Announcing: The Inaugural PPRA Foundation Scholarship

A new, $1,000 scholarship is now available to college or high school students pursuing a career in public relations, broadcasting and/or communications through the Philadelphia Public Relations Association Foundation.  Funds may be used for continuing education, skills based training, or other items identified as a barrier to the candidate’s success.

Know any students who might qualify? Share the application link with them, http://bit.ly/PPRAFScholarship21  Eligible students should demonstrate financial need and candidates with diverse backgrounds will be given preference. The deadline is May 31, 2021.

Want to help spread the word? We are looking for PPRA members who will reach out to colleges/high schools throughout the Greater Philadelphia region. If you can volunteer, contact Bev Volpe at bev@snap2mkt.com.

This scholarship was made possible by a grant from the generous Sylvia Kauders Foundation. Future scholarships will be funded in part through PPRA Foundation fundraising, including our just announced raffle.

PPRAF is a is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, educational and charitable organization dedicated to the advancement of the public relations profession within the Greater Philadelphia Region and works under the fiscal sponsorship of the Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC) and in concert with the Philadelphia Public Relations Association to achieve its educational and cultural goals.

Between You and MEdia…Jack Tomczuk of Metro Philly

In this edition of Between You and MEdia, we chat with Jack Tomczuk of Metro Philly.

How did you get started as a journalist?

Growing up in Philadelphia, reading the local papers and watching the news, I knew I always wanted to be a journalist. I read the papers constantly as a kid, even on the way to school!

When I was younger, I was more interested in sports, but over time, I became interested in news, and decided that I wanted to major in journalism. So I went to Temple and did that! 

While I was in college, I did some internships, and eventually got a job at the Press of Atlantic City. After a few years, I decided to move back up to Philadelphia to work for the Northeast Times weekly newspaper. And now, I am at the Metro, which I love. 

Who or what inspired you to pursue journalism? Who continues to inspire you as a journalist?

I have always been inspired by sports reporters and columns. When I was growing up, there was a Philadelphia Inquirer box across the street from my house, and I could put in 25 or 50 cents. I would read those columns, and I particularly liked one written by Bob Ford.

I later interviewed him as part of a project in college, so that was cool so he was one of the people who kind of inspired me. I was also inspired by reading the investigative reports in The New York Times, and the Washington Post and seeing some of the things they uncovered and how their words could have an amazing impact. 

How do you handle so many pitches?

I do get a lot of pitches! I often receive stories that aren’t aligned with what I cover or sometimes the event or program is not my coverage area. Every morning I go through my email and delete what isn’t relevant. But it is a lot of fun to read pitches and think about story ideas. 

What are your favorite types of stories to write? 

I like covering the breaking news and big stories. I remember when I was at the Northeast Times when City Councilman Bobby Heron got indicted. I got to rush down to the courthouse. There was definitely a rush of adrenaline.

On the flip side, I also like to write feature stories and share something good that is happening in the community or someone making a difference, or a business or nonprofit that’s making a difference, and then showcasing them and bringing their story to life. I like meeting people and celebrating neighborhoods. 

What do you like to do outside of work?

Well, I like to watch sports-the Sixers and the Eagles and I like to hang out with my fiance and my family. I like the outdoors. I used to live closer to Pennypack Park and would walk around there all of the time. 

Can you share a fun and interesting fact about yourself?

When I was in college, I got a scholarship to participate in a study abroad program for Temple and we went to South Africa for the summer. We listened to a speaker who was a priest, and, afterwards I asked him if he knew Desmond Tutu. He did! I got hooked up and was able to interview him, even though he hadn’t done interviews in recent years. I was able to ask him a few questions at a coffee shop. That was one of the highlights of my career, especially because it was in another country and I was only a college student. It is amazing to reflect on the fact that I got to interview a Nobel Peace Prize winner, so that was pretty cool.

What do you want people to know about you or your work?

