Carmen Luisa Coya: Insights from a Media Strategist

How has the communications landscape changed in recent decades? What are the fastest growing fields in the areas of communications and public relations?

Media Relations Consultant Carmen Luisa Coya answered these and other questions at JCU on March 19. She was invited to give a lecture entitled “Effective Media Strategies,” in the context of Professor Antonella Salvatore‘s course “Retailing Applied to Fashion.”

Carmen Luisa Coya

Carmen Luisa Coya

Ms. Coya worked on “Maná Unplugged,” which earned a Grammy and three Latin Grammy Awards. She has worked as a video editor for “Through the Eyes of Andrew,” a National Emmy Award-winning documentary for FOX affiliate WSVN. As Executive Producer, Carmen has assisted in the launch of Pan American Sports Network, a 24-hour sports channel broadcast in Latin America and the Caribbean. Coya worked on documentaries that chronicled the lives of sports great like Tiger Woods, Venus and Serena Williams, Maradona, and Pele and that were enjoyed by millions from Mexico to Brazil, and to the farthest reach in Argentina.

Coya began by explaining how the communications field changed since the late 1980s and early 1990s and talked about how the advent of social media altered the landscape. This was also the time that more women began to work in the industry.

The beginning of the 2000s was characterized by various financial uncertainties and many changes in the working world. In other words, if in the 90s pretty much every job consisted of fulfilling a few specific tasks, in the 2000s people were required to do more.

Coya explained that the communications industry today is one of the toughest to work in. The long hours make it especially difficult to reconcile career and personal life. She claimed that 75% of people in communications end up divorcing .This is why, in order to thrive in this difficult business, one has to have “direction, guidance, and discipline”. She asked students in the audience, “What is it that you want to do?” and said, “Never lose sight of your final goal and be willing to put a maximum of effort and commitment into your job.”

According to Coya, the fastest growing areas in communications and public relations are crisis and events management. Crisis management, which is the application of strategies designed to help an organization deal with emergencies and significant negative events, is especially important in today’s social media era. Events management, says Coya, is a fundamental component of an organization’s marketing strategy. A successful event, shared on social media, can do wonders to build brand awareness.

Coya concluded by stating that the future will require people in the communications field to do much more than what they are currently doing. For example, a few years ago journalists were only responsible for writing, while today they must also be able to shoot videos and take photos. Today’s graduates, more than ever before, must to be able to creatively transform what they have learned in college into skills applicable to the “real world.”