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CIPR Chartered Practitioner paper: Grunig and digital communications

We hosted a pre-conference meeting of the International Communication Association (ICA) Conference at Ketchum in London yesterday.

The ICA is an academic association for scholars interested in the study, teaching, and application of all aspects of human and mediated communication.

The pre-conference examined the role of new technology in communications. A dozen public relations thinkers from around the world contributed papers and discussions on topics including social media fakery, symmetrical communication, social media silos and the potential for technology backlash.

I was invited to contribute as a guest and presented an overview of the paper that I wrote as part of completing CIPR Chartered Practitioner accreditation. I achieved Chartered status in February, having blogged throughout the process.

In the paper I explore the relevance of James Grunig’s Excellence Model and Four Models of Public Relations in an era of networked communication. Grunig stretched me. In hindsight I should have chosen an easier option and explored a topic better aligned to my day job.

Grunig’s models form a cornerstone of communication theory. A critical appraisal of his work is a well-worn tack for public relations undergraduates. However I hope that I have made a useful contribution to the debate at a time when the Internet is destroying and rebuilding the public relations industry.

A copy of the paper is embedded below and there’s a link to a download. I’m publishing it under Creative Commons 3.0.

Download (PDF, 298KB)

The CIPR’s Chartered Practitioner Scheme awards Chartered status on an individual basis to members who have completed a rigorous assessment of their professional expertise. According to the CIPR, it is a benchmark for those working at a senior level, and a ‘gold standard’ to which all PR practitioners should strive to reach.

In my view Chartered status combined with Continual Professional Development (CPD) is the best opportunity that the public relations industry in the UK has to shift from a craft to a profession.

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Stephen Waddington

Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University.