PRSSA Kent State University
By Hanna Moore
For first meeting of the semester, we heard from new PRKent faculty member Cheryl Ann Lambert, Ph.D., who spoke to us about how public relations is portrayed in the media. Lambert received a bachelor's degree in English, a master's degree in journalism and a doctorate degree in public relations. She served as an editor for five years at a Chilton Publishing Company trade magazine and worked in corporate public relations at Sears, Roebuck and Co. Lambert then went on to work as an assistant professor at Boston University before joining Kent State's faculty this fall.
Dr. Lambert discussed the negative portrayals of public relations in society. She said, "If you believe that public relations is illegal, immoral and unethical, you're in the wrong major. People in PR don't think that." Dr. Lambert explained that the best way we, as students and soon-to-be public relations professionals can combat these stereotypes is by acting professional and leading by example.
Dr. Lambert addressed some depictions of public relations in popular culture, saying that even though Scandal sometimes gives the public relations profession a bad reputation, she is still a huge fan of Olivia Pope and Judy Smith, the real-life woman who inspired the show. She said that even though some parts of the show accurately depict crisis communications, obviously Smith was not really covering up murders or having an affair with the President in real life. Dr. Lambert also discussed Samantha Jones, who played a publicist on Sex and the City. She said that Jones perpetuated the stereotypes that female public relations professionals only partied and used their bodies to get new clients. As for which public relations professionals in movies accurately depict public relations, Dr. Lambert referenced Kristen Wiig's character in The Martian and Jason Bateman's character in Hancock. Both of these characters actually showed what public relations professionals do in their careers and were shown in a positive light, Lambert said.