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Week 6- Chapter 11 [Irene Lee @ Khine Yin Win (3119122)]

Chapter 11- Risk, Uncertainty, And Crisis: How to identify and manage team

The emergency landing of Quanta’s A380 at Changi airport and BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill, all of which occurred last year are just examples of the crisis that organizations or even individuals can face. In general, such a crisis can happen anytime and any place of the day and the most important factor after the incident is how the organization chooses to react to it.

 

This is where the organizations public relations come in. The steps they take are going to be of great importance because it will determine whether the company will make further losses, which are both tangible and intangible. Tangible may include the money and stock prices while intangible could mean the fate of the reputation. And at the end of the day, the organization wants to save both.

 

So yes, when something big and bad happens, the organization’s fate lies in the hands of the public relations. Lets not forget, at such a crucial phase the PRs of the organizations are working closely with the media and even if they choose the method of avoiding, the media is already trailing the organization. One thing to understand is that the media will be the ones framing and letting a great scale of audience hear of the incident. They can choose to interpret it in a positive or negative way. Thus, when a crisis does happen, the best is to stay on top of the situation and show that everything is under control. You can conclude that the media is somewhat the middleman between the organization and the mass audience.

 

Identifying the issue at an early stage can help to diverge the crisis from taking place. This is most certainly a good method to reduce the risk or probability of a crisis happening, but it does not help when the crisis has already taken place. Many of the times, a crisis is unpredictable and today as we all know news will spread extremely fast due to the technology that society offers and this puts the organization in a tight spot where eventually they are not the ones to know of the crisis first. It also means that there will be a great deal of pressure towards the organization because response has to be prompt yet accurate.

 

For instance, during the emergency landing of Quanta’s A380 the Qantas media relations team announced that no parts of the plane landed on the Indonesian island, but to their dismay images of a couple holding what clearly seems to be a big part of the Qantas logo from the plane were surfacing over the internet. The contradicting image of Qantas’s statements showed that Qantas failed to check facts and do a well enough research online to what the social media is hyped up about. They eventually made a statement to clarify the issue. Thus, it can be deemed that Qantas was slow in reacting to the crisis in its first stages.

 

However, to combat the threat of possible negativity they updated their twitter and Facebook page feeds so that the public was able to understand more about the situation. What can be observed from the saga was that Qantas understood the power of social media and quickly saved their reputation from further escalating downwards.

 

Referencing

May, K., 2004. Qantas A380 incident: a lesson in social media and web PR. Available at: <http://www.tnooz.com/2010/11/04/news/qantas-a380-incident-a-lesson-in-social-media-and-web-pr/> [Accessed 22 October 2011].

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

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Week 5- Chapter 10 [Irene Lee @ Khine Yin Win (3119122)]

Chapter 10- “Timeliness and Budgets” of Media Relations 

As the chapter states, Richard Stanton takes the readers into the importance of timeliness and budget in the designing and planning of a campaign. After reading this chapter, I take on the perspective that these two factors must be taken into careful consideration, as each will determine the successfulness of a campaign.

 

Timeliness as the chapter explains is heavily related to media practitioners such as journalists. Thus, it is just as important to public relations practitioners as these professionals are many of the times working and affiliating themselves with the media, in order to build good relationships with them. PR practitioners should also remember to keep the communication process between their clients alive as clients also have tight schedules. You don’t want an event or media conference held on the same day that your client is having an important meeting.

 

As Richard D Smith explains in his book ‘Strategic planning for public relations’, public relations practitioners need to ‘respect and adopt’ the way journalism works. This includes understanding that news information should involve action, adventure, change, conflict, fame and so forth but, more importantly proximity and timeliness. However, the only argument that I have for this is that not all PR work requires the traditional news coverage of television or newspaper. In fact, PR is known to use magazines as a source of media coverage and as I have learnt, not all features need to have the timeliness factor. Nevertheless, being organized and managing time efficiently is important when it comes to public relations and this is especially vital for campaigns.

