Introductory Blog Post (Personal Branding Assignment)

Hello everyone, my name is Michael Friedman; welcome to my blog!

My qualifications include excellent written and verbal communication skills, proficient time management skills, and performing effectively in a deadline-oriented environment. These valuable skills I have learned have been the result of my academic career at the University of Oklahoma, and I believe these skills will undoubtedly contribute to my success in future careers and endeavors.

I am a sophomore public relations student at Gaylord College at the University of Oklahoma, and I will be graduating in May 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in public relations and a minor in general business with a focus in marketing. After graduation, I hope to attend graduate school and obtain my Master’s degree in communications. I aspire to be the director of PR for a professional sports franchise or major sports organizations such as ESPN or the NFL. I hope to work for either a football, basketball, or baseball franchise as those are my three favorite sports, and I am very passionate about them. My hobbies/interests include reading, anything theatre arts related such as music, films, playwrights, and anything sports related. My involvement at OU includes the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life Oklahoma Executive Committee and Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. I also work as an intern for OU Housing and Food Services Marketing and Communications department. I have a 3.2 cumulative GPA and have never dropped below a 3.0 since being in college.

Marketing Internship Experience

The opportunities I have been presented and utilized at OU have been incredible so far. I have been incredibly lucky to be a part of a lot of great things that have benefitted not only the OU community but the Norman community and beyond as well. I have been involved in numerous community action organizations here at OU that has included the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Relay for life is the largest fundraising event for the ACS, as there are thousands of Relay events held by various communities all over the world. I applied for OU’s Relay for Life executive committee my freshmen year of college and was one of the very few freshmen selected for the committee of only 100 members with over 300 applicants in 2016. In 2016 we raised over $200,000, and it was a life-changing experience I will never forget. I have also been involved in Soonerthon, a 24-hour dance fundraising event for kids with disabilities, and the Big Event, a community-wide event where OU students and faculty can take part in community service all over the city of Norman. These opportunities have been instrumental in developing skills and adding credentials that have benefitted me and will continue to benefit me in the future.

These opportunities have led me down a path that has brought me to land my first and current internship.  I am currently an intern for OU Housing and Food Services Marketing and Communications department. This has been a tremendous and arguably the most important opportunity I have had since starting school here at OU. This internship has taught me a variety of skills that I will be using as I plan to go into the field of public relations. On a daily basis, I manage various social media accounts for the university including OU H&F’s Residence Life and Dining Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat accounts. Daily I am tasked with producing social media posts then submitting them through a social media planning application for businesses called heyorca for editing and approval by my superiors. I am also in charge of creating and editing blog posts for OU H&F Services blog page. I have also collaborated on several video projects promoting OU’s new residential colleges for upper-class living. This internship has given me extraordinarily valuable experience that will give me an advantage when I enter the public relations career field.

Chicago Sports

I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, but I am a Chicago kid at heart. My entire family including my parents are from/reside in Chicago, Illinois. This has made me a huge fan of everything Chicago growing up, especially Chicago sports. I am extremely passionate about Chicago sports including the Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs, and Bulls. I believe the largest contributor to helping strengthen my passion for sports PR is the Chicago Cubs.

The Chicago Cubs have been a very controversial sports franchise for many years. The main reason being that they had the longest championship drought in any professional sport with the last time winning the World Series being 108 years ago. The Cubs had been infamous for many years for the ‘Curse of the Billy Goat’ wherein 1945 the Cubs asked Billy Goat Tavern owner William Sianis to leave Wrigley Field during game 4 of the 1945 World Series championship that featured the Cubs vs. the Detroit Tigers. They asked Sianis to leave because his goat that he had with him, Murphy, smelled too bad and it was bothering other fans. After telling Sianis to leave, he said that the Cubs would lose this world series and would never win another world series ever again because they insulted his goat. The Cubs proceeded to lose the 1945 World Series to the Detroit Tigers and failed to reach another World Series until 2016.

