Musings of a PR Professional


BB Reading Assignment 3

PR Measurement Blog

Before I could get any further in scanning Katie D. Panie’s blog, I was struck by the second newest post, Maybe Google will finally replace the clipping services.This caught my attention because just the other day in my Intro to Journalism class, the professor was discussing how the emergence of new technology and therefore new media has forced newspapers to change the way they present information and are published. My professor made a great point: people thought radio, then T.V., then Internet was going to render newspapers obsolete- but they were wrong.

Sure, the newspaper publishing industry is not the money-making business it used to be, but it is certainly still prominent in society. And now, it seems, that for once it’s not the newspapers that have to do the changing. According to Paine’s post, Google is expanding its news archive to include every newspaper story ever written. And not just that, people will be able to search for a story and be able to view it as it actually looked in the paper when it was published. Neat! But also pretty ambitious. Hey, if Google has the motivation, it’s a great thing to work for. The idea of preserving history is taking on entirely new meanings.

Charity Water case study

As a follower of Paull Young on twitter, I was able to witness first hand his birthday social media experiment. While reading the reflection he wrote on the experiment though, one this really hit me: this is great PR for Charity Water. Not only was he campaigning for donations and therefore getting their name out to many people who would otherwise never have heard of the charity (myself included), he was also linking to it repeatedly and therefore getting their mission out as well.

With social media on the rise, I predict that instances such as this will be occurring more and more. Simple acts such as someone blogging about an organization or tweeting about a great new product can have huge PR ramifications if done or viewed by the right people. Get opinion leaders, or Super Influencers to endorse something and their good graces can snowball into creating better awareness and therefore relationships between the online public and organizations.


Chapter Nine

  • Controlled and uncontrolled media channels are equally beneficial and potentially harmful. “Controlled media ensure precise messages, whereas uncontrolled media are less expensive and offer stronger credibility” (pg. 275).
  • Generally, different situations and publics require different tactics. However, some traditional tactics can be applied to different types of publics. A few of these tactics include, face-to-face meetings, websites, special events and news releases.
  • Implementing the tactics in one’s PR plan is the most important part of the planning process. They should be executed with extreme care.

Chapter Eight

  • Although there are different kinds of PR plans for different situations, it is essential that they all be based on the values- based mission statement of the company.
  • Plans should be very specific and thorough. If the planning process is followed correctly, the resulting plan will naturally acquire both of these characteristics.
  • Different publics’ behavior won’t change over night. It is important to recognize that fact and plan accordingly (i.e. “Plan for an acheivable reality” as it says on pg. 258 of the text.)

Pixton.com

Pixton.com is a website that allows anyone with the desire to create their very own comic strip. My English class this semester is very technologically based and when I was given the assignment to create a book review comic strip the term “social media” jumped to my mind.

Is this another form of social media? I’d say so. The site connects people through their creativity. Just like a graphic novel is another way to write, a comic strip online is another way to blog.


Reality Television

Today in Persuasion we analyzed reality TV shows through the narrative paradigm lens. Big Brother and Real World were the focus of our discussion but any reality show works. Each season we are introduced to stereotypical characters that are easy to identify with. Once we feel connected to the characters (or “cast” as the participants are commonly referred to) each one is pitted against one another to create conflict and the resolution only comes on reunion shows.

I dare anyone to get into a discussion about reality shows without knocking head-first into ethics issues. My main question: What messages are these T.V. shows really sending?  When the preacher’s son and the wild party girl get into altercations encouraged by producers for entertainment we’re perpetuating those stereotypes. They even become glorified. When one cast member pulls a knife on another and simply gets sent home without any legal ramifications it’s sending the message that one can act violently and suffer from very little consequences.

Really, that’s not okay. It’s all about ratings, ratings, ratings, but there needs to be a line drawn. Today, producers are using whatever film they have how ever they want to tell the story that sells. And these outrageous clips are not found just on T.V. They’re all over the Internet on sites such as YouTube. With technology advancing in the way it is, almost everyone has incredibly easy access to all kinds of media that are not necessarily appropriate. That is not to say that censorship is the answer, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy these shows myself. It’ just some food for thought.


Chapter Seven

  • Research and evaluation, two very important steps in the public relations process, are interconnected. Research eventually leads to evaluation, but evaluation requires research for a meaningful understanding of the results. It is important to use research and evaluation to understand what different publics feel/need/want etc. before any planning or communication of PR plans can occur.
  • In designing a research strategy, one must identify answers to the questions “What do I want to know?” and “How will I gather that information?” (pg. 206 Public Relations A Values- Driven Approach).
  • How well research is done and therefore how accurate its results are is contingent on the resources (i.e. money, personnel and time) available to the PR practitioner.
  • Surveys are a very in-depth research method. They are often time consuming because they are heavily concerned with appropraite and representative sample selections. But, this concern allows for better accuracy of results in the end.

Chapter Four

  • As a PR practitioner, it is important to know the type of public you are dealing with. There are many different categories that publics can fall into and the way you work with and manage the relationship between and organization and a specific public depends on what type of public it is. Building the appropriate relationship is key for an organization’s success.
  • A PR practitioner must gather information and really know what makes a certain public tick before s/he can manage a productive relationship with them.
  • Successful PR practitioners will gear their messages toward the way their publics communicate themselves, especially when dealing with “traditional publics” because it is important to not take these publics for granted.
  • Publics are constantly changing. There is new technology, more diversity, a fluctuating economy and countless other aspects of society that are changing the methods PR practitioners must use to handle these publics.

History of PR

PR has grown throughout history as a result of trial and error. For example, in the early 1900’s, the first agencies dealing with publicity (public relations’ forefather at the time) began to open up. These agencies were a response to the growing power of organizations and the increasingly diverse public. Although the intention to regulate communication between organizations and the public was there, these agencies did not have very good success rates. According to our text, credibility, “resistance from newspaper publishers”, and the fact that “the concept of formalized publicity was relatively new” (pg. 65 Public Relations A Values-Driven Approach) all contributed to their downfalls. At the time, people simply did not know what to expect or what was expected of them in their PR positions so it was difficult to produce effective messages that would facilitate two-way communication.

Two other noteworthy trail and error situations that helped develop PR as we know it today are the lives of Ivy Ledbetter Lee and Edward L. Bernays. Lee “established ethical standards” (pg. 67) but did not live up to them himself. Bernays gave the first definition of PR as we know it today, “…giving professional advice to our clients on their public relationships, regardless of whether such an activity resulted in publicity” (pg. 73) and was the first to acknowledge the necessity of two-way communication. However, Bernays was not exactly a great PR role model as he was mistrusted and considered extremely egotistical and undercutting. Despite the fact that these two men contributed so much to the development of modern PR, they were certainly not beacons of good PR practitioners. We can learn from them though!

Karen Russel, a professor at UGA, touches on the idea that PR history is valuable because we can learn from it. We can see what others did well and what they did not do so well and apply these successes and failures to our own time and situation. She says, in a post on Dr. V’s blog that providing a correspondence between the two professors, we have the “added benefit that we can examine short- and long-term effects.” And I think PR has always relied on this type of growth. The nature of the PR profession itself leaves room (even though we may with it did not at times) room for mistakes. So, a good PR person should be brave, take risks and learn from them.


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Blog Recommendation

I stumbled upon the blog of Chris Brogan today, a social media connoisseur. The first post I read was both thought provoking and funny. Check out the comments too, some of them are pretty insightful!