Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 of our book discusses the history of public relations. I found it interesting that the book starts out the history talking about propaganda (and of course, with bad connotations and all) and publicity, two things I do not, or rather do not want to, consider public relations. Of course, the book does not say that it is public relations, just the predecessors of PR. Somewhat ironically, I was able to find a PR blog, called PR-Bridge, that discusses this very thing. This blog post talks about how we need to rethink PR history, something I found of great interest since I had just finished reading about PR history (even better, the blog talks about how history of PR is always covered in just one chapter of introductory courses; wow, hit the nail on the head). That said, when he refers to the "only favorable book-length history of the field" he is talking about a book by Scott Cutlip, a PR historian who is quoted and referred to often in our book. While the blog post doesn't delve into PR history itself, it makes some interesting points about how this PR history is created and how a new and better one should be created.

Once I read the Case Study on the March of Dimes which talked about FDR's efforts to raise money and awareness for those with disabilities, I wondered why he was not mentioned before in the chapter. I think an example of great public relations is FDR's fireside chats. These radio broadcasts given by FDR instilled confidence in and informed the public about what was going on. In the perilous time he was president, this was particularly important. Now, pretty much all presidents give some type of "fireside chat," or just a speech to the nation (President Obama takes it to the next level of technology by having his available on YouTube).

One of the most recent speeches given by President Obama and broadcast on YouTube is his speech to students. I know that I enjoyed his speech and do not take it in a bad way but I know that it started a lot of controversy so I decided to look up a little more about that. What I found were a lot of news articles that discussed the parents' views. Obviously, many parents did not approve. An article from the New York Times discussed extensively opinions about it but I think the opinions featured were a little biased. President Obama could have learned from PR history and the problems that arise often from speeches. Among all of the political disputes and divisions, a speech directed at children, even if it was with good intentions, is of course going to result in outrage and issues.

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