Posts Tagged ‘Bournemouth University

Recently, I undertook research with Dr Chindu Sreedharan, for the Institute of Public Relations on the skills and training needs of future senior communicators. It was a study amongst top corporate and consultancy communicators in Europe and North America to identify the skills future leaders needed, and training and education to prepare them. A video of my presentation of the report was recently made for the Public Relations Institute of Australia.

One of the key comments that framed the study came from a top European corporate communicator: “It’s no longer sufficient to have a communications background only. Senior communicators need to understand business environment and management styles to be seen as trusted advisors.”

This view that top-level communicators had to understand all the operations of a major organisation was widespread and pointed towards practice developments and education that focus on strategy development and the integration of communication objectives with organisational objectives and KPIs.  The report had three groups of conclusions for early implementation:


  • Communication strategy must be linked to or part of business strategy
  • Communicators should understand the whole business environment, not just media and communication
  • Operational experience needed; They need to speak language of the business

 Training and Education

  • Key subjects are business strategy, financial literacy, economics, public affairs and public diplomacy, and relationship management
  • Stronger focus is needed on research and business analysis skills

 Proof of Performance

  • The ability to interpret and apply the most appropriate research methods is more important than technical measurement skills
  • Evaluation frameworks need to be developed for judgement on organisational impact, not clip measurement
  • Planning skills need improvement

 The full report is available at:


The “Responding to Extremisms: Media Roles and Responsibilities” conference is being at Bournemouth University on Friday July 15. It’s organised by The Media School in conjunction with Dorset Police. Speakers are from academia, the police, media and think tanks: Responding to Extremisms Conference programme. Register online at

It’s great to get recognition when it is well-merited. UK Communications Minister Ed Vaizey has told Parliament that Bournemouth University’s Media School is a world-leader: “It is one of the leading digital media centres, not just in this country, but, I suspect, the world.” He was commenting on the broad involvement of graduates, especially from computer animation, in the digital media sector.

BU is also a leader in public relations, having been one of the first UK universities to introduce a BA in Public Relations, and still attracts the best UK students.

The programme for the 2011 International History of Public Relations Conference is now available at The conference commences at 1000 on Wednesday July 6 and continues to 1630 on Thursday July 7.

The keynote speaker, renowned PR historian Ray E. Hiebert, is followed by 30 speakers from 17 countries speaking on themes such as professional & practice, history & events, national histories, historiography, Proto-PR and theories of PR. The conference will also feature a Meet the Editors panel composed of editors of leading PR academic journals on its second day. 

The registration for the conference is progressing well. There is a day rate of £140/person for UK delegates who are unable to attend both days:

 Last autumn (2010) saw the launch of Unplugged, when first year students at Bournemouth University (BU) volunteered to go without any media (other than a landline phone) for 24 hours. It was covered by a lot of media and BBC’s technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones reported it on the 10 O’clock News.

It was part of a worldwide experiment and the results have been posted at In them you’ll see the reactions of students, many of whom realised they were ‘addicted’ to media and had short-term withdrawal symptoms.

 There are many interesting outcomes: one was that the students perceived news as all information whether it is from Facebook, IM, Twitter, newspapers, online or broadcast. The more tersely delivered the better, hence the love of 140 character Twitter. This may have important downstream impacts on media literacy and consumption.

 The UK end of the study was run by Dr Roman Gerodimos and Shelley Thompson, a doctoral student, in BU’s Media School. They are now considering how to incorporate Unplugged in their teaching each year, as it provokes a strong reflection of “why do I engage with all these media” (often at the same time) and “is there another lived existence with less media”.

ROI or Return on Investment is a much-used public relations term. Its beginnings are in financial management but it’s less well defined in PR practice.

I’m researching into practitioner use and understanding of ROI and will report on my findings to PR Moment’s ROI Conference in February and other conferences in the coming year. I’ve prepared a short survey which will take 10 minutes to complete. It will give data and insights on which further research in the UK and other countries will be based.

As ROI is often a judgement on communication effectiveness, I hope you will take part in this very relevant study. Comments and feedback are welcome, too.

The International History of Public Relations Conference (IHPRC) has a new Facebook site – ‘International History of Public Relations Conference’. It’s a slight change from the previous site which had the title of “The First International, etc”. Now that we are planning for the second IHPRC and a continuing existence, the title needed change. Become an IHPRC friend and spread the message. You can also follow the conference and other PR history resources at

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 18 other followers



Subscribe in NewsGator Online


Tom Watson

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.