Between You and MEdia… with Aunyea Lachelle

As PR professionals, we all know the importance of building meaningful relationships with members of the media – reporters, producers, assignment editors, etc. But how does that happen, and where do you start? 

In this new section of the PPRA blog, PPRA members will share insight, tips and tricks, and fun facts learned from members of the media through informal interviews. You won’t have to wait for our “Media Mingle” or “Editors Panel” to get your tough questions answered and connect with the media. Our goal with this blog section is to continue engagement with our media counterparts in an informative and fun manner. So, between you and me – enjoy!


It’s rare that a Philadelphia TV news station launches a new program that focuses on the positive things to see and do in Philadelphia. But that’s what NBC10 did last month with the launch of “Philly Live,” which is in partnership with Visit Philly. The digital-first show, which airs Monday through Friday at 11:45 a.m., is hosted by Aunyea Lachelle, who is new to NBC10 but not to Philadelphia. The Northeast Philly native sat down with Bellevue Communications’ Kareen Preble to provide some insight into the new show. The following has been edited for clarity and brevity. Photo courtesy of NBC10.

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Aunyea Lachelle is the host of NBC10’s Philly Live.

How did you get started as a journalist?

I majored in communications at West Chester [University] and I was also a radio board operator and radio host at West Chester as well for 3-4 years, so I did television and radio.”

Between you and me, what’s your favorite aspect of your job?

“Everything that I get to do. I’m from Philly, born and raised. But I’m still discovering new things that I didn’t know existed in this town. I love the fact that I get to be myself, and I like to say to the viewers all the time – look, I’m your homegirl….I know the city just like you do, but I’m also curious about the city just like you are. I’m introducing our viewers to new things that they might not have known, but I’m also experiencing those things myself so that I can give them that full experience when they watch the show. I never knew you could take a flying trapeze class in Philly, but I did it and I’m terrified of heights! So that goes to show how committed I am to this show and to our viewers to give them the best Philly experience possible. I mean I get to meet celebrities like Billie Jean King and get an exclusive tennis lesson with her. I played foosball with Brian Westbrook. We’ve covered restaurant week, fashion week. So, I love that I just get to showcase my personality and have a great time on the show. It’s something I get to have fun with.”

What inspired you to get into this business?

“A lot of things inspired me. I can’t credit it to just one thing. My family was one. I come from a very Christian family, [they] founded Porter’s Daycare and Educational Center, which is a nonprofit daycare and elementary school that’s been open for nearly 40 years now. They were a huge inspiration to me because I realized that people that do the work that they do and that people who work in nonprofits in general don’t get enough buzz and attention, they don’t get the credit and recognition that they deserve. So part of [my inspiration] was wanting to tell those stories. Another part of it was that I’ve always been a creative person and I’ve always been interested in the arts and the performing arts, especially with music. I used to play and sing at coffee shops in college, act in high school plays so I’ve always had a passion for the arts and as I got older, it transpired into broadcast television.”

What advice would you give PR professionals looking to pitch you?

“I know PR pros tend to put their clients first, which is great because that’s your job and that’s why you’re great at it. However, my advice when reaching out to us is to focus on the viewer whenever you’re sending a pitch. Attack it from the viewer’s perspective, and think of what they would like to see, what they would like to hear and the way they would like the story to be told.

We’ve worked with tons and tons of PR and we’re so happy that they are excited about this show and that they have clientele that would be perfect for this show. As far as what we’re looking for, it’s any and everything that there is to do and see, and it’s not just Philly, but it’s also the Del Valley and the whole Southeastern Pennsylvania region that we’re covering, as well as parts of New Jersey, so it really is a tri-state area show. I like to describe it as Philly is the heartbeat and we connect to all the other cities and our surrounding regions as well.”

You’ve only been doing Philly Live since September, but has there been a highlight so far?

“You know I’m one of those people where every project I take on becomes my baby and so, almost every story that I take on becomes my baby and I become really passionate about telling the story the right way. It wouldn’t be fair to pinpoint one specific segment, however, as far as my favorites… I mean, the restaurant segments, I love, because I’m a huge foodie. Blume was probably one of my favorite restaurants that we covered; it’s super instagrammable and on trend with flowers and flower-themed cocktails. Fashion week was really fun. I love featuring and working with local people, local business owners. We get to feature some nonprofits as well with our live interviews, so I would love to work with more nonprofits and do more community-based stories, which I think is something that we’re definitely going to be highlighting very soon.”

