Kenneth Owler Smith Symposium

USC Annenberg’s annual overview of the public relations industry

The Kenneth Owler Smith Symposium has been the premiere event for public relations students and practitioners in Southern California since its inception in 1990. Known colloquially by USC alumni by its initials, “KOS,” this annual event is organized by the USC Center for Public Relations in conjunction with the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Kenneth Owler Smith (1920–1988) was the 28th national president of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and was regarded for his exceptional contributions to education for public relations, most notably creating USC’s international curricula in journalism, broadcasting in public relations and advertising courses, and the first degreed sports and information program in the United States. After a long PR career that included service in the US Army and work for Western Airlines, the Apollo space projects and two Olympics Games, Smith was a professor and director of USC’s sports information curriculum at the time of his passing.

Each year the KOS event highlights information from the center’s hallmark study, the Global Communications Report.

The 29th Annual Kenneth Owler Smith Symposium will be held on March 28, 2019. Click here for more details

Read the 2018 Global Communications Report

2017 Global Communications Report

On Thursday, March 30, 2017 Paul Holmes, a leading authority on the global PR industry, publisher, former reporter and prolific public speaker, delivered the keynote address on the “Future of Truth,” hosted by Fred Cook, Director of the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations. Following the keynote, a panel of industry leaders discussed the findings revealed in the 2017 Global Communications Report.

Past Symposiums

The keynote speaker for the 28th Annual Kenneth Owler Smith Symposium, held on Thursday, April 12, 2018, was Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman. USC Center for Public Relations Director Fred Cook presented highlights of the 2018 Global Communications Report, and Paul Holmes (Holmes Report) moderated the panel of PR experts in discussing ethics in public relations