ProfNet Experts Available on Interest Rate, Trucking Industry, Careers and More

Also in This Edition: Jobs for Writers, Media Industry Blog Posts

Dec 21, 2015, 12:35 ET from ProfNet

NEW YORK, Dec. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Below are experts from the ProfNet network that are available to discuss timely issues in your coverage area.

You can also submit a query to the hundreds of thousands of experts in our network – it's easy and free! Just fill out the query form to get started:


  • Interest Rate Hike's Profound Impact on Energy
  • New Rule of the Road: Electronic Driver Logs
  • Businesses Must Use PR as a Strategic Business-Building Tool
  • Brands Capitalizing on 'Star Wars' Release
  • New Year, New Career -- Social Media and Your Job Search
  • Improved Paid Leave Necessary to Keep the U.S. Productive


  • Digital Content Producer – FOX31 (CO)
  • News Reporter – Univision Television (IL)
  • Anchor – Bloomberg Radio (NY)


  • Five Video Trends for 2016
  • 2016 Journalism and Media Predictions
  • A Conversation With NPR's Here and Now


Interest Rate Hike's Profound Impact on Energy
Rakhee Patel
Reorganization and Restructuring Attorney
Shackelford, Melton, McKinley & Norton, LLP in Dallas
Some are lauding the Federal Reserve's short-term interest rate hike as a vote of confidence in the U.S. economy, but the higher rates could bring significant repercussions for the already-shaky energy industry. Says Patel: "While this move will likely strengthen the dollar, that may be a cause of grave concern for energy exploration and production (E&P) companies that will now be faced with higher borrowing costs. The impact will be most profoundly felt by the high number of domestic oil and gas producers that were barely hanging on in a business environment that was enjoying historically low interest rates. Not only will a stronger dollar likely serve to further drive down oil prices, but the higher interest rate also will make credit more scarce and more expensive for these companies."
Contact Rhonda Reddick,

New Rule of the Road: Electronic Driver Logs
Peyton Inge
Chamblee, Ryan, Kershaw & Anderson in Dallas
An estimated 3 million commercial drivers must now electronically record their hours behind the wheel under a new government rule designed to prevent driver fatigue. Special devices automatically record driving time by monitoring engine hours, vehicle movement, miles driven and location information. While some truckers have complained that the devices are no more effective than paper logs, regulators estimate the industry will save $1 billion per year through paperwork reductions, while also saving lives and preventing accidents. Says Inge: "Most large companies already use electronic logs, so the regulations will most directly affect smaller operators, forcing even the unwilling to comply. The long-term effects should be positive as drivers and companies won't be able skirt the rules, and the roads will presumably be safer." The rule goes into effect in February, and drivers will have two years to start using the devices.
Contact: Barry Pound,

Businesses Must Use PR as a Strategic Business-Building Tool
Jennefer Witter
The Boreland Group Inc.
"Businesses need to use public relations as a strategic business-building tool, allowing them to get their 'unfair share' of attention. It will contribute to a greater market share and protect and increase their growth."
Witter is an expert on PR and small-business topics, such as media relations, cause-related marketing, personal branding and networking. She is the author of "The Little Book of BIG PR: 100+ Quick Tips to Get Your Small Business Noticed" (AMACOM, 2014), as well as several articles on public relations, and has an upcoming piece on personal branding set for publication in AMA Magazine in 2016. An active speaker, she has presented at the 92nd Street Y, American University, the Women's Presidents Organization, and The Power Conference, to name a few. She was selected as one of the country's top 10 black CEOs/entrepreneurs by Madame Noir Magazine in 2013 and is an active advocate for women in business. . She has been featured in the Huffington Post, Associated Press and, to name a few.
Contact: Cheryl Sloofman,

Brands Capitalizing on 'Star Wars' Release
Janee N. Burkhalter, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Marketing
Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia
Brands in virtually every market are capitalizing on the release of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." From CoverGirl cosmetics to Duracell batteries, General Mills cereals to Chrysler Fiat models, "the Force" is all around us. Says Burkhalter: "Typically in the entertainment industry, consumers think of co-branding in the form of brand placement, but there is no opportunity for this in 'Star Wars' because it is set in a fantasy world." While Han Solo doesn't have a preferred soda brand and Princess Leia doesn't wear designer jeans, the fantasy aspect of the films that prevents brand placement may enable increased opportunities for licensing. "Licensing deals are arguably more successful when the secondary product fits the brand's image, theme and target audience," says Burkhalter, "but with 'Star Wars' and other fantasy franchises, the rules are a bit looser, opening up opportunities to partner with more products" -- which is why this holiday season, consumers can find something for every "Star Wars" fan on their list, like a Death Star cookie jar, a storm trooper alarm clock or a game day T-shirt featuring Yoda or Darth Vader from dozens of NCAA teams. "It's about selling an experience and trying to develop relationships with the consumers," says Burkhalter. "The theater-going experience is a one-time connection, so movie brands have to look for other opportunities to engage and build a fan base. 'Star Wars' and Disney are looking to broaden and reenergize their audience, and co-branding is one way they can accomplish that goal."
Burkhalter has published in a variety of journals, including the Journal of Advertising, Journal of Marketing Communications, Journal of Promotion Management, and Business Horizons. She is also co-editor of the book "Maximizing Commerce and Marketing Strategies through Micro-Blogging." Her research interests include entertainment, new media, consumer relationships and pedagogy.
Contact: Colleen Sabatino,

