In 2005, I took a public relations course at a major state university—PR 101—and remember the lesson plans clearly:
Eventually, I moved on to further classes. They mostly covered press conferences and “advance communications,” a vague summary of different techniques that you might want to use in general PR activities.
At no point did the courses actually address the media.
This was nearly a full year before Twitter would launch. Facebook wasn’t available outside colleges. Jon Gruber had been writing for three years, and TechCrunch would launch not too long after. Thus we completely missed a chunk of the “social” aspect that makes up the new world of PR or, indeed, the importance of bloggers.
Regardless, reading over current PR courses and many textbooks used in courses, it’s clear that PR undergrads are being taught to do things that are not part of most PR people’s days. Yes, it’s very exciting to be taught that you’ll be handling big campaigns, or “handling webinars,” or how important AP style is, or how to handle a press conference—one of the most irrelevant skills that you’ll find before a career in high-end corporate PR.