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The PR Department… A thing of the past?

Currently, the economy is not at its best. This may be the most obvious declaration you have read in quite some time. Our daily activities consist of eating, sleeping, working and being reminded of how the economy is ruining our lives. However, there are underlying aspects to this statement that some may fail to initially recognize. One of which is local outsourcing. The job market relies heavily on the economy, and in times such as these, we are seeing shifts in the common practices of big business. 

When a company’s budget gets tight, it is no secret that the public relations and advertising department is the first to get the ax. As PR students and practitioners working in the industry, it is important to be aware of potential cutbacks and actions companies take throughout the aftermath. 
The Turner Broadcasting Company in Atlanta, Ga., has recently had to trim down their amount of employees. Being the successful mega-business that they are, Turner acknowledged that though the payroll was getting shorter, they still had to produce the same end results. Here enter syndication and outsourcing. 
Among others, Career Sports and Entertainment was hired by Turner to create quality results equal to in-house production. Career is a private marketing agency in Atlanta, Ga., located literally down the road from the broadcasting company. 
Hiring private PR, talent and/or production firms to do the work, pay the workers, package the results and deliver it to your door is more cost efficient than in-house labor. Turner has inadvertently presented some of their staff with two options: either do the work of two to three people or accept the act of outsourcing. 
The efficient practice of outsourcing is nothing new. Since the Industrial Revolution, we have been searching for ways to raise productivity and profit.
However, we normally equate the topic with the global market, not the local business down the street. This traditional view of international outsourcing has shielded our eyes from local practices that, eventually, may affect your company and more importantly, your job. 
Our present economy has led people to worry about their livelihoods by the masses. Outsourcing is not the most frightening practice we are experiencing, but it adds discomfort and confusion to stressful times. 
The ideal situation would be to keep every employee on staff and hire private firms when projects call for collaboration or specific talents. Except, things are not looking so ideal in the big business world, and realistic adjustments are being implemented. 
Whether I am a 22-year-old PR student, eager to enter the job market, or a 46-year-old company MVP, the current job cuts cause one to question her occupational future. 
Will the company PR/Advertising department become a thing of the past, leaving private PR firms to reap the benefits? Or, will outsourcing plateau and become a steady, healthy practice?
-Meredith C. 


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    I love this blog Meredith wrote. It flows so nicely and presents concepts both familiar and unfamiliar. I understand and agree to some extent that the job market for those nearing their college graduation date stinks. A friend of mine graduated from the University of Virginia in May of 2008 is securing a job in San Francisco. But, did I mention that this is only AFTER being told she could no longer plan to work in their Washington , D.C. or Chicago offices? I sure hope San Francisco is the final destination for her. While the location of employment changed for my friend, one thing remained the same— the company’s commitment to her. The company said to my friend, “I’m sorry you can no longer work at the _____ office, but we want to uphold our commitment to you by offering you employment at our ______ office.”
    This brief story reminds me of Meredith’s blog. Like Meredith stated, the job market has threatened the PR department, but that doesn’t stop anyone from wanting to do a solid job. The idea of outsourcing is a concept we do not talk about enough in our public relations studies. Perhaps with the way the economy is going it is a wise lesson to add to the curriculum. The PR department is important in a company and, no matter what state the economy is in, we should strive to uphold the commitment to do the best job we can.


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