For my COMM 4633 Social Media for PR & Journalism Class 

Below you will find several additional resources to augment your course materials for COMM 4633. Each student will be assigned to read/complete one of the resources. During Week 12, we will have an in-class Speed Learning activity where you will share what you learned with your classmates. (This activity will be discussed in more detail after Spring Break.)

Additionally, after you watch or complete any of these, you may wish to write a blog post about what you learned; these posts could become some of your PR Connections for the semester.

Poynter Institute News University Courses


Build and Engage Local Audiences Online

Learn why local content is essential to your survival, and how you can continue being the chief information source to your community, no matter what the platform.

In this course, you’ll hear editors and publishers from across the industry share their stories and their strategies for success. Talk to a virtual colleague to think through some of the questions and concerns you’ll want to address. And test your knowledge of online audiences and the tools you can use to drive them to your site. Along the way, you’ll collect the info you’ll need to create an action plan for your newsroom.

Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling

Want to spread your wings beyond print reporting, but don’t know where to start? In this course, you’ll learn the basic steps of telling your story with multimedia. You’ll discover ways to map out your story before you head out to do your reporting. And you’ll learn when to use such tools as audio, video and graphics.

Multimedia Reporting: Covering Breaking News

In the days that followed Hurricane Katrina, online news organizations took stock of their skills and resources and turned out some of the best work to date. They sent video reporters out on boats to float through the streets of New Orleans. They fashioned multimedia blogs out of the simplest of technologies. They set up forums for citizen participation. And a few of them saved lives in the process.

The Community Journalism Series: Strategies for Managing Local Contributors

For years, newspapers have worked with user-generated content (UGC) in the form of letters to the editor and similar contributions. Now, news organizations of all shapes and sizes are grappling with a dizzying array of community-written content. Non-staffers are publishing things such as full-length stories, blog posts and multimedia content.

This trend provides new opportunities for your publication to engage with audiences, spotlight new voices and address under-covered topics and communities.

Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing University Webinars


How to Blog Effectively for Business by Ann Handley and Mac Collier

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Crash Course to Get Found by Lee Odden

Social Media and Building Community by Chris Brogan

Successful Business Uses for Facebook and LinkedIn by Elyse Trager

PR for Inbound Marketing  by Todd Defren

Twitter for Business by Laura Fitton

Social Media for Big Businesses by Paula Berg


The Science of Social Media by Dan Zarella

Enchanting Your Prospects by Guy Kawasaki

Social and Mobile Marketing by Jamie Turner


Southeastern University Career Expo 2012

On February 16, 2012, in COMM 4333 Spring 2012, by Barbara Nixon

Students in my Writing for PR and Advertising class stopped by the Southeastern University Career Expo today. Here’s a bit of what they saw:



Photo Credit: "letters from captivity VII: illiterate" by sternenrauschen

The Writing Assignments portion of Writing for PR and Advertising has some static components that all students will complete, as well as several that you can choose among. To earn credit for the assignments, they must be submitted in BlackBoard by their due dates.

All students will complete the following:

With your client in mind, make your choices from among the available options; be sure to complete assignments totaling 250 points from this section. See your syllabus for specific due dates for each assignment:

We will discuss these assignments in more detail in class during Weeks 6 & 7.


7 Things Churches Need to Know About Social Media Now

On February 15, 2012, in public relations, by Barbara Nixon

The Rev. Mary Beene, my pastor when I was a member of Faith Presbyterian Church in Rincon, Ga., asked me to be a speaker at the Savannah Presbytery’s Leadership Development Conference on one of my favorite topics: social media. You can see the slides below.

All sites and links mentioned in the presentation can be found in my Diigo bookmarks.

Now, a question for you: how does your church use social media?


Students in my Writing for Digital Media class wrote stories about Noah’s Ark, an organization in Lakeland that helps developmentally disabled adults and their families. Below, you will find excepts from their stories. To read the whole story, click on the story title.

Featured Stories

A Light of Hope For Parents of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities by Nick Tedeschi

Almost every parent looks ahead with mixed feelings to the point in their child’s life when they will finish school and move on to become independent young adults. However, this is not always the case, especially for those who are parents of children with developmental disabilities. These parents have to face the reality that 93% of children with disabilities will be unemployed upon leaving the public school system and most will remain unemployed for their entire life.

Jack Kosik, founder and director of Noah’s Ark, informed me of how parents with children with developmental disabilities have a neglectful mindset when it comes to their child’s future. “Many families just try to get through a day, or a week and pray that the future will take care of itself. They do not understand how challenging it becomes when an individual with a developmental disability exits the school system to a life of video games and soap operas.”

