Belieb’ing in Repair

Our team chose to analyze Justin Bieber and how he immediately handled the communications issues that surrounded him whenever he chose to partake in poor ethical decision making. While Bieber had many poor decisions, we decided to focus on three incidents to further study those at a deeper level.

When we began our study we looked into past studies so that way we could have a framework and a brief understanding on PR studies of other celebrities. We looked at studies about Michael Phelps and other celebrities. From this we were able to tell that important and some of the most successful tactics were mortification to be able to repair a celebrity image. On top of this, we were able to see how the image of a celebrity before a crisis can affect how quickly or slowly an image can be repaired as well. Unsurprisingly, if a celebrity or brand has a great reputation and track record, one mistake can easily be fixed in comparison with a poor track record with lots of mistakes.

In our research, which is in total over 40 pages of materials not including our code sheets, we were able to analyze Justin Bieber and his team’s success or lack thereof of repairing his image after the following three scandals: urinating in a mop bucket and curing the name of President Bill Clinton, assaulting a limo driver and finally, getting arrested with a DUI charge. Each one of these events was detrimental to the reputation of Justin Bieber, whose brand image had been known for his innocent and charming young boy reputation. He was admired by young female fans, and these antics were a direct hit to his target demographic, fan base, and ultimately customers — the parents of these young female fans who hold the purse strings to which CD, concert ticket, and other items get purchased.

The research questions that we sought to answer were the following:
What image repair strategies did Justin Bieber use to respond to the negative public relations incidents that occurred during his scandals?
How effective were the image repair strategies that Justin Bieber used during these scandals?

After looking at media coverage, analyzing Bieber’s responses on social media, we were able to answer these questions. Overall, his strategies were not that impressive. He had no positive coverage that we could find surrounding these scandals or his responses to them. While the majority of the coverage was neutral, just detailing the facts, there was a good section that spoke of his scandal quite negatively, and many called him names. When Bieber did respond, he didn’t use mortification tactics and ultimately our team believes this was to his demise.

In comparison, when Bieber released his album, Purpose, he finally began using the mortification strategies and tactics, and that is when you can start to see his image repair truly begin. But while Bieber was not using these tactics, ultimately his reputation was slowly sinking and many were concerned that he would never be able to repair his worldwide brand and his career.

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Magazine & Feature Writing Portfolio

Event Story

More than a Foodie Maven

Gourmet doughnuts. Steak sliders. Turtle bread pudding. The third annual Texas Food Truck Showdown, hosted by the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, will be bringing a bit more flavor to the usual food truck scene in Waco. This year’s event will be on April 1 featuring 39 food trucks, live entertainment and more on Heritage Square in the heart of downtown.

While Wacoans might be acquainted with local favorite food truck vendors located along the Brazos River, of the 39 trucks, only eight are from the local area.

“We have trucks from all over… Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth, Abilene, Aransas Pass and throughout Central Texas,” said Amanda Haygood, Director of Sports and Special Events at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce.

Food trucks will present their signature dishes to celebrity judges starting at 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. when they are opened to the public.

Celebrity judges include Lilian Halabai, Owner of Lily’s Cakes in Harker Heights and Food Network Cake Wars winner; Mai Lyn Ngo, a Dallas food blogger; Doug Renfro, president of Renfro Foods; Mitch Siegert, Owner of Truman Chocolates; and Erica Waksmunski, owner of Red Star Southern food truck in Austin.

“The panel of celebrity judges [ultimately determine] the grand champion prize award winner and they will also be judging them on different category options: best dessert, best between the bun — things like that,” Haygood said.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the attendees determine the winner of People’s Choice award by using their Tasty Tickets to purchase the food truck’s signature dishes. These tickets are counted, and the food truck with the most tickets wins. Tasty Tickets can be purchased at $5 a piece and will only be accepted until 8 p.m. In years past, they’ve had voting online, but there were issues with people voting outside of the event.

“It’s a little skewed and not something we want for the competition,” Haygood said.

The Food Truck Showdown is more than a foodie maven, it features everything from a beer and wine garden to live music to Twiggy the Water Skiing squirrel, making the event for everyone.

Additionally, members of the media will be there including IHeartRadio and KWTX. Creative Waco will also be present in charge of some vendors and organizing the live entertainment portion of the event.

“Creative Waco does a piece like a artist market,” Haygood said. “So she brings in different local artists, but she brings in outside as well, selling all kinds of artwork and jewelry.… We’ve got T shirts we’ve got hats we’ve got jewelry there also. The humane society will be there with the option to adopt pets.”

While all these things were there last year, Haygood said they’ve made some tweaks to hopefully make the event run more smoothly and have added a couple extra features.

“We’re adding a petting zoo this year, and that’ll give everyone the opportunity to do something different,” Haygood said.

While the event is family-friendly, Haygood assures it’s not just for families.

“Last year we saw a lot of different people from all walks of life,” Haygood said. “We saw young kids and young families. And middle-aged families. We had single parents and… some couples in a walker. So, just very diverse, different nationalities — which is really cool.”

Last year there were about 25,000 tickets sold, and the Waco Chamber expects there to be more. With alcohol being served in a designated tent area and the larger crowd size, some may be concerned of rowdiness, but Haygood thinks otherwise.

“Given the mass amount,” Haygood said. “Given the crowd, you know, you would expect there to be some issues, but there wasn’t. Everything was really calm. It was a really neat vibe.”

To get to the event, public parking is available downtown. Of course, first come, first serve.

“But part of the fun part of this is trying to change the cultural thoughts in that downtown is growing, and it’s vibrant so we wanna bring that ‘ park and walk’ you know like as you would do in other cities’ downtown settings,” Haygood said. “So we encourage you to park a couple blocks out. There’s a lot of cool things to do along the way too, you know.”

While downtown Waco has always had a bit of foot traffic with a hometown feel, it’s starting to gain a bit of a cool-factor. Perhaps with events such as this, bringing in a bit more flavor and keeping people from “just driv[ing] down I-35 and pass[ing Waco] by”.

“People don’t know what Waco is,” Haygood said. “There’s also the history of Waco not being the greatest place from events and things that have happened over the years. Waco is kind of like a little jewel of its own. I think we are getting on the map with different things as Waco is changing, the perception is changing… We are striving to change perceptions of Waco and show people that Waco is a great place to be. It’s a great place to live. I enjoy being able to be a part of that.”

To learn more about the event visit, http://thetexasfoodtruckshowdown.com/


Feature Story Article

Anson Massey’s throat is sore and his face is sunburnt. He just came in from work at 6 p.m. and picked up KFC for dinner for his family. His wife hands him a cup of tea as he takes a seat at his kitchen table for our interview. He’s been going nonstop since this morning.

Though his throat is sore, after 25 years of working in radio, Anson Massey’s voice booms in his family’s home.

Massey is from Groesbeck, Texas — a small town of about 4,000 people — and there is where his love for radio and announcing began.

“It seems like forever ago. I was 16 years old living in a small town of Groesbeck,” Massey said. “Ever since I was 5 or 6 years old I wanted to be a Sports Center anchor or a sports announcer. I wanted to call the games, and I used to practice that at home with my own TV, and I did that all the way up until I was in high school.”

Through a “lucky” connection, Massey was able to get his first gig in radio. A close friend of Massey’s family knew the owner of the KYCX radio station up in Mexia, who was looking for a high school student to come in and train and learn.

“I remember getting out of school [every day] and driving 12 miles from Groesbeck to Mexia, stopping at the Exxon at the corner to get fried chicken, and I’m on the air by 4 and then going all the way until 6:30,” Massey said.

He played country music, voiced commercials, read the news and gave the weather report.

“It was nothing special, just learning how to talk on air,” Massey said. “High school football became my forte. I was a very good scoreboard show host.”

After graduating from college in 2000, he had another “lucky, blessed” connection by knowing someone who had taken a job at the Texas Longhorn’s radio network. Despite being apprehensive of the big city, Massey ended up taking a leap.

“My idol was Craig Wade who was working for the University of Texas [who] hosted a TV show called the High School Extra,” Massey said. “[He] did the play-by-play for the 4A and 5A state championships, and I wanted that job and — guess what — he heard my resume tape and said ‘Get this guy here right now’.”

Wade and Massey ended up doing a state-wide scoreboard show,  and Massey said that’s when he feels that his sports career really took off.

As Massey pauses the interview, his sons keep making laps around the little one-story house from their bedrooms to the kitchen table where we sit.

“Now I’m a father of four boys, and to be honest with you it’s very hard to make a good bit of money in radio unless you catch the right break. So I just like doing it on a part-time basis,” Massey said.

