Interview with Patrick Osterman: Georgia Southern Athletic Media Relations

Pat
Patrick Osterman

Since I am interested in sports public relations, I decided to interview Georgia Southern University’s own Director of Athletic Media Relations, Patrick Osterman. Osterman has been the Assistant Athletic Director in charge of Athletic Media Relations for five years, after spending seven years at Eastern Illinois University as assistant sports information director. He is credited with helping promote the 2007 Walter Patton Award winner Jayson Foster, as well as two other nominees. Osterman is in charge of day-to-day Athletic Media Relations activities and serves as the primary contact and publicist for Georgia Southern Eagles football and baseball.

Osterman graduated from Northern Iowa University in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations/communications. He attended graduate school at Gonzaga University where he later received his masters in Athletic Administration.

Interview

Byrne: First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me.

Byrne: As fare as a typical week, just working here in Athletic Media Relations, what is it like?

Osterman: Wow, the first thing in college athletics is you are not working 9-5 Monday through Friday. It is the complete opposite of banker hours. A typical week and I’ll just use football here as an example. Starting with Monday, come in I’m here at 8 a.m. in the morning and you’re here till mid-afternoon and then go out to football practice. I’m usually done around 6 to 6:30 p.m. every night. Tuesday is the same thing. Wednesday I might get done a little earlier around 6 p.m. Thursday it’s a little but easier. I’m done with practice around 4 p.m. and then you have the coach’s radio show. I always go up to that at Locos Bar and Grill. So usually I’m not getting home till 8 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday nights. Friday you’re on the road or traveling all day. If your at home your in the office working in the morning. You have the coach’s luncheon and that’s part of the external relations part of the job. You’re out there meeting the public. Saturday we’ll usually , using a home game as an example, there four to five hours before kickoff and I’m usually there another three hours after the games over on average. And then Sunday I usually come in around 12 p.m. and work on game notes. I usually am here till about 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Byrne: So do you find it easier to get stuff completed when no one else is here?

Osterman: Oh on Sundays. I love Sundays. Let me rephrase that, I hate being away from home on a weekend day like that, but I know I can come in here and get so much more stuff done without the phone ringing.

 Byrne: Yeah, with no interruptions.

 Osterman: yeah, I kind of like Sundays because I can just come in here in casual dress and get a good start on all the stuff  I need for the coming week. And then there is baseball season. Baseball for me personally, because that is another one of my sports, is seven days a week. Because you are always going to have games on the weekends.

 Byrne: They play a lot of games too.

 Osterman: Yeah you’re looking at four or five games in a week and every single weekend Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So really if you want some time off you may take a Monday or a Friday, but you try and enjoy the summer time as much as you can.

 Byrne: Do you work a lot during the summer? I’m sure with football coming up.

 Osterman: Yeah the summer can be busy, but that’s where you have to take your vacation time. And you have to get the media guide stuff ready. Summer is a little more relaxed, but there is still stuff going on.

 Byrne: Tell me about a project you have worked on that you are really proud of just in general. Is it the media guides?

 Osterman: Well the media guides are always a great project to work on and with the media guides you can’t do your job without having a great staff. And that’s one of the things we are very fortunate to have here I think is a great staff. You know the website too. That is a continuing project. I’m always trying to do things with that.

