Final Public Relations Blog Entry

It doesn’t feel that long ago when we started writing these weekly blog entries about what we had learned in the descending weeks. Going into this subject I had no idea of what to expect, what theories we would cover, or if I would even be able to grasp the concepts.

As we went from topic to topic, some theories and people stood out to me, and led me to a solid understanding of what the Public Relations profession is and how these people deal with the media and how all the different types of publics.

I really enjoyed learning about how companies deal with the different types of publics that they encounter with certain issues. For example, if there was an issue about breast cancer, a magazine like ‘Woman’s Weekly’ may address it by showing real life experiences with women who have had it. Where as a teenage girly magazine like ‘Dolly’ may address it by showing a girl who’s parent’s have it, or have had it, and convey the implications that it has on them, and also how they can help there parent. They address the same issue, but portray them completely different so that it appeals to the target audience.

With this subject, I found that I could have studied more into certain theories which would have benefited me in my assignments, although I do believe that I have derived to a sound understanding of the theories that are acknowledged in this subject. 

Media Management

In the last week we have been learning about how companies and PR professionals deal with the media. I found it particularly interesting in the lecture when it showed that the Media need PR and PR needs the media to survive. However I feel that the Media need PR much more due to the fact that they are one of the best, if not the best sources of credible information.

According to Baily from Tench and Yoemans (2009) Study in to British Journalism in 2008 revealed 19% newspapers and 17% broadcast stories came from PR material. As well as this, a study that was taken out in 2011(Chia and Synnott, 2012) showcased how much journalists use PR information, the survey revealed that Journalists visit the media release section more than any other page on a corporate website (84% n=61).

This only clarifies how much journalists rely on PR. I feel that PR professionals also have a split role when dealing with the media, if there was no such thing as PR, the stories that journalists concoct would be un-credible and would be from a range of seedy sources.

From this topic, I have gathered that PR professionals not only have their organisation’s best interests at heart, but they almost keep the journalists in line. They keep them from straying to far away from story, by giving them only the information they want the public to hear.   

Bibliography

Chai, J & Synott, G 2012. An Introduction to Public Relations: Theory and Practice. 2nd ed. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Tench, R & Yeomans, L 2009, Exploring public relations, 2nd ed, Financial Times Prentice Hall, Harlow

The Media Agenda

This week for our blog entry we have been instructed to talk about media agenda. So, in this entry I will focus on Framing.

Firstly, what is framing? Framing is a form of Agenda Setting which is a very useful tactic which the media use on their publics. According to the University of Twente “a frame refers to the way media and media gatekeepers organize and present the events and issues they cover, and the way audiences interpret what they are provided. Frames are abstract notions that serve to organize or structure social meanings. Frames influence the perception of the news of the audience, this form of agenda-setting not only tells what to think about, but also how to think about it.”

 

Framework in my opinion is a very crafty and underestimated technique used by the media. All forms of media use it to let people form a guided opinion which matches that of the media. The media navigates their audience through a number of methods to bring them to agree with them without them coming to the realisation that they have been persuaded. Cutting Edge PR shares that Framing can be broken down to 6 different methods:

 

  • Metaphor – to give an idea a new meaning by comparing it with something else.
  • Stories (myths and legends) – to frame a subject by anecdote in a vivid and memorable way. For instance, some managers tell and retell stories of how teamwork helped pull their organization through in tough times.
  • Traditions (rites, rituals and ceremonies) – to use to define and reinforce organizational cultural values. For instance, certain activities (some humorous and some serious) traditionally done during annual strategic planning conferences.
  • Slogans, jargon and catchphrases – to frame a subject in a memorable and familiar way.
  • Artifacts – to illuminate corporate values through objects that strike a chord with employees. For instance, a current best-selling product compared with an outmoded product from an earlier time.
  • Contrast – to describe a subject in terms of what it is not.
  • Spin – to talk about a concept in a way that gives it a positive or negative connotation.

Bibliography

 

Employee Communication: Framing can help you communicate strong messages. 2013. Employee Communication: Framing can help you communicate strong messages. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.cuttingedgepr.com/articles/empcomm_communicate-strong-messages.asp. [Accessed 20 May 2013].

 

Framing. 2013. Framing. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.utwente.nl/cw/theorieenoverzicht/Theory%20clusters/Communication%20Processes/Framing/. [Accessed 20 May 2013].

Community

In this week’s readings and in the lecture I found the theories behind volunteering and company donations rather interesting. With a lot of big companies and corporations these days, there is a certain impersonal and intimidating feeling when you walk into their offices. This is why some of the big businesses these days, play such a massive role in supporting local communities these days.

