Strategies & Tactics

Tech Times in PR; Association Honors for S+T

June 3, 2019

Leading up to this technology issue, I aspired to have some newly created AI bot write this Editor’s Note. Unfortunately, that robotic program, nicknamed “JohnIsLazy,” wasn’t ready. (And there were budget issues.)

Kidding aside, AI has been on the next-big-thing radar for years now. Media outlets such as The Washington Post, USA Today and Reuters have already employed AI to write straightforward news briefs and unearth data trends.

Still, how practical is it today for the PR profession? According to the annual Global Communications Report conducted by the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations, respondents said that they are still skeptical about AI.

While only 3 percent of communicators said that AI has a current function in public relations, just 18 percent of professionals believe that it will be important to their work in subsequent years.

“For the communications profession, AI is mainly an analytics tool that allows us to do quantitative analysis of massive amounts of data — with the hope of making our strategies smarter, our results better and our jobs easier,” said Fred Cook, director of the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations, following the release of the report in late March.

The study offers other takeaways on how PR professionals view the impact of technology on the communications landscape. For starters, while tech is undoubtedly helping consumers become more engaged, the majority of respondents think it might also be contributing to an increasingly misinformed and polarized society.

Culled from responses of more than 2,100 PR practitioners and students, it revealed that 61 percent of PR pros predict that future communication technology will inspire a higher level of media and news engagement from average citizens. However, at the same time, 61 percent also fear that greater engagement may also lead to greater misinformation.

Though communicators believe that these new technologies will be integral to the profession in the coming decades, many aren’t sure of their role now.

Hopefully, the articles in this issue will provide you with guidance for your job, with a roundup of tech tools, a guide for video content and a list of tips for using Instagram on a budget.

Association honors

Earlier this year, we submitted Strategies & Tactics into the 39th Annual EXCEL Awards, a program created by Association Media & Publishing (AM&P). The awards recognize excellence and leadership in nonprofit association media, publishing, marketing and communications. 

And we were happy to hear that our publication is a finalist in the Newspaper/General Excellence category. AM&P will announce the winners on June 24 at the EXCEL Awards Gala in Washington, D.C., where we’ll find out if we are the Gold, Silver or Bronze recipient.
Publications from the American Heart Association and Catholic Health Association are the other finalists in this category. So PRSA is in good company!

Thank you to everyone who helps make Strategies & Tactics an award-winning-worthy publication. I’ll let you know how we fared next month.

John Elsasser

John Elsasser is the editor-in-chief of Strategies & Tactics. He joined PRSA in 1994.


Email: john.elsasser at prsa.org

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