I want people to know that I’m always trying hard and I want to be a resource for Philadelphians. I want to make sure they’re informed about everything, and that I try to do it in basic terms. With the Metro, we offer shorter articles, but those that are filled with information that is shared in a  fair and accurate way. So that’s that’s pretty much what I would want them to know.

I feel like newspapers like the Metro are particularly helpful. Do you agree?

Right, yes, particularly in relation to COVID! It’s been a ride, and like there’s so many different things people need to know, like guidance and mask wearing. We want to reiterate the truth and continue to reiterate it because there’s so many falsehoods.

Do you have any thoughts on the impact of the media on reporting false news?

It is not always the media. I think a lot of the incorrect information is on social media. People say what they want online and they make up rumors and spread falsehoods. And on social media, anyone can say anything. You never know where the info is coming from 

It’s important to reiterate that so much of what reporters do is on the service side and that is often the heart of why you became a journalist, or why journalists are doing what they’re doing. I want to give people the resources and information about safety, schools, vaccines – it changes so much and I want to be a resource. Not everybody can follow every development, the way I do or the way some can. Although, my mom is more of a news hound than I am. She’s always calling me: “Did you see this or did you see that?” She’s a great resource!

PPRA Member Monday: Kellsey Turner

Kellsey Turner is an Account Manager at Vault Communications. She has been a member of PPRA for five years.

Twitter: @kellseyturner

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kellseyturner/

Kellsey was born and raised in Berks County. She moved to Philadelphia to attend La Salle University and hasn’t left since. She currently lives in Point Breeze with her fiancé, but have called many Philly neighborhoods home over the years. 

Shortly after graduating college, she joined the team at Vault Communications where she currently works as an Account Manager. Kellsey’s work is varied, challenging, and exciting, and she is blessed with supportive co-workers who make the work even more fun. 

Kellsey is currently the VP of Membership for PPRA, and she also sits on the board for Sisters Returning Home and the Junior Board for Gesu School. In her free time, she enjoys reading, gardening, discovering new restaurants, and — during non-COVID times — attending concerts, comedy shows, and live theater.

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

KT: My clients include a med tech company that makes life-saving technology to improve women’s health; a materials solutions company that produces the plastics, synthetic rubbers and latex binders within many of the materials we interact with on a daily basis; and a company that designs the hardware and software required to measure, formulate, and manage color.  

PPRA: What is your favorite part of your job?

KT: I love writing, so bylines, case studies, and blog posts are some of my favorite projects to work on. One of my favorite projects to date has been developing a client’s annual Sustainability Report. 

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

KT: I once received an excellent piece of advice to archive my accomplishments throughout my career. I recommend an email folder for saving everything from client compliments and performance reviews to media wins and project examples. This informal digital portfolio has served as a wonderful repository that I can easily reference, whenever necessary. You never know when this may come in handy! 

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

KT: I adore reading, but will rarely reread a book. Some of my favorites to recommend include “All the Light We Cannot See,” “A Man Called Ove,” and “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.” 

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

KT: The steps of the Art Museum at night. It’s a great view of the city. 

PPRA: If you weren’t in PR, what profession do you see yourself in and why?

KT: I always wanted to write for a living, so I likely would have become a journalist if I wasn’t in PR. 

PPRA: Favorite Philly Food?

KT: Currently, it’s the bacon, pork roll and cheese on an everything seasoned soft pretzel from Rowhome Coffee. This is a recent find for me, and it’s heavenly. Highly recommend checking it out!

PPRA Member Monday: Jaime Martorana

Jaime is the Public Relations Manager for ASTM International, a global standards development organization. She has been a member of PPRA for five years.

Twitter: @JaimeMartorana

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaimemartorana/

Prior to joining ASTM in 2020, Jaime was the Public Relations Specialist at Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site and a public relations consultant for the Philadelphia Marathon. Jaime is an active member of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association and is currently serving a three-year term as a director. She holds a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications from Temple University. 

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

JM: I am preparing to pitch a new standard on barrier face coverings that will help global manufacturers produce more effective face masks and aid consumers in making informed decisions when protecting themselves against COVID-19.

