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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5 Things I Never Knew About the Eagle Print Shop

The Eagle Print Shop is located on the Georgia Southern University campus. We toke a tour today and learned a lot about its process and operations. This information will come in handy when it is time to print our newsletters and in later life.

1. When Submitting work to be printed at the Eagle Print Shop make sure you have everything in a special folder on your jump drive. This makes it easy for the staff to find your work and reduces the chance of a mix up.

2. When pritning a newsletter it should be on 80 pound glossy text paper and in booklet form front and back.

3. There are two types of color processes when dealing with printing: RGB and CMYK. RGB is found on websites and computers and CMYK is used when printing items. For more info check out at printernational.org.

4. The print shop uses acid free, recyclable paper.

5. In the future it is important to have a good relationship with your printer. Find out what format they want your material in.

My Social Media Policy

Having a social media policy is important. It helps determine why and how you use the Internet. Here are my top 8 policies:

MY SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY

1. Connecting: Introduce yourself and tell me why you want to connect

I think it is polite to introduce yourself when using social media. It is nice to know who the person is, their interests, and who they are affiliated with. Sometimes when interacting with people on a social media site you find their purpose is not to discuss and express their opinions, but to sell or solicit something. An introduction would eliminate these worries.

2. Follow, add, friend: Because you can’t be connected to everyone one  on the internet.

Usually when someone wants to be added or befriended, I first determine if i know them or not. If I know them personally ill accept and if I don’t I do a little research to see if I want to be connected to them. I usually add people that have the same interests as me or if we know a lot of the same people. When it comes to facebook I only accepted friend invitations from people that I know and have met.

3. Privacy, boundaries and safety: Don’t put anything online you wouldn’t want your mother to see.With Internet security you can put passwords and blocks on a lot of content, but they are not always fail safe. I think it is important to think about everything you write and add before you actually post them. Your online reputation is just as important as your offline. It is especially important to pay attention to your online presence because employers are now researching potential employees . So it is a good idea to keep it PG.

4. Signal to noise: Too much is too much

The social media experience I want is to simply learn and share. People have a lot of good ideas and useful information to share and the Internet makes this possible. I do however get annoyed when people post  every single thing they think and feel. Also I hate people who are rude and put others down if they have different ideas.

5. Personal data and sharing: social networking

My main goal right now is to network professionally. Many people out there have advice and resources that could be very helpful in the job searching processes. Also sharing interests is fun and fulfilling too.

6. My networking needs and uses: Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin Oh my!

The networks I use the most are Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, but I use them completely differently. Facebook is mainly for keeping in touch with friends and sharing photos. Linkedin is a great professional  site that allows you to connect with others and share info about job opportunities and allows for important introductions. I use twitter for fun and to discuss and chat back and forth with others. I have gained a lot of good info from Twitter.

7. People: Don’t connect yourself to questionable characters. 

I make it a point to try and find out what the people I’m connected to are like. Being associated with someone who has a negative reputation is negative for you as well.

8. Photos: Picture perfect

Don’t share pictures you don’t want your boss, family and peers to see. If they are online anyone can access them.

 

 

Crisis Management

The Syringe Crisis of 1993crisis20management

It is important for every company to have a successfully crisis management staff. When these issues occur it is crucial to know how to resolve them before they spiral out of control. In June, 1993 PepsiCo learned first hand what a pr crisis looks like. A surprised Washington man found a medical syringe in his can of Pepsi-cola. Soon after the report, 50 more people claimed they found syringes in their beverages. But Pepsi effectively resolved the crisis in only eight days. The FDA declared Pepsi safe to drink and footage was released that showed a person tampering with the can during purchase. The scare was only a hoax.

There are a couple of reasons why this crisis was resolved so well. First,PepsiCo did not deny any of the allegations until they had researched and confirmed that the crisis was a scam. Also the company already had a crisis plan that was designed to deal with such problems as tampering or contamination. After all evidence was gathered and proved, the company released several video news releases that explained to customers why tampering could not have occurred in the bottling facilities and assured them everything was safe. PepsiCo employees were also seen on NBC dateline and Larry King reassuring the public with evidents and facts and also answering questions. The PepsiCo crisis team quickly and efficiently dealt with the crisis and today is applauded for its effective crisis plan.

