Lou's Views : Media Coverage

John Brhel, Communications Manager at Binghamton University, is our latest Qwoted 100 PR Superstar.


For close to 11 years, John Brhel has moved up the comms ladder at Binghamton University in Vestal, N.Y., a town nestled by the Pennsylvania border and about 150 miles southwest of Albany. It’s a fitting post, given that he earned his journalism degree at Ithaca College, just an hour away.

Today he’s Communications Manager at Binghamton, a school of 18,000 students that’s part of New York’s state university system. This Qwoted 100 PR  Superstar wears many hats: writer, social media maven, and reporter on real-time events in areas ranging from enrollment to athletics.

Here Brhel shares his thoughts on a broad range of topics—including how the “A” in AI could imply “authenticity” in a proper context. He also expounds on connecting with reporters for the first time without coming off as a merchant of spam. 


Qwoted: What do you see as the future of PR—technologically, strategically, or in any category you’re passionate about?

John Brhel: I see AI becoming an even bigger part of the process that connects reporters with brands/businesses that fit their niche. While technology becomes an even bigger facet of the process, however, I also think authenticity will become an even bigger factor.


Qwoted: What do you do that you’re most proud of and that other PRs could learn from?

Brhel: I’m most proud of using my skills to connect faculty experts at Binghamton University with reporters at some of the biggest news outlets in the world. It’s great to get the word out about the research at Binghamton and ensure that people with actual knowledge and expertise in their fields are informing people on important issues.


Qwoted: What’s your toughest challenge with reporters?

Brhel: It’s always hard to make new connections with reporters you’ve never connected with before and not come off as spammy or disingenuous. When I reach out, I try to curate each message to that person and provide enough info without taking up too much of their time.


Qwoted: What learnings have made a tremendous difference in your career?

Brhel: I think it’s been being able to identify that you’ve got to hook people quickly or you’ll lose them: getting right to the point concisely and offering them something of value. You’ve got to give people a good reason to want to connect with you or care about what you’re pitching.


Qwoted: How do you break through the noise floor to get effective coverage?

Brhel: I try to highlight people and subjects in a compelling way without being spammy or long-winded. I try to find the hook/the most interesting thing about that subject and push that forward.


Qwoted: How does PR in 2024 square with the future of journalism?

Brhel: Most journalists don’t want to be bombarded with news releases and PR pros need to work hard to get their attention.


Qwoted: What advice would you give to those who seek an effective PR person?

Brhel: You need someone who has their finger on the pulse of whatever industry you’re in; is up to date on the news and trends; who can find the most compelling things to highlight; and have the ability to highlight them in an engaging way.


Qwoted: What is your golden rule of PR?

Brhel: Provide value. No one’s going to write about whatever it is you pitch unless they’ve got a good reason.


John Brhel is the Communications Manager at Binghamton University. Email jbrhel@binghamton.edu or connect on LinkedIn

Lou Carlozo is Qwoted’s editor-in-chief and the editor-publisher emeritus of Talking Biz News. His memoir “The Lost Coin” is slated for publication this year. Email lou@qwoted.com or connect on LinkedIn.