Best way to pitch Aunyea for Philly Live: PhillyLive.Viewers@nbcuni.com

#PPRA Member Monday – Melissa Squarcia Fordyce

#PPRAMember Monday_Fordyce

Melissa Fordyce joined the Philadelphia Foundation in September as their Executive Director, Marketing & Communications. She has been a member of PPRA for five years and serves on our board of directors.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PhiladelphiaFoundation/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-philadelphia-foundation/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/philafound

Melissa Fordyce serves as Executive Director, Marketing and Communications for the Philadelphia Foundation. In this capacity she works to create, oversee and implement short-and long-term brand and marketing strategies and disciplines that elevate public understanding of the Philadelphia Foundation’s work as the region’s oldest and largest community foundation.

Having dedicated more than a decade of her career to nonprofit communications, Melissa previously served as the Director of Communications for Presby’s Inspired Life. Prior to that, she spent seven years with Catholic Leadership Institute. Melissa’s early career began in television news as an assignment editor for NBC10 in Philadelphia.

An adjunct professor at Temple University teaching nonprofit communications, Melissa also serves on the Board of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association (PPRA) and Villanova Communications Affinity Network (VCAN). She is a 2004 graduate of Villanova University and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Strategic Public Relations from George Washington University.

PPRA: What projects are you working on right now?

MF: Currently, the Philadelphia Foundation is preparing to host On the Table Philly on October 17. It is a forum designed to elevate civic conversation, foster new relationships and create a unifying experience. Anyone can host and it’s a prime opportunity to give a voice to issues that matter to you. You can register on our website.

PPRA: What is the favorite part of your job?
MF: Everyday I walk into my office and I see this breathtaking view of the city and beyond and I say to myself “I am so grateful to be here. I get to serve all of you.” The work that we do at the Philadelphia Foundation touches every inch and aspect of greater Philadelphia and the absolute favorite part of my job is knowing that what I do today, is the change I get to see out my window tomorrow.

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

MF: I started this new role with the Philadelphia Foundation in September. Personally, it was an accomplishment to get here. It is an honor to serve greater Philadelphia in this capacity. And I am grateful that the leadership of the Philadelphia Foundation saw the potential in me to elevate their mission to a new level.

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

MF: Network. Network and Network. That’s three, but I think you can tell how important I think it is! There is no right or wrong way to do it as long as you are committed to making and maintaining a circle of professional influence. It will pay off tenfold — I promise!

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

MF: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I don’t know that I could read it over and over because it’s insanely long! However, its an amazing TRUE story about the power of forgiveness, perseverance and the resiliency of the human spirit. The story inspires me again and again.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

MF: I’m a Jersey Girl! And proud of it. But if I had to pick a favorite spot or neighborhood I would have to say South Philly. I have wonderful childhood memories of eating Pop’s Water Ice on my Aunt’s front stoop as we watched the fireworks show from the Vet.

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

MF: I had always thought it would be fascinating to be a presidential speechwriter. There is just something about the way in which the (written) and spoken word can captivate people that is awe-inspiring to me.

PPRA: Favorite Philly Food?

MF: Soft Pretzel w/Spicy Mustard. Hands down the best. snack. ever! Also pairs well with Italian Ice!

#PPRA Member Monday – Samantha Byles

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Samantha Byles is a Senior Account Executive with Bellevue Communications Group and has been a member of PPRA for three years.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/samantha.byles1

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samanthabyles26/

Originally from Boston, Samantha moved to Philadelphia to attend Temple University and ended up staying. She graduated from Temple in 2013 with a news journalism degree, and worked with a company that produced hyper-local magazines nationwide before jumping into PR with a local engineering firm.

PPRA: What projects are you working on right now?

