Archive for Topics of the Week (TOW)

PR – Nonprofit, Health, and Education

For my Public Relations Applications course we are doing group presentations on each of the chapters in our book THINK Public Relations.  My group is doing Chapter 18: Nonprofit, Health, and Education.

First I want to discuss the role of public relations in nonprofit, health, and education organizations.

Nonprofit organizations AKA not-for profit organizations or charities whose main interest is to serve the public interest.

By definition, they do not distribute monies to shareholders or owners.

They have to raise money to pay for their expenses In the U.S, nearly 2 million of these types of organizations

Approximately 7 million people work for not-for-profits/charities

Here’s a list of types of not-for-profit institutions:

  • Membership organizations
  • Advocacy groups
  • Social service organizations
  • Education organizations
  • Hospitals
  • Health agencies
  • Small city historical societies
  • Global foundations
A huge part of not-for profits is FUND-RAISING
  • highly developed
  • PR professionals may participate directly in fund-raising
  • Goal for fund-raising could be hundreds of small contributors or large corporate gift

Learn about Online media law — Online for Free!

On I took a free online course called Online Media Law:  The Basics for Bloggers and Other Publishers.  the course had good quality information about defamation, copyright infringement, and privacy invasion.

Here’s a summary of the course:

1) The first point I learned was about DeFaMaTiOn

In brief, defamation means that one’s reputation is injured. In other words…we can be guilty of defamation if something we project any false statement to anyone but the plantiff.  ie. it can be through a blog post, something published on the Internet or Web site or even a third-party email.

There are two types of defamation that I learned about and they are written defamation and spoken defamation.

2) Point number two is InVaSiOn Of PrIvAcY

I learned that invasion of privacy is more like binoculars and tiny microphones and coming onto private scenes rather than regular reporting on things that people don’t necessarily want seen by other people.

3) Point number three is CoPyRiGhT InFrInGeMeNt

When asking yourself what can be copyrighted…ideas and names cannot. The copyright law is a federal law which is in place to protect the “original works of authorship” in legal terms. 

Overall, I think the course had good information.  Although, the nature of the topic was a little much for the duration of the course. It was hard to understand, in my opinion because there were so many “if’s, or’s, and but’s” to it. With it being about law, that is expected. 

The course did include practice senario examples which helped but as far as having a good grasp of the whole concept, I may have missed it.  I may have to go over the course a few more times because there is a lot of information there. It’s a little hard to take in all at once. It may have been because all this was fairly new to me. 

As my Bible professor would say, “we learn in layers”;in other words, we build upon what we already know. 


Measuring Effectiveness of a Campaign

Chapter 6 of THINK Public Relations laid out the four essential steps of effective public relations: Research, Planning, Communication and Measurement

In this blog I will lay out the basics on how a PR practitioner can measure the effectiveness of a campaign via the importance of measurement — derived from the book THINK Public Relations, chapter 7.  So here it goes…lets begin with defining measurement.

Measurement — the evaluation of results against agreed upon objectives established during planning. 

So, in this step we are basically gauging our level of success based on our goals/objectives that we made when we started the campaign. 

At first it may seem impossible to measure the success of pr, but that’s why you have to know where to start.  There are 3 levels of measurement in which to guage the effectiveness of your PR campaign.  The basic level of measurement deals with just that…the basics.  If you want to get technical use intermediate or for the most advanced measurements, is the measurement of behaviors, attitudes and opinions. This just gives you a starting point so you wont be overwhelmed because obviously we know that guaging success based on hunderds, thousands, or possibly millions of audience members can be quite difficult. 

3 levels of measurement: 

  • BASIC measurement:

Targeted Audiences, Impressions, Media Placements 

  • INTERMEDIATE measurement:

Retention, Comprehension, Awareness, Reception

  • ADVANCED measurement:

Behavior Change, Attitude Change, Opinion Change

According to THINK Public Relations, some commonly known forms of public relations measurement objectives are as follows:

1. Message Exposure. The level of exposure the message has in going out through various forms of mass media.

2. Accurate Dissemination of the Message.  The basic information, often filtered by the media gatekeepers, remains intact as it is transmitted through various forms of media.

