Scott D. Widmeyer, a successful WVU Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism graduate and Washington, D.C., public relations firm owner, has volunteered to pass on his years of experience and business savvy to SOJ students during the spring semester.
Widmeyer, the owner of Widmeyer Communications, is teaching”Fast-Lane Public Relations: Practical Skills and Techniques Needed for 2002 and Beyond,”a two-credit journalism course. The class meets from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. one Friday each month and will include Web-based instruction.
Widmeyers class will provide students with a quasi-internship experience that will simulate real-world experiences so students can learn many facets of public relations, he said.
The class is also the first of several the SOJ will offer throughout the coming semesters to bring in top-notch, experienced professionals to train journalism students in cutting-edge, real-world business practices.
“As a professional school, we are blessed with many highly successful, highly talented alumni who work in, and sometimes run, the top agencies, newsrooms and firms in the world,”said SOJ Dean Christine Martin.
“Tapping into their considerable talent and expertise networks these mass media stars with the school and offers our students some of the best teaching, best support and best advising available in the field,”she said.
Students participating in this seminar program will be divided into account teams to learn crisis communications, reputation management, integrated marketing, strategic consulting and account management. The seminar will have the feel of a real-world agency in dealing with internal issues and managing the expectations of the client.
“I hope the students will be able to get a good taste of what life is like in the PR business,”Widmeyer, formerly of Martinsburg, said.”I am calling itReality PR.We will work on critical skill sets needed in todays industry, such as business structure, account management, client relations and strategic thinking.”
The course will also track the trials and tribulations of job hunting during an economic downturn.
Widmeyer has provided strategic counsel and media relations expertise to corporations, government agencies, trade and professional associations, public policy groups and labor unions on a broad range of complex policy issues and business challenges.
Widely recognized for his media relations and communications expertise, Widmeyer has designed the national media strategies for clients including the American Federation of Teachers, Carnegie Communications of New York, the U.S. Department of Labor, the National PTA and the National Center on Education and the Economy.
Prior to founding Widmeyer Communications in 1987, Widmeyer served as a vice president in the Washington, D.C., office of Ogilvy&Mather Public Affairs.
Widmeyer also served as communications director for the American Federation of Teachers for six years. He is credited with transforming AFT s image, and that of its president, Al Shanker, from militant to mainstream.
He has extensive political and campaign experience, having served as deputy secretary to Walter Mondale and press secretary to Geraldine Ferraro in their 1984 bid for the White House. He also served as deputy secretary in President Jimmy Carters re-election campaign. Widmeyer began his work in politics as press secretary for Jay Rockefeller during the senators first term as West Virginias governor.
He began his professional career as a political reporter for the Charleston Daily Mail. He established a scholarship fund for African American and native West Virginians studying at the WVU SOJ , where he received a bachelors degree in 1976.