An Unfortunate Mixup

As a PR professional it is important to fact check stories and graphics before publication. In the entertainment industry, it is common for tabloids to publish fake stories, but for major publication’s, release false information can be damaging to the celebrity and publication’s reputation.

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Total Beauty’s Tweet on Feb. 28, 2016. Source: CNN article covering this new story; cnn.com

At the 2016 Oscars, Total Beauty was tweeting celebrities’ dresses from the Red Carpet. They tweeted a picture of Whoopi Goldberg and called her Oprah. People immediately reacted and the tweet was taken down within a few minutes. Numerous news sources including CNN covered this story: Total Beauty Mishap

 

So Why is this a Problem?

Well for starters, Total Beauty should not have tweeted a celebrity without knowing her name. But also, this is a racial issue because whoever was tweeting thought the two women looked alike. Many twitter follows called the publication racist.

 

Total Beauty’s Response

Total Beauty issued an apology through Twitter saying, “We’d like to apologize to Oprah and Whoopi, as well as everyone we’ve offended. It was our error, and there are no excuses. We’re sorry.”

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Total Beauty’s Apology. Source: Total Beauty’s Twitter Page

Then, they followed up by saying they would donate $10,000 to Oprah and Whoopi’s respective charities.

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Total Beauty’s Tweet following the Apology. Source: Total Beauty’s Twitter Page

 

Whoopi and Oprah’s Responses

Luckily for Total Beauty, Oprah and Whoopi both brushed this mix up off as a joke. Oprah poked fun at the publication on Instagram. Whereas, Whoopi said it was a mistake. “I feel pretty good if you’re comparing me to Oprah. Saying I look like Oprah, that’s not a bad thing,” Whoopi said on The View the following morning.

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Oprah’s joke about Total Beauty’s Tweet. Source: Gayle King’s Instagram

What I have learned from this

It is fair to say that I will make mistakes a professional, but it is easy to avoid mistakes like this one if I fact check and make sure I’m 100% certain my story or post is correct. Part of my Editor’s Credo says, “I promise to look at the content and accuracy of the information and quotes of my stories.” By following this, I will avoid major problems.

However, should I make a mistake like Total Beauty’s tweet, I need to take full responsibility and apologize right away. Although Total Beauty received some backlash, it was not nearly as harsh as it could have been. I think both celebrities brushed it off because of the apology and the donation.

 

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Finding my Niche

On Tuesday night I attended the 9th Annual Grunig Gala on campus. I was excited to attend the event to network with PR professionals, but also to dress up. It’s crazy how much I miss dressing up for work. Over the summer, I had to dress in business casual for my internship with Grand Communications in New York.

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Picture taken at the Grunig Gala by Katie Perry on Snapchat

The event started with roundtable discussions. Prior to the event, I looked up some of the companies that were going to be there and did a little research. One of my biggest problems about my future is that I do not know which industry of public relations I want to be in. At this event I bounced around to a few different industries. I spoke with representatives from Lockheed Martin, Hilton, Johns Hopkins and Ad Source.

 

All the representatives gave me great advice about starting out in public relations, but Kathy Smith gave me some of the best advice. She told me we all need to find our niches and the best way to do that is by trying different things between now and graduation. She emphasized that I should be open-minded and welcome new opportunities, even if they aren’t located in a city I may want to end like in. Lastly, she said I should embrace challenge. I shouldn’t turn down an opportunity if I don’t think we are qualified enough; always try it and ask a lot of questions.

Another great part of the gala was the keynote speaker, Katie Paine. She is extremely successful in Public Relations and is known as the Measurement Queen. She started out on the point how social media has played a major role in public relations, but prior to
technology there was still a form of social media.
She then went on to explain how to be success on social media as a company. The biggest take away was that businesses should not sell products on social media, but rather make relationships and entertain followers.
She emphasized that good relationships must be earned and are not guaranteed.

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Picture of Katie Paine taken by Katie Perry

 

I then mingled with some of the professionals, as well as other students. I made some great connections from this event and I have more confidence that I will find my niche and get a job I love.

 

 

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