Adopt a PR Firm: Public Relations During COVID-19

Launched by Professor Michèle Favorite in Fall 2020, the “Adopt a PR Firm” project connects JCU Public Relations students with PR professionals. It allows students to “Adopt a PR Firm” and liaise virtually with professionals in the field, in order to interview them about their company, their day-to-day responsibilities, and how COVID-19 has affected their field of work.

Professor Michèle Favorite

Professor Michèle Favorite

This hands-on project not only gave students the opportunity to explore more about Public Relations in a real-life setting, but also a chance to connect with executives, managers, and CEOs to gain insight on PR from their perspectives. Professor Favorite’s students were able to explain what made their chosen agency so unique, from top-tier, internationally ranked PR firms, to smaller, more personalized ones. Students were also encouraged to interview PR employees by connecting with them through social media platforms like LinkedIn.

Student Francesca Cucuzza had the opportunity to connect with an employee from Novita Italia, a Public Relations agency based in Milan. When asked about her experience, Francesca said, “This project made me realize that most of the time you just have to be a bit bold and ask. Also, I never thought I would be able to interact with PR professionals like this. It was a challenging, but fun experience.”

While some students picked local Italian firms, others went global. For example, student Omar Oustwani interviewed an employee from BU Spark, a Boston-based PR firm. “Overall, my experience with the ‘Adopt a PR Firm’ project was excellent. Having been lucky enough to speak to a person working in that sector, I was able to get a decent grasp on the work they do, and I am excited to see the industry evolve in the future,” Omar explains.

While COVID-19 restrictions have made building connections more difficult, Professor Favorite’s PR students did not back down from the challenge. In fact, many students chose to maintain their connections with their chosen employees long after the project was completed. “Business is about building connections,” Professor Favorite says, “and PR is the business function whose mission it is to do just that.”

(Kehisha Johnson)