PR Disaster Brings Teaching Opportunity


Governor Mark Sanford went to Argentina and brought me back a teaching opportunity. While there is no joy in the Sanford family’s public embarrassment, there is much to be learned from the still unfolding story.


I’ve been teaching a summer course in reporting to a class of both journalism and public relations students. It’s a good mix, because each needs to understand the other’s role. The public relations disaster is Sanford’s own creation. His spokesman and staff appear to have been out of the loop while the governor was out of the country.


Sanford has been using the media for a very public catharsis, incrementally breaking news day after day. Good journalists, including our alumna Gina Smith (see below), keep asking, and the governor keeps obliging. 


Alas, I’ve seen this before. So has the governor, who was a congressman when President Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about his Oval Office indiscretions.  


Clinton’s special counsel Lanny Davis captured the essence of crisis communications for meandering, philandering politicians: Tell it early. Tell it all. Tell it yourself. 


Politicians tend to forget that lesson, or so it would seem, given the number of recent disclosures. Good PR practitioners, as I hope our students will be, would tell their clients to bare all—so to speak—and move on.


Good journalists, as I’m sure our students will be, would ask, “Is there anything more?”





College News


Cocky’s Reading Express™ Receives Grant



The Central Carolina Community Foundation (CCCF) chose Cocky’s Reading Express™ (CRE) as a recipient of a community impact grant that will measure CRE’s impact on the reading scores of elementary school children in Fairfield and Lee counties.


The $10,000 grant was announced at the CCCF’s board meeting on June 15, 2009. Student government leaders, Cocky and CRE staff surprised the board with an appreciation visit.


Dr. Samantha Hastings, director of the School of Library and Information Science said, “Without the funds to run evaluation studies and follow through from year to year, we have no way of knowing the influence that Cocky’s Reading Express™ has on the reading levels of South Carolina’s Children. The financial support from the CCCF helps us show the impact that CRE has on our children. This brings us another step closer to meeting our mission to eliminate illiteracy in South Carolina.” 


Your support would be greatly appreciated, too, and would help extend our reach across South Carolina. Support Cocky’s Reading Express™ online at Select the button for the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies which will take you to a designated button for Cocky’s Reading Express™.



Also, check out this coverage about Cocky’s Reading Express™ now on ETV’s Big Picture Webisodes page:



Professor Zimmerman Elected to American Library Association’s Council



Nancy Zimmerman, an associate professor in the School of Library and Information Science, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of USC’s Graduate School, was elected as a Councilor-at-Large of the American Library Association to ALA Council.  The Council is the governing body of ALA charged with determining all policies of the Association. ALA is the nation’s oldest (founded 1876) and largest (approximately 70,000 members) membership organization dedicated to the future of libraries and the profession.


Alumni News


Library Alumna Chosen to Serve on Palin Advisory Council



Jane E. Fuerstena, MLIS ‘ 97, was reappointed by Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to serve on her state’s Advisory Council on Libraries. The council advises the Alaska State Library Administration on the federal Library Services and Technology Act plan for the state, and on the development and evaluation of library services throughout Alaska. Fuerstena has been a librarian and assistant professor of library science at the Kenai Peninsula College, a campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage since 2001, and she hopes to bring the perspective of an academic librarian to the council.


Click here to read more -



Alumna Lands First Interview with Traveling Governor




It was not coincidence that journalism alumna Gina Smith, MA ‘00, a reporter for The State, was at the Atlanta airport when Governor Mark Sanford arrived from his five-day trip to Argentina. Acting on a tip that the governor had not been hiking the Appalachian Trail, Smith broke the story that quickly revealed that the governor had strayed in more ways than one. 


Click here to read how Smith got the interview and how the governor explained his absence -



Alumnus Publishes First Book


Brett Friedlander, a 1980 journalism graduate, recently published his first book, “Chasing Moonlight: The True Story of Field of Dreams’ Doc Graham.” The book is a biography of Archibald “Moonlight” Graham, the loveable country doctor from the movie Field of Dreams. Graham played just one game in the major leagues without getting the chance to bat, but that’s not the story.




Friedlander will have his own big league “field of dreams”-- a book signing on August 23 at Washington Nationals Park during the Nationals game against the Milwaukee Brewers. Friedlander serves as the “ACC Insider” sports columnist for the Wilmington Star News. He covers Atlantic Coast Conference football and basketball.


Student News


Ad/PR Students Rush to Assist Local Fast Food Icon


Why don’t college students rush to Rush’s for their burgers, shakes and fries? The Columbia chain of quick service, family-oriented restaurants figured the best people to find the answer just might be college students with an appetite for media research.


Rush’s commissioned SJMC instructor Jeff Ranta and his JOUR 351 Campaigns class students to help the company communicate to college students and increase market share among them. Rush’s is a Columbia icon with eight stores in the area and offers a quick service menu including famous hamburgers, milk shakes, barbecue and fried chicken.


Students have been surveying Rush’s targeted consumers using focus groups and intercept interviews. The students are also surveying existing customers and Carolina students who work at Rush’s. The result will be a comprehensive media plan including research, media strategy, advertising and public relations tactics targeting college students. Some sampling has reportedly been involved in the process, the better to familiarize the campaigns students with the product.



InterCom on the Web




Our spring edition of InterCom is online at


We’d love to know what you think of our latest issue. Send your feedback to Elaine Taylor at If you have story ideas, we’d like those too!



    Homecoming -
    College Event Announced

    Friday, October 23
    Gamecocks on the Green
    4:30 – 7 p.m.

    Mark your calendar and plan to meet your fellow alumni and friends of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the School of Library and Information Science at our annual reception on Gibbes Green to celebrate Homecoming. We hope you’ll join us to catch up with former classmates, reconnect with professors and friends and enjoy some good food and drink.


    Please RSVP to Elaine Taylor at or

    803-777-7118. Stay tuned to for more details!


    To see the full schedule of University events for Homecoming weekend, visit

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