Are you too smart to work in PR?

Technical PR
Education, education, education
There’s a really interesting post over on Green Banana this morning about the role that PR plays in industry and the role that academia plays in preparing PR consultants for their careers.

I think this is particularly pertinent for those of us involved in technical PR, where ‘on the job learning’ and ‘craft’ are both valued much more highly than PR theory. In fact, there’s a strong view in much of industry that you should just get a former trade press editor to do the job for you.

Now, I’m certainly not averse to journalists applying their skills in the PR sector. I would go as far as saying that my utopian small technical PR team contains a former journalist. But I can honestly say that the very best consultants combine many of the skills of a journalist with knowledge and abilities that simply can’t be picked up anywhere other than in the world of PR.

One of the questions that Green Banana asks very eloquently is, ‘where do these skills come from?’ What role should academia play in providing them? It’s well worth a read.

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Richard Stone - Stone Junction

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.


Heather Yaxley said...

Thanks - I think the question about specialist skills (eg tech sector) is another interesting dimension.  I am not averse to 'encroachment' (a nasty academic term used by Lauzen) of non-PR people into the occupation - but advocate they should then study a professional qualification.  I teach a lot of former journalists who've moved into PR and they are amazed at the depth and breadth that goes way beyond media relations.  Definitely improves their perspective and career potential if they aren't just trading on knowhow of journalism.

Richard Stone - technical PR said...

I would agree entirely - the only issue is that as a PR who doesn't hold a PR qualification I feel a little bit hypocritical saying that! 

I have worked with too many former journos who believe that PR means issuing press releases simply because that's the element of our profession that they were at the sharp end of. 

Equally I've worked with some who, after leaving journalism, became the most creative and inspiring PR people I've known. 

There's a very real argument that everyone who joins the PR industry needs a driving licence. It's just a question of what the curriculum for that licence should be.