Friday, February 12, 2010

Readings according to the schedule - catching up (pt.1)

Reading for week 4: Ch. 4 Public Relations Ethics by Elspeth Tilley
The topic for this week's reading is interesting: ethics. 'Ethics' is usually defined "motivation based on ideas of right and wrong." But, how do we define what's 'right' and what's 'wrong'? In the reading itself, ethics is defined as "standarts of behaviour, spesifically, concern for 'good' behaviour and condsideration of our behaviour".
The example that comes to my mind regarding ethics in Public Relations, is the product placement in movies. Now, is that ethical? It's like hidden advertisement. While people decide to watch movie, so they are not bothered by advertisements. The placement of products in movies subtly force people to remember the brands. But then again, it makes the movies realistic. So, again, the question of ethics is a complex one. The answer is even more so.

The ethics pyramid as seen in the book, pg. 113
Image taken from

Back to the reading, there are 3 things that we need to have and keep in mind to stay ethically competent (pg.96): Willingness to be ethical, knowledge (find out what are the ethical things accepted by public, what are not), skill (put the knowledge into actions).
There are also 3 school of thoughts regarding ethics: virtue theorists, deontologists, and consequentialists. The three of them represent three different philosophical questions.
[Indeed, the topic of ethics is more to philosophical discussion as the idea of 'ethics' was first developed by the great Greek philosopher, Aristotle.]
Each school of thoughts has its own strengths and weaknesses. It comes back to each PR practitioner which one they want to follow. But the bottom line is, do not live without following ethical codes, both for living and for working.

"..Get experience by volunterring for causes you believe in." -Fiona Cassidy.


Reading for week 5: Ch. 5 Public Relations Research by Gae Synnott
"'s pardonable to be defeated, but not to be surprised." -Ron Kawalilak.
It takes me some time to understand what the quote means, but I don't have to wait long because at the same paragraph, it was explained: In PR, you can't help it if sometimes your campaign is not as successful as you want it to be. But, if the failure is because of "lack of research or evaluation", it's just such a pity.
So, that's what the reading is about in this chapter: doing research ("the process of gathering information" p.127) for PR practice. This sounds like a sub-topic for PR Strategy.
There are three steps explained to think like a PR professional (pg.129). It generally helps me to understand more about doing a research, how to know the right questions to ask and how to get the information I need.

At first, the chapter talks about hierarchy-of-effects model that could help us understand more on how to lead "people from knowing nothing about a product to becoming a customer" (p.128). The explanation is not clear, however. The usual terms are simpler: Awareness > Knowledge > Liking > Preferance > Conviction > Purchase (see picture).

Next, the stages of research is further explain: the input stage, the implementation stage, presentation of research findings and research applications.

The one that captured me the most in this chapter, however, is the 'issues with PR research' section. Of course, we can roughly guess what might be the challenges in doing PR, but to read it blatantly written on a reading material is kind of weird. So, what is the biggest challenge in PR practice? Yup, you got it. Like in any other part of human life, budget is one of the issues in PR practices (seems like it's always about money, isn't it?).
But this can be tackle with gathering information from existing reports first, do a combine research with other company (or companies), and, if your budget is really small, you can work together with students who are studying market research. We can also use the internet, as the cyber technology doesn't require much funding.

and Ch. 6 Public Relations Practice by Gae Synnott
I wonder why this chapter is at sixth in the chapters sequence rather than the first, as it talks about the general perspective of PR practice.
As most of us already know (or barely do), "PR is one of the critical strategic tools used by an organization to help it achieve its objectives" (p.159).
There are quite a few types of organization in which PR will be very useful: the not-for-profit sector (NFP), like Salvation Army, PETA; the corporate sector (that is, the companies/businesses); the public sector (government campaigns); and the consultancy (that is, agencies or the PR itself as a business).
This chapter talks more about challenges that is faced by PR practitioners in day-to-day basis. More proof that PR is a "a mega-exciting yet talent-light' industry"? I conclude that a PR practitioner need to be -among the others- outgoing, good in time management, know how to pay for things (budgeting), a "journalist" (one that keeps a constant journal), a doer not just a thinker, and of course, good in communicating with people.

"Don't listen to the solution. Find out more about the problem." -Marie Howarth.

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