"P" and "R" and the "owe" in the middle

Jeff Morosoff, Special Asst. Professor, Hofstra University

There is good news for public relations majors who graduate this month.  There are jobs out there.  And most projections predict continued strong growth in the PR field over the next decade.  But, to use the oft-quoted “Spiderman” mantra, “With great power comes great responsibility.” (The quote really originated from writer/philosopher Voltaire in 18th century France). 

Here’s why I say this: Experts believe that journalism majors are on a different side of the job growth curve.  More and more print publications have folded as content has shifted to the Internet.  Because there will be a predicted decrease in investigative and beat reporters, the burden of providing news content will shift to PR practitioners who, as a matter of the profession, are happy to provide it.  Those who are far wiser than I point out that fewer reporters combined with more public relations professionals means that it will increasingly fall to PR to present information in an accurate, unbiased way.  This will be challenging for us, as we tend to create content using filters which show our clients in the best positive light.  If we are indeed becoming more powerful, we owe it to content users to responsibly avoid “spin” and place our content using care and honesty.

It’s no suprise that students most often come into the public relations major at universities after starting off as majors in journalism and other fields of study.  It’s a sign of the times.  It’ll be up to the Class of 2011 and the newest PR professionals before and after them to enhance and sustain the credibility we older PR practitioners have fought for in our profession.  Your thoughts?

16 thoughts on “"P" and "R" and the "owe" in the middle

  1. Amanda Nissenbaum

    This is my 6th time trying to comment, lets see if this works now. I agree that PR is a wonderful field to go into. Not only because I am a PR major but because there are endless possibilities. You can go into the school system, the hospital world, the world of advertising, or even sports. There is a job for everyone in PR and I am so happy that I chose this for my career path. Let the learning in the work world begin. YAY PR

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  2. Amanda S

    As a graduating senior I am glad to hear that there are jobs out there in PR. One of the great things about PR is that it is a multifaceted profession which opens the door to many different options.

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  3. Artur Finkel

    Im glad to here that finding a job in PR will get a little easier as more and more positions are available. Actually, the company i intered for, 5W Public Relations is currently hiring 3 or 4 entry level employees. I guess the most difficult thing that we should expect in the future is finding a way to balance between what the client wants and what our ethical mindset allows us to do. What i mean is that it wont be easy dealing with clients that have a clear cut idea of what they want from you. You dont want to lose a client because of moral issues but you also dont want to reduce the credibility that PR practitioners were so hard to attain.

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  4. Alyssa

    I will admit I was once a Journalism major but I converted to PR not because of the declining need for journalists but because I felt journalism lacked creativity. The greatest thing about PR is its ability to be applicable anywhere. I dont feel type casted with a degree in public relations, I always considered myself to be communications knowledgable. So if the “burden” of truth reporting falls to the hands of PR professionals those who are good at PR will be able to succeed.

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  5. Heather Glazewski

    I think along with this, the vastness of a PR degree are always reassuring. I am always surprised to hear jobs I can have with my degree, and make me look forward to the ability I have in the future to try so many different things.
    But while I agree that it will become important for PR professionals to become unbiased if what you have posted is the case, it will be hard since PR professionals are set in place to promote a product or client, making it already unbiased. So it should be interesting how that turns out.

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  6. Dan Steele

    I am truly relieved that the job market seems to be bouncing back just in time for our rapidly approaching graduation. The reason i am so appreciative of this is because as I look for jobs I realize how little companies want to invest their time in college graduates for entry level jobs. Hopefully, with this recent upturn in PR jobs companies will be more willing to take people with such little experience, such as myself and my fellow graduates.

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  7. Kirsten

    I think that the reason PR jobs continue to develop is because it combines so many interests: business, communications, people and journalism. It is the all-enveloping career choice for someone interested in writing and innovative thinking.

    The transparent state of the industry at this time is certainly making public relations a field of slightly more honest work and I think this will create more employment interest in the future, which could have an adverse effect. Further, people might become more interested in the next few years as “spin” hopefully becomes obsolete. I think that people will view it as a more honest field and therefore explore their interests. It could ultimately result in a lack of jobs in the distant future.

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  8. Sarah Facciolo

    I think its great to know there are jobs out there for Public Relations students like ourselves. As I am graduating so many things have been going through my head and just trying to find the right job is so important. I always knew that being a PR major was the best decision because it covers all areas form marketing to journalism. And most jobs out there are always looking for PR. And like you said “With great power come great responsibility. ” This is 100 percent true. The more knowledge and dedication we are in your job the more responsible we will become. And being part of the Class of 2011 I know we will do amazing things and all find great jobs!

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  9. Michael Tarantino

    Like other people who have commented here earlier, it is very reassuring to know that there are public relations jobs out there when so many people are graduating into fields where jobs are scarce. But the burden you speak of is going to pose a difficult challenge to pr practitioners both “new” like myself and “old” like yourself. On the one hand we have been educated to frame information to project our clients or companies in a positive light. On the other hand, journalism needs to avoid framing biases. Because of this, pr professionals will need to adapt and become versed in both ways, while also keeping ethics in mind. This is going to be a difficult process.

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  10. Whitney Steiner

    This is definitely a relief to hear! I agree that we do have a lot of responsibility on our hands here and that we must make conscious decisions. As all of our professors have said, our credibility is all we have in this field; taint your name and you can kiss this business goodbye.

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  11. Eileen Rodriguez

    It is comforting to know that there are jobs in PR. I guess I am one of those typical college students that started out as a journalism major and switched to PR once I learned about all of the possibilities in this field. However I do not think that journalism majors or journalists should be worried with the decline of news outlets. Just from my own job search, I have found that many PR firms are openly seeking individuals with a journalism background as well. Regardless of our education, I do agree with you that with our “power” comes great responsibility. As the recent Facebook scandal as shown, PR firms that choose to do unethical acts always seem to gain more attention for their actions, which add to the negative PR stereotypes.

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  12. vfrary

    I think that there will always be PR jobs out there (which is reassuring for all of us graduating) but I agree that the responsibility level for those of us going down this career path is definitely being raised. I think that fact checking will be even more vital for journalists in this case because PR people are not normally objective when it comes to writing about their clients and journalists need to make sure that there is an accurate portrayal in any story that is published.

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  13. Kalli Dionysiou

    Even though I already have a job it’s good to know that there are plenty out there. I believe that it is our responsibility to maintain an honest and credible reputation for the practice of PR to help the industry become stronger and grow even more.

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  14. Paul Chauvin

    That’s a little bit scary to think about, actually. There have been stories recently, like Burson-Marsteller’s work with Facebook, that show a lot of PR professionals are only looking out for their own ends. I hope if PR people become a more dominant source for our news we’ll remember our ethical rules and provide meaningful stories.

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  15. Jacqueline Chiapuzzi

    It’s great that there are jobs out there for us,I always knew PR was a good decision to go into. It is in almost every job that’s out there in some way or another, the internet is clearly to thank for some of that. I’m happy to say I got a job offer starting in the fall from my internship which i’m happily going to take and see where it takes me!

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  16. Victoria Tarkhan

    Professor, I am glad that you feel there are jobs and opportunities for graduating seniors. I do feel it is our duty to maintain PR practitioners credibility as we move on in our careers. I must agree that I see the growth of the industry, and am grateful that I made the right decision to major in PR.

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