Osterman: Personally, one of the best projects I have ever been associated with was working on the promotional campaign for Jayson Foster when he won the Walter Paton Award. Jayson really went through a lot in his career, going from a wide receiver to quarterback, back to wide receiver and then back to quarter back. He had three different head coaches in his time frame. When Coach Hatcher first got here he moved him to quarterback and just him being able to tweak his skill abilities to Coach Hatcher’s offense is incredible. Because you really had to educate the fans because when the original list came out about who the top players in the country were at the beginning of the year he was not on that list. I got quotes from other head coaches, getting a list of all the records he broke, radio calls, trying to get some video highlight footage put together for Jayson. It was just amazing just to see how that continued to build through out the year and they actually revised the watch list about a month into the season and Jayson got on there. It was one of those things that when you are more successful you get more exposure, but we didn’t even make the playoffs that year. So you wonder how much that affected him. I always said Jayson deserves this and I want to see him get in the final three because the final three get to go to the awards ceremony in Chattanooga. And he was part of the final three. But I mean here is a quarterback who put up good numbers, but played on a 7-4 team who didn’t make the play offs. And he was up against the starting quarterback from the number one team in the country and he was also up against a quarterback who threw 43 touchdown passes and just one interception and put up some ungodly passing numbers. But just trying to educate the media members and the voting panel on what Jayson had to go through throughout his career and the turnaround we had from one year to the next, that certainly propelled him to winning the Walter Paton Award. And when you were there at the ceremony and heard his name announced, I was happy for Jayson.  Here is a guy that graduated, worked hard in the classroom, was a great player, was a great ambassador to Georgia Southern, and he was an even better person off the field than he was a player on the field. And I think that says a lot. And to see him win that award. And yeah from a selfish stand point its kind of nice knowing all that hard work you put in paid off, but forget about me I was more worried about Jayson and I was very happy for him.

Byrne: How important is writing in your career?

 Osterman: I think it is very important. About ¾ of the stuff I do is writing related. Whether it is game previews, game stories, game notes, or writing promotional pieces. The other half is dealing with the media and working with coaches and student athletes, but writing is very important. It doesn’t matter how much this profession has changed with the website or video production, writing will always be at the core of this media relations profession.

 Byrne: I think that is one of the main things they want us to understand. No matter what you have to continue writing and keep working on it.

 Osterman: Exactly.

 Byrne: What are some tips you could offer someone just starting out?

 Osterman: Time management, you have to budget your time. People skills, have a personality. You are dealing with not only other staff members here, but with media members, coaches, student athletes, and the general public. Have a sense of humor and know how to laugh and joke around. You want to have fun at your job, but you have to have a strong work ethic too.  A lot of nights and weekends with this job and you can’t be afraid to do that.

Byrne: But it’s not like sitting in an office the whole time.

Osterman: No you’re out and about. It can be sitting at your desk a lot of times, but a lot of times though you’re out at events. I would say its about 70/30 office compared to events and dealing with the public.

Byrne: What do you do to keep current with the latest PR stuff?

Osterman: A lot of times talking with your peers in the profession. When you go on the road you might see something new and ask about it. When you have conventions during the summertime that’s a great time to find out the next new thing out there. Really just doing a lot of reading up and trying to keep current.

Byrne: Are you involved in any organizations?

Osterman: The College Sports Information Directors of America (COSIDA), the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), and the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). They do a great job sending newsletters and stuff.

Byrne: What do you wish you knew starting out in the pr world?

Osterman: I really can’t say anything. I had two really good bosses. They both did a great job helping prepare me. And now being a director and being in their position, I have tried to take as much as possible from what I have learned and have used that to help me in my management skills.

Byrne: Do you think your education did a good job preparing you?

Osterman: With out a doubt. Both as an undergrad and in grad school. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Byrne: Well I think that’s about it. Thank you for your time.

Osterman: You’re welcome.

 After Interviewing Mr. Osterman I am definitely more likely to want a career in public relations. I am currently interning in the Georgia Southern Athletic Media Relations office and get to see the day-to-day activities. I have had a great experience and have learned a lot. This interview looked more in-depth at sports pr and the kind of dedication and odd work hours it involves, but I’m still interested in pursuing this career.

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PepsiCo Resume and Cover letter

 

               Emily Byrne                 

### Street dr

city, state 00000

 

 Dec 1, 2008

 Dear PepsiCo: 

 Having recently graduated from Georgia Southern University with a degree in Public Relations I am now in pursuit of an entry-level position in which my education and experience can be fully utilized. After researching your successful company for my corporate public relations class, my goal is to begin my career with an organization such as yours and would appreciate your review of my qualifications. Your organization has come to my attention as one that possesses the qualities and reputation that embody the type of company for whom I would like to work.

