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New Communication Technology: An Unstoppable Force

Posted At: April 12, 2007 10:47 AM

by Miranda Yow

“There is a growth in new information technology which results in an incredible change in public relations education,” says Dr. Michael Palenchar, assistant professor of public relations, University of Tennessee. He, along with other professors, believes that new technology in PR practice is directly affecting and therefore changing PR education. “The Professional Bond,” a report from the 2006 Commission on Public Relations Education, states, “The use of communication technology is ubiquitous in contemporary PR practice, and often there’s no choice but to adopt the newest communication technology.” Additionally, “Students must monitor and most likely adopt rapidly and unpredictably changing technology,” according to the report.

Along with this new communication technology comes inevitable challenges. Dr. Lynne Sallot, associate professor, University of Georgia, agrees. “New technology is changing so rapidly it can become a challenge to keep up with,” she said. For example, a growing trend in new communication technology is blogging. A blog is an online journal that is frequently updated and intended for the public. Monitoring blog entries is an enormous task. It is nearly impossible to have complete control of messages on the blogs. Although blogging and other communication tools such as podcasting and electronic pitching can be positive means of communicating, they can also have adverse effects if they are not constantly monitored. Therefore, students must learn strategies to be able to efficiently deal with technology’s effects, according to the Commission report.

Palenchar and Sallot have provided just two examples of the emphasis placed on skills and strategies in technology that’s being taught in colleges worldwide—a key recommendation from the 2006 Commission on Public Relations Education.

E-mail: Dr. Lynne Sallot 
E-mail: Dr. Michael Palenchar

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