SB: I work with both nonprofit and for-profit clients on everything from traditional PR – press releases, media advisories, media relations – to the more general Communications/Marketing items like social media, content creation, and public affairs. A majority of my efforts nowadays are focused on a wireless infrastructure client that is looking to raise their brand awareness in Philadelphia, which translates to introductory meetings with leaders in the city, networking, and finding speaking/event opportunities.

PPRA: What is the favorite part of your job?

SB: The discovery process – working with my clients before the event or before the press release to find the right story to share. I like to think of it as a puzzle, and you’re constantly going through each of the pieces to see what fits and completes the bigger picture.

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

SB: In May, I worked with the wireless infrastructure client to submit and plan a panel event for PHL Tech Week. Once we got approval for the event, I coordinated all logistics and materials for it – working with the venue, selecting, confirming, and prepping the panelists, the Powerpoint presentation, Eventbrite management, etc. It was a lot of work, but it was a project that I could own and it turned out to be a great event with about 35 attendees and a handful of valuable relationships for the client.

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

SB: Enjoy it! It’s very easy to get discouraged when you don’t get the desired coverage or have to defend a strategy to a stubborn client. When that happens, take a step back, and think of 1 thing in the process that went right, even if it was just a catchy headline, and 1 thing that you could actually change if you tried. This process I think allows you to stay positive while thinking about how you can improve in a realistic way.

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

SB: Any of the Harry Potter movies – the books are good, but all the visual aspects in the movie are incredible, especially if you can see it in 4K.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

SB: Dilworth Park – Cliche, I know, but I use SEPTA a lot as a commuter, so while I’m waiting for the regional rail or the next El, I like to sit outside at Dilworth Park and people watch. Between the fountain, Christmas Village, and other attractions, there’s always something to happily distract you.

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

SB: Event or meeting planning – I like the organizational aspect of it and the ability to still be surrounded by people.

PPRA: Favorite Philly Food?

SB: Philly Pretzel, with spicy mustard.

Between You and MEdia… with John McDevitt

As PR professionals, we all know the importance of building meaningful relationships with members of the media – reporters, producers, assignment editors, etc. But how does that happen, and where do you start? 

In this new section of the PPRA blog, PPRA members will share insight, tips and tricks, and fun facts learned from members of the media through informal interviews. You won’t have to wait for our “Media Mingle” or “Editors Panel” to get your tough questions answered and connect with the media. Our goal with this blog section is to continue engagement with our media counterparts in an informative and fun manner. So, between you and me – enjoy!


There’s nothing like a great broadcast interview to impress a client, but it’s easier said than done, right? Landing a story and satisfying both client and reporter takes careful planning. Veteran PR pro Bev Volpe of Snap 2 Marketing/PR talked with KYW Newsradio General Assignment Reporter and co-host of KYW’s “Beer & Booze Broz” podcast,  John McDevitt, about how forethought and teamwork can make all the difference. The following has been edited for clarity and brevity. Photo courtesy: John McDevitt

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KYW’s John McDevitt has been in the industry for 29 years.

What do you like most about being a general assignment reporter? “I’ve done everything from ducking bullets, to reporting on baked goods to interviewing celebrities. I love not knowing what each day will bring, asking the unexpected questions and turning that into a piece that’s creative and unique.  Telling someone’s story is a big responsibility–they give you something of themselves and I respect that.”

You’ve told tons of stories over the years. Between you and me, what one was most personally gratifying? “It would have to be the Duck Boat incident that took the lives of two Hungarian tourists back in 2010. Remember, this was before everyone was on Twitter. Back then, our studios were at 4th and Market, so I literally ran to Penn’s Landing and was first on the scene. I got there as they were pulling people out of the water and went live talking to passengers about how they scrambled for their lives. It was very emotional. What was most memorable to me was how everyone at KYW pulled together to bring the story to our listeners in the most professional way possible.”

What do you wish PR pros would tell their clients more often? “Be ready now. We’re not a 9 to 5 business and when there’s a news hole to fill, it has to happen right away.  By tomorrow we’re not interested and your client just lost a great opportunity.”

What’s your best advice for PR professionals? “You put in hours of work to land a story, but your work doesn’t end once a reporter gets the green light. Think through all the elements—what do we have permission to photograph and who can we talk to and why?  We each have a job to do; you know what your client wants and we know what our news organization wants. It’s a partnership with give and take. Have possibilities, but don’t try and control us.”

