‘Seismic shift’ in communications industry means unis must adapt

November 18, 2017

Strategic Communicators: (L-R) Lecturers Maeve Berry and Renae Desai with Professor Romy Lawson and Dr Catherine Archer

In response to significant changes in the media, communications, marketing and public relations industries, Murdoch University will launch a new Major for 2018 in Strategic Communication.

“The communications industry is changing. We know that to be industry relevant Murdoch University had to change with it. Digital disruption has become a buzzword but it’s the reality facing all industries – including universities,” said Dr Catherine Archer, academic chair.

The university consulted with key industry representatives from disciplines including public relations, strategic communication, digital, web and social media to design the new degree.

Jamie Wilkinson, Director, Design and Digital at Cannings Purple – one of Perth’s biggest strategic communication firms –said universities needed agility to invest in diversifying its student’s skills. He said with the emergence of digital platforms, businesses like Cannings Purple need graduates with diverse digital skills.

“How we communicate has changed dramatically in recent years. The constant evolution in digital platforms, messaging apps and social media means it’s important the next generation of professional communicators stay up to date with these trends,” Mr Wilkinson said.

“It’s encouraging to see our tertiary education institutes are preparing their students for the seismic shift, which has happened in all industries, but especially that of professional communications.

“I still need graduates who can write well, of course. But new technologies and the emergence of digital platforms mean I also need people who are comfortable producing and editing videos, or who can work in our digital content production studio on social content, or understand the impact of social media on a crisis situation.”

The Global Holmes Report conducted in 2016 revealed that for the global communications industry, talent is the biggest challenge.

“That report shows industry still put value in writing skills, but also placed a high value on web analytics, strategic planning and Search Engine Optimisation. Therefore, it’s getting the balance right,” added Dr Archer.

“In our Strategic Communication major, beginning next year, students will develop digital and traditional communication skills and learn to apply them in a range of contexts, from web communication to creative production and news media.

“Our lecturers have real-world experience in industry along with their academic qualifications.

“Student will work with real clients on real campaigns building a wide range of skills for professional communication in the digital age, including creating and producing content, managing social media and developing public relations and communications strategies.”

The current Public Relations and Web Communication majors have a significant work integrated learning focus and this will continue with the new Major.

Murdoch’s School of Arts has its own student consultancy agency, MESH, which delivers consulting solutions to clients including Lifeline, Water Corporation, the Royal Lifesaving Association WA, the Women’s Law Centre and Vision Australia.

Dr Archer is currently conducting research with Dr Katharina Wolf (Curtin University), doing depth interviews with key communication consultants in both Perth and Singapore.

“The research has only strengthened Murdoch’s commitment to offering a course that delivers critical thinking, and includes work integrated learning opportunities, while being industry relevant,” Dr Archer said.

Print This Post Print This Post

Leave a comment

You can use these tags : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

We read every comment and will make every effort to approve each new comment within one working day. To ensure speedy posting, please keep your comments relevant to the topic of discussion, free of inappropriate language and in-line with the editorial integrity of this newsroom. If not, your comments may not be published.

Thanks for commenting!