Info from: Bnet

Why I Would Work for PepsiCo

After researching and learning so much about PepsiCo, how could you not want to work for such a good company? Below I will list four reasons why I would gladly take a position with PepsiCo or any of its subsidiaries:

1. They care about their employees. PepsiCo is known for their dedication to providing a diverse and fair working environment. They have been presented many awards that speak for themselves including: DiversityInc’sList of Top 50 Companies for Diversity, Top 10 companies for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) employees by Diversity Inc, Top 10 Companies List for People with Disabilities, and many more. How can you tell if employees enjoy working for a company? They tell you themselves. From the recent graduate profiles section of PepsiCo’s Career Center, Kelly (a recent graduate and Human Resources Rep) said,

“I joined PepsiCo as an intern because of the people I met during my interviews.  I was also interested in working for PepsiCo because it has many recognizable brands, is well known for its diversity and inclusion efforts, and has been recognized as a leader in most of their product categories.”

Hearing good things from an actual employee says a lot about a company and how it treats the people that work there.

2. They care about the environment. Our societies new goal is to help conserve our resources and be courteous to the environment around us. PepsiCo is doing their part. In 2006 they implemented an environmental policy to cut down on resources used and waste produce. But that’s not all they are doing. Frito-Lay’s Sun Chip brand just opened an all solar powered facility and Pepsi-cola uses reverse osmosis in their packing plants to conserve water.

3. The care about the community. Along with taking care of the environment, PepsiCo also takes care of others. They donate thousands of dollars a year to charities, local communities and education. They were also in the top 25 of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens by CRO.

4. Their products are yummy.

pepsi-dog

PepsiCo’s Awards and Honors

PepsiCo’s Awards and Honors

2008 Awards

  •  2008 Energy Star Partner of the Year Award
  • DiversityInc’s List of Top 50 Companies for Diversity
  • Top 10 companies for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender)    Employees by Diversity Inc.
  • Top 10 Companies List for People with Disabilities

2007 Awards

  • Indra Nooyi Named Among Fortune’s 25 Most Powerful
  • PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi Named Among The Wall Street Journal 50 Women to Watch 2007
  • Latina STYLE’s company of the year. 
  • Best Green Companies for America’s Children List in Working Mother Magazine.
  • Indra Nooyi Tops FORTUNE’s List of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business.
  • Seven PepsiCo Products on Women’s Health Magazine’s ‘100 Best Packaged Foods for Women’ List.
  • Pepsi “Pinball” commercial nominated for an Emmy

  • The Lay’s “100% Pure Joy” commercial won the Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil Award
  • Fortune Magazine ranks PepsiCo once again to the Top 10 of America’s Most Admired Companies in the World
  • and many more…

I wouldn’t say that PepsiCo uses their awards and honors as promotions only to reiterate the efforts the company is making to benfit the environment, individual communities, and their commitment to diversity. Either way it reflects positively on the company when they are awarded so many honors.

Info from http://www.pepsico.com/PEP_Company/Honors/index.cfm 

The Mystery of the Pod Cast

Pod casting is some what of a mystery to me. I have never subscribed or listened to one until about two hours ago. But I discovered that I really enjoy them. I have always liked talk radio which may explain why I am now partial to pod casts. My first pod cast was For Immediately Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report (also known as FIR). The pod cast I listened to was # 394 on Nov. 3, 2008. Although listening to the program is part of my grade, I believe I got more out of it than just that. My corporate public relations class is centered around social media and I honestly had no idea it existed till now. FIR is comprised of real world examples and debates about public relations issues and social media. It is important in any major to not only learn from your classes and text books, but also from real world examples. This is one reason why I enjoyed FIR because they discus current issues and offer different perspectives on them.

 

Unfortunately the episode I observed featured Holts and Hobson separately. Both of their segments were informative and enjoyable, but I have heard from my professor, Barbara Nixon, that they engage in some very good disagreements and I am looking forward to hearing them together on a future cast. One aspect of public relations I am very interested in is international public relations and FIR discussed two international issues. The first segment was from Michael Netzley who is reporting from the Singapore. Netzley interviewed two enthusiasts on Singapore’s growing thirst to learn about social media. They discussed how people Singapore are eager to try social media, but are still unaware of the rules associated with it. It is neat to hear that other young people across the world are experiencing and learning the same things as our class in the U.S.  

 

Another issue that we discuss in our public relations courses is bribing. An issue I am not aware of is a recent controversy between Microsoft and some bloggers. Apparently a few years ago Microsoft sent out a preview of Vista installed on high speed computers to bloggers. The bloggers were instructed to review the new program, but then could keep them if they wanted. I definitely see how this could be considered a bribe and Microsoft should have considered that. Recently Microsoft invited bloggers to test another new product on new high-tech computers, but it is still unclear if they made the same mistake as before.

 

All in all I really enjoyed Hobson and Holtz report. They take time to thank new listeners and others that appear on their show. Also I liked how they had a section at the end of the show for listener comments. I encourage anyone interested in either social media or public relations to give it a listen. I know I will continue to listen in.