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Public Relations in Government & Politics

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  1. Public Relations in Government & Politics

  2. -Governments were among the first organizations to need and practice public relations as a way of maintaining appropriate relationships with their citizens. • -After World War 1, the use of propaganda was being used by businesses and public relations professionals like Edward Bernays to increase their public relations efforts, although there was a backlash against the use of propaganda in government. • -As a result the government began steering away from the term public relations and instead using terms like: • public information • publicity agent • promoter • press agent • press secretary

  3. Government Communicators link government and the people • -What are the government employees in the communication department communicating to the public? • Issues • Information • Policies • They do this through: • Creating and distributing brochures • Public service announcements • Press conferences

  4. Working in government is different than working in business • -Every department of the government deals with these different characteristics • The work has a direct and powerful impact on large numbers of people • Multiple levels of accountability that stretch all the way to the general public • Environment that receives a lot of attention • Government budget puts a fence up for spending

  5. Federal Government • -Federal agencies spend 100 million each year on public service advertising mostly to promote: • Military recruitment • Governmental health services • US postal service • -Advertising is key • The White House (The president and his staff) • The president receives more media attention than congress and all the federal agencies combined. • President take advantage of the large media interest to use PR strategies to improve their acceptance, gain support for programs, and clarifies policy decisions. • Because the presidents role is so important and they are always being viewed by the public, they strategically plan their appearances, statements, speeches, and positioning.

  6. Federal Government cont. • Congress( House of Representatives and Senate) • -The congress produces: • News releases • Brochures • Radio and Television statements • E-mails • Electronic newsletters • Videos(via YouTube mainly) • … all to keep voters aware. • “Capitol Hill’s press secretaries play a significant role in the shaping of America’s messages and consequent public policies. In their role as proxy for individual members, the press secretaries act as gatekeepers, determining what information to share with, and hold from, the media; thus they have command over news shared with the citizenry.” –Edward Downes, Boston University

  7. State Government • -Just as the federal government, each 50 state announces information about its programs to various components of the state. • -States develop campaigns to: • Encourage tourism • Promote economic development • Educate public about health related topics • -Many state governments work with public relations firms to plan and carry these campaigns • -Public relations in the state government realm focuses a lot on tourism because visitors are a major source of income for • Hotels • Resorts • Restaurants • Convention Centers

  8. Local Government • -Cities hire information specialists to circulate news and information from multiple departments in the community. These agencies include: • Airport • Transit District • Redevelopment Office • Parks and Recreation Departments • Convention and Visitors Bureau • Police and Fire Departments • City Council • Mayor’s Office • -Local Governments promote themselves in an effort to draw in new business and increase tourism. • -They do this by: • Elaborate brochures • Placement of stories in nation’s press • Telemarketing • Trade fairs • Special events

  9. Defining Public Affairs and Public Information • Matters of general interest or concern, especially those dealing with current social or political issues.

  10. In a Democracy, Public Information is crucial if citizens are to make intelligent judgments about policies and activities of their elected representatives. • Governments provide information in the hope that citizens will absorb the necessary background to participate fully in the formation of government policies. • “A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins.” - Benjamin Franklin

  11. Government information efforts have the following objectives: • Inform the public about the public’s business. • Improve the effectiveness of agency operations through appropriate public information techniques. • Provide feedback. • Advise management. • Serve as ombudsmen. • Educate administrators.

  12. Public Information efforts can be justified in terms of cost-efficiency. • Preventive public relations also saves money.

  13. Lobbying

  14. History • Political activism is as old as democracy. • 1946- loophole-ridden lobbying regulations • 1995- Strict lobbying definition and regulations enforced by up to a $50,000 fine.

  15. Job Description • Represent public interest • Event planning, fundraising • Establishing connections

  16. Current Issues • Grassroots Lobbying • Influence Peddling • Issue Conflict

  17. Questions • Is a lack of regulation on campaign contribution right? • Is money running our government? • Does a lobbyist create a conflict of interest for government officials?

  18. Election Campaigns • -Fundraising • Year-round • American campaigning is the most expensive in the world • • -Mass Marketing • Mass mailing • Email • Social Media

  19. Considering Job in government communications? • -Entry level salary: $30,000-$35,000 • -Entry level positions: • Writer • Editor • Special events coordinator • Video producer • -High level salary: $85,000-$200,000 • Communication manager • Head of corporate public relations department in the government

  20. Sources • Wilcox, Dennis, Geln Cameron, Bryan Reber, and Jae-Hwa Shin. Think Public Relations. 2013. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc., 2013. Print. • Page, Tim. Internet Chat Interview. 18 9 2013. • Turney, Micheal. "Government Public Relations." MichealTurney, 8 10 2009. Web. 8 Oct 2013. <> • Dickerson, John, dir. How is Social Media Changing political campaign coverage?. Prod. Amy Walter. CBS, 2013. Film. 4 Oct 2013. <>.