PR in Politics

Politics is a funny thing in today’s world. Most people today are moderate, while the divide between the parties seems to grow wider. I grew up in a family that is highly passionate about politics and from that background, I have become very passionate about issues in politics. To this end, I have recently obtained an internship in Salem, Oregon with Rep. Kevin Cameron which I am extremely excited about.

However, I am wondering what the true role of public relations is in the political arena.

The answer to this can be found in anything that is publicized about a candidate or a current representative in our government. Public relations in the political arena is everywhere and involved in everything. It is in every news article and every media release. PR is invaluable to any politician and is a necessity in the political arena.

In Public Relations and Politics, the various uses of PR in politics are extensively stated. I found this article very helpful as I plan to enter the political public relations world very soon.

 

Publicity and PR

2488518296_3fd3139be7When I told my dad that I was changing my major from marine biology to PR, his first response was, “so you’re going to work for a movie star and plan parties?” I tried to explain that PR is much, much more than parties. Now I know that what he was describing was publicity, which is often thought of as the definition of PR.

In Richard Bailey’s PR education blog, he mentions that publicity has often been overlooked by academics because it has been thought of as a small part of the world of PR. Now, academics are taking a closer look at publicity and its implications in today’s increased use of social media.

Now, public relations practitioners are using social media for the purpose of publicity for clients. Practitioners are also having to monitor social media to stop rumors from spreading like wildfire. However, as Bailey says, we as PR professionals have to be careful not to exaggerate and shock to get attention on the social media sites.

A question that I can’t seem to figure out is how can PR professionals protect their clients from the online rumor mill that is social media?

A good way to answer this question is to look at an example. This summer there were a string of real celebrity deaths that were rigorously covered by the national media and social media alike. However, after the string of real deaths came an endless string of rumors on social media sites claiming that many other celebrities had died.

Britney Spears was one of the celebrities that was rumored to have died and, instead of her PR team making a huge effort in combatting the rumor, they simply posted that she was fine and at home with her sons on her own Twitter feed. This seemed to nullify any more rumors with little to no effort.

So, in my opinion, using social media to combat social media rumors is the best, most effective use of a PR professionals time and resources.

The Public Relations Practitioner’s Responsibility to Social Media

As a journalism student who was very technologically inept, social media is mostly new to me. I could hold my own on Facebook, but the use of blogs, Twitter and podcasts was completely new to me. Our public relations professors encouraged us to participate in social media, so I began to explore the social media realm a little over a year ago. Now, I see the benefit and responsibility that PR has to the social media universe.

Jason Falls, a public relations consultant, says in his blog that public relations is largely responsible for the social media universe because practitioners are the people who pay attention to social media outlets the most and use it to their advantage in the most effective ways. This is because social media is a means of communication between the general public and companies.

3428921418_b9f94dc7b8However, with so many social media outlets, how can one PR department at one company keep up? Applications like Google Alerts, which tags certain words that can be found on Google, and Twilert, which tags words and phrases that are tweeted, make keeping up with social media much, much easier. Both of these applications will send the alerts to an E-mail address. These applications and social media outlets are easy to use and can be used by public relations practitioners to stay on top of the public’s opinion of the product or company that they are promoting.

So why is social media the responsibility of PR practitioners? Because it is the job of the public relations practitioner to monitor the opinion of the public and address the concerns that are brought up by the public.

As a student of PR, I felt the need to become proficient in social media so that, once I join the workforce, I can contribute to the public relations movement into social media.

Embarking on my adventure

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Blogging. What can a public relations student gain from participating in this online world? Well, that is what I want to discover. I am currently a senior at the University of Oregon studying journalism, public relations and business administration. After learning about what social media can offer the world of public relations and journalism, I am excited to become a part of this world that means so much to so many people in my future professional field.

This blog is dedicated to addressing issues in the field of public relations with a special focus on the issues facing young professionals who are entering the industry. 

I hope that you will join me on my adventure into the blogosphere and on my path into the public relations world. I promise it won’t be boring.