New Year, New Career -- Social Media and Your Job Search
Jodi R. Berkshire
Assistant Director of Career Services
The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale
"If your current resume is producing results, you must be doing something right. But if you're not getting the response you want, maybe it's time to try a new resume strategy for the new year. Most job seekers create one resume and send that same resume to every employer. Big mistake! Take a few minutes and tailor each resume to the job you want. In this computer age, it's easy to do and it will pay off."
Kicking off the new year with a new job search means updating and polishing your resume. Berkshire can provide tips and advice that will help your resume get noticed for all of the right reasons.  She has been assisting students and graduates in finding field-related jobs and internships since 2007, and delivers frequent lectures and workshops on resume writing, interviewing skills, starting a freelance business and other college-to-career subjects.
Contact: Mandy Wilson,

Improved Paid Leave Necessary to Keep the U.S. Productive
Lucy R. Ford, Ph.D.
Director of the Managing Human Capital Program, Professor of Management
Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia
It's a reality that most Americans will face at one time or another: the necessity to suspend work to care for a new baby or an adopted child, an ailing spouse or a parent, or to receive medical treatment for themselves. Yet, "the United States is the only developed country in the world without legislation for paid leave," says Ford, who has been quoted in the New York Times regarding changes in paid time off (PTO). Ford believes improved policies may eventually be a necessity to keep our nation competitive. "There is extensive research that links paid family and medical leave to employee retention, satisfaction and productivity, and companies that can afford to run the analytics on these policies are often implementing them," says Ford. Currently, only three states have legislation requiring employers to offer paid family and medical leave – New Jersey, California and Rhode Island – but earlier this month, legislation was introduced that, if passed, would grant up to 16 weeks of paid family and medical leave to eligible working residents of the District of Columbia. The Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015 would amend the D.C. Family Leave Act (which offered 16 unpaid weeks) and proposes the largest amount of paid family or medical leave mandated by law in any U.S. state. A number of factors have caused this issue to resurface in the national media and on the political stage. Among them, this proposed act, and the surge of progressive, large-scale corporations like Virgin, Netflix and Microsoft making headlines with "generous" maternity, paternity, family and/or medical paid leave policies (ranging from 5 to 12 months). "For companies that have already taken a flexible, human-capital centered approach, valuing their talent and showing concern for the retention of employees, I think we will continue to see these more generous paid leave policies emerge," says Ford. With some of the country's most innovative and powerful companies leading this trend and seeing proven benefits to paid leave, will legislation still be necessary? "Absolutely," says Ford, who predicts sweeping changes can only be expected if federal legislation is passed.
Ford's areas of expertise include leadership development, team leadership, human resources, employee relations, human resource policy and legal issues, performance management, survey development and administration.
Contact: Colleen Sabatino,



Following are links to job listings for staff and freelance writers, editors and producers. You can view these and more job listings on our Job Board:

  • Digital Content Producer – FOX31 (CO)
  • News Reporter – Univision Television (IL)
  • Anchor – Bloomberg Radio (NY)



Following are links to other news and resources we think you might find useful. If you have an item you think other reporters would be interested in and would like us to include in a future alert, please drop us a line.

  • FIVE VIDEO TRENDS FOR 2016. 2015 was "the year of social video," and nothing indicates that trend will slow down in the new year. In fact, experts predict video will emerge as the dominant medium on the Internet, more prevalent than text or pictures in the year ahead. We asked a few experts for their take on the top five video trends for 2016:
  • JOURNALISM AND MEDIA PREDICTIONS FOR 2016: It's that time of year -- everyone is making predictions about the presidential election, the economy, climate change, and media is no different. What changes will take place in the journalism and social media world? Here are links to predictions from Bloomberg, Nieman Lab and more:
  • A CONVERSATION WITH NPR'S HERE AND NOW. "Here and Now" is a live production of NPR and WBUR Boston that reaches an estimated 3.7 million weekly listeners on more than 424 stations across the country. The show, co-hosted by award winning journalists Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson, began in 1997, expanded to two hours in 2013, and features innovators, artists and newsmakers from around the globe. Dean Russell, the show's associate producer, shared some info about the show, what makes it so unique and poignant, and his thoughts on the future of radio:


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