Public Relations

A Typical Day in PR

This depends on where you work. “A typical day for a PR person starts with getting to know the clients, as well as the means to do it. Sending out press releases to the media which also have to be written, following up with the press regarding the press releases sent to them, organizing press interviews with the clients and providing information to the press. And tracking all the stories that appear in the press”, says Parul Gosain.

If it’s a corporate or a PR agency, you definitely have to dress and speak formally. They are busy places, work schedules are irregular and frequently interrupted. They answer calls for information from the press and public, work on invitation lists and details for a press conference, escort visitors and clients, help with research, and write brochures.

For example: When you have a sports day in school, your coach is the person who takes care of organizing the whole event, from setting up the sports ground, clearing doubts of the parents and students, to inviting the chief guests. She also takes care of the events, talks to the participants about their performances. After the day is over, she sees to it that the participants and winners get their certificates and trophies. She also encourages the others to participate the next year, congratulates the winners and at the same time, consoles the others.

In the balance:

The good and not so good things about a career in public relations

The good bits:

# You always know the true picture of what is going on in the company you work for.

# You’re responsible for managing the way your company is perceived.

# It can be quite glamorous, because you meet a lot of people at the very top of their professions.

# The PR fields can result in very satisfying careers. There aren’t many jobs that allow your strategies to come to life, to be observed by thousands or even millions of people.

Keep in mind, however:

# A company can sometimes expect the earth from a PR person in terms of the company’s image. And if the company ha s been involved in a scam or something unsavoury, and the press is constantly pointing that out, a PR person’s life can become very difficult indeed.

#Competition for getting into PR jobs is intense. There are many more candidates than the number of positions. You must be willing to start at the bottom and work your way up.

# Public relations people operate against deadlines. Under such high-pressure conditions,9to5 schedules go out the window. Public relations executives are not tied to their desks for long periods. Meetings, community functions, business lunches, travel assignments, special speaking and writing commitments, and unscheduled work on ‘crisis’ situations often mean long hours.

# You develop an analytical mind, far-sightedness and the ability to handle crises. The job demands an alert mind for planning, defense and guarding the image of the firm, person or product.

Training required to get a job

To land a job in media relations and internal communication, a basic Bachelor’s degree in any field will do, and a mass communications degree or diploma will help. For the strategy part of the field, companies these days look for an MBA. Though public relations is a relatively new field, many colleges and universities offer a public relations course. Most public relations programmes are administered by journalism or mass communications schools or departments.

Technical skills required

Public relations demands the creativity of advertising, but the business savviness of management consulting. Excellent writing skills, speaking well and an ability to use all the research tools available in today’s information rich, Internet-driven world are pre requisites. You definitely need to know how to use Microsoft Word and Excel.

March 9, 2009 at 6:09 am Leave a comment

What are the different aspects of publishing?

There are various aspects to publishing as a business. To begin with, its a business and have to be managed as such. Therefore you’ll need to understand management practices. Publishing begins with the processing of the manuscript.

Editorial: Editing plays a big role in this business. The Chief editor guides the team of editors and oversees the complete running of the publishing house. They contact authors for writing books on selected topics. The editorial lays down the policy of the publication, manages the staff and co ordinates all the related work. There are two types of editors:

Commissioning Editors:
If you’re a commissioning editor, its your job to find new authors or work with established authors to come up with new books. This means you’ll have to know a lot of writers so that you re able to suggest ideas and themes to them. Once the author accepts the idea, you have to work with him or her and help structure the book properly. This is especially important if you’re working with a brand new author. You’ll also have to know everything there is to know about publishing, including costs of production, because you’ll be the person to initiate new books. Generally however, you will not begin your career in publishing as a commissioning editor, because this is a job that requires tons of experience and understanding that can only come from having worked at least eight to ten years in the profession.

Copy Editors:
As a copy editor, your job will be to work with the text that the author has submitted to the publisher, to make sure that the style is consistent throughout the book and that there are no factual, spelling or grammatical errors. You can begin your career as a trainee copy editor and work your way to becoming a commissioning editor, and could wind up being editor in chief.

