Mediations: Philip Young

  • Mediations comments on public relations theory and practice, with an emphasis on social media and communication ethics. Philip Young is project leader for NEMO: New Media, Modern Democracy at Campus Helsingborg, Lund University, Sweden. All views expressed here are personal and should not be seen as representing Lund University or any other organisation.

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    It's completely outrageous. The selection criteria for the PRCAs "partnership" are completely opaque.

    Having discussed this with colleagues in other universities my suspicion is is that the selection criteria may well have involved attendance at a meeting held in London earlier this year.

    We at Stirling were invited, but were unable to attend.

    Sour grapes, Derek! I am not saying that the teaching staff at Stirling haven't made the same contribution to PR education and thinking as those at ....

    Oh, hang on, it's catching, isn't it?

    While I get the point you're making, I wonder whether this is a sound reaction. It feels a little bit boat-burny to me.

    I'm assuming that your first move was to talk to Francis and/or his team at the PRCA and ask what the criteria were, and how you failed to meet them.

    If that isn't the case, why not? It would seem to be a rational step if you think there's any value in the partnership. That way, you could be considered for late inclusion. No-one likes to be an afterthought, of course, or overlooked; but it's better that your students and department should benefit, isn't it?

    If you don't think there's any value in the partnership, then what does it matter? Why draw attention to your exclusion?

    Thanks, Mat, for your constructive points.

    I wasn't particularly worried about Sunderland not being part of the PRCA 'elite' but did feel Francis's post cast an unjustified shadow over several very strong courses. Surely it is good comms practice to at least link to something that shows how a decision was made?

    I'd agree with Matt. If I were seeking to attract students to study PR at my institution, I wouldn't really want this article to show up on google. Often people working in comms can come across things we find are frustrating, but in many cases not communicating that frustration is the correct approach. I fear your article deepens the shadow and links it to Sunderland specifically, which is probably not your intent!

    I also smiled at the list (while raising my eyebrows at the same time).

    In truth, this list has nothing to do with quality PR courses, and everything to do with a turf war between the PRCA and the CIPR.

    Approvals/accreditations are a mess. In my view, it's centres that should be approved, not courses, and the main criterion should be who's leading and teaching there. In my eyes, Sunderland's in the elite because of you, Stirling belongs there too, and I'd put in a word for Southamton Solent because of Catherine Sweet.

    I never believe any claims from an organisation unless there is some independent evidence for them. But then, I'm a scientist so I know about "critical thinking" ;-)

    Transparency in any assessment is important when considering a list, accreditation, ranking etc for any decision. In the case of professional body listings, or the regular University rankings, clarity behind the process should enable potential students, employers etc to be able to consider the approval/accreditation in relation to their own requirements. After all, most of the PR degree courses have their individual strengths and weaknesses, or specialities and as Richard says, staff with different interests and reputations.

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