All posts by Rachel Kerstetter

Welcome to PRagmatic: Chronicles of the Greater Cleveland PR Community


By Brittany Thompson, PRSA Cleveland Publicity Chair

The definition of pragmatic is to deal with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations. That definition appears when you google the term, as does “matter of fact,” “sensible” and “businesslike.”

And all of these synonyms can be used to describe PR professionals. They do more than just garner free publicity for clients or spin crises into wins. PR Professionals are storytellers, content drivers, media enthusiasts, social media navigators, and conversation starters. They are pragmatic business professionals tasked with driving brands (internal or external) and building revenue for corporations and clients alike.

“PRagmatic: Chronicles of the Greater Cleveland PR Community” is a creative hub and resource for PR practitioners to gather, share best practices, industry insight, and more. We’ll tap into the evolution of the field of public relations with the latest relevant content, sharing stories on how top Cleveland PR pros from legends to newbies are tackling and conquering the industry. Topics will range from paid media, corporate PR & culture, social media, campaigning, vertical PR, and more.

If you’re interested in being an official blog contributor, please contact Brittany Thompson. You’ll be required to submit a quarterly piece on a topic of your choosing (or you can pick from our calendar).

Or if you’re interested in sponsoring a blog post, contact Bob Rotatori for sponsorship opportunities.

Welcome to PRagmatic! We look forward to seeing you every Friday.

Brittany M. Thompson is a Business Wire Account Executive, short story writer and PRSA Cleveland Board member. You can follow her @uptownbrittany.

PRSA Cleveland Announces 2017 Student of the Year Award Winner


Cleveland, Ohio – April 4, 2017 – The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Greater Cleveland Chapter is proud to announce that Latisha Ellison has been named the Chapter’s 2017 Student of the Year. The annual award honors one outstanding marketing and communications college student from the Greater Cleveland area. As the 2017 SOTY winner, Ms. Ellison has earned a $2,500 scholarship.

“Many talented students competed this year, but Latisha was the best of the best,” said Lorraine Schuchart, president of PRSA Greater Cleveland.

As a junior public relations student in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Kent State University, Ellison has been honored as a dean list receipt in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Ellison is also a Marcus Thomas Promising Scholar and an active member of the Public Relations Student Society of America, Kent Chapter. She is currently the YouToo Social Media Conference Chairperson.

In addition to exceling at her studies and participating in PRSSA Kent, she’s currently a public relations intern at Flash Communications in Kent, Ohio. Prior to her internship at Flash Communications, Ms. Ellison was a student assistant at the School of Library and Information Science and a College of Communication & Information Beat Reporter for The Kent Stater.

“Latisha is a standout student in the public relations program in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State,” said Michele E. Ewing, APR, Fellow PRSA, associate professor of public relations at Kent State University. “She excels inside and outside the classroom. Faculty, staff and students enjoy working with Latisha because she’s a thoughtful leader with a can-do attitude and contagious positive energy.”

Ellison is from Butler, PA and will be interning in Cleveland this summer.

“I am extremely honored and surprised to have received this award from PRSA Cleveland. I’ve been working with the PRSSA Kent Chapter since freshman year and I’m passionate about this industry.” said Ellison

In addition to her scholarship, Ellison will have the opportunity to interview with local Cleveland area businesses for a potential internship including Great Lakes Science Center, Falls Communications, and Prosper for Purpose.

Latisha Ellison




By Matthew Cummings, assistant director of online programs for West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media

“At the end of the day, it’s all about ROI.”

Our time and money are simply too valuable to invest in opportunities that do not provide a positive return — whether it’s a business deal, a client relationship or hiring decision.

At the WVU Reed College of Media, we believe a student’s decision to pursue an online master’s degree should be no different. The WVU IMC Master’s degree program is an award-winning, 33-credit program with more than 30 online courses. And it’s always evolving based on industry innovations and best practices.

At the center of the curriculum are core courses, which provide all students with a solid marketing communications foundation. The core is enhanced by a wide variety of specialty courses and more than 20 electives that allow students to focus on individual areas of interest. The degree can be completed online in as little as 18 months, and no residency is required.

As an administrator and instructor in West Virginia University’s Integrated Marketing Communications online graduate program, it is my job to help students achieve ROI on their master’s degrees — and I’m not only talking about the “soft” ROI many think of such as improved knowledge, skills and abilities.

