12 Days of PR Bliss: What has uOPRA done for YOU?

Written by: Sharon Cheung

We hope that you have enjoyed our 12 Days of PR Bliss. Your bloggers have taken great  pleasure in bringing you diverse topics as well as new perspectives on the profession. A few weeks ago we sat down and discussed what uOPRA embodies, ideas of community and skill building, a genuine resource for young professionals, and networking opportunities surfaced. In the spirit of the Christmas holiday, we would like to share with you what a student association such as uOPRA has done for some of our members:

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12 Days of PR Bliss: Do You Have What it Takes to Be a PR Pro?

Written by: Amber Gillan

So, you want to be a Public Relations Professional? You have sat through the lectures, written exams, spoken to professionals in the field, and now find yourself wondering if you have what it takes to excel. Public Relations is one of the unique professions that does not have a definite job description. Your employer’s expectations will vary based on the industry and organization that you work in – but do not worry, the folks at UOPRA have you covered. We have selected the top five essential skills and personality types that every PR job requires. Own these skills and you will be well on your way to a successful career in the PR world.

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The Music Industry – Any Hope Left? Leave it to Cyber PR

Written by: Bryant McNamara
Edited by: Raechel Allen

The company I’ve decided to write about is called CyberPR. They’re the embodiment of what so many music PR companies are striving toward; a niche purpose for a global audience. Led by Ariel Hyatt, their main goal “focuses on mastering the skill of social media promotion”.[1] They extend their talents to the main audience of bands and musicians; however, are not exclusively linked to these clients. With an impressive repertoire of skills and advantages that CyberPR can offer, they also come with an eye-catching list of pleased clients. These clients are big players in the music industry; among the list is Derek Sivers, the CEO of CD Baby, as well as Lou Plaia, the Founder of Reverbnation. The firm, based out of New York, is the beaming example of leadership that I will use as an example of why I love PR. Continue reading

12 Days of PR Bliss: Shopi-fantastic

Written by: Hayley Robateau


Not too long ago, I saw a young man walking downtown with a t-shirt that said, “I don’t work at Shopify… yet.” I chuckled at its simplicity, and asked the man if he got the job. He said no, but he wasn’t going to rule anything out, and the shirt was also too nice not to wear. This unassuming t-shirt is an example of how Shopify cares for its people; even if they aren’t guaranteed employees, they’re guaranteed a free t-shirt from their hiring parties and a good reputation.

Shopify is a privately owned Ottawa-based company that gives online stores an easy-to-use platform to sell their goods.  It has a serious resume of business innovation, as well as employee and customer satisfaction. If you don’t know about them, here are some quick reasons why you should:

  • Shopify powers over 65,000 online stores globally;
  • Over $2 billion dollars in sales have been made through these stores;
  • It is the 3rd fastest growing company in Canada (as of November 13th, 2013);
  • It employs a skilled team of 275 employees in Ottawa;
  • Its employment strategy involves cocktail parties and homemade video submissions; and
  • Shopify’s office has a slide between its floors.

Yes, mentioning the slide was necessary.

I got some insider information on one of the world’s fastest-growing ecommerce platforms from Mark Hayes, who is the head of Public Relations and Communications at Shopify and also a writer with a pretty impressive resume.

Has Shopify been involved in any philanthropic efforts within the community? 

Shopify donated $100,000 to the Accumen, a global non-profit that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of poverty. Its aim is to help build financially sustainable organizations that deliver affordable goods and services that improve the lives of the poor. Shopify also participates in Movember and we hold many technology and startup related events in our office to foster community development, networking and recruitment. We also actively participate in events that help to encourage software development and coding in specific demographics like children and women.

 Tell me about the life story of Shopify. How has it grown from its inception to now? 

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12 Days of PR Bliss: How to Be a PR Playmaker in the Sports Industry

Written by: Shannon Murphy
Edited by: Raechel Allen

sports article

Public relations play a critical role in an industry as substantial as professional sports. The two-way stream of communication between the audience and the multiple levels of production are vital in creating a unique atmosphere that only sports can provide. Through history, public relations arose in the sports industry out of a necessity to connect residents to their respective regional team (we often see this in the Olympics). Today, public relation is distinguished from marketing and advertising by conveying a specific message or image FROM the team TO the fans. Five of the most recognized sports leagues in North America include: the National Hockey League, National Basketball Association, Canadian Football League, Major League Baseball, and Major League Soccer. These five areas of professional sports collectively generate hundreds of teams, thousands of jobs, and billions of dollars in revenue. Continue reading

12 Days of PR Bliss: Missing A Target Opportunity

Written by: Tommy Nguyen

Edited by: Nani Moleko

How the American retail giant failed to gain proper footing into markets north of the border from a public relations point of view.

