EDITORIAL: PR educators in need of PR

Publication of our feature on ’The Future of PR Education’ was well-timed (see page 20), for it coincided with the final stage of PRWeek’s competition to find the PR Student of the Year.

Publication of our feature on ’The Future of PR Education’ was well-timed (see page 20), for it coincided with the final stage of PRWeek’s competition to find the PR Student of the Year.

Publication of our feature on ’The Future of PR Education’ was

well-timed (see page 20), for it coincided with the final stage of

PRWeek’s competition to find the PR Student of the Year.



A lot of older PR practitioners, schooled in journalism or the liberal

arts, remain skeptical about the value of a degree in public

relations.



Here was a chance to see what a PR student could bring to the table

fresh from college.



Five finalists - from public relations programs at universities all over

the country - were flown to New York for the showdown. The aim was to

test them in real-life PR skills: devising strategies to win new

business, creating campaign ideas, presenting to management, pitching

stories to the media and developing a crisis communications

strategy.



The judges were impressed by the finalists’ grasp of many of the PR

fundamentals, as well as their creativity and composure under pressure.

Their performance certainly gave some credence to San Diego State

University PR professor Glen Broom’s claim that ’PR pros without

academic grounding will spend their lives experiencing epiphanies that a

student in a good undergraduate program learns in the curriculum.’



But a PR degree is only as good as the course itself, and the overall

quality of entries was poor. If PR educators are to win the support of

the industry, they need to: improve the courses; select better students;

and do a little bit of PR themselves and promote the success of

high-flying PR-educated students after they leave college. Incidentally,

our first-ever PR Student of the Year will be announced at the PRWeek

Awards in New York on February 15.



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