PR-School: They Were the First Ones to Come

IRMI’s PR-school has its first graduates. The people that see public relations as their future carreer gathered here to learn about the newances of PR. These are the students of different departments of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. To familiarize themselves with the tricks of the trade the students attended the school on a daily basis. They would listen to expert views, discuss things, complete their home assignments diligently and participate in role plays.   

„The idea to establish such a school emerged as a response to a standing need of future professionals that would like to practise PR but lack both theoretical and practical base. In our society the notion of PR is rather hazy. It is understood as something between advertising and marketing. And generally the attitude towards PR is ambiguous. Behind the idea to establish the school was our wish to see qualified professionals in the PR-market, the professionals that would have clear understanding as to the principles of their trade. It is even more important for the reason that very often people’s destinies, their careers and future depend on how well a PR-professional does his or her work,” says Irina Soldatenko, Director of the School.

The curriculum constitutes the topics that foster multi-faceted understanding of the subject: PR and Marketing – what is more important? The place of the PR Department in the organization hierarchy. Ethics in the work of a PR-professional. PR tools etc.

The students were introduced to such notions as a news piece, a brainstorm and a presentation. They received information about the ways mass media work and found out how to work with the media. They were also familiarised with business etiquette. 

The agenda mainly consisted of hands-on assignments, such as the development of tools, participation in discussions and role plays and example collecting.  The theory was presented so that it did not bear the character of boring lectures, however, had a space for discussion. Apart from the facilitators guest speakers would be invited. As for example, Yelena Barannik, the editor of Kharkiv News, talked on the specifics of work of the media. Besides, every group practiced PR tools on a segment of market or society. The students received a task to work with the insurance market of Ukraine and they developed a promotion strategy for relevant companies and their products. Excellent practice for the trainees was the preparation for All-Ukrainian student contest of PR-projects The Golden Compass and participation in it.  

Dasha Didenko, a graduate, says: „I have the brightest impressions of the study process in the PR-school. The atmosphere during the classes was unusual, we played different games. For that reason it was easier to memorise information and the process was more interesting. Trainings that were about two months in duration (including preparation for the contest - editor) gave me more knowledge and practice than 5 years of University.”

Irina Ponarovskaya, a graduate, says: „The PR-school curriculum not only gave me knowledge in the field of Public Relations but also changed my peseption of things and views to a large extent.Cosy and warm surroundings created perfect atmosphere for learning and interaction. Practice, comprehensive real-world examples and capturing role plays helped me digest the material and broadened my views on life. The trainers are simply brilliant! It is for the first time in my life that I see people that are so professionally sensitive and excellent communicators, people that can easily find common language with their students. When interacting with them you do not feel you are under pressure of subordination or social status barriers. I am extremely happy to have met such wonderful people!”

To be continued...

An exciting outcome of the study process has become the participation of the V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University team in All-Ukrainian student contest of PR-projects The Golden Compass. The Insurance Market of Ukraine theme became the basis for contest works. Five teams of different higher educational establishments of Ukraine participated in the contest. The Kharkivites developed arelevant topic of medical insurance. They intriduced the topic using true-to-life situations with good examples and expert commentaries. On top of that, the guys demonstrated their zest in PR and journalism. It was not a wonder that their team became contest winner and received a special prize from Kharkiv Insurers Union for the Highest Level of Competence in the Fundamentals of Insurance Market and its Successful Implementation in a PR-project.