Third Times a Charm?
September 2, 2004 7:13 PM
SF State’s Department of Public Relations has been through some major changes in the past year. One of the biggest changes is their spokesperson.
Former Assistant Interim Public Relations Director Ellen Griffin accepted the role as PR director Aug. 25, making her the third one SF State has had this year.
Once Ligeia Polidora left the position as PR director this past February after 10 years of service, the position was then passed on to her assistant, Christina Holmes, who has since relocated with her family to Washington.
"(Ellen) will make an awesome PR director,” said Holmes. "She is smart, knowledgeable and dedicated."
As public relations director, Griffin will be responsible for handling numerous media concerns and questions, as well as issuing press releases to local newspapers and radio stations if a newsworthy event should break on campus.
Griffin has several years of public relations experience behind her, ranging from University level to various health associations.
As a spokesperson, Griffin is very aware of the demands that come with being a University spokesperson, acknowledging that there are times when her duties as campus spokesperson have her working long into the night.
“As PR director, if the media calls asking me for information or a press release, I can’t tell them, ‘sorry I can’t talk, I need to go home and sleep,’” Griffin said. “I need to put in whatever time it takes to get the job done.” And the time that she puts in to her job can go way beyond a 40-hour work week.
Holmes said that Griffin is "very cool and calm in the middle of a crisis," a key ingredient to being a good PR director.
“(A campus spokesperson) needs to be flexible, respond to unprecedented issues and keep a cool head all at the same time, in order to communicate effectively,” said Griffin.
While Griffin is keeping an open mind with regard to which issues she would like to tackle this semester, it is clear that she is determined to stay ahead of the game to ensure that relations with outside media runs smoothly.
Janet Wade, who is the publication manager for SFSU magazine has worked with Ellen for a number of years on the magazine. She described Griffin as being "an excellent manager, fair, and has a good sense of humor." Wade also said that Griffin "has become director of the office at a difficult time, when Public Affairs and Publications lost significant staff (during budget cuts). She has done a great job bringing both offices together as a single unit."
Even with all of the obstacles that she will no doubt face this semester, Griffin sees many advantages in her job.
“First and foremost, I love SF State,” she said. “It is a treasure full of committed and smart people.” She also said she enjoys the variety and change that come about from working in the public relations office.
Aside from running around the Public Relations office, Griffin spent the last couple of years at SF State working for SFSU Magazine as both a science writer and advisor to the editorial team.
Sheldon Axler, Dean of the Science Department said, "Ellen has an excellent understanding of what will make a science story appeal to the public." Axler also said that "Ellen knows her way around acadamia; I congratulate her and look forward to working with her in her new position."
“I love to write. I love media. I love researching,” Griffin said. “I am a nosey person and assume that the rest of the world wants to know what I’ve learned as well….This is achieved by good communication with media by using the best tools available to get the message out, and by making the most out of the technology available to us."
"I think the University is in good hands with Ellen as the campus spokesperson," said Holmes. "I think she is an excellent choice."
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