Ongoing practice survey (with a PS about the revolution panel)

Something the industry has needed for many years – a longitudinal study of public relations practice around the world – is going to be launched later this year.

The study will be a joint venture by the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management (GA) and the Strategic Communication and Public Relations Centre at the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.

The study is based on GAP (Generally Accepted Practices) conducted every two years since 2002 in the US. The global version, according to the media release issued on May 15, “will analyse current practice, trends and new developments in the profession (sic), providing country data and comparative analysis of the practice between countries and continents.” Obviously it will provide benchmark data, help disseminate best practices and also perhaps reveal cultural differences between PR practices in different countries.

With Mark Sheehan from Deakin University the blog prepared a paper, The impact of divergent historical and cultural factors on convergence in global communications practice, for the Global PR conference in Melbourne last year  and which will be published in a journal sometime in the future. That paper disputed the previous consensus that PR practice was coalescing around US practices and that PR had developed and spread from US sources. It aimed to substitute a global view, informed by research in mainstream historiography and contemporary practice around the world, for the US-centric view. Mark and the blog are not alone in this pursuit and the case has now been made in lots of papers and articles. The best sources for these are the proceedings of Tom Watson’s International History of Public Relations Conferences at Bournemouth University. The next will be held later this month (

The GA/USC plan is to start the new longitudinal study with a number of participating countries and then expand it. GA Research and Education Chair, Professor Anne Gregory, said the survey would be extensive because “GA members can provide access to the world’s largest pool of public relations practitioners, and USC has the expertise to conduct a study of this scale and sophistication.” USC’s Professor Jerry Swerling said “in keeping with the globalisation of the discipline the time has come to take a world-centric view of how it is evolving in different settings….with the ultimate goal of establishing a truly global cooperative research network.”

More details are available at (

The panel

The blog will talk, a bit later, about the surviving the media revolution panel in Sydney yesterday. There may even be a link to the session up soon and, if there is, we’ll make it available. Sufficient to say at present that the blog, as usual, had trouble with microphones,  sounded a bit like a grumpy old man and that everyone probably talked too much about mainstream media. Initial feedback seemed to be positive though and one young practitioner told the blog is was an ‘amazing’ session although we are aware enough of youth culture to interpret this as meaning ‘not too bad’. However, while all the panellists had the opportunity to mention a couple of key things people need to focus on in terms of skills, the blog forgot to mention the books it thought people should read. For the record, long-term readers will not be surprised to hear that the list would have been Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, fast and slow; Duncan J. Watts Everything is Obvious: Once you know the answer; and, George Lakoff Don’t think of an elephant. Master the contents of all three and you are well on the way to career success in a world which wants trusted counsellors who can frame arguments; demonstrate high-level strategic skills; and, understand the contexts in which communications operate. The blog is very grateful to the consultancy, n2n communications ( for organising the panel. They seem to be a very good example of how to achieve success in the current consulting industry climate.