The School of Communications dean spoke with PRWeek’s Steven Barrett and Frank Washkuch on Sept. 5 about educating and training future public relations professionals for today’s industry.
On the afternoon before the Evening for Elon event in New York City, Communications Dean Rochelle Ford made a guest appearance on the weekly PRWeek podcast. Joined by hosts Steven Barrett, PRWeek’s editorial director, and Frank Washkuch, PRWeek’s news director, Ford discussed a myriad of topics relating to the public relations industry and educating future professionals during the 35-minute interview.
In addition to recording the podcast, PRWeek streamed the conversation on Facebook Live.
“It’s an exciting time to be in public relations education,” said Ford at the beginning of the Sept. 5 podcast. “At Elon, we are striving to educate the student both with the skills that are necessary to be competitive, then also the knowledge to understand the theory, the ‘why’ of why we do the communications that we do.”
The podcast kicked off with a discussion about the changing demands of the industry – thanks largely to technology. While Ford noted that today’s professionals are always expected to do more, a modern public relations education still centers itself around developing strong writers.
“It’s the No. 1 skill,” she said. “We emphasize (writing) from their day (students) get on campus until the day they leave.”
From there, the conversation touched on topics relating to the prominence of analytics and data, the need for diversity in leadership positions, as well as the importance of ethics and civic responsibility.
At the top of the podcast, Barrett noted he was excited to welcome Ford because “we don’t often have an educator here with us.” Recent PRWeek podcast guests include Gail Heimann, Weber Shandwick CEO; Ray Day, IBM CCO; and Matt Kucharski, Padilla president.