Wilbur Schramm’s communication model showing the idea of continuous feedback and showing the public relations process of research, planning, communication, and measurement as cyclical. 

3.  Acceptance of the Message.  Audience accepts the message as reality and retains message.

4.  Attitude Change. Audience accepts the message and has an attitude change and makes a verbal or mental resolution to do something in response to message. 

5.  Change in Overt Behavior.  Audience changes behavior in response to message and buys the product and uses it.


Steve Jobs — Inspirational Quotes

Steve Jobs was an enthusiastic leader who changed the way we do technology.  Every time we use our iPod,  iPhone, iPad,  iMac or MacBook we can thank this man.  Steve Jobs left behind not only a legacy but also his vision.  Here’s a compilation of quotes from Ragan’s PR Daily that The Wall Street Journal did at the time of his resignation as CEO of Apple.

[Read Quotes]

Firm or Department — which would you work for?


You’ve just graduated college and you’re ready to start your career as a public relations practitioner.  Do you choose to work for a PR firm or a PR agency?

To begin one must know the difference between a department and a firm.

Basically the difference is this…

PR firm (also known as an Agency) represents clients.  For example, The Publicity Agency “represents ordinary people who find themselves at the center of big news stories”.  Not everyone has a public relations representative when they need one.  They could also be hired out by an organization.  It’s essentially outsourcing for PR.

In contrast, PR department is housed within a company (in house PR department), represents that company, and spends that company’s money.


So which is the best place to start a career?

There are advantages and disadvantages of each.  Here’s my take on it:


A PR firm is horizontal.

If you’re young, love excitement and a fast-paced environment, a PR firm might be just the place for you.  You will gain experience quickly and find yourself building a large network with professionals, which is great especially if you’re looking for rapid advancement.  Networking and variety is a given because you will be working with different companies, organizations, people, etc.

The most frequent services provided by public relations firms according to THINK Public Relations are:

  1. Marketing Communications
  2. Executive Speech Training
  3. Research and Evaluation
  4. Crisis Communication
  5. Media Analysis
  6. Community Relations
  7. Events Management
  8. Public Affairs


A PR department is vertical

A PR department offers a slower paced environment as well as allows for a deeper knowledge of the company in which your doing PR for.  What the PR practitioner is able to do often depends on the size of the organization.

According to THINK Public Relations, common divisions found in large corporations include:

  1. Media Relations
  2. Investor Relations
  3. Consumer Relations
  4. Consumer Affairs
  5. Governmental Relations
  6. Community Relations
  7. Marketing Communications
  8. Employee Communications

So, if you’re starting your career as a PR practitioner, I think it is more beneficial to go with the firm because I think the breadth of knowledge that you will obtain in such a versatile environment far outweighs the depth of knowledge that one will obtain in a single department with it being so specialized.  Find out what all is out there, make your connections, get well rounded, then….settle into a specialization or the particular department that you’ve discovered interests you the most.









Toys “R” Us Sweepstakes …FAIL and thrice win

In 2007 Toys “R” Us would award the first baby born in 2007 a $25,000  United States savings bond.  Yuki Lin was born at exactly midnight at New York Downtown Hospital, thus securing her title as the First American Baby Born in 2007. However, the night quickly turned into a “PR-ish” nightmare when sweepstakes officials revealed that all the requirements had not been met. Yuki Lin was a US citizen, but her parents were not.

Toys “R” Us changed their minds and said that Yuki could not claim the prize. Instead, a baby born in Georgia to U.S. citizens was awarded the savings bond, and Yuki got a $100 gift basket as a consolation prize. Two other babies were found to be born around the same time and had been finalists in the drawing.

The story had became national news and The World-Journal, a Chinese-language newspaper published a story about Yuki’s loss of opportunity.

In an attempt to negate the negative attention and to fix the problem all together, Toys “R” Us decided to award Yuki, the baby in Georgia AND the other baby born in Long Island to parents from El Salvador each with a $25,000 savings bond.

Baby Yuki Lin was a U.S. citizen, so why would that young child be given any LESS of an opportunity or treated as less than another citizen because of that child’s parents?  I think it was preposterous that anyone would revoke such a beautiful gift to a child and their family on New Years because of findings of non-citizenship of the parents.

