Ray Begovich, Ed.D.

“I love everything about PR – the creativity involved in writing and designing and multi-media producing; the ability to work in every mass medium from social media to film-making; the interactions with journalists; the fast-paced work environment; and, most important, as a beloved old boss told me, the chance to use communications skills to do good things for good people. Teaching PR to others is even better than all that.”

Title

Professor of journalism

Educational Background

  • Ed.D., Ball State University – Muncie, IN
  • M.A., Ball State University – Muncie, IN
  • B.A., Indiana University – Bloomington, IN
  • A.A., Lake Michigan College – Benton Harbor, MI

Year joined Franklin

1999

Expertise

Before joining the Franklin faculty, I was vice president of a public relations agency, serving a variety of nonprofit and business clients. Other practice areas in which I worked include health care, higher education, economic development, and travel/tourism. While working full time as a PR pro, I taught news and PR night courses at two universities. I’ve experienced all the successes and challenges PR pros face, and I use that background to get my students ready for the real world and lifelong success in PR.

PR Consulting

During summers, weekends and other breaks, I often go back into the field to “practice what I teach.” Most recently, I’ve been able to spend two summers working full time with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.  Such experiences not only keep me in close touch with the practical aspects of the profession I love, but also help me develop contacts I use to help students get internships and jobs.

Areas in which I do consulting work include crisis communications, strategic communications planning, media relations, media training, PR writing, and coaching writers.

Research and Professional Affiliations

My research focuses on U.S. government public relations efforts during World War II. I’m currently working on two books in this area. My research is conducted at the U.S. National Archives II in College Park, Maryland; at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.; at the Franklin Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York; and at the Harry Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri.

Member: American Journalism Historians Association.

Member: Public Relation Division and History Division, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

What do you tell students who ask about majoring in public relations?

Well, lots of things over four years, but right away I tell them that the job market is tight and competitive, but I also list the many organizations in or near their hometowns that employ PR people. It’s eye-opening as they realize the many, many places PR pros work. I explain to students that Franklin will be a place of both high challenge and high support, and that if they work hard there’s a PR career waiting for them. Our students tend to be similar to the many PR pros I’ve worked with – smart, creative, thoughtful, compassionate, honorable, respectful, hard-working, fun and interested in many forms of media – social media, films, music, books, videos, whatever. I explain that PR is a mix of both creativity and management – we get to work with both sides of the brain.

Do your students ever pursue careers that might not fall into the category of “purely PR”?

Absolutely. Many of our PR graduates have found careers in related areas such as advertising, marketing and sales. Some work in management for businesses and nonprofits. Some are lawyers, fundraisers, event planners or college admissions professionals.

Selected Professional Accomplishments

Leading the News Media Toward Courageous Common Sense:  Elmer Davis and His Anti-McCarthyism Broadcasts on ABC Radio, research paper presentation at national conference of AEJMC, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Washington, DC, August 2018.

Book review of NEO-PR: Public Relations in a Postmodern World, by Christopher Caldero, in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Vol. 94, No. 3, September 2017.

The Selling of the Selling of the War: A Public Relations Historical Case Study on How the U.S. Government and Hollywood Promoted the Public Premiere of Frank Capra’s “Prelude to War” of the “Why We Fight Films,” research paper presentation at national conference of AEJMC, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Chicago, August 2017.

Conference paper submission reviewer, Museum of Public Relations’ PR History Award, Public Relations Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, April 2017.

Writer/strategist of five-year operational strategic plan for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, spring 2017.

Manuscript reviewer for textbook Social Media Strategy, by Phillip Clampitt, for SAGE publications, March 2017.

Manuscript reviewer for new public relations textbook, Introduction to Public Relations: Communicating in a Socially Responsible World (title may change before 2017 publication), by Page and Parnell, for SAGE publications, November 2016.

Book review of Heroes and Scoundrels: The Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture, in American Journalism: A Journal of Media History, Vol. 33, Issue 2, May 2016.

Essay entry on Elmer Davis in book celebrating Indiana’s 200th year of statehood, Indiana’s 200: The People Who Shaped the Hoosier State, Indiana Historical Society Press, 2015.

Book review of Public Relations and the History of Ideas, in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Vol. 92, Number 2, Winter 2015.

Discovered first known film footage of President Franklin Roosevelt in his wheelchair; designed and launched a public relations campaign that earned extensive international media coverage including featured interviews on NBC Nightly News, in the Los Angeles Times and on Japanese radio; coverage also appeared on all Indianapolis television stations, on CNN, throughout Europe, and in India and Pakistan. Used the opportunity to deliver strategic messaging about media portrayals of people with disabilities. Summer 2013.

Something My Colleagues Don’t Know About Me…

Whenever possible, I like to go see plays, concerts, and football games. I’m a museum geek. Also, I can’t get enough of outdoor festivals – the food, the music, the crowds, the down-home country atmosphere that’s still so cool to a big-city kid (Chicago).  And I strongly agree with Thomas Jefferson’s statement: “I cannot live without books.”