Sunday, March 7, 2010

Week 7

I got confused with which reading for which week- which explains the hiatus. I decided that I’ll just follow the recommendation closely, even if it means I’m lagging in my readings.
After the last reading that I did on ethics, according to the course schedule, following ethics is public relations (PR) research and the practice itself.
I guess you can call me being ignorant, but I didn’t know that in public relations, there is also research to it, and honestly, by its title, it wasn’t too interesting for me as I didn’t think that there was much application to it. After reading “Public Relations Research” by Gae Synnott, what struck me from that chapter was how public relations research is useful in three aspects:
- Issues management
o As communicators, we need to be always conscious and responsive of our audiences’ point of view (Chia & Synnott, 2009). Everyone has different viewpoints that may support or oppose the organization. Should an issue rise, it would mean that the PR practitioner must step in to handle the situation before it becomes a bigger problem. Synnott (2009) suggests that the main idea is to detect the problem or challenge in the early stage, and reflect on what needs to be looked into when the issue is developing and when it would need the PR practitioner to come in with its remedies.
o This research is divided into two areas: “Issues scanning” (Synnott, 2009) where issues are assessed and “Issues monitoring” (Synnott, 2009) where it implies that the problem is being watched closely to see how it grows and develops.

- Community engagement
o As in the first post, I mentioned of what PR is and what a PR practitioner does, and that is to coordinate the relationship between the organisation and the public. I think it is important that the public can relate to an organization, and in one of the posts on experiential marketing, it’s to engage the people- people can only understand if you involve them, as Confucious said. Synnott (2009) mentions that PR research as a form of community engagement is a budding area of specialization in PR practice.
o Organizations are part of communities; in fact it is the community that makes up of an organization. Therefore, shouldn’t the communities have a say in a certain decision that the organization is going to make that will affect the communities at large? It is said by Synnott (2009) that research in PR is in fact an important component in order to engage the community. A few of the instruments that PR practitioners can adopt (Synnott, 2009) in their research by engaging the public is:
 Community panels, advisory groups
 Town hall meetings
 Community dialogues
 Community planning workshops
 Multicriteria analysis

- Behavioural change programs
o According to Synnott (2009), this area of research is growing, and the start of the research is the most important stresses Synnott (2009). And it is because it involves being interested in the current behaviour and knowing what is the best method to change the behaviour.
In PR Practice, again by Gae Synnott (2009), the section that I can remember vividly is: “Day-to-day Challenges and Pressures” (pp. 181- 184).
This piece talks about what a PR practitioner will be facing in this field. Here are some of the areas that I find interesting and relevant:
- Good relationships (Synnott, 2009), as mentioned, PR practitioners exist to coordinate relationships between the organization and public. But this isn’t just limited what we are being hired to do, but it also begins with ourselves, having good relationships with our bosses & colleagues. As Synnott (2009) suggests, how these good relationships are formed is with effective and efficient of both verbal and written interpersonal communication skills, not forgetting a positive attitude as well.
- Good processes (Synnott, 2009) means to be systematic. Personally, I agree on this 100%! Well, maybe because I’m a person that adheres strictly to planning and protocols- and I can actually go berserk if my schedule suddenly has changes and starts to mess up. Perhaps, I will love doing PR next time, since it involves a proper system in doing things. With good systems and processes, results are consistent and I think it also allows room for improvement. For my take on systems, after doing it over and over, you generally get better.
- The tempo in which people work in today are getting faster and faster. Time management (Synnott, 2009) is a vital part of public relations, where there are many deadlines to meet and unexpected (maybe I won’t enjoy this part of PR, I’m not into uncertainty, but I guess I’ll just have to keep trying) happens. Discipline in sticking to deadlines is important and it is a challenge.
- Effective budgeting (Synnott, 2009) means managing the budget properly so that there is no over-spending. Everything needs to be paid for, hence budgets need to be properly managed and that is a challenge with rising prices, it does not mean that budgets would increase all the time.
- Keeping good records (Synnott, 2009), after reading the little section, to me, implies good administration or paperwork. Records of the clients’ instructions, choices, timelines, budgets, minutes of meeting, just to name a few, need to be properly kept. It’ll help in refreshing your memory and delivering what is required of you as well.
- In “Being proactive rather than reactive” (Synnott, 2009), states that PR is about hands-on communication, where the PR practitioner needs to be independent as well. The PR practitioner should always be forward-looking and have a “can do” mindset in order to make things happen.

That’s so much on my take for PR research and practice.

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