Cort Ruddy is an adjunct professor of public relations in the Newhouse school.  He received his Master’s in magazine journalism and political science from Syracuse University in 1998.  After graduating, Ruddy worked at National Journal’s Hotline as a deputy managing editor and columnist.  He was a speechwriter for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton from 2003 to 2004, as well.  When he moved back to Central New York, he began working as chief of staff for Dave Valesky of the New York State Senate.  Ruddy is currently a partner at PC Public Affairs in New York and the founder of Oakwood Communications.

Q: Do you have any particular interest(s) within public relations?

A: I enjoy public relations as it relates to campaigns and politics.  I am focused on the writing side, as well as public affairs.

RUDDYQ: What is your favorite part of working in public relations?

A: I appreciate that when you work in public relations you get to touch a lot of different subjects.  I have clients right now that are in agriculture, transportation, nonprofits, etc.  I have learned a lot in the past year about hydroponic agriculture.

Q: What motivates you?

A: My family motivates me.  Earlier in my career I wanted to be successful and accomplish some things.  And I have.  What motivates me with my clients is getting them the results they want, whether it’s improving their reputation, the sale of their product or getting them attention.

Q: Did you always want to work in public relations and/or communications?

A: I was going to be a journalist.  I got into this field over time.  I started out in journalism working for National Journal’s Hotline.  I started out writing a column for them, and that ultimately got me the speechwriting job with Senator Clinton.  I started working on campaigns and picking up public relations experience slowly and over time.

Q: What has been your proudest moment in your communications career?

A: I’ve won a couple of big political campaigns, one of which was in 1998.  One of the first speeches I wrote for Senator Clinton was a proud moment for me, as well.  She gave it.  She liked it.  She high-fived me.

Q: Do you have any fun fact(s) about yourself?

A: I sail on Lake Ontario and sometimes engage in competitive sailing.

Q: What is/are your favorite quote(s)?

A: “The first step to good public relations is to be good to the public.  If you can, as a corporation or nonprofit, if you can do good things, you will have good PR.”  -Anonymous

Q: What qualities do you think make a student successful?

A: The willingness to learn is very important.  When you are taking a class or go out into the professional world, you wont know everything, and you’re not supposed to, but it is your duty to go out and learn.  Constantly challenge yourself to learn new things.

Q: What qualities do you think make a person successful?

A: I think curiosity is important.  The willingness to work hard and finding balance are important, as well.

Q: Do you have a personal message for Newhouse students?

A: No matter what field you study here, writing is critically important.  What makes good writing does not change that much from one field to the next.  You have to be able to write concisely with a strong voice and be able to tell stories.