I believe that to write well you have to read well. The two skills go hand in hand. It would be surprising to hear a musician say they didn't listen to music but is not unusual for PR students to say they don't read fiction, or any other books that aren't directly related to their course.
This worries me on many levels. First of all, they are missing out on a great deal of fun; the more you read, the more you enjoy reading. Secondly, PR is a discipline that requires creativity and the ability to draw on a wide range of sources and interests is a distinct advantage. Thirdly, good employers tend not to believe that spelling and grammar are optional extras, and the best way to improve written English is to be continually exposed to good written English. (I was delighted that in his excellent talk to Sunderland L1 students, Stephen "PR Blogger" Davies explained that the reason his writing has improved over the past few years is because he read other people's blogs and learnt from them.)
Being able to write is like playing music; there are rules you must learn but you also have to develop an ear for rhythm, cadence, pitch and tone. Yes, some people are naturally better at writing than others, but these things can be learnt, and the way to learn is to immerse yourself in good writing.
To encourage reading I am strongly tempted to introduce a Book Club into my Level 1 PR classes this year. Each session I want someone to tell the class about the book they are reading; it can be fact or fiction - anything as long as it isn't on a module reading list.
I mentioned this before Christmas but was floored by a very sensible question from someone who said she did not read regularly and wanted me to suggest a good novel. My mind went blank.
Help please. Any ideas of novels guaranteed to captivate young people who aren't convinced of the joys of good fiction....?