Thursday, October 21, 2010

Disconnect between academics and the PR industry in India

Firstly I would like to take this opportunity to thank some few of you for all the help you have always given to me and my students in research conducted by us.

But it has been my experience that majorly the PR industry is not as helpful as it appears when it comes to contributing to academics. I have been teaching Public Relations for more than 5 years now and I have observed that they do not readily co-operate in research related queries from students.Sometimes we academicians also face the same problem.Barring a few professionals who help others keep postponing to even give an appointment. The students have shared with me their experience the problems they have faced when trying to conduct surveys in Public Relations.They are often told to contact later and emails are usually left un-answered.It has also been seen that you have to have a friend or a relative working in the institution to get an appointment with the required personnel.

The students feel disheartened because they are keen to learn and such a lukewarm response leaves them with a bad impression of the place where they will be starting their professional careers.I can understand that certain students do not have very good communication skills so they may get rejected out right for the fact that they cannot even speak properly, though care is also taken from our end to train them as far as possible in interviewing skills. But can the industry be a little patient with these budding professionals of the future?

In foreign countries the researches done by academics are funded by the industry and the results are used by the industry in furthering their prospects, so here can we atleast answer queries so that our profession is understood better? We are also growing in our understanding of the profession and a little help in the form of answers goes a long way in helping both of us.We must understand research is a very important element in helping a profession grow otherwise companies would not have R&D departments.

My question to all PR industry professionals is why do you shy away from questions? Is it so difficult to spare atleast five minutes to answer queries which might even help you back in return? I wonder if this post will be read or simply ignored as questions are.


  1. I have been teaching public relations in a few colleges in Mumbai. Because of this clear disconnect, and bureaucracy in some colleges and not giving freedom to PR practitioner to imbibe the PR skills, share leanings and approach in the students.

    I have decided to give up on teaching after three years.

    More so, I had taken up on teaching to touch lives of students, which i feel that i have been able to do that, specially, when out of the blue, i get a FB update, or a tweet or even a message or a call. I feel that i was able to bring about some change.

    but then could not take the bureaucracy of balancing theory and practicals in PR.

  2. Thanks Meenakshi for this valuable post. I also had the same experience when I was a student myself. But now that I am a professional I can guess where the problem lies. Unlike most other industries, where you have to be sound in your basics to succeed, PR is something which chiefly stands on the ability to persuade the media, (at least thats the scenario in India). All other things become secondary. As such, a very good PR student of the past may not remember the basics after 4 years into the industry though he/she might have become a successful PR professional by building sound media relations. This is more applicable to the PR scenario of India, where the industry is still at a nascent stage. As a result, they prefer to avoid the questions of a PR student who is sound in his/her basics though lacking in industry experience. I have seen Account Managers who doesn't even know the name of Arthur Page and naturally shy away from the queries of a student.

  3. That is really sad Moksh.But I guess you shouldn't get disheartened so easily.Teachers like you are needed in academics.

  4. I guess you making a point here Soumya! Thanks for your input.

  5. Many of the educational institutions just collect fees and admit students. For the sake of sending them to internship, they allot agencies. These students are not interested in the agencies they join. They spoil the reputation of the College and Course too.
    We cannot expect the agencies to screen the students before an internship. It is the job of the educational institution.
    I have the same problem with Journalism. A student who cannot write in English is sent to to an English Newspaper.
    How can I expect professionals to teach them English, when we teachers are unable to do that?
    Hence this compulsory internship has to be dealt with proper care.
    Only when we bridge this gap, professionals will treat our students as juniors.

  6. I guess you are right C.R but the good apples get crushed along with the bad apples which is unfair.

  7. The irony of the situation is that the same PR professionals keep calling and emailing journos for an appointment with their clients, and they don't understand the situation underlined above when journos do the same with them.

    It should be responsibility of the top management in every organisation, to give specific instructions to all employees to show equal interest in students and academicians to help them out, just like they do in every profitable deal.
    Its a moral responsibility of them towards the same academics which made sure they are earning and being respected.

  8. Totally agree Nimesh.We need more understanding professionals like you.

  9. Hello Mam,

    Thanks for understanding our problems. I just went through your rest of posts and found it very valueable and helpfull for us. Keep it up!