Dr Anca Anton is a senior lecturer and the Erasmus academic coordinator at the Faculty of Journalism and Communication Sciences, University of Bucharest, Romania. In this blog, she writes about her research into communication industries, including wellbeing in Romanian comms industries and freelancers, and initiatives she is involved with. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
My research interests are at both theoretical and empirical levels and explore 1) the intersection of communication and democratised forms of diplomacy, with a particular focus on civil society diplomacy, citizen diplomacy and digital diplomacy; 2) the transformations of the PR/comms profession and industry (focused on freelancers, PR agencies, and corporate communicators, as well as gender and wellbeing) and their intersection with digital and social media; 3) health communication, with a focus on governmental online communication.
Regarding networking, I am one of the two co-leaders of the EUPRERA PR Education Network. In EUPRERA I am also part of the MARPE Network, the Women in PR Network, the Strategic Health Communication Network, and the European Network for Emerging Scholars (EUNES). In addition, I am a member of ICA, ECREA, and the Activism Network in the CIVIS university alliance. While my activity has been mainly focused on EUPRERA projects, I am also looking to explore more substantive collaboration opportunities within other organisations, such as ICA, where I have been following the Public Relations Division, the Public Diplomacy Interest Group, and the Activism, Communication and Social Justice Interest Group, all of them connected to and relevant for my research interests and previous project and publication activity.
In 2020 I started, alongside Dr Raluca Moise from the London College of Communication, a research project focused on Communication freelancers. This multi-stage research project aims to contribute to the closing of the research and knowledge gap regarding freelancers in general and communication freelancers in particular, with a special focus on virtual professional communities on the one hand and gender on the other. When collecting primary data, both qualitative and quantitative, it quickly became apparent that, while there were significant similarities between genders, female participants reported specific nuances. These were reflected particularly in their reasons for becoming a freelancer. While the reasons for both genders gravitated around a fundamental change regarding employment, professional development and work/life balance and health, the women freelancers pointed as additional reasons to positions made redundant following maternity leave, burnout in an agency setting and changes in personal life that led to the impossibility of balancing it with fully-employed requirements, like motherhood or commute (Anton & Moise, 2021; Moise & Anton, 2022). The intersection of gender, freelancing and the communication industries will be further explored through an edited book for which we will launch a call for chapters in the near future.
A more recent project is Wellbeing in the PR/comms industry, a comparative international survey developed by the EUPRERA Women in PR Network that explores the concept of wellbeing among communication industry professionals using a theoretical framework that combines communication and HR theories. The Romanian survey was answered primarily by women (⁓70%), which is consistent with the Romanian women-led PR industry, at both executive and managerial levels. Preliminary results point to 1) a combination of positive feelings about the job combined with less energy and enthusiasm towards it and 2) an almost generalised understanding attitude regarding the difficulties of balancing work and carer responsibilities, but an attitude that is met with little managerial action or systemic change. Both findings point to a burnout culture within the PR/comms industry that pushes heavier on women as they are still the main caregivers in their households.
Other research and education projects I am currently involved in are:
- Future of PR and social impact, a 30-country research project exploring the social value and social impact of public relations through the Delphi method, aiming to develop a normative understanding of PR/Comms contribution to society and to generate actionable proposals regarding teaching and training in PR.
- Communication professionals, a 10-country study using Berlo’s EMCR model to better understand communication professionals’ activities and work configuration.
- PD in other words, is a project aiming to conduct a literature review of public diplomacy literature published in other languages than English.
- PR Arena is an international student competition carried out by EUPRERA through its PR Education Network and organised by Global Women in PR and The University of Bucharest. The students develop comms/PR programmes for real-life clients. The 2022 client is the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and one of its most successful projects, the Eurovision Song Contest.
- PR repository is a project of the EUPRERA PR Education Network looking to facilitate the creation of a database of knowledge connecting education and research and sharing best practices and materials related to teaching PR.
My latest publications address all three of my research interests, in different ways:
Anton, A. (2022). Profiling a niche actor of civil society diplomacy – the unattached diplomat. Journal of Communication Management, 26(4). https://doi.org/10.1108/JCOM-04-2022-0043
Cmeciu, C., Anton, A., & Nicola, A. (2022). Information seeking behaviour and governmental communication assessment during the COVID-19 pandemic in Romania. In – R. Tench, J. Meng, & A. Moreno (Eds.), Strategic Communication in a Global Crisis. Routledge.
Moise, R., & Anton, A. (2022). An exploratory study of Communication Freelancers and Online Communities. A Mixed Methods Approach. Romanian Journal of Communication and Public Relations, 24(2), 23-44. https://doi.org/10.21018/rjcpr.2022.2.342
Anton, A. (2022). Conceptual Pathways to Civil Society Diplomacy. In S. P. Sebastião, & S. C. Spínola (Eds.), Diplomacy, Organisations and Citizens. A European Communication Perspective (pp. 81-98). Cham: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-81877-7_5
Anton, A., & Lăcătuș, M. (2022). Digital Diplomacy. The case of the Embassy of Sweden in Bucharest. In S. P. Sebastião, & S. C. Spínola (Eds.), A European Communication Perspective on Diplomacy, Organizations and Citizens (pp. 199-218). Springer. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-81877-7_12
Anton, A., & Moise, R. (2022). The Citizen Diplomats and their Pathway to Diplomatic Power. In S. Sebastiao, & S. Carvalho (Eds.), Diplomacy, Organizations and Citizens. A European Communication Perspective (pp. 219-254). Cham: Springer. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-81877-7_13
Anton, A., & Moise, R. (2021, December 2). Going back to the public in diplomacy: citizen diplomats and the nature of their soft power. Retrieved from CPD Blog – USC Center on Public Diplomacy: https://uscpublicdiplomacy.org/blog/going-back-public-diplomacy-citizen-diplomats-and-nature-their-soft-power
Anton, A., & Moise, R. (2021). Communication Freelancers, Facebook Groups and COVID-19. A Qualitative Analysis. Research Report. Styles of Communication, 13(1), 76-82. https://doi.org/10.31178/SC.13.1.04
Cotton, A.-M., Boulanger, H., de Carvalho, S., Anton, A., & Sebastião, S. (2021). MARPE Diplo Glossary. Retrieved from http://marpenetwork.eu/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/MARPE-Diplo-Glossary_2021_final_online.pdf
Anton, A. (2020). Joy(ful/less) on Facebook? An Analysis of the Emotional Profile of Public Relations Agencies in Romania. Styles of Communication, 12(1), 76-103. Retrieved from http://tiny.cc/AntonPRAgenciesEmotionsFB