PR students produce an ‘ebook in a day’

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PR student with laptop
PR student with laptop

An article by Duygu Lisa K.   

Yesterday, 26 March, was a crazy day for Southampton Solent University’s PR students involved in the “eBook in a Day” project.

ebookinaday2What was it all about? Current MA PR students were each responsible for one of the eight chapters of an eBook, supported by undergraduate PR students.

This eBook had been planned for a month, produced in a single day and will be published by Solent Press.

In the morning, when the PR students started gathering at Solent Creatives around 9am, the excitement could already be felt in the room. This was the event that we all had been waiting for for almost a month. Each team knew where to go and what to do.

At around 10 in the morning, Stephen Waddington, president of the CIPR, joined the 45 people in the room.

Catherine Sweet – our course leader – reminded us the aim of the eBook and gave us the last details to make this project a success. Something that Catherine said in the beginning of the day and that I only fully understood at the end of the project was that

If things don’t go the way you want them to go, don’t stress out. Opt for plan B and if plan B fails as well, get there and do it yourself”.

Each team had to be ready with its chapter – content gathered for measurement, articles written and key concepts defined – for 6.30pm, before the annual Meet The Professionals Event.

Students and course leaders were running in and out of the room, the 45 computers and phones gave the Wi-Fi a hard time – or should I say that the Wi-Fi drove us crazy – and deep conversations were going on from one side of the room to the other, without counting the phone calls and the exchanges between teams. This definitely was the “mad house” that Catherine had talked about.

The “eBook in a Day” Project was a challenge for all of the students and course leaders that managed it. We wanted it to work and we wanted it to work well.

As Catherine had warned us in the beginning of the day, things didn’t always go the way we wanted them to go, no matter how well each team had planned everything in advance.

Why? Because it is impossible to plan everything, as reality is a bit different than what was anticipated.

All the chapters were about engaging people and engagement is something that is built with time and depends on other people and, as such, is something that cannot be planned or controlled.

Each team switched to plan B at some point in the day but we all managed to get things done on time and with success.

Challenging theory

The “eBook in a Day” also gave us the chance to challenge theory. The eight chapters were all about new technological innovations –and engagement – and we realised that the latter introduces a new era in many industries but most of all in the PR. James E. Grunig’s Four Models of Public Relations can hardly be applied to today’s PR world because we have moved to an era of peer-to-peer.

Yes, it was definitely a tough day but I personally learned a lot and enjoyed it so much that this event is something that I will take away from the MA course at Southampton Solent University.

I am proud of having been part of such an experience and I would like to thank all the people that were part of it, that participated and that made the “eBook in a Day” a real success.