To calculate quantifiable ROI, we regularly measure the direct impact our master’s degree is having on individuals through alumni and student success surveys. In our most recent survey conducted this fall, we learned that WVU IMC students highly value their education and that our program has offered a significant ROI:

  • 98% of respondents said they have or would recommend the program to a friend/colleague;
  • 88% believe that their IMC master’s degree directly led them to a better position and/or promotion;
  • 55% of all respondents had seen an income increase of more than 15%; and
  • 71% of respondents who graduated three or more years ago indicated that their income increased 15% or more and 50% of those report an increase of 25% or more.

In fact, we have partnered with the Public Relations Society of America and local chapters like the Greater Cleveland Chapter of PRSA because IMC meets an important PR industry need. PRSA members around the country have consistently identified IMC as one of the top five competencies public relations and communication professionals will need in the future, according to PRSA CEO Joe Truncale.

As you know, Mr. Truncale will be in Cleveland April 27 to discuss the changing demands on the profession, ethical issues and the importance of sharpening skill sets and competencies. WVU College of Media Assistant Dean Chad Mezera and I will be there too and we invite you to learn more about how an online IMC master’s degree can help prepare you and make a positive investment in your future.

We are proud of the fact that so many IMC students have been able to apply the skills they learned to move ahead professionally — and the industry tells us this need will continue to grow.

We look forward to meeting you!

Matthew Cummings teaches IMC 610, the WVU IMC graduate program’s introductory course.



PRSA Cleveland Welcomes PRSA National CEO Joe Truncale for a “State of the Industry” Outlook


April 4, 2017 – Cleveland, Ohio – The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Greater Cleveland Chapter is proud to welcome PRSA National CEO Joe Truncale to the city. The two-day event will feature a PRSA networking event at Progressive Field on April 26 and a “State of the Industry” breakfast on April 27.

“We are honored to welcome Joe to Cleveland,” said Lorraine Schuchart, president of PRSA Greater Cleveland. “We are excited to hear his perspective on our profession, and welcome him back to our city in traditional Cleveland fashion, with a ball game and food.”

The networking event begins April 26 at 5 p.m. in the Press Room, and attendees are encouraged to arrive on time for a casual conversation and meet and greet with Truncale. Afterward, attendees who have purchased game tickets will move to the Club Lounge Seats to watch the Indians take on the Houston Astros.

Local public relations professionals and students are invited the next morning for a “State of the Industry” breakfast with Truncale. During the April 27 breakfast, Truncale will provide commentary on the changing demands on the profession, ethical issues and the importance of sharpening skill sets and competencies.

“My comments will focus on what I call ‘The Portfolio Professional’ and how commitment to continuous learning contributes to and even correlates with enduring career success,” he said. “I’ve been to Cleveland many times, including to two Browns/Giants games – the Giants won both – and I recall buying shirts at Higbee’s Department Store! I look forward to this return visit to catch a Tribe game and to hear about the efforts of the Cleveland and Akron PRSA chapters.”

The “State of the Industry” breakfast is sponsored by West Virginia University’s online Integrated Marketing Communications master’s degree program. Chad Mezera, assistant dean of online programs, will be present to discuss the program and the upcoming INTEGRATE Conference.

Tickets can be purchased at For more information, go to

About PRSA National:

Chartered in 1947, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the world’s largest and foremost organization of public relations professionals with more than 22,000 public relations and communications professionals, in addition to more than 10,000 university and college students through the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). PRSA provides professional development, sets standards of excellence and upholds principles of ethics for its members. We also advocate for greater understanding and adoption of public relations services, and act as one of the industry’s leading voices on pivotal business and professional issues.

About PRSA Cleveland:

The PRSA Greater Cleveland Chapter is the professional organization that brings together public relations, communications and marketing practitioners throughout Northeast Ohio serving nearly 300 members.

West Virginia University’s Online Integrated Marketing Communications Master’s Degree Program:

The Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program at West Virginia University is the first online master’s program in IMC in the country. With more than 20 electives to choose from, the IMC graduate program is customizable, allowing you to take control of your graduate experience and meet your specific career goals. The program is renowned for its flexibility and offered completely online so you can build your skill set with master’s degree or professional certificate in this fast-growing field from anywhere in the world.

Media Contact:

Brittany M. Thompson