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The 2012 Academic Summit brought together ninety PR and journalism professors from seventy universities, fourteen Edelman clients and twenty-six media and digital thought leaders for an immersive experience and a comprehensive view of the future of communications.

Senior executives from Adobe, Charles Schwab, Chevron, Experian, HP, Juniper Networks, Meltwater, Microsoft, PwC, Qualcomm, RIM, Starbucks and Volkswagen presented case studies and talked about big data, how to build a social brand and how to tell stories and manage reputation in a digital age. Representatives from emerging and established social platforms (Facebook, Google, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Buzzfeed), news curators (Pulse, News 360, Storify), digital thought leaders (Altimeter, Kred, Jess3, Muckrack), mobile (LBMA, Feedmagnet) and online video (YouTube, Funny Or Die, PopTent) shared candid perspectives about the impact of social on business and society.

Other highlights included Richard Edelman's keynote, a screening of the film #whilewewatch and a Q+A with its director, Kevin Breslin, which discussed the impact of citizen journalism on the occupy wall street movement; Kara Swisher's unvarnished views on journalism in a digital age, and a keynote from NPR's chief content officer Kinsey Wilson on the digital future of public radio.

Video of each session from June 21st and June 22nd is available on the agenda page of this website.

Among the key themes that emerged during the three-day Summit included: the rise of video "snacking" (two minutes or less); new ways to curate and share content; the use of infographics and other images to create simplified; sharable interpretations of complex ideas; the morphing of social and search (and the socialization of everything); new marketing opportunities and new definitions of privacy in a mobile world; and the need for new skills (data mining and interpretation, design and visual thinking, computational journalism, innovation, creative risk taking,) for next generation communicators.

"The power of public engagement was on display in Palo Alto last week," said Nancy Ruscheinski, director of this year's Summit. "Academic Summit 2012 was about provocative ideas, intelligent discourse, real-time social engagement, and Edelman's ability to foster constructive, high-level dialogue between business and academia around the idea of 'future-proof communications.' She added, "it was an especially effective platform for conveying the urgency around transmedia storytelling and the principles of public engagement in an increasingly social world."

Not surprisingly, social channels played a big part in the success of this year's Summit. The hashtag #2012academicsummit generated 11.2 million Twitter impressions over the three days, triggered an 18 percent increase in followers of @EdelmanPR (190 new followers) and boosted Edelman's own TweetLevel score by 21 percent and Klout score by 6 percent. More than 200 people watched the livestreamed version of the Summit.

As Richard Edelman observed, "The growth and evolution of the media landscape has significantly changed the public relations industry. With that, comes a need for well-educated, top talent that will fuel the growth of the industry. This has challenged academic programs to rapidly embrace and understand the factors that are driving the development of traditional and social media, and to include it in their communications programs." Richard told the professors that "it's Edelman's hope that we can inspire and enable the next generation of media and communications professionals to succeed."

You can read a Huffington Post article written by one of the professors who attended the Summit, and sample PR Week coverage here. Later this summer we'll be distributing an e-book with more content and analysis from the 2012 Academic Summit.

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