Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

JMS Senior Capstone Course Earns National Coverage

JMS 585 students complete first-ever PR campaigns and receive recognition nationally

JMS Senior Capstone Course Earns National Coverage

Shane Gibson photo

April 10, 2019

By Amy Truesdale

April 10, 2019

SDSU Public Relations majors in the senior capstone campaigns course, JMS 585 Professional Practices in PR, earned important media coverage for their clients this year. Dr. Kaye Sweetser, professor in the School of Journalism and Media Studies, believes the best way for young practitioners to put together the theories and skills learned in the JMS program is through application with real-world clients. In JMS 585, the students completed their first-ever campaigns through an agency-model in which they research, plan, implement and evaluate a campaign for a client. Using nonprofits as campaign clients allows the students to begin their careers as stewards to the community and to expand their skillsets.

Below are descriptions of the nonprofit clients, their campaign goals, and resulting media coverage.

Client: Wildcoast

Campaign: Raise national-level awareness of the transborder sewage issue (client cared more about raising the issue than their name)

Coverage in Bloomberg

About this coverage: Students in Dr. Sweetser’s spring 2019 JMS 585 Professional Practices in PR class held a media roundtable for their capstone campaign client in March, attracting national media. A resulting story appeared in Bloomberg, an international media organization based in New York. The coverage discussed the transborder sewage crisis impacting San Diego beaches as a public health, safety and national security issue. This is the first time JMS 585 students earned national-level media coverage on behalf of a client as a part of the capstone course.

Client: C4 Foundation

Campaign: promote the newly acquired C4 Ranch to SEAL families

Coverage in Coronado Times

About this coverage: As a part of their JMS 585 Professional Practices in PR experience, students in Dr. Sweetser’s spring 2019 course supported the San Diego-based nonprofit the C4 Foundation. The charity, named after US Navy SEAL Chief Charlie Keating IV who was killed in action, focuses on strengthening family bonds of those serving in the elite special forces through special programs before, during and after deployment. The PR team held Operation Ohana at the newly-purchased C4 Ranch, hosting SEAL families for an afternoon of aloha-themed fun for the entire family. Given that the majority of SEAL families live and work in the Coronado area, the PR team targeted their media relations efforts on the hyper-local publication the Coronado Times. The PR team escorted a reporter during Operation Ohana at the ranch and set up interviews with foundation advisors to get the word out to the larger SEAL community.

Client: Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve

Campaign: promote how the public can legally access the reserve (permit only)

Coverage in:

Valley News

The Press Enterprise

Center for Regional Sustainability Newsletter

KUSI 6 p.m. Saturday news segment (no link).

About this coverage: Working with the Sage Project at SDSU, students in Dr. Sweetser’s spring 2019 JMS 585 Professional Practices in PR capstone class promoted the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve this semester. The students created the SMER Spring Splash campaign, working to promote how the public can safely and legally access the reserve. The cornerstone of the event was a guided hike to the Santa Margarita River, which is southern California’s last free-flowing river. Students successfully pitched local media and received coverage on KUSI and in local newspapers, in additional to internal SDSU coverage highlighting the students’ involvement in the SMER’s community outreach efforts. The Sage Project is a program within the Center for Regional Sustainability at San Diego State University whose simple goal is sustainable learning through community-based projects. Under the Sage Project umbrella, classes around campus participate in community-based service learning projects. Dr. Sweetser’s students worked with Sage in previous semesters for other classes and this is the program’s first time working with Sage for a capstone client where students implement their public relations campaign for the client.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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