The Cubs turnaround of their organization may be the greatest turnaround of a sports franchise in sports history. This turnaround began in 2011 when Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts hired Theo Epstein from the Boston Red Sox organization, who was responsible for breaking the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ and ending the Red Sox’ 86-year World Series drought, to become the new President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs and Jed Hoyer the General Manager for the San Diego Padres to become the new General Manager of the Cubs. In 2011 the Cubs sported one of their worst records in franchise history of 71-91. This feat would mark the start of the turnaround that led the Cubs to win their first World Series in 108 years. The turnaround only took a total of 5 years for Epstein and company to make it work. This turnaround was not only extremely impressive from an athletic standpoint but from a public image standpoint as well. The Cubs public image skyrocketed during this transition as they became one of the most well-liked franchises by the public. Their social media, especially Twitter, has done a beautiful job of changing the Cubs’ image as the team itself changed as well. Epstein and company turned the team into a World Series-winning powerhouse; meanwhile, Julian Green, VP of communications and community affairs, turned the team into a likable and profitable brand. The all-around work that was done to change the Cubs image and team was absolutely inspiring to me not just as a Cubs fan but as a PR major who aspires to one day do the same for another struggling organization.

Life at OU

My decision to pursue higher education at the University of Oklahoma was one of the most significant decisions I have made in my life thus far. I had no ties with OU, as I am a first generation student here. That being said, there were a lot of different factors that went into the decision. Factors such as location, cost of tuition, and much more.

I started my journey on deciding where I would attend college by touring a variety of schools with my parents. In the beginning, I had absolutely no idea where I wanted to go. Being from Dallas, naturally, my parents wanted me to attend a school in Texas. So we began the tours with Texas schools first such as Texas A&M, UT Dallas, UT Arlington, and the University of North Texas. These were all beautiful schools, but I could not see myself going to any of them. After touring most Texas schools, we began our journey to out-of-state schools, and our first stop was none other than the University of Oklahoma. I was very intrigued by OU because I was aware of their prestigious programs specifically their PR program offered by Gaylord College, one of the top journalism and mass communication schools in the country. I also knew I wanted to do sports PR, and OU was also known for its outstanding achievements in athletics. It was like a match made in heaven. After my tour,  I was absolutely infatuated with OU; I knew it was the school for me.

It’s hard to believe, but I have been at OU for two years now and it just keeps getting better every day. The campus has so much to offer, and I believe other public school campuses pale in comparison. On-campus living has so many opportunities and resources free for students to utilize. Resources like free tutoring and opportunities like free events held by the community activity committee or CAC. OU’s academic structure trumps many other schools as well. Most lecture classes that contain more than 100 students typically include discussion sections with the class that are limited to about 20 students maximum per discussion to make sure students are getting the one-on-one attention they need to succeed. OU also has a career center that offers help to students with a variety of real-world preparation such as resume/cover letter assistance and connections with real job/internship opportunities. These are just samples of all the wonderful things life at OU has to offer.

Podcast Blog Post

My favorite podcast to listen to is The Joe Rogan Experience through Apple podcasts. I like this podcast a lot because it is hosted by comedian and interviewer/color commentator for the UFC: Joe Rogan. I am a huge Joe Rogan fan which is the main reason I like the podcast. I have followed Joe Rogan’s stand-up comedy for years through various media outlets like YouTube and TV. I am also a huge fan of mixed martial arts and the UFC, and I have been an avid watcher of the UFC since I was a child. I have followed Joe Rogan as a commentator/interviewer for the UFC since I was a child as well, and I have always been a huge fan of him.

I enjoy his podcasts because of how different they are from typical radio talk shows/podcasts. Joe always brings in a wide diversity of guests on his podcasts. His guests can vary from athletes to renowned authors to political activists and everything in-between. Joe also covers a wide-variety of topics during his podcasts, and he always pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not. I enjoy how he is not afraid to attack controversial subjects head-on and push the boundaries of society to foster conversation and political change. His podcasts are extremely entertaining as he uses his humor to lighten the seriousness of most of his conversations, but at the same time, keeping his points and arguments informative and valid.

One of my favorite episodes is his JRE MMA Show #10 with Tyron Woodley. Tyron Woodley is the undisputed UFC welterweight champion of the world, and one of my favorite fighters. Woodley has a great personality which is showcased during the episode as him and Rogan tackle a variety of topics like banned substances in professional sports and the current state of U.S. foreign relations. If you would like to listen to this episode of The Joe Rogan Experience you can do so here.