 

Although my education and experience are detailed on my resume, I wanted to bring your attention to a quality of mine that may not be readily apparent – my passion for doing the best job that I can. I take great pride in making a contribution on a personal and professional level, and I am flexible and eager to learn more about potential opportunities with your organization.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or suggestions regarding employment. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Emily Byrne

 

 

Emily Byrne

email@gmail.com 

OBJECTIVE

 To obtain an entry level position with PepsiCo

 EDUCATION

 Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA

Bachelor of Science in Public Relations, Anticipated Graduation, December 2009

GPA 3.3

 Summer Study Abroad Program: Montepulciano, Italy, 2008

 RELEVANT EXPERIENCE

 Public Relations Research Course, Spring 2008

  • Assisted the African American Business Owners Coalition of Statesboro, GA in discovering the needs and wants of active and prospective members
  • Utilized primary and secondary research to achieve the organizations goals

 OTHER EXPERIENCE

 Shamrock Printing Co., Marietta, GA                                                                    2007, 2008, Seasonal

Special Project Coordinator

  • Assisted with large-scale bulk mailing
  • Organized and colleted outgoing mail

 The Cherokee Cattle Co., Marietta, GA                                                                Oct., 2003 – Jan., 2006

Hostess and Server

  • Trained and managed other hosts
  • Guaranteed friendly and efficient service to customers

 SKILLS

  •  Basic knowledge of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel

 HONORS AND AWARDS

 HOPE Scholarship, Fall 2005- Present

 Dean’s list, Fall 2007, Spring 2006

 LEADERSHIP EXPIENEICE

 Peer Advisement for Georgia Southern University Communication Arts Department, Spring and Fall 2008

·         Chosen from 700+ communication students

·         Assist in advising fellow students on courses to take

 ACTIVITIES

Intramural soccer, 2006-2008

 Public Relations Student Society of America, 2008-present

 Society of Communication Scholars, 2008-present

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Career Opportunities for Public Relations Students

Most large companies offer thousands of jobs in hundreds of locations and PepsiCo is no different. If you are interested in a job with this successful company they offer an extremely user friendly website. The first thing you will notice about PepsiCo’s Career Center is they have multiple categories that help narrow your search. Experienced candidates have a different career search than graduate and undergraduateate students. This ensures that no one applies for a job they are not interested in. Another option is to search hourly or commissioned sales jobs.
photo from PepsiCo careers
 

Because I am an undergraduate student, I would click on the apappropriate link and many options appear. You can get information about career fairs or conferences in your are or hear actual testimonials from recently graduated employees. PepsiCo also provides helpful tips to help you prepare for the interviewing process. If you are interested in applying for a position just click job search. Here you can look at all the job positions that need to be filled.

PepsiCo and its subsidiaries offer a lot of job opportunities, but do not have a separate public relations department. Instead we fall under the communications/public affairs category, but currently their are no job openings. But some other positions are available where we can use our skills and knowledge. For example, PepsiCo’s marketing department has an open position for a marketing assistant and a marketing intern. A pr practitioner also might be happy in their human resources department.

The PepsiCo Newsroom

PepsiCo has a very professional on-line newsroom. You can browse any recent or past news release and you can view them as fare back as 2003. The newsroom also allows you to print the releases if you wish. The individual news releases are also very informative and provide press contacts and sometimes useful facts. The website also provides the links to all their subsidiary company’s newsrooms.news1

Pepsi-cola

Frito-Lay

Gatoraid

Tropicana

Quaker

 

 

