I have pondered about entering into this very interesting and unique debate opportunity about our subject and after reading a few postings I am now convinced that as a citizen of Africa (South Africa to be precise), I have a voice.
The recent PR Festival has been held in our mother city, Cape Town, and a few pressing issues came up in some of the sessions on the programme. One such session – that I have been chairing – the Academic Forum – had numerous heated debates. The main issues were still:”Does PR get the acknowledgement it should? Is it being recognised as an undividual practice and subject? What about its unique existence – will it be smothered by the marketing of communication fields? Et cetera…” An old, but a continuous surfacing debate…
My answer to this is simple: Get a life!Every discipline in the world has – and will always have – this type of debate. It is like asking what the meaning of life is – but life (as we know it) still continues.PR needs to overcome the pressing identity debate and makes its own destiny. We need to rather revisit its philisophies, theories, models, strategies and tactics and the ways in which we tranfer knowledge and skills in the field – but never should PR/corporate communication doubt its existence. Rather should we be asking: How can we bring the “lustre” back into the field of study and its performance dimensions as a practice.
We will be launching a drive to investigate the accreditation issue of PR across the African continent. During this investigation we will be asking all stakeholders (accreditation bodies, employers, education providers, academics and students) what skills and competencies the basic PR deliveree should possess. If we can create – after this exercise – a basic accredited PR course/module throughout Africa to add to our future business sustainability, we will have contributed something substantial to the “what about our existence?”-debate.
I wish for the day when corporate communicators and PR scholars and practitioners alike, would feel similar about PR and corporate communication as chartered accountants all over the world feel about their disciplne and practice.Proud and secure, with a vision of knowing where they are going. Where education, training and practice as a whole(and on an international scale), is solid and makes more sense.
How I wish I could see that day….When PR scholars and practitioners will not debate the “existence” of the subject field, but rather the consequences that the levels of PR has as an instrument of immense power and influence. And how PR can make a sustainable and continuous difference in the lives of the people and causes it serves.