Lessons Earned: How "Languages" Led to a Successful PR Career
Jim Simon, IPR Trustee, President, Simon & Associates
In partnership with PRNEWS, “Lessons Earned” is a series featuring IPR Trustees sharing a difficult lesson.

As a history major, I had no grounding in business when I graduated.

I eventually leveraged a portfolio of freelance articles for Ohio newspapers about various topics–none business-related–into a temporary position with the state of Ohio Auditor’s press office. I had to learn the language of accounting and auditing so I could write news releases about municipalities’ finances.

That language-learning skill carried over into nearly every PR position I held, including CCO at corporations in five industry groups.

Read the rest of Jim Simon's blog to learn how "languages" helped him find success in the PR industry.
Measurement Month: Avoiding "Substitution Error" to Get Past Half-Way M&E
Jim Macnamara, Ph.D., IPR Trustee, Distinguished Professor, School of Communication at the University of Technology Sydney
This blog is provided by the IPR Measurement Commission. November celebrates AMEC Measurement Month 2020 #AMECMM.

There have been major advances in measurement and evaluation (M&E) in terms of the technology and tools available, which now include no-cost web analytics tools such as Google Analytics (basic version) and low-cost applications such as Hootsuite for social media analysis. Such tools dispense with the frequent claim that lack of budget prevents M&E.

However, a problem identified as early as 1985 continues to be a contributor to what some researchers identify as “stasis” or a “deadlock” in M&E. A leading PR textbook pointed out in its 1985 edition that “the common error in program evaluation is substituting measures from one level for those at another level.” This warning was repeated in subsequent editions and was also pointed out by eminent PR scholar Jim Grunig, who defined ‘substitution error’ as use of “a metric gathered at one level of analysis to show an outcome at a higher level of analysis.”

Read the rest of Jim Macnamara's blog to see his advice for avoiding half-way measurement and evaluation.
AI in PR: The Conversation Has Just Begun
Manuelita Maldonado, University of Southern California; Tech Public Relations Intern, GOLIN
Manuelita Maldonado was the 2020 winner of the Makovsky Best Master's Thesis of the Year Award. This blog post is based on her thesis research, "The Rise of Intelligent Machines."

Thanks to science fiction characters like Hal, from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ava from Ex-Machina or even The Terminator, we tend to think of artificial intelligence as a super-intelligent machine that will destroy or replace humanity forever – but that ultimately belongs to the future and has yet to be invented. But the truth is that this revolutionary technology is already here, and it is changing our lives in more ways that we can count. From what Netflix show to watch next to what route to take during our morning commute, AI algorithms are constantly helping us make decisions. 

In the field of public relations, this new relationship between humans and intelligent machines is enabling PR professionals to create data-driven campaigns, automate repetition-based tasks, analyze online conversations, predict a crisis and even produce personalized content. But how knowledgeable are PR scholars and industry experts about the impact that AI technologies are having in the field of public relations and, most importantly, why should they care? 

Read the rest of Manuelita Maldonado's blog to learn about AI in PR.
Identity And/In/Of Public Relations
Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D., APR, California State University, Fullerton
This summary is provided by the IPR Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion based on the original editor's essay in the Journal of Public Relations Research

In this editor’s essay in Journal of Public Relations Research, Dr. Bey-Ling Sha discusses the intersection of public relations and identity.

Dr. Sha reviews identity research in public relations as a whole, the identity of public relations, the direction for public relations theory and research regarding identity, and how identity influences internal publics.

Key themes include:
  • Past literature has stated that identity is dynamic and evolving (Hall, 1994; Ciszek, 2018). Public relations is in the midst of the challenge of fluid identities, “positioned to interrogate the subjectivities and intersectionalities of organizational publics and organizations themselves.”
  • Identities of immigrant professionals change through processes of stress and adaptation.
  • Scholars introduced the concept of “intercultural identity,” an identity that spans different cultures.
  • In this same way, organizational identity may be influenced and changed by stressors and new contexts.

Read more to learn about identity research in public relations and what it means for the industry.
Toward a Relational Theory of Employee Engagement
Hua Jiang, Ph.D., Syracuse University; Hongmei Shen, Ph.D., San Diego State University
This summary is provided by the IPR Organizational Communication Research Center based on the original journal article in the International Journal of Business Communication

Dr. Hua Jiang and Dr. Hongmei Shen explored the influence transparent organizational communication and authentic leadership have on employee engagement, performance behavior and turnover intention.

A survey of 727 U.S. employees was conducted using Amazon Mechanical Turk.

Key findings include:

  • Participants believed that their organizations provided them a "moderately high" amount of information and encouraged "moderately high" participation.
  • Employees' direct supervisors' authentic leadership behavior had a positive and direct effect on employee engagement.
  • Transparent organizational communication was significantly associated with employees' low levels of turnover intention.
  • Transparent organizational communication and employee communication had a significant effect on performance behavior and turnover intention.

Read more to see how transparent organizational communication and authentic leadership affect employee engagement, performance, and turnover intention.
Hateproofing Your Message
Bond Benton, Ph.D., and Daniela Peterka-Benton, Ph.D., Montclair State University
Virtually every innovation in the field of public relations over the last two decades has focused on one thing: engagement. We now want the voices of publics to feature prominently in our messaging.

The inevitability of consumer control of public relations messages isn’t going away. That loss of control, however, raises a deeply concerning question, though. What happens when bad people co-opt the messages of good brands?

This question is no longer hypothetical as hate groups are now regularly taking over PR messages and hijacking public perceptions. Our research on this subject led us to dub such events "hatejacks". These hatejacks now represent a danger that requires awareness from practitioners.

Read the rest of Bond Benton and Daniela Peterka-Benton's blog to learn about "hatejacks" and how you can "hateproof" your brand.
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