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…because inquiring minds want to know


CBS correspondent Nancy Giles interviews History Professor Linda Przybyszewski for this segment that ran May 19.

(From Susan) So what’s an average week like in the Notre Dame PR office? That’s easy. There’s NEVER an “average” week, which is one of the great things about it. From Fr. Hesburgh’s 96th birthday bash in Washington D.C. to campus emergency preparedness training to the CBS Sunday Morning crew coming to film  on campus, it was “just another week” here at Notre Dame!


From Liz (Social Media Program Manager):

Father Hesburgh Birthday Celebration

Last week was a busy one in the Notre Dame social media world. Most of the week was spent following up on Commencement activities by posting some of the photos our University photographers captured, and sharing the Commencement 2013 wrap-up video, but Wednesday added a great experience. I was able to travel to Washington D.C. with University president emeritus Father Hesburgh, current University president Father Jenkins and a small party of other Notre Dame dignitaries for a bipartisan celebration of Father Hesburgh’s life. Father Ted turned 96 last Saturday – and celebrated his 70th Jubilee as a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross – and Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, and John Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, hosted a reception for him at the U.S. Capitol.

After going through security in one of the side entrances of the Capitol building we were led in to the Rayburn Room and one of the most intimidating and fascinating parties I’ve ever attended. The room was filled with important people in our nation’s government, which was daunting for those of us arriving – it isn’t every day that I’m given the opportunity to live tweet comments from Congress men and women, let alone the sitting Vice President. But it was even more interesting to watch how every single person in the room seemed touched and inspired by Father Hesburgh’s presence among them.

(From Julie): In addition to the fun stuff, our focus last week was on our annual emergency preparedness drill, which took place on campus over three days. While we generally play a supporting role in crisis and issue management, the PR team is heavily involved in planning for physical emergencies on campus, such as a tornadoes, fires or other unthinkable scenarios involving shooters, explosions or accidents. Every year we participate in a full-scale exercise involving University leadership and operational teams from all major campus units, including the crisis communications team, which we help to lead. Working with an outside consulting group, we are presented with an extreme (but thankfully fictional) emergency, and then given the opportunity to go through the protocols and procedures we would follow to share information to keep internal and external audiences safe and up-to-date about the unfolding events.

Our tools range from the University website to social media to press releases and responses to media inquiries. We also communicate directly with the campus community through a suite of tools known collectively as ND Alert, which consists of the emergency.nd.edu website, text, phone and email messages that are delivered directly to faculty, staff and/or students, as well as a public address system and an override to the campus cable television system. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep the plan current and make sure everyone is familiar with their roles and responsibilities, but it’s certainly worth it to have the peace of mind of knowing we’re prepared in case the worst happens. I always say the more time and energy we put into it, the less likely we’ll ever have to use it, and for that reason, we continue to pour many hours into the preparation, hoping that continues to be true.


(From Shannon) The bulk of my past week involved managing a bit of a “media frenzy” surrounding Notre Dame Law Professor Lloyd Mayer, who specializes in the laws governing nonprofit organizations and politics.  He commented on “IRS Gate,” stating that the roots run deep in the IRS scandal, and before you know it, he had done multiple interviews with The New York Times, NPR, The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, The Atlantic and Politico, among others.  I’m not sure he quite knew what he was getting himself into with those comments, but kudos to Mayer for answering every call and email that came his way. Wall Street Journal reporter Mark Maremont called Mayer to get his insight after noticing that his name “seemed to be coming out of every news outlet.”  A big “Thank you” to Mayer and the Notre Dame Law School for a great effort!


Welcome! …and we’ll commence with Commencement, 2013

Welcome to “Notre Dame Public Relations: Adventures in Storytelling,” your official ND Public Relations blog, brought to you by the Notre Dame Public Relations team: Julie Flory, Susan Guibert, Shannon Chapla, Liz Harter, Bill Gilroy, Jane Morrow and Michael Garvey.

Each week, we’ll let you know where and how we’re telling Notre Dame stories and helping to spread the word of the great goings-on here — and once in a while, give you a “behind the scenes” look at how we do it. So…let’s commence with Commencement:

 Commencement 2013

Notre Dame Instagram photos from Commencement 2013

A sample of the University’s Instagram posts this weekend

(From Liz, Social Media Manager) My main outlet for the Commencement weekend was Instagram. The nature of Notre Dame’s newest social account allows me the freedom to post a lot of photos quickly. I was then able to use our Instagram feed as a central repository to pull photos for Twitter and Facebook – our largest social networks – when speakers dropped great tweetable sound bites or important events began or ended tagging everything with the #ND2013 hashtag we had chosen for the event. The University has two incredibly talented photographers so nothing I do is meant to replace Barbara Johnston and Matt Cashore’s work, but it’s much easier for me to report live with iPhone photos than wait for the fantastic and beautiful photos they give us after offloading them from their cameras and editing. I’ll be able to use their photos in our wrap-up coverage of the event throughout this next week on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

"Aloha" to the Class of 2013

“Aloha” to the Class of 2013 (Photo by Barbara Johnston)

(From Julie): It turned out to be a fairly interesting year for Commencement media, with Cardinal Dolan as speaker and a number of “graduates of interest” collecting their diplomas. In addition to local TV and newspaper reporters who came for general reporting on the event, we also had a crew from NBA TV with us to capture footage of WNBA recruit Skylar Diggins, who participated in the ceremony in the stadium, and then received her degree in marketing at the Mendoza College of Business ceremony in the north dome of the Joyce Center later in the afternoon. Other student-athletes picking up degrees included Notre Dame football players Theo Riddick, Braxston Cave and Manti Te’o, all decked out in Hawaiian leis. To them, and all the graduates, we say “Aloha.”

Our view from the press box

Our view from the press box

It was quiet and cool for the most part in the press box, other than some excitement for the PR media team when the ushers started mistakenly directing groups of people to our floor to get out of the heat. A few slipped past before we realized this was happening and started redirecting them, so we ended up making some new friends in the media hospitality suite. They weren’t much into conversation, but we do hope they enjoyed their time with us as much as we did with them. To them, we say, “Come back and see us sometime.”


(From Susan) I put my super speedy typing skills to use as this year’s writer of the “gameday” story for Commencement, which is what we call the story that recaps our    Commencement speakers’ addresses.  View from the press box was perfect! ( And yes… I eat while I write…don’t judge).





(From Bill) I had the pleasure of representing our office at two Saturday Commencement events. Both had a “Welcome Home” feel to them.The first event was the ROTC Commissioning Ceremony where Jeff Talley, formerly a professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences and now a three-star general in command of U.S. Army Reserves, was the speaker. Jeff is an old friend and it was a pleasure to listen as he urged the newly commissioned officers to lead with character, a commitment to service and faith.

I also represented our office at Graduate School Commencement, where Nathan Hatch, president of Wake Forest University and a former Notre Dame provost, was the speaker. Nathan also delivered a notable address in which he defended learning for its own sake in response to calls for economic utility to be the primary purpose of higher education.


(From Jane) Although I started out giving Rachel a break checking media credentials on the main level of the stadium, I spent most of the day in the third floor press box answering questions, directing people to the right places (meaning students’ friends and families kept showing up on the third floor by accident), and even loaning my phone to a journalist whose phone went dead.

I escorted a journalist to the field early in the day and, even though I’ve been on the field several times, I am always a little overwhelmed and delighted at the view from there up into the stands. It’s just so big. And it’s Notre Dame Stadium with all its history and legends.



For a little taste of the excitement of the day, checkout the highlights video and story ‘Commencement 2013: A Look Back.’