North American Communication Monitor

Bryan Reber, the C. Richard Yarbrough Professor in Crisis Communication Leadership, and Juan Meng, associate professor of public relations, are among five professors directing a worldwide survey to understand changes in the communication industry.

The survey is the North American Communication Monitor (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 Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations is helping to direct the survey.

The survey, which was launched in May, addresses topics including “fake news” and how to tackle it, how communicators provide insights for decision-making, as well as leadership performance, job satisfaction and personal stress among communication professionals in the United States and Canada. Characteristics of excellent communication departments will be identified and benchmarked against results from other key markets in Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin America.

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, initiated and led by Zerfass with renowned PR professors across the world, has analyzed trends in the field for more than a decade and covers more than 80 countries across Europe, Latin-America and the Asia-Pacific region.

Almost 35,000 communication professionals worldwide working in diverse organizations have been surveyed. Comparative data will be made available for key markets worldwide, e.g. China, India, Germany, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and the United States.

“The NACM is a continuation of the [Plank] Center’s goal to build a research-based foundation of knowledge regarding the values, qualities and dimensions of leadership in public relations,” Reber said. Initial results were released in November 2018.  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.”

“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.

In addition to this study, the Center has conducted more than 35 research studies in areas of public relations leadership, mentorship, and diversity and inclusion.

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)