Doane alum’s PR firm merges with Elm PR

Praytell Strategy, the Brooklyn-based public relations firm started less than a year ago by Doane alum Andy Pray, has merged with Elm Public Relations.

Read the press release about the merger:

BROOKLYN, NY: Praytell Strategy has merged with Elm Public Relations, expanding the firm’s PR services, client roster, and number of staffers.

Since Andy Pray, former SVP of digital strategy at Ruder Finn, launched Praytell last December, the Brooklyn, NY-based firm has worked with clients including Logitech, MAC AIDS Fund, ADT, Food Bank for New York City,, and Hyatt.

One reason the agency merged with Elm, Pray said, is because Praytell needed to “bulk up in the area of traditional PR.

“We really believe in offering a full-scale communications approach, and you have to have really great traditional PR, as well as social content and other [offerings],” he added.

Through the merger, which became official on Oct. 1, Elm’s staff of four joined Praytell’s office, bringing the total number of staffers to 15.

Beth Cleveland, who founded Elm in 2007, is now the managing partner of Praytell and will lead media relations for the firm. Clevelend’s portfolio of clients have also joined Praytell’s roster, including OfficeMax, Gold Eagle and Ruby Receptionists.

“We both have gotten to the point where we need each other’s assets to really grow,” said Cleveland. “I think this is the way PR is going — it needs to be integrated and it needs to have social and digital and PR all working together.”

Pray added that the firm will continue to work with CSR clients since that sector often gets neglected, but still needs a big brand approach to PR.

Pray and Cleveland first met at Antenna Group Public Relations in San Francisco, where they both started their careers in PR.

David Swartzlander

David Swartzlander Office Phone: 402.826.8269 Cell Phone: 402.643.5135 Office Hours: 9-11 a.m., 2-4 p.m. MW; Or by appointment. Hometown: Toledo, Ohio. Experience Author: Instructor's Manual to "Inside Reporting" by Tim Harrower; updated 2011. 2001: Book editor, "Unforgettable: The Photos of Our Lives," published by the Lincoln Journal Star. 2008 to now: Chairman, Journalism and Media Department, Doane College. 2007 to now: Chairman, Journalism Department, Doane College. 2005-2007: Chairman, Communication Studies, Department, Doane College. 2005-present: Assistant Professor, Doane College. Teach basic and advanced news writing and reporting, editing and design, multiplatform journalism, magazine publishing and advise the student newspaper, the online news Web site and 1014 Magazine. 1999-2005: Instructor, Communication Studies, Doane College. Taught basic and advanced news writing and reporting, editing and design, advised the student newspaper, the online newspaper and the yearbook. 1981-1999: Reporter, Lincoln Journal Star; covered city hall, neighborhoods, health and fitness and wrote a column. 1979-1981: Reporter, Binghamton, N.Y. Sun-Bulletin, a Gannett paper. Covered Broome County government. 1978-1979: Reporter, Lakeland, Fla. Ledger, a New York Times paper. Covered Polk County government. 1976-78: Reporter, Naples, Fla. Daily News. Covered Collier County government, the city of Naples and the Collier County school board. 1976: Stringer, Cleveland Plain Dealer. Covered Summit County government. Education Master of Arts degree in journalism, University of Nebraska, 2004. Bachelor of arts degree in journalism, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, 1977. NewsTrain participant, Seattle, 2010. Studied convergent journalism at the University of South Carolina, May-June, 2007. Awards Leadership Nebraska Award from Nebraska Press Association, 2006. Several news writing awards. Fellowships Institute for Journalism Excellence, American Society of Newspaper Editors, summer 2006. First Amendment Institute, summer 2004. Hitchcock Fellowship Associations President, College Media Association, 2011-present. Vice President, College Media Advisers, 2009-2011. Kappa Tau Alpha, national journalism and mass communication honorary society. Member, Nebraska Collegiate Media Association. Member, Student Press Law Center. Member, Nebraska Press Association. Family Wife, Diane, teaches math at Schoo Middle School in Lincoln; four children, stepdaughers Katie Manske, 32, and Shannon Manske, 29; son, Joshua Swartzlander, 23; and daughter, Anna Swartzlander, 26. Grandchildren: Bryson Manske, 7; Dylan Manske, 6; and Skylar Manske, 5. Interests: Baseball: Favorite team: Detroit Tigers. Football: My two favorite teams -- The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Reading - favorite fiction authors include Anne Tyler, John Updike, John Steinbeck, Tom Wolfe, Alice Hoffman, Carl Hiassen, Richard Russo, Richard Ford. Music -- I'm a huge Parrothead (Jimmy Buffett fan). Movies -- Favorites include All the President's Men, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, For Love of the Game, Serpico, The Verdict, Shattered Glass, the Bourne series and It's a Wonderful Life. Interterm: Covering the Inauguration. Took students to Washington, D.C. in January 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2013 to cover the presidential inaugurations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Biking through Europe. Took students bicycling and blogging through the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria in 2011. Free at Last? Took students to Alabama in 2007 to research the Civil Rights movement. The students produced magazine pages and a Web site published by Doane College.

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