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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The spin cycle … and when it all goes wrong


People often have the perception of public relations (PR) as a group of people who spin everything. According to a pioneer retired PR consultant, Chet Burger, defined spin as “by presenting the facts first of all in the most favorable way I can without sticking too close to reality and without giving the other side of the coin” . This mean spin is to turn around a bad situation to the party’s advantage.
Spin and Public Relations
Editors of The Holmes Report for PR suggest that spin indeed either a definition for propaganda, or a division of propaganda. Therefore, the can be argue that concept between spin PR are contradictory in world that we lived in nowadays. Generally, PR objectives are showing a story in the best proper ways which required active process. While spin aims to be reactive and been used as a tools to control a situation whereby a party is in high risk stake. Nowadays, corporation trying to adopt PR standard of code in the organization as information can flow thru the world just in minutes. Spin mostly used by politician to cover the truth against the media coverage and indirectly against others politician in return getting supporter’s hearts. Moreover, PR personal perception over themselves as a professionals because they believe in achieving mutual understand with public, where spin always been terms as spin doctors who profession is to promotes one party side only.
Hence, from the analysis it is understand that the reason why PR is always associated with spin which damage the future of PR profession fields. It cannot be denied that people tend to prioritized to fulfill their self interest that other parties as a result spin are used to gain self interest. Yet, it is discourage to practice spin in the world we living today as the “truth” will be reveal tomorrow. When PR is practiced appropriately with ethical manners, it can achieve the party’s objectives thru media attention as well as confidence of receivers.

Rhetoric is used from Greek “rhetorike” which defined as public speaking is thought to have been in one of Plato’s dialogues in 386 B.C. While the term “Rhetoric” can be taken as persuasive strategies and argumentative discourse. According to Robert Heath, rhetoric should be the theoretical framework for the contemporary PR which assumption are made that professional communicators compete to have their ideas accepted, under rhetorical theory mean an idea prevail based on which ever parties provided best rational argument. In ethical manner, both parties must have an equal right to speak in the debate.
I do not agree with the statement made by Lampe and Bruem. Firstly, rhetoric is just merely a persuasive strategy to attract audience attention and make them believe and support you stands regardless the statement made because there is no absolute rightness and wrongness but only best rational argument prevail. Therefore, it is afraid that the theory contradiction with ethic and reasoning because as long as a debater can gives an argument, then the parties might have the chance to win. Secondly is because it is impossible to achieve a perfect balance of power no matter in what situation, there will be bias occur in every corner of our life; this same goes as equal right to speak and “marketplaces for ideas” in the world we live. Thirdly, based on Heath “rhetorical enactment rationale” critics are questioning how it can make public relations more ethical or acceptable.
According to Steve Mackey from Deakin University, he argue that when comes to Skerlep’s statement that the “truth” can only be reached through argumentative dialogue that reveals which of the participating parties has better arguments, the statement will probably reject by many environmental and human welfare lobby groups. Such groups would point to practical studies to argue that there is a “truth” to do with environmental protection or public health. So, it revealed that rhetoric is not appropriate theoretical framework for today’s contemporary public relations.

Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) defined as “the continuing commitment by business to behaving ethically and contributing to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their family as well as of the community and society at large”.

Advantage of Non-Profit Organizations
Today worlds it is hard for corporation to refuse engaged in CSR as the public has become much more globally aware, and there are a number of groups that monitor corporations closely. These groups of people concern about social and environmental issues. Therefore, many corporation been forced into taking CSR. They know that it does not make good business sense to be imaged as a company that is damaging the world that we live in. Huge penalties and fines are also waiting for corporations that break ethical and environmental laws. Thus, Non–Profit Organization (NPO) greatly benefited from coerce faced by corporation in such a way a that other than benefits of more funding are coming, it also trying to achieved NPO objectives that is charitable purpose. Normally corporation donates large amount of money to charities which tie with their core business. By engaged in NPO, corporations could wider their CSR to the community and meet the public group expectations.

Public Relation Role
Due to PR profession scope are covered in a variety of fields, consequently, numerous public relations strategies and tactic can be used by NPO enhances its reputation, match its marketing plan and contribution to its fund raising success. According to Ruth Kinzey, it is mentioned that two-way symmetrical model developed by Grunig and Hunt are essential in a NPO. These because PR needs to communicate with various stakeholders a large include the management, donors, media, marketing and more. Good relations with NPO’s publics can attract clients who can help to secure financial needs; members and volunteers who can provide useful effort and contribution in converting these main resources into a successful run organization and services. Thus, this shows how important PR is in part of NPO whereby without strong PR’s influence, the NPO might not survive in the long run due to the entity can not generate its own funding and need to rely external human resources to run it.

Social Media and Blogging
Blogging is the process of writing content in a blog. Blog mean for Web-log which is one part of social media. Today, large company used blog as an instrument to reach public more closely for example Google, Johnson & Johnson, Delta Airlines and Dell.

Advantages & Disadvantages
Blogging for a certain group of company think it is useful in product development cycles. The group discussions are formed in blogging where readers can questions as well as comments on the company products or services provided. In one case, cited by Wired News, Macromedia, the software company that makes the Flash and Shockwave software, adopted a “blog strategy” managed by its community managers to discuss the new products, answer customer’s questions and explain the features. The strategy received positive responds from its customers. Because blog is not monitored, edited or authentication of posted information, individuals can post anything they like, even false or hateful information. A customer could post that they had an awful experience with the product, in addition recommend readers not to purchase the product, and even talk bad about the company. Scandalous information inside the company can be easily published; blog by mean can poses great risk to the reputation of the company.
Furthermore, small group discussion can be created in large company PR department to oversee and maintain blog of media, events and anything happening in the company to keep other departments employees up to date on current situation and future company prospect. This could encourage employees from all division to express their ideas and opinions on future performances or challenges. Sometimes, accident happens in every corner of our life. When company offer blog for employees for sharing information, it exposed the company to potential disaster such as loss of confidential information, and intellectual property, negative publicity, damaged reputation, public embarrassment, workplace lawsuit, court sanction and etc. Other than that, company need to be alert for their legal matters for unmoderated content presented on the company blog. Thus blogs may put a company’s assets, reputation and future at higher risk.
In conclusion, anyone can write anything at any time in blog. However, this is not suitable for PR purposes. PR professional need to maintain relationships with the key audiences that help their companies survive and succeed. Secondly, PR professional are representative for others and not for themselves. They can not speak out freely about the company without getting approval from the executives.