Social Media Highlights Gaps In Advertising, Public Relations Education

New roles in social media are raising questions about whether educators can adequately prepare students for careers in advertising and public relations. The Baylor University study, described in the article “Gaps in Advertising and Public Relations Education: Perspectives of Agency Leaders,” and published in the Journal of Advertising Education, found that while traditional advertising and public relations skills such as writing and presentation remain foundational, other skills are now necessary for success in both fields.

“Educators need to address the deficiencies identified in this study and find ways to build these skills and competencies in their courses,” says Marlene S. Neill, PhD, assistant professor of journalism, public relations and new media in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences.

As graduates fill new roles in the workplace—social listening, online community management, native advertising, social media analytics, content amplification and programmatic buying—the study highlighted deficiencies in their skill sets, including math and business skills.

Erin Schauster, PhD, an assistant professor at University of Colorado-Boulder, and Neill’s co-author, says, “We concluded that as public relations executives begin pursuing more paid online media strategies, they may need additional training in media planning and buying, particularly in the areas of programmatic buying, search engine optimization and search engine marketing. Likewise, as advertising executives assume online community management roles, they may need additional training in issues and crisis management.”

Read more on Baylor’s findings here.

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