Button Magazine Breaks into Portland’s Hipster Scene


I just landed the opportunity to work with an amazing client through my new internship with Allen Hall Public Relations (AHPR), the student-run PR agency at the University of Oregon: Button Magazine. My account team and I had the chance to pour over the magazine’s press kit before Button magazine’s launch on March 30, 2009. Here are some of the highlights:


Button magazine will inform, answer to, and entertain the unique, twenty-something Portland hipster demographic. Button promises to provide exclusive articles on music, fashion, and sex/relationships, accurate facts, a well-balanced tone, and original photography from various local contributors and sources.


Portland, Oregon is a booming metropolis, and while it has always had its native hipsters—currently, the scene is bigger than ever. Twenty-somethings are flooding the scene in search of indie bands, fashionable moccasins, and Vespa dealers. Portland is a highly innovative city in the nation in terms of music, fashion, art, character and community. Button magazine will inform, answer to, and entertain one of the largest populations in Portland.


Fashion. With Portlander Leann Marshall winning season five of Bravo’s Project Runway, Portland fashion is making a name for itself on a national level. The many boutiques that line the streets of Portland’s popular districts offer one-of-a-kind frocks and the latest trends.

Music. TripAdvisor.com has named Portland one of the “Top Ten Alternative/ Indie Music Cities in the World,” and now it has recently become a great debate of whether or not Portland has overtaken Seattle as the indie rock music “Mecca of America.”

Sex. Portlanders are known to embrace feeling good in their own skin. Moreover, between the ages of 18 and 31, hormones are still raging. Men and women at this age are serial daters and relationship regulars. Bars are used more as a flirting fishpond than an actual drinking hangout. Portlanders are sexy, sassy, single and ready to mingle.


Brittany McGrath is a Portland native and University of Oregon graduate. She has previously worked for Lucky magazine in New York City, Surface magazine in San Francisco, Intentionally Urban and Wend magazines in Portland, Oregon, and Flux magazine at the University of Oregon.

Button magazine is a bi-monthly publication and will be available in print and online. I will be posting more information about Button magazine as the first issue nears publication.

Twitter account coming soon!



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Goodbye Gossip Magazines, Hello Twitter Accounts!

twitter-logoYou know when you learn a new word? The kind of word that you never noticed, and then one day you learn its definition, and the word seems to be ubiquitous? (Confession: “ubiquitous” was one of those words for me). This is how I feel about Twitter. Twitter is a “micro blogging” service that lets you say whatever you want in no more than 140 characters. Until recently, I was in the dark about Twitter. Now, I can’t seem to escape it. Twitter users are increasing everyday, and some of them are quite famous.


The other day I came across a post from E!Online, which complained that celebrities were using Twitter to “clog our homepage.”

While I agree that excessive, pointless updates are irritating, there is a simple solution: stop following the offender. I think Twitter is a great tool for celebrities because it lets them control their image. While gossip magazines are on the constant hunt for celebrities’ perfect photos or statements, Twitter is one step ahead. Twitter gives celebrities the opportunity to post their perfect photo or their perfect statement.

I predict that in the future more high-profile people will use Twitter as a form of personal PR. It’s an easy way to let people know what you are doing and what interests you. There are no frills and certainly no rambling phrases. Twitter forces communication to be concentrated, to the point, and brief, which are three elements I look for in a gossip magazine.

As I have started to pull more and more of my news from Twitter posts, I have neglected other news sites, such as CNN and Newser. This is because they have Twitter pages! I used to scan the latest gossip magazines for celebrity updates, but now I can get them from Twitter, and the updates are directly from the person (well, most of the time).

Here is list of some famous Twitter users that I found amusing:

Lance Armstrong

Jimmy Fallon

Britney Spears

Rainn Wilson

Demi Moore

MC Hammer
He really is too legit to quit. MC Hammer has made an impressive comeback using social media tools. Check out this blog post titled, “How MC Hammer went from caricature to human being-the social media story.”

Questions: Who are you following on Twitter? Have you found your favorite stars? Do you like the way they use Twitter?


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Be PRepared

pen-on-paperFor me, it’s a recurring nightmare: I show up in class unprepared and the professor calls on me. My face burns red, my mouth goes dry and my hands begin to tremble. Although I despise this nightmare, I am also grateful for it, because it motivates me to finish my assignments before class. I also dread the awkward silence that falls upon a class when the professor asks a question and no one responds. It’s the kind of silence that is deafening, loud with racing minds and fidgeting fingers.

I recently read a post by Leo Bottary (a PR professional for over 25 years) that reminded me of the importance of preparation. His story highlights the value of preparation in the workplace. As a senior in college, about to interview for jobs, his story is insightful and motivating.

Background: In his early twenties, Bottary worked for an agency that was one of seven other agencies interviewing for a prospective client. Before the interview, Bottary and four of his fellow employees complied 500 pages of research on the company and the industry. Their research made them an instant stand-out at the interview and ultimately landed Bottary’s agency a seven figure account.

Although it seems like common sense to know a bit about the company you are working with, Bottary’s success story proves that going the extra mile in terms of researching the client pays off (literally).