Production: Editing is carried out on the computer and the type face and page layout adjusted. The illustrations, appearance of the book, book cover, paper quality, etc, is decided by the editor as well as the production in charge. The design department does the art work for the book. A number of publishing houses work with freelance artists on their rolls, who are commissioned for artwork, such as illustration, cover design, photographs, etc. Production staff manage the technicalities of the printing process, the pricing and marketing of the product. They purchase the paper, coordinate the printing and binding of the books. In the newspaper and magazine segment, the production department deals with purchase of newsprint as well as the printing and dispatch of the newspaper of magazines to the marketing department.

Sales and Marketing
: Publicity, promotion, sales campaigns are a major responsibility. Distribution of books entails under standing the market where the books may sell. Distribution to libraries,schools, organizations is often done directly or through local book suppliers. The on line book sales is the latest technique in marketing and sales.

Literary Agent:
A concept that still doesn’t exist in India, though opportunities do exist now that publishing is taking off in a big way. A literary agent is basically the middle man between the writer and the publisher. In fact, the literary agent is almost the writer’s first commissioning editor, because she/he will read the manuscript the writer has submitted, decide whether it’s worth publishing and if it is, will show the manuscript to various publishers so as to get the best possible deal for the writer. Abroad, publishers will only accept manuscripts submitted through a literary agent. As a literary agent, your educational qualifications do not matter since you’ll be working on your own. But it will help to have a background in publishing because you need to know the business and you also need to know people in the publishing industry because this job works on contacts.

Merchandiser:
You could also work for a major book store such as Crossword as a merchandiser. A merchandiser’s job is very exciting because she/he gets paid to read. As a merchandiser, you’ll have to decide which books the store should buy from the publishers that can be sold to the public. Not only which books, but how many copies of a particular book. For instance, when the next book is finally available, you will decide how many copies should be in stock so that all the copies don’t get sold out the first day itself. You’ll also be in a position to guide people’s taste in reading, because you’ll be responsible for buying books by authors that the Indian public may not have heard of yet. Most bookstores will train you in the actual aspects of merchandising because this is an area that is new to India and there are no courses available as yet.

March 3, 2009 at 7:40 am Leave a comment

What are the different jobs in advertising?

Advertising people create ads, which help sell an idea or product. Broadly speaking, an ad agency has two main work streams of which you can choose the one that interests you. The creative section, has people who visualize and conceptualize an ad, including the copywriters, art directors. And the client servicing section, has people who interact with the industry and are an interface between them and the agency. Let us look at each part so that you will have an overview of what each department of advertising is involved in to create a communication.

There are four aspects to advertising:
Copy
Art
Client Servicing
Media Buying.

Copy writing:

This is the world where art is sold through the magic of words. If advertisement is the heart of marketing,then copywriters are its soul. It is an art through which the consumer psyche is translated into words. Technically speaking; the copywriter is the person who crafts the wording of the advertisement whether it is a print ad (what you see in a news paper or magazine) or a radio or TV commercial. She/he comes up with the head line that grabs your attention and the text that tells you more about the product being advertised. Remember the commercial for Cadbury’s ‘Temptations’? It’s supposed to be so good that you don’t want to
share it with anyone, even someone you love. That was the idea. The words and pictures were crafted later. Nike’s ‘Just do it’ and, ‘There are some things in life which money can’t buy. For everything else there’s Master Card,’ are not only brain children of copywriters but are also words that reflect the go-getter personality. Copy writers are on perpetual deadlines-which are always ‘yesterday’. Most copy writers complain that it is an extremely pains taking task to come out with catchy lines on a regular basis, especially, if they are suffering from a ‘writer’s block’. So, when Aishwarya winks and declares to the world how cool it is to drink Coca- Cola,don’t go thinking it’s her conviction, although she makes it seem so,it’s the copy writer talking.

Ad Filmmaker:

He makes the commercials that we see on TV. The ad film maker examines the script written by the copy writer and the art director and also contributes suggestions. The Coke, Hutch, Pepsi, ads are made by ad film makers.

Commercial Photographers and Illustrators:

They are the people who take snaps and pictures or illustrate graphically the products or elements used for print advertising. They work with the art director to give the ad its look and personality and to make it look appealing.

