What’s so new about The New PR

Is The New PR nothing else than the old PR? No, I would argue (but I’ll postpone explaining why, since it’s past midnight already).

Think this way: if nothing else, self publishing and new technologies have created a rhetorical situation which compels us to speak — publicly — about PR as a profession and discipline.

This is our chance to make people understand that public relations is not about spamming journalists with pointless press releases, or about controlling the information, or…. [add your pet peeve here]. This is our opportunity to show that we have a role, one that goes beyond what has been traditionally assigned to us (from town crier or steward to traffic manager and conductor), and to (re)define it.

Let’s not waste this chance.

Global PR Blog Week 3.0 needs your ideas

It’s official (almost): we’re starting to organize Global PR Blog Week 3.0.

It’s an event that will present the best articles, interviews, debates, case studies, and essays on how social media continues to change the Public Relations and Communications theory and practice, its relationships with other disciplines, and our roles as practitioners, students, and teachers.

It will run –like the other two previous editions– for one week.

It will happen online, at globalprblogweek.com.

It’s going to be a free event.

It will continue to be a community-supported, volunteers-driven, unaffiliated event. At least two prestigious research organizations will support the event, and any (non-financial) support that will raise the industry’s participation to it will be welcome.

It will encourage new voices and fresh perspectives, it will value experience and real-world case studies, and it will have (I hope) a robust international participation.

What’s new this year:

  • 2 or 3 keynote/invited contributions
  • digg-style voting mechanism to choose the top 3 entries
  • live events (example: a daily live BlogTalk Radio show)
  • a daily event in Second Life
  • video, in addition to podcasting
  • daily summaries of the most discussed topics
  • real-time updates for the number/titles/authors of entries submitted for each category

Also, we’re going to have:

  • a more effective communication about the rules
  • clear guidelines for accepting/rejecting the entries
  • strict enforcement of deadlines for submitting entries.

Now, before discussing more about the nitty-gritty of the event, I’d like to ask you:

How do you see this event?
What do you expect from it?
What would you like to read/ see/ listen to?
What it will make it most valuable for you, and for the industry?

Please share –via comments, blog posts, or email– any ideas or suggestions on how to make this event a great one.

Thank you. We’re going to have a blast :)

Quick facts about my new colleague

Blurry Aussie, Clear Alabama Girl

Welcome to Converseon, Christi!

Read more:

Edelman/Wal-Mart blog campaign revisited by Journal of Mass Media Ethics

The ethics of Edelman’s involvement in the Wal-Marting Across America blog campaigns is the focus of four articles (a case study and three expert commentaries) in the latest issue of the Journal of Mass Media Ethics (Volume 22, Issue 2-3, 2007):

The Case: Wal-Mart Public Relations in the BlogosphereDavid A. Craig (Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Oklahoma)

Abstract: This article presents a case study in media ethics that experts will analyze in additional article within this issue. This case concerns bloggers on a site called Wal-Marting Across America, which featured a couple who were traveling around the country and parking in Wal-Mart parking lots. The blogs were generally positive, upbeat stories of the Wal-Mart employees they met along the way. However, Working Families for Wal-Mart was created by Edelman, the public relations firm for Wal-Mart. Laura and Jim were professional journalists paid by Wal-Mart. Moreover, Richard Edelman had been a leading advocate of transparency and honesty in public relations work.

Commentary 1: This PR Firm Should Have Known BetterLois A. Boynton (School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

Abstract: This article presents the author’s perspective on an ethical situation regarding the public relations firm Edelman and their involvement in a pro-Wal-Mart blog that pretended to be impartial. The author is particularly critical of Edelman’s involvement in the controversy given their participation in crafting a public relations code of ethics, which explicitly forebids the type of deceit they practiced. However, he credits Edelman executives for their rapid response and admission of guilt and responsibility.

Commentary 2: A Case of Covert PersuasionSherry Baker (Brigham Young University, Tanabe, Japan)

Abstract: The author makes the distinction between information and covert persuasion, which she defines as advocacy disguised as information or as independent opinion. She feels the episode clearly violated the ethical tenents of both public relations and journalism.

Commentary 3: We Have All Been Here BeforeJohn J. Pauly, William R. Burleigh, E. W. Scripps (J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication, Marquette University)

Abstract: The author discusses how the ethical code that was supposed to offer guidance for this situation was bypassed or ignored. She also raises ethical questions about the nature of blogging and of corporate information campaigns. She suggests corporations be made more responsible for arguments they create and issue.

The articles are behind a paid firewall, but you can always contact the authors and ask – nicely :) – for a reprint.

Related entries:

Give trees a chance!

The Second Chance Trees Island, in Second LifeWho: You, gentle reader

What: Vote for a project that could get funded by American Express’s Members Project to plant 1 million trees and to use Second Life to educate people about environment and what we can do to preserve it. Or – just go to vote for any project you find worthy of your support; American Express is donating $1 for each member who is registering to vote.

Where: At http://www.membersproject.com/Environment_Wildlife/991 (or look for the project titled “The Virtual Forest Project. 1 million trees. Easy.” on MembersProjects.com)

When: Until Sunday, July 15

Why: Because…

  • you care about environment
  • it’s a cool idea
  • it brings together real life and Second Life in a meaningful way
  • it’s the only AmEx MembersProject program that is using social media

Background & disclosure: American Express’s Members Project is an initiative that will allocate between 1 and 5 million dolars to 5 projects that were suggested and voted by AmEx cardholders. Plant-It 2020, a non-profit organization, has been selected as the ‘fulfiling organizations’ for one of the top 50 projects. The project, called The Virtual Forest, is linking Second Life and real life in a simple way: for every (virtual) tree planted in SL, a tree is planted in the real world to combat deforestation. The project is already up and running in SL; my company, Converseon, has built the Second Chance Trees island; the funds are used by Plant-It 2020, our partner, to plant the trees in RL.

More information:

Thank you.