Bryan Reber and Juan Meng presented their North American Communication Monitor research Nov. 29, 2018 as part of the Institute for Public Relations Research Symposium. (Photos: The Plank Center)

Grady College professors help lead research for largest worldwide communication study

The North American Communication Monitor (NACM), an international research project that is one of the world’s largest studies of communication, was recently released thanks to the leadership of two Grady College professors, Bryan Reber and Juan Meng.

Reber, the C. Richard Yarbrough Professor in Crisis Communication Leadership and head of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, and Meng, associate professor of public relations, helped lead a group of professors from universities within the framework of the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations at The University of Alabama.

“It is very exciting to launch the North American Communication Monitor,” said Meng, “It provides and maps the key issues, trends, impact and implications for strategic communication in the U.S. and Canada, and brings a significant part to the Global Communication Monitor Series, which truly is a powerful global initiative. One of the most striking findings about this year’s NACM is the emphasis on building and maintaining trust combined with the ongoing debate over fake news and how it challenges the industry. Solutions have never been easy, but we hope findings from this year’s monitor will provide insights,” noted Meng.

The Plank Center sponsored the NACM, the first survey of its kind in North America, to explore the status quo, qualities and trends of communication management in North America. The survey, which launched in May 2018, addresses topics including how to tackle the challenges of fake news, how communicators provide insights for decision-making, how leadership performance is assessed as well as job satisfaction and personal stress among communication professionals in the United states and Canada.

Karla K. Gower, director of the Plank Center, stated, “Not only will we have a better understanding of the communication industry in North America, we will have a greater opportunity for global comparison on issues regarding integrity and trust in what we see, hear and read.”

The NACM becomes part of the Global Communication Monitor series, the largest regular global study in the field of strategic communication and public relations. The series has analyzed trends in the field for over a decade in more than 80 countries across Europe, Latin-America and the Asia-Pacific region.

Reber explains, “I’m happy the advisors of the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations decided to financially support this survey.  There are other North American and even global studies of organizational communicators.  What makes this study different than most is its methodology.  We used a probability sampling method rather than a non-probability method such as the convenience samples that most studies like this employ.  In addition, the link to the Global Communication Monitor network will provide exciting opportunities to identify and, I hope eventually, predict trends in organizational communication issues.  We look forward to continuing to dig in to the rich data from this survey and to plan for the next one in 2020.”

In November, the latest results and findings from a survey of 1,020 communications professionals were presented at the Institute for PR Research Symposium in New York City by Reber and Meng. The study tracked trends in fake news, issues management, leadership, work stress, social media skills and job satisfaction. The presentation, including results from the survey, can be found here.

Date: December 18, 2018
Author:  Missy Hill,  lhill13@uga.edu