Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman, a leading communications marketing firm poses for a selfie with Professor Jennifer Floto's JOUR 450 class after his talk at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
USC Annenberg / Brett Van Ort

Richard Edelman stuns PR students with selfie

Fifty lucky Public Relations students were treated to an intimate talk with Richard Edelman on March 9.   The CEO of one of the world's top-ranked public relations agencies shared insights from the firm's latest Trust Barometer but really wowed the audience with his candid comments during the Q & A.  Among his suggestions to students:   

1) fact checking matters -- always consult two sources, no matter how urgent your deadline.  
2) work somewhere else in the world.  "Go!" he noted. "Work in Latin America!  Do a stint in Asia!"
3) the silos between advertising, marketing and PR are gone.  "You're entering the workforce in a time of rapid, exciting change."

He noted that two of his three daughters are now working "in the family business."  Will one of them take over when he steps down?  "I tell them what my dad [legendary agency founder Daniel] told me:  you'll have to earn it."

After hearing his words of wisdom, graduating seniors were stunned when the agency head urged, "Let's take a selfie!" then whipped out his smartphone for the iconic shot.