PondeRing the fall syllabus

      21 Comments on PondeRing the fall syllabus

syllabusThe new semester is here and I’m happy to report that after a summer of some serious integrated marketing, Hofstra University’s new graduate program in public relations is up and running.  With just four months’ promotion, 17 students have registered full- and part-time, and our first three classes will kick off over minimum capacity and on schedule.

Aside from what’s already in the syllabuses, what should my colleagues and I be teaching PR graduate and undergraduate students in this fall?  What are the current issues within our profession, and where should the emphases be placed?  What’s the industry buzz about new directions, new technologies, and new ways to effectively reach our audiences?

Clearly the ability to target audiences grows more sophisticated each day.  We’ve entered the Age of Big Data in which we capture, analyze and share massive amounts of information about our audiences and ourselves.  Big Data gives large entities from government to retailers–and small entities as close as the people sitting next to you–incredible access to your personal attitudes, likes and habits.

The use of video and photos have become highly central to effective messaging.  PR people and other communicators must have the technical ability and persuasion skills to bring visual elements into everything we do online.

The concept of online news being supplemented by paid-for stories adds another layer of questions about how we use the new media.  If PR and marketing professionals are creating and placing more and more content, it means we need to take extra care to do it responsibly, accurately and honestly.

And what’ll be next year’s Pinterest or Instagram?  Is Facebook really losing its luster among young people?  Will news become even more Twitter-centric?  Will LinkedIn’s surge in effectiveness and popularity continue?  Are newspapers and press releases really going to die?  Faculty must stay in close touch with professionals so we can share and discuss the trends and practical knowledge in our classrooms.

I can’t wait to get started.  This semester of PR promises to be more challenging–and more fun–than ever.  So, welcome back!  Your thoughts?

21 thoughts on “PondeRing the fall syllabus

  1. Floyd Pon

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  2. Pingback: A PR Professor Gives His Thoughts | PR Tech Class

  3. Morgan

    I’m very excited to begin a new academic journey at Hofstra this semester! As an undergraduate student I studied general communications so being able to focus exclusively on PR is sure to be a thrilling challenge. One of the things I personally find interesting about the Public Relations field is how it seems to be converging with the marketing and advertising professions. As communications professionals we aim to understand how to harness the power of mass mediums and their impact on consumers, but isn’t that also the goal of marketing professionals, to corral the massive strength of the Internet and it’s seemingly endless resources to sell a product or an idea to a group of consumers? I hope to come away from this class with a better understanding of the boundaries, or lack of boundaries between being a marketing mogul and a PR professional while examining current trends in the field. I can’t wait to get started!

  4. Nancy Haas

    As a student in the PR undergraduate program at Hofstra, the points raised in this blog post have really gotten me thinking. What are the major topics surrounding this profession that I should be aware about? One certainty is that technology is a part of our daily lives and it is constantly involving and improving. It is crucial that aspiring and current PR professionals understand how to utilize mass media and new technological advances to convey messages to target audiences. Concerning online news, it is the wave of the future. However, like anything else in PR, the information being conveyed must be accurate and honest. It can sometimes be a challenge to find truthful and accurate information from internet sources. Due to the fact that these online news websites may eventually take over traditional forms of communication, such as newspapers and press releases, it is key that this information remain credible and reliable. Since social media sites are continually evolving, it is difficult to determine what to expect for the upcoming year. However, I am positive that we will be introduced to new and innovative forms of communication.

  5. rachelcarru2

    After my internship this summer, I knew that Public Relations was for me. I have found that my social as well as writing skills come to good use behind the scenes, instead of in front of the camera or microphone. PR is the universal career path. This career is able to survive any type of digital or technological revolutions… in fact, it is able to thrive through everything. I believe that despite the fact that we are currently experiencing another technological revolution, I have no doubt that those in PR will succeed and utilize the revolution correctly. I am so excited do begin my first PR class! I hope to really begin to hone in on my skills and rise to a higher skill and intellectual level.

  6. Molly Eyassu

    I’m so excited for this semester! I want nothing more that to have a successful career in public relations and I know by furthering my education I can achieve that goal. As for what’s next in social media, who know’s what new idea will emerge, but I don’t think Facebook will die out anytime soon. Its kinda like a digital yearbook, you may no go on it everyday, but when you need information on a crush or a new friend, its the first place you look. I think newspapers and magazines won’t die out but will eventually be completely digital, which will reform the news industry.

  7. Lauren Platt

    I am looking forward to this semester and cannot wait to see and explore the wonderful world of PR! Personally, I believe that Facebook usage has been declining amongst teens and young adults. Twitter and Instagram have proven to be very popular and can do almost everything that Facebook can do in a much simpler way.

  8. Adria Marlowe

    It’s exciting to see such a positive response to the new MA in PR program! While I’m looking forward to learning about the theories, principles, technological resources, and best practices of PR – I also hope to expand my ability to think creatively throughout the program. In reading about some of the PR industry pioneers this week, it is evident that they developed creative solutions in order to address the new technologies and social movements of their time. I think that a solid understanding of the creative process is a valuable tool in adapting to a constantly changing world – whether we’re faced with mastering communication resources, finding new ways to analyze data, or responding to social and economic trends.

