President’s Letter

11 years, 4 months ago


IPRA President 2009 Maria Gergova recounts some of the high points from a fascinating conference held in Bulgaria on the rise and changing nature of online media.

Is traditional PR disappearing? Has social media overtaken traditional media? Does internet media spend produce better results than PR spend on targeting non-digital outlets? Do PR professionals use social media ethically? And can you trust what you see or read online?

These fascinating questions were among the many addressed and discussed at the South East European IPRA Conference PR 3.0 held in Sofia on 13th February 2009. It was a pleasure for me to take part in this well-attended and stimulating event which looked at the challenges and opportunities of communicating with the new information society in today’s complex digital media environment.

Over one hundred public relations practitioners gathered in Sofia to consider topics such as legislation and regulation, consumer protection and exploitation of Web 3.0. Theories and innovative practices were debated. Areas of discussion included the ballooning number of online news sources; stakeholder profiling and the targeting possibilities offered by social media; and the viral spread of messages, unmediated by professional editing.

Important contacts

In my capacity as IPRA president 2009 it was my privilege to participate in the formal and more informal aspects of the event. High calibre delegates from the region and much further afield took the opportunity to network assiduously, both making new contacts and catching up with old friends.

I was delighted to see a number of my predecessors as IPRA President in attendance, notably Alasdair Sutherland, Robert Grupp, Philip Sheppard, Loula Zaklama, Charles Van Der Straten, Betul Madin. My presidential inauguration ceremony coincided with the conference and was a good occasion for PR specialists from South East Europe to get together.

Overall, the Sofia event was a real celebration of the development of the PR industry in South East Europe, one of the youngest PR industries in the world, but extremely fast developing.

Forthcoming events

Sadly, PR 3.0 is now behind us but there is much to look forward to on the international conference calendar. Next year will see the IPRA World Congress held in Peru, while before that in October this year the Summit will take place in London.

Earlier still, from 7-11 July 2009, IPRA, together with the African Public Relations Society and the Public Relations Society of Kenya, is supporting the 2nd PR International event in Nairobi, Kenya. Twenty-two top Public Relations Practitioners and Senior Consultants have been invited to make presentations at this ‘learning event’. Among the speakers will be IPRA Vice President Richard Linning. The methodology will include case studies, master-classes, Powerpoint presentations, debates, discussions and the unveiling of research findings.

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The Author

Maria Gergova

Maria Gergova is IPRA President 2009 and managing director of United Partners, Bulgaria.

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