What books do PR lecturers use and recommend? If I had to name the most-thumbed PR books on my shelves I'd probably list Tench and Yeomans' Exploring Public Relations, Freitag and Quesinberry Stokes' Global Public Relations, Coombs and Holladay's PR Strategy and Application, Cornelissen's Corporate Communications and Kelleher's Public Relations Online.
The global library of books about PR is growing, but there are some that I wish existed - either because they would would help me in my work, would complement those listed above, or simply because I'd like to read them. And as I'm not going to have the time in the next five years or so to remedy this by writing a book, here's a list of some that I would love to see appearing in library catalogues:
- A critical case study book. This should have an international focus and be written by someone not involved in any of the campaigns. As the saying goes, 'history is written by the winning side,' and this is the situation with case studies; only those deemed a success ever seem to be considered worthy of publication. I'd like to see a book which also exposes campaign failures and analyses where campaigns went wrong. Even when detailing successful campaigns, I'd like to see a book where the authors talk to everyone involved in the campaign - including the hapless account assistant who spends a week selling in a story to get one or two pieces of coverage. This would help us understand what we really mean by 'success.'
- A collection of academic essays which looks at issues facing practitioners as individuals. There is so much potential for further research on areas such as gender, communication, diversity, class, ethical practice, exploitation, education and the like. There has been some fantastic work in these spheres and I'd love to see some of these topics given more space.
- A really thorough book on strategic PR planning which addresses the subject from an organisational perspective and contains lots of examples of 'real' plans as well as a critique of their content. Some students really struggle with writing a plan, and find past plans an invaluable resource.
- A PR lecturer's handbook featuring ideas for seminars, workshop topics and discussions. In common with other lecturers, I've got a store of workshop and seminar material, but it would be fantastic to pool the knowledge and ideas of other PR lecturers together.
- A book on law for PR practitioners. McNae's Essential Law for Journalists is brilliant, but a PR practitioner also needs to know about aspects of consumer and corporate law - for instance, how many PR practitioners setting up their own consultancies or working freelance really understand contract law? Kolah's Essential Law for Marketers fills most of the gaps, but to have everything in one title would be preferable.
Some of these books might exist already - if they do, let me know. If they don't ... I'm not precious, please borrow these ideas, I'd love to see these books in print, rather than in my head.