SGIC a nationwide insurance dealer is one of Port Adelaide Football Clubs premier partners and in recent times SGIC set up the SGIC Port Adelaide Support Crew. SGIC in corporation with the Port Adelaide Football Club, used staff members to hand out free clappers and to play games with the fans before the game began. According to Anne Gregory (1996) by sponsoring and volunteering at sporting events, “it can have added benefits of highlighting examples of teamwork, leadership and competitive excellence, and/or involves your employees”.

When a company sponsors a sporting event or club and gets their staff members to volunteer at these sporting events, it can be very beneficial in developing their image in a local setting, as it not only shows that their company isn’t run by money hungry CEOs but people who like to give back.

Gregory, A, 1996. Public relations in Practice. 1st ed. London: Kogan Page. 

SGIC support the Port Adelaide Football Club | SGIC Insurance SA. 2013. SGIC support the Port Adelaide Football Club | SGIC Insurance SA. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.nrma.com.au/sa/about-us/port-adelaide-football-club. [Accessed 13 May 2013].

Home – PORTADELAIDEFC.com.au. 2013. Home – PORTADELAIDEFC.com.au. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.portadelaidefc.com.au. [Accessed 13 May 2013].

PUBLICS IN PUBLIC RELATIONS

Publics in my opinion are the single most important aspect and the focal point for Public Relations. As Publics are the main thing that PR professionals have to take into account when determining the company’s next move, they have to tread very carefully, and understand each of their publics as upsetting one group due to poor communication, could lead to catastrophe.

The types of Publics that I am going to focus on for this blog are International and Domestic Publics. According to B.Harte’s (2011) definition on these publics “you need keep in mind that just because the organization might be domestic, it doesn’t mean that international publics might not have a hand in the success or failure of the organization”. With these Publics, PR professionals have to take into account the differential factors that other countries may or may not hold. And that they may not be in accordance to the opinions that are held by those domestically.

One example of not understanding their company’s international client base is one of Apple and them having to apologize for their actions towards China.  According to SMH (2013) “Communist Party’s flagship newspaper, People’s Daily  accused Apple Inc. of arrogance, greed and “throwing its weight around” and portrayed it as just the latest Western company to exploit the Chinese consumer”. Apple originally did not take into account how the Chinese would react to their actions, and eventually had to apologize for their poor communication.  Apple was on the near verge of losing a large percentage of their sales due to this, and barely survived their faultiness. The severity of this scandal deeply highlights the immense importance that the public’s hold in the outcome of a company, and in this debacle, particularly international and domestic publics.

 

Bibliography

 http://www.theharteofmarketing.com/2011/05/power-organization-stakeholders-publics.html

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-technology/apple-apologizes-in-china-after-service-criticism-20130402-2h3hx.html

Persuasion, I feel that over the years I have given in to many advertising campaigns by being persuaded, from a young age we are all persuaded by corporations and organisations to either eat at their restaurants, want to wear their clothes or even to go as far as moulding views and opinions of major social and political issues (e.g. war).

 

What did these organisations and cooperation’s use as an incentive to persuade these children? Toys! This method can be linked to Grunig’s two-way asymmetrical, which is often used to shape the views and opinions of the public. Rather than cooperating with the public in the decision making process, the organisation uses incentives, fear etc. to mould the public into believing what they believe.

One example from the past is one of the GI Joe action figure. He might have seemed like an innocent toy at the time, but now the toy can be exposed for what it was. GI Joe was a form of persuasion to young kids about war, as this figure was released at the beginning of the Vietnam war, it gave children a false idea of war and preconceived the idea that violence is not only acceptable, but also the preferred method.  

 

I found it rightly so, when Grunig labelled persuasion as an unethical PR practice (An introduction to Public Relations and communication management, p.64). However I do understand how in this day and age persuasion can be a valid method when it comes to road safety, child wellbeing etc. but when it comes to organisations attempting to mould the opinions of the young and build a relationship from the use of toys is most certainly unethical.

 

Propaganda 101 Supplemental: Child’s Play | JONATHAN TURLEY. 2013. Propaganda 101 Supplemental: Child’s Play | JONATHAN TURLEY. [ONLINE] Available at: http://jonathanturley.org/2013/02/02/propaganda-101-supplemental-childs-play/. [Accessed 14 April 2013].

 

J.Chia & G.Synnott , 2012. An introduction to public relations and communication management. 2nd ed. Australia: oxford .

