Professor Tom Watson: ‘Anyone can call themselves a PR person’

14 June 2012

Professor Tom Watson BU’s Professor Tom Watson calls for the PR industry to value itself more highly in an interview with Speed Communications.

BU’s Professor of Public Relations and chairman of the PRCA Tom Watson told Speed Communications this week that the PR industry needs to value itself more before it can achieve professional recognition.

Professor Watson stated that the profession is starting to distinguish itself through the CIPR moving its Continuous Professional Development programme online, but needs more criteria for entry as he argues anyone can call themselves a ‘PR person.’

Professor Watson told Speed, “Despite efforts going back 25 years, public relations and communications management are not embedded in MBAs in this country which demonstrates their lack of standing amongst business and management. So we have an occupational field which exhibits more craft characteristics than professional ones; in which ‘custom and practice’ is held in greater esteem than ‘best practice’ or informed judgement.”

He goes on to say that there needs to be more training and not just at the educational level but mid-management level too, and outlined a 6 point plan that he believes will go some way into developing a more established profession. This includes restarting the CIPR with higher entry standards, more of a rigorous training programme, and more investment in education.

“Too often the discussion about talent for the PR sector focuses on entry-level training. It’s time that it looked at development and retention of that talent that it already employs”, says Professor Watson.

Read the full interview.

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