Target Canada experienced an abysmal first year of operation since opening 124 stores across Canada in 2013. The American-based retail corporation failed to recognize the consumer habits of its neighbours to the north and a lack of brand identity failing to capture the public’s attention. With an appalling 47 per cent loss of revenue in Canada thus far, Target Canada will need a complete image overhaul. Continue reading

Maclean’s Magazine: A Leader in Canadian Affairs

Written by: Jocelyn Lubczuk
Edited by: Raechel Allen and Nani Moleko


             Maclean’s is Canada’s only current-affairs national news source that publishes magazines on a weekly basis.  It reports on a number of different topics, ranging from domestic to global affairs, culture, business, travel, technology, opinion and health, to just name a few. Its parent company is Rogers Communications, and its sister sites include companies such as: Canadian Business, PROFIT, MoneySense, L’actualitie and CityNews. Of the seven senior writers, only one is a woman—this potentially creating a male dominated viewpoint and bias. However, a mainly female editorial board run under Mark Stevenson may counter this bias. Maclean’s is a neutral news source, which covers both conservative and liberal viewpoints equally. It is worth noting that Maclean’s has had a few controversial and negative news pieces written about the Quebec province .

Maclean’s was started in 1905 when John Bayne Maclean bought-out and acquired a small news digest called The Business Magazine. He saw this digest magazine as being predominantly American oriented as the content was written by American writers. He saw the need to convert this into a unique Canadian perspective, and thus, Maclean’s was born. Its mission was to spread Canadian values, and inspire the Canadian reader.

Maclean’s is best known for its comprehensive lists that it compiles. It creates magazines and books solely dedicated to areas of interest for its readers. Topics have included “Canada’s Best Employers”, “Best Places to Live in Canada” or its highly valued list of Canadian University Rankings. I remember when I was looking into universities; I used Maclean’s University rankings as a point of reference. This showed me which universities to avoid, and which to apply to. This highly coveted list analyzes all areas of university from dorms, class sizes to the meal plan program.

On the Maclean’s website, it has strategically placed an “On-Campus” tab, which encourages the university student to visit and take notice. It also posts about university student-related stories, which acts as a strategic method to tap into this demographic. Maclean’s is successful in the student market since its viewpoints are fresh and provide interesting opinions for which PR students need to take note of. As university students, we need to keep an open and critical eye on media. Maclean’s provides the perfect platform for this, as it provides a uniquely Canadian perspective on issues that matter to us. In fact, Maclean’s is a platform to learn about PR in action. I searched PR within the magazine’s search bar, and many relevant PR articles were displayed, including the recent Justin Trudeau #AskJustin PR campaign on Twitter.  Take advantage of this learning tool!

The company uses a one-way communication reporting style through the magazine, but a two-way asymmetrical communication for its articles posted online. Through the comment section below the articles, readers are given the chance to share their viewpoints and counter the article published. This allows liberation for the readers’ thoughts, while providing a single feedback loop. Maclean’s does not refute these comments as it is strictly for the readers to share their viewpoint. In the magazine’s editorial section, printed comments are strategically chosen to position around the argument, while many of the written comments are discarded and never printed. There is a bias to which comments get printed, and to which get trashed. PR students need to be aware that it has been found that up to 70% of news is PR driven content, according to The Daily Telegraph. This is important to keep in mind as a PR student because it reminds us to keep a critical eye on news and media, as framing may be involved when a story is published. This is why, as students it is imperative to stay up to date with current affairs and avid newsreaders. Content in news-sources is highly PR related, and analyzing these sources can aide in our leaning.

Take some time today to get to know Maclean’s magazine. As a PR student, we know the importance of being well informed in global and domestic affairs. We need to know where our organization is situated in the business and global environment. Why not start right now, and get ahead of the crowd. Understanding more about the world will only help us in the future.

Other noteworthy sources of news content for students include:


The Globe and Mail

The National Post

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