The contemporary practice of public relations requires practitioners to immediately respond to emerging issues and crises via Web sites, blogs, and other new media. Students of public relations consequently must know how to use today’s communications technology, monitor it, and (most likely) adopt rapidly and unpredictably changing technology, says the report “The Professional Bond: Public Relations Education for the 21st Century,” published by the Commission on Public Relations Education.
Students must learn strategies, not only for using this technology, but also for dealing with its effects, ranging from the ready availability of virtually all types of information to questions of personal and organizational privacy, the report says.
In addition to the chapter on communication technology, the report addresses ethics, diversity, global implications, supervised experience, distance learning, governance and academic support, faculty credentials, professional and pre-professional organizations, and professional certification and accreditation.
The technology chapter presents recommendations for PR undergraduate and graduate education, and encourages the linking of PR education and practice that is typical in most other professions.
Educators and practitioners contacted during this study viewed as “highly essential” course content such as “New PR tools and technologies,” e.g., podcasting, blogging, and video blogging, RSS feeds, Internet conferencing, e-networking, and interactive media kits.
Students should be aware how PR practices can benefit from use of these tools, the report says; but, at the same time, educators should lead classroom discussions that explore any adverse impact of technology on society and should challenge students to critically think about use of new technologies to reach PR goals and objectives.
(Hat tip to the Institute for Public Relations)