Public Relations is not everything: The importance of an interdisciplinary approacy

It might sound crazy, but public relations  is not everything. To be a successful public relations student (and one day a pubic relations practitioner) it’s important to broaden your scope. I’m not talking about specific components of public relations, such as social media, crisis communication, event planning, press releases, etc., but the actual content itself.

Public relations wouldn’t be what it is if people aren’t extremely passionate about a particular topic. Public relations students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication are extremely diverse because we all care about different subjects/fields of study outside of public relations. This is what sets us apart from one another and why we can learn so much from one another’s interests.

Starters for an interdisciplinary experience:

  1. Keep up with current events: We are often told that we need to keep up with public relations current events. We go to sites like PRweek and Mashable, but it’s also salient that we are well informed beyond public relations itself. (For examble, as an art enthusiast, I frequent, artforum, Art in America etc..)
  2. Consider a double major or minor(s) outside the J-School: Many of us already have other majors and minors, but having these classes outside public relations, help you emerge yourself beyond the average liberal arts education everyone receives from basic UNC requirements. These extra degrees might help expose you to experiences/intern opportunities that you may not have known about.
  3. There’s more to public relations than working in an agency: It seems that every public relations student wants to work in an agency. I’m not saying this is an experience you should pass on, but merely that there are other opportunities where you can get a public relations experience. Consider nonprofits, in-house public relations, publications, smaller B2B businesses etc.. Having these experiences can diversify your resume and set you apart from other public relations students.
  4. Be involved in the community: One of the greatest benefits of attending UNC, is that there are SO many ways to be involved. It is so easy to take your extra-curriculars beyond the J-School. Be involved in a committee that is doing good around our community. You never know how your public relations background can help out in that organization. Furthermore, future employers do care about wholesome individuals! A few good places to look: student government committees, APPLES, Campus Y, public service scholars.

Faye Fang, Special Projects Director


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