Archive for the 'Journal' Category

Week 6 Blog Journal: Crisis Management and Issues in the Internet Era

Mediated Crisis Management on the Internet

In the essay “Taxonomy of mediated crisis responses”, published in Issue 33 of Public Relations Review, Taylor and Kent argue for the usage of the Internet as a medium of mediated crisis response. They also offer several suggestions for the best practices and individual details of individual steps and actions that can be taken during each phrase of a crisis.

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Week 7 Blog Journal: Grand Strategy, Strategy and Tactics

In chapter 8 of Public Relations Theory II, Carl Botan introduces the notion of a meta-strategy level of discursive activity within the sphere of public relations activities: the grand strategy. Grand strategies are organisation-wide or meta-organisational policies or practices which function to direct the actions of all parts of the organisation or organisations. The notion of a grand strategy is functionally similar to ideas of organisation culture in that both are notions professing hegemonic influence that dictates strategy. Meta-strategy exists within a level of meaning that often is invisible to pure ethnography, and the discourses surrounding them are rarely formalised and therefore are hard to prove conclusively. Notwithstanding this limitation, the author proposes a commonplace notion of strategy, which in turn dictates the tactics used.

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Week 8 Blog Journal: Evaluation Techniques

Chapter 12 of Richard Stanton’s Media Relations book focusses exclusively on the use of evaluation methods in media relations and public relations. As the scope of PR campaigns are only limited by one’s creativity, there can be all manners of activities and passivities which can be construed as public relations. As such, no one evaluation method can be applied universally across all strategies or campaigns. Adaptation, combination, and derivation and hence the keys to formulating useful and sound evaluations.
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Week 9 Blog Journal: Media Relations and News

Steve Jobs and Dennis Ritchie

Steve Jobs versus Dennis Ritchie: Even if you invented computing language as we know it today, you can be a nobody. Image source: Facebook

Chapter 6 of Richard Stanton’s book “Media Relations” describes the relationships between PR practioners(agents),their clients, and the media(more specifically, traditional  media as opposed to citizen media). He then describes how the media , the agent, and the client each desire to fulfil a goal in the co-creation of news, and each asserts a self-motivated influence on the piece of news discourse. Stanton then proposes how the agent(PR practitioner) can work within these selfish motivations to create viable media relations: between themselves, clients, and the media. These involve the profiling of the individuals in the media and the positioning of the issues within frames such as to maximise the news angles that the media wants with the coverage that clients want. These also involved synergies the agent can leverage upon to create unique angles while maintaining the level of client satisfaction.
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NPO Media – Blog Journal – Week 8 – Louis Lee

Based on readings from Media Relations, Chapter 9,  Community, Not-for-profit, and Interest Groups

For nonprofit organizations such as the Salvation Army or the Red Cross, profit is usually not their primary goal and their stakeholders (including the media) are not  usually their shareholders.

Not-for-profit organizations commonly rely on ideologies, the shaping of ideas to form a coherent argument that will justify actions. These include liberalism and conservatism (often referred to politically as the “left-wing” and “right-wing” or “left” and “right” parties respectively), socialism, feminism and the so-called “green ideology” with its inclination towards ecological conservation and grassroots democracy.

21st Century ideologies, Stanton claims, have a tendency to cannibalise elements from other ideologies and reform them to suit the needs of the individual community.

The watchword in this chapter is “Community”. “Community” as explained by Stanton refers to “an organized political, municipal or social body” alternatively “a body of people working/living together or a body of people having a faith, profession or other identification in common”. Coherent argument are shaped to justify actions, such as affecting change or acting to retain a status quo.

The “community” is powerful because it conveys a sense of belonging, a sense that they allow individuals to identify themselves with a particular subset of culture and in which they “fit in”. It may not truly exist given today’s itinerant fast-moving culture, but this community ideology, with its existence springing up within the larger surrounding system, still retains its power.

Not-for-profit organizations capitalize on the relationship building process, considering the support of those within the communal sphere and the transference of the individual relationship of trust and support to its stakeholders (including that of the media) the central strategies in this regard.

In media this is ostensibly regarded as “core competence”, the reason why community groups perform better at building media relationships through selectively choosing media , while successfully framing and focusing on core issues they are tackling.

Not for profit ideologies are based on the aims of support and assistance, staffed mainly by unpaid professional volunteers and  adopting conservative or liberal views to mesh with whichever community (and government party) they wish to be affiliated with. Like corporate bodies, not-for-profit organizations tend to have media coverage and stakeholders, at times having access to limited funding from the government or associated parties.


Stanton, R. (2007). Media Relations, Oxford University Press Melbourne.






It’s a New Game in Baltimore – Blog Journal – Week 9 – Louis Lee

"I believe that we will be judged by what we provide to the weakest and most vulnerable, that is the test, that is my test."

Based on readings from Media Relations, Chapter 8, Government and Politics

Ah, Politics and Government, two sides of the same coin. At least…that’s what my preconception of this topic was before I actually went through this admittedly fascinating chapter while feeling the effects of wrestling-induced sleep deprivation.

On the first few sentences of the “Defining media relations in government and politics” section Stanton makes it clear that “Politics and Government are not the same.” Which honestly wasn’t much of a surprise.

As I read on it seemed to me that Stanton saw Politics and Government as “the way one performs and elevates oneself to a position of authority” and “the logistics of actually running the entity (or entities) one has power over” owing to his definition of ‘Politics’ as “the public life and affairs of government, the activities concerned with the exercise of authority and power, and the capacity to manage and maintain the affairs of a state”, while ‘Government’ refers to “actions of governing, devising and controlling policy and legislation, and the action of managing and maintaining the affairs of the state”, but perhaps that’s just a gross simplification/misunderstanding of his ideas.

