PR gets “Back to Basics” March 30-April 1

Fraser Seitel, PR Guru and Keynote Speaker

There is little question that social media has changed the public relations industry. Nearly every listing for a PR job requires “social media skills.” And there’s an expectation that if you’re in your early 20’s, you know social media because you’ve lived with it.

Yet, my colleagues in academia and business complain that students who grew up at a keyboard don’t know how to write. Problems with punctuation, grammar and sentence structure render their social media skills irrelevant because they haven’t learned the fundamentals of effective, word-based communication (see PR guru Fraser Seitel’s brief quote on YouTube). Emphasis is placed on social media skills at the peril of the basics of good PR.

This is why Seitel is the keynote speaker at Hofstra when its Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter hosts Back to Basics, a regional conference March 30-April 1. No student planning a career in PR and communications should miss this. The conference’s panel discussions will be “an exploration and re-examination of the fundamentals of effective public relations,” according to the event’s pitch material, and promises “informative and entertaining programming to emphasize the all-important PR basics while not losing sight of the PR tools of the future.” There will be expert guest speakers, helpful workshops and excellent networking opportunties. Those attending will also have the opportunity to see How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Broadway, not so much a lesson in success, but a superbly entertaining musical!

I love this concept and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. And many wonderful panelists have lined up to present workshops. There’s “The Perfect Pitch” with Patricia Gambale (Public Relations Professionals of Long Island), David Norman (Kitchen PR) and Glenn Goldberg (Parallel Communications Group); “Writing for PR” with journalists and authors Iyna Bort Caruso, Claudia Gryvatz Copquin and Paula Ganza Licata; “PR Public Speaking” with networking maven Mindy F. Wolfle; “Balancing Social Media with the Basics” featuring Jason Winoker of Hunter PR; “Integrated Marketing” with Bert Cunningham (expert and educator) and tentatively Robert Zimmerman (Zimmerman/Edelson PR); “Crisis PR” with Dianne Baumert-Moyik (Northrop Grumman), Brian Dolan (SYSTRA Consulting) and Sean Dolan (Diocese of Rockville Centre); plus sessions titled “Meet the Media,” Entertainment PR” and “Public Service PR” all followed by a case study competition. PR pros will come to lunch on Saturday, March 31 to network with student participants.

Don’t miss Back to Basics. It’s PR stripped to its essential roots and it’s worth a couple of days of everyone’s focus. Your thoughts?

6 responses

  1. I always thought I was a great speller, until I took PR103 where we received weekly spelling tests. Turns out I’m not such the amazing speller I thought I was… I can’t say for sure that social media is at fault for this, but I know that having spell check on my computer is definitely somewhat responsible (I can’t just blame the computer).

    I’m looking forward to the panelists speaking at Back to Basics. I think this will be an important event for PR students and a big deal for Hofstra.

  2. Brie Schachtel | Reply

    As someone who grew up using a keyboard I agree that students struggle with punctuation, grammar and sentence structure. In such a media-saturated world my writing skills have diminished. I think that in the future kids will need to be re-taught how to write in script because we will be solely using laptops and iPads in schools.

  3. Susanne Engelen | Reply

    Great initiative! I myself are one of the rare people in their 20s that isn’t so thrilled about the social media ‘revolution’. I am far more interested in the old and original methods, which in my opinion are just as effective, if not more effective than many new social media based PR tools. I agree though that both new and old tools should be used and combined to be able to get the best PR results. I’m looking forward to hearing professionals’ different views on this issue!

  4. Hofstra PRSSA did an impressive job to secure relavent and informative speakers for this conference. This conference looks like it will be a valuable experience for PR students who are just beginning to learn the PR basics. I think the focus of the conference is wildly important. After all, if we as future PR professional do not know the PR business basics, we will have no room to grow into fully developed PR professionals. I am sad that I will not be able to attend to take part in this wonderful learning experience.

  5. I agree with Abby. Yes the younger generation is attached to texting and Facebook but I don’t think that has an impact on how we write in a traditional sense. I was first trained to write formally and just caught on to the text-lingo. I cannot speak for others but I do feel that my writing is not hindered by my one for social media and texting.

  6. As a college student, I understand how some people my age might have issues with writing due to the social media lifestyles we live. However, I think it is wrong to assume that all young adults can not write. Most of us learned spelling and grammar in elementary and middle school, before we really got into the social media scene. The conference, nonetheless, seems like it will be a great experience for anyone in the PR field and other related fields. I look forward to attending.

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