Posted by: prswetha | May 3, 2008

PR and History

Alright, after Richard’s challenge, let’s set out the plan for some of my future posts. I have long been fascinated with the use of PR during important events by equally important people in history, especially before the modern age. I guess Richard just gave me the kick start I needed.

Public relations (although the term did not exist till well into the 20th century) has always been a key element in court and politics. Although most monarchs followed the principle of their divine right to rule, they still had to be careful to maintain cordial relations with important noblemen and others we would now call ‘stakeholders’. This group included other monarchs, the clergy, and in the case of Europe, the Pope who conducted and moderated much foreign diplomacy.

It will indeed be an interesting aspect of learning PR to see its use during the medivial age while also looking at the current developments of the descipline, so thanks a bunch, Richard!

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Posted by: prswetha | April 30, 2008

Traditional PR: Now You See It….

How different is marketing from public relations? The answer for this was easily that one deals with the product and the other with reputation: done. Well, studying PR for a second semester, I have to say this distinction is not so easy to make anymore. This is true even with other so-called stand-alone disciples such as advertising and social media.

I find that what with the constantly changing market conditions and increasing competition, PR has had to evolve to include a number of roles previously left outside of its bailiwick. Take integrated marketing communications, for example: most analysts list PR as one of the functions within IMC.  Also, with the introduction of social media press releases, the issue of press releases, once considered the mainstay of the PR industry can now be drafted following a predetermined format by virtually anybody.

Coming from a literature background, it is easy for me to understand the gradual erosion of boundaries among disciplines in the modern world, but we have to ask the question: what is the role of the traditional PR professional in this ever changing world and how long can PR sustain its ‘independence’ if it is losing this independence at all?

Posted by: prswetha | April 13, 2008

PROpenMic

 As I’m sure most of you who read this post are aware, PROpenMic is where PR students and faculty can come together and share notes about public relations. I have just signed in to the site and, wow! it is great to see how PR is being studied and practiced all over the world. I was especially impressed with the post ‘Diversity: PROpenMic’s Demographics, by Country’ by Robert French. I was, however, disappointed to see that the list did not include any user from my country, India. I guess, now that’s corrected!

Anyways, what PROpenMic stands for is a forum where students like me can look for opinions from practitioners around the world as well as make contacts even before we graduate.

For those of you who haven’t visited the site yet, please do! Here’s the link: PROpenMic

Posted by: prswetha | March 9, 2008

To lobby, or not to lobby?

Lobbying as a part of public relations has often come under fire for creating unequal power equations by allowing those that can afford it to swing public policy in their favor. Take movies, for example, where lobbyists are often portrayed as money-crabbing, unscrupulous opportunists.

Well, I don’t agree to this view. lobbying is not as one-sided as it may seem to some. As part of my research for an earlier assignment, I read Maloney’s Rethinking Public Relations, which I think is one of the best views on lobbying as part of PR. As shown in the book, not only big businesses, but activists use lobbying to influence public policy. It is an integral part of liberal democracy. Even governments use it to achieve their goals, especially in their foreign affairs as this usually involves catering to a wider audience including other governments and regulators like United Nations and the World Bank.

Lobbying is thus a crucial, and in fact an inevitable, part of pluralist democracy. The critics of lobbying are yet to provide an alternative for lobbying to put forth multiple perspectives in the arena of public affairs.

Posted by: prswetha | March 9, 2008

Legitamacy, anyone?

Every time I mention that I am a PR student, I am most likely to hear that public relations is just another tool for businesses to sell their products to unsuspecting customers. In fact, most people don’t make much distinction between PR and marketing or PR and advertising.
How then, is PR different for marketing or advertising? Well, other that the fact that it is more to do with reputation management than actual sale of products, one aspect of PR that I came across is its ability to confer legitimacy to both businesses and governments. It has become increasingly crucial for businesses to be seen as acting in the interest of society. This is best seen in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies of companies that seek to promote the ‘human’ face of big business. Governments, too, promote themselves and their policies to generate support and the appropriate number of votes.

This is an interesting aspect of PR, which I think is usually ignored by most critics of the practice. PR is not just about selling products – although, of course, that is usually the desired end result – it is also about the need to project one’s company or their political party as being legitimate and, therefore, trustworthy.

Posted by: prswetha | February 20, 2008

And so we begin…..

When my tutor for the PR and New Media module announced that we have to create and maintain a PR blog as part of our assignment, it sounded like a mission impossible to me. First of all, I have never visited, or as you already know, maintained a blog. It’s almost funny how, being a part of this techno -savvy generation, my idea of technological excellence is limited to voice mails and cameras on cellphones.

Yep, I’m totally out of sync with my peers. Well, anyways, here I am, writing my first post and feeling quite at home doing it. There is lots of room for improvement, of course, but it’s not the mammoth burden that I imagined it to be. It’s even (dare I say it?) actually pretty fun! 🙂

So, it is with a lot of relief that I can now expect you, dear readers, to have to deal with all my rantings (on the subject of PR, of course, thank God for that!) now that I have actually gotten down to writing posts.

Till the next time, stay tuned!

Swetha

Posted by: prswetha | February 20, 2008

Hey!!!!

dsc00178.jpgWelcome to my PR blog. I’m a student at the Leeds Met University, doing an MA in Public Relations. This is my first blog, so wish me luck! I’ll try to keep up to date with various interesting topics on PR and also hope to learn a lot from your comments, so here goes!!!!

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