Help save the lobbying industry!

The lobbying industry, one of the only professions protected by the First Amendment, is in danger. On March 20, 2009 the White House issued a memorandum for the heads of the executive departments and agencies. The subject of the note is: Ensuring Responsible Spending of Recovery Act Funds. Contained within this memo is the following statement found in section 3(b) which, to me is a blatant attack on the lobbying industry. The statement is an attempt to prevent registered lobbyists from participating in face-to-face communications with members of the executive branch in relation to the Recovery Act.

 

The wording

A memo.

A memo.

“Upon the scheduling of, and again at the outset of, any oral communication (in-person or telephonic) with any person or entity concerning particular projects, applications, or applicants for funding under the Recovery Act, an executive department or agency official shall inquire whether any of the individuals or parties appearing or communicating concerning such particular project, application, or applicant is a lobbyist registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995. If so, the lobbyist may not attend or participate in the telephonic or in-person contact, but may submit a communication in writing,” – Section 3b.

The only form of communication a registered lobbyists is allowed to engage an executive branch member in is writing. This section of the memorandum prohibits a certain sector from doing their job. This regulation prohibits people from doing their job in a bad economy none the less. I thought we were trying to create jobs not take them away! It is discrimination and can actually hurt legislation. Lobbying is done by experts, and the act of lobbying requires extensive research. Most of a lobbyist’s time is consumed by research and preparing for the act of presenting a well thought out pitch to law makers. Lobbyists present pertinent information to law makers that they might not otherwise see. I thought it was common knowledge that any mom and pop joint could hire a lobbyist, but the perception that lobbyists are only hired by the wealthy may still remain. Lobbyists give a voice to people who may not have the opportunity to be heard in a large government.

The reasoning

The act is supposed to promote transparency within the government. In section 3c of the same memorandum, the governmental entities that lobbyists communicate with are required to post the communications on the respective departments’ Website within three business days. This is supposed to let an engaged and interested public see what goes on when lobbying occurs. Again this section requires registered only registered take part in the same action.

Transparency is a very good thing but to me this section doesn’t make sense. Influential people can still reach executive branch members and persuade them to insert or propose spending for pet projects. (Think: campaign contributors, executives, ambassadors and so on.) I am really interested in lobbying, but this seems to be giving them too much credit. Everything that legislators pass isn’t the result of a registered lobbyist, and if it is our government needs to be reexamined. I guess I just don’t understand the fear of lobbyists. They are normal people doing their job. Lobbying occurs at all levels too, local, state, and federal. What do you think asking your boss for a pay increase is- you’re lobbying for more money. We all lobby, we just don’t really think of what we do as lobbying.

The ideal

I am extremely afraid of what will happen if the lobbying industry does not regain its voice. It is an important function that represents a large number of people who want their opinions heard. The contradiction in transparency is this – how can a non registered person speak to an executive branch member, while a registered person can’t? How does that make sense? It seems that those registered would be held to a higher standard than those who are not.

 

This means law!

This means law!

Ideally I would like to see this overturned. It is unfair and a vain attempt to look good for a public who is wary of the government at the moment. Maybe try making changes that matter- not taking away someone’s freedom of speech. Until next week, I hope you find happier topics and lighter research topics than I did.

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This is an e-newsletter for my pr online class.

We want you! To join professional organizations.

I wish there were more time in the day and honestly who else doesn’t? I have recently been interested in finding professional groups in fields related to law and public relations. I am graduating from Kent State University next December, and think it would be good to join a different professional group in the fall. I want to join all the groups I have been researching. It is definitely one of my flaws; I tend to overextend myself because I get excited about all the different opportunities out there. I usually pull it off, but I’m sure my body will hate me for the lack of sleep I am getting now in later years.

I keep finding there is never enough time in the day.

I keep finding there is never enough time in the day.

riseli53 “World Time 1″ world and time. sxc.hu [http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1161702.”]

I know I don’t have enough time to devote to so many different groups. If I joined the two new groups and kept everything I am currently involved in, I would be involved in four organizations, a full time student, and working two jobs. No time for a life in there so I don’t think I will be joining all of the groups I want too.

I thought I could use my blog to inform other students about the great opportunities that these outside of the classroom activities have offer. And maybe my promotion of the group will allow me to tag along once or twice with someone who joins. The two organizations I want to feature are the Legal Marketing Association and the American League of Lobbyists. These organizations go above and beyond when it comes to helping students in the pursuit of knowledge.

LMA

The Legal Marketing Association is a global organization that serves the needs of professionals within the legal marketing realm. The group helps members maintain and develop industry standards and high ethics, and provides knowledge to continue learning within the field. I decided to focus on the Ohio chapter because I am from Ohio, though all the information on other chapters can be found on the national Website.

An upcoming event, one of which I hope to attend, will focus on “Developing targeted, on-to-one communication with clients through online channels.” This event will be held on May 14, in Cleveland, Ohio. The time and more specific location are not available on the site. The speaker is Anthony Green, the president of Concep, the New York devision, a marketing technology and service company with offices in London, New York and Sydney Australia. The focus of the event will be e-mail marketing. Sounds like an event any PRKent student could attend and get ahead in our PR Online class.

The American League of Lobbyists

This is a national organization located in Washington D.C. that works to “enhance the development of professionalism, competence, and high ethical standards for advocates in the public policy arena, to collectively address challenges which affect the First Amendment right to ‘petition the government for redress of grievances.” (From ALL’s Website.)

ALL offers a student membership for $30 a year. Students can attend all events. Each event is $145 for members. Events are held in D.C and include sessions such as Lobbying 101, Grassroots and coalitions, different ethics courses, and workshops on regulations and procedures.

The American League of Lobbyists also offers a lobbying certificate program that started in 2006. This is the only organization to offer such a certificate for the lobbying industry. To apply for the certificate you have to actually be a registered lobbyist. Hope I make it that far one day.

Conclusion

This post is supposed to help students get a foot in the door. It is an attempt at helping people network and find their place in the job market. I enjoyed researching this topic. It gave me a new perspective and made me feel okay about graduation. I hope you liked my research, and until next week, I hope you enjoy doing a little research of your own.

December 2009 here I come!

December 2009 here I come!

jusstas “Graduation cap” graduation hat [http://www.sxc.hu/photo/993663].

Copyright, do you read me?

The quest for knowledge never ends so my inquiry into the laws of media must continue on. It was Kent State’s spring recess this past week and I am not ready to get back to the daily grind of school just yet.In a previous post I spoke briefly on laws that apply to bloggers and social media users. I will continue on with this topic in this post. I plan to cover copyright as it is something I think all students of social media, including myself, need to be educated on.

The Basics

A copyright (title 17, U.S. Code) is “a form of protection provided to authors of ‘original works of authorship’ – literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished,” according to the United States Copyright Website.

Any work created on or after January, 1, 1978 is automatically protected by copyright laws from the moment of creation, for the life of the creator, plus 70 years. Original works must be registered with the Copyright Office to ensure protection. With the creation of the Internet new regulations needed to be created.

Circular 66

Circular 66, the document that covers online works, was created to answer questions on online copyrights. Personally I like the name circular 66, it sounds like Route 66 or Area 51 to me. Sometimes I am easily amused.

US Route 66 is a historic pathway used to head west.

US Route 66 is a historic pathway used to head west.

An interesting statement I found while researching C-66 is “for all online works other that computer programs and databases, the registration will extend only to the copyrightable content of the work as received in the Copyright Office and identified as the subject of the claim. To me this means when you want to get something copyrighted it must be as specific as possible. Being overly cautious could pay off here.

A database is described as a group of updates that are either published or unpublished, and frequently updated. These databases can be copyrighted for a three-month period within the same year under one copyright.

A group registration for serials and newsletters is available for media that is published on a weekly basis or less often. Daily newsletters and media published more often than once a week is also copyrightable. These must be collective works to be considered for a copyright.

An Example

I thought I’d give an example of how to cite a copyrighted image. ehow.com gives thorough instructions on how to cite images on blogs. I must say, before this I did not know that this is how images are supposed to be cited.

 

Giant glasses and flowers from a trip to Philly

Giant glasses and flowers from a trip to Philly

This is a picture I took on a trip to Philadelphia with the Kent chapter of PRSSA two years ago. To correctly site this image it would start with the author’s last name followed by a comma and the author’s first name. The title of the work is next in parenthesis and a short description of the photo is next. So far we have the following example:

 

Egut,Amanda “Martini Glasses.” glasses

After that would be the main title of the Website where the image was found. This information would be in italics. Next is the date the site was published. After the publication date is the URL is brackets.

So a finished citation would be look like this:

Egut.Amanda “Martini Glasses.” glasses The Right Balance January 2009 [http://www.therbalance.com].

Disclaimer

Remember that this blog is just for fun and a school project. In no way is any of the information I offer legal advice, rather it is meant to provide the basic background information on topics I find interesting.

I feel better about posting images online now, and look forward to enhancing my blog. I hope you like the content and keep reading. Until next week, keep up the research.

