In the entertainment industry, the difference between a good and bad reputation can mean the difference between a million dollars and going broke. Public relation specialists dedicate their careers to maintain public images for the companies they represent.
The Media Arts Department begins its Speaker Series Thursday, Sept. 14 with Pam Golum, the president of West Coast Entertainment: The Lippin Group.
Golum has managed some of the firm’s most prestigious accounts, including the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Dick Wolf’s Law & Order franchise, Jaclyn Smith’s JSI, Disney Channel projects —which include High School Musical and Hannah Montana—and the Monte Carlo Television Festival.
“The thing about PR is there is no typical work day because everyday is different,” Golum said. “You can spend the day writing, pitching, trying to get new business, meeting clients or on set covering interviews.”
Golum is a member of the Publicists Guild of America and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and has served two terms as vice chairman of the Television Publicity Executive Committee (TPEC), which is comprised of the top public relations professionals at studios, networks, production companies and public relations firms.
The ASO-sponsored event will take place in the Great Hall at 7 p.m., and is free and open to students, staff, faculty and the general public. Food and drinks will be provided free of cost.
The Speaker Series is a once-a-month event, hosted throughout the fall and spring semesters, where experts and professional journalists, publicists, and photographers in the media arts industry come and speak about their experiences and give students advice on how to break into and maintain a career in their respective industries.
Golum said analytical thinking, common sense and the ability to multitask are the skills most valuable for students thinking of a career in public relations.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to come and hear from people who might be doing what they hope to do in the industry,” said Tracie Savage, an assistant professor of journalism. “They’re getting first-hand knowledge about the pros and cons of this profession.”
Media Arts Department faculty choose the speaker for each month based on what a potential guest can offer students who want information and knowledge about a career in media arts.
Stacy Long, the only public relations professor on campus, explained that students can also recommend someone they think is interesting, worthwhile or valuable.
“It’s one thing when a teacher stands up there and tells you something, but it’s another thing when a professional stands up there and gives their professional expertise and perspective and answers your questions,” Long said.
Speakers usually talk for an average of 90 minutes and then are followed by a short question-and-answer segment, where students are encouraged to ask their own questions.
“Students never really get access to someone who will just answer your questions because you asked it,” Long said. “Usually, they would have to call and set up a meeting. Having someone on campus like this is just amazing. It’s really educational.”
Speakers in the series have provided students with contact information, internships and other job opportunities in their respective industries.
“She’s been so integral in starting off young people’s careers,” Long said. “Pam’s a rockstar; you can quote me on that.”