#PPRAProgram Recap: Broadcast Media Panel Offers Tips for Getting Your Stories on the Air

By Kate Kanaby

On Friday, Feb. 17, six familiar faces in broadcast media came together to discuss the shifting media landscape with a room full of PR pros.  Moderated by Susan Buehler, Chief Communications Officer of PJM Interconnection, the panel included:

We talked tips for getting stories on air, PR pet peeves, and even saw some brave colleagues “live pitch” the panelists. Here are a few takeaways from our most recent #PPRAProgram:

  • Producers and reporters get hundreds of pitch emails each day – make yours cut through the clutter. Your pitch must be timely, relevant, and as always, a catchy subject line is key. Jodi Harris stressed follow ups if you don’t hear back from her, but Iris Delgado had one request: “Don’t call me 15 minutes before air time.”
  •  Know the outlet’s audience, and make your story relevant to them. Steve McKenzie reminded us that when he’s reading pitches, he’s asking himself, “Will my viewers care about this?” Meanwhile, Eugene Sonn admitted he’s received his fair share of pitches and thought, “Have they ever even listened to our program?” Don’t be that 
  • Sometimes your pitch ends up being the best backup plan, and that’s okay. Iris Delgado noted that stories can fall through all the time, but the show must go on, regardless. Make yourself an available resource, and take advantage of those opportunities that present themselves. 
  • Think about how your story can live on social media. Each panelist agreed that social media has changed the way they do their jobs. Paul Kurtz recalled using Facebook Live to stream protests at the Democratic National Convention in July. So, if you have a story that will do well on Facebook, or an expert with a sizeble Twitter following, that’s a huge plus.

Overall, the event was full of worthwhile insights and tips that we’ll definitely be applying to our future pitches.  Big thanks to everyone who attended – especially our media panelists. We can’t wait for the next #PPRAProgram!



Kate Kanaby is an assistant account executive at Brownstone Public Relations     kate@brownstonepr.com


#PPRAMemberMonday: Dorin Elhadad

ppramembermonday_dorinLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dorin-elhadad-42777b45

PPRA member since 2016

PPRA: Dorin, tell us about your background and your current job.

DE: After graduating from communication studies in college, and some traveling the world, I moved to Philly from Israel about three years ago. I immediately fell in love with the city. Looking to continue my career in public relations, I joined the super-team of Brownstone PR as an Account Executive. Before that I worked for an Israeli PR firm, “Shalmor Communication,” and that was when I realized this is my passion.

PPRA: What projects are you working on right now?

DE: I’m working on an exciting project alongside Sage Communications for the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual DisAbility Services (DBHIDS). We’re assisting DBHIDS with the implementation of a holistic approach to alleviate the stigma of behavioral health across Philadelphia. Bettering people’s lives while working in the industry I love so much is very satisfying – a definite perk.  In addition, we’re working with the PHLCVB as Philly prepares to host the NFL Draft this year. I’m really looking forward to seeing our city in the spotlight in April!

PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

DE: I enjoy all aspects of my job – creative writing, executing ideas and meeting people. My favorite part is brainstorming, devising strategies, and letting the creative beast loose. Transforming an idea to action is exhilarating!

PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?

DE: Find out what you need to get the creative juices going, be daring, and always try to look at things in new and different ways.

PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?

DE: Edward Scissorhands. Secret Window. Pulp Fiction. And anything with Dax Shepard 🙂

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

DE: There is no way I could choose just one place! I’m a walker so I guess my favorite route would be Boathouse Row, when it’s sunny.

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

DE: Peppers, onions, and no cheese! Jim’s Steaks is my jam!

Networking 101: Go for the Coffee, Stay for the Content


It’s a word that all communication majors are familiar with, spoken by professors and colleagues from the minute we step into a classroom.

We are told over and over again how critical networking is to securing internships and jobs. However, the actual task itself can seem daunting at times. How do we just walk up to a professional and start a meaningful conversation with him or her?


Luckily, PPRA offered local Philly communication students some help. Last fall, the professional organization hosted “Networking 101” at the Saxbys Coffee office headquarters. The aim: Join professionals and students in one space where students could practice their networking skills. Students also were able to win door prizes, such as shadow days and informational interviews with PPRA members.

And because the event was hosted by Saxbys, attendees had access to free coffee. All. Night. Long. #DoubleWin


While the free coffee was clutch (#ThanksSaxbys), students also learned a great deal of networking tips from Justin Pizzi, Saxbys Coffee’s vice president of Sales & Marketing and a former news reporter on NBC10.  

My personal favorite tip: Justin gave us is to ask memorable questions. His favorite question that he was ever asked is, “What is your biggest work failure, and what did you learn from it?” Questions like these are so much more impactful than the regular run-of-the-mill, “What do you like best about your job?” #Borrrrinngggg


After Justin wrapped up his remarks, students tried out their newly-learned networking tips on the professionals in attendance. We were split into groups and rotated between public relations professionals in the tourism, non-profit, sports/entertainment, and agency sectors. We heard a little bit from the professionals first, and then were given some time to speak up and stand out a little bit. If we wanted to speak to a specific professional for more than the allotted networking time, we could approach him or her after the event was over with the ice already broken. Only now, some of the pressure was alleviated.


This event was definitely the favorite networking event I ever have  attended. It was low-cost, we networked with numerous professionals from various industries, and we left fully caffeinated.

My biggest takeaway? That there is no set path for public relations practitioners. After networking with all of the professionals and learning how they fell into their current positions, I learned that all of their career journeys were different and there is no right or wrong career choice, as long as you learn from each position. Through networking, I was able to have meaningful conversations with industry professionals and these conversations helped me feel more ready to take on my last year in school and eventually, the “real” world.



Elise Corbett is a senior at La Salle University majoring in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Leadership and Global Understanding. She is the current President of La Salle University’s PRSSA chapter.

#PPRAMemberMonday: Christina Cassidy


Twitter: @christinacass_

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christina-cassidy-39a93a54


PPRA: Christina, tell us about your background and your current job.

CC: I joined the PHLCVB team in 2012 after returning home to the Philadelphia area post graduation from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Having very little idea what I wanted to do with my career and having no idea what a Convention & Visitors Bureau or a Destination Marketing Organization was, I was fortunate to be mentored by some pretty incredible women in communications who saw the potential for me to thrive in the tourism/hospitality world. Since working at the PHLCVB, I’ve dabbled in marketing, public relations, social media, and international tourism, specifically working with international writers, hosting press and securing Philadelphia coverage in such international publications as National Geographic France, Le Figaro Magazine, Michelin Guide FR, Sunday Mail, the top Italian travel magazine, DOVE, and a top UK fashion blog, She Wears Fashion. I recently assumed the role of social media specialist at the PHLCVB where my efforts are focused on spreading Philadelphia’s story across the globe through managing our domestic B2B and international leisure social media programs, as well assisting in overall content development. I also serve as social media chair for PPRA. (PSA: interact with us on Twitter- @PPRA and on Facebook. Thanks! 🙂 )

PPRA: What projects are you working on right now?

CC: Establishing the PHLCVB social media presence in other countries, primarily the countries where we have international offices. Also interacting with incoming meetings/conventions who use social media to connect with attendees. Oh, and that NFL Draft thing is coming to Philadelphia in a few months…

PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

CC: (Hold for corny moment…) My favorite part is that it doesn’t feel like a job. I get to use social media to talk about why Philadelphia is the best city in the world and why it needs to be top of mind for international travel and meetings/conventions. I wouldn’t be able to do this job if I didn’t believe that with my whole heart. To be somewhat less corny, I’ve always loved photography and managing our Instagram account (@discover_PHL) and interacting with influencers is definitely my favorite part of the job. Have you ever just stopped and appreciated the city’s architecture, parks, murals and public art? It’s incredible. You don’t need translation for that, the visuals speak for themselves.

PPRA: What was your latest and greatest accomplishment at your job?

CC: Being front and center for the Papal visit to Philadelphia and the DNC were experiences I wouldn’t trade for the world.

PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?

CC: Find a support system. Whether it be a mentor, a colleague, family member or significant other, have someone that is there for you to bounce ideas off of, ground you, and especially remind you that you are a rockstar, you work your a** off and you do a great job every day. We all need support and reminding from time to time.

PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?