Healthy Eating Starts with a Garden by Mikelle Liette

Food shortage has been a growing concern for many Lakeland families as the economic downturn has left families scraping from the bottom of the barrel just to come up with the funds to purchase enough groceries to feed their family. According to the 2010 US Census, 14.9 % of Lakeland families fall below the poverty line.

Jack Kosik, executive director of Noah’s Ark of Central Florida, has recognized a greater concern for developmentally disabled adults. As many supportive services are being cut, community members with disabilities have been left without enough money to live independently, or to purchase healthy and nutritious foods. Noah’s Ark is a home that daily supports the developmentally disabled and assists them by educating them on important issues of guardianship, special needs trusts, and available services. In addition to the weekly array of social and recreational activities that Noah’s Ark hosts, Kosik has plans to begin a community garden….

Hope and Healing by Melanie Shoults

The green ball, flawless except for three small holes, rumbled down the lane in a swirl of color and plowed into twelve perfectly placed white pins. A cheer erupted from spectators and smatterings of high-fives were exchanged. Smiles spread from face to face, regardless of who was winning.

The cheerful group of adults appeared to be having the time of their lives with just a round of bowling. But this wasn’t just a game. As a fund-raiser for Noah’s Ark, an organization that aids in rehabilitating adults with developmental disabilities, the event was much more meaningful than that….


Additional Stories from COMM 2423 Class (in alpha order)

Jack Kosik’s Ark by Dean Adams

What happens when individuals with “intellectual disabilities” lose their main center of support? Their parents, what happens when their parents leave this world and leave their sons and daughters behind with no one to care for them? If only there was a facility “designed to be sensitive to the unique needs of individuals who are intellectually challenged” and for a long time there was no such place.  Before 1997 there was no such place in Florida and as well as there being no place there were some troubling facts around this time concerning those with developmental disabilities in Florida….

Noah’s Ark: Making a Difference . . . Differently by Daniel Barcelo

Noah’s Ark. An organization “committed to empowering individuals who have developmental disabilities by advocating on their behalf and by providing or facilitating choices of meaningful employment, recreational and social opportunities and affordable housing in an inclusive community of their choice.” This mission, and a personal dream of its founder, Jack Kosik are at the core of this organization….

Love of a Mother by Laurita Carranza

A young adult, full of energy, with so much shine to give, but yet no one notices him. This is exactly what occurs with individuals who have developmental disabilities. These individuals are all around us. They might be the one that shops at the same store you do, at the restaurant you go, and might even sits right next to you in your favorite class. You won’t notice because all you care is who you are seen with. Do me a big favor and say hi to these individuals when you see them, don’t ignore them like if they don’t exist….

Will You Help Build the Ark? by Liz Colburn

What is Noah’s Ark?  Yes, it is a big boat built by Noah back in Bible times to avoid a world wide flood – but – that is not the Noah’s Ark I am talking about.  Noah’s Ark is a living facility based in Lakeland, Florida that houses special needs adults.  The purpose for Noah’s Ark is so that parents who can either no longer physically take care of their adult children or can not take care of them for other reasons, live in peace by knowing their children are being cared for….

The Past, Present and Future of Noah’s Ark by Annalee Cole

Imagine being the parent of a mentally disabled child. Now imagine growing old and knowing that one day you must part ways with them. Where does the future of your child lie when all they know is you? …

Noah’s Arc by Tara Duffy

There is a blind spot in the Americans eyes. While most people in this world can walk around not seeing the problems, some people Like Jack Kosik see the blind spot and actively try to fix it…

The Ark Has Arrived by Johny Fernandez

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be young and not be able to move out of your parent’s house? Many young adults with developmental disabilities also desire to grow independently but cannot. Living with a developmental disability not only limits living life normally but also, for many, may create an internal isolation from the world. For parents dealing with this situation, many of them cannot live comfortably knowing that their child may never grow independently….

Noah’s Ark: Changing the Lives of Lakeland Families One by One by Taylor Flumerfelt

In 1996, five families began the search for a facility whose mission is to take care of developmentally challenged people after which they could create their own organization. These five families did not want to only give back to the community; they were worried about the future of their developmentally challenged children. What would happen to their children after they passed away? The answer to this question was unclear and they sought to answer it through researching the many services available all over the country…

Noah’s Ark Encourages Residents to Live, Laugh, Love–and Get Active by Amanda Furmage

Just over four years ago, Jeff Albro began his journey for freedom and independence. His developmental disability would no longer prevent him from fulfilling his dreams. Yet his new life soon came to an abrupt, unexpected halt. After a few months of living autonomously in a Plant City public housing project, Albro was beaten and robbed—an experience that left his body bloody, broken and bruised. However, the severe emotional distress that resulted from the incident affected Albro more than the temporary physical damage.

