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My first week at University News Breaking news, Campus life, PR musings, Social media, Students

Associated Press stylebooks, Student Spotlights and, of course, an umbrella shaped like a Samurai sword.  What else could possibly kick off an exciting co-op with University News? As a fourth-year advertising & public relations and psychology double major, I’m excited about the opportunity to work full-time for the department during spring quarter.

The past week became a whirlwind of events since the moment I stepped into the University News office, and I have enjoyed every bit of it. Everyone on the staff has been extremely helpful and nice as I ease into the position.

Monday was an exciting day as I accepted my first couple of assignments including a Student Spotlight interview, a financial literacy presentation, and a release on the Spring Career Fair. That afternoon was the first time I attended a staff meeting, not knowing it was a crisis management session packed with information. The team had various amounts of crisis experience throughout the years (“Gibs the bear” and the “Don’t taze me, bro” at RIT).  During the meeting I learned important steps and procedures  in the event of a crisis and the ins and outs of University News’ role.

The week continued to be an exciting challenge as I met with Sharitta Gross regarding the details of the Spring Career Fair and the different services of the Office of Cooperative Education and Career Services.  Upon arrival, Manny Contomanolis, associate vice president and director, stopped by to give me his feedback about the event. Sharitta also took me around the office to meet everyone!

I came in bright and early Friday morning, my first two articles were being released and I couldn’t have been happier or more excited. I had worked with Mike Saffran, Paul Stella and Scott Bureau all week to make sure they were up to AP and University News standards.  Suddenly (well, around 8:15 or so), I overheard Paul get a call about a crisis involving a possible gunman on campus. I knew right then and there that the week wouldn’t end quietly. Most of the staff hadn’t arrived at the office yet.  Panicked thoughts of “What do I do?” raced through my head.

I directed my thoughts to the convenient crisis management meeting from earlier in the week. What could I do? I instantly thought of bringing up Twitter and following the #RIT tweets.  Paul came out, saw the Twitter feed and asked if I could monitor for comments about the crisis. Of course I agreed, happy to help as he rushed off to speak with the media.

After the RIT Alert message went out, Twitter blew up, the office phones started ringing off the hook and professors in Brown Hall came in asking for help to lock the building doors. Before I knew it, the adrenaline started pumping, and I was answering calls from frantic parents and responding to tweets. Although the whole ordeal lasted a little over an hour, the time flew by monitoring updates, talking on the phone and tweeting. Finally, we got word that the “rifle” was an umbrella shaped like a Samurai sword and the RIT memes started pouring in.

An eventful way to end an eventful week. I can only imagine what the rest of the quarter will bring!


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