Since the early days of public relations, the strategies and tactics utilized by PR professionals have changed many times. This is usually due to changes in technology, culture and public opinion. One early form of PR took place when nations around the world fought to abolish slavery hundreds of years ago. Another early form of public relations includes propaganda used by the U.S. and Germany during the world wars. The one similarity shared among all PR strategies is the need to spread a certain message and change public opinion, and the tactics that help to carry out these strategies change frequently.
A person who understands public relations should also understand the ongoing changes that occur in the media and PR world every day. For example, traditional PR tactics merely sent a message to key publics, and left it up to their publics to interpret the message and form their own decisions. Modern PR tactics are usually more conversational than traditional ones. Social media is a perfect example of this because it allows organizations to interact with their customers on a deeper level. Organizations can receive feedback from their key publics while also sending out their messages quickly and efficiently.
All PR professionals should understand how changes in PR strategies affect them and find a good balance between traditional and modern tactics. The press release and several other traditional PR tools are still relevant in the present day, so it is important for PR professionals to understand these. It is also important for professionals to understand modern PR tools like blogs and social media. The introduction of tools like blogs and social media allow PR practitioners to develop a more accurate and personalized message to send to their audience. Creating a more personalized message makes it easier for PR professionals to relate to their publics and create a positive image for their organizations
Broad Magnolias have utilized both modern and traditional forms of media in our campaign to raise awareness for Youth Oasis. Our team has utilized both print and digital media to help raise awareness for the organization and help them to continue growth and development even after we graduate from LSU. I believe that a truly great PR professional knows when it is best to utilize both modern and traditional media. When this concept is understood by an organization, it is easier for their PR practitioners to reach more than one audience.
Service learning can be defined as teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. This definition was taken from Learn and Serve America National Service Learning Clearinghouse. I interpret this definition to participating in service and reflecting in a matter that teaches character and evokes thought and discussion. Not everything that we as students are taught can be evaluated through a test, nor can be found in a textbook. It is through service learning that individuals are exposed to real-life situations and are usually granted the opportunity to assist in the resolution of such.
Broad Magnolias has been assigned to working with the non-profit organization Youth Oasis, a local Baton Rouge children’s center for runaway, homeless and emergency youth across the state. Youth Oasis currently is one of two centers housing children in the state.We chose to work with Youth Oasis because this organization serves a great cause and deserves more attention in such a thriving society. In Louisiana there are approximately 5,200 people living without homes (Homeless Research Institue, 2013).
LSU maintains the objective of a commitment to our community and that statement holds more weight than just to LSU students and faculty. Broad Magnolias seeks “to contribute positively to the life of the campus and surrounding community,” just as one of LSU’s pillars better describes. I firmly believe that it is because of service learning that we are able to achieve the objective presented by our university.
LSU offers service learning as an external opportunity to participate in free of charge with Campus Life through activities such as Leadership Exchange; where students spend the semester studying and discussing HIV/AIDS or another decided topic. Mid-semester the Leadership Exchange group then meets with Loyola University or any other interested universities in the area to discuss the topic or theme at hand as well as participate in smaller service learning opportunities. The group finally presents their work collectively at the end of the semester to their peers. I participated in Leadership Exchange with LSU last semester and learned more than I could imagine on HIV/AIDS as well as supporting the cause locally in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, however not every student has time to add an extra-curricular to their schedule. Being granted the opportunity to work with a non-profit through a service-learning course within one’s major is a formidable experience.