Bloggers – The law applies to you too

Here I thought blogs were safe. I thought bloggers were unstoppable and that the information that can be found on the Internet is meant to be used by everyone. It doesn’t matter if the information is a picture or block of text; as long as proper citation is used I thought everything was fair game. In my eyes it was the information super-highway of love where everyone shares and dances under cloudless skies with a glass of Moscato di Asti in hand. Maybe it was the bubbly drink getting to my head, but it never really occurred to me that there is an entire world of social media law. 

 
Bloggers – the law applies to you too

 
Everything I have learned thus far in college has taught me that a writer is a watch dog. A journalist is someone that plays a pivotal part in the governmental process. Writers in the states are held to high standards as they play such an important role in the free speech process. How silly it was for me to not put two and two together. Obviously bloggers are writers and writers are held accountable for what they write. If a blogger writes something inappropriate about another person and it turns out the excerpt is completely false as well as damaging to that person’s reputation it is considered libel. It must be clearly proven that the case of libel actually caused damage to the person’s reputation, which can be a time consuming and costly measure.

It was only a matter of time before bloggers and other social media users came under attack with accusations of libel.

Here are a few sites with different libel suits dealing with social media, specifically blogs.

 

Courts busy with libel suits

 

Cyber law

 

 
The libel laws not only apply to blogs, but to social networking sites such as Facebook. As public relations students we need to remember that everything we do is about reputation management. Facebook can be used as a branding tool and that brand needs to be maintained. Falsely accusing people of crimes does not help manage anyone’s reputation be it the accused or the accuser. Discussing the crime that is under investigation is not something I would recommend either. A case involving a former Purdue student illustrates the point well.

 
The photo controversy

 
You may have noticed that I did not include any photos in this post. It is a strategic move, a protest in a way, and me being cautious after reading how easy it is to get in trouble while blogging. Don’t worry, I am sure by next week I will include photographs again.

The site Directory Aviva, with a posting on Blogger Law opened my eyes. Before reading this I thought that linking to other blogs and articles was perfectly legal. Think again. Information must be credited, and violates some state laws if it is not cited properly. There is also controversy around how viewers get to the link. Some front door, back door counting methods are questioned with the ‘deep linking’ process.

 
Why tell this story?

 
Watch what you are posting. People really do read what you write. If it wasn’t put out there to be read don’t post it.

Always credit the source of the information. If you didn’t think it up, don’t pass it off as your own.

Better to be safe than sorry, if what you are doing is questionable, think twice don’t do it.

I am not going to lie, this week has been busy.  I am tired even after three cans of Diet Coke and four cups of coffee.  My brain is not as quick as it usually is either. I really find this topic interesting and want to research it more. Check back later in the week for an update and more information on this topic.  Until then – happy research.

Tempted to lie on a resume? Think again!

I recently attended a resume workshop that my sorority’s career and personal development chair put on. The speaker, Linda Meixner, who also serves as our scholarship advisor presented the chapter with plenty of information including literature about lying on resumes. It never occurred to me to lie on a resume but from doing a little research it seems some people are more prone to breaking the law than others. As the May graduating class will soon be entering the workforce I felt it was an appropriate time to bring this topic up.

What constitutes lying on a resume?

Will your nose grow while writing your resume?

Will your nose grow while writing your resume?

Lying on a resume can come in many forms and all end with the same result of the liar being out of a job or never hired in the first place. This makes sense because lying on a resume is illegal. The person who lied on their resume will have a hard time finding another job as the reputation of being a liar will precede the applicant for years to come. Lie intensity ranges from making up fake responsibilities and dates of employment to more outrageous lies including fake degrees, made up colleges, and positions that were never held.

The Society of Human Resource Managers offers information about some high profile and extreme lies that applicants have told.

• A former admissions dean at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology lied about credentials.
• A Notre Dame Football coach lied about his academic and athletic background.
• A chef on the Food Network’s “Dinner: Impossible” lied about cooking for the British Royal family.

These lies are out of the ordinary and most people don’t take it that far. So who lies the most on resumes? The results that I found on CareerBuilder.com were not what I expected at all. I expected people who have the reputation of being propagandists and fabricators to have a higher percentage of lies on their resumes. It turns out I picked a field with high ethical standards, yes I am talking about the public relations industry, which by the way didn’t make it in the top three. People in the hospitability industry lie most frequently on resumes followed by the transportation industry and the information technology industry. Surprise, surprise, the people who lie the least on resumes are those who want government jobs. They must figure the government does a more extensive background check than other professions.

