JMC417 students are, understandably, very concerned with the public perceptions of the profession they are entering. Following on posts from the previous week, such as ABC PR’s discussion of the “PR lady” in the Mac vs. PC commercials, this week Sparkle Media points out that in some cases breaches of PR ethics lead practitioners to create crises, rather than manage them. These instances, though relatively uncommon, serve to reinforce popular negative views of public relations. ABC PR countered by highlighting the Radical PR trend in public relations scholarship and practice, which aims to critically analyze mainstream theory and practice and suggest alternative paths. Students pose the question of whether this movement can help alter the profession’s image. Time will tell.
Metis PR addressed instead the question of what makes a good (or bad) PR practitioner. They quite rightly pointed out that clients are not always aware of what their agency can do for them, and so may misconstrue certain actions. This, too, is a question of professional perception, but on a smaller scale.
The Agency strode fearlessly into the treacherous waters of political communication, questioning the media strategy of the GOP handlers in charge of VP nominee Sarah Palin’s public appearances in recent weeks. Electoral campaigns represent a particular niche of communication, which requires practitioners to balance their strategic concerns with the responsibility to provide the citizenry with enough information to make considered voting decisions.
CAST Communication tackled a topic near and dear to my own professional heart, internal communication.
They touch on the difficult balance between encouraging employee engagement (freedom) and managerial monitoring (control), which is always an issue in internal communication, and a frequent source of friction.
Iris Public Relations reflected on whether new media technologies represent a sea change in PR practice, or simply a new set of tools for conducting business as usual. And if the former, do they dampen creativity and innovation? Coming at new media from a different angle, TALLfore noted that the speed with which information and rumors spread, thanks to densely networked rapid communication tools such as Twitter, makes organizations especially vulnerable to crises.