I appreciate what they did at the end though.  I think that was a good call.  Sometimes you have to say rules are rules but there is a point where I think humanity draws the line and things aren’t as black and white as we sometimes treat them to be.

PR — A science

If I could work in any era of PR history, I would choose the 1920’s when PR was in it’s very ripe stage.  In this time period lived one of the first and most influential writers in public relations,  a man named Edward Bernays.   Bernays was the double-nephew of Sigmund Freud (born to Freud’s sister and Freud’s wife’s brother).

Bernays view of Public Relations and career was based off a dictionary definition that said engineering is the “art or science of making practical application of the knowledge of pure sciences, such as physics, chemistry, biology, etc.

Bernays was prominent at the same time of the women’s liberation movement.  In 1929, Bernays  was working for American Tobacco, and with his interest in psychoanalysis, he payed a large sum of money to consult with psychoanalyst A.A. Brill who revealed to him that a cigarette represents the penis, and thus smoking was a form of male domination. Likewise, a woman’s smoking could be seen, therefore, as a gesture of successful defiance and self-determination.  He used this analysis to quote the term “Torches of Freedom”.  Women began to accept this fallacy and soon if you didn’t believe in women being able to smoke, then you didn’t believe in liberty.

The reason I like this time period for public relations is because this was I think the beginning to work smarter with the public.  Not necessarily for the purpose of manipulation or be deceiving to the masses like he did, but for the purpose of understanding the public on a much deeper level and being able to communicate things to people because you understand more about them…why people do the things they do. Bernays was able to understand people in this way on a much deeper level.  I love the fact that he sought to understand and work with the public through science.

Dealing With Difficult Conversations

I recently took a free 1 hour course on called “Dealing With Difficult Conversations”.

Early on in the course I took a self-assessment of what style of conflict resolution I had.  The first time I took it my style was “competition” which is “I see difficult conversations as win/lose and I will win”.  About a week later I took it again and I was tied between accommodation which is  “I hate the bad feelings that come from difficult conversations and prefer to give in rather than press for what I believe is right” and avoidance which is “I’m so fearful of a bad outcome that instead of talking I avoid the person entirely..”.

The first time I took it, I had theology on the brain…and my first thought was “There’s some things you just don’t compromise with– especially in religion.

And with the second go around… with every day matters that aren’t as meaningful, I don’t feel it necessary to press for the things I “want”, I’d just rather make the other person happy.  And with matters that would probably hurt the other person to bring up, instead of bringing it up and making a issue about it, I’d probably just pray…so that’s my avoidance.

Through this course I learned that it is best to get straight to the point and to explain the reason they are there.  After giving bad news one should provide answers as to what there next step should be.

Another thing I learned from this course was that after someone has a difficult conversation with an employee, the employer is to give some sort of follow up, whether that be through an email,  a letter, note, a meeting scheduled for the future, or even a drop by the office.

The only things that really surprised me about this course is how it asked you to give possible answers the way you would begin a difficult conversation and then to be able to compare it with a professionals.  I was also surprised at how organized it was.  It wasn’t confusing at all and it stayed on track, on topic the entire course.  There weren’t too many deviating links that it gets you confused.  Only a few, so it wasn’t bad.

This course covered all aspects of dealing with difficult conversations from initiation to getting out on that wire, to wrapping up the conversation in a respectful manner, all the way to a follow up in some cases.  I don’t think there is anything I really feel like I should have learned that I didn’t get in the video.  Although it was short, it covered I think every basic aspect of dealing with difficult conversations.

What is Public Relations?

Public Relations can be defined in numerous ways.  Public Relations is also in itself, a number of different things.  Public Relations is maintaining communication between a company and its publics.

Public Relations is also in the business of cultivating good relationships with local press representatives as they are the ones trained to make the company look good and they are going to project that out to the public through the use of the local press.

Public Relations is being the face and voice of the company and representing them in the best light possible.

When an new company arises, it is Public Relation’s job to make the company known and  help people understand about the business.  It is their job to build relationships and develop a trust and familiarity with consumers.

Public Relations professionals basically make it easier for advertisers.  If people already know about and trust the business, advertisements can go further and people are more likely to remember the advertisement because they are already familiar with the product or whatever is being advertised.