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Public relations. A brief overview of the good, the bad and the ugly. What is public relations?. What is public relations?. An important source of news, as Merrill argues in “Media Debates” A good news organization uses press releases as a starting point

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public relations

Public relations

A brief overview of thegood, the bad and the ugly

what is public relations1
What is public relations?
  • An important source of news, as Merrill argues in “Media Debates”
  • A good news organization uses press releases as a starting point
  • A bad news organization will run press releases verbatim
  • Controversy over video press releases and the FCC
role of a press secretary1
Role of a press secretary
  • Speak on behalfof client
  • Line up interviews for reporters
  • Damage control and crisis management
the rise of objectivity
The rise of objectivity
  • Kovach and Rosenstiel write about the pursuit of truth, not objectivity
  • Rooted in commercial interests of the 19th-century press
  • Increasing reliance on official sources such as police
  • We need factual, non-opinionated news in a self-governing democracy
the limits of objectivity
The limits of objectivity
  • Stories that are accurate but not true
  • Damaging leaks from prosecutors, as with Kenneth Starr and Bill Clinton
  • Political coverage that emphasizes polls and fundraising
  • Mindlessly seeking out “the other side” even when there is none
example joseph mccarthy
Example: Joseph McCarthy
  • Press objectively reported his pronouncements
  • Most reporters knew the truth
  • Murrow was criticized for making news rather than reporting it
global warming
Global warming
  • Newsweek story is about public relations and the limits of objectivity
  • False notion of a scientific “debate”
  • Journalism’s need for so-called balance
no real scientific debate
No real scientific debate
  • Gore argues that there is no other side in scientific journals
  • Journalists want to be seen as being objective
  • PR professionals exploit that desire
populism and public relations
Populism and public relations
  • Elitists want you to give up your SUVs
  • Your opinion matters
  • But how can you have an opinion about science?