How many pitches do you get a day? “Somewhere between 10 and 20. The best boil it down to this is what I have, this is how it’s unique and this is why this it’s newsworthy.”

Favorite spot to think through a story: Walking around the streets of Philadelphia.

Fun fact: John used to be on a paranormal investigation team.

Best way to pitch John: Email him at john.mcdevitt@kywnewsradio.com

#PPRA Member Monday – Lauren Woodard

#PPRAMember Monday_Woodard

Lauren Woodard is the Public Relations Manager for the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. She has been a member of PPRA for over two years.

Twitter: @Lauren609

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lauren.woodard.526

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauren-woodard-a1436391/

Lauren A. Woodard is the Public Relations Manager on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus. A graduate of Penn State University with a degree in English, Publishing, and Creative Writing, she has held positions at the Kimmel Center since 2014 – beginning as a Public Relations Intern, then serving in the Marketing Department in various roles, before transitioning back to Public Relations. She was appointed Public Relations Manager in 2018.

Her current responsibilities include overseeing media communications for programmatic Campus news and managing PR consultants for show-based initiatives. She assists in conceptualization of photo/video creation, social media marketing efforts, editing marketing content, creation of institutional messaging, and event management.

Lauren previously interned in Communications at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and managed a Marble Slab Creamery franchise.

A longtime resident of Delaware County, Lauren’s free time passions include kayaking, trash-to-treasure pickin’, Broadway musicals, salty foods, and ranch dressing.

PPRA: What projects are you working on right now?

LW: Right now, we are gearing up to kick off our 2019-20 season! “Hamilton” has just opened and we have another amazing Broadway season ahead. There’s also a ton of jazz, family-friendly, comedy, etc. in the pipeline, as always. Plus, we just announced another free art installation in our Commonwealth Plaza – two projects from Mexican designers, here through November 17.

PPRA: What is the favorite part of your job?

LW: Representing a performing arts center as an arts lover is the best. I grew up participating in musical theater productions, playing the violin, and singing in choirs up through college – and the Kimmel team really is a group who truly care about the arts & reaching Philadelphia through performance and education. It’s hard to pick *just* one favorite part of my job. I love the people, the variety of programming, and the education opportunities for students. We work with awesome consultants in the Philadelphia area and beyond who help us with press, promotions, buys, social media, and more. Every day is something different, keeping the work dynamic and diverse. It’s pretty rewarding to see the public having a great time in our spaces.

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

LW: We have a couple awesome residencies at the Kimmel Center, but during the 2018-29 season, I really wanted press for our Jazz Residency (then in its 6th year). We received coverage from 6ABC and NBC10, as well as “Jewish Exponent”, “South Philly Review”, and “Temple News”. (Thank you to all those reporters & producers who worked with me!) This program has not garnered a lot of attention in previous years, so we were thrilled to get the information out to the public and be able to get spotlights for a couple of our Jazz Residents – local Philadelphians creating new jazz work and getting it out into the community.

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

LW: This advice was passed down to me from my Director (love you, Leslie Tyler!) – I’d say always take the time to research what a reporter has written about recently, what they might be posting about on social media, what you might know about them personally. They are receiving so many messages and I try to make my pitches stand out by being able to call out details that grab their attention and hook them from the start.

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

LW: Definitely “You’ve Got Mail” – that movie is a Nora Ephron masterpiece and endlessly quotable.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

LW: Wandering around Reading Terminal Market is always fun. (Plug for our Campus, but in all honesty, the Academy of Music is my favorite theater – it’s gorgeous, historic, and just plain magical to spend time in.) I also love Pietro’s Italian restaurant on Walnut Street. They have THE BEST rigatoni alla vodka – highly recommend!

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

LW: A writer – I love the non-fiction, satirical style (two slightly different examples that come to mind are David Sedaris and Mindy Kaling). There’s a lot of humor to be found in everyday life and not taking ourselves too seriously. I also think there’s a goodness in being willing to share and/or expose our own humanity and realness to enable readers to say ‘hey, me too!’

PPRA: Favorite Philly Food?

LW: Cheesesteak.