Veteran Offering PR Crash Courses

Aug 29, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Much of what it takes a publicist six months on the job to master can be learned in six intensive hours, according to public relations veteran Sandi Padnos.

Ms. Padnos is the president and founder of Scoop, a new privately held Los Angeles-based company specializing in one-day PR seminars. Topics will range from the differences among marketing, public relations and publicity to conventions and trade shows to the art of verbal presentations. The first bimonthly seminar is scheduled for Oct. 15.

“This is really a PR trade school,” said Ms. Padnos, who formed her own company, Padnos Inc., in 1988 and has worked with clients such as Disney, Marvel Entertainment and Scripps Networks. “As you can imagine, in an Internet environment the rules have changed dramatically, and all PR professionals need a refresher course-the way doctors and psychologists do-to stay current.”

The case studies Ms. Padnos will offer are from the entertainment industry, but she said her examples apply to many businesses. “I have students from tech, health care, travel and tourism,” she said, referring to her work at UCLA, where she teaches an extension course, “Working With the Media.”

Annie Howell, senior VP of communications for Discovery Networks, which has signed up for an on-site Scoop seminar, said she sees it as a way to train young publicists. “We have a lot of young people that come in here every year. There’s a lot to cover and there’s no one set program where they can get some direction and the tools that enable them to do their jobs,” Ms. Howell said. “I’m a huge believer in skills training. What [Ms. Padnos] has created is the sort of thing that isn’t readily available.”

Scoop’s target audience includes department heads and CEOs as well as entry-level professionals. “To be an educated supervisor, it’s great to know what the entire process entails,” Ms. Padnos said.

“Here’s the point,” said publicist Henri Bollinger, founder of the Entertainment Publicists Professional Society. “At most companies you have some good experts in a particular area. If you want to expand the degree of expertise that your in-house people have, this is a good way of doing it.”