Despite Disagreement Over Length, Academics and Communicators Say Writing Remains Top Skill

how writing style and grammar changes with age

Each year in August we write a PR education/back-to-school story. Our goal is discovering whether or not the academy's curriculum is in sync with PR's needs. In previous years, we've found general agreement that it is. Again, this year, consensus of academics and PR pros is that written and oral communication are the most critical skills for young PR candidates [please see chart].


However, there was disagreement in one key area, writing length.

The professors stress short-form writing, almost to the exclusion of long-form work.

On the other hand, PR pros we spoke with say long-form writing remains important.

Making things more opaque is that some of the PR pros included here also teach college courses.

Long vs short

"With digital aspects ingrained in this generation...we find benefits in [candidates having skills in] long-form writing," says Kelly Williamson, N. America president at APCO Worldwide. Williamson is an adjunct professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.


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