The role PR practitioners can play in addressing world issues

Alexa Mazzarello 196473

There’s a lot of noise in the news today. For better or worse, the media landscape is unrecognizable from what it was a decade ago – faster and more diverse yet less regulated than ever before. We receive news in real-time story bites. “Fake news” and PR spin continue to weaken the credibility of what people see in the media today.

At the same time, the issues facing humanity - socially and environmentally - are becoming ever more pressing. Extreme weather events and rising sea levels demonstrate that climate change is no longer a looming global threat, but one that's very much upon us. One in seven people around the world are hungry, yet a third of food is wasted. Seventy percent of the world’s population hold only three percent of the global wealth.

These are just a few examples of major issues facing us today. The United Nations has developed its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (#UNSDG) to address the most pressing problems of our time from reducing inequalities to providing quality education and good health. 

The magnitude of global issues, especially when combined with the general public’s growing mistrust of media, can make it daunting to see how we as communicators can make a difference.

However, we as Public Relations and Communications practitioners have a clear role to play in regaining consumers’ trust in the media. It’s our responsibility to make authentic and honest communications the norm, and set industry standards that hold communicators accountable for the stories they amplify.

We also have the tools to incite action; and the potential to leverage storytelling to act as a catalyst for positive, systemic change.

That’s why we are launching Impact Relations - the discipline of sharing powerful stories that will inspire a positive social or environmental impact. No spin. No fluff. Just authentic and transparent communication that can influence positive systemic social and environmental change.

This initiative is timely, not just because of the breadth of challenges ahead we face, but because we’re currently in the midst of a great shift in power. Businesses have more economic equity than ever. Transparency movements like Solutions Journalism Network and the Google Transparency Project are growing. And the communications industry is evolving alongside these movements with initiatives such as Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication, and now the birth and growth of Impact Relations.

This renewed focus on addressing world issues is also an opportunity for communicators to learn how to develop and execute impactful campaigns, and mostly importantly, how to measure the impact beyond media metrics. 

Together, we can explore ways to help businesses be better, perform better, and communicate better to benefit the world and people around us. Together, we can make a significant change through the stories we share.

If you’re interested in learning more about Yulu PR’s Impact Relations community, visit our website.