Radio Assignment

  1. If I could own or manage a radio station I would choose to run it through social media as a medium or format. I would choose social media because for starters, social media is taking over as the main source of all media needs whether that is news, information, advertising/promotions, online-shopping, etcetera. It is a huge media platform that is free to use and has become the main way people communicate as you can easily communicate with people all over the world. The recent emergence of live-stream capabilities through social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook is exactly the tool I would use specifically for my radio station.
  2. Radio could improve social and political discussion in the U.S. because it gives the people a voice. Television and social media are great for fostering discussion over controversial topics, however, are limited outlets. Television is usually limited to public figures like celebrities and government officials; rarely do you see an everyday-person on TV talking about politics because TV is all about ratings and average joes don’t bring in ratings. Social media is a little better than TV because any average person can voice their opinion for the world to see which is great, but usually, no one will read them because, again, no one cares what average citizens typically have to say. Radio, however, provides a voice for the people that is not available through other mediums. This is because anyone can tune into a radio station, and will listen to whoever is talking whether it’s a public figure or everyday citizen. Also, anyone can participate in discussions on radio stations, and it typically does not affect listeners but encourages them to call in and do the same instead.
  3. If I were a broadcast radio executive and had to argue in favor of broadcast radio over internet radio; I would start with the argument of reliability. Broadcast radio is more reliable than internet radio because internet radio has the capability of crashing, and internet/technology can always malfunction or have technical difficulties. Broadcast radio relies on service poles. I also would make the argument of ratings. People are more likely to tune into a famous or well-known broadcast radio station than they are to tune into an internet radio stream that they come across via social media or other internet platforms.

Tales of Greybriar House

Two Teens Found Dead on Greybriar Grounds

MERCURY, Fla. — Two teens were found brutally murdered on the abandoned grounds of the Marcus Greybriar estate on Monday, January 17, 2002 at approximately 7:00 a.m.

The two teenagers identified at the crime scene are a Cameron Price, male, 17 years of age, and Julia Stallings, female, 17 years of age. The two teenagers were said to have been in a relationship lasting over two years now. The couple’s bodies were found in Price’s car, a 1997 Chevy pick-up truck. The autopsy reports show death by bullet wounds. There were multiple bullet entry and exit wounds found on both victims’ bodies. According to police reports, the shooter shot the victims at point blank, likely five to ten feet away from the car. From the point of entry of the bullets, it appears that the shooter was facing the front of the car. The bullets have been identified as .457 caliber bullets likely coming from a magnum revolver. Police Captain Jack Crenshaw states that the shooter: “likely had some kind of background military training.” In an official statement, Crenshaw claims, “After we had our CSI unit investigate the crime scene for clues and our forensics team examine the bodies, it seems undeniable that the shooter had some kind of background military training. The gunshot wounds are too precise to truly believe it was a coincidence that [the shooter] hit all of his shots in exact places he/she knew would be fatal. Usually with amateur murders, it is a messy scene. There is usually signs of a struggle between the victims and the shooter leading to a mess with a lot more evidence and clues, but this murder looks almost professional, like an assassination.” The two, Price and Stallings, were students at Greenville High School here in Mercury, Florida. The entire town is in shock, and there will be a vigil service held for the two tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. Principal Alexander Vincent has canceled school for the rest of the week following the tragic events that unfolded this morning.

This is the fourth time in the past two years that couples have been murdered at the Greybriar grounds. Police have still been unable to identify any suspects of the previous three murders on the grounds in 2000 and 2001. The city council has tried to have the grounds destroyed to prevent further events from happening. However, have been unsuccessful in their efforts because of a city ordinance that the Greybriar grounds may never be tampered with or destroyed under the decree of Joseph Greybriar, the town of Mercury’s founder, in 1841. The house and grounds have been abandoned for decades now after the disappearance of Marcus Greybriar, the last known descendant of the Greybrair name, in 1968. Marcus Greybriar strangely disappeared from his home at Greybriar manor in September of 1968. His body was never found. Since his disappearance the grounds has been a ‘lovers lane’ filled with sex, drugs, and violence.