 

On another note, I think budget is somewhat more imperative than timeliness. My simple explanation is that without a reasonable budget there will be no PR because even for a simple event to a very extensive campaign, budget is vital and yes the saying- ‘money makes the world go round’ can be very much applied here. From the very research that is done, to the mailing, transport, and equipment and venue hiring, a budget is required.

 

The financial planning between the client and PR agent will determine the elements of the campaign. It will help identify the strategic planning the PR firm will have for the client and will allocate whether sponsorship and funds will be necessary, the type of events that can be held and the usage of media- for instance, flyers, brochures and reports.

 

After the PR assignment, which we were given, I’ve realized that budgeting events appropriately is a much harder task than one would think. In budgeting, there are times where the client will state they have  ‘0 budget’ when it comes to PR consultancy and thus, events have to be planned accordingly so that it results in profits to help subsidize the PR company’s professional fee cost, as well as the overall cost for the event, campaign etc. Needless to say, careful thought and planning has to be done in order for success.

 

Referencing

Smith, D. R., 2005. Strategic planning for public relations. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc: New Jersey.

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.

References:

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.

Reference

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.)

Reference:

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

Week 3- Chapter 1 [Irene Lee @ Khine Yin Win (3119122)]

Chapter 1- Introduction: Building Relationships, Framing Issues and Events

Perhaps the most interesting aspect in this chapter is that media relations have the ability to, as said in the text, “spin doctoring” and “influence peddling”. In short, media relation’s practitioners have the capability of framing and encoding messages in ways, which are intended for the viewer to decode. This questions the agenda of some news channels and medium which claim to be objective and that the material is sourced from the government. Thus, to what extent is this so because as a media practitioner you are after all representing a client- and in reality all clients are trying to make their image good, whether they are truly good or not.

So my question to those reading this is-

  1. To what extent should media practitioners be allowed to contribute to the news?
  2. What measures could be suggested to prevent those unethical clients who want their image to be good when in reality they are not?

In my opinion both these questions are heavily related to an individual’s ethic. For instance, media practitioners need to be ethical although the fact is, not all are. Media practitioners need to understand the power and influence they have when using the media as a communication tool. For instance, I have come across PR practitioners who chose to provide their services for associations, which have a ‘shady’ image.

Take for example, DCI group, a public affairs enterprise that took up the role to work alongside Burma and to improve the infamous country’s relationship with America and to assist in fighting against the opium trade and the country’s AIDS epidemic. It only took 8 months before the company terminated the contract after heavy criticism.

As Washington Post’s, Al Kamen stated, “DCI lobbyists, featuring Charles Francis, a longtime family friend of the Bushes, ran a sophisticated campaign to improve the regime’s image–and steer the conversation away from its rampant human rights abuses and such”.

Clearly, a line should be drawn to whom PR companies choose to provide their services. It is even more so when PR companies such as DCI have links to higher authorities and officials with influential power. For instance, DCI was able to set up two meetings between the White House National Security Council Southeast Asia director Karen Brooks and the Burmese authorities.

Thus, my point is, there should be serious ethical consideration before accepting to represent controversial clients.

Referencing:

Ambinder, M., 2008. Focus: ‘The DCI Group Responds on Burma, The Atlantic, [Online] Available at: <http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2008/05/the-dci-group-responds-on-burma/53206/&gt; [Accessed 18 September 2011].

Johnson, D., 2006. Focus: ‘The Swift Boaters Are Back In The Water, Huffington Post, [Online] Available at:<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-johnson/the-swiftboaters-are-back_b_25223.html&gt; [Accessed 18 September 2011].

Miller, L., 2004. Powers Behind The Throne, PR Watch: Public Interest Reporting on the PR/ Public Affairs Industry, [e-journal] 11(4) Available at: <http://www.prwatch.org/files/pdfs/prwatch/prw11_4.pdf> [Accessed 18 September 2011].

