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Professor Tom Watson in PR Week

28 September 2012

Professor Tom Watson, professor of Public Relations at Bournemouth University, has featured in an article in magazine PR Week, advising new PR students on what they need to know in order to succeed.

The article, written by Matt Rumble, suggests that the PR industry is changing rapidly, with digital technology allowing PR companies to interact directly with the public.

The article features four high-profile PR course leaders from different universities - including Professor Watson.

He says that students have to realise they are going into an industry which is “constantly changing”, and not just about “going to and organising fun events.”

He adds: “Everything is getting faster and students have to be flexible with everything they do in their working lives.”

He says that social media is giving PR organisations “the opportunity to bypass traditional media and go straight to target audiences,” adding: “Once people ask some hard questions about what works and what does not, we will get a better understanding and they will be used more effectively.”

He adds that on the PR degree course at Bournemouth University, the digital comms strategy module has been moved forward from the fourth year to the second year, so that students can understand digital comms properly before their placement year.

He says: “Employers are not just satisfied by students just being able to use social media and the internet. They want students who can produce effective strategies that work online.”

But, he adds, key skills in the industry will remain - such as the ability to write proficiently in a range of styles.

He believes that, with the shift online, these skills will become even more prevalent and that one of the big changes in years to come will be the use of staff as company ambassadors.

He said: “[Organisations] are becoming aware that staff can also communicate the message and PR organisations will be important in educating staff about communication.

“There will also be a greater emphasis on integrating comms directives with business directives - good firms will use PR people on main boards, not just as an aside.”

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