Art Direction:
The art director (known as the visualizer at junior levels) works with the copywriter to come up with the big idea. Then she/he takes the words written by the copywriter and decides on how to present it to the buyer. This involves not just the way the ad looks (colors, photographs, drawings), but also the font the text is printed in (which should be eye-catching and easy to read). The art director is also wholly involved with the ad; she/he must follow it through right from the stage when the layout begins,to the stage when it is ready to be distributed to news papers and magazines for printing. For a commercial, the art director works with the copy writer’s script and supervises its filming and final production.

Client Servicing:

The client servicing people generally have a marketing background. These are the people who, together with the client (the company that wants to advertise a product), come up with a plan for how to present the product to the buyer. Once the client servicing person’s strategy for advertising is accepted by the client, she/he will brief the creative team of copywriter and art director on the product. The creative team will be told about the product (for instance, Cadbury’s ‘Temptations’), its pricing, its target audience (the set of people the company wants to sell ‘Temptations’ to), and the aspects of it that the client wants to emphasize. After the creative team comes up with the idea(s) and put together a rough layout,the client servicing person takes the idea to the client for his approval. His job now is to sell the idea to the client and therefore make money for the ad agency. Once the idea is approved, he returns to the creative team and gives them the go ahead and then follows the ad through production till it is ready for publication and broadcasting, and then present the client with a bill!

Media Buyers
These are the people who buy space (half a page, a quarter page, two inches of a column) in newspapers/magazines or buy airtime (30 seconds in which to show the commercial, or 60seconds) on television channels or radio channels for the ad agency’s clients. They are also responsible for part of the advertising strategy, because they have a clear idea how to reach out to the ad’s target audience. If we look at Cadbury’s ‘Temptations’, we’ve seen it’s a chocolate meant for people who are into fine living. This kind of person will read a certain kind of magazine, watch a certain kind of television channel, listen to a certain kind of music. So, to get the ad across to this kind of person, the ad must be placed where the target audience can see it and hear it.

March 2, 2009 at 5:35 am 3 comments

What kind of jobs do Chemists do?

Most chemists work in research, but not all of them work in pure research, that is, research for the sake of it. In fact, more often than not, they work in industry, doing research to develop products that can be sold to make a profit, products that will enhance or improve our lives or lifestyles. A large number work in education, sales and marketing, medical laboratories, and consultancy.

Depending on their particular areas of specialization, chemists can be involved in any number of different kinds of jobs. The four basic specializations are:

Organic chemistry – which deals with every compound on earth (and elsewhere) that has a carbon atom in it, and of course, carbon itself in all its forms. This includes every single form of life on earth, so you can see just how wide a field this is. Synthesis – that is, making new things – is the biggest responsibility of the organic chemist. New ‘things’ might include more effective drugs, better fertilizers, and safer food additives. Organic chemists would find jobs in industries like agriculture, the environment, food, medicine, petroleum, rubber, alcohol, and consumer products like soap.

Inorganic chemistry – simply put, this is the chemistry of non-living objects. They are also involved in synthesis, but in the synthesis of things like plastics, glass, ceramics, synthetic fabrics with special properties that make them ideal for certain applications. Chemists were involved with the discovery and development of both nylon and lycra. Inorganic chemists would find jobs in industries as diverse as mining and minerals, chemicals, microchips, environment, polymer technology, cosmetics, and so on.

Physical chemistry – is the area of overlap between physics and chemistry. That means you venture into this area only if you love maths almost as much as you love chemistry. Physical chemists determine the properties, both good and bad, of all kinds of substances. Spectroscopy, which is the study of the physical properties of chemical compounds using light and other forces, is a big area of physical chemistry. So is theoretical chemistry, which is, like its name, mostly about using theories and calculations to predict the existence or behaviour of something that can’t actually be proved. Physical chemists would find jobs in nuclear and atomic research labs, and in a wide range of industries that need materials scientists.

Analytical chemistry – involves deduction, reasoning and analysis. Most analytical chemists work in the area of qualitative and quantitative analysis. It is these guys who check, for instance, if the pollution levels in the atmosphere are within safe limits or not, and if not, how much beyond the safe limit they are. They would also be involved in testing water to see if it is potable, in testing food to check if it is fresh, in testing metals (like gold, for instance), to establish their purity. Analytical chemists work in forensic science departments, medical laboratories (testing blood and urine samples, for instance), in all kinds of industry (where they may work as industrial chemists, testing random samples from production lines to see if the product is up to standard), government environmental departments, and so on.

