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JOUR J-219: Intro to PR

In Fall 2016 I was hired to teach an online section of Intro to PR at Indiana University East in the Department of Communication Studies.

To be perfectly honest, I applied for the position after I decided to leave VCU, but before I accepted my current UMD position in an attempt to have some sort of income in the event I don’t land anything once I move back to Maryland.

Little did I know that this class would end up giving me much more than I could have ever imagined or expected, including:

  1. Realizing that I LOVE teaching PR classes, whether it is an Intro class or a Senior Capstone;
  2. That I really enjoy the fully online approach, which provides unique opportunities and challenges that you don’t find in the traditional classroom;
  3. That I have built myself quite a network. I was able to bring in relevant online guest speakers purely based on my students’ interests that emerged from the class;
  4. That I continue to learn from my students just as much as they learn from me; and

With all that said, one of the final assignments tasked students to create visuals in response to this question:

How have your perceptions of PR changed since the beginning of the semester?

Let me share with you two submissions from two of my best students in this class:

Student Example #1

sarah reflection

Student Example #2

Initially, my view of public relations was that the PR professional mainly writes news releases, works with the media, and puts out fires. While those are a few aspects of the career of a typical public relations professional, that is only an iota of the possibilities. My view has expanded vastly, particularly once I realized that public relations is a worldwide industry.

My favorite chapter was Chapter 11, Reaching Diverse Audiences. This is where my eyes began to open to the differences in ethnics, lifestyles, and age groups. I have always considered myself to be sensitive to these issues, however, I learned so much about the differences, sensitivity, and education required of public relations professionals. In our last Twitter chat, I stated that research was important and that a public relations professional should never assume that his or her message is a one size fits all, because it is not.

In our text, Carolina Madrid, diversity chair of PRSA’s New Professionals Section, stated, “Meet your audiences where they already are.” This resonated with me because audiences are complex, with diverse cultural, ethnic, religious, generational, gender, lifestyle, and economic traits. It is crucial for the public relations professional to learn how to effectively reach these diverse audiences where they are. Even within a particular ethnic or racial group, there is a great deal of diversity, depending on location, language, educational levels, and income. Crafting message for each audience is vital.

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