La Bocca della Verita "the mouth of truth"

Will your hand get bitten off by the "mouth of truth?"

Background checks

Do potential employers really look at applicant’s background information? The answer of course is yes! There is a whole slew of legal information on the topic including questions that potential employers can and can’t ask.

The act that regulates background checks is the Fair Credit Report Act which was prepared by the FTC (federal trade commission).

Included within this report are rules and regulations about the amount of information potential employers are allowed to access. Limitations include medical records, and some credit reports. Criminal records and anything else that is considered a public record is allowed to be searched.

How to enhance a resume

How do you make your resume stand out without lying on it?  Word selection is important as well as parallel construction. Use action verbs and strong adjectives to describe exactly what you have been doing in previous jobs.


Tailor the cover letter and the resume to fit the job you are applying for too. Highlight different features for different jobs. If a job requires extensive knowledge of a certain program and you have it, highlight that and spend less time talking about your excellent writing skills. Be sure to mention other skills in the cover letter and later in the interview.

Use your space wisely. Make sure everything looks clean and is easy to read. Also check the company’s Web site to see if they have any specific resume requests before you format your resume. There are many different ways to write a resume. The best advice I ever got was to find a resume I liked and emulate it and my advice is the same. Do a lot of research on the job you want before you apply. Good luck and happy resume writing!

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and how it affects college students

President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the new economic stimulus package) into law on February 17, 2009.  ‘The act’ as the U.S Department of Education calls it, will have a major impact on the way the education system is funded.  With billions of dollars being spent this year and in subsequent years how will this new law affect students?
 
Nearly $77 billion dollars will go directly to fund education initiatives with around $30.8 billion  going to ensure college affordability.  This portion of the package allows for the maximum Pell Grant limit to be raised by $500 allowing students to potentially receive up to $5,350 in the form of the grant. To fund this increase $17 billion will be used to close the monetary shortfall in the Pell Grant program from previous years.  The shortfall was caused by the downturn in the economy, and an increase in applicants who are applying for financial aid.  According to a New York Times article published September 17, 2008 by Sam Dillion and Tamar Lewin,

 

“In the first six months of 2008, almost nine million students nationwide completed the federal aid application required for federal grants and loans, a 16 percent increase over last year.”

 

 

 

School requires extenive hours of studying, no time to worry about moeny.

School requires extenive hours of studying, no time to worry about moeny.

With more students applying for aid to better your chances of receiving any money, be it in the form of grants or loans, it is a good idea to apply early.  The deadline to apply for federal aid this year is June 30th.

 

To apply for federal financial aid you must complete the FASFA  (free application for federal student aid) and the SARS report (student aid report).  All of this information will be used to determine eligibility for aid.

 

Another form of aid available to students and parents who claim students as dependents are tax credits.  A tax credit reduces the amount of taxes a person actually pays it does not reduce the overall amount of money that will be taxed.  The Hope credit can be used for students who are in their first two years of college and another tax credit called the Lifetime Learning Credit can be used by students who complete more than two years of schooling.  The IRS provides a simple chart that can explain who is eligible for the credit and who is not. 

 

 

While campaigning and in his current agenda, Obama promotes the American Opportunity tax credit.  This credit would provide a one-time $4,000 tax credit at the time of college enrollment.  In return for the tax credit 100 hours of community service would need to be preformed.  How those 100 hours would be monitored is not clear.  The AOTC would replace the Hope and Lifetime Learning credits.

A short video on financial aid is available from CNN.

 

So how does all of this affect communications students?   Financial aid and government assistance are all determined on ‘need’ a number of other factors but the job market for the communications industry is going strong.  An article from the Bureau of Labor statistics points out that

 

“Employment of public relations specialists is expected to grow by 18 percent from 2006 to 2016, faster than average for all occupations. The need for good public relations in an increasingly competitive business environment should spur demand for these workers in organizations of all types and sizes. Those with additional language capabilities also are in great demand.”

 

The site also gives salary information noting that the median income is around $47,350.  Obviously income and job growth should be looked into when selecting a major and a school.  Listed are a few quality schools for public relations.

 

  • Kent State University (sorry all, had to go first as this is where I am learning about the industry.)  The real list (information found on education-portal.com) starts now.

 

  • Bradley University
  • Clarke College
  • Emerson College

 

Each school offers different benefits and programs devoted to the study of the public relations field.  I’m sure each school also offers different ways to fund the education.  Be sure to take funding and location into account before jumping into college.  Blind spending is one of the reasons we got into this economic mess.