Best piece of advice:

By asking questions that are above the basic and beyond the obvious, you’ll save time, impress your client, and leave the meeting with the kind of insights that will help you craft truly outstanding PR recommendations.” -Leo Bottary

Three blog posts that focus on tips/advice for young PR professionals:

1. Six Suggestions to the Young PR Professional

From Rick Liebling, the Global Director, Client Management, for Taylor, a PR agency with offices in NY, LA, London, Chicago and Charlotte.

2. What I Want PR and Marketing Professionals to Know

From Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs and a 10 year veteran of using social media. He has 41,030 followers on Twitter!!!

3. Wait! That’s Not Me (As Seen on Google)

From University of Oregon PR student, Amanda Ip. Gives tips on how to provide a digital footprint that’s really you.

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Who Wouldn’t Want a Second Brain?


Web 2.0 applicatons were completely foreign to me until a few weeks ago, when I had to research a web 2.0 application as part of a class assignment. After browsing “The Complete Web 2.0 Sites Directory” for nearly an hour and a half, I discovered Secondbrain.


The purpose of Secondbrain is to import content from all your favorite services to one place. You can browse and search all of your content, organize your content and keep track of your content in a single library. You can also find people through content, and content through people.

People who have a wide variety of social media accounts, i.e. del.icio.us, wordpress, blogger, Google Docs, flickr, etc. would be most interested in this application.

Pros of Secondbrain:

  • Follow people with similar interests and browse their content
  • Save other people’s content to your library
  • The list of icons under the users’ profile pictures allows quick and easy access to their social media sites

Cons of Secondbrain:

  • The overall design is cluttered and not the easiest to navigate
  • People might be hesitant to upload their content because the site is not extremely well-known
  • Some profiles have too much extraneous information to sift through

This application could be used in a PR context because it is an easy way to showcase all the different social media platforms that you use. You could send a link to potential employers and let them track all of your content on one website. This application could also be helpful in terms of sharing content with fellow employees.

Overall, I think this application is well on its way to becoming a useful tool for avid social media users. The design lay-out needs some work in terms of organization, but the way users can organize their personal content is very user-friendly. I looked at the CEO Lars Teigan’s Secondbrain page to see how he manages his content on the site. He has by far the most “followers” and a large library full of content. For me, this helped to legitimize his site to see him taking advantage of all the benefits Secondbrain has to offer. I think the key to making this application useful is to register more users and motivate them to share their content with other users.

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Diggin’ up the Dirt

dirty-shovelAs part of this blog assignment for my Advanced PR Writing class, I will write one post each week in response to a link that my professor (Kelli Matthews) posts on her blog, PRos in Training. I’m going to respond to Peter Shankman’s blog post “Be Careful What You Post.”

Shankman’s post points out one huge caveat in the world of social media: What you write online is public and accessible to everyone. One particular situation involved the social networking site Twitter and Ketchum PR account executive/vice president, James Andrews. Andrews flew to Memphis to visit FedEx, one of Ketchum’s biggest clients, to make a presentation on social media. While in Memphis, he made this update on his personal Twitter account:

True confession but I’m in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say, ‘I would die if I had to live here.’”

It wasn’t long before this post spread like wildfire. People at FedEx were extremely offended, and it sent Ketchum and Andrews into a PR tizzy. Now, all seems quiet on the Twitter/Ketchum/FedEx front, but it taught social media users an important lesson: Be careful when posting online.

Since the moment I created my Facebook profile, my parents have lightly warned, “You better be careful with that stuff. No one from your generation will be able to run for public office. There is no privacy anymore. What you post online will come back to haunt you.”

While I agree with this to some extent, I also realize the positive opportunities that come with using social media. They allow endless opportunities to network, keep in touch with friends and stay informed.

In life, we strive to put our best foot forward everyday. We want people to see the best version of ourselves. I think the same can be true for our “online” selves. Whether this means “de-tagging” that unflattering picture of you taking a keg stand, or being mindful of your audience when updating your “status” on Facebook or Twitter, it is important to realize that people, other than friends and family are looking at what you post.

From a PR standpoint, the internet is perhaps one of the greatest tools. It allows PR practitioners to communicate, collaborate and influence on a limitless level. For me, the world of social media is exciting and a bit daunting. My goal for this blog experiment is to be honest and transparent. And careful. What goes online stays online, whether we like it or not.

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Jumping on the Blog Wagon

I have started this blog as an assignment for my Advanced Public Relations Writing course at the University of Oregon with professor Kelli Matthews. I will be graduating this spring with a major in journalism/public relations and a minor in theatre arts.

Allen Hall, University of Oregon

My aim is to focus this blog on insights and information that I learn through my PR coursework and keep up with other PR related blogs. Also, I want to explore the theatre blogosphere and search for posts that intrigue and inspire me.

I wanted my first post to tell a little bit about myself. I decided to compile a list of the top 5 things I couldn’t live without:

  1. Family: I am a triplet. My sister is a senior at the University of Oregon too, and my brother plays tennis for Santa Clara University in northern California. I also have a little sister who is a junior in high school.
  2. Daily planner: It is filled with meetings, rehearsal times, sorority events and class assignments. It keeps my busy days organized.
  3. Theatre: Watching plays/ acting in plays/ reading plays, I love it all. I can’t wait for the Academy Awards on February 22nd.
  4. Friends: Always inspiring, never boring and fabulous.
  5. Buddy: My family dog, who is the most adorable golden retriever on the planet.

I can’t wait to get my blog rolling and learn more about social media through this process. Thanks for stopping by!

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