February 28, 2009 at 6:05 am Leave a comment

Where do physicists work?

Many physicists work in research laboratories — in industry, in universities, and in national laboratories — but that is only a beginning of a catalog of places where physicists can be found. Many teach in high schools, colleges, and universities. Others can be found in hospitals, the military, oil fields, power plants, in the astronaut corps, in museums, in patent law firms, and in management positions in business and government. A young person trained in physics acquires a set of skills that makes him or her a valued employee in many settings.

In research laboratories
Most research scientists are required to teach as well as do research, so a typical day would involve some hours of both, or at least preparation for lectures in addition to research. Experimental research would involve work in the laboratory that could be confined to some part of the day or sometimes days together without a break if the experiment requires continuous data collection that is time bound. Meeting with the research team to plan and discuss the work would take up part of the day. The scientist may need to spend part of her day in the library (although these days, journals on the Net and information available on various topics on the world wide web have cut the time a scientist needs to spend in a library, some amount of time in actual libraries is still essential). Entering experimental data into the computer and obtaining results would take hours on a computer and theoretical and experimental scientists would spend at least fifty percent of their working hours on the computer. With micro labs in place, not only data collection and recording but also drawing inferences from such data is all computerized, and some part of the scientist’s day would go in upgrading her knowledge of essential software.

In industry
Physicists who work in industry may work in the research wing of companies as diverse as those that make aeroplanes and those that make, say, soap. Physics and soap? Listen to what Pramila Sharma, an MSc in Nuclear Physics who now works in the Hindustan Lever Resarch Centre (HLRC), has to say, “My work at HLRC is mainly concerned with making soaps ‘feel’ better. The work has much to do with physics (even though it doesn’t have much to do with my MSc subject, Nuclear Physics). At my job, I try to measure the difference in coefficients of friction of various soaps to see which soap feels better and why it does so. Then I try to incorporate some chemicals (polymers) into the already existing soaps and see if the foam has a better, smoother ‘feel’ now. I keep doing this until the soap ‘feels’ perfect. For carrying out the measurements I mentioned earlier, I have to work on sophisticated instruments like the rheometer, the texture analyser, and do various studies like DSC(differential scanning calorimetry), SEM (scanning electron microscopy) etc.” So, you see, even making a soap that feels right involves a lot of physics!

February 27, 2009 at 5:55 am Leave a comment

What do Journalists do?

Reporters
write assigned news stories covering accidents, political elections, holiday parades, fires, crimes, or events in their city. They research, organize, write, and report stories on location, covering or breaking news stories. They are the people who are out in the field, interviewing people and following stories to write when they get back to office. The word ‘story’ in a journalist’s jargon, is the news item, or the interview or the piece of work that a reporter has worked on.

News correspondents
cover news events in large cities here and abroad. They may have to do the job of an entire newspaper staff like report stories, take photographs, layout pages, edit, write, and run the office.

Photo journalists
report stories through photographs. They are generally in the midst of all types of events, taking pictures. Photo journalists are reporters who use pictures instead of words to tell a story. Camera people can also be regarded as photo journalists.

Presenter or Anchor
The TV and radio media also have a fourth kind of journalist-the presenter or anchor. These are the people who you see or hear reading the news. While some anchors are also reporters, some are just presenters. But they too are journalists because they often have to interview people on air and ask relevant questions of the reporters when there is some event being aired live.

Magazine feature writers
Often interview and write stories about a person, event, or topic chosen by a magazine editor. These are in-depth studies rather than late-breaking news.

Editors
Are the people who stay at the office, edit or modify the stories (referred to as ‘copy’) turned in (or filed) by the reporters. At the junior level, editors are referred to as sub editors. Editors are also responsible for layout (the way a page or a news programme looks or sounds) and, depending on their experience, decide which stories go on page1 and which piece to be placed as lead article, page1 anchor or which piece to be placed as lead article (the most important according to its news value) or which stories begin a news programme in case of a news channel. “Trainee editors tend to spend most of their time typing,” says Kushalrani Gulab, a journalist of 10years’ standing. “When I began, I’d be doing television listings physically typing in the TV schedules in the required format so that our readers could check out the programmes the next day. But
after that, things can get very exciting.”

