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This is a great follow-up to Tom Foremski's take on the lack of progress we in the public relations profession have realized (in his view) in adopting and adapting technology. However, I will take minor issue with Chris Penn's observation that "public relations is seen as a human art form and not as a science."


I would argue that PR has dual, equally valid, personalities encompassing both art AND science. I wrote about this for Shonali Burke's excellent blog, "Waxing Unlyrical," nearly two years ago (http://www.waxingunlyrical.com/2012/04/05/public-relations-art-or-science/)...citing Edward L. Bernays' own observation that public relations is, in fact, a combination of the two.


I think it's terrific that this discussion is taking place in forums other than the classroom, where I often challenge my students to take one or the other side and defend their choice. Let's keep it goin!

3 weeks, 1 day ago on Can you automate PR?

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@Shonali @KirkHazlett @Howie Goldfarb  The Reader's Digest version...unabridged version available at PRSAICON in DC! :-)


Entered Air Force w/English degree thinking would be teacher. Wound up in Vietnam (Saigon) teaching English. Came back to States to a/v library. Was asked to help promote our services. Wrote a number of "letters" (as I knew them...known to us in PR as "news releases") to base paper. Also started talking up services at NCO Club and anywhere there were people gathered. Business grew to the point where we had to extend hours and add a new position.


Went back to Saigon. Taught for about three months and was asked to manage instructor dayroom/lounge/bar. Started talking with customers about what they would like to see offered other than snacks and drinks. Started doing cook-outs, bringing in live entertainment and first-run movies. Brokered special deal with regional exchange services for discounts on food and drink purchases. In 1970 dollars, was clearing $300 per week profit.


Came back to States, to another AF a/v library. Same as earlier. Wrote "letters" for base paper. Talked with tons of people about services we offered. Accepted invitations to assist with on- and off-base organizations' a/v needs for meetings and special events. Once again...added additional staffer to handle new business.


Was assigned to new AF base to Command Briefing Team...part of the Tactical Air Command Public Affairs Division as a/v tech. Ran briefings for host of units; promoted our services like mad.


Off to the Philippines and assigned to a/v squadron. Same as above..."letters"..."talking"..."helping." Was visited by Exec. Dir, Manila Red Cross for assistance in developing a/v training programs for dependent children.


When asked in all the above situations what I was doing, I said it was a "Southern thing"...being neighborly and helping people who needed help.


Started studying for second degree in Business Management. Had to take an elective. "Underwater Basketweaving 101" was filled; signed up for a course that sounded equally easy and mindless: "Introduction to Public Relations."


First chapter of Cutlip & Center's "Effective Public Relations," and I'm "OMG...THIS is what I've been doing all these years; I just didn't know what it was called!"


Came back to States to wrap up enlistment (total: 8 yrs). Got out and started looking for work...management positions...nothing caught my eye.


The US Army Training and Doctrine Command had an opening for a Public Information Intern. I applied. Was accepted. Got hired.


The rest is, as they say, "history."


Had I not taken the "Intro to PR" course, this would not have happened. I would not have read something that described, TO A "T," what I had been doing all these years.


And I will be eternally grateful for the twist of fate that caused me to "fall into PR."

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What a great introduction to the "newbie" world, Tori! I will share this with my PR students as well as our Career Development folks!

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Oh, Dear...The prolonged winter siege has take its toll! :-\

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