Tuesday, November 11, 2003

POP! on the Road

Last week was quite the hectic week for POP! Public Relations, being on the road for a presentation to the PRSSA Chapter at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio on "Making Opportunities" in a tough economy, then on to Los Angeles for a new business presentation.

So, the week before was fun with Powerpoint, then last week was fun in airports.

First, I'm going to rate the airports of the nation that I was in last week - two in the Ohio trips in two days, one in two days on the Cali leg - then going to talk about the speech I gave to the PRSSA chapter.

Phoenix Sky Harbor - nice airport, lots of amenities, not bad pricing.
Chicago Midway - nicely redone and renovated, lots of amenities, fair pricing.
Dayton Ohio - small, but really nice. Just ran through, so didn't buy anything.
Ontario, CA Airport - just okay, and felt like I had been beaten up and had my money stolen.

Okay, now on to Miami University and the speech to PRSSA. Beautiful campus, very bucolic and nice scenery. It was nice weather, and it was like going home to Michigan from when I was a little child - plus, I got to see a Fritz's Big Boy! I love Big Boy!

I know in many of the PR blogs, the collective PR bloggers write about the dearth of talent in the junior staff, the tendency to get rid of senior talent for less expensive junior talent. But, I have to say, the students I spoke with at Miami University were very impressive. Okay, I did like them because they seemed to be paying attention to me when I gave my speech - hey, they were taking notes! - but when I spoke to a few after the presentation, they asked thoughtful questions, and they seemed to care about the future of public relations. I wish I had the bandwidth and a bigger account load to bring on a few as interns for POP!, but let's just take one day at a time right now.

The nice thing about the presentation is the timing. As noted in PR Machine, the Seattle Times has an article that shows an uptick in public relations with 40 percent growth by 2010 (okay, that's less scary than it sounds). And, while speaking to a former coworker who now runs his own company in the Bay, he noted that the job market is getting better in Silicon Valley / San Francisco Bay area. The segment getting better is business development and engineers, and he theorizes that six months down the road, these firms will be looking for in-house public relations professionals or PR firms - let's hope he's right.

Then, Tom Murphy at PR Opinions weighed in on jobs in public relations, as well as Elizabeth Albrycht at Corporate PR and Stuart Bruce, the UK PR Guru. And, Professor Bailey over at Leed's University's PR Studies used the links above for his lecture.

While I agree with many of the comments and suggestions posted by Elizabeth and Stuart, and while the speech I gave at Miami U was to PR students, I have to partially disagree on one point - the PR degree. I think it's just as important to have had the internships to get real world experience - theory, as well as practice. But Stuart makes a good point - as a small agency owner myself, I don't have the time to train a person in public relations that does not have the background already. While my degree was in philosophy - lots o' writing, critical thinking, logic, strategy, business ethics and game theory - I also did the stint at the school newspaper getting some journalist chops, and then I interned at one of the largest PR firms in the world.

That out of the way, I think a PR degree is a good thing for people to have, but sometimes classwork is just theory, and you need the real world experience to get the practice that goes with the theory.

On the point, here's the presentation I gave to the PRSSA members, if you are interested in reading it ...
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