February 26, 2009 at 6:12 am Leave a comment

Improving concentration

Query received from student:
I have my board exams in March 2009 and I seem to have trouble concentrating. Could you please give me some tips to improve my concentration?
Vineet (NOIDA)

Reply from our FutureMap counsillor:
Dear Vineet,
Thanks for sharing your concern with us. No matter if studying biology or playing chess, is to focus on the task at hand and eliminate distraction is the key rule for concentration. First of all arrange your study place. Get a dedicated space, chair, table, lighting and environment, avoid phones if possible. Stick to your study schedule and find out your prime time. Prime time means the best time (day/night) for you to study at a stretch. Before you begin studying, take a few minutes to summarize a few objectives-what exactly is the task you wish to finish, gather what you will need, and think of a general strategy of accomplishment. Create an incentive if necessary for successfully completing a task, such as calling a friend, a food treat, a walk, etc. Change the subjects you are studying every one to two hours for variety. Alternate reading with more active learning exercises. Do something different from what you’ve been doing (e.g., walk around if you’ve been sitting), and in a different area. When you notice your thoughts wandering astray, say to yourself, “Be here now” and gently bring your attention back.

February 24, 2009 at 6:07 am 2 comments

Sports

What happens in the long run?
Very few of us today look at sports as a career option. A keen interest and talent in sports at the school level is not developed as a profession, simply because we look at sports as a hobby, a means to physical fitness or a source to earn bonus marks that help during exams.
The government today encourages young talent in the sports field. Schemes and aids have been made available to help us do better in sports. Financial support, nutritious diet, suitable sportswear and general psychological counselling are provided by the Sports Authority of India to talented youngsters throughout the country.
Sportspersons can avail of admission in schools and colleges, professional and non-professional courses against the sports quota. And that’s not all. There are innumerable opportunities to carry on the love for your sport after you are not able to break records further. You could be a sports entrepreneur, start your own sports academy like Prakash Padukone has done for badminton. You could fly from one school to another to hold cricket camps like Brijesh Patel. Physical fitness trainer, gymnasium instructor, sports journalist or just a coach are as celebrated as a sportsperson. It’s only up to you to make it bigger that your career in the game. Good luck.

Should I Stop Studying?
Sports career will not require you to be very academic, most sportsmen today have played their way to the top. You don’t need a degree in Physical Education to be a Sachin Tendulkar or Leander Paes. This does not mean that you stop studying. While you are practising for a game everyday, you will have to manage your studies at school and college as well.
Schools and colleges are also important for sportspersons. Almost every player of note started his career in school and then played for his college before donning state and finally national colours.
In several sports like squash, billiards or tennis, you might need to go abroad for further training. If you are good at studies, then you can go to a good college in Europe or USA on a scholarship and get trained there.

How do I get noticed?
You need to play, play and then get out there and play some more. By which we mean that you need to participate in tournaments at all possible levels, from interschool tournaments to college, to clubs wherever you get the opportunity. There are people out there whose jobs are to talent-spot. But unless you’re actually out there competing in tournaments, you will not be spotted.
If you’re in the Sports Authority of India or at a private coaching academy, you stand a much higher chance of being picked up by sponsors, because these are the places they look at first. Certain schools and colleges in the country that have a good reputation sports-wise are also hangouts for talent spotters.
Otherwise, you’ll have to get out there and seek sponsors yourself. You’ll have to approach the public relations department of the corporates you’re looking at and try and convince them to nurture your talent. Be prepared for rejection, but also be persistent.

February 20, 2009 at 7:31 am Leave a comment

What goes into a Fighter Pilot?