For those interested in pursuing that “right break,” Massey said that being versatile and teachable is key.

“One of the things that made me a household name in radio was being very versatile,” Massey said. “I can do sales. I can do sports. I can DJ any genre of music. I can do weather. I can do traffic. I can go up in the helicopter or the airplane. I can operate the video camera while I’m reporting live on air.”

Aside from being a local household name, over the years Massey has met a lot of actors, actresses, singers and other celebrities, but one of his favorite stories is the time he met country music star Vince Gill, his mother’s favorite.

“Vince Gill walked through the studio,” Massey said. “I don’t get star struck very often, and I really didn’t get star struck there, but my mom was a big fan of Vince Gill [and] I shook his hand and I said ‘Hello, I’m not gonna ask for an autograph or anything — my mom is a big fan of yours, and she’d be thrilled knowing I’m getting to meet you.’”

Gill ended up offering to call Massey’s mother to say hello, and signed a CD for him to give her.

“He might not be the most famous, but that was one of my favorite moments [of meeting celebrities] because when you’re working with these people behind the scenes you lose that knowledge that they are larger than life to everybody else,” Massey said. “It just comes with the job.”

While meeting celebrities might be the most flashy part of the job, Massey’s favorite thing about radio is the anonymity. He even used to go by the alias Tony Trent.

“[In Radio] you don’t have to worry about how good or bad you look, your mechanics, how your eyebrows move, how your head moves. your smile,” Massey said. “I just like getting in the studio and cutting lose and being in the studio with all my music there or my sports, and it just gives you a chance to be more creative or more descriptive with whatever you’re doing.”


La La Land Review

La La Land is a classic boy-meets-girl story with as many twists as there are original musical numbers. In the current culture of passion for throwback-inspiration such as James Dean, Polaroid cameras, vinyls and vintage fashion, it is as much on-trend as it is classic. It’s funny and romantic and sad and happy, and will leave you not wondering “what happens next?” but “what if?”

La La Land is not Broadway and not a remake. It is a new musical, written and directed by Damien Chazelle. The boy is Sebastian and the girl is Mia, played by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. They are in their twenties trying to make it in Los Angeles. She dreams to be a big actress. He is a pianist who wants to open up a jazz club — a genre of music that is dying. Mia splits her time going to auditions that lead to no where and her coffee shop gig. Sebastian is seen playing for a local restaurant and an 80s cover band.

The opening scene included Mia flipping off then-stranger Sebastian while driving through LA traffic. They end up meeting again when Sebastian gives her the cold shoulder after a tough moment at his piano gig. Then they meet again at a Hollywood party, and things go from there.

While many movies make the whole film a song and dance out of the will-they, won’t-they, this movie skims it before dealing with deeper issues in their relationship. Chasing their dreams becomes more complicated as it begins to weigh on their relationship. One of the saddest moments is watching Sebastian pull out the burnt dessert from the oven at the end of a fight that was meant to be part of a celebration.

Sleeping with nostalgia, La La Land is every bit as much of a movie based on a love for the golden era of entertainment as it is a movie about chasing an idealistic — and unrealistic — life.

Sebastian states that “Los Angeles worships everything, but believes in nothing.” It’s a joke, and a funny one; but you can feel a bit of pain behind his words. People no longer care about jazz music, despite his unwavering passion for the genre.

The music from La La Land seems to not be as popular as other movie soundtracks of a similar genre. Perhaps the lack of big name artists on the roster prevented the success of music onto radio and streaming platforms — despite their relatively classic sound. They were good, but they are in no way household songs the way “Singing in Rain” still is. There has been an eerie vacantness when looking for YouTube covers; there was no rush to memorize every lyric to the songs. Still, when Gosling breaks into song it feels surprisingly natural in context.

But La La Land was a movie much more focused on the old-school cinematic motifs, and the musical-portions felt like only one aspect of that. The cinematography is retro, and the story is timeless. It questions if it’s better to be with the ones you love or let them follow their dreams. The characters are relatable. We are all a little bit Mia and Sebastian. We are misunderstood, seeking approval from those we love, with dreams so big they scare us. We look on the past with rose-colored glasses and a longing for the good that once was.


Q&A

From first glance at her bedroom, one wouldn’t immediately recognize that Maggie O’Brien is a double major. It’s pretty easy to see one, the English – on one wall sits a bookshelf filled with books; there’s a few journals stacked on her bedside table. But O’Brien will be graduating in May with two degrees: English and Biology, an unlikely pair.

