PRNewser Interview: SNCR Founder Jen McClure
October 1, 2007
In our latest PRNewser interview, we catch up with Jen McClure, Founder and Executive Director of the Society for New Communications Research about their new research grant, how PR people can contribute to the New Communications Review and how SCNR is using social media.
Jen is the former CEO of Albrycht McClure & Partners, and has also served as PR manager for Ziff Davis Events. She also worked with Ketchum Public Relations, and was a business reporter for the Hudson Valley Business Journal and a co-producer/co-host of a weekly community affairs radio program in the Hudson Valley region of New York.
You just received a new research grant. Can you tell us more about this and the projects associated with it?
We’re very excited to announce that we recently received our first research grant. It was awarded by the Institute for Public Relations and Wieck Media for a research study titled “New Media, New Influencers and Implications for the PR Profession.”
This research study was born out of our interest in the fact that media is no longer limited to traditional channels, nor can influence be attributed solely to journalists, analysts, industry experts and pundits. Conversation has replaced static corporate messaging, and effective spokespeople and ambassadors can be found both within and outside of organizations. The study will explore those changes and the impact of Web 2.0 and social media tools on communications and the public relations profession. In particular, the research team will investigate how our conceptions of media and influence are evolving, how the role of PR is being redefined and what new skills are needed.
This research is being conducted by a team of SNCR Fellows, including Joseph Carrabis, John Cass, Paul Gillin, Richard Nacht, Greg Peverill-Conti and SNCR research assistant Myungshin Shayna Kim. We hope your readers will participate in this research. A survey questionnaire for PR and marketing communications professionals is available at http://www.newcommreview.com/?p=802. A complementary survey focused on media consumption patterns is also posted at http://www.newcommreview.com/?p=802.
The initial findings will be shared at the SNCR Symposium, which will be held December 5-6 in Boston (http://www.sncr.org/symposium). We hope your readers will join us there. In addition, we will be sharing the findings in an article in an upcoming issue of the JNCR and a full research report.
Why are so many PR people screwing up social media?
I’m not sure that’s an accurate statement. Sure, there have been some notable mis-steps as we learn how to appropriately use these new tools and technologies and as we re-invent our roles as communicators in a more open and dynamic communications environment. That being said, we have seen that many PR professionals are really beginning to understand how social media tools can be used effectively and appropriately to achieve the goal of public relations, i.e., establishing, maintaining and enhancing the relationship between an organization and its many publics.
Do PR people belong in social media? (i.e. Not whether or not we should participate but whether we should be pushing client messaging via outlets like Digg & Twitter)
Social media provides a wonderful opportunity for PR professionals to place themselves at the strategic hub of the organization – to be not only the mouthpiece but the ears of the organization. Pushing client messaging is not the role – regardless of the tool. Instead we must be enablers of conversations and relationship-building.In terms of using Digg and Twitter and other emerging communications tools, authenticity and transparency is key.
What kind of “new communications” do you use to promote your events, awards, etc?
We try to use all the tools available today. For internal communications and collaboration, we use a wiki that has been generously provided to us by Socialtext. We also have a wiki for our journal, which allows for a living and interactive repository of research – and believe we are one of the only, if not the only professional journals to offer this. We maintain a popular blog at www.newcommreview.com. We also have a complementary podcast called New Communications Conversations – using the Conference Calls Unlimited podcasting service, through which we often feature the case study interviews that are part of our research.
We also use online video, web conferencing sponsored by WebEx have an active Facebook group that is open to everyone, and are exploring ways to use Second Life as we enter 2008.
You have quite an impressive advisory board (Tom Foremski, Phil Gomes, Tom Abate, Dan Forbush and many others). What do you look for when selecting advisors?
We are delighted with the many incredible people who have joined us as volunteer Research Fellows in our first two years. They include a really impressive and diverse group of futurists, scholars, business leaders, professional communicators, members of the media and technologists from around the globe. In selecting Fellows, we seek bright, experienced, curious individuals who are willing to collaborate with other Fellows, freely share their ideas and discoveries donate a significant amount of their time and expertise on the Society’s research, education and publication projects. Our goal for our projects is that they exhibit both academic rigor and pragmatic relevance, so the collaboration between our academic fellows and business fellows is an important and unique one.
We accept applications twice yearly. In fact, we will soon announce the application phase for 2008-2009 Fellows. Those interested will be able to complete an online application on the Society’s website. The deadline for applications will be November 1. We’ll issue another call in Spring 2008.
Can you share any priceless info or words of advice from these advisors?
Our Best Practices Committee issues Best Practices Tip Sheets throughout the year. These are provided as a benefit to our paid members.
Can PR folks submit case studies and other news to the New Communications Review? If so, what specifically are you looking for?
Yes, the Society is always seeking great articles and case studies for New Communications Review (www.newcommreview.com), which is not only a blog, but also excerpted for a monthly enewsletter. Articles may be original, unpublished work or previously published articles available for re-publication, and should focus on the theory, strategy and tactical use of new media, social media and collaborative tools. Submissions should be in keeping with the mission of the SNCR: to conduct advanced study on the tools, technologies and emerging modes of communication (i.e., blogs, wikis, RSS, podcasts, collaborative tools, mobile media and other ICT developments, and the growing phenomena of participatory communications) and their effect on
traditional media, marketing, public relations and advertising, as well as their broader impact on business, politics, entertainment, culture,
education and society. Those interested in submitting abstracts or articles for consideration can send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, the Society publishes a journal twice yearly. The Journal of New Communications Research is a peer-reviewed professional and academic journal that features articles based on original empirical research, as well as pieces focusing on the theory, strategy and tactical use of new media, social media and collaborative tools. Submissions should be in keeping with the mission of the SNCR: to conduct advanced study on the tools, technologies and emerging modes of communication ( i.e. blogs, wikis, RSS, podcasts, collaborative tools and the growing phenomena of participatory communications) and their effect on traditional media, marketing, public relations and advertising, as well as their broader impact on business, politics, entertainment, culture, education and society. The full submission guidelines can be found on our website: http://sncr.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=97&Itemid=1