Behind The Spin

  • What is Behind the Spin?
    Welcome to the web log of Behind the Spin, the magazine for and written by Public Relations students. Behind the Spin was first produced by students from the College of St Mark and St John, Plymouth, but was quickly opened to students, practitioners and academics across the UK. The print magazine is published three times a year, the blog will updated every Monday. Please send articles for consideration to Editor John Hitchins (you can comment any item by clicking Comment at the bottom of each post).

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June 27, 2006

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Comments

Owen Lystrup

Great post.

Lots of very good points here.

Many times I've gone through reassessment of the value of my degree and whether it was worth all the trouble and loans, or whether I could have done without it.

I don't think I could have done without it. I've learned so much in a very short amount of time. But I don't know if others will value my degree as much as I do.

I think there is also a difference, even if just a small one, between how PR degrees are viewed in the UK and how they are in the US.

But another aspect of this, about your closing argument, is can we even get better than we are?

I'm not saying we can't, just asking a question.

There are some who argue that PR is nothing but a trade industry, which, some believe, can't even be taught or taught correctly.

So can we even improve and become a better industry from the university level?

Karel Mc Intosh

As someone who has had to shell out tonnes of money (as an international student) to pursue a Master's in Corporate Communication, I'm glad to say that I got value for my money - to sound all cliched. I have just under two years of public relations experience, and my decision to study corporate communication was based on believing that it would hone my strategic skills, that is 'raise my game'.

Even if I have to wait some time to get a senior position, I know that as long as I keep updating my knowledge and learning from each experience, it will stand me good stead in the future.

The challenge for students of PR though is to bridge the idealism of academia with reality, so that when we enter the 'real-world', we can perform effectively using the best of both worlds. Then, employers will appreciate PR graduates a bit more.

Caroline Wilson

Christina's analysis is spot on. I teach PR and have heard employers say that they don't particularly favour a PR degree over any other.
The challenge is for both universities and graduating students to change 'hearts and minds' over time. Employers will be won over by people like Christina offering much more value than students with a non-specialist degree. In Birmingham we've now got to the position where having got one through the door, the path is getting easier for a second. Keep up the good work. You are all ambassadors.

Gerel

Well, many says PR is simply an applied commonsense. And of course there are many interdiciplinery subjects to PR like you have mentioned English and History, journalism and creative writing which are equally contributes to PR practice.

However, I agree with you on the fact that PR degree isn't just about studying PR diciplines, but also having been through many academic challenges gives you those valuable life skills as well, in my case I wasn't a natural effective communicator, but throughout my degree courses I've gradually become much of a chatterbox.

Also, a lot of employers seem to undervalue what knowledge and skills we have got from PR degree, as if we shouldn't have done it at first place, since we would need to start our careers from scratch anyway.

Mary

This is something to be noted. Even though the importance of public relations is huge, still, society is not familiar with public relations. You made a point on that.

rob baker

When the MA at MMU was set-up I asked one of the course leaders very excitedly about his PR experience. He replied he had never worked in PR. You can imagine that I was a little suprised. I looked at the course books and I must say that it was theory and over no interest to a PR man or a client - they have business aims and do not care what an academic writes, they want results.

Post grad degrees that make you feel better equiped to deal with your career are worth it for that reason alone. You should take courses if you are really intersted in what you do and that should be respected by others.

But saying that anyone with maturity and the nascient skills that can be developed to striking effect is the ideal. Degrees can help, but they are the packaging around the product and the person. The commitment to improve is what really counts.

As more people do PR degrees so the currency will become devalued like most degrees.

What really counts are the core skills - writing, media relations, cleint liaison - enthusiasm, contiual improvement, ability to play office politics, hard work, tenacity and luck.

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