New Social Media, Economic Downturn, Crises Communications, Natural Disaster Response, Reputation Management to be Addressed at PRUniversity 2009

In September 2007, a University of Florida student was tasered for resisting law enforcement personnel during a presentation by U.S. Senator John Kerry. The incident was videotaped by several people in the audience, uploaded to YouTube, and by the next day more than 500,000 people had viewed the video. Then CNN and the network news latched onto the story and “don’t tase me, bro” had gone viral. How the University’s public relations department handled the viral media storm will be the topic of the keynote presentation by UF associate vp of public relations Joe Hice, APR, at PRUniversity 2009 – Weathering the Storm, Southwest Florida’s premier annual professional development seminar presented by the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association.

Other presenters include Sarah Owen, executive director of the Community Cooperative Ministries Inc., recently named by the News-Press as one of the “People to Watch” in 2009. Owen will discuss how a well-planned, compelling, unified message and a new brand identity gained buy-in for the successful merger of three local not-for-profit agencies, each with its own mission, employees, facilities and board of directors.

Chris Gent of the Kissimmee Utility Authority will explore blogs, podcasts, Flickr, instant messaging and other new social media, explaining how they can benefit your business, and when they can be detrimental. With more than 200 local, state, national and international awards to his credit, Gent is on the cutting edge of social media.

To hear these vibrant speakers and other local experts address timely topics from surviving the economic downturn to successful reputation management, register for PR University at The full day seminar will be held Friday, January 9 from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Hodges University. The afternoon includes a unique hands-on tabletop exercise, “Coping with Disaster”, which will provide valuable experience in preparing your company for the worse. Several registration options are available, including morning-only, lunch-only and afternoon-only attendance. For more information call PRU Co-Chair Tina Haisman, APR, CPRC at 239-418-1157.