District Conference Recap: PRogress Through Tech (Temple University 2021)

This article is part of our 2021 District Conference coverage series. For more information on PRSSA District Conferences, click here.

After almost two years in the making, “PRogress Through Tech” was brought to life by Temple University’s PRSSA Chapter on March 13, 2021. With attendance from seven different schools and over 60 students and professionals, “PRogress Through Tech” showed attendees how technology has helped public relations and communications grow.

There were 12 different sessions to choose from throughout the day including three breakout sessions, a keynote speaker and an artificial intelligence crisis communication simulation (that was one of my favorite sessions throughout the day). All of the sessions were very engaging, and Zoom’s chat feature was full of questions and comments.

Students and professionals could choose to attend breakout sessions on ethics, artificial intelligence, storytelling, what the future will look like in regard to work, and search engine optimization (SEO). At the SEO session, Annie Scranton, president and founder of Pace Public Relations, spoke about the importance of search engine optimization, link building and keywords. “Understanding what your client has to offer is the first step in link building and in media relations,” she said.

It’s very important to understand your clients’ wants and needs; it helps us not only in the search engine optimization realm but also in public relations and media relations. It helps us better meet our clients’ expectations and have a mutually beneficial relationship with them.

Our keynote speakers, Richelle Payne, Neil Foote and Deborah Hyman, spoke about why having a presence on social media with an antiracism framework is so important. They also mentioned the importance of writing, and that you cannot make it into the field of public relations without having that key writing skill.

After the keynote was the “Crisis Communication Wargame Simulation,” where students and professionals were able to choose how they would respond in a crisis situation and then see how the results would pan out. They only had an average of 90 seconds to choose their answer from a series of multiple choice questions, and if attendees chose the correct answer they would receive points. Whoever got the most points at the end of the game won.

To finish out the day, there was a session about PRSSA National’s leadership and how to get more involved in PRSSA beyond just your Chapter. There are multiple leadership positions on the National Committee as well as positions on the various subcommittees that PRSSA members around the world can get involved in.

Overall, this conference was very informative, hands-on, and most importantly, engaging. All of the sessions had attendees discussing the importance of technology in the public relations industry and what our future could look like in the digital space. If you would like to learn more about “PRogress Through Tech,” scroll through Temple PRSSA’s Twitter to view a live Twitter chat, and visit the Temple PRSSA website.

Christina Billie

Christina Billie is a junior public relations major at Temple University. She serves as her Chapter’s vice president and is also an account associate for PRowl Public Relations, Temple’s student-run public relations firm. She is currently interning at Breslow Partners, where she serves as a public relations intern. 

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