Bringing Unity to the Community by Sarah Hassani

Elvis entered the doors of the Lakeland Harbor Community Clubhouse on September 5, 2011 to perform some of his top hits and the crowd went wild! The music was loud, the dancing was groovy, and the food was finger lickin’ good. 84 people witnessed this night unfold but were you one of them?

This 50’s sock hop event is one of the many events hosted by Noah’s Ark, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering those with developmental disabilities. Among many things, they provide a housing residence and assist the disabled in finding employment and every month they provide opportunities for the community to get involved by participating in their events….

Jack Kosik Seeks to Build Noah’s Ark by Tiana Holding

Most people know the story of Noah from the Bible, even if they’ve never read it. Movies likeEvan Almighty give it a modern-day twist. In the Bible, Noah is commanded by God to build an ark. He was to build an ark as a place of safe refuge for him, his family, and 2 of every kind of animal on the Earth. Noah’s Ark was a way to start over.

Today, Noah’s Ark is a place of safe refuge for people with developmental disabilities. It is a place to start over, a community for people with disabilities to live together, yet on their own.

Parent of Disabled Individual Finds Hope Through Local Organization by Rachel LaFlam

It is the first time in his life that 81-year-old Lee McClure is able to enjoy empty-nest syndrome. Lee sits on his back porch in Lakeland, Fla. and can now enjoy his old age, knowing that everything is taken care of—everything meaning his 51-year-old mentally challenged son, Neal.

In the Arms of Love by Naida Lindberg

It all began with a story. The story of Noah’s Ark is not that of a flood, nor of animals but rather a daughter. This story would change the lives in more ways then one. What about Jack and the parents of those who spend nights wondering what will happen to their children after they have gone? There is hope in this story. This is their story. In 1997, Joanne and Hank Warnock enrolled their son into Noah’s Ark. Having never seen a program like Noah’s Ark it seemed like an answer of prayer. This however, is not just the story of Noah’s Ark but it is about a loving family….

Noah’s Ark by Chelsey Lynn

Noah’s Art is a unique place.  Its a place where one can find some peace, some belonging.  Noah’s ark is an organization that is committed to empowering individuals who have developmental disabilities by advocating on their behalf and by providing or facilitating choices of meaningful employment, recreational and social opportunities and affordable housing in an inclusive community of their choice.

Lee McClure is a parent who took an extraordinary step for independence for his son, Neal.  He reached out to Noah’s Ark in hopes for his son to live there, with more freedom and independence, knowing that he would be taken care of if anything were to happen to him….

An Unfinished Home by Emily Meade

“Home. It’s more than a place to rest your head. It is at home where we are free to be our truest self. It’s a soft place to fall when the world gets too hard. It’s where we build memories and live out the small details that make up a life. It’s where we store our treasures, read a book, take a nap and talk with friends. Our home, wherever that may be, is an extension of our inner self. The picture is often quite different for people with disabilities. For those with disabilities home can mean no choice, crowded and unpleasant conditions, unfair treatment, no privacy and no personal connection to the place where they are forced to live.”

Fortunately, because of one man’s determination and passion, individuals who are intellectually disabled do not face that challenge. Fourteen years ago marks the beginning of the journey Jack Kosik embarked on into the unknown. Upon adopting a baby girl who was later found with developmental disabilities, Jack sought to find a place where his daughter, Brittany, could reside once he could no longer support her needs sufficiently. Just as every other parent in that similar situation, they find few comfortable options that are available and if so, the wait lists are high in numbers….

Why Noah’s Ark by Elizabeth Telg

When you think of Noah’s Ark what comes to mind? A big boat? Lots of animals? A big rainbow? Well there’s a new Noah’s Ark that doesn’t involve wiping out all of mankind. Noah’s Ark of Central Florida is a unique living facility that houses special needs adults. But why would one get involved? …


Students in my Social Media for PR and Advertising class got to go on #themostawesomefieldtripever — we headed over to the campus restaurant for the annual Chocolate Decadence Luncheon. While there, we took photos and tweeted about our experiences . . . and ate a wee bit of chocolate, too.


In honor of Valentine’s Day, my Social Media for PR & Journalism class will spend some time looking through conversation hearts and discussing how social media reminds them of some of the messages on the hearts. After our class today, I’ll share a few of things they came up with:


The Best of Social Fresh East 2012, Day Two Afternoon

On February 7, 2012, in social media, by Barbara Nixon


The Best of Social Fresh East 2012, Day Two Morning

On February 7, 2012, in social media, by Barbara Nixon