In this week’s blog I would like address the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in relation to cultural theory. One aspect of Cultural theory is focusing on what is happening in the society in regards to issues and adjusting your actions in accordance to what is deemed acceptable in the society. After the ghastly massacre took place; the majority of America went into complete shock and in the few weeks that followed, schools became very strict on matters regarding to any nonsense about the massacre. According to Bangor Daily news, one case of overreaction showed a 6 year old being suspended from Roscoe Nix Elementary School, for forming a gun with his hands and directing it at a fellow student and saying “pow” (2013). The schools reasoning for dealing with this matter in such an abrupt manner was because the sandy cook massacre had only reached it one week anniversary and many parents and teachers where fearful of more gun violence. Although the overall reaction to this seemed absurd, regarding to cultural theory the school needed to set an example looking into the future. As they need to be cautious about their actions and their student’s actions towards guns in schools and promoting games that encourage gun use. I feel that the even though the school dealt with the matter correctly, the child is too young to have any real conception of how his actions can be viewed inaccurately. But when it comes to a 6 year old pointing his finger, I feel that they have gone over the top in displaying there political correctness.

School suspends first-grader for pointing finger, saying ‘pow’ — Nation — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine. 2013. School suspends first-grader for pointing finger, saying ‘pow’ — Nation — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine. [ONLINE] Available at: http://bangordailynews.com/2013/01/03/news/nation/school-suspends-first-grader-for-pointing-finger-saying-pow/. [Accessed 07 April 2013].

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

I have always found it odd why people address public opinion as public opinion, especially when they are addressing issues that simply do not affect the majority of the population and do not feel obligated to share their opinion, as the outcome most likely will not serve them any disadvantages nor advantage. I found it rather interesting in Essentials of Public relations, how the author explains Public Opinion. He firstly states that very few people actually take part in public opinion, and that there are two major reasons on why the public opinion size is so small and why they take the opinion for the majority. With his first reason, he opens by saying psychologists found that most of the public are tentative when addressing most issues and that by having a passive public it opens the gates for the small groups or parties that are opposing or supporting the issue. I interpreted this as by having such a quiet majority these groups are coming across much louder and because the subject matter is affecting them the most they have the most say. His second reason is engagement with the subject at hand. He uses the example of parents forming public opinion when on the need for secondary education, while senior citizens constitute the bulk of opinion on the need for increased social security benefits”. I interpreted his second reason as him saying that if the matter at hand it close to someone based on their lives they will be more aware of having there say. Also, my matter was cleared up for me when he said that the people unaffected with the issue do not contribute to public opinion on the subject.

Wilcox, Dennis L., 2001. Essentials of Public Relations. 1st ed. New York: Longman.

After completing the first few weeks of this course, I have developed a much greater understanding of how major celebrities/ major athletes deal with unwanted outbursts of tarnishing news stories. And being a fairly broad sports fanatic, it has been drawn to my attention how Lance Armstrong dealt with the unfolding of events that spiraled out of control in the later stages of 2012 and earlier this year.

After being hit with major drug allegations Lance Armstrong went into hiding. He did not talk to any news reporters until his Oprah interview, which in theory I found to be a very smart tactic, but in practice and looking back at the interview it seemed that it was a failed attempt to rebrand himself.

Throughout the interview Armstrong tried many tactics in trying to provide an explanation for his drug use, when all most fans wanted, was an apology. Sure he said sorry in the interview, but I felt that it would have been a much more successful campaign if he were to have started by saying he was sorry, and not have given that whole “You would have done the same, if you were in my position” speech. Also I felt that he only talked about his cancer traumas to play the sympathy vote.

Although his Oprah interview was a flop (in my eyes), his brand still has not been as tarnished as much as I thought it would have. It just goes to show how people value what he has done for cancer awareness and charities far more than his record breaking cycling career.

Bibliography

OWN – Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive. 2013. OWN – Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.oprah.com/own_tv/onc/lance-armstrong-one.html. [Accessed 24 March 2013].

Hi my name is Albert Seagrim, I am currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts: Communication and Media Management degree. I chose this course based on the reasoning that I am currently unsure of what I want to study. with this being said, I have narrowed down my objective to the field of Marketing or Journalism. When beginning this subject I had no idea of what to expect as I have never heard much or contemplated what PR was, but after further knowledge I have grown to understand how important PR is to society. Also, after these first few weeks I am strongly considering whether or not I further pursue in the fields of PR. I am hoping that this blogging experience will enable me to develop my writing, technological and social media skills, as these aspects are most certainly going to be key in the near future with whatever career I eventually pursue.