FREE Webinar: Breaking Into International PR

Ever thought about working overseas or wondered what it might be like representing foreign clients at a major agency? Have you considered working at the U.S. headquarters of a foreign-based company or an international non-governmental organization (NGO)?

Geared towards students, new professionals and more experienced pros looking for new horizons, this free webinar will provide expert advice on how to take advantage of the growing opportunities in the global practice of public relations.

The webinar will be led by David Gallagher, senior partner at Ketchum and president of the company’s European operations. Based in London with dual U.S. and U.K. nationality, David is also chairman of the British Public Relations Consultants Association and a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and the PR Guild of the City of the London. He sits on management boards for Ketchum companies in the U.K., France, Spain and Italy, and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s global advisory council on news, media and entertainment and sits and its global health advisory board. He is a journalism graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

Date: Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Time: 1 p.m. Eastern
12 p.m. Central
11 a.m. Mountain
10 a.m. Pacific
Duration: 60 minutes

To register & more info:

A Lesson in Governance by Mike Greenberg

There’s the concept, and then there’s the reality. The former involves the process, customs and rules by which an organization such as PRSA, is run and the manner by which its members participate in their Society. The reality: that I had the privilege to observe first-hand as our Section’s Delegate to the Leadership Assembly, which met in Washington, D.C., on October 16.

The session began with a review of the Assembly procedures, a report on the financial health of the Society and a review of key accomplishments during 2010. We also voted to keep 2011 PRSA dues at the 2010 level. In other business:

  • There was a much-anticipated and hotly debated amendment to the Society’s by-laws that would allow persons who do not have the APR (Accredited in Public Relations) credential to be nominated to serve on the national Board of Directors. Presently, non-credentialed members cannot serve on the national Board even though they may have held other PRSA leadership positions, such serving on the Board of their local Chapter or national Section, and worked in public relations for at least 20 years.  To me, the strongest argument for change was the fact that only about 16% of Society members carry the APR credential; thus, national leadership opportunities are limited to a small minority of PRSA members. I was convinced that we will be a better Society if we can draw on the talent and experience of more, not fewer members. I voted for the amendment, but the motion failed.
  • Prof. Donald Wright, APR, Fellow PRSA, and Christina M. Darnowski, who heads the PRSA research department, presented their early analysis of a survey of employers on what  knowledge, skills and abilities tomorrow’s PR professionals will require. Future employers will expect new professionals to be proficient in media relations and social media engagement. Polish-up on your writing and listening skills, too. The full report is expected to be released in 2011, but you can see their presentation here.

What impressed me about this experience was the respect, despite their passion, that the Delegates displayed to each other. They clearly shared a deep commitment to the success of PRSA and enhancing the value the profession. As New Professionals, we should follow their example. Yes, we are busy with our new careers, or working to land that first job, but I encourage you to take an interest in serving your Society; and getting involved with the New Professionals Section is a fine way to start. If you want to learn more about opportunities to volunteer your time and talent, e-mail me.

Mike Greenberg is Director of Membership for the PRSA New Professionals Section. He is a member of the PRSA National Capital Chapter and co-Chaired the Chapter’s Volunteer Committee for the 2010 PRSA International Conference in Washington, DC

Intro to series… International PR by Dr. Dean Kruckeberg

“International public relations” is a specialization of practice that routinely, if not primarily, spans the borders of nation-states.  International practitioners may work for public relations firms, civil society (nongovernmental) organizations or governments at several levels.  However, these practitioners (either in-house or as specialists within public relations firms) more commonly represent multinational or transnational corporations that have global stakeholders because these organizations obtain their raw materials, their labor and/or their markets worldwide.  Using this definition, an American practitioner representing a German organization to publics in that country would not be practicing “international public relations,” while a German practitioner representing a German-based corporation to American publics would be an international practitioner.  Some practitioners accept longtime assignments or lengthy rotations at international sites, while others may be based domestically, but will travel extensively, i.e., they may be in an airplane or in a foreign country as often as they are in their home offices.

Some public relations professionals prefer the label “global public relations,” noting correctly that “international public relations” is not only misleadingly imprecise, but is in fact a deceiving misnomer.  They argue that:  1) practitioners, scholars/educators and students worldwide are rapidly coalescing into a global professional community that increasingly shares universal professional values and best practices, with decreasing national distinctions in public relations practice; and 2)  the populations of many nation-states are, themselves, highly multicultural, if not globally represented, and thus the assumption that discrete “nation-states” are themselves homogeneous is naively erroneous, i.e., in this sense practitioners for domestic organizations must operate within a global context because of the multicultural diversity within their own countries.   And, of course, all practice is international to the extent that what happens elsewhere in the world can affect practitioners’ domestic organizations in myriad ways.

International public relations has been practiced at some levels since the evolution of public relations as a professionalized occupation, although the number of practitioners in this specialization has grown markedly in recent years.  Organizations need specialists who have particular knowledge and skills to practice in a range of social, political, economic and cultural environments.  These specialists must have the strategic, tactical and technical knowledge and skills that are required of all public relations practitioners, but they require additional education and experience that increase the breadth and depth of their worldview to enable them to better understand, appreciate and respect publics worldwide.  International public relations practitioners must perform strategically as interpreters, ethicists and social policy-makers in guiding organizational behavior in the global arena, and they must take strategic responsibility for influencing and reconciling public perceptions of their organizations worldwide.