  9. Hector Bonilla

    To expand upon the issue raised here about Facebook’s decline, the site itself may be losing in terms of addictive practices to the likes of Twitter, Reddit and Instagram, but I believe that it will still remain a relatively popular destination in terms of hits and thus a potentially effective market tool. Therein lies the underside of the “Big Data” phenomenon Professor Morosoff mentioned: its actual, physical application. I’ve seen firsthand that while online tools like Facebook and Twitter offer a great display for a message, they do not inherently by themselves generate significant outreach. Facebook offers advertisement packages for what are generally reasonable rates, but realistically you would have to purchase enough in bulk to bombard potential clients to generate any kind of noteworthy feedback. From what I’ve seen, the precedent set by Facebook may very well set a trend that leaves the truly effective advertising options primarily in the hands of those with enough disposable income on hand to afford a dedicated marketing campaign.

  10. Max N.

    Seriously looking forward to this semester! On the topic of Facebook, I’m not really convinced that it’s on it’s way out the door. The hysteria and the fanaticism surrounding the social network may be dying down but I don’t think that means it’s going the way of MySpace. Facebook’s Alexa ranking may drop in the next few years and a number of people may get bored and leave, but I think many, many more people are too heavily invested in their online profiles to give them up. I think Facebook is in the midst (if not the end) of a transition from being something we showcase and consciously update, to being more in the background, an almost invisible aspect of human life and communication that we take for granted.

  11. Adriana

    I’m so glad we got started! These discussions and articles confirm my expectation that this PR program will be instructive, practical, stimulating, and oh! so relevant to my current job responsibilities as a marketing communications specialist. I’m looking forward to an advanced education, fresh ideas and new insights that will help me develop new communications skills. It is true of what’s been said: “that if you’re not growing, you’re dying” – Great article, Olga.

  12. Lyndi Catania

    I am not only new to Hofstra University, but I am new to the Public Relations major as well. I have already learned so much on my first day of class and I am eager to learn more. It’s very interesting to me how much social media ties into PR these days. I would have to agree that Facebook is becoming less popular than the newer social networks. This article has made me more excited to be apart of Hofstra’s PR program. There are so many new tools and strategies that are available today, that I can’t imagine what else there will be by the time I graduate.

  13. Olga

    This new academic year is very special to me, as after seven years of being a teacher I found myself, again as a student. And I should admit, it is as exciting, as it was when I came to the class room as a teacher first time!
    I am happy to share the feeling of expectation and excitement with my classmates and our Professors about starting PR graduate program. Having chosen PR as a profession to master was a totally right decision. Have a look at the article, I came across not so long ago. It will make you feel even better guys! (see career #2):


  14. Sarah ElSayed

    Great to hear that Hofstra’s PR graduate program is finally up and running! As far as Facebook goes, I must say that I do believe it is declining amongst my peers. Although I find myself still “creeping” through my news feed, I post less and less; and quite frankly, i care less about what the people still on it post.

  15. Brittany Witter

    Being apart of the new MA in PR program I am very excited to see what awaits me and my fellow classmates! I think that the discussion on social media and its influence in this profession, and society in general is a major topic that we need to explore and discuss in class. In my opinion Facebook is falling off and being replaced by things like Instagram. However, it will be interesting to discuss what is next, and how can that new media help us in terms of the PR world.

  16. Brenna O'Shea

    This really seems like an awesome new program that has a lot to offer the incoming graduate students. I am currently enrolled in the program. Since this is the first year the graduate program is being offered, we, the students are known as the “guinea pigs” and I am more than happy to be a part of this class! I am confident the program has a lot to offer its students and am anxious to continue the semester. I see great things in our future!

  17. Vanessa V

    This was a great blog entry and it reinforced the discussion we had in class about P.R.. You brought to my attention the importance of pictures and videos in public relations. Up until today, I did not realized how much information is actually learned through those formats. Pointing out social media in this blog made me wonder how much of a role P.R. has in finding the next big thing and setting a trend. I look forward to this class as well as hearing more about the initial P.R. graduate program at Hofstra

  18. Leia Schultz

    Great to be back at Hofstra for the start of the semester! I’m really looking forward to the two PR classes I’ll be taking with you. Sounds like it’s a busy and exciting time for Hofstra’s PR department, as well as the industry at large. It will be very interesting to learn from you throughout the semester!

  19. croyal13

    I am really looking forward to this class. Like the rest of society, PR is being directly impacted by the use of social media. Although certain mediums die out (like MySpace and now even Facebook), new mediums will arise and be a prime way of communicating. Until society adopts a new form of modern interaction, it is important that the PR industry learns to master social media techniques-

  20. Bert Cunningham

    Congrats on the start of a new semester and the new PR masters program. It’s a fantastic time to be in PR and communications. It’s a craft that is more in need and demand than ever before, with its almost limitless channels to make connections. One bit of advice for all who study and practice the art: Forget your phones from time to time. Disconnect from technology and reconnect with humans. Observe. Learn. Participate. Appreciate the moment for what it is and the person or people you are with. As communicators we need to understand the human condition and humans. Make it a habit to engage more in real time. You’ll enjoy the experience and be a better PR pro.


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