And we are back! Welcome to all of the new readers and hello again to the familiar faces. For those of you who are new, and maybe stumbled upon this post while you were perusing our prSPEAK blog, let me take this opportunity to explain what this blog series is and what we explore. For the past 13 years, I have been teaching at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications. To me, it is something I look forward to every year. From meeting new students to dissecting the latest current event, I always end the semester with more knowledge than when I started, and a greater appreciation for the younger generation.
Last year, I decided to invite all of you along on my journey in a blog series titled ‘Cuse Chronicles by a CEO, in which I explored my experiences teaching at Syracuse. We explored everything from the war on talent, to President Obama’s use of a selfie stick to help spread the word about his Affordable Care Act and even touched upon big data’s role in the PR industry. Not only did these posts enable me to reflect on the previous week’s class, it also gave me an opportunity to further connect with my students. With a new post going up the Monday before class, come Tuesday I was always greeted with comments and questions from my students about the blog. They really got a kick out of reading my take on class.
So here we are again – but this time around, you’ll notice that things are a little different about this semester’s blog series. This all stems from the fact that I’m teaching a different class this year. Prior to this semester, I had been teaching the same PR management capstone course to graduating seniors for four years. This capstone course served many purposes for students including helping them understand the business environment in which public relations operates and identifying how PR can add value to the organization. This year, I’m teaching a course I haven’t taught in three years – a specialized program around managing and navigating PR agency life. This year’s class is primarily graduate students, who have enrolled in Newhouse as part of a 13-month master’s program in PR.
Now, I could write a whole post about what makes teaching graduate students different than teaching undergraduates (hint, hint: more to come on that front), but for now, I want to explore just how much the industry has changed since I last taught this class. Similar to any course I’ve ever taught at Syracuse, before class kicked off, I spent a lot of time thoroughly updating the curriculum with my two TA’s and fellow Newhouse graduates, Adam Novak and Jonathan Gregalis. As the three of us worked together to update the syllabus, and really dig into what has changed about the PR industry since we last taught this class, we couldn’t get over just how different things were.
Take for example, the topic of discussion for week two of the class: the link between public relations and marketing. It was while we were working on the presentation for class that it really dawned on all of us just what those major changes are. We were dropping in detailed slides about things we had just scratched the surface of several years ago. The integration of traditional and digital, the job description of PAN’s own VP of digital, the metrics and measurements for our programs and the variety of programs (Trendkite, Netbase, Hubspot, Google Analytics) were just some of the topics of discussion we touched upon during class.
Those of you who follow along with our prSPEAK blog frequently know, PAN just recently celebrated our 20th anniversary last year. To celebrate, I spent the entire year reflecting on just how much the industry has changed since I first launched PAN. To say that things have changed in 20 years is an understatement but what I find even more shocking is just how quickly things have changed in the last three years. It’s hard to believe that some of the core capabilities we are so accustomed to today are far more developed than when I last taught this class.
So far, teaching a group of graduates has been an eye opening experience for me. Similar to last year, I hope you’ll join me in my journey, as once again I navigate the often snowy sidewalks at Syracuse. Be sure to check back for our next post.
This blog post is part of larger series, ‘Cuse Chronicles by a CEO, from PAN President & Founder, Philip A. Nardone, Jr., as he chronicles his experience teaching at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications.