, strive for consistency. Good measurement contextualizes the results that a campaign achieves. If you're constantly measuring using different tools or in different ways, it can be hard to compare the results of different efforts. Resist any urges to change the way you're looking at things to present a better result.

Remember that learning what not to do or what isn't working is more powerful in the long run than what is working. That requires some courage, but if you've built a dynamic measurement framework you might be able to address those changes in real time, rather than waiting until the end of a campaign. Many progressive organizations are using active measurement to tweak campaigns or address issues midstream. It requires a little more thinking and investment but can pay significant dividends. More importantly, it might keep you from feeling like you need to stretch your results to justify your efforts – which is where you might end up in an ethical dilemma.

Craig is a 20-year+ PR veteran who has most recently devoted his professional efforts to working with global organizations to understand and improve the value of their earned media efforts. He leads team of more than 25 world-class analysts from Edelman Intelligence’s Rochester, New York office.

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PR Apprentice Program

PR Apprentice Program – Registration Open

Registration is open for the 2019 PR Apprentice Program, a “PR bootcamp,” for area college communication majors (juniors and seniors) who will execute a real-world hands-on PR campaign for Huther Doyle. The program is held Friday, Nov. 8 & Saturday, Nov. 9 at Dixon Schwabl. We’re also looking for area PR professionals to volunteer as team coaches. For more information, reach out to Melissa Greco-Lopez or Nadine General.

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PRSA Membership

Triple-Play Membership Deal

Three Reasons Why You Should Join PRSA Today…

Because now through October 31 PRSA National is:

  1. Waiving the initiation fee
  2. Waiving the chapter dues
  3. Offering a free 1-year professional interest section of your choice

It’s PRSA National’s Triple Play Offer and it only happens once a year. So, don’t delay. Click here for the application and use the code FALL19 for the special offer.

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Community Service

PRSA Joins New Causewave Project

This fall, PRSA will join Causewave in its initiative, Shaping Our Stories: Media Portrayals of Race in Rochester, NY. The project, which comes on the heels of a Causewave study that explored how race is represented and perceived in local news media. The partnership will pair public relations professionals with local nonprofits, for-profit businesses, and community groups to help create and execute communications plans. The goal: equip organizations with the tools and resources needed to tell their positive stories and earn media opportunities with local media.

The initiative officially launched on Wednesday, Sept. 11, with a breakfast that included a panel of communications and media professionals. Now, local organizations are applying to participate with PR pros, including a dozen PRSA members, who are creating the curriculum and planning educational workshops.

The work will continue over the course of the next few months and culminate with a showcase event in early 2020.

Interested in joining the effort? Email PRSA board member Melissa Greco Lopes at [email protected].

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Member Spotlight: Cynthia Kolko, The Summit Federal Credit Union

In this week’s PRSA Member Spotlight, we’re highlighting PRSA member and recent APR recipient, Cynthia Kolko. Cynthia is a Community & Public Relations Specialist at The Summit Federal Credit Union and talks about the benefits of an APR and why other PR pros should consider pursuing it.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in public relations?

Public Relations just seems to suit me. It’s an amalgamation of all the professional roles I’ve loved: writer, event ringleader, idea generator and researcher.

What motivated you to apply for your APR accreditation?

I chose to pursue the APR to fill in my knowledge of the industry and its best practices. My main focus professionally has been writing. Public Relations was often part of my responsibilities, but any knowledge was attained through experience on the job.

How does this new accreditation set you apart from other PR pros?

 The accreditation signals to others that I plan well, anticipate and prepare for foul-ups, and am ethical in my practices.

What is the best way to prepare for applying for an APR accreditation?

Use the PRSA resources. The study guide is easily followed. Ask a trusted colleague who has earned an APR to critique your panel presentation a few weeks before you go into “the room.” And there are tons of Quizlets online to help you prepare for the test.

Since receiving your APR, how have you implemented this in your role at The Summit Federal Credit Union? 

Making a plan for each marketing effort has been invaluable. At a glance, I know what needs to be done.

What advice would you give to fellow PR pros to encourage them to apply for an APR? 
The preparation process is not as daunting as it may seem, and if pursuing the APR teaches you anything about how to improve your PR practices, it’s worth it.


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