Tag Archives: RoseComm

Rosemary Ostmann: No One Tells A Story Like a Journalist

Rosemary Ostmann of RoseComm.

By Rosemary Ostmann ’93

NEW YORK, NY (March 14) – Whenever I want to help people understand how much has changed since I was in college, I tell them how I had to pass a typing test on a manual typewriter to be admitted into journalism school. It was 1990 and, believe it or not, typing experience was not a given.

I realized I wanted to major in journalism when I was in high school. I love to write and I enjoy editing my work just as much as creating it. I’m also a big believer in the power of storytelling. A good narrative makes us care about what’s happening in the world around us and compels us to action. Stories help us make sense of society and connect us to history as well as to the future.

A great example is Lin-Manuel Miranda retelling the story of one of our country’s unsung heroes in the award-winning musical Hamilton. If you haven’t already, listen to the lyrics of “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”.

Once I passed that typing test and was admitted to the College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, I had to decide which of the four available tracks, or specialty areas, I wanted to choose: News Editorial, Broadcast, Public Relations or Advertising. At the time, I was an admirer of both Maria Shriver and Katie Couric. I gave some serious thought to broadcast, but I ultimately decided to go with Public Relations.

I remember hearing some of my classmates talk about how hard it was to interview people who didn’t want to be interviewed. I believe now more than ever in the role journalism plays in keeping people honest, but I decided to focus my academic energy on helping organizations and people tell the stories they want to be told.

A few years after I graduated, the College of Journalism decided to eliminate the public relations and advertising tracks. Frankly, it never made sense to me to put advertising anywhere but in the business school. But a degree in journalism has served me incredibly well in my 20+ year career in public relations and marketing.

My company, RoseComm, is a strategic communications firm that helps clients uncover and share their stories with the people who matter most. Whether engaging in direct conversation or enlisting the support of industry influencers – journalists and bloggers – we give our clients a voice.

Many companies today are looking at their brands through an editorial lens and creating “brand newsrooms” as part of a content marketing strategy. They want to be in a two-way conversation and develop content that is meaningful and shareable across traditional and digital channels.

My degree has not only helped me in engaging with the media; I was also taught to understand news value and to write journalistically. I’m not suggesting that we blur the line between true editorial and sponsored content. But if I’m asked what a young person should study if they want to prepare for the future of PR, I always tell them to consider a degree in journalism or to find a program that requires them to take journalism classes. No one tells a story like a journalist.

 

Press Uncuffed Campaign Wins Prestigious SABRE Award for Non Profit Organizations

Merrill College alumna and RoseComm President and CEO Rosemary Ostmann and Account Executive Kelsey BaRoss celebrate the Press Uncuffed campaign SABRE award.

Merrill College alumna and RoseComm President and CEO Rosemary Ostmann and Account Executive Kelsey BaRoss celebrate the Press Uncuffed campaign SABRE award.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The PR campaign behind the Press Uncuffed project won a prestigious SABRE award May 3 during a gala program in New York City. Merrill College alumna Rosemary Ostmann’s RoseComm Marketing, PR and Social Media firm oversees the campaign to promote the student-powered project. Press Uncuffed was the brainchild of students in Knight Chair Dana Priest’s public affairs reporting class in 2014. They came up with the idea to sell translucent bracelets with the names of incarcerated journalists as a way to raise awareness and win their release. The continuing campaign is done in partnership with the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In an email to Dean Lucy Dalglish and Professor Dana Priest, Ostmann wrote, “This is a huge honor and we’re beyond grateful to each of you for your support and collaboration.” The Press Uncuffed campaign won over a number of much larger PR agency submissions.

Celebrating Results

The Press Uncuffed campaign is celebrating the release of seven journalists featured on its bracelets during the first year of operation. The seven freed since the campaign began in April 2015 were imprisoned in Iran, China, Vietnam, Swaziland, Bahrain, Mexico and Ethiopia. The other Press Uncuffed journalists who remain in prison are: Ilham Tohti, China; Eskinder Nega, Ethiopia; Mahmoud Abou Zeid “Shawkan,” Egypt; Yusuf Ruzimuradov, Uzbekistan; and Mohamed Ould M’Kheitir, Mauritania.

