Public relations will always be the antenna, the conscience and the voice of organizations, former PRSA CEO and Chair Michael Cherenson told the Northwest Arkansas chapter during a luncheon Feb. 24. The unique aspect of public relations’ role is to serve as the conscience, he said.
Cherenson, who in addition to serving in PRSA’s national leadership is the senior public relations counselor at Success Communications Group in New Jersey, traced the history of the profession. In 1929, the year his father was born, an individual identifying himself only as “Mr. R.” advertised in The New York Times his services as a publicity man. Today, Cherenson said, chief executives ask their public relations departments not only what their message should be but also ask what they should do.
As social media assumes a larger role in the communications marketplace, Cherenson said, public relations practitioners “need to own this space.” Social media is also a significant job opportunity, ranking with strategic communications as one of the top two public relations job prospects.
Cherenson warned that public relations personnel must also deal with “infodemics” – the barrage of information from social media, traditional media and specialized media that is available to everyone.