Public relations class creates artists’ campaign

Courtney Laverdure
Staff writer

The advanced public relations class, JMC 491, is getting a chance to work through creating a real public relations campaign for an up-and-coming artist and author.

The client, Haley Moss, is a 17-year-old from Florida who has dabbled in the arts since she was 6. Moss is also high-functioning autistic.

Her artwork has been featured on NBC, CNN, PBS and SFL39 in the Miami area, as well as appeared in major magazines, national newspapers and interspersed across the Internet.

She has donated her artwork mostly to fundraising for autism and was even the highlighted artist for the Dan Marino “Walk About Autism,” WXEL PBS “Mar-A-Lago,” Unicorn Foundation “Time Flies” and the University of Miami/NSU Center in Autism and Related Disabilities “Autumn Moonlight” and “Tropical Nights.”

Moss has also published her own book titled, “Middle School: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About.”

The JMC 491 class held a focus group Tuesday and Thursday to decide how best to serve their client and bring awareness to her cause.

“We were put in contact with Haley through Ms. Thomas in the Public Relations department who is originally from Florida,” Kate Rasgorshek, senior from Crossville, Tenn., said.

The focus group started with questions about their reactions to Moss’ art using three to five words to describe it. They were then asked to use three to five words to describe autism.

They discussed the level of awareness dealing with autism and gave room for the topic of personal experiences and knowledge.

“We had to devise a survey and know everything about Moss that we learned via email and a Skype interview with her dad,” Emily Spiegelhalter, senior from Louisville, Ky., said. “We had to research autism as well since none of us were experts.”

The discussion leaders, Spiegelhalter and Lizzy Fillback, asked participants how they would market the artwork and which celebrities they think would encourage people to participate in autism fundraising events.

They asked for feedback on various charities and philanthropies the focus group members have been involved in, what drives them to play a part in them and what they gain from their donations of time or money toward that cause.

The JMC 491 classe are broken into three or four groups and each team had its own motto, mission, plan, purpose and goal for Moss and they create their own campaign to present to her, her father and Robin Orvino, public relations lecturer, Rasgorshek said.

The class compiles all the information gathered from the focus groups, and once they have their research, all the teams will be on a level playing field, she said.

Rasgorshek said these teams get to draw on the knowledge they have obtained in the last four years to put into their campaign.

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