In this job, as in many others, there is a need to turn things around much faster than you’d like to. As media relations manager, I see this daily as journalists call in a panic looking for help or an interview for their daily story.
But a few months ago, I was confronted with the need for speed when the director of SDSU’s Compact for Success called to let me know we had an opportunity to be featured in Southwest Airline’s community affairs publication Mosaic. Of course, I was excited until he said “Oh, but the thing is, they need it by the end of the day.” Nothing like short notice right? It wasn’t his fault, he didn’t know the deadline was going to be so fast. But when an opportunity like this drops in, I hate to pass it up. Besides, I’ve never been afraid of a little speed before!
A little background on me, I used to write news promotions for the NBC affiliate in San Diego. Turning around scripts and video in less than an hour, became old hat to me, especially when you knew that if you failed, what waited for you on the other side was a big black hole of airtime and dozens of people who’d call to make sure you knew about it. It was like sink or swim on an hourly basis. Luckily, I learned how to swim – Michael Phelps-fast!
So with those skills in my back pocket, I whipped into action, grabbed a previous story we had written about the Compact for Success program, interviewed a current SDSU student and Compact Scholar, rewrote the story, updated the data and voila! Mission accomplished. (I am pretty sure I spell checked it first too.)
I had completely forgotten about that whirlwind day until we were sent the final version this week and it looks wonderful. Plus, we got great placement guaranteeing thousands of Southwest Airline constituents will get to read about our partnership that helps improve the college-going rates at Sweetwater Union High School District, the most diverse school district in California. (Since 2000, the number of applicants, admits and enrolled first time freshmen from the district has more than DOUBLED!)
I guess it’s only appropriate an airline with planes that fly hundreds of miles per hour would ask me to meet a deadline that fast.