Public relations is often seen as the bastard step child in a variety of industries: real estate (where people spend millions and millions to build but only a few thousand to market), apparel (hundreds of thousands of tossed samples, but only $6-10K a month for PR), and apparently governments and wars.  Media outlets regularly express concern about the U.S. government’s lack of outreach to media outlets, and The Associated Press just ran this article with a subhead about “raising concern about propaganda.” In today’s world, there are many factors at play in a time of war, and governments must spend to influence the public once decisions are made.

I echo those who say money spent on media during war is necessary.  I agree with Rep. Adam Smith, who chairs the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee when he says, “We have got to be involved in getting our case out there, telling our side of the story, because believe me, Al-Qaeda and all of those folks… that’s what they are doing on the Internet and everywhere else.”  If the other side is doing it, how can we not reply?  As Rep. Smith said “Every time a bomb goes off, they have a story out almost before it explodes, saying that it killed 15 innocent civilians.”

As I stated about a different war, but on a related topic, in another op-ed: countries need to invest in the PR battle as much as they do on the ground for military battle.  Public Relations is a big business, and millions should be invested.

Ronn Torossian

5WPR

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3 Responses to PUBLIC POLICY, GOVERNMENTS & PR

  1. Agreed.

    I too, am often surprised at the government’s discount of the power in propaganda as a communication tool. After all, without efforts to influence the public, how else can government officials ensure public support of any issue, policy or program?

    Most importantly, Public Relations is a essential tool for communicating to specific audiences. Last year, I interned for a member of the New York State Assembly. Early on, I recognized many of her constituents had little to no knowledge of the assemblywoman’s position on basic policies and issues. I noticed this to be most true of younger constituents- ages 18-25.

    To address this concern, I suggested one of the most powerful Public Relations tools for audiences of that age group- social networks (i.e.,facebook myspace, etc.). The assemblywoman used these websites to publicized her accomplishments and policies while expanding her public networks. I was boggled by the lack of previous efforts to reach constituents ages 18-25- perhaps the most crucial group of the voting population- through popular media outlet.

  2. Dimitar says:

    A very good point, of course. What is interesting, though, is that it calls for more investment in PR in a country for which it is thought that everyone is using PR services and especially the state and the army. At least this is the perception in my country (I am in PR business in Bulgaria). Maybe things are actually not as pink for the PR in the USA as we think they are?

  3. sara says:

    I completely agree with you. It is imperative that money is spent during times of crisis such as war in this case. There is not enough money being spent on PR.
    How can we convey the importance that PR and media play in situations such as this? Will anyone ever take the PR industry as serious as it is needs to be?

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