By Jeanette L. Drake, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA
The future starts now.
The theme of the International Conference of the Public Relations Society of America Oct. 13-16 in San Francisco suggests to each of us that what we do today influences ourselves and others tomorrow—a tomorrow that promises to be unrecognizable.
A discussion of MOOCs (massive open online classes) and how online classes are changing the nature of education became a hot topic during my presentation to practitioners considering teaching public relations. Other discussions and innovations underscored this year’s theme:
- An “unconference” pioneered on Saturday positioned assembly delegates to serve as thought leaders, helping to shape the direction of the society.
- Keynote speaker Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, reminded us, “There’s a difference between getting more information and getting smarter.”
- PRServing America recognized award-winning service for the inaugural year.
PRServing America is a new program that recognizes and rewards PRSA members for their pro-bono efforts to strengthen and preserve the communities in which they live and work.
The future starts now.
Westchester-Fairfield Chapter took first place for its Hands for Life campaign. Through the work of PRSA members, 5,141 adults participated in the one-day event, setting a U.S. record for individuals trained in hands-only CPR. Chapters in Los Angeles, Cleveland, Syracuse and Pikes Peak also earned awards for noteworthy service programs.
In fact, the Syracuse award actually went to the Public Relations Student Society of America, a reminder of the impact that the student chapters can have through their service and, most recently, through the Bateman Competition.
This year’s public relations campaign competition asks students to plan and implement local campaigns against cyberbullying. Last year’s Bateman Competition addressed childhood obesity.
Seeing PRSSA taking a turn for good these last two years makes me think students at The University of Findlay affected the future when they boycotted a corporate Bateman campaign a few years ago because of ethical concerns.
Ethical considerations are the topic for today’s keynote speaker. June Cotte, consumer behavioral expert, will answer the question, “When will consumers pay to be good?”
Stay tuned. The future starts now.