PR Students Launch “The Future of PR Looks Like Us” Podcast with the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms
A group of students in the Public Relations – Corporate Communications program partnered with the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms (CCPRF) to create a podcast that highlights diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) within the public relations industry. The three episodes in the series (Past, Present, and Future) act as a way to take an expansive and honest look at the industry as a whole, and help determine what has been done to shape the industry, what is currently being done, and what can be done in the future regarding diversity in PR.
The collaboration between the CCPRF and students Becca Moe, Daisy Uy, Charmaine Blair, and Sarah Heiman, began in Storyworks – a course that prepares students with real-world projects from industry clients. Within the initial first steps of the project, the group had to determine the best way of getting their messages out to the public, and they ultimately decided on a podcast as the main vehicle to do this. They explain, “Our team created a thorough communications plan for CCPRF including strategies and tactics for how we thought the campaign would unravel. After consultation with the client, we decided on a podcast series and companion blog, a social media challenge, and a final virtual event. With the guidance from the CCPRF representatives and our professors Laurie Hall and Donna Lindell, we decided that a three-episode podcast series highlighting PR’s past, present and future would make for a great podcast series!”
After deciding on a podcast, they created a plan to determine what each episode would entail and who would be involved. “We thought that the podcast would be a phenomenal way to amplify the voices of BIPOC communicators. The podcast series allowed us to highlight current PR student and professional voices through three podcast episodes. These episodes took us through the evolution of diversity in public relations. Covering PR’s past, present and future. We created a thorough communications plan and critical path in which our team followed diligently,” the group shares.
The first episode, which looks at the past of PR, pieces together several podcasts that previous PR students created in the program. “Their podcasts highlighted diverse PR pioneers, and we thought these would make for a great episode about PR’s history. This also gave an opportunity to showcase work done by Centennial’s undergraduate PR students,” they explain.
The second episode, which looks at the present, includes interviews from three current PR professionals. “We chose interviews and professionals that spoke to DE&I in the industry. We also spoke to Mubashira, an alumnus from the CCPR program who is paving the way for DE&I in PR, so we thought it was essential to have her thoughts in this podcast episode,” the group shares.
The final episode, which looks at the future of PR, allowed the chance for a range of PR professionals, some in junior and senior roles, to formulate a panel discussion, which also included a PR student and GCE educator. The group says they had a great dialogue going about the future of diversity in PR because of the diverse perspectives that came from the guests.
“Recruiting the guest speakers on the podcast was definitely a difficult task. From explaining the campaign and the podcast episode to scheduling a time to speak with each guest, there is a lot that goes on before the podcast episode is even recorded. After the episode is recorded the editing process comes in. Editing the episode and writing transcripts, sending the episodes for edits and revisions before it is even sent to the centennial marketing team is a lot of work,” the group explains.
Examining the work that went into the podcast, and the Storyworks course as a whole, the group shares that they have learned a lot throughout its entirety. “This process has been vigorous, but it has been worth it! The skills that we have learned in this short period of time has been amazing. The Storyworks project has really prepared us for the workforce. Making this podcast was a great experience. The professional benefits have been huge, [such as] creating networks and connections, but the personal benefits have also been invaluable. There has been a lot of personal growth throughout creating this podcast series and this campaign that we can all agree to,” they share.
As well, they share that their most fulfilling part of the project not only includes the podcast itself but the personal growth they have all felt because of it. The group says, “Having the opportunity to navigate the topic of DE&I in the PR industry has been the most fulfilling part of the project. Speaking to guests or within our team about the importance of DEI and our own personal reflections as we navigated through this process has been really fulfilling. Getting to know our team members on a deeper level (as we’ve never even met in real life) and getting to know really intimate stories and experiences about one another has been really meaningful. Learning more about each other's experiences and cultures has been the most rewarding part of this campaign. Also getting to know the experiences of the guests we have interviewed during the podcast. The professional benefits, like networks, is, of course, a perk, but genuinely, the personal growth that this project has allowed for is something you can't put a value on.”
Written by: Alexandra Few