Posted At: October 15, 2012 2:30 P.M.
by Jessica Colburn
How did a team of nine students create a successful PR magazine that would provide a platform for a growing legacy of excellence and innovation?
Haley Moore (Spring 2007), an online ad salesperson in New York City, recalls the calculated steps her class took to create Platform Magazine.
“The charter members of Platform all came together with a single and challenged mindset: brainstorm the best possible ideas for a digital tool to disseminate information on public relations for students and public relations professionals,” Moore said. “We took most of the semester to conceptualize the site: the name, the look and feel, and the type of content we wanted to produce. After the major decisions were made, each member of the team established a story idea and wrote an article for Volume I, Issue I, of Platform.”
In celebration of the fifth anniversary of Platform Magazine, alumni of the public relations publication voiced their opinions and gave some advice on how Platform Magazine can and will contribute to success outside of the classroom.
Almost every student knows the feeling of prolonged procrastination and the consequences associated with this mistake. A few alumni admitted that this dilemma does not disappear post-graduation — however, they did offer us Platformers some reassurance.
“The number one skill that I developed in Platform and use every day is how to work on a deadline,” said Margaret Bishop (Spring 2012 alumni), marketing and fundraising coordinator for the Autism Society of Alabama. “I had always had ‘due dates’ for class assignments, but to be on a strict deadline and have to manage my time was one of the most beneficial skills I learned through Platform.”
Hillary Stroud (Fall 2010 alumni), communications specialist for National Air Traffic Controllers Association, reiterated this point and emphasized the importance of deadlines in her career.
“In my job, I am constantly on a deadline,” Stroud said. “I’ve learned to work fast, and Platform Magazine certainly prepared you for that.”
Many of our alumni spoke of increased writing and editing skills that impacted their careers exponentially.
“Mrs. Sims was such an advocate of conscientious writing, not to mention keeping up with AP Style, and I continue to take that very seriously,” Carly Jayne Rullman (Spring 2009), client service manager at Scout Branding Company, said.
“Platform helped sharpen my writing skills, which helps with any career,” said Miranda Harbin (Fall 2008), senior contract specialist with the Army Contracting Command-Redstone. “First impressions in writing are everything.”
Scott Young (Spring 2010), president of Social Media Outsourcing Inc., also spoke of the benefits of working in a learning environment.
“Sometimes it’s a challenge to organize your thoughts into something that will keep your reader interested,” Young said. “Having worked with other editors, we all put the finishing touches on any article that was published, meaning we all had the opportunity to see how other writers saw our articles and how we could improve them.”
As Young mentioned, working with a team of editors allows for the best writing to be published. Not only does working with a team create better articles and blogs, but it brings other benefits, as well.
“In Platform, we were all about collaboration: empowering each other to put our best work out there and working toward something great . . . every week,” Rullman said. “Platform reinforced the idea that working on a team is a ton of fun and highly rewarding.”
Besides the fun associated with becoming an editor of Platform Magazine, alumni also referenced the importance of building team member skills and its necessity in the work world.
“I have found that much of one’s success in the ‘real world’ depends upon his ability to work efficiently and effectively with his co-workers,” said Dusty Fowler (Fall 2007), minister to preteens and middle school students at Willowbrook Baptist Church.
“Just like asking a poignant follow-up question in an interview with a source may lead to a new angle for your article, asking the right questions to your boss, co-workers or clients may lead you to take on bigger responsibilities or reveal new skill sets that impress those around you,” Dorothy Griffith (Fall 2011), fundraising assistant at The Gula Graham Group, said.
Platform and beyond
“It also opened the door for me to explore how public relations relates to other fields,” Wesley Vaughn (Spring 2011), graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, said. “Around the time I was working for Platform, I was discovering the city planning field, and my research for articles guided me further down the career path that I will eventually take.”
Besides enriching students’ knowledge of PR, Platform provided impressive portfolio work for alumni.
“Working on the magazine gives students an unparalleled writing and leadership experience that immediately places them ahead of their competition when it comes to the job application process as well as job performance,” Griffith said. “There are very few other publications that give students the opportunity to become a published writer in an international public relations magazine as an undergraduate student.”
“As cliche as it sounds, Platform provided me with a ‘platform’ to express my ideas, thoughts and opinions further and helped shape my future tremendously,” Bishop said. “It definitely helped me realize that there was more to PR than social media and press releases.”
Where do you see yourself after you graduate? Do you have plans to obtain your dream job? Do your plans include Platform Magazine?
We would love to hear from other alumni and learn from their experiences as editors for Platform Magazine!