MBA, former TV news reporter helping Wright State grab headlines
By Rau D. Rader
When you meet Seth Bauguess, after just a few minutes it’s easy to see why the university trusts this young professional to lead its public relations efforts.
Well-read, well-spoken and well-dressed, this morning he seems particularly excited about the news coverage of a couple recent stories his office has coordinated.
“Did you see the gift announcement coverage? We got 31 clips,” Bauguess spouted proudly. “The ad. (advertisement) value alone was over $13,000 and that’s based on the idea that a 20-column inch ad. or 30-second commercial is worth the same as a 20-column inch story or 30-second VOSOT. Most people would say the stories are worth more.”
VOSOT stands for voice over, sound on tape to the uninitiated viewing audience not familiar with the acronym that any TV newsie would know in their sleep.
Flanked by diplomas from the University of Cincinnati (’01, BFA in Electronic Media), Wright State (’13, Master of Business Administration), and a twisted knot of media credentials and lanyards, Bauguess, who is director of communications for Wright State University, unabashedly displays clues to both his newsroom roots and business school training.
“Seth possesses a unique skillset of business acumen (top 3% of his MBA class), public relations insight, and media relations wisdom that is unmatched in our organization. He excels at thinking and planning strategically, but also executes at the tactical level with equal effectiveness,” said Berkwood Farmer, former dean of the Raj Soin College of Business.
Focused on identifying ROI (return on investment) and KPIs (key performance indicators) in a news and public relations landscape that hinges on squishy metrics like estimated viewership, listenership and readership, Bauguess seems to relish interpreting the data and driving Wright State’s media coverage with an informed media strategy that’s got the university in the news more than ever.
“The keys are our relationships with our local newsrooms, and understanding the notion of brand journalism. We tell Wright State’s story. And we do it with former journalists who are aching to advocate for something worth fighting for,” said Bauguess. “Our staff may be small, but we are mighty. And of course they are very talented. Everybody in hear succeeded first in the news, and then came to PR.”
After ten years in local television news as a general assignment reporter, Bauguess left the life in 2010 when it got too hard for his family. When it came time to look for a job, contacts at Wright State remembered how he had thrown himself into positive stories about the university when he was at WKEF/WRGT-TV in Dayton. As luck would have it, when he needed to get out, they wanted to bring a TV newsman in.
Bauguess manages the Office of Communications, which creates content for the Wright State Newsroom — a news website just as likely to have a story about a graduate researcher leveraging the convergence of massive data and social science to help with natural disaster relief efforts, as it is to have a story sharing that Tom Hanks is the new co-chair for Rise.Shine. The Campaign for Wright State University.
“He (Seth) puts a lot of thought into his work. He is detail oriented and deadline driven with stellar results,” said Greg Scharer, executive director of Alumni Relations.
Bauguess asserts the Newsroom is the engine that makes those communications results possible, though he manages other communications platforms that also have impact. “Stories on it populate websites across campus, we pitch with them to the media and the reporters follow the site and our related social media channels too,” he said.
Of course Communications doesn’t just get stories placed in the news, it also manages critical internal communications email platforms that disseminate messages to students, staff and faculty. Whether it be the president’s weekly letter, the latest reminder from Human Resources or a Wright State Alert winter weather message that closes campus, Bauguess and his staff carry the responsibility of shaping and sending timely university messages to an audience of over 20,000 people.
“We want that responsibility, we care so much about getting that message right and getting it out fast that we’re just hard-wired that way and you see it in our passion to communicate to campus and tell compelling stories,” said Bauguess. “I just try and put our people in position to succeed and then get out of their way.”
Wright State seems to be learning quickly that the Bauguess way gets results.