Why PR Practitioners Need to Develop a Relationship with AI

By Robin Schell, APR, Fellow PRSA, Yankee Chapter PRSA President


Shelly Goldman, host of “Let’s Talk PR” recently interviewed Tony D’Angelo, APR, Fellow PRSA, Professor of Practice at Syracuse University, asking for his thoughts on the impact generative AI will have on the PR profession.  D’Angelo says he is “cautiously optimistic” about AI and urges PR practitioners to learn to use AI responsibly and ethically.

“AI is both fascinating and scary,” says D’Angelo.  “There will always be a need for PR practitioners to know how to write.  They will always have to know the fundamentals of strategy.  But AI can also make our lives easier.”  He gave an example of using AI to cut the length of a 500-word document in half.  “It still needs to be checked, but AI editing will be faster than human editing.”

What Does Research Tell Us About the Profession Embracing AI?

According to a poll by the PR Council last summer, 58% of PR professionals are currently using generative AI to write.  Muckrack’s “State of PR & AI” report found that AI adoption has doubled in the last 8 months.  74% of those practitioners who use it say their quality of work has improved and 89% say their efficiency has gotten better. The State of AI in PR 2023 (muckrack.com)

What Are The Dangers Of AI for Practitioners?

“It is the responsibility of PR professionals to understand the ethical use of AI,” says D’Angelo, citing misinformation and disinformation, hijacking of intellectual property and opportunities for bad actors to corrupt communication channels as potential issues.  Goldman asks the question, “Will everyone recognize an AI-generated image that has been copywrite-protected?”   D’Angelo adds, “a professional communicator might, but how about the consuming public?  Using AI will require a higher level of media literacy.  Practitioners will need to get familiar with algorithms and machine learning.”  It will be the role of professional associations like the PR Council and PRSA to be the voice for responsible use. PRSA Releases Guidance on Artificial Intelligence | PRSA

Are PR Practitioners Going To Be Replaced By AI?

“While a company might think, ‘I don’t have to pay a PR person, I can do this myself’ – I don’t recommend that,” says D’Angelo.  “There has to be an oversight function.  And you still need someone who can think strategically.”  He recommends the website, “There’s an AI for that” as practitioners look for ways to educate themselves about the tools that are out there and how to use them.  There’s An AI For That (TAAFT) – The #1 AI Aggregator (theresanaiforthat.com)

If you’d like to learn more about AI and PR, join the Yankee, Boston and Worcester chapters of PRSA, as well as the Maine PR Council, for a half-day AI workshop on May 29th from 8 a.m. – noon at the Nackey S. Loeb school in Manchester, NH.

REGISTER HERE: AI and PR Half-Day Workshop: Sparking Curiosity and Removing Fear – Yankee PRSA