How PepsiCo uses the GroundSwell

Social Media and PepsiCo

The Groundswell is a book that teaches how to listen and participate in social media. We read and learned a great deal about using social media in my corporate public relations class. Their are many advantages of implementing the groundswell in your company’s marketing, public relations, or communications department. By listening, talking about, energizing, helping support, and embracing the groundswell, companies can reach and impact people they never thought possible. PepsiCo has definitely started to use groundswell. They have just started to notice a heavy presents of bloggersand how important they are to the name and reputation of PepsiCo and its affiliates. Recently PepsiCo sent out empty pepsi-cola cans to 25 influentially individuals from the social media community. The cans featured the evolution of the Pepsi logo. Pepsi cola did this so the bloggers could discuss the new and old logos. They knew by implementing this campaign they would start a lot of buzz and chatter in the world of blogs. And they were exactly right. Almost all of the 25 chosen have talked and discussed about being sent these interesting cans. Not all were positive, but it got the conversations going and really put Pepsi’s name out there. For an example of one perspective visit The Influential Marketing Blog.

Another good idea when engaging in social media is to go right to the source. The source is Twitter. Twitter is a networking site where people can discuss and converse easily through status updates. When researching if PepsiCo was on the site I found some interesting things.  A web marketing company that also has an influential blog (Parker Web Marketing) suggested that Pepsi should buy Twitter. Parker says that if Pepsi were to buy Twitter the brands could help each other grow and then could be an influential sponsor. Parker says ”   It would be a nice merge of many media formats”. An intriging idea that many people are discussing on the web and Twitter. Also, people on twitter are still discussing the age old Coke vs. Pepsi.

Challenges Facing PepsiCo

Like all companies at this time, PepsiCo has to deal with the financial issues plaguing our economy. In times of financial trouble luxuries are the first thing to go. This includes settling for value brands instead of the preferred loyalty brands. People are going to try and save pennies where ever they can and this includes trips to the grocery store. The challenge of all companies is to keep customers and push advertising efforts. But as of October 2008 PepsiCo’s current financial state is stable and productive. 
By sciondriver (flickr)  By sciondriver (flickr)

Another issue prevalent in our society is the state of our environment. PepsiCo has already made efforts to do its part including incorporating reverse osmosis to conserve water in Pepsi-cola bottling plants and Frito-Lay’s Sun Chips new solar powered facility. But it is an ongoing challenge to do more and save more. Pepsi-Co implemented an environmental policy in 2006 and is still discovering new ways to reduce and reuse waste.

 A growing concern in our nation is health. Every where you look companies are adding low-fat or low-calorie options. Since PepsiCo is a beverage and snack food provider it is important for them to offer health options or their customers might choose a different brand that has fewer calories. They have made a good start with all the diet drinks they offer and sun chips are many peoples favorite alternative to greasy potato chips.

PepsiCo’s Public Relations Model and Intended Audience

Photo From Brookhaven Advisors

Photo From Brookhaven Advisors

According to Grunig and Hunt most companies public relations departments use one of four academic models when communicating to their audience. These models include: Press agent/ publicity model, public information model, the two-way asymmetricmodel, and the two-way symmetric model. Although all models can be used in certain situations, two-way symmetric is viewed as being the most efficient and beneficial to both the company and the public. 

In PepsiCo’s case they employ the two-way symmetric model. The company uses research and campaigns to discover and satisfy consumer needs. It shows through their continually updated ad campaigns that they try to keep up with the publics tastes and trends. Recently Pepsi-cola has engaged in social media which shows they are trying to be more accessible to customers with questions or concerns.

Doorley, J., & Garcia, H. F. ( 2007). Reputation Management: The key to successful public relations and corporate communications. New York, NY: Routledge.

Who is PepsiCo Trying to Reach?

With an annual revenue of over $39 billion PepsiCo reaches into millions of people’s pockets every year. Their most important audience is the consumer. In order to run a successful company you must have people who need and want your product. PepsiCo has no problem achieving this. They have a diverse and loyal base of costumers and being one of the largest providers of snack foods and beverages it is hard to find an individual who doesn’t buy at least one of their brands. Although PepsiCo is focused on selling their product, another one of their concerns is how they can benefit individual communities, so they donate millions of dollars to charities and disaster relief funds every year. Quality products and services means many investors and a huge concern of PepsiCo is to keep their stock holders happy. They have found that satisfying the needs of their customers, communities, and investors benefits all involved.