April 14, 2010

President's Monthly Message: The link between journalism and PR

Blogger Kathryn Hubbell, APR, Fellow PRSA, this week created a stir on PRSay, one of two blogs published by PRSA. Hubbell asked if former journalists can ever succeed as PR professionals. Headlined “Turning Journalists into Public Relations Pros? Training Required,” the post declares that “without the proper education and training, it’s no more realistic to expect that a former journalist can competently perform a public relations professional’s job, than it is to expect that they can capably conduct a symphony orchestra.”

At our April meeting of the SWMO PRSA board, we had a freewheeling discussion of the curriculum required of PR majors and how journalism and business courses should be among those required for graduation.

Then comes board member Tom Ellis’ post on our chapter blog titled, “Imagine Life Without Those Frustrating Journalists.” Tom recounts his experiences as a young journalism student on a tour behind the Iron Curtain where he observed a way of life severely diminished by a shackled press.

Our speaker at the April 27 membership meeting planned to become one of those “crusty old journalists.” Instead, Andy Cline has made it his life’s work to teach and research journalism. Cline, associate professor in Missouri State University’s department of media, journalism and film, will speak to us about social media trends, a hot topic these days. But Cline also is an expert in journalism as a whole. “Despite many of its problems, journalism remains, in my opinion, the most important discoursive practice in our culture,” Cline states. “It is an honorable profession practiced by honorable people who are vitally concerned with public affairs.”

It seems journalism and public relations are inexorably intertwined. And that’s a good thing for both journalists and PR professionals—and the audiences and clients they serve.

~Ann Elwell

President, SWMO Chapter PRSA

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