Due to the rapidly evolving of the media sphere and the way of people communicate in their daily life, it cause the change of the public relations industry. Public relations professional are now expected more by the public, such as being more strategy, deliver more content in more channels. It can be predicts that the public relations industry will keep on changing; the key tactics to success in the industry is to adopt the changes. This essay will discuss the three most important issues that will influence my future career in public relations industry, which includes the damage control, ethical challenges and the effective media relations. Besides, this essay will also discuss how can I adopt and respond the challenges produced by these issues so to pursue my future career in the industry.
Public relations are always about building, maintaining and improving the organisation reputation. Nowadays, the reputations of the organisation are more matters and it relies on public relations professionals to protect and enhance it (Gray, 2016). When it comes to the crisis situation, the main duty of public relations is damage control. Johnson (2017) indicated that damage control is to minimize the negative perception cause by the crisis. To achieve this goal, public relations professionals always need to be update early and communicate with the public (Condit, 2014). In fact, social media are the most importance channel of communication and response for the crisis situation. However, the social media and digital era allow the crisis spread quickly and magnify it more greatly (Dunne, 2017). Besides, the social media also act as a public sphere, which allow the public share their own opinions and engage in the discussion base on the crisis (Matacinskaite, 2011). There will be huge volume of comments and feedback reply by the public and it is difficult for the public relations professional to manage those comments (Cpownall, 2016). In fact, it is impossible to control what the public say for the discussion, which make the damage control become more complicated.
The impact of social media and public sphere on damage control can be proving by the following example. In 2011, Qantas had release a social media campaign, which aims to promote a chance to win first-class cabin pyjamas by using the hashtag in Twitter (Schneider, 2011). However, the campaign had become the biggest public relations crisis in Australian. The campaign was immediately flooded with the comment discussing the opinion about the Qantas relations with its workers by the Twitter’s user (Miller, 2011). Qantas cannot manage the comment from the user and they finally decided to close the Twitter media page so to control the crisis situation (Courtenay, 2013). Damage control is always importance for protect the organisation’s reputation. In fact, this case always indicates that how social media can destroy and affect on damage control.
Damage control always considers as a challenge for the public relations professionals. It really relies on the professional skill and personal characteristics to overcome this challenges. Gurnani (2016) suggested that the skills for damage control is to accept and apology for the mistake to the public. In fact, real time response with a consistent message is also required as public relations professional (Lauby, 2009). Although social media can affect the damage control, it stills an importance channel for the organisation to response the crisis and communicates with the public. Gurnani (2016) also believes that reply the feedback form the social media can help to rebuild the brand reputation and loyalty. However, the reply should not be defensive or trying to argue with the public. Learning to manage and control the damage is never easy; I personally believe that experience can help me to improve the skill for handling the crisis situation. To prepare myself for the industry, I need to begin with studying the case study about the damage control. Therefore, I can learn the strategies to handle the crisis and the tactics to minimize the negative effect through difference cases. I believes those lesson learn from the case study can help me develop a set of skills for my future career.
Traditionally, public relations are about spinning the message exactly what the organisations want the public to hear. However, many people believe that this act is propaganda. Therefore, the topic of ethics is always a challenge for the public relations professionals. Media ethics related to the distinct ethical problems, norms and practices of the news media (Ward, 2017). In fact, public relations are one of the formal codes of media ethics. In public relations discipline, ethics can define as the element of require the systematic analysis, distinction right from wrong and determine the nature of what should be value (Bowen, 2007). Bowen (2007) also indicated that some of the value includes forthright communication, fair-mindedness and integrity. As public relations professional, it is a responsibility to act in an ethical manner and implement the key duties for professional ethics. Wrigth (2017) indicated that the duty to self is to maintain the own ethical standard and the duty to society is ensure that the action will not cause the harm of anyone. Maintaining a high ethical standard is always importance for the public relations industry, however there is no law that require the practitioners to be licensed or registered (PRIA, 2017). The challenge of the ethics is it relies on the practitioner’s individual attitudes and perception towards the ethical standard. Public relations professional should always stand for their stance and stay honest to the public. In fact, they also need to consider difference factors before they make a decision.
