Sitting through an hour long lecture is usually not the most exciting aspect of my day. In fact I don’t think sitting through an hour long lecture has ever excited me at all (don’t get me wrong, lectures are great and a very important aspect to University curriculums, just not exciting). Except for today.
Today Cardinal John P. Foley was my teacher. Dressed in a black robe with red ribbing he sat in front of our Public Relations class and spoke about his experience in the ever changing media world. From a young boy who loved the radio to organising aspects of Pope John Paul II’s funeral, Foley’s story was amazing, inspiring, exciting.
As a young journalism student myself, I was inspired by this great man in front of me. He was successful because he worked hard, challenged himself (and the people and institutions around him), and most of all believed in himself. But what inspired me the most was that Cardinal Foley was funny.
With all the pressure and expectation that he faces in his job each day, Cardinal Foley maintained a great sense of humour. And it was this humour that made us all sit up and listen. Through this, Foley engaged with his audience and I don’t think that one student left that lecture disappointed.
However, the lecture was not just fun and games. It was a PR class and Foley gave us three main truths that make a great PR/Media professional.
Never Lie. Always, always, always tell the truth.
Do not exploit people – don’t make people think that it is more important to have than to be.
Make sure your communication serves the common good – be dedicated to improving society.
Cardinal Foley’s lecture was dedicated to truth and honesty. He said, “Be good. But if you can’t be good be honest about not being good… Handle controversy with honesty.”
And that’s what I learn’t from the lecture. Oh and that it is possible to love and enjoy your job.
Cardinal John P. Foley is giving another lecture Is Religion Still Good News? Friday February 1st 7pm at St. Thomas More Newman Center.