In any case, Stanton goes on further to frame the definitions of Politics and Government in the context of his book (concerning Media Relations, of course) as “campaign strategies to get elected” and the “strategies of those already elected to government to stay in power”, respectively.

With that in mind, I’ll state my understanding of the two sections of the chapter: Government and Politics

Now as Stanton goes, it is the job of the government to disseminate news and messages that correspond with health, tourism and security, the model of which he refers to as the “public information model” as per James Grunig and engage its citizens directly to establish a relationship, while building an image and identity through media relations.

A recurring point in this chapter was the importance of building  relationships with the media and affiliated parties, made more significant with the emergence of media advisers/media relations counselors that are paid professionally to form campaigns for the politician who hired them, reducing the “personal” aspect of relationship building.

The relationship-building result of these advisers (using tried and true methods and experience) is often two-pronged, as it sends a message that resonates well with stakeholders as well as the media, and also building reputational capital for future elections. Of interest is the advice to not waste time attempting to build relationships with media who are openly hostile to a government’s policies.

Moving on to politics, I must say that I was mildly surprised that Stanton posits that politically aware voters are more inclined to support a party based on its image rather than its policies…huh, guess the Bread and Circuses strategy applies even now.

Stanton goes on to explain that despite the similarities (political campaigns crafted along the same lines as marketing campaigns) marketing =/= politics. The former is economic (it wants to sell a product or service) while the latter is a sociological discipline, he claims. There is simply too much constant change in values and tangible factors outside of financial matters that influence stakeholders that cannot always be foreseen through conventional marketing efforts. This, however, has not stopped the recent “commodifying” of politics, with political campaigns being done through the same media tools and channels as those of marketing such as advertising. Though this is treated as “unfair and unscrupulous” by the electorate as they are never quite sure when these tools are being applied.

The malleable nature of politics has also done away with the old process of candidates and politicians in their rise to representative office through the steady climb from rank and file member of a political party through experience and successful political campaigns. Instead, candidates can come directly from non-political backgrounds with little in the way of relevent skills or theory and instead relying on hired political public relations experts or personal merit to garner support (which they usually do from immediate family and friends, though little else). Stanton also dismisses the notion that “intuition” is an important factor in the development of a political campaign and reveals how the gossip in the public sphere can be potentially useful sources of information for campaigners.

What caught my eye about this chapter is a certain paragraph on its final pages that discussed political communication campaigns, the “redemption of tokens” as he puts it, referring to the standard practice in advertising or political persuasion to imply positive position, but without specifying the way in which the promised benefits will materialise.

Stanton’s description of how this technique is usually applied with print media through advertising space with a “caption promising a wide range of benefits for  stakeholders (no matter how superficial the persuasion seems, as they deem to elect a candidate on the implication and redemption of tokens based on ill-defined reputational capital) instantly brought to mind the image of one Tommy Carcetti from the Wire (a TV show about the social machine of the American city of Baltimore I watched a few months back) who put up an admirable Kennedy-esque public face and announced his rhetoric with enough skill to have courtrooms eating out of the his hand, but he never quite had the intention of living up to his promises if it meant he secured the seat of authority. The recurrence of the words “political actor” throughout the chapter to indicate a person, group or organisation with a large influence on a political situation certainly didn’t help matters in being reminded of this character.

So let’s end this week’s edition of the blog entry with a demonstration of Carcetti’s honed political tongue from the man himself.


Grunig, J. E., & Hunt, T. (1984). Managing Public Relations. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Kavanagh, D. (1996). New campaign communications: consequences for political parties. Harvard International Journal of Press and Politics, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 60-76

Stanton, R. (2007). Media Relations, Oxford University Press Melbourne.

Mayor Carcetti of the Wire shows us how it’s done.

Sparkles – Blog Journal – Week 6 – Louis Lee

Based on readings from Media Relations, Chapter 5, Writing Client Prose
Welcome back, the subject of this week’s blog entry is sparkles! No, it has no connection whatsoever with ponies or the word “twilight”. I am instead referring to the description used by Stanton in writing acceptable prose  for the clients.

Prose (a form of flowery written discourse, frequently seen preceded by the word “purple”) can be used for technical instructions, fiction and drama, legal reports, journalism and of course media and news releases.  Modern technology has accounted for prose writing in contemporary time to outnumber all other years and centuries before combined.

Like fans of the fantasy genre, media relations clients can be susceptible to prose, but that doesn’t mean they’d accept the news release equivalent of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. Instead, prose in media release has to have “standards”. For instance, a lead news par should have around seventeen to twenty words, be in active voice and in the present tense. It should also have a clearly defined purpose and provide the reader with what the story is about so they will keep reading.

The rest of the news release should follow these rules:

Finding an angle that localises the issue ore event, containing the news releases to a maximum of fifteen paragraphs, using the last three or four paragraphs for quotes, avoiding advertising the name of the client company, avoiding plodding articles and keeping things concise and easily understandable without technical jargon.

Prose is similarly (to the point and easil comprehended) applied when setting out news releases, writing out backstories, writing letters to the editor, annual reports  feature stories, brochures and personality profiles. The important thing to keep in mind is to be to the point and the writing should be easily comprehensible by even the dyslexic.


Stanton, R. (2007). Media Relations, Oxford University Press Melbourne.









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