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

It’s a New Day – Blog Journal – Week 3 – Louis Lee

/// Begin Transmission ///

If you’ve been a recurrent visitor of this CMNS site and happily endured the profound rantings of  your favourite flame-breathing schmup-loving author, you might be wondering why the site’s undergone something of a name-change.

Well fear not loyal readers, the site hasn’t been taken over by some corporate conspiracy, this little corner of wordpress has simply received a new raison d’être.

Instead of a lone platform, this site now serves as the base for a fictitious 3-men Public Relations consultancy group with a new calling and new management (not to mention a new accreditation-related project).

It’s even pilfe-I mean borrowed a nifty shackle icon from a certain Blizzard Entertainment game mod that represents the group’s namesake.

So with no more ado, welcome to the new online home of the PR hub, welcome to Linked.

+++ The following journal has been brought to you by Dr. Fu Manchu’s Khazad Three Peaks Inc. +++

+++Blog Journal-Week 3+++

Spindoctors and Campaigners

Today marks my first entry into the Linked PR Consultancy blog’s group journal, and I must say that I am simply gyrating in anticipation.

The following are my thoughts and comments on two chapters found within Richard Stanton’s ‘Media Relations’, they may seem fairly simplistic and rather personally uninvolved, but hey “the more you know“:

  • Chapter 1: Introduction: Building Relationships, Framing Issues and Events:

To be honest Stanton’s (2007) choice to make use of the ongoing conflict between the State of Israel and the Palestinians as the chapter’s main anecdote (through the Economist) came as a mild suprise to me as I browsed through the first chapter, though  with the frequent appearance of terms which see military usage like “strategy”, “tactics”, “campaigns”, “objectives” and what have you, it was credits to carrots that a hotly contested region with a history of intermittent warfare and involved factions hungry for international commiseration and allies as the near east would be utilized to illustrate the sort of competitive environment Stanton wishes to establish the media relations scene as.

Stanton posits that Media Relations in “the West” (includes AUS and NZ. but does that include Singapore?) are dominated by the US theory and practice, with medial relation bodies acknowledging its culturally  hegemonic position combined with the characteristic of adapting something to suit the local conditions.

Additional Notes:

++What comes first in Media Relations, Critical Thinking or Applied Knowledge?++

++Stanton Does Not Approve of “bubbleheaded” Eurovision.++

  •  Chapter 3: Media Relations Campaigns: Defining Campaign Strategies and Models:

“Strategy is more than a plan”, says Stanton (2007) in the third chapter of the book.  Strategy is defined by the competitive environment and plans become strategic only when there is competition to achieve some advantage over others.

Drawing a parallel between media relations strategy and its military counterpart, Stanton elucidates that strategic decisions are concerned with long term goals, the scope of the campaign, adaptation with the local environment, the creation of opportunities through stretching of available resources and operational decisions.

In terms of media, campaign proposals become strategic as groups vie for finite media space, though I believe this applies more accurately to non-online forms of the public sphere (newspapers, TV airtime, radio broadcasts, billboards, etc).

The hierarchy of published media depends on importance, those not holding up are discarded from the news schedule.

Stanton holds that all media relations activity begins with dialogic relationship (importance of conversation as a constructive communication) between the two interested parties:

  • The media relations counsellor or agent
  • The primary stakeholder or client

This dialogic relationship of of media relations activity, from what I can understand from Stanton’s explanations, undergoes the following process:

Initial point of dialogue pasts point of agreement > agent demonstrates most appropriate course of action to achieve media goals/objectives (preparing a proposal/campaign strat) > Initiate media campaign (sometimes as relatively simple as writing a letter to a newspaper editor, not always the case) > Profit (such as the accumulation of symbolic capital in the form of trust and reputation)

Reference:

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

On a final note and to commemorate this occasion, allow me to present a sample of what’s to come for our brave little group, courtesy of YouTube and the SIATP.

///End Transmission///

 

 

 

 

 



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