"PR Boom Isn't Drum-Beating" (March 24) is correct in detecting the explosive growth of the public relations profession, particularly in Southern California.
During the five years I have been teaching entertainment public relations for UCLA Extension I have seen the size of my classes double. Moreover, large numbers of middle-aged people, mostly women, have determined to make complete life changes to get into this calling.
But even with the mushrooming of employment, the volume of aspirants is far greater than the availability of employment. So, learning from Rogers & Cowan's reported need for high-tech PR people, I'll advise my students to give as much attention to electronics and computers as to interviews and the Polo Lounge.
Incidentally, due in part to the standards of the Publicists Guild of America, most entertainment industry publicists have higher average annual earnings than do 90% of the members of the Screen Actors Guild.
JULIAN F. MYERS
After 35 years in public relations, I am glad to see the profession beginning to get the recognition it deserves.
However, the article perpetuates the stereotype that PR is essentially media oriented.
In financial public relations, in which I've specialized for 29 years, the media are important but they rank about third on the priority list after Wall Street relations and shareholder relations.
The successful financial public relations person is a security analyst first and a journalist second.
Public corporations ignore financial public relations at their peril for if they are not well-regarded on Wall Street, they are raw meat for the voracious appetites of the corporate raiders who move in on an undervalued situation.
The real indicator of the growing stature of financial public relations is the increasing tendency for the profession to help shape policy through invitations to individual practitioners to join boards of directors.
FLOYD A. OLIVER
Talking Will Still Beat Typing
"Electronic Mail: A Revolutionary Courier Aims to Become Routine" (Feb. 24), missed a very important aspect of electronic communications that is more likely to achieve "universal use." While electronic text mail is well suited to information distribution, document transmission and data entry and retrieval, voice messaging is a more practical alternative for interpersonal communications, both business and personal, replacing and supplementing many telephone and face-to-face conversations.
If we look at the bulk of business activity time, it is spent in pursuing person-to-person interchanges, and that's where voice messaging fits. There is no doubt that electronic text mail does have its rapidly growing role in replacing paper transmission, but that doesn't solve all the problems of people trying to communicate with each other.
Unlike Telex, which was an impersonal address for message delivery, electronic mail, both voice and text, are geared to the individual's electronic "mailbox," accessible anywhere and anytime.
The difference between text and voice, however, is that most senders of messages will find it more convenient and efficient to talk rather than type, particularly for the great mass of interpersonal business communications activities between people , not just machines. And that's where we will see friends and family included in the "universal" explosion of computerized communications.
Electronic text mail and voice messaging complement each other and are converging on integration; one based around the usage of keyboard display (computer) terminals, the other needing only a push-button telephone. Once there is convenient, cost-effective public access to voice messaging services and facilities, we will see a major shift on how we all use the familiar telephone. (And it won't be to learn how to compute or type!)
ARTHUR M. ROSENBERG
Dollar Story on the Money
I was very pleased to read "How Strong Dollar Sells Out Firms" (Part I, Feb. 2). In my opinion, your article was 100% on the mark as far as the adverse impact of the strong dollar.
I do not think very many people understand how the strong dollar could have such a detrimental impact on large sectors of the U.S. economy. Your article did more to enlighten people on this difficult subject than any that I have seen. I hope the article corrected many of the misconceptions that have allowed policies to be pursued that have caused the dollar to become overvalued.
T. W. SMITH