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?