PaRting with nostalgia

The ol' Steenbeck

The ol’ Steenbeck

This week my summer Public Relations Fundamentals students learned how to write a press release.  While there’s been much discussion in the profession about whether the press release is dead, I agree with many who believe that while we’re not printing them on paper and stuffing them into envelopes anymore, there’s a place for the online release.  This isn’t nostalgia talking; most of my academic and professional colleagues say it’s not yet time to abandon the press release.

It was, however, a particularly nostalgic week for me, partially because a Facebook page was created by old friends to celebrate our time together at college radio station WNYT.  A flood of photos and articles are being posted, and memories of record albums and cart machines and reel-to-reel tape recorders abound.  Coincidentally, I visited a friend this week who still works at my alma mater; he showed me WNYT, so my nostalgia meter has been running higher than usual.

To add to these events, I’ve started to think about what to do with hundreds of record albums, CDs and VHS tapes which are taking up significant space in our apartment.  I’ve already tossed most of the VHS tapes but am having trouble parting with the rest of the collection.  I also have a few antique radios on display which look nice but are dust collectors and space taker-uppers.

All this amplifies my belief that while there’s nothing wrong with memories and nostalgia, we must always keep moving with the changes technology imposes.  This is especially true in our classrooms where, on my campus and at my alma mater, we’re preparing hundreds of students each year to be professional communicators.  The reel-to-reel machines have been replaced by PCs loaded with Audition and other platforms; old Steenbeck flatbed film editors are now Avid editing suites, and press kits are uploaded to web sites and blogs.

I’m awed by the changes we’re seeing in communication and I’m excited to embrace all that’s new. The past is fun to see, but only in the rear view mirror. Your thoughts?


5 thoughts on “PaRting with nostalgia

  1. Alexandria Triolo

    I believe that it is important to continue to move with the changes of which technology imposes. However, it is equally important to know the history of what PR practitioners used as resources in the past. While we may not be licking an envelope and sending individual paper letters to each individual customer or reporter, we still have to keep that unique personal within the content of our emails and online press releases.

  2. marissaespinoza

    While some tools in an industry may seem to appear “outdated” or “unused,” things simply change form. We may not use the press release in the traditional sense anymore, but we now utilize online press releases. There may be a time in the near future when we adopt a new type of online press release, perhaps in the form of a tweet or Facebook post.

  3. stacyannn1

    I think it is important to still keep the traditions of past in our current generation. When the new technology stop working those fundamental traditions will be very useful. Press Releases are not dying because they are still very useful and even if they were not I would still not change them because you will never know when you will need it.

  4. Keyana Hammons

    I believe it’s important to keep things from the past. The past is how we learn and how we grow in order to make bigger and better changes for our future. The past is an essential reminder of where we came from and how much further we have to go.

  5. Evon

    I think it’s important to know the past when it comes to communication. It allows us to see what works with people and what doesn’t. Some things don’t need to be changed if they work. However change is a wonderful thing.


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