I was able to interview Eden Gordon from US English, Inc. located in Washington D.C. where she is the Director of Communications. Eden attended Mt. Vernon College and Washington Bible College. While in school Eden studied Political Science. I first heard about Eden through my family, but I had not personally met her. Eden and my brother Chris have worked together on projects for The DRIVEtv, a Christian reality TV series. I was given her number by my brother. I conducted a phone interview with Eden over the weekend. Eden was not originally in the PR profession, she first worked for a Senator at the age of 18 and through that Senator she fell into PR in 2001.
A typical week for Eden can be broken into a typical day times five. She begins by gathering the major newspapers such as the NY Times and Wall Street Journal and watches news sources on TV such as Fox News and CNN. She also views the current media online, looking at everything from the Oscars to the Health Bill. Eden then makes a Top 10 list of the people who want to make pitches to. She then emails, faxes, makes phone calls to reporters to pitch a story. Eden said that an important to develop relationships with reporters.
Recently in November, Eden worked on a project for the different Homeless Organizations in NY for Thanksgiving. It’s a big media day and it took a lot of preparations as far as getting people to help, having celebrities involved, creating talking point for people, etc. She worked with Good Morning America, NBC, and other big name networks to get people involved. She was proud because it tripled the awareness and put the missions on the map.
To keep current and up to date with the PR industry, Eden takes online classes monthly to stay fresh, she also studies issues on a weekly basis and is always networking. Eden wished that she would have known or wished she would have done is gotten into the profession earlier. She didn’t get started until around 2000 or 2001 because up until then she was a Political Science major. She also mentioned that she wants more airtime which plays into knowing that before hand, which would have meant starting earlier.
“Writing is definitely important, ” Eden said. She also said, ” If it doesn’t come naturally, practice.” Although writing is very important, she said that pitching is probably #1 on her list followed by cultivating relationships, and then writing. Three tips that Eden gave me were really helpful. She said to find a mentor, have it be someone you respect and admire. I need to devote myself to get as much airtime as possible by having clips ready and networking. Eden also said I need to build my network as much as possible, get my hands dirty meaning if you have to get coffee or if I have to do clips that’s okay just do the best I can.
I asked Eden what surprised her the most about working in the PR field and she gave me a story which made sense after she had finished. Eden was working for a Senator and he said some things that were inappropriate in which his PR team had to back-track for him. The most shocking thing to her was the whole back-tracking process. She told me to not be surprised when you have to help dig someone who you’re working for out of a hole.
The biggest change that Eden has seen in the PR industry is the different social networks. Texting, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace all weren’t big when she first started she said. Now, Eden said she is gradually learning to use all the different social, networks. Although she mention that it’s more difficult for the older generation to learn than it was/is for her.
I was nervous at first when I called Eden initially, but afterwards we chatted a bit and it was really helpful to get an inside look at the world of PR. It definitely gets me more excited about exploring it all more.