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PR Interview

For the PRCA 2330 interview assignment, I was able to speak to Mr. Michael Barker with GE Infra, Energy. I compiled a list of questions that I thought would be beneficial in my studies as a hopeful PR practitioner. He had great insight in his answers, and I can’t wait to share them.

 

Q: What has been your best project? and Which one have you been most
proud of?

A: One of my favorite (and most challenging) projects took place just
last year when I coordinated a media and customer event in Dammam, Saudi
Arabia
, announcing a new GE facility. I had to work in a completely
different culture and with local customs and security measures to plan
the event. Any fear or apprehension I had going into the event about the
country was quickly put aside by the warm and generous people and cool
things we had at the event (camels! Tents in the desert!). 

Q: Which project have did you find most challenging? 

A: See above

Q: What do you wish you knew when you graduated college before going
into your field?

A: I wish I took more business classes – to understand the financial
aspects and decision making of a company. You end up having to write
summaries for issues and events – such as annual reports, quarterly
earnings, shareholders meetings – and it’s so much easier to do that if
you understand the language of finance. 

Q: How important is written communication in your job?

A: It is in the top 3 in priority! If I’m not writing – press releases,
talking points or media briefs – I’m editing someone else’s writing.
What we do is seen by the media, top executives and the rest of the
world – so it has to be well written. 

Q: Does your company look up candidates online before an interview?

A: Do you mean reporters? Absolutely. There are a few search engines we
use to find biographical information and recent articles by the
reporter. Here is an example of one:
http://labs.daylife.com/journalist/charles_sheehan?js=1. This helps us
to prepare – by seeing what kind of a reporter they are (creative,
tough, detailed, etc.) and if we have anything in common with the
reporter (a great way to build a relationship!).

Q: What is the strangest thing you have done for your job?

A: When 9/11 happened, I had a reporter visiting from London.
Unfortunately, since all the flights were grounded and the hotels
quickly filled up, he could not get home and had no place to stay. So,
he had to stay with me for a week. I hardly knew him – so that was a
little strange!