Philadelphia-based Buchanan Public Relations LLC is a full-service public relations firm that specializes in media relations, social media and crisis communications.

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March 16, 2015

How Did We Get Here?

By Nancy Page, 2:21 pm

During the Middle Ages, craftsmen routinely employed young people as an inexpensive form of labor in exchange for food, lodging and formal training in a trade. Perhaps today’s interns don’t work for food, but it surely can feel as though we’ve returned to medieval times when it comes to the role of the apprenticeship, now known as the unpaid internship, in preparing new graduates for their futures.

I recently read a piece by Susan H. Greenberg in The New York Times that highlights the absurdity of intense competition for jobs that don’t pay. Full disclosure: I’m the mother of two Millennials who have participated in various internships and summer jobs. We’ve gone the camp counselor route, held the internship-in-a-field-of-interest that paid nothing but a “transportation stipend,” and experienced the exhilaration of internships in the medical device industry that paid handsomely and led to a full-time position. Further disclosure: At Buchanan Public Relations we pay our interns well and offer them solid on-the-job training that complements what they’ve learned in the classroom.Buchanan Public Relations

But what about unpaid internships? Are they exploitative? Do they favor the financially secure student whose parents can pay for housing, transportation and yes, food? Or, do they provide legitimate experience in a profession that helps a young person determine if it’s for her? Does an unpaid internship help a student launch his career, even as student loans loom large? In short, are these “opportunities” worth it?

A recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers would have us believe they are not. The survey results revealed that hiring rates for those who had participated in unpaid internships (37%) were nearly the same as those who had not completed any internship at all (35%).

If this is true, then why have unpaid internships become de rigueur – and competitive? Perhaps the answer lies with the economy, stupid. Indeed, it has recovered substantially since the dark days of the late 2000s. But while we were suffering the depths of recession, simple supply and demand created a situation in which employers could call the shots. And now that the beast has been fed, there’s no appetite for going back to the way things were. No more hiring recent college grads (many of whom would have spent their summers as lifeguards) for entry-level positions that provided training and the ever-so-nice-to-have benefits. Sigh.

I’m not sure, though, that there’s any one answer. The willingness to work without pay surely varies from student to student, and depends a lot on unique financial circumstances and particular career interests. Unpaid internships can pay off. But to the students out there who think they must supply free labor in exchange for learning a craft, I say don’t sell yourselves short. You’ll figure out soon enough that your career will take you in many unexpected directions, so the real goal should be to learn to be flexible, open-minded, and confident. Consider that if you spend your summer working as a nanny, you’ll pick up those skills – and a paycheck, too!

February 23, 2015

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Publicity – Or is There?

By Nicole Lasorda, 2:45 pm

The saying, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” has been around since the invention of publicity itself (or maybe “time immemorial”?). But, is it a true statement? Can a company do whatever it wants and not suffer the consequences, simply because it garners the publicity the execs wanted in the first place? (more…)

February 16, 2015

The Horrible, Awful, No Good Week

By Anne Buchanan, 3:48 pm

For those who still believe in the power and magnificence of journalism, last week was a truly awful week.

It started, of course, with the downward spiral of Brian Williams’ career after it was confirmed that he had been telling an untruth about a news reporting incident in Iraq. The same day that Mr. Williams announced he was taking himself off the air, Jon Stewart announced he was stepping down as host of The Daily Show.

The week was far from over, though, and the losses still to come took the form of tragedy. Veteran reporter Bob Simon was killed in a car accident on Wednesday night. (This, after surviving 40 days of captivity 24 years ago in Iraq.) And then I awoke on Friday to the news that Buchanan Public RelationsThe New York Times’ esteemed media critic, David Carr – who only days earlier had written about Brian Williams – had died in the newsroom, after suffering an apparent heart attack. Later on Friday, former NBC foreign correspondent Ned Colt died of a stroke in Boston. (more…)

February 5, 2015

The Art of the Apology

By Emily DiTomo, 11:52 am

As public relations practitioners, we are masters of communication, regularly consulting our clients on what to say, how to say it and – in some cases – when to retract it. This week, venerable NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams is facing public scrutiny after repeatedly reporting a false story, whereby he claimed to narrowly escape enemy fire during the Iraq war. (more…)

January 5, 2015

5 Resolutions Every PR Pro Can Use in 2015

By Kathleen McFadden, 8:26 am

As clichéd as it may sound, making resolutions is a great way to reflect on the past 12 months and pinpoint areas where you can make a positive change in the year ahead. From one public relations practitioner to another, here are some of my 2015 resolutions. (more…)

December 24, 2014

4 Christmas Tunes, PR-ified

By Megan Keohane, 1:34 pm

I don’t know about you, but my office has been filled with the seasonal sounds of the *NSYNC Holiday station on Pandora for a solid six weeks now (I’m a bit Christmas-obsessed). Although, have you ever heard a song so often that you start making up your own lyrics? Me, too (maybe I’m slightly influenced by Jimmy Fallon).

So, here you go. Four of my very favorite holiday songs, modified to fit into our PR workday. (more…)

December 3, 2014

10 Struggles PR Professionals Know Too Well, As Depicted By Dogs

By Maddie Klein, 9:30 am

Although I’m still a newbie in the world of public relations, there are several things I’ve already realized I will face throughout my career that will cause stress, panic, and probably even make me question my sanity. These are situations that PR professionals deal with on the regular. Allow these dogs to further explain. (more…)

November 17, 2014

Lessons I Learned From Bartending That I Now Apply to PR

By Christina Dudley, 10:59 am

I was the stereotypical college student who was quick with a joke or to light up your smoke, (not so much anymore in PA), and yes, you guessed correctly, I bartended my way through college. It was fun, it paid the bills and I learned a few things other than just how to make a dirty martini.

While my experiences bartending made for good life lessons in general, they are also – funnily enough – applicable to the world of PR.  (more…)

October 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday: How My Time as a College Newspaper Editor Prepared Me for My PR Career

By Jen Tedeschi, 11:03 am

As a recent graduate of Saint Joseph’s University and a newbie to the public relations industry, I often think about my time spent in college and how it prepared me for working in this field. While my classes and extracurricular activities provided a solid foundation, nothing helped prepare me more to work in the “real world” than my time as the features editor of The Hawk, my alma mater’s campus newspaper. (more…)

October 21, 2014

It’s Not What You’re Not

By Nancy Page, 11:17 am

It’s what you are.

According to Wikipedia, a not-for-profit agency is an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals rather than distributing them as profit or dividends. That doesn’t sound like a description of what something is not to me. It sounds like what it is!

“Not-for-profit” is a bad way to describe what these organizations are. Nonprofits exist for a purpose. They’re pro-mission. They do all kinds of good things for society and in the world. Not for nothing, but there’s a need for some re-branding here. (more…)

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