NEW YORK: Young graduates of university PR programs are increasingly well-versed in measurement and research methodology, an asset that will serve them well with industry employers, said a group of PR academics.
The group participated in the last of four roundtables put on by PRWeek and the Institute for Public Relations (IPR).
Several of the participants stated that PR departments have a great research resource
in new and recent entrants to the profession, proving the value of PR is more important than ever and that the academic world is producing a new breed of statistics-savvy professionals.
"There are some very well-educated young people out there who should be used," said Donald Stacks, professor and director of the University of Miami School of Communication program in advertising and PR. "The kids coming out there are well-trained, and we're not using them to their full potential."
But academics also need to do a better job of communicating the innovations in measurement and research to practitioners in the field, the group agreed.
"[PR professionals won't] read the 35-page report," said Donald Wright, who is on the faculty of the University of South Alabama. "We need to do a better job of telling the
profession what's going on in academia."
"There must be a greater dialogue between academics and practitioners," agreed Krishnamurthy Sriramesh, associate professor at the School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. "We need to write in a way that is palatable to practitioners."
James Grunig, PR professor at the University of Maryland, agreed. "What we study has to be relevant to the profession."
But Grunig went on to say that PR pros must take responsibility for keeping up on the
latest thinking in measurement. "Would you go to a doctor that says he doesn't have the time to read medical journals?" he asked.
Other participants included Brigham Young University's Brad Rawlins, Michael Goodman of Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Likely Communication Strategies' Fraser Likely.
In the past year, PRWeek and IPR have organized four roundtables on measurement and research. Previous roundtable topics included corporate PR executives, measurement companies, and agencies offering research services.