Q: So what made you choose to be a double major?

A: I started as just a Biology major, but I realized that I came in with so many AP credits that I had room to do a minor. And so I wanted to do English because I’ve always had a real love for literature and reading and writing. So it just seemed to make a lot of sense, but then it wasn’t a big jump to switch from a minor to a major, and before I knew it I was a double major and I couldn’t let go of either one. I figured I could do both in four years and graduate on time.

Q: where did your love for English come from?

A: That’s kind of a ‘chicken or the egg’ question because I’ve always loved books and reading but probably part of it has to come from my mom. She’s an English professor at a local community college and also a freelance author. She writes novels — children’s novels, Christian romance a lot — and I think she’s helped instill a lot of the love for English in me.

Q: Why were you a Biology major?

A: Because science has always been a passion of mine as well. Coming in [to college] you kind of think that you have to be a biology major to be a successful pre-medical candidate. To a degree, some of that is true; I think my science background is really gonna help me later on in medical school. I’m really thankful that I’ve already taken some classes like anatomy and physiology, but yeah, I love science, too.

Q: What are you planning to do after you graduate?

A: After I graduate, I will be attending McGovern Medical School in the Fall. That’s in Houston, Texas in the Texas Med Center, and I’m really excited to live downtown for the first time. I grew up in the surrounding areas of Houston so it’s gonna be a fun experience to finally get to live in the heart of the city. McGovern’s a really good school as well.

Q:  Where do you see yourself in twenty years?

A: I hope to still be practicing medicine in some capacity. I would also love to think that I’ll be teaching in some capacity. I worked as a dance teacher in high school and from then on I’ve found a real love of teaching and mentoring, and so I think the medical field is a great way to be able let to incorporate that as well. I’m just looking forward to patient care. So, the patients that I will be treating in 20 years are the things I’m most looking forward to.

Q: What’s it like to be a double major in subjects that are so different?

A: I honestly don’t think I would be where I am today if I hadn’t studied both. I think that the things I’ve learned in both have really shaped who I am. From the biology [major], I think I have a real appreciation for the way life works around me that it’s so complicated and beautiful, and it makes perfect sense. [To] have a strong science background, I really feel prepared for medical school in that way. It was definitely challenging. I think the premed culture can be pretty cutthroat at times, especially in critical periods like junior year when people are preparing for the MCAT. That can be tough to feel a little bit like you’re living in the [Baylor Science Building]. So, I think my English [major] really saved me in that I was constantly going out and branching out from a strictly scientific background and [instead was] studying humanities. So instead of just studying biomedical pathways or formulas I was sitting in a group of students talking about novels and the nature of the personhood, [or] the nature of what that was like in 17th century Britain, [or what life] was like when the Americas were being founded.

Q: What have you learned that you believe will help you in your future career?

A: I think being able to think creatively and analytically in the way I do when I’m studying English is gonna help me be able to relate to my patients and understand their patient histories. My biology major will help me understand their disease processes, and I think both are really vital to being a good doctor.


Bustle Query Letter

Good morning,

It’s easy for audiences to root for the underdog. From Chance the Rapper to Ed Sheeran to Aaron Watson, many musicians over the years have pulled the “I did this despite the record label” card. Yet, these musicians end up signing to a record label, or at the very least, use their distribution services.

I want to write a 1,000 word article diving into this issue. Who were some of the early musicians to “do it without a label” and those that say they have, how much truth is there to that? Many musicians nowadays start off by independently releasing music to build a following to, in turn, get a label’s attention. So how much of this is just a simple marketing tactic to drive up the appreciation from the masses — to call out the “bad guys”? For example, artists like Ed Sheeran, G-Eazy, NF and others have spoken out against record labels and then once they hit mainstream success, or want to hit that “next level,” choose to sign.

I was part of Universal Music Group’s summer internship program in Nashville, TN, and have been reading music industry publications since I was in middle school. I am a senior journalism major at Baylor University who has been published on a few websites including worshiptogether.com (averaging 3.7 mil. page views per month), thoughtcatalog.com, myhomelifemag.com, baylorlariat.com, and several other company blogs. You can review some of my work at sarahannscales.com.

Thank you for your consideration. I have included a stamped envelope for your return.

Sincerely,

Sarah Scales