What not to do if you’re a PR student

I Google myself, don’t you?

Last week I came across a search result that was disturbing. The search came back with a result that said a web page was an interview with me, Brian Camen. Once I clicked on the web page, it wasn’t me. It was an interview with someone by the name of Logan Herb.

At least that’s what it said it was…

I started reading the interview and Logan Herb sounded exactly like me. He does PR for a business school, originally from New Jersey and had the same internships as me while in college!

As you can tell, it was supposed to be an interview with me. It turns out a public relations student created a fake interview with me for a class assignment. The student posted the assignment to his/her blog (which the blog itself seems to be a class assignment as well). The student originally posted my name on the interview, but changed it. He/she did not realize Google catches everything.

The student created questions and make fake answers based on the about me page on my blog, my PRopenmic.com profile and my twitter account. There were also responses to questions in this fake interview that I would never give, such as PR pros should be responsive and witty on a daily basis. Witty, really? Even better, the student has me compliment him/her during the interview.

Students: There are tons of PR pros that are willing to help you by providing advice and informational interviews. You can find pros in the social media world or on any media relations page on a company Web site. Don’t be afraid to approach them and ask for advice when needed.

What this student did was extremely unethical. Using my name in false pretense is disturbing. I’m here to help, please don’t take advantage of my services.

*I decided not to publish the student’s name or blog for the protection of his/her future in our industry.

13 Responses to “What not to do if you’re a PR student”

  1. Kellye Crane - May 4th, 2009

    Brian- you are being very kind to this student by not publishing his/her name. Let’s hope the person learns some morals before inflicting such fraudulent behavior on an unsuspecting employer.

    [Reply]

  2. Karen Russell - May 4th, 2009

    I’m with Kellye, I’m glad you’re giving the student a chance. I hope they know, though, that not everyone in life will be so kind. And I hope you’re making sure the student is aware of this post.

    [Reply]

  3. Andromeda Edison - May 4th, 2009

    There should be a class just on how not to get yourself in trouble on the Internet. I have been doing seminars for students and am amazed at how little they think about it. But for a PR student it is even more important that they know how to behave and what can happen.

    [Reply]

  4. tyler hurst - May 4th, 2009

    Far, far too nice to a student who has absolutely no idea what they’re doing. We are way too nice when crap like this happens.

    How stupid is this generation?

    [Reply]

  5. Dawn Gilpin - May 4th, 2009

    Did you email the student to let him or her know you’d discovered the deceit?

    [Reply]

  6. Robert French - May 4th, 2009

    Well, I have to agree that you’re being kind. Not so sure I would be. At the very least I would have written to the student, which I’m guessing you did. I found the blog via a simple Google search. It has been taken down.

    [Reply]

  7. admin - May 4th, 2009

    Thank you all for your comments. I did not e-mail the student directly. When I first found the fake interview, I e-mailed his/her professor. The professor said, if my allegations were true (which they are) she would take care of the situation.

    I am sure the student will seen the post and all your comments. I’m hoping the student has learned a lesson. While I still haven’t contacted the student directly, I’m curious to know if he/she was just plain lazy and didn’t want to conduct a real interview or I was targeted for some odd reason?

    [Reply]

  8. Karen Russell - May 4th, 2009

    Robert, I checked with Brian to make sure the prof had been contacted. I just was glad Brian handled it offline so the student has a chance to learn from this mistake (read: horrible lapse of judgment) — no one’s going to hire the person whose first Google result is this post. Ever.

    [Reply]

  9. Robert French - May 4th, 2009

    Brian and Karen, thanks for the updates. Good to hear the professor was contacted. I know I’d want to hear about it.

    Karen, your observation about the Google result is a good one. I’m trying not to imagine it now: “Class assignment makes me unemployable.” Believe me, I’ve thought about that one over the years. Too harsh of a life-lesson for one class assignment? Perhaps so.

    [Reply]

  10. DeAnna Troupe - May 31st, 2009

    I’m so glad you were nice enough to give this student a chance to redeem themselves. The job market is tough enough without having something like that following you around.

    [Reply]

  11. Kristie Aylett, APR - May 31st, 2009

    The creativity that it took for the student to make up the supposed interview and quotes would have been better channeled into impressing you. Now you think of him/her as a slacker, the professor will watch his/her every move until graduation and beyond, and the college may add academic dishonesty to the permanent record. Ouch.

    I’ve had students copy research papers from “free term paper” sites and then be surprised that I could find them too. Just takes a quick search for a suspicious phrase. Now, when I discuss academic dishonesty during the first session, I tell them, “If you found it online, odds are I can too. Don’t be stupid enough to copy off the Internet.”

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Now off to Google myself.

    [Reply]

  12. admin - May 31st, 2009

    DeAnna – If I would have posted his name, this post probably would have become even more viral and his/her chance of landing an internship/position would not have been so high.

    Kristie – Thanks for your comments. Anyone can find anything online these days. Hope your google search didn’t turn up any surprises!

    -Brian

    [Reply]

  13. Danielle Stewart - June 1st, 2009

    Thanks for the comment on my blog!
    I am also glad that you decided not to name the student. Yes, what he did was wrong and a huge mistake. Still, I would hope that the professor dealt with it and that he learned his lesson. It truly would have ended his career before it even began. Hopefully, that student is grateful and realizes the consequences that could have been if you weren’t such a forgiving person!

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply