On your mark, get set…

Hello everyone. My name is Luke Armour. I’m a graduate student of the communication discipline getting my Masters in the area of Public Relations. Interestingly, I’ve found that many people have a misunderstanding of that job description. It seems intangible. People want to know what you do, they want to see something. Unfortunately, PR has often by judged by what it does, rather than by what it is. If I’m a DJ at a radio station, people understand that. They can mentally picture what I do all day, see in their mind’s eye my job, label and put me on a shelf. Done.

But PR is so different, so multi-layered, so broad and so deep. Another interesting point is that even people who claim they work in PR or are PR professionals have very different ideas of what the job entails. That fascinates me as well as provides a little bit of confusion on the part of the everyday student who thinks they’re getting a job in PR.

I believe Stuart Smith, CEO of Edelman PR Europe, said it very well to my class in London this past May (2005) when he said there were two types of PR, the arms and legs bit, and the brains bit. The arms and legs are the functions of PR that write news releases, that call reporters trying to pitch stories, that create the daily pieces that you eventually see in action. The brains consist of the strategies, the communication plans, the goals, objectives, and matricies that make it all go together.

I suppose one could say any job entails these characteristics, but there’s something about PR that seems so elusive, so intangible, so ethereal, that it really helps to talk about it.

And that’s why I’ve created this blog. I’m hoping to turn this into a discussion, a conversation, not just a spouting of personal beliefs or reiteration of information. I have a feeling that there are other students of PR, or practitioners of PR, or general members of the electronic community who have questions about PR. With that in mind, I’m going to write what’s on my mind and what I think is important…for starters. I’m going to enlist the help of fellow students to help generate discussion and open the floor to comments, questions, and concerns. Feel free to join in.

As a disclaimer, I have to tell you that what I’m really intrigued about these days is electronic communication, thus the blog. I find that PR mixes in so well with electronic communication for so many reasons. In fact, I’m writing my graduate project on the subject. What also interests me is the growing gap between the early innovators of new media and those who are laggards in the adoption process. I’m hoping my colleague Carol can shed some light on that subject. My point is, in NE Ohio where I’m located, we appear to be far behind in the technological aspects of electronic communication in our departments, and in many of the industries and organizations in the area. I may be wrong, but it certainly appears that way to me.

With that in mind, I’m signing off for now. I hope to see you again soon, participating in the discussion, and learning, and sharing your knowledge with others. There is so much going on out there…we need to keep up. Help me.

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6 Responses

  1. I, Carol, the colleague and friend of Luke’s who just finished a thesis on diffusion of innovations by PR practitioners. I really believe that new communication tools such as blogs, podcasts and v casts will really change the way that PR is done. RSS (really simple syndication) allows media to get podcast updates from blogs they choose on their own desktops. Check out the NCA (National Comm. Association) website http://www.ncapress.com/ that has links to podcasts about the recent NCA conference. It is a very exciting time to be in PR because the transfer of information is getting faster and is affordable for smaller organizations or freelance PR practitioners as well.

  2. Blogs, podcasts and other new media add a human element to an organization or corporation. They are the “personal touch.” When you think about a blog written by the CEO of Whole Foods John Mackey or any other CEO/COO the power is in the connection to the person reading the blog or listening at the other end who has the ability to react, comment and begin a dialogue with someone previously out of touch. The dialogic nature of new media is profound and breaks down barriers.

    As we discuss this whole PR Body philosophy. My final epiphany is this, maybe we need to try it all, see if we like hanging out as limbs like leaves branching out getting our company/organization recognized OR the brain who says lets give this blog a shot.

  3. As PR counselors (thank you Dr. Somerick) we look at ways of utilizing media. However, with blogs we are forced to the defensive due to the scandals and mass media negative portral.

    Such as Beth says, embracing the blogs and doing our job (ie: Utilizing all available media outlets. ) will only enhance our message.

    Just as any other media… it is to be used in the correct manner. We are taught the rules all other medias becuase they have been staples for years.

    We’ve been using TV for close to 75 years…
    We’ve been using radio for almost a 100 years now…
    We’ve been using newspapers for over 100 years…
    We’ve been using blogs now for… wait… we haven’t.

    There’s ALOT of learning to be done… Its good to see others have recognized that fact. Hats off.

    Gods speed
    ~jd

  4. Joey, great comment. There is indeed a lot of learning to be done. Many people have already learned it, but they constitute about .00005% of the PR people out there. Those that DO get it are making great strides. Hopefully we can all learn this together. Thanks for participating.

  5. Luke,

    Great blog, I don’t know how I haven’t come across it sooner.

    You and I both started blogging at about the same time. I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am!

    I’ll be adding your site to my blogroll shortly – keep up the good work mate.

    Cheers,

    Paull Young

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