I thought the September 16th #PRStudChat was a dynamic, passionate and valuable discussion between PR pros, educators and students. I want to thank @valeriesimon for organizing and hosting the session and @briansolis for his insightful comments and his recent post Using Twitter to Connect PR Students, Educators and Professionals. I just reviewed the transcript and the amount of information shared was unbelievable. The opportunity to collaborate and share experiences is priceless. I hope that with each session we grow and learn together.
Of course, as the session progressed, you could blink and miss hundreds of interesting tweets and comments. Here are just a few of the many interesting topics that I either missed or wanted to expand upon:
- I noticed many excellent responses to Q1: What happens when you no longer believe in a client or an issue you’re representing. The topic of ethics immediately surfaced and I wanted to clarify my thoughts on the subject. A few people stated that there are certain reasons that they would stay in a job even if they lost the passion or the belief in an issue. For me, I need the passion and inspiration to perform at my very best. I understand and respect their positions. However, for any PR professional who knows that the client they represent is doing something untruthful, illegal or operating in an unethical fashion, it’s up to us to maintain our own ethics and walk away. As a member of PRSA for many years, I often refer younger members of the profession to the PRSA code of ethics. We base our profession on this Code and as a member we uphold these standards. So there’s definitely a difference between losing passion and not feeling inspired and performing a function or supporting a program or company that is unethical. If it’s a case of unethical conduct…it’s best to walk away.
- With respect to Q3: What is the PR person’s role in a public health concern and how do we minimize the scare? @ibreywoodall commented that she was amazed at how many professionals are unaware of creating dark sites. Ibrey brought to the chat some really great information for professionals and students not familiar with dark sites that are pre-developed (they are not public sites) and then turned live in the event of a crisis situation. Crisis sites are typically used by the travel, food, pharmaceutical and hotel industries. Having a dark site is one of the best ways to be prepared for a crisis situation and to have a damage control plan waiting, should a catastrophe occur. Dark sites typically house information that is necessary when crisis strikes including: company information, PR contact or spokesperson information, policies and procedures, FAQs, as well as easily updateable content when the time comes to go live with public information on a pressing situation. Dark sites are a great way to be prepared should crisis strike and to get the right information out in an organized and well coordinated fashion.
- I wasn’t able to respond to @monifree’s question to me about an MBA vs. a Masters in PR during the session. We did tweet a bit afterward about it, but I thought it would be great to share my thoughts a little more on the educational front. Any and all continuing education is important. Our landscape is changing so rapidly, and that of our clients, so it’s really important to stay ahead of the curve. It’s always hard to say if a PR professional should take the business route, PR masters route or APR. They are all very valuable. For me it was important to receive my MBA with a concentration in marketing because I knew that I wanted to start my own agency. The knowledge gained from my program has allowed me to develop and grow my firm in not only good times but also to weather extremely tough times (recession). I learned how to think like a business professional from marketing and organizational behavior to operations management and finance. However, that’s not to say that other degrees aren’t of equal importance. A master’s in PR is excellent for advancement in the PR profession and also offers the opportunity to instruct in the college setting. I also think the APR certification is tremendously important and I do hope to receive my APR someday. I’ve heard from many professionals it’s an intense yet deeply satisfying experience and truly hones your PR skills. It is also a seal of excellence for many of the brands that look to professionals and who hire an APR over another professional (not in all cases, but in some). I also believe that any opportunity you have to attend conferences and seminars to learn and collaborate with peers keeps your PR skills fresh and on the cutting edge.
I really enjoyed the September 16th #PRStudChat and I love sharing information with peers, students and professors. It’s wonderful that professionals and academia can come together to help students learn and grow in the field of PR. I look forward to many other #PRStudChat sessions and welcome any suggestions/comments and recommendations for our sessions moving forward.