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Investing in the Future of PR


By Glynn Young, APR, Fellow PRSA, PRSA St. Louis Communications Chair

I have three grandsons. I’ve discovered that being a grandfather is likely the most fun job in the world. During the past two years, it’s also become one of the most worrisome jobs. 

I ask myself, what kind of world are my grandchildren inheriting? If current conditions are any indication, their world as adults will one of no trust, a world where people scream past each other, where every activity is violently political, a world where people only want to score points off each other. 

We bemoan the current state of incivility. We do nothing about it except run for cover to our own echo chambers. 

This kind of society can’t last. We’re going to tear it apart before my grandsons become adults. 

I’ve spent more than 40 years in public relations, and I believe PR has an opportunity to do something. Doc Joe Trahan, when he spoke to our PRSA luncheon in August, put his finger on it. 

PR professionals have a wonderful opportunity to advocate for civility. 

More than almost any other profession, we spend a majority of our working day operating in the gray areas of conflict. We know, better than our clients and better than the news media, that every story, and every issue, has at least two sides. We work hard to help clients see those two sides. And we know that, for our clients and ourselves to be successful, all sides must be heard and addressed. 

We can’t do everything, but we can make a significant contribution. And we can make a contribution where it’s going to matter especially 10 years from now. 

Over the last four decades, I’ve served as a professional advisor to a PRSSA chapter, I’ve spoken countless times to PR students at universities, participated in panel discussions at student conferences, attended Pro-Am Days, paid for summer interns and given them real work and important projects to do, mentored, counseled, and even help design a university communications curriculum. I loved doing this, and I’d do it all over again. 

But you don’t have to make that major a time commitment to make a difference. You can join some of your PR colleagues in the St. Louis area and PR and communications academics to discuss what students now and in the future need to know and study. And it’s only for a morning.

On Oct. 20, PRSA-St. Louis, UMSL Business, and UMSL Communication and Media are hosting a Summit for PR Leaders and Educators, to explore what the next generation of PR practitioners needs to be successful – and needs for our organizations and clients to be successful. The need for civility tops my list, but there are a wide array of topics that need to be explored. More information and signup can be found here.

Consider joining us on the 20th. Bring your own questions, concerns, and ideas. Educators want to hear them. Students will need them. 

And my grandsons, and your children and grandchildren, will be among the beneficiaries. 

Photograph by Climate-KIC via Unsplash. Used with permission.

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