“I am beyond gratified to celebrate the freedom of more than half the journalists whose plights were highlighted by Press Uncuffed this past year,” said Priest. “Purchasing Press Uncuffed bracelets, which honor both those who have been freed and those still imprisoned, supports the crucial need of fundraising for this extremely important cause.”

Sign up here to receive updates from the Committee to Protect Journalists on the status of imprisoned journalists and to learn how to take action to support their release.

About the SABRE Awards

The SABRE Awards, which recognize Superior Achievement in Branding Reputation & Engagement, now attract more than 2,000 entries from across North America each year, and provide the premier showcase for the best that public relations has to offer. The awards are overseen by The Holmes Group, whose website says “is dedicated to proving and improving the value of public relations, by providing insight, knowledge and recognition to public relations professionals.”

About Press Uncuffed

Press Uncuffed is a campaign to raise money to free imprisoned journalists around the world by selling bracelets bearing their names. Journalism students at the University of Maryland and their professor, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter and Knight Chair Dana Priest, created the campaign, which benefits the Committee to Protect Journalists’ emergency assistance campaign. Additional information about Press Uncuffed is available at PressUncuffed.org.

About the Committee to Protect Journalists

CPJ promotes press freedom worldwide and defends the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal. CPJ ensures the free flow of news and commentary by taking action wherever journalists are attacked, imprisoned, killed, kidnapped, threatened, censored or harassed.

 

Press Uncuffed Campaign Celebrates Release of Washington Post Reporter Jason Rezaian

By Kelsey BaRoss
RoseComm New York

Rezaian Becomes Seventh Featured Journalist Freed While Six Remain

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Press Uncuffed, a campaign to help free imprisoned journalists throughout the world by selling bracelets bearing their names, today celebrates the release of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and the six other journalists freed since the campaign began 10 months ago.

Rezaian, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, spent 18 months in Iran’s Evin Prison before being released last month. He had been the Washington Post bureau chief in Tehran prior to his detainment.

Among the supporters who wear Press Uncuffed bracelets are Rezaian’s mother, Mary Rezaian, and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi. Salehi, an Iranian, initially was arrested with Rezaian and later released on bail after three months.

“We have worn them daily, and they gave us strength,” Mary Rezaian said of the Press Uncuffed bracelets. “They also opened some opportunities for discussion. And, of course, everyone from close friends, to family and supporters lusted after them. Thank you, so much, to the Press Uncuffed team and everyone who is working on this very important issue.”

Press Uncuffed bracelets are available for $10 on PressUncuffed.org and proceeds benefit the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a collaborator in the campaign. CPJ is an independent, nonprofit organization that provides emergency assistance to journalists facing threats around the world and advocates for journalists imprisoned and attacked in reprisal for their work.

Created by students at the University of Maryland and their professor, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, Press Uncuffed produces clear acrylic LuciteLux® bracelets – signifying transparency in reporting – that bear the names of imprisoned journalists and the countries in which they are held. Other journalists honored by the campaign were freed in Ethiopia, Bahrain, Mexico, Vietnam, Swaziland and China.

“The release of Jason, a colleague, is a reminder that Press Uncuffed can make a difference and lift the spirits of those in prison and the people closest to them working for their release,” said Dana Priest, the John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. “About 200 journalists, however, remain wrongfully imprisoned. Supporting the Press Uncuffed campaign helps raise much-needed funds and brings awareness to the issue of press freedom, putting real pressure on the U.S. government to do more, and on governments holding journalists without cause.”

 Press Uncuffed bracelets honor 13 journalists, including the following six who are still in prison:

  • Mohamed Cheik Ould Mohamed in Mauritania
  • Eskinder Nega in Ethiopia
  • Mahmoud Abou Zeid (Shawkan) in Egypt
  • Khadija Ismayilova in Azerbaijan
  • Yusuf Ruzimuradov in Uzbekistan
  • Ilham Tohti in China

For more information and to purchase a bracelet with one of the 13 journalists’ names, visit PressUncuffed.org. Sign up here to receive updates from the CPJ on the status of imprisoned journalists and to learn about new actions you can take to support their release.

“Whether freed or still in prison, the people on this list deserve to be recognized for the risks they took and sacrifices they made to report critical information that their governments wanted to bury,” said Priest.

