Wednesday, January 24, 2007

What Trends Can PR Students Expect to Learn From in 2007?

As an undergraduate student preparing to enter the profession of public relations, I am learning some of the trends that we can expect to see in 2007 and how it affects students like me. I am a subscriber to the Bulldog Reporter's Daily Dog blog, and I read an important op-ed piece by Howard J. Rubenstein, Founder, Rubenstein and Associates.

In this op-ed piece Rubenstein discusses eight trends and predictions to be watched and planned for this year. I would like to take these and give them a spin from a student’s perspective.

1. Greater importance will be placed on the public relations professional. For an undergraduate, who is anticipating graduation in May or Dec., this means that through proper practice in the discipline through internships and curriculum assignments they will have a greater chance to land that all important first job. In turn that first job will serve a greater purpose by instilling an individual sense of importance in the new PR professional.

2. Greater emphasis on high ethical standards will become the norm. It will be extremely important for undergraduates to be given the tools to increase their understanding of the importance of high ethical standards. In my PR class we briefly touched upon the PRSA Member Code of Ethics. As a student and aspiring PR professional, I felt that there should more emphasis on the topic of ethics, especially in light of so many of the high-ranking individuals being forced from positions or going to jail because of their lack of ethics.

3. Globalization of communications will continue. It is evident that countries such as China and India have emerged as huge players in the marketplace.Undergraduate students have to take upper level support work classes, mine are Introduction to Marketing and Advertising. I chose the same professor for both, Dr. Richard L. Utecht and one of the six steps to be successful as a new professional he suggests is to become internationalized. What he means is to learn not only different languages but to learn different cultures to prepare for those opportunities that may arise.

4. U.S. cities will start to feel the strain of a weakening economy. For an undergraduate student who has lived in a specific city their entire life and attends college in their city, this will be a huge benefit. I say this because the student has seen the ups and down of how the city has promoted itself to their state and the country, especially if the city is a tourist destinations like San Antonio. The new professional who decides to stay in their city can play an integral part in working to improve their city’s image through innovative PR tactics.

5. More students will study communication and PR. When I entered San Antonio College I wanted to study journalism because I love to write, however I was not willing to relocate to a university that offered a great journalism curriculum. Because of this I transferred to the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). I chose UTSA due to its nationally recognized communication curriculum as well as a recognized PR concentration. Because of this status the enrollment in the communication program in the PR concentration at UTSA is increasing every year and I would be willing to agree that this will be the case across the world.

6. Blogging will continue to win PR attention and resources. Bloggers will continue to influence people in their choices and how they receive their information. Blogging will also continue to grow as a PR tool which will be a plus for the tech-savvy younger generation. When I began as the student blogger for the San Antonio: Byline Blog I had never participated in the phenomenon of blogging. Now, although I do not post as often as I should, I love the fact I have a place here.

7. Face-to-face networking will thrive despite online advances. For the undergraduate aspiring to be a PR professional; face-to-face networking will be huge. One of the greatest benefits for me as the Chapter President of the PRSSA Chapter at UTSA is being able to attend the PRSA Chapter of San Antonio's monthly luncheon. Our Chapter has gained so much because of our attendance at these luncheons. In fact my blogging opportunity came about because I attended a luncheon, and a previous writing sample.

8. PR will enjoy new opportunities to help restore our national image. For the undergraduate who is looking to enter the PR profession with an emphasis in politics or emphasis on the image of our nation this may be true. During the next year as we continue on the road to the 2008 elections there will be plenty of opportunities for the aspiring PR professional to be front and center. Politicians and their handlers are always going to be looking for PR professionals that can help present the right image to the youngest voters in the nation. Not only in this instance, but as a whole our nation will be looking to improve its image across the globe.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts regarding my own observations on how these eight trends will affect the undergraduate aspiring to enter the PR profession.

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