Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bob Garfield's take on campaign ads

Here's the AdAge article about political advertising, for our discussion tomorrow:


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Marketing to a diverse population that is often wrongly homogenized

Here's a link to a Fort Worth Business Press story about marketing to Latinos, and the complexities of that task:

More on that uncomfortable topic from Appiah's text

Here's a link to the VDay site, which is connected to the Vagina Monologues and which raises funds to stop violence against women around the world. A story about female circumcision:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wikipedia assignment

You and a partner will select a public relations-related word or term within Wikipedia. You should select a word or term that has been "flagged" as needing improvements. Please print the entry as it appears now, and select a short section or a couple of paragraphs that you will revise or adjust in some way to make it a stronger entry.

Some entries need a more neutral tone, others need citations added, and still others suffer from poor writing or other problems. Sometimes entries are too American-centric and need a broader perspective. Especially on longer entries, you won't be able to fix all problems, so find a small area that you can tackle and definitely improve. Some articles have several "flags," so choose just one on which to focus.

You and your partner should share the work of researching, writing, and figuring out how to edit in Wikipedia. At least one of you will have to set up an account for this. Be sure to check the history of the entry, as well as discussion about the entry, to understand fully what the problems have been in the past.

Work begins now on this project, and we'll set a tentative date of Oct. 17 for completion of this project. At that time, you'll turn in the original entry and then your changes, plus a short essay that reflects the difficulties you encountered in completing this assignment. For now, please bring a typed sheet to class on Monday with you and your teammate's name, the entry you will tackle, and the part of the entry you hope to improve.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

You’ll be developing a case, not from a textbook, but from information gleaned in press accounts and class discussion. As you search and read news stories, underline or highlight interesting information that you can return to on a second reading.

On that second closer reading, begin to elaborate on why that information is interesting to you by making notes on a separate sheet of paper. How does this information tie into the values/principles discussed in class: freedom, stewardship, humaneness, truth and justice?

Now for some basics: construct a timeline of what happened and briefly summarize how the PR process seemed to work. Where does the case fit this idealized process? Where is the fit not right? Where are the gaps? What might be missing entirely from the activities described in the case? What do the gaps tell you about how the PR process worked (or didn’t work)?

What do the gaps tells you about the values we discussed in class, and whether those values were handled in a utilitarian mode (greatest good, greatest number) or in the communitarian mode (the community’s well-being is as important as the organization’s)?

Based on your knowledge of the PR process and these values, you’ll write a short case analysis that is four double-spaced pages, using an academic voice (this can be in AP style). This analysis should include at least five outside sources, and you may use footnotes or in-text citations to give credit to these sources.

Due date is the second week of October. On the first page of your paper, give a short summary of the case in chronological order. Next, begin your ethical analysis by spending a paragraph on each of the ethical values and the tension between these values in terms of communitarianism and utilitarianism. Were some of these values ignored? If there are gaps in the case narrative, what would you still need to know in order to evaluate this case more fully? Are there actions (or possible actions) that don’t fit either model? Demonstrate your knowledge of PR terminology and strategies, and develop your knowledge of communitