How the NFL Draft is Leaving Its Mark in Philadelphia


NFL Draft Day preparations on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. PPRA members heard the details of preparing for 200,000 football fans and extensive press coverage.

By Clarissa Ford

PPRA members recently heard Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau  (PHLCVB) Director of Communications Alethia Calbeck outline plans to position and publicize the city during the upcoming National Football League  Draft.

With nearly 200,000 fans expected, the NFL Draft is primed to be one of Philadelphia’s largest events of the year.

With a little more than three weeks until the draft on Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29, the PHLCVB is working in partnership with Visit Philadelphia and the NFL to create a spectacular experience for fans. Ironically, Philadelphia is the birthplace of the draft, which began here in 1936 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

The 2017 version of the draft,  the league’s largest fan-focused event, will focus on fan experience featuring a free three-day festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with interactive exhibits, ziplining, autograph sessions and more. When draftees are picked, they will walk down the stairs as a symbolic tribute to Rocky.

While the NFL’s goal is to lure fans from both the area and afar, millions more will be exposed to Philadelphia images on telecasts from the draft. With nine NFL teams within a seven-hour drive of the city, Philadelphia is a prime location for the event. Fans are encouraged to get the Fan Mobile Pass to get exclusive access to one of the 3,000 seats on the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps.

It is expected that the draft will bring in $80 million in economic impact for the city. The event supports 26,000 jobs in construction, travel, hospitality and more. In addition to the draft, Philadelphia will enjoy a blockbuster sports weekend with the Penn Relays and two Phillies home games also taking place that weekend.

The PHLCVB is responsible for  fielding social media inquiries about the city from visitors, such as “Where is the best place to get a cheesesteak in the city?” Not only is it working towards creating positive tourist experiences, but also crafting positive messages about modern Philadelphia — a city much more vibrant than anyone could have imagined when the 1936 NFL Draft took place here!

Clarissa Ford, a PPRA Associate Member, is a Temple University junior studying Strategic Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Sport Management.

#PPRAMemberMonday: David Brown




PPRA member for 10+ years

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

DB: I have helped guide the strategic direction for non-profit and other mission-focused organizations throughout my 40 year career.  I am currently the Assistant Professor of Instruction in the School of Media and Communication at Temple University. Previously, I served as the Executive Director of the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC) – a nonprofit focused on child literacy by opening and operating previously closed public elementary school libraries. I am also Founder of The Marketing Collaborative – a non-profit that provides strategic marketing services to other Philadelphia non-profits.

PPRA: Who are your clients and what projects are you working on right now?

DB: In my practice managing the Marketing Collaborative, we’re working with Philadelphia Academies, a nonprofit serving public high school students; Lancaster General Health System, helping with their outreach to the African American community around advance care planning; and Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) in their first-ever Minecraft Marathon to support advocacy efforts for children.

At Temple, we just commemorated my 40th year in public relations with a program called 40 Hours of Service. We selected four students to join me in donating 10 hours of service to four nonprofits in support of their respective missions. (Here’s a link to the story: Temple PR Professor Celebrates 40 Years in the Field)

PPRA: What is the favorite part about your job?

DB: Using our public relations skills to make a difference in the communities we share.

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

DB: Commemorating my 10th Anniversary of being selected for the PPRA Hall of Fame in 2007 was pretty cool…but being named a Champion of Change by President Obama and being invited to the White House in 2012 was pretty nifty too…and being awarded the top educator prize by both the PRSA and the National Black Public Relations Society (NBPRS) in the same year (2016) wasn’t too shabby.

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

DB: Be creative in your work and generous with your time.

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

DB: It’s A Wonderful Life, any time of year…

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

DB: Any stretch of Kelly Drive.

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

DB: Mushrooms wit…

#PPRAMemberMonday: London Faust




Twitter: @londonfaust


PPRA Member since 2014


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

LF: I’m a proud graduate of Temple University, which provided me a solid foundation on which to start building a career by allowing me to participate in organizations like PRowl Public Relations, encouraging me to take internships, and teaching me skills in addition to theory. I work as an Account Executive at Bellevue Communications Group, a public relations firm in Center City that specializes in crisis communication and government relations. In my spare time, I love to learn and am taking classes towards a Certificate in Digital Advertising. I also enjoy exploring Philadelphia on foot and by bike, experimenting with recipes (which usually ends poorly) and spending time with people who make me laugh.


PPRA: What projects are you working on right now?

LF: Some big things for me are:

The Reading Terminal Market Party for the Market – I helped to coordinate media coverage for the annual fundraising gala, which took place on February 25 .

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences – Mid-Atlantic Chapter, which hosts the annual Mid-Atlantic Emmys, has events and announcements coming up that I’m helping to facilitate.

I handle social media and advertising for a couple of clients – Waverly Heights Retirement Community and the Occupational Training Center of Burlington County – so that always keeps me busy.


PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

LF: Since I work in an agency, it’s something different every day. I certainly never get bored. The company is also on the smaller side, so we’re always working together and I probably get more opportunities here than I would at a larger company.


PPRA: What was your latest and greatest accomplishment?

LF: In January, I pitched and placed a story in the Inquirer and Daily News that also got picked up by the Associated Press. You can read it here: Children’s Scholarship Fund earns kudos.


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

LF: Don’t take yourself too seriously.


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

LF: The Breakfast Club.


PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

LF: Washington Square Park.


PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

LF: American cheese with mushrooms (I’m prepared for the torches and pitchforks after admitting that).


Broadcast media panel offers tips on getting your story aired

By Michael Kleiner
View from 52nd floor Pyramid Club, site of PPRA Meeting of Broadcast Media Tips

With technology continually changing the way we access news and how news organizations gather it, learning pitching tips for public relations pros never gets old. More than 80 Philadelphia Public Relations Association members agreed, and attended Broadcast Media Panel Offers Tips for Getting Your Stories on the Air on Feb 17 from the Pyramid Club’s 52nd floor perch overlooking the city. (Considering PPRA unveiled its new logo with the Philadelphia skyline in the back, the view was apropos.).

The panelists included four from TV: Iris Delgado, Anchor/Reporter for Telemundo62; Jodi Harris, Planning Manager/Producer Fox29; Stephen McKenzie, Managing Editor of CBS3 Eyewitness News, and Tim Walton, Producer Programming Department  FYIPhilly WPVI6, and two from radio: Paul Kurtz, Reporter at KYW Newsradio 1060, and Eugene Sonn, Audio News Director WHYY-FM. Susan Buehler of Buehler Media and Chief Communications Officer for PJM Interconnection, which coordinates electricity supply to 13 states, brought some of that energy to moderating the discussion. She did an excellent job of balancing the questions the audience would have for the media members and what they needed to tell us, and injecting humor along the way. Sometimes, these sessions can devolve into “pet peeves journalists have about PR people” and we feel like we’re being scolded. That wasn’t the case here.

Based on my and other tweets, here’s a summary of what the panel shared. McKenzie emphasized that a story must fit multiple platforms. “I have to decide what I think our viewers care about, and it has to fit on the air, on the Web, and on social, three platforms. It must have compelling video.”

The best times to pitch varied depending on when the station’s editorial planning meetings were scheduled during the day, and in the case of Delgado, who anchors a 5 p.m. newscast, “please don’t call me 15 minutes before I go on the air.” Good times to talk to her are between 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. before the 3 p.m. meeting. She will follow-up around 10 p.m. as she plans the stories for the next day.

MacKenize said between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., while Harris said, “pretty much anytime. I always have my phone. For bigger stories on lighter topics, contact me a few weeks in advance.”

Sonn echoed reporters’ complaints for generations: “It’s annoying when someone is pitching and has never seen the show, and the story doesn’t fit.” He added, “Around 2 p.m. is a good time to call. Think about times of the week that might be slow and you might have better luck with your pitch.  The story has to fit into 45 seconds.”

Kurtz said he prefers to be contacted by e-mail first, followed by a tweet through direct messaging, but the successful pitch can come down to luck and opportunity. ” It’s all about timing,” he said. “If you have an expert, who can speak on a current topic that’s helpful. Try to get ideas to us.”

For TV, Harris says, “The person has to be good on TV. Sometimes, we’ll look for an expert who we haven’t talked to before.”

Delgado said there’s a misconception about Spanish media. “Telemundo 62 covers what is in the English media in Spanish,” she said. “A Hispanic angle is important.

“Whatever the emotional, human angle may be, your pitch might be the best backup plan when another story falls through,” she added.

Walton, who works at FYIPhilly, says their demands are different. “We’re not a news show so there’s more open times to pitch,” he said. At the same time, he is currently accepting summer pitches.

They all chorused when Buehler said, “Keep it simple and brief: Headline, one paragraph. You need to have thick skin and keep trying if your first e-mail doesn’t get a response.”

The use of the Internet – should we be pitching web editors, too — and social media drew some interesting responses.

“Web Editors are not doing copy, they’re posting info,” said Harris.

Kurtz said the web has enabled them to do more with their stories. “While you may get a short amount of time on the radio, we put more copy on the Web and create podcasts, which are archived.  I covered the protests at the Democratic National Convention on Facebook live, the first time I used it.”

“Social media has broadened our audience beyond Greater Philadelphia,” said Sonn. “If you have a pitch with an expert who has a good social media following, mention it.”

Michael Kleiner is a principal at Michael Kleiner Public Relations Consulting & Web Design. This post originally appeared in the firm’s blog.


“Live Pitching”at PPRA Event Yields a Media Placement


Amanda White, of Philabundance, saw her “live pitch” at a recent PPRA media panel turn into a CBS3 spot for her organization.

By Amanda White

On Feb. 17, PPRA hosted a Broadcast Media Panel Luncheon at the Pyramid Club, which ultimately led to a high-profile opportunity for me. If you were unable to attend, PPRA member, Kate Kanaby, did an excellent job sharing a recap and a few takeaways from the event. In her blog, Kate briefly mentioned the “Live Pitching” portion of the luncheon—AKA my favorite part!

As a PPRA member, not only do you have the opportunity to attend networking events that help build and maintain relationships with reporters, you often have the opportunity to “live pitch” media your story ideas.

As PR Associate for Philabundance, the Philadelphia region’s largest hunger relief organization—aiming to drive hunger from its communities today to ultimately end hunger forever—it’s my job to raise as much awareness as possible for the nonprofit organization.

After hearing from each media professional on the panel about what stories he/she is interested in, I knew I had to tell the panelists, specifically CBS3, about Philabundance Community Kitchen (PCK). PCK is Philabundance’s adult culinary vocational program, which has produced over four million meals for the hungry while simultaneously helping 700 graduates enter the workforce since 2000! (Impressive, right?)

Although I was (a little) nervous to speak in front of an entire room of PPRA members and media professionals I had never worked with before, I knew this was both a rare, and exciting opportunity.

As a result of the :30 second pitch, CBS3 Eyewitness News Managing Editor, Stephen McKenzie, said, “This sounds great. Let’s connect and get {CBS3 reporter} Vittoria in the kitchen with the students for a story.” And sure enough, we did just that.

On March 7, CBS3 Reporter, Vittoria Woodill, visited our community kitchen, where she interviewed a student, a graduate of the program and staff. Check out the full story here.

If I wasn’t a PPRA member, attended the media luncheon AND live pitched, who knows if Vittoria would have done a story on PCK?

Thanks, PPRA, for the continuous opportunities you provide your members! Those who were unable to attend the luncheon can check out the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #PPRAProgram. And learn more about PCK here.

Amanda White is PR Associate at Philabundance