CC: Love Actually. The Notebook. The Fault in Our Stars. I can watch the same sappy movie back to back and still cry my eyes out. Give me anything that will hit me right in the feels.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

CC: Seriously? I just got done saying how I’m in love with our city, there is no way I have just ONE spot. So I’ll just say I love our mural arts. Philadelphia is the mural capital of the world and our murals tell beautiful stories. Eastern State Penitentiary is another favorite – it’s so unique. Al Capone practically used it as a safe house and fun fact, Steve Buscemi narrates the audio tours. City Hall also amazes me, it’s a gorgeous piece of architecture.

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

CC: Wiz wit with mushrooms, baby! And a Diet Coke, of course. I’m not an animal.

6 PR Lessons We Learned in 2016


By Kate Kanaby

2016 was a big year for public relations. From an unprecedented election, to corporate mishaps and brand successes, we learned a lot in terms of PR. As we settle into 2017, let’s take a look at six lessons learned from the biggest stories of the past year.

  1. Know your audience, know your message – 2016 Presidential Election

The list of PR lessons learned from the 2016 presidential election could go on for days, so it was tough to pick just one. But there was something that pervaded Donald Trump’s campaign from start to finish: The President-elect understood his audience and knew exactly what messages would appeal to them.  Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan certainly had its critics, but it struck the right cords within his audience and motivated them to rally behind him.

  1. Social media is news media – 2016 Presidential Election

Okay, so we actually couldn’t pick just one lesson from the presidential election. The second takeaway from 2016’s political showdown is the fact that social media is no longer just about #MCMs, #TBTs and photos of what you ate for brunch. Today, social media is news media, for better or for worse.  Throughout the election, Americans turned to sites like Facebook for (occasionally fake) election news, and Donald Trump spoke directly to the masses in 140 characters or less on Twitter.

  1. Embrace the art of authentic storytelling – Beyoncé’s “Lemonade”

Stories, videos and authenticity have long been staples of the PR industry, and Beyoncé masterfully combined all three with the release of her visual album, “Lemonade,” in April.  Beyoncé brought her audience on deeply personal journey of indignation and empowerment, while making powerful political statements along the way. Those authentic, raw emotions made Beyoncé exceptionally relatable, even though we can’t all say “I woke up like this” in quite the same way.

  1. Transparency is key – Samsung’s Exploding Galaxy Note 7

It had been just weeks since Samsung released the new Galaxy Note 7 when the bad news began to flow. By mid-September, the company was receiving reports that consumers’ smartphones were catching fire while charging. First, Samsung suggested owners return their phones to where they purchased them for an exchange or refund, which passed the issue onto carriers like Verizon and AT&T. When the fiery reports continued, the brand finally recalled all Galaxy Note 7s.  Unfortunately, Samsung’s initial notification started as an easy-to-miss tab on their website, and it took days for the company to send alerts to consumers via social media. Cue the struggle to salvage credibility. The bottom line? Be transparent and don’t downplay the severity of a situation.

  1. Acknowledge accountability & don’t make excuses – Ryan Lochte & Wells Fargo

Who would have thought Ryan Lochte and Wells Fargo would teach us the same PR lesson in 2016? Both Lochte and Wells Fargo faced scandals that were made worse by the way they handled them: Passing the blame and making excuses. When Lochte “exaggerated” the story of a robbery in Rio, which was actually vandalism on the part of the Olympian, he gave a long-winded excuse apology that ended up damaging his reputation even more. And when it was discovered that Wells Fargo opened more than 2 million banking and credit card accounts without customers’ approval, CEO John Stumpf’s apology shifted the blame. Strumpf implied it was all the fault of 5,100 low-level employees, who were fired, and didn’t acknowledge the role of the bank’s corporate policy and executive decision-making.

  1. Do the unexpected – “Hamilton”

Until this year, no one would have used “Alexander Hamilton” and “hip-hop” in the same sentence. Thank you, Lin-Manuel Miranda.  Reimagining history, Broadway’s “Hamilton” broke boundaries in a new and unique way and captured the hearts of audiences. Sweeping the Tony Awards in June, “Hamilton” proved that the unexpected is attractive, and the buzz will inevitably follow.


Kate Kanaby is an Assistant Account Executive at Brownstone PR, where she focuses on media relations, social and digital media efforts.