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Meet Our Chapter’s Most Recent APR:
Stephen Wilson

Interview by Michele Hujber, APR
Hujber Public Relations

Stephen Wilson, APR
Senior Account Executive at Coyne PR

Stephen Wilson APR is the latest to achieve Accreditation in the PRSA NJ Chapter.

Wilson is a senior account executive at Coyne PR, a position to which he was promoted to soon after becoming an APR. He is a member of the firm’s health care practice and primarily works on the five-person health insurance/hospitals team.

As a senior account executive, his primary responsibilities are to serve as a point person for many of the team’s client contacts, provide much of the media outreach, assist program development and new business, serve as a mentor to the team’s account coordinator and, as a result, supervise her media list development, research projects and day-to-day activities.

Stephen sees many benefits of having gone through the Accreditation process. “Studying for – and then ultimately attaining my APR – has already helped me in how I approach my team’s plan-writing process and was an absolute asset recently as we began drafting PR award submissions for a client.”

Following are excerpts from a recent interview.

Why did you choose to become Accredited at this time?

I am always eager to get better at my job and further my education. Studying for the examination allowed me to refresh myself on some of the key principles and methods that I may enact daily but might not be thinking about as I do so. Working my way through the study guide reminded me of some key principles I might not have even thought about since my PR classes in college.

How did you prepare for the computer-based Examination?

I began the process by going through the study guide and writing word-for-word a lot of the information in the study guide. I have always learned best after “making the information my own,” which I have done in this case by rewriting what already exists. I focused on the areas I considered to be my weaknesses. I also read some of the suggested texts – including “Strategic Planning and Public Relations” and “Effective Public Relations.”

What are a few of your strengths as relate to skills tested during the APR process?

I have a solid background in research. I have been deeply entrenched in the research portion of public relations programs since I was an intern, developing media audits, participating in brainstorms and either leading or assisting in various research roles. I have extensive experience with various formal research methods, such as developing survey questions, and informal research methods, such as communications audits and phone interviews with medical doctors to bolster a pitch or a campaign.

My ability to use communication models is another strength. Although it can sometimes be simple to create a message, it is not always easy to identify how a media channel will transmit that message or how an audience will perceive a message or, for that matter, the transmission of that message, as outlined by Shannon and Weaver. Additionally, as Wilbur Schramm depicts, my team always has to consider the social environment – such as what a specific media outlet’s audience is interested in on a certain day – before going out with a pitch. As a result, my team is very meticulous in selecting the most effective media targets and how we plan to transmit the message, whether by press release, press conference, phone or email outreach, a credible celebrity spokesperson or other forms of communication. I have also witnessed the diffusion theory in action while, in the case of a program we did for Children’s Advil, we focused first on awareness of key pediatric cold and flu issues, eventually leading to consumers adopting the drug at a time when Children’s Tylenol and Children’s Motrin were dealing with recalls.

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