International public relations practitioners must be both urbane and cosmopolitan, i.e., true world citizens who are comfortable in a range of greatly different environments.  Successful practitioners must be consummate students of global society, with a longitudinal, i.e., historical, understanding of their clients’ indigenous societies as well as a latitudinal understanding of contemporary global society, and they must constantly monitor and interpret world events for their clients.  Of course, protocols must be understood, and fluency of indigenous languages is highly desired.  The need for strong liberal arts education is obvious, as is specific knowledge about world history, intercultural communication, political science and economics.  Knowledge of indigenous laws and legal systems is particularly important.  While the types of activities that international practitioners perform may resemble those of their domestic counterparts, and while their publics may resemble typical categories of domestic publics, nevertheless unusual challenges exist because of oftentimes significantly different social, political, economic and cultural influences at international sites.

New pros often feel it must be difficult to break into international public relations.  Of course, new pros will need to seek employment in organizations that are international in their scope or in firms that have international clients who seek relationships with publics in yet other international sites (definitionally, a practitioner who represents an international client in the practitioner’s native country is not practicing international public relations, although working with his international client will require the practitioner’s international knowledge).  However, multinational corporations oftentimes welcome young practitioners who volunteer for long-term international assignments, particularly if these new professionals have prepared themselves well for these positions.  Senior-level international public relations practitioners are quick to mentor protégés who have a primary interest in international careers.  Many resources also exist for those who want such careers, e.g., the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, the International Public Relations Association, the International Council of the Public Relations Society of America, the International Association of Business Communicators, the U.S.-based Institute for Public Relations (and its Commission on Global Public Relations) and the U.K.-based Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

For students, public relations curricula in many universities offer courses in international public relations, and at least one university’s public relations education program offers a certificate in international public relations.  Several public relations textbooks have a strong international orientation, and a few textbooks focus on this specialization.  Graduate education in related areas, e.g., international relations and intercultural communication, can also be helpful.

The time undoubtedly will come when labels such as “international” public relations will be redundant because all public relations practice will be global.  However, until then, international public relations will be in increasing demand by contemporary organizations in a 21st Century global society.  It represents an exciting opportunity for those with the knowledge, skills and abilities to practice this specialization.

Dr. Dean Kruckeberg, APR, Fellow PRSA, is executive director of the Center for Global Public Relations and a tenured full professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Nine factors that determine news value by Brian Camen

Since this blog is dedicated to new PR professionals, it’s always important to be reminded of the basics. The following are nine factors that determine news value (originally posted on my blog, The PR Practitioner).

As PR practitioners, we need to craft our pitches with the following factors in mind:

  1. Timeliness – Don’t pitch or send a news release about an event that happened two weeks ago. New news is always better than old news (unless it’s a source pitch about an anniversary of a major event)
  2. Proximity – Don’t pitch your news to the locals in Detroit if your company is located in Arizona and has no Detroit ties.
  3. Usefulness – People love practical tips and lists.
  4. Prominence – Even though cable news shows are always looking for sources, they would still rather have the leading expert (or someone famous) on to comment as opposed to someone with an uneducated opinion on the subject.
  5. Impact – The more people your story affects, the better.
  6. Novelty – The weird and odd stories are always an easy sell.
  7. Conflict – We love to hear about turmoil, fighting and the little guy defeating the big guy.
  8. Human Interest – People are interesting.
  9. Sex Appeal – Things that are trendy sell easier.

In your opinion, which of the above are the more important factors that determine news value?

Intro to series… Non-profit government PR by Kallie Bonnell

Working at a non-profit (NFP) in the government space, especially in our current economy, is a daily exercise in doing more with less. Being creative and knowing how to leverage your product or service is very useful as budgets and state appropriation dollars continue to decrease. Creativity, thinking outside of the box, is an absolute must.

The daily work environment varies from organization to organization; but, in general, employees of NFPs are passionate about their work. The idea of a NFP, at its core, is not to turn a huge profit, but to provide a quality product/service, or successfully fill a need, while covering its budgetary costs. For this reason NFP salaries are typically on the low end, however truly enjoying and valuing your work, and non-monetary benefits, frequently found at NFPs, compensate for lower pay.

One of the major pluses of NFP work is that you can try your hand at almost anything. You might have to play squeaky wheel as the new pro in the office, but in my experience there is abundant opportunity to get a variety of PR, marketing, fund raising, and integrated communications experience. A wide skill set will make you very valuable employee to any NFP organization.

Finding a job in the NFP world is very possible. First, determine what you’re interested in. Next, identify NFPs in that industry and start researching. Try your local united way for a list of NFP organizations, or see if your city or state has a not-for-profit news website. Other avenues include your state employment websites. Check the internet for databases operated by your state, Indiana has, Indiana Career Connect, your state likely has something similar.

Kallie Bonnell is the Communications and Marketing Manager for a governmental body that provides technology solutions to higher education institutions. Kallie has worked in various public relations and marketing positions for the past five years.