PR pros give young professionals a failing grade
Public relations supervisors give entry-level PR pros a failing grade in writing. In response, the supervisors plan to lower their expectations.
That’s according to a 2010 study (PDF) by researchers at Michigan State University and Calgary’s Mount Royal University.
In the study, more than 950 members of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) gave PR pros with five or fewer years of experience failing grades in:
- Grammar: 1.96 in the United States/1.82 in Canada, with 1 being “incapable”
- Spelling and punctuation: 2.01 U.S./1.83 CA
- Ability to organize ideas: 1.95 U.S./1.94 Canada
- Using the style guide: 1.71 U.S./1.79 CA
Entry-level practitioners gave themselves a passing grade in all of these areas.
The kids are all right.
Writing tops the list of five essential skills needed in public relations, according to Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron. They’re the authors of Public Relations Strategies and Tactics, a best-selling first-year public relations textbook.
These young pros spend 7 to 9 hours a week writing news releases and backgrounders, 8 hours a week writing emails and 4.5 to 6 hours a week writing Web copy.
And still, their supervisors have decided to let their sad skills slide. More than half of the Canadian communicators surveyed and nearly half of the Americans said they’d lowered their expectations in response to failing writing skills.
Is there a better way?
How proficient are your entry-level writers?
How do you help bring them along?