Thoughts on CPRS Regina 2010

I just pulled into my driveway after spending four whirlwind days at the Canadian Public Relations Society Annual Meeting 2010 in Regina. As I drove home from Pearson, I gathered my thoughts and began processing what the last few days meant for me.

I was very impressed with the quality and diversity of the keynote presentations. Peter Mansbridge did a great job storytelling and entertaining the crowd on the first day. The other highlight for me was John Iwata from IBM who told us about how IBM’s new PR strategy revolves around building constituency. Sheila Bird then told us about the challenges of being Director of Public Affairs for the RCMP.

The workshops were also excellent – I felt that I left with a snapshot of what is happening in the practice of PR across Canada. Tudor Williams spoke of media measurement in a social media world, Kelly Garrett spoke of how to take control of and build up your personal brand. McMaster’s own Heather Pullen and Sean Kelly from Newfoundland explained how the breast cancer testing crisis in Newfoundland was a perfect example of how the profession needs to develop itself to survive crises and learn from them.

The awards gala was a good evening. I was seated at a great table, with high-level representatives from Argyle Communications, Environics and National Public Relations. We had a very stimulating, pleasant discussion. Environics, Argyle and Avocados from Mexico did amazingly well. You can see the ad celebrating all the winners in today’s (Wed. June 16, 2010), Report on Business in the Globe and Mail.

After the gala, I went to the President’s Hospitality Suite and we stayed up chatting and singing songs (someone brought a guitar) until about 3am!

CPRS left me with a very positive impression of the practice of public relations in Canada. I met many people who care very deeply about the work they do, how its done and where it is going in the future. I learned a lot and made several new friends.

We also launched the Call for Papers for the new Journal of Professional Communication (JPC). It was well received. In fact, we already have several pending submissions. Terry Flynn and I really hope to have JPC become a repository of knowledge, case studies and critical scholarship about public relations practice in Canada.

Continue reading “Thoughts on CPRS Regina 2010”

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Call for Papers: Journal of Professional Communication

Today we launched the first call for papers for the Journal of Professional Communication. You may remember the first launch of the journal at the Canadian Public Relations Leadership Summit 2010. We warmly invite you to join our official JPC Facebook group. Or to follow us on Twitter. Please visit the journal’s official home, on McMaster’s Digital Commons:

http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/jpc

Here is the FIRST call for papers. We warmly invite your submission:

FIRST CALL FOR MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSIONS

JPC is an international publication for practitioners and academics alike.

The community of professional communicators has a new venue in which to exchange ideas and benefit from commentary and original works by practitioners, journalists, academics, policy makers and creative professionals.

About JPC

The Journal of Professional Communication is a new, international journal launched to explore the intersections between public relations practice, communication and new media theory, communications management, as well as digital arts and design. JPC will publish case studies, interviews, peer-reviewed academic articles, works of digital media art and design, and commentary on current trends in the field. JPC is based in the Department of Communication Studies and Multimedia at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The scope of JPC is broad and its readership will be international. We invite you to become part of the JPC community.

Please consider submitting a manuscript…

If you are interested in finding out more about getting involved with JPC, submitting a piece or a digital work of art or design or participating on the editorial board or as a peer-reviewer, please contact Dr Alex Sevigny or Dr Terry Flynn:

Dr. Alex Sevigny, sevigny@mcmaster.ca, (+1 905) 525 9140 Ext. 27661

Dr. Terry Flynn, tflynn@mcmaster.ca, (+1 905) 525 9140 Ext. 26977

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF MANUSCRIPTS:

SEPTEMBER 30th, 2010

FIRST ISSUE TO BE PUBLISHED:

JANUARY, 2011

All writing all day. Oh yeah, and I LOVE The Tudors!

Not much to report today. I woke up at 7:55am and started writing and editing. I didn’t stop until about 20 minutes ago. Only three chapters to go in the book.

So, once I finish Understanding Human Communication (2nd Canadian Edition), I have a few more writing projects for this summer, some articles, a couple of conference presentations and a couple of book projects that I want to get going. And, of course, my series of on-going fictional vignettes about the fictional lives of people who live in my city, published to the “creative writing” page of this blog!

As well, of course, the first Call for Papers for the Journal of Professional Communication! So exciting. So much interesting stuff to look forward to!

On a completely other note, I have had Seasons 1 and 2 of The Tudors playing while I worked. What a lavishly shot show. And such intricate Palace Politics. Fascinating. Love it.

Automotive Frustrations.

I went into Toronto yesterday and had lunch with one of our Mac communications alumni, Elena Yunusov.

Elena is a very dynamic professional communicator and social media enthusiast (she tweets a lot!) who now works for the Ontario Ombudsman. We had lunch at Mercato at Bay and Queen, and had a great conversation about communications, politics, life and McMaster! Lunch was great too – I had cavatelli in marinara sauce and Elena had a splendid-looking marguerita pizza. Elena also agreed to join the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Professional Communication, of which I am Editor-in-Chief. Welcome aboard, Elena!

After we finished lunching, I gallantly offered to drop Elena off at her destination but I got completely lost in the City Hall parking lot. I drove round and round – following “Exit” signs which led to dead ends, or even to a carwash. Surreal! And embarrassing. I must say that I can really be the “master of disorientation.” I ended up asking 3 people how to get out and none of them gave good directions. Finally, we literally saw “light at the end of the lane” and whooped as this light open up to reveal an exit gate. Wow. Toronto City Hall parking garage = signage FAIL!

