Canada's first PR textbook, Canadian PR for the Real World, was launched last month to help provide relevant and Canada-centric information to students that had long relied on using American textbooks.
The new textbook features Canadian case studies, interviews with our practitioners across the country, best practices, and hard to find information such as PR and Canadian law, and the history of PR here in Canada. Students – as well as budding practitioners – will benefit from the real life detailed information on how to conduct different PR campaigns from media relations and social media relations, to special event management and crisis communications.
Canadian PR for the Real World is a textbook written by Maryse Cardin and Kylie McMullan, two Vancouver-based PR instructors and practitioners. Here's what they had to say about this first-of-its-kind textbook:
When did you begin work on this project?
Kylie McMullan (KM): Maryse started this project well before I became involved. I came on board in the spring of 2011, so it's been around two and a half years that I've been working on the textbook with Maryse before it went to print in the fall of 2013.
Maryse Cardin (MC): I began working on the textbook in 2009 when I signed a publishing contract with Pearson Education Canada.
What compelled you to write this book?
KM: When Maryse approached me about this project, I knew how important it was. I did my public relations training at Humber College in Toronto and all the textbooks we studied from were from the United States. I was devastated when I became a teacher of public relations myself as part of the Simon Fraser University Continuing Studies program, to learn that there were still no Canadian options to teach my students with.
While there are a lot of similarities between public relations in the two countries, there are also some very important differences, including our media environment and laws. Also, I think it's important for students to learn from case studies and examples the feature local organizations and people as it makes them more real and impactful. Finally, I found that in other textbooks, some of the more informal topics that students are really curious about, such as networking and salary expectations were missing. In our textbook, at the end of each chapter, we address these questions that students always ask us.
MC: What motivated me was that only American textbooks were available and they were not relevant to our students. Plus they greatly emphasized theory with very little practical information. In my PR courses, I covered some of the important theoretical concepts but I also included how-to information. I wanted my students to be ready to hit the ground running when they began their PR careers. We based the textbook on our classroom approach: some key theories and lots of real life tips and information. We cover a lot of the questions that our students ask us in class.
What did you learn in writing this textbook? Did anything surprise you?
KM: This wasn't so much of a surprise as a re-affirmation, but I was awed by the amazing practitioners I spoke with and the work they are doing across Canada. Getting to meet, interview, and learn from them was so humbling and inspiring.
MC: We were excited as well to cover some of the ground that wasn't yet available to the PR community in Canada, such as information on which Canadian laws are relevant to our industry, and our very own PR history.
Which audiences would you recommend this textbook to?
KM: First and foremost, this textbook was written with students in mind. Maryse and I have both taught public relations for many years and know what sorts of themes students are interested in and the important topics that will help them be successful in public relations. However, I think the audience for this textbook is pretty broad. In addition to students, I think Junior PR practitioners who are interested in enhancing their skills might want to read the textbook, or even small business owners who are looking at hiring a PR agency for the first time or trying to enhance their profile with the media but don't know where to start.
What is the one lesson you hope readers will take away from the book?
KM: How exciting public relations is in Canada! The work practitioners are doing throughout the country is inspiring! As practitioners, we're all so lucky to be working in such a dynamic, interesting industry in this country.
MC: Also, many practitioners have developed amazing expertise in many areas of PR here in Canada. A young practitioner does not need to reinvent the wheel. There is a wealth of information now easily available thanks to this textbook.
Where can people purchase this book?
Tell us a bit about yourselves and your own backgrounds in PR:
KM: I started my career in public relations working in agencies before going client side. In addition to continuing to practice PR, I'm also an Instructor of Public Relations for Simon Fraser University’s Continuing Studies Certificate Program. Over the years, I've also been involved with CPRS Vancouver, first as the editor of Essentials and later serving on the Board.
MC: I have worked exclusively in agencies, first in Tokyo then in Vancouver before opening my own agency Turtle & Hare Creative. It was important to us to support budding practitioners and we had an active internship programme that accepted interns from local PR programs and as far away as Germany. I fell in love with teaching, obtained a Masters in Mass Communication from the University of Leicester and dedicated my career to fostering the next generation of PR practitioners. I now teach public relations at Capilano University's new Degree in Communication Studies.