“I’ve Just Signed Your Death Warrant,” Larry Nassar sentenced 40 to 125 years for decades of sexual abuse and child pornography

Larry Nassar, a once-renowned doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, has been sentenced 40-125 years in prison with no eligibility for parole until 2117, for years of criminal sexual abuse.

Nassar was sentenced on Monday, February 5, 2018 by Judge Janice Cunningham in Eaton County, Michigan. At his sentencing hearing, Nassar apologized for his years of sexual abuse, saying his victims’ statements “impacted me to my innermost core.” He also claimed in his apology that, “The visions of your testimonies will forever be present in my thoughts.” However, Judge Janice Cunningham was not buying it. Citing Nassar’s earlier claims of no wrongdoing, she sentenced him to a lengthy stay in prison and said that he was in “denial.” She claims that she was not convinced Nassar truly understood that what he did was not only wrong and grotesque, but the magnitude of what he did and the devastating life-long impact he has made on the victims, family and friends.

Nassar pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County. The once renowned and respected doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University admitted to using his position as a trusted doctor to sexually abuse young girls under the façade of providing medical treatment. Nassar pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges and was sentenced to 60 years in prison in December. He pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ingham County in Michigan.

The Eaton County sentence will run concurrently with the 40-175-year sentence in Ingham County, Michigan. He will serve those sentences after a separate 60-year sentence in federal prison for child pornography. Nassar will serve at least 100 years in prison, a suitable life sentence.

Nassar’s time in court was notable for the powerful, virtuous speeches from the survivors of his abuse. Nearly 200 girls and women spoke out in person or in statements at the Ingham County and Eaton County courts about how Nassar’s sexual abuse has changed their lives forever. At the Eaton County sentencing, Judge Janice Cunningham says to Nassar, “You will be left to sit there with only the memories of destroying your own family. I do not believe that you will have the ability to shut out the words of the children, and the young women and the adults who trusted you and who you let down. That will be your lifetime consequence.” Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said, “I’ve just signed your death warrant,” as she delivered the sentence.

Nassar is a gross example of the injustice our flawed legal system provides. He is the product of what happens when the people in power stand idly by and do nothing in the face of controversy. The fact that Nassar got away with what he did for so long to an exponential number of girls and young women is a disgrace and tragedy. Nassar is not the only guilty person in this case. The people in power at Michigan State University, U.S. Women’s Gymnastics, and all other organizations involved with Larry Nassar are equally as guilty as he is for ignoring the cries of victims, and for protecting a monster to keep the image of their organization/program in tact and unblemished. They will get what’s coming for them, and I hope this is a message to the rest of the world that women and men stand together to put an end to sexual abuse.


Cleveland Cavaliers Trade Deadline

The days leading up to the NBA trade deadline on February 8th, 2018 have been frantic filled with lots of rumors and tensions between players and organizations. There were many surprising trades leading up to the deadline day such as the Blake Griffin trade to the Detroit Pistons on January 29th. However, there were no more surprising trades than the trades the Cleveland Cavaliers made on Feb. 8th, let’s start from the top:

Cleveland starts off the day with a bold trade in dealing SG Dwayne Wade to his alma mater in the Miami Heat for a protected second-round pick. This trade shocked a lot of people, but in the grand scheme of things, was not very surprising. Dwayne Wade has been in the twilight years of his career for several seasons now, and as sad as it is to say, his career will be coming to an end very soon. It is only fitting, not just for Miami Heat fans, but all NBA fans to see Dwayne Wade finish out his career where he started. I give this trade a grade: A-. The Cavs lose a reliable bench player and veteran presence, but gain an extra pick to add some much-needed youth to a team with an unclear future (and maybe some incentive for Lebron to stay).

