Archive for September, 2008

May debates!

I can’t even begin to tell you my glee at the power of public voice and two-way communications in getting Elizabeth May of the Green Party into the leaders’ debates.

The website PR Ethics defines two-way communications:

James Grunig, one of the leading public relations scholars in the world, proposes his model of two-way, symmetrical communication as the best way to achieve ethical decisions. He bases his theory on the following assumptions:

  • Collaboration, working jointly with others, is a key value in ethical decisions.
  • The process of dialogue with different people allows for both listening and arguing.
  • Not everyone will get what they want, but dialogue will lead to the most ethical outcome.

This approach requires the public relations practitioner to balance their role as advocate for their client with their role as social conscience.

The Green Party  launched a great social media campaign on September 7th, including blogs, You Tube posts, and a Facebook site dedicated to the topic which enlisted 6,084 members in a matter of days. My son, an avid Green canvasser, received an email with links to an online petition. Today’s Globe and Mail and several Canwest papers ran editorials asking what the big deal is. Canadians mobilized to be heard.

This morning first Jack Layton, then Stephen Harper and finally the network media consortium gave into public pressure. In 2007, public opinion polls showed 77% of Canadians favoured Green party inclusion  in  debates.

Does two-way communication in PR work? You bet. And my glee arises from the fact that good PR allows citizens a voice in their communities and the opportunity to shape their future.

In fact, I’d bet my APR on it. Thanks James Grunig.


National Post Launches Canadian Terrorism Campaign

Terrorism: [teruh-riz-uhm] – noun

1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.
2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization

I received a phone call at Artemis PR & Design today and the conversation that followed went roughly like this:

Caller:    Hello Mrs Kerr? (sic)

Me:        Uh, yes.

Caller:    This is mumble, mumble from the National Post calling.

Me:        Oh, yes.

Caller:    Would you like to reinstate your subscription now?

Me:        No, thank you.

Caller:    Oh, well, when will you reinstate?

Me:        Thanks, but I’m not planning to renew.

Caller:    May I ask why not?

Me:        Well, we don’t need the paper version of your publication here at my business anymore.

Caller:    I see, well, you know with the northern advancement of the US Air Force and the lysteria outbreak spreading west, I’d think you would want to keep up on current events…

Me:    Good-bye.

What the heck? So if I don’t subscribe to the National Post, I’m going to be bombed by the US Air Force right after contracting listeria? Will this being happening anyway, or is the National Post going to send me these evil threats. (Sort of like when Time magazine sent me a calculator with a little solar clock. But much creepier.)

The Post’s tagline is A Better Read; more like You Better Read.

As if striking fear in my heart is the only way to sell their newspaper. It’s like newspaper terrorism. When I was the editor of a women’s magazine, we tried to boost subscriptions with contests and free books. Our subscription desk never threatened anyone with unibrows or varicose veins.

The National Post should be ashamed of supplying their telemarketers with scripts that contain this crap. It’s not selling; it’s just bad PR, crass marketing, offensive, rude, and a desperate attempt to sound relevant.

Kinda like its former chairman.