Hawk Communications started off as an idea and eventually evolved into a student-run, full-service public relations (PR) firm that offers services ranging from PR to production to advertising.
The first ever on-campus PR agency aims to give students real-world experience while working with faculty advisers from different industries to show the students new skills that can be integrated with PR.
“…PR has evolved radically.,” content brand and journalism adviser said. “Now, it may include a release, but in this digital age, there are more tools at the PR practitioner’s disposal. Telling a compelling story and using tools of interviewing, compelling writing and narrative is essential in promoting an organization and a company. We are all bombarded by images coming at us all day long; effective PR cuts through the noise.”
— Yi Luo, Ph.D (@Professor_Luo) February 2, 2018
As of right now the agency has no specialty and is in the learning and developing stages.
“The important thing is for students to get the experience in an agency setting before we decide what we specialize in,” said Larry Weiner, School of Communication and Media’s PR coordinator, faculty adviser for the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and now a Hawk Communications adviser. “We’re too young for that.”
The communications agency has four clients so far: The Radio Repertory Company of America, Sherpa Learning, Montclair Art Museum and The Film Institute at Montclair State.
Students go through an interview process to see where they would fit in the agency. The most responsible students deal with clients directly.
“If a client needs a press release, he will be assigned to somebody in the copy writing team, or if they need to find out what publications are in a particular town, then that would be assigned to the media research group,” Wiener said.
Junior PR major Gabriella Barbato said that Hawk Communications resembles an on-campus internship, making it easier and less intimidating for students who are looking to gain experience in their field.
These bright @montclairstateu students are the next generation of strategic communications pros. They bring to the industry an innate sense of message and voice. Congratulations on the launch of student-run Hawk Communications. I see some promising careers ahead!@PRSSANational https://t.co/aCKgJWEuL8
— Erika Bleiberg (@erikableiberg) February 2, 2018
Wiener said that the idea of a student-run PR firm moved quicker with a push from Keith Strudler, director of the School of Communication and Media at the university.
“Back when I was in school, extracurriculars were more simple and you either did the radio or the newspaper, so PR was something we had heard of but we did not really know much about it,” Strudler said. “It was maybe the people that would pitch to us newspaper and radio folks. They were the people in the back of the room.”
Strudler also said that the world of PR has changed since he was in college.
“[Public relations] became the way to communicate with your public using all the same tools as radio, TV and newspapers,” Strudler said. “They use deep analytic and multimedia messaging reaching countless different publics.”
Senior PR major Sabrina Araullo is the PRSSA president and Hawk Communications firm director. Araullo was a big driving force for bringing Hawk Communications to life.
“To all the students who want to work in Hawk Communications, it takes a lot of work, a lot of passion and a lot of heart to be doing what we are doing because this isn’t just another class to take,” Araullo said. “It isn’t just another club to join. It is a true student-run public relations agency that works with clients both internal and external.”