The next big move of the day was a hefty one. A three-team trade that involved the Cavs, Utah Jazz, and Sacramento Kings. The details of the trade are as follows:

Cleveland Cavaliers get:

  • SG Rodney Hood (UTAH)
  • G George Hill (SAC)

Utah Jazz get:

  • PG Derrick Rose (CLE)
  • F Jae Crowder (CLE)

Sacremento Kings get:

  • SG Joe Johnson (UTAH)
  • SG Iman Shumpert (CLE)
  • 2020 second-round pick (via Miami)

I give this trade a grade: B+. This trade may not solve Cleveland’s long-term issues, but it does provide some immediate and much needed improvements to a struggling Cavs team. Both Rodney Hood and George Hill’s stats across the board are better than Rose, Shumpert and Crowder’s. Hill and Hood both trump all 3 Cavs players in stats such as player efficiency rating, field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, and points per game. The Cavs may lose a little help on the defensive side of the ball with the departure of Jae Crowder, but that issue seems miniscule to what they have gained on the offensive side of the ball, especially with an injured Kevin Love out of the starting lineup. This is exactly what the struggling Cavs need who have lost 9 of their last 15 games by an average of 20 points per game.

The final and biggest trade of the day for the Cavs is with the Los Angeles Lakers; the details of the trade are as follows:

Los Angeles Lakers get:

PG Isaiah Thomas, F Channing Frye, and Cleveland’s 2018 first-round pick (protected)

Cleveland Cavaliers get:

PG Jordan Clarkson and F Larry Nance Jr.

I give this trade a grade: C+. Much like the rest of the world, I was incredibly shocked when I first heard of this trade. Most people think this was a terrible decision by the Cavs front office because they gave up too much for two players that come off the bench for a 23-31 Lakers team. However, this trade is not as bad as it seems. The addition of Nance Jr. and Clarkson helps bolster a slacking Cavs bench that collectively averages only 5.3 PPG. Channing Frye has been averaging only 4.8 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 0.3 BLKPG, and has a player efficiency rating of 14.02 for the 2017-18 season thus far while averaging 12.4 minutes per game. Nance Jr. has been averaging 8.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 0.5 BLKPG, and has a player efficiency rating of 19.57 (2017-18 season thus far) while averaging 22 minutes per game. The difference between the two is nothing extraordinary, but it is enough to make a difference. The largest surprise out of this trade was the dealing of former All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas. Isaiah Thomas is coming off a hip injury after what was a career 2016-17 season with the Boston Celtics, leading them to a #1 postseason seed and to the Eastern Conference Finals where they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1. It is safe to say everyone was heartbroken to hear about his injury, and then his trade to Cleveland for PG Kyrie Irving. It is also safe to say everyone was expecting the former All-Star to make a fierce comeback and provide Lebron James and company some sure needed star-power. However, it is again safe to say, we were all gravely disappointed. Isaiah Thomas has been a shell of his former self this 2017-18 season thus far. As the starting point guard for the Cavs this season, Thomas has only averaged 14.7 PPG as opposed to a league-best 28.9 PPG in 2016. His minutes per game have significantly dropped from 33.8 minutes per game during the 2016-17 season to 27.1 minutes per game this season. That being said, Jordan Clarkson has been averaging 14.5 PPG coming off the bench for the Lakers this season, he is ranked top 3 among points per game for a reserve player in the NBA. If Nance Jr. and Clarkson keep producing off the bench like they have been doing this season, this will not only seal the Cavs fate of making it back to the NBA finals, but will also help them long term. Clarkson’s is under contract and will not be a free agent until 2020 and Nance Jr. will not be a free agent until 2019. Their youth also brings a ray of sunshine for a Cavs team with a bleak future, as Clarkson and Nance Jr. are both only 25 years old. I believe the trade will provide immediate and long-term relief for a struggling Cavs team, but I do not believe Clarkson and Nance Jr. are worth a first-round pick as well, which is why I graded this trade the way I did.

I give the Cleveland Cavaliers an overall trade grade of: B-. I give this grade because I understand the trades that the Cavs made for the most part. The Cleveland Cavaliers have dominated the regular season and the Eastern Conference since Lebron’s move back to Cleveland. This year, however, the Cavs have been struggling worse than previous years with a record of 32-22, their worst record through the first 54 games in 4 seasons. They are also currently in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference standings behind #1 Boston and #2 Toronto. After losing 9 of their last 15 games and 7 of those games being blown leads heading into the 4th quarter, it was about time for the front office to make some changes. With these trades, the Cavs have sealed their destiny of making it back to the NBA finals, but were these trades enough to help the Cavs dethrone the unstoppable, reigning-champion Golden State Warriors? Most likely not, but the trades should help the struggling Cavs and potentially help them keep Lebron James this offseason.