Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Same Old Same Old? 

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) sent me their Spring 2005 Resources Guide yesterday. It is filled with professional development courses for PR practitioners.

Something struck me about the 44-page guide the instant I opened it. Among dozens of courses, there are but one or two that deal with anything on the web. There are lessons on leader coaching, on strategic communications planning, on crisis communications, on measurement and evaluation, on development of presentations, on building and evaluating employee communications programs and on and on.

Buried in the center of the booklet on page 23 is a course on "Anatomy of a News Release, Pitch and E-mailed Release." On page 27, there is a course titled "I'm not a Journalist, but I Play One on TV: A re-examination of who and what a journalist is today." This section actually mentions "bloggers" right after "bloviators" in a sentence that says it all, "With an ever-increasing number of self-styled media commentators, critics, bloviators and bloggers, what has become of the definition of a journalist?"

Is it me or is the PRSA out to lunch?

In fairness to the PRSA, the society offers courses for which there is demand. And, there is probably not much demand for learning focused on the internet. But, if that is true, what does it say about PR practitioners? It seems to me the Society is facing the same challenge as most revenue-driven educational institutions. Do you give students courses that students want or courses they need, whether they want them or not? The PRSA cannot compel members to be more web-savvy, but still, it is disappointing.


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