Archive for the 'PR Plan' Category

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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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.








Tactical Review – Blog Journal – Week 5 – Louis Lee

Based on readings from Media Relations, Chapter 4,  Tactical Approaches for Successful Media Relations.

Like a military campaign, media relations tactics are what make up the individual components of the greater strategy, much like Stanton’s vehicle analogy, without individual tactics to achieve its goals by sequence, the greater strategy cannot be completed.

The central tactic of media relations is the press or media release, or the supply of information on issues and events to the media (usually in print/written form), as not only does it gives awareness towards a particular campaign event, but it also informs the media of one’s intentions and policies.

Tactics usually come in the following styles:

  • Written tactics (Basis of campaign’s meaning. capable of mutual overlap, quick and easily read and understood. Includes uncontrolled tactics such as backstories, feature stories and letters to the editor, and controlled tactics such as newsletters, flyers, handbooks, pamphlets, brochures and annual reports, the determinant of an agent or outside force that exerts action on them being the difference.)
  • Spoken tactics (Those campaign tactics of a more personal, oratory nature. Includes speeches, interviews, face to face meetings, word of mouth and radio broadcasts.)
  • Acted tactics (Those tactics that require an “on the street” approach. Includes press conferences, television community service announcements, community meetings, demonstrations, factory tours, trade displays and muppet sho-I mean street theaters.)
  • Imagined tactics (Those tactics that have no basis in reality but require planning, development and production anyway. Includes interventions, pictures, videos, drama and music.)


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

Week 11:Critique of Issue/Crisis Management, application in managing Feiyue’s Branding

Chia and Synnott devote a whole chapter in their book to PR with respect to Issues and Crises. In summary, the chapter how certain trends, events, concerns, both plausible and actual, have an impact on an organisation and its relationship with publics. Chia and Synnott note that PR practitioners cannot afford to ignore such facts, both online and offline, as they have the potential to devastate an organisation. They prescribe that an organisation and its PR practitioners must be constantly proactively looking out for such potential issues, and risks thereof contained. Only then can messages about the organisation in a public arena is controlled.
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Week 10: General Strategy

General Steps: In this post I will highlight the key aspects of the strategy, and elaborate certain key theoretical underpinnings in communication and information theory.

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Week 9: On Audiences, Publics, and Demographics

The perspective of PR practitioners is one where the target Publics, or audiences as they are more often referred to in advertising lingo, refer to the group of people which the message of PR is directed towards. A planned target audience is by no means the sole limiting factor on who and what hear one’s PR message, but it is a necessity to sculpt some semblance of direction of message….These are the only subjects through which goals and objectives can be constructed, and therefore they must be drawn out. Hence, I will attempt to spell out my target audience in this blog post.

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