About Press Uncuffed

Press Uncuffed is a campaign to raise money to free imprisoned journalists around the world by selling bracelets bearing their names. Journalism students at the University of Maryland and their professor, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, created the campaign, which benefits the Committee to Protect Journalists’ emergency assistance campaign. Additional information about Press Uncuffed is available at PressUncuffed.org.

About the Committee to Protect Journalists

CPJ promotes press freedom worldwide and defends the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal. CPJ ensures the free flow of news and commentary by taking action wherever journalists are attacked, imprisoned, killed, kidnapped, threatened, censored or harassed.

About the Philip Merrill College of Journalism

The Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland is one of the world’s leading journalism schools. Our curriculum emphasizes a hands-on approach to learning with professional equipment that leads to the jobs of today and those waiting in the future. We have a world-class award-winning faculty with years of experience and intimate class sizes. The Merrill College is just a few short miles from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore – locations that provide unparalleled internships and broad learning opportunities.

 

Alumni Feature: Five Trends To Watch In Journalism

RoseComm CEO Rosemary Ostmann and former Wall Street Journal and now PR guru Jared Favole speak to 70 Merrill College students in Professor Leslie Walker's "Business of Journalism" class.

Editors Note: Merrill College alumni Rosemary Ostmann (president & CEO of RoseComm) and Jared Favole (senior director of Hamilton Place Strategies) described the “new face of PR” Oct. 12 to 70 senior journalism majors at the University of Maryland.  Ostmann highlighted trends she sees affecting the news business (see below), including interesting ways algorithms are acting as editors and increasingly blurry lines between advertising and news.  Favole, who left  his Wall Street Journal reporting job last year to work for a public affairs communications firm in DC, gave first-hand insights into the pros and cons of each career as he chronicled his transition from journalism to PR.


By Rosemary Ostmann’93
President & CEO of RoseComm, Hoboken, NJ.

(Monday) I visited my alma mater — the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland — to speak to seniors about careers in media. They’re all members of Leslie Walker’s “Business of News” class. Walker spent 16 years writing and editing for The Washington Post. She was also the editor in chief of washingtonpost.com.

Among the topics she asked me to address were the top trends driving the business of news. So here’s what I came up with (credit goes to my colleague Laurie Petersen, who helped inform some of these ideas with insights from a recent women and journalism symposium):

1. Blurred Lines: The gray area that sits between editorial and advertising/PR is not new. It has existed since the beginning of journalism. But it’s morphing in new and interesting ways that are worth watching closely. I mentioned the Butler University controversy where the institution swapped out a journalism professor with a PR staffer as the adviser to its student newspaper. This called into question whether reporters at college papers have the same freedom of expression afforded to professional journalists.

2. To Profit or Not to Profit: We talked about speculation that the Philadelphia Inquirer is gunning to go non-profit and align itself with Temple University. This Neiman Labs piece explains why that’s easier said than done. We’ve also heard that more journalists are seeking fellowships in order to cover subjects that matter to them. Consumer Reports has been non-profit from the start, of course, and other newer entrants, such as the Texas Tribune and ProPublica, are as well.

3. Algorithm vs. Human: Who decides what’s news? Several predictive analytics companies have surfaced in recent years suggesting the algorithm is acting as editor. Check out Dataminr, for example, which scours Twitter and forecasts what will become newsworthy. Newsrooms all over the map are subscribing to their service. Plus, their recently appointed President of News comes from Reuters. Some information services rely on humans (reportedly Apple News) while others lean exclusively on algorithms (reportedly Facebook), but the answer for most is both.

4. Distribution is King: There’s no doubt now; social channels are the #1 gateway to the news. Any journalist who wants to have a future in this business should understand how to distribute their content. Again, we’re seeing new companies come up focused on this trend, such as Storyful or Reported.ly. I’m also really intrigued by NowThis News, which gave up its traditional website with this gateway of their own:

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5. More Than Words: All journalism is multimedia. A reporter is expected to not only craft a great story in words, but often to shoot video and images, and even crunch data into graphics. The name of the game is data visualization and it satisfies people’s ever-decreasing attention spans. We also recently learned that staffers at a major daily are being taught HTML.

The students had lots of interesting questions to ask of me and my fellow presenter, Jared Favole, who served as the White House Correspondent to the Wall Street Journal  and currently works in public affairs. I hope what we had to say was useful. What trends did we miss?