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 The reel-to-reel machines have been replaced by PCs loaded with Audition and other platforms; old Steenbeck flatbed film editors are now Avid editing suites, and press kits are uploaded to web sites and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?