One of the coolest parts about teaching is getting those wonderful “back to school” butterflies in my stomach as September arrives. For me it’s just like that feeling of anticipation when I go to a party where I’ll know some people, but I’ll be meeting a lot of others for the first time. There always seems to be heightened importance to first impressions and new relationships.
Many reading this are seeing Public Relations Nation for the first time. I created this blog six years ago, and after more than 300 posts I’ve never missed a week and haven’t exceeded a self-imposed edict to express myself in 350 words or less. While I try not to make PR Nation a soapbox for my political perspectives, I want it to be relevant to what’s going on in the world. During this presidential campaign, for example, there’s a multitude of PR lessons to be learned, and I sometimes can’t help revealing my opinions. The idea is to get your reaction to the point being made, which is why posts always end with “Your thoughts?” I also invite my students and other readers to contribute their own thoughts by writing a guest post. Several students and professional colleagues have done so, and you’ll be seeing more of these this fall.
Public relations is a complex and ever-changing profession and it’s also very difficult to define. At a social gathering of freshmen at Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication last week, a new student wanted to know what she’d be learning in class and asked me to describe public relations. I tossed the question back at her, suggesting that she tell me about PR as she understands it to be. I was pleasantly surprised when she gave a credible explanation…not bad for an 18-year-old who never read a PR textbook or set foot in a PR classroom. I wonder how many students, whether freshmen or otherwise, or even how many seasoned PR practitioners can easily define our profession in a sentence or two without Googling it first. Try it!