The following example will indicate that the unethical action can cause the consequence to the public and the reputation of the organisation. In 2016, Snapchat released a new Bob Marley filter. However, many users express their disgust with this new filter in Twitter as they said it is the high-tech version of blackface (Brueck, 2016). The public believes that it cause the racist of the black people and disparage toward the minority groups (Rodriguez, 2016). Many user express that the Bob Marley filter made them feel uncomfortable. The action of Snapchat involved the unethical action and causes the harm to the public. Besides, it is the duty for the public relations professionals to respect difference group of the people and inform the organisation doing something better for the community.
Public relations involve communicate with the public; every message they spread can influence the public perception. It is a responsibility for the public relations professional to develop a higher ethical standard so to increase the credibility. PRSA (2017) believes that the professional values for the public relations professional includes honesty and independence. It means that the practitioners need to develop the highest standards of truth and accountable for the own actions. Importantly, public relations practitioners should never pay for the media converge so to ensure that they are telling the truth to the public (Business Queensland, 2017). I believe that stay honesty is the key to success in the industry. In fact, I will think the consequence of the action and using the ethical decision making so to prevent me behaves the unethical action. Besides, it is importance for me to develop the individual code of ethics. Being public relations professional should not only about protect the organisation reputation, but we should always being respect to the public.
Effective Media Relations
Public relations professional always have a close relationship with the journalists and it is importance for the public relations practitioners building a strong relations with the media. Media relations can describe as the organisation’s interactions with the editors, journalists and reporters, those media includes radio, television, newspapers and the internet (Obrien, 2014). Public relations professionals and the media share the same goals, which are create a story or develop a narrative so to get the public attention and get them inform (Fisher, 2017). Public relations professionals always rely on the media to deliver the message or story and reaching the target audience (Ray, 2016). In fact, the true purpose is to enhance the reputation and increase the awareness of the organisation. By developing a good media relations can help public relations practitioners change the attitudes of the audience and also improve the relationship with the public (Theaker, 2012). Importantly, taking the benefits of globalisation, the media can help to spread the organisation’s message over the world. Kheeshadeh (2007) indicated that globalisation provide the opportunity for the media to spread the information globally and have it potential to influence other countries. Taking this advantages, public relations professional can create the public awareness for the organisation over the world through the media relations.
However, public relations practitioners have to face the challenges to stand out in the industry and get the journalists and editor’s interest and attention. In fact, it is difficult to ensure that the journalism will pick up the story from your organisation. Building relationships with the journalism has always been key to success in public relations industry. A good story is easy to attract the media but it is hard to find and develop. The following example show that develops strategies can bring success and gain the media coverage. In 2010, TQ Recycling built their own recycling plant and they aims to get the attention from the government and get the public interest through the media (Theaker, 2012). In fact, they aim to get the media to their launch day so to maximum the media coverage. However, the terrible timing for the launch day cause the media found difficult to attend the launch day event, which become a challenge to gain the coverage. To overcome the challenges, TQ’s public relations team arrange a personalised “launch day” for the media and given the early interview with the journalists (Theaker, 2012). Their strategies helped TQ Recycling gained blanket coverage, includes TV, radio and newspapers. In fact, they successfully created the public awareness through media relations.
To ensure I can success in the industry, I realise I need to develop a set of skills so to building a strong media relations. Parker (2014) indicated that the key for develop effective media relations is all about being able to communicate the message through the media release or press release. Therefore, I believe develop well writing skill can help to write a good story and ensure the key message is deliver to the media. Bianco (2013) suggested that research the journalists and develop the media list can help to building the relationship with the media, as it can help you understand what topic are the journalists looking for. It can also increase the chance for the media pick up your story. Importantly, choosing the right news angle for the media and press release can help to get the media interest. Grossman (2015) suggested that research for the news angle before writing the public relations materials could help to develop the new insight or new story line for the press. I am currently studying the major in public relations, which provide lots of opportunity for me to draft the public relations materials. It can help me to improve my writing skill so to prepare for the future career.
Working in the public relations industry always need to face difference challenges and adopt the change of the industry. As explored throughout this essay, three issues that will influence my personal career are damage control, ethical challenge and effective media relations. Those issues require the practitioners develop a set of skills and characteristics to overcome the challenges. To peruse my career in the public relations industry and being able to handle the tasks in the future, I need to be well prepared and grow my skills. For this reason, I need to be familiar on writing the public relations materials, especially the media and press release so to get the media interest and develop strong media relations. In fact, stay honesty and able for the real time response are the key to success in the industry. I believe those skills mention before can help to overcome the challenges and bring me the new opportunity in the industry.
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