Pete Wilby’s Screaming Headlines takes on the old debate…academic vs. vocational PR education. As a media studies professor at UCE Birmingham, Pete’s bias is no surprise really, but he gives some good arguments about Tim Luckhurst’s Independent article “What’s the point of media studies?” that ran over the weekend. I think Luckhurst’s slant stems from the old hack v flack mentality that’s been around since the dawn of newspapers. Ho-hum.
But when it comes time to hiring time down at the ol’ PR agency, the argument takes another turn. Do we want to hire the holder of a respected degree or someone with MS creds after their name? Is one smarter than other? Is one a harder worker? Which would you choose?
I, for one, want chocolate in my peanut butter! When hiring, why do I have to pick between thinkers and doers? Why settle for a brilliant strategist who can’t write a news release to save his or her life? Why get a social media whiz-kid who freezes if he’s asked to actually pick up the phone to pitch an msm reporter?
Well the answer seems glaringly obvious to me: we want to recruit well-rounded individuals. It’s quite shocking that even in 2006 we are still having this debate. Algonquin College, in Ottawa, has been churning out wonderful PR all-rounders for at least 20 years. PR Education Program Director Claudine Wilson has developed a programme against which all others should be benchmarked (but maybe I’m showing my bias now :-))