A blog I wrote about the Sonic Redskins’ sign incident for Axia PR.

Sonic-Redskins-Sign

Come read it and comment on there if you have an opinion on the matter. Axia and I would really appreciate it. Please look around at the other posts too if you have free time. I am very appreciative of all the support you guys have given me.

The post is here.

-Marty F. Nemec

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How a House Fire Made Me Who I am Today

My destroyed house while the debris was getting cleared out.

My destroyed house while the debris was getting cleared out.

On December 18, 2012, two days after my 25th birthday, I was sitting in my living room around noon. It was a day like any other, except something unsuspecting would happen. There was a pop in the wall behind me. I didn’t have time to evaluate the situation or ponder on what caused the noise because the burnt plastic smell told me right away. It was a spark.

I immediately threw the couch away from the wall and saw the old curtain was already on fire. I tried to kick it and put the fire out, but my attempts were to no avail. I ran to my refrigerator and grabbed a giant container of water. I even thought for a second how lucky I was that I hated the iron water from my well and kept distilled water for drinking. Those positive thoughts quickly dissipated as the water hit the fire and did basically nothing. It was at that point I saw the fire was coming out of the outlet and that’s when I knew that the fire was inside the wall. I ran into the kitchen and frantically looked for something, anything. I turned around and saw the fire was already at the ceiling of the living room. I grabbed a shirt and covered my mouth, ran into my living room, grabbed my cell phone and darted out the back door. That move actually singed the front of my hair, but I didn’t realize that until a firefighter pointed it out to me later.

As I ran down my back porch steps, there was a sound similar to a cannon firing and the living room window blew out causing glass to fly everywhere. I called 911 and waited at the road with nothing but the pair of gym shorts I was wearing and the phone in my hand. Slowly, the rest of the neighborhood came and stood with me offering me apologies and small tokens of help. I appreciatively smiled to them, but my mind was still numb at the sight in front of me.

The house that was burning was where I grew up. It was old. The walls were covered in wooden panels, a practice not done anymore because it is essentially turning your walls into flint. The insulation was old, as was the wiring. Perhaps I was lucky that something like that didn’t happen earlier. After all, it could have happened while I was sleeping.

I have always considered myself a strong person, but there is no denying that it was devastating. Not only did I lose everything from my childhood, I also lost everything I owned too. On top of that, I received a dose of reality on how mortal I am. If it had happened just a little earlier, I would have died in my sleep. Insurance did pay for most of my lost items eventually, but I was in a bad spot right after the fire.

I had no house and belongings. I had no clothes. I lost all of my school work as well as my computer. My dad lived an hour away which would have turned my drive to school into a two hour trip each way. As hopeless as the situation seemed, something magical happened. My friends and family popped up wanting to help, especially my girlfriend and her family. Even my friends’ parents gave me things. People on Facebook that I hadn’t seen in years were messaging me telling me I could stay at their house if I needed to. I must have had more than 30 people contact me wanting to help.

My network turned my tragedy into a manageable problem that didn’t ruin my life. When school started again after the Christmas break, I was able to drive my normal route to school and do my work on someone else’s computer. Because of the charity of everyone, I was able to get my life back on track until the insurance money came in and allowed me to support myself and replace my belongings.

Looking back, I can see that this network that helped me is the same concept that is used in public relations. Whether you need help getting a message out or getting access to new potential clients, a network of friends and strangers is necessary. Like when someone gave me a shirt, someone can give a retweet. A place to stay for a few days is like an opportunity to guest blog. Maybe it is silly to downplay my traumatizing experience by comparing it to the public relations industry, but I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to learn from it. It is only traumatizing if I let it be. I choose not to.

If there was anything that I gained from the house fire, it is strength. I didn’t crumble to my near-death experience or the things from my childhood that were lost. I’ll never get to show my kids the chess set from Jerusalem or the Slovenian history-themed Tarok card game set their great-grandfather gave to me before he died. I’ll never get to look back at anything I ever accomplished or the hundreds of poems and novels I endlessly wrote as a kid that made me want to be a writer like I am today. It was humbling, but it was strengthening. I am a firm believer that God does everything for a reason and now I look forward, ready to make an imprint in the public relations industry. I’m ready for whatever comes my way because I feel like I’ve already been through the worst.

Did you have a situation in your life that you learned from like this? It doesn’t have to be traumatizing, but I would love to hear it in the comments section.

-Marty F. Nemec

My Transition from Sports Blogger to PR Practitioner

View Marty F. Nemec's profile on LinkedIn

Like many people in their careers, I have arrived at the crossroads.

Today was my last day of college. Today would be the day that I sit down and reevaluate my life. It would be the day I peer into my own soul without the outside noise of college homework, projects and tests slapping down every thought. There is a problem, though.

I already did it. Months ago, in fact.

It started when I chose to take Introduction to Public Relations as one of my last two electives. Within a few classes, my mind opened and my vision of the future was turned upside down.

PR

I have been thinking about my position in life and the location I live in. The truth is that sports blogging and journalism in general doesn’t work for my future. Journalists have to do more than they ever have, yet they get paid less than they ever have. I was sure I was willing to not make much money with the hope of eventually becoming a sports writer, which would still not get me much money but I would enjoy my job. It was a pipe dream that I would have suffered through to maybe not achieve. I had never realized that.

I love writing more than anything in the world, but I don’t care for reporting. I don’t care to interview people who don’t want to talk to me and research topics that don’t interest me. The reporting would honestly only be fun for me if it was about sports. Writing about sports is a wonderful idea, but how many people get to actually do it? How many people actually make decent money doing it?

Public relations is a whole new world to me. It’s exciting and the field is comprised of so many different tasks. Social media, press release writing, publicizing, event planning, crisis management, and more are under the public relations umbrella. Journalism is get your story, research the topic, set up an interview, get quotes, write the story, add quotes, turn in the story, get it back with revisions, then turn it back in, and repeat. Over and over and over. The two-way communication model of PR is fascinating. Using SEO to pull the invisible strings of search engines is fascinating. Helping support causes and change the behavior of people is fascinating. We don’t just inform. We influence! How cool is that?

These are the median incomes for public relations jobs in 2012 and 2013. Note they are on the rise. (Graphic by: PRWeek US)

These are the median incomes for public relations jobs in 2012 and 2013. Note they are on the rise. (Graphic by: PRWeek US)

Even more importantly, public relations is getting bigger and bigger each year. The pay is also going up every year. There is money and a future there. I will actually be able to live comfortably with a public relations job. Money isn’t everything but it is something. I want to raise a family and live comfortably. I want to be able to go on vacations and buy nice things. Money is something.

What does this mean for you, my fans and readers? Well, it actually doesn’t mean much.

I love sports. I love watching sports and writing about sports. I have kept this blog up for years and I haven’t received even a penny for it. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. I will keep writing about sports and I will keep tweeting about sports. I will just do it less.

I will be posting and tweeting about public relations from time to time. I have to get knowledgeable on the subject and I will be dedicating the rest of the summer to researching public relations, other than the time I put into my internship at Folio Weekly. I already have purchased six books about SEO, social media, and marketing. I also have subscribed to PR magazines and I have signed for countless PR newsletters. My goal is to be a transformed man by the end of summer. I am confident my base in writing, along with my new-found PR knowledge, will help me get my foot in the PR field.

Not too much will change, but this is worth mentioning. I have dedicated myself 100 percent to public relations. I hope this helps explain why.