I believe Toronto City hall parking may actually be a time warp or wormhole where you enter into a parallel universe, and the world has aged for years but you remain unchanged. The parking lot that time forgot.

Then it took me 3.5 hours to drive from Toronto to Hamilton! Holy frustration, Batman! Lucky I have a good stereo as @qui_oui likes to remark!

Today I was driving into Hamilton from my house in Ancaster and, because of an accident on the 403 near Aberdeen, what would have been a 20 minute drive became a 1.5 hour drive. Extremely frustrating. Not only that, but the “tire pressure” sign went off on my GLK, so I ended up going to the dealership, Mercedes-Benz Burlington-Hamilton.

I waited in their very posh lounge and worked on stuff on my MacBook – all the while yearning for an iPad that would alleviate the weight and short battery life of my laptop while providing much the same functionality (but in a cooler box)! I really want an iPad!

Then the MB people dropped me off at McMaster because I had three meetings. Those went well and I bummed a ride off a colleague back to the MB Burlington-Hamilton. When I got there they tell me that I have a nail in a tire and that it needs to be replaced.

I will check with my local garagiste to make sure before I commit to a new tire. Good Lord!

What a crazy automobile-oriented couple of days! Just renews my dislike for long commutes. I made the right call moving near to McMaster. Now if only I could walk – that would be fantastic.

Now I have to settle down and try to sleep. I have a big day of writing ahead of me – tomorrow I want to finish editing Understanding Human Communication.

Launched new publication: Journal of Professional Communication !

I thought that this warranted its own entry!

Today, I launched the Journal of Professional Communication at the Public Relations Leadership Summit.

The JPC will be a forum where academics, PR practitioners, marketers, political communicators, and multimedia artists and designers can exchange ideas, publish case studies and discuss the actual state of and future of the field of public relations.

I can’t wait to start building the editorial board for this journal. We will aim for gender equality and wide representation from all of our stakeholder groups.

Join me in making JPC a success by supporting it financially and submitting papers when we first issue our call for papers!

This is the website where you can check JPC out:

http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/jpc

Public Relations Leadership Summit: Vision 2020

Today I attended the CPRS and IABC sponsored Public Relations Leadership Summit: Vision 2020. It was a very valuable experience for me.

The summit was held at the Old Mill Inn and Spa near High Park. My colleague Dr Terry Flynn, an assistant professor in the DeGroote School of Business, President of CPRS, and Director of the Master of Communication Management Program, organized the day, bringing together 50 of the highest achievers and leaders from across Canada in the public relations profession. They came from all sorts of backgrounds – agency, institutional, corporate, not-for-profit, educational, scientific, bureaucracy, etc. Terry then led us through a process of reflection on the state of the profession in Canada – the challenges it faces, the opportunities it must grasp.

What a stimulating and eye-opening day for me. I find that the more contact I have with PR practitioners, the more I am impressed by how much incredible potential this profession has to play a growing role in the social, economic, cultural and political areas of our country.

COMM-Lab: Communication Metrics Laboratory is LAUNCHED!

Today, we launched the COMM-Lab: Communication Metrics Laboratory, of which I am the founder and co-director with my colleague, Dr. Philip Savage.

COMM-Lab was created because of a dearth of empirical and evidence-based research on communication studies in Canada. Many scholars, practitioners and MPs have told Philip and me that more data is needed to support decisions made around communications in Canada. You can read Philip’s paper by clicking here.

I am very excited about the COMM-Lab. It will be a place for media and communication research from qualitative and quantitative perspectives. Our first focus will be on content and text analysis, capitalizing Philip’s and my shared strengths in research methodology. Philip also brings a strong background and experience in media policy and law, as well as professional and academic audience research, which will enrich the COMM-Lab immensely.

Another very big part of the lab is going to be making sure that it integrates professional academic research into the learning environment of the classes that Philip and I teach at McMaster, both in the undergrad and graduate programs.

Our first project will be on the QPMAP: Question Period Monitoring and Analysis Project. This project using content, textual and discourse analysis techniques to study the interactions between Members of Parliament during Question Period. We hope to establish a rigorous methodology for coding the linguistic-pragmatic, non-verbal, and issues-based content of the MP’s interactions.

Our second project, running concurrently, under the direction of Dr. Dong Sun, a postdoctoral fellow who has joined me from Nanjing University of Finance and Economics, deals with a comparison of coverage of various issues in Chinese and North American newspapers.

I can’t wait to start seeing results from these studies. Both are extremely promising and topical.

I also solicit the interest of any students who wish to come and become members of COMM-Lab by doing their MA in Communication and New Media, under my supervision, or by doing an undergraduate honours thesis under either my direction or that of Dr. Philip Savage. A third way you can join the COMM-Lab team is by applying for a job in the lab (yes, we do have a tiny amount of money to pay employees), by doing a CMST 3B03 communications internship, or simply by volunteering.

Any way that you would like to contribute to COMM-Lab, know that you are welcome.

If you are a potential donor or private or not-for-profit sector partner, and you would like to support our research n COMM-Lab with a financial or an in-kind donation, or if you want to sponsor a content analysis, public opinion or audience research project, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Our founding private sector partner and donor is Dr. Andrew Laing, President, Cormex Research – Canada’s leading media research and content analysis firm. Cormex brings a wealth of methodological and technical support that will enrich COMM-Lab enormously. It will also provide our student researchers exposure to private sector research. A very valuable thing for them, indeed.

Please visit our COMM-Lab website by clicking here.

We have also started a Facebook group for the COMM-Lab, which you can join by clicking here.