Ever since the aircraft had become a war machine, the pilot was also highly regarded as a super human. This is not an exaggeration,the fighter pilot is a truly remarkable person! The fighter pilot, especially in the single-seat aircraft, has an amazing number of tasks to perform and things to look out for. As we said earlier, fighters do not fly themselves, or at least, not well enough to be used in combat without a pilot. The pilot’s first priority is therefore, to keep the aircraft in the air, and to keep it high enough in the air so that it doesn’t hit anything! He must not only fly the aircraft, but also receive orders from the air base, manage his fuel, plot a most economical and safe course to the enemy location,find his way to the right location, drop his weapons with high accuracy without getting shot down, then turn around and report the destruction of the target to his air base and wait for further instructions, then he has to find his way back to his airbase,and all the while make sure that he doesn’t blackout from the extreme physical (and not to mention, mental) stress that he undergoes throughout the mission! As you can see, this post is only for those who believe, know and prove themselves to be better than the average human!

If you want to be in the air force, you need to:
#Be able to make split-second decisions. A lot of times during a mission, you will be faced with many small, yet important decisions that require your immediate attention. For example, you may be faced with a decision whether to take a short, dangerous route that conserves your fuel, or to take a relatively safer, but longer route that might just leave you short of fuel on the journey home. There may even be very important tactical decisions. For example, if you’re leading a flight of 5 bombers, and 2 have been shot down and you’re still hundreds of miles from your target, should you really continue with the mission? Your decision in the air counts, because you might be alone in the cockpit of a very expensive, sophisticated machine, and the wrong decision could mean the loss of more than just a machine.
#Be adaptable, because your work will be so broad-based, you will have to be able to adapt to the various demands of varied circumstances in different missions. What tactics work in a fighter, will obviously not work in a bomber, for the simple reason that they are two totally different aircraft. Similarly, what works on an attack mission will definitely not work in a spy mission. You must be able to perform various tasks with the same efficiency as you perform your favorite ones.
#Be brave. You definitely cannot abandon your mission in the middle because you get scared when you see what the enemy is throwing up at you. You will definitely be stopped by a large number of enemy forces in various locations en route to your target, so you should not flinch, and have complete confidence in your ability to be able to take your air craft through it, complete your mission,and reach home safely.

You should:
#Have good visual skills Because you’ll be covering a very large sphere of space and there could be enemies lurking in every corner (so to speak). After all, if you’re shot down, and you manage to survive, the excuse “I just didn’t see that missile, you know” is not going to make you very popular!
#Be a very disciplined person. The discipline that you follow in your personal life will most definitely help you perform better in your life as a pilot. Pilots have a lot to do, as we’ve already said, so you should make sure that you’re disciplined enough to be able to handle everything at once.

You should not:
#Be afraid of heights.
#Be a person who panics easily. Like we said earlier, you have to be brave, and cool even in the face of enemy fire. If you’re a person who panics just as you get into enemy territory, you’re definitely out of this job!
#Be laid-back about timing. Many times, the success of the mission depends entirely on your timing, so it is very essential that you are punctual and are very much conscious of time.

February 19, 2009 at 8:59 am Leave a comment

Corporate Law

With the advent of globalization, changes in the Indian economy have paved the way for a world of new opportunities. This is most evident in
the corporate sector. Several Indian companies have become global players, and the smaller ones have grown many times over. The demands of these companies for legal advice and support have grown tremendously.
Understanding Indian and international laws and making sure that business is done in a manner that complies with these laws have become critical for the companies. Consequently, there is a great demand for lawyers, especially corporate lawyers, who understand the affairs of companies. No company will take a big decision without understanding its legal consequences. The company would also look at different ways of using laws to their advantage. So corporate lawyers are the heart and soul of corporate decision-making!
As a Corporate lawyer, you could either work in a corporate law firm, advising several different companies, or you could work in the legal department of a company, and focus solely on that company’s requirements.
In either case, you are helping corporates make sure that laws are complied with, transactions are done in a manner that are consistent with the laws, and that problems are tackled in the most cost-effective way possible – without publicising issues. Being a good corporate lawyer requires a lot more than a good understanding of laws. A good corporate lawyer must develop inter-personal skills and networking capabilities and ofcourse, a solid understanding of the business world. A good corporate lawyer is a prized commodity, and the sky is the limit where success is concerned.
Currently India’s best known corporate law firms and companies are based primarily in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore. Therefore, the bulk of job opportunities are in the metros. With the imminent entry of foreign law firms, corporate law will become even more lucrative and law graduates are likely to be greeted with a variety of highly rewarding opportunities.

February 18, 2009 at 8:06 am Leave a comment

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