“You are Entering Journalism and Public Relations in the Middle of a Storm”


It is officially graduation season! Guaranteed during this wonderful time of decorated caps and gowns and the passing of diplomas, is the abundance of commencement speeches attempting to give graduates words of wisdom. I do not intend to stray from this tradition here, and there is specific advice for graduates who have earned their degree in Public Relations or expect to continue their future in the communications field.

There is something unique and exciting about continuing down the path of press releases, media lists and connecting with the general public. Which is why if you are going to listen to any commencement speech besides your own, listen to Jorge Ramos, news anchor, author and TIME 100 honoree, and his commencement speech at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Jorge Ramos speaks directly to those who have a passion for the Communications field and gives graduates a future to look forward to in the ever changing, whirlwind of a career that is Public Relations. As Ramos explains, wealth is not guaranteed, the new rule is “digital first,” and you are about to begin “living the equivalent of climate change, with the fundamentals of the business melting like icebergs in the summer, being flooded by social media and looking outside the window with anxiety and uncertainty.” With all of this in mind, he assures us that we can still succeed.

One piece of advice from Ramos: “You are in the business of telling the truth, in the business of speaking truth to power. You are in a business in which credibility and trust are the most important things…Always push for the truth to be shared. The secrets are never secrets.” Lying, stretching the truth and spinning–none of these devices are in a Public Relations tool kit for a reason, and they never should be. In today’s world of constant communication, a Public Relations professional can only rely on one’s integrality. “Your integrity and reputation is your only career-long capital.”

There is also a comforting revelation within Ramos’ words. “If hell is doing over and over again things that you hate to do, journalism and public relations is exactly the opposite of that. No day has ever been the same for me in decades. And that is paradise.” No matter how hectic this career path may become, you will love how thrilling it can be, and I can absolutely attest to that.

View Jorge Ramos’ commencement speech in its entirety below, and to all of the graduates of 2015 with a degree in Communications, I leave you with this one last parting thought from Ramos–“So take a stand, be present, be bold, ask tough questions, tell the truth and, please, enjoy the ride. This is the most marvelous profession in the world because the world is your newsroom.”


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