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Shaped By Technology

Prevalence, evolution of technology unites the fields By Alex Niblett


rown out of a few journalism and writing courses offered under the English department in the early 1900s, the journalism program has evolved into a multifaceted program preparing students for careers in advertising, public relations, broadcast, print and online journalism, video production and as professional

writers. Yet one thing unites the different programs and that is the evolution and prevalence of technology and how it has affected the fields and preparation needed to enter those fields. PUBLIC RELATIONS

Meta G. Carstarphen, APR, is the Graduate Program director and currently teaches writing courses as part of the public relations faculty. Before coming to the University of Oklahoma, she worked at the University of North Texas for nine years. After almost a decade of working at the OU in public relations, she says she still loves it and knows PR will certainly be a core part of her future. “The PR Writing course opens up the multiple and really complicated ways in which writing is part of the profession,” Meta G. Carstarphen, APR Carstarphen said. “There’s Graduate Director form and structure, Associate Professor but it invites so much creativity as well, whether you’re doing speeches, PSAs, brochures, newsletters, et cetera.” Accompanying the professionally innovative designs, writing is also a key part of the major, according to Carstarphen. “I think that writing is certainly recognized as a core activity in public relations classes,” she said. “It is absolutely one of the things I enjoy most because you can fuse strategy and creativity and see an impact as a result of something you helped create with writing. That’s what I try to pass on to students.” Carstarphen believes that as the media world continues advancing, the role of PR is expansively shaping and gaining a new level of importance in our society.

“More than ever, organizations need the strategies of public relations practitioners to help communicate through this enormous media clutter that we have in competing interests, changing priorities and the fast pace of the world we live in,” she said. “Public relations as a discipline is uniquely qualified for that kind of engagement and communication with people, regardless of whether or not they are customers of an enterprise.” Public relations isn’t for everyone, but Carstarphen thoroughly enjoys it and said that beyond the common misconception of PR professionals only writing news releases, this career actually encompasses much more. “The profession has grown in stature,” Carstarphen added. “Public relations [majors] have to be multimedia writers. There are opinion pieces, there are speeches and [many] other things. “We have more students numerically [who are] interested in PR and the jobs are there. I think it’s an exciting time!”

ADVERTISING Advertising is another field that commands a heavy dose of creative brilliance. Jim Avery currently teaches Online Advertising Campaigns and Advertising Account Planning, and has been teaching advertising for 27 years. In addition to leading both advertising and public relations majors, Avery provides consulting services and is an indemand guest speaker on account planning at agencies, conferences and universities worldwide. Jim Avery Strategic Communication Area Head Professor 21

Pulse 2013  

Alumni magazine of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma.