By Holly Disch
Public relations, what even is it? A lot of students going through the PR program don’t even know how to explain it, and there are tons of misconceptions out there about what we are getting our degree in. PR at Kent is not a communications degree, it is so much more specific and is a part of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
I have compiled a list of all the common delusions public relations faces as told by Kent State alum Steve Harvey.
1. “Oh! So you are going to do event planning!?”
I honestly don’t know where this misconception came from but no, PR majors are not going to become event planners. Of course, with Kent State’s curriculum you will have the ability to strategically plan a seamless event. It might even be a project you get assigned if you work at one the three major sectors of PR; nonprofit, agency and corporate.
Event planning is hard and involves a lot more than what movies and TV shows display, but I can't get into specific details because I am not studying to become an event planner.
2. “Did you hear about (insert celebrity who did something dumb)? They could use you as a publicist right now!”
NO, NO, NO! Public relations is so much more than being a publicist. Thank you for the career advice, though.
3. “Your major is so easy! You just write, and you don't have to take tests!”
Every major and program has its own unique challenges. We have classes in the journalism sequence, as well as our PR classes. By the time we graduate, we have gained writing, public speaking, design, video production, social media and critical thinking skills. Basically we write, write, write, write some more, plan a campaign (goal, objectives, strategies and tactics), work with a the group project to present the campaign and finish that off with writing up the entire campaign in a casebook.
Our professors mark a point off for every grammatical error. Do you realize how many possibilities there are to make a grammar mistakes in a 60-page casebook!?!?
Didn’t think so….
4. “Don't you realize you're getting a degree to just post on social media all day?”
Yes, there are plenty of job opportunities where you can create content and manage social media platforms, but no I am not spending my time and money on my degree to just tweet all day. (And for the record, social media is a lot harder than it looks!)
5. “Seriously, what even is your major?”
According to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication's website, Public relations is about developing excellent writing and presentation skills and understanding the elements of multimedia storytelling. The curriculum is making sure we have the tools to share stories in an ethical, transparent manner to change people's perspectives and sometimes even their lives.
Public relations has the power to mobilize social movements, spur social action and create significant change. Our program strives to create and sustain a learning environment that upholds these beliefs and values.
6. “Oh, so you're going into marketing?"
Marketing is an overarching umbrella of the constantly changing integrated communications field. So technically we could work for a marketing agency, and many PR students minor in marketing, but PR is so different than marketing.
7. “PR is all just spinning stories!"
The PRKent program is accredited and believes strongly in ethical storytelling. Key word is ETHICAL. PR is not spin, not matter what someone tells you.
Hopefully, you have learned a little about what public relations actually is. There many routes students can take with their degree like crisis management, community outreach, copywriting, account management, and various others. Kent State’s program allows students to get experience with design, writing and business. The communications field is always evolving and in need of many different skills that #PRKent major will get with their degree.