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Archive for March, 2009

My favorite part of this chapter was learning how public relations began.  Basically, public relations has been around since the beginning of time.  It was used by Julius Caesar, Saint Paul, and the Roman Catholic Church.  The United States was peopled by publics who read advertisements for exciting prospects in the New World during the early 1600’s.

It was also interesting to read about Phineas T. Barnum’s public relations masterpieces, including the Tom Thumb show that made a midget an international sensation.

Public relations is constantly changing today, following a pattern of evolution that has been occuring since public relations began.  Two of those developments, made by Henry Ford, are 1) the idea of positioning: the first person to do something gets the credit and publicity for it, and 2)accessibility to the press.* He used the press a great deal when he developed the Model T,  which contributed greatly to his success.

There have been numerous pioneers throughout hisotry who have shaped the way public relations works.  Modern techonologies have made it even easier for single individuals to make sizeable contributions to the world of PR. Even students are making great strides in this field. It will be interesting to see, and even be a part of, the further development of public relations.

*Cameron, Glen T. & Wilcox, Dennis L. Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics. United States: Pearson Education, Inc., 2006. 47.

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Wag the Dog

The PR practitioner in Wag the Dog most embodies the situational value orientation. He makes decisions based on the outcome they will cause. If the outcome is favorable to his interests, he considers the decision to be good. If the outcome does not serve his overall purpose, the decision is bad. For example, at the end of the movie his long-time friend who has helped him throughout the movie says he wants to be recognized for his production of the lies that resulted in the re-election of the president. The PR practitioner authorizes his death because that is the only way to keep the secret. A lot of people would argue that killing someone is never right, but his value orientation dictates that, since this decision served the practitioner’s best interests, it was justified.

The PR practitioner is unethical in several ways. He is dishonest in basically everthing he does. He does whatever necessary to get the public to do what he wants. He creates a whole fake war to sway public opinion. He does not have integrity when communicating with the public.

The term “wag the dog” signifies a reversal in traditional roles of power. In this movie, there can be several situations that emobdy the meaning of this phrase. One of those is the democratic political process. It is set up so that the general public is in charge of electing who they think is the best candidate for political office. In the movie, people working for the incumbent president influence the American people to get them to do what they want. Therefore, instead of the people being in charge, those in politics are really in charge.

The PR practitioner embodies several negative stereotypes that people have of PR professionals. He is a very smooth talker, manipulating people to say and do what he wants. He uses people for his own purposes and then disposes of them at his discretion. He seems to have no conscience, considering the success of his assignment more important than human life – an exaggeration for real life, but nonetheless demonstrating how guiltless PR professionals are viewed as being. A few positive stereotypes are that he is able to adapt to any new developments, using surprises to his client’s advantage. He has great connections and uses them to get his job accomplished.

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  1. Turn off cell phone
  2. Research company
  3. Ask what type of interview you will be having and prepare accordingly
  4. Plan ahead for possible mess-ups
  5. Send thank you notes to everyone with whom you speak
  6. Think of questions to ask the interviewer
  7. Dress appropriately
  8. Have resume ready
  9. Be well rested and alert
  10. Be early!!!

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