My Alternative Music

By: Meredith Erikson



It’s very rare for me to not be in the mood to listen to music. Music is one of my favorite things in this world. Yet just like everyone else, I have those days where I feel like I just have to change it up. My favorite alternative choice for music is a podcast. Whether I’m doing the bicycle at the gym or driving long distances, podcasts are a refreshing change of tone. I find them to be so informative and eye-opening. The iPhone conveniently comes with a free podcast app and even free podcasts to subscribe to. My personal favorite is “WTF with Marc Maron” because I can listen to the perspectives of the celebrities that I admire. I love getting a chance to hear their stories and understand the real side of them, apart from their celebrity persona.

After reading an article on “PR Daily” called “15 outstanding podcasts for writers” I began subscribing to them all. Since day one of my Public Relations courses, I have been taught that writing is the most important skill I will need to have. Not only in the PR and journalism field, but for any job I may have. A great professor of mine told me that the only way I’ll ever get better at writing is to write every single day. So by learning from the helpful writing tips in my new podcasts and writing my blogs, I think I’ll be on the path to improvement.

The writing podcast I found to be most educative from the list was NPR’s “A Way with Words.” Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett host the show who talk with callers around the world about slang, grammar, old sayings, speaking and writing well. They also make it fun by playing word games with language professionals. I enjoy this one because it’s so broad and covers all areas of language. The hosts take caller’s questions about anything that has to do with language and explain the origin of their question and proceed to give great advice on how to use that expression or phrase they ask about in the best way. These conversations give me great brainstorming material for my writing and I believe every aspiring PR professional should take a listen. Other useful podcasts I tuned in to were “Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing” and “Beyond your Blog.” To find other writing podcasts check out PR Daily’s list of “15 outstanding podcasts for writers.”



A Way with Words, public radio’s lively show about words and language and how we use them. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2016, from

  1. B. (2016, January 27). 15 outstanding podcasts for writers. Retrieved January 29, 2016, from






By: Meredith Erikson

More than anything, I cannot wait for this semester to be over with. No, not because I’m intimidated by this semester’s course load (maybe a little). Not because I’m celebrating graduation. It’s because I have the most wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Japan with the Mayborn School of Journalism. I can’t wait for the culture shock and more importantly, the food. I’ll be taking two classes, cross-cultural reporting and international public relations.

After doing some reading on “PR Week” I found that Japan’s PR industry is suffering a setback, due to the slow recovery of Japan’s economy. The country is relying heavily on their hosting of the 2020 summer Olympics to bring in money, which can’t be done without the help of some strong media strategies. What I found interesting about the country’s media is that although the circulation of newspapers has declined in most places in the world, print media is still influential in Japan. Also, television is strongly disliked because content is “repetitive, poor quality and uninteresting.” I note this as something to observe and to compare to U.S. media while studying abroad.

John Morgan, president and CEO of Asia and Japan at Hill + Knowlton Strategies had a few thoughts for the country’s PR industry as it is forced to evolve in the new economy. He discussed the change for Japanese public relations professionals to start following a similar method to integrated marketing, something they’ve been blocked from doing. Traditional Japanese communication definitively divides advertising and PR. With communication changing and broadening, I wonder if Japan will be willing to evolve from their traditional practices and converge with today’s modern communication. Even though I only have knowledge of U.S. PR communication to compare to so far, I feel that integrating will be really beneficial and the right move for them.

Morgan said that international firms would have the upper hand on “Japan behemoths” who often lack the skill set and international network to speak to non-Japanese communicators. I found this surprising because I thought this was something Japanese professionals would be proficient in. I was told most people there do speak English. In a thoughtful article on intercultural communication by Jovan Kurbalija, he explains how lack of knowledge of another culture can lead to embarrassing mistakes and could potentially offend people. I’m going to have to take a lesson in Japanese 101 to avoid this.

Tetsuya Honda, a managing director at Blue Current Group Japan explained that the Japanese PR market is in need of more PR expertise, more like Western countries. I think he’s just being hard on his field. No matter what, I can’t wait to learn from a different perspective of communication and to live in such a wonderful culture. Sayonara!




Benjamin, K. (2016, January 20). Country Case File: Gentle optimism for Japan’s PR industry as economy begins slow recovery. Retrieved January 22, 2016, from

Kurbalija, J. (n.d.). Intercultural communication. Retrieved January 22, 2016, from

About me


My name’s Meredith Erikson and I am a Public Relations student at the University of North Texas. My interest in Public Relations came from my love for writing and all things media.  I’m passionate about the entertainment industry whether its television, movies, or music, I follow it all.

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