The COVID-19 pandemic has provided rich learning opportunities for public communicators: from positive, and unfortunately too often, also from negative examples. From the difficulties of relaying scientific information to publics and political partisanship colliding with public health interests, to the ‘misinfodemic’ (in particular, but not only, on social media) exacerbating the pandemic, to HR departments and managers struggling with the work-from-home dynamic: communicators around the globe were affected by, as well as affecting the repercussions of the pandemic. In this special edition, researchers from Belgium, Estonia, France, Morocco, Portugal and the UK explore impacts of the pandemic on media communication, internal and external communication of public as well as private sector organisations. They present studies and findings on the mediatisation of science, the evolving role of institutional communication, organisational spirituality, the stakeholder perspective of internal publics, the role of solidarity communication and third places in urban centres. Together, they provide a fascinating and diverse view of academic engagement with an evolving topic of local as well as global significance. In a time of growing uncertainty, this diversity of perspectives provides opportunities to consider the topic from a variety of angles – and hopefully this open-mindedness will contribute to the exploration of alternatives, where the trodden paths often seem to lead into dead ends.
This special edition is the result of a high interest and high number of applications received during our initial call for papers for the Future of PR edition. We have maintained the international focus diverse as we did with the perspectives covered. All articles are free to access so feel free to read, review, comment and even get back in touch with us and the authors with your feedback.