PPRA: What is the favorite part of your job?

JM: Storytelling.

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

JM: Growing your professional network is important, but fostering and maintaining those relationships is essential. 

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

JM: The Harry Potter book series. I’d take the books over the movies any day!

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

JM: The Philadelphia Museum of Art

PPRA: Favorite Philly Food?

JM: Soft Pretzels

#PPRA Member Monday – Rachel Ezekiel-Fishbein

Rachel Ezekiel-Fishbein is the Owner of Making Headlines, the PR consultancy she founded. She has been a member of PPRA for one year.

Twitter Handle: @makingheadlines

Facebook Handle: @RachelEzekiel-Fishbein

LinkedIn Page: www.linkedin.com/in/rachelezekielfishbein/

Rachel Ezekiel-Fishbein is an award-winning communication strategist, who has been called a ‘social media guru’ by The Philadelphia Inquirer. She founded her PR consultancy, Making Headlines, the year her first child was born to provide more balance than agency life in the mid-1990s afforded. Rachel’s son and the Internet grew up together, providing her with a way to forge a new path in PR. She serves clients in myriad industries and has expertise in healthcare, women’s health, education, Jewish communal life, retail and nonprofit. Her former and current clients include Penn Medicine, WXPN, American Heart Association, Jewish Family & Children’s Services, Wawa and Philadelphia Futures. Rachel’s mother was a Holocaust survivor who dedicated her life to social justice. She learned to be an adept advocate like her when her son was diagnosed with multiple disabilities as a young child. He and Rachel helped found the Cheltenham Special Needs Advocacy Group to help other special needs parents in their community navigate the school system. She sits on the marketing committee of the National Museum of American Jewish History and the PR committee of the Anti-Defamation League’s Philadelphia Chapter. She has volunteered with and advised CeaseFire PA, MANNA, Mission Kids, PhilAbundance, Share Our Strength and the Linda Creed Breast Cancer Foundation. Rachel also helps train aspiring PR professionals at Temple University’s Klein College of Media & Communication, where she spent last year as a visiting professor.

Who are your clients and/or what are you working on right now?

I try to keep half of my client load nonprofit at all times. Right now, my clients include: Cambridge Innovation Center, Philadelphia’s largest co-working and shared lab space, which builds innovation communities for biotech startups and VCs ; LiveWellFoundation, which provides the only free, peer-led support groups for depression in the nation; and Ellen Fischer, an attorney/advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, who is working to change policy around transgender name change

What is your favorite part of your job?

The way it’s always changing.

What was your latest & greatest accomplishment at your job?

Most recently, the launch of my new website, http://www.makingheadlinespr.com to celebrate the 25th anniversary of my business. I love the way the site tells my story and captures my values.

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

Our ability to communicate and persuade comes with huge responsibility. Right now, the worst advice you can give any client is to jump onto a social justice bandwagon without serious thought about whether it matches their values, as well as their historical behavior. The perfect example is BLM. I watched a local fashion retailer get shredded for blacking out its IG feed because its previous treatment of Black employees and customers didn’t match the values it was were purporting. While this may be inconvenient: Mission-driven communication must begin with mission-driven behavior.

What book or movie could you read/watch again and again? 

The American President. I love Aaron Sorkin and this movie was basically the precursor to The West Wing. !

What is your favorite spot in Philly (museum, park, store, etc.)? 

Valley Green. If you ever need to find peace, head over to any trail there–even better, bring your dog–and just start walking.

If you weren’t in PR, what profession do you see yourself in and why?

Wow, that’s a hard one. I’ve got about three non-fiction books half written in my head. I also plan on getting my yoga teaching certification in the next two years. And speaking of teaching, I love my teaching at Temple, so teaching full-time would be on the table. Then again, we really need more disability advocates to help families fight for what their children deserve. But sometimes I think I’d really just like to open a sweet little lifestyle shop that sells a meticulously-curated mix of everything I love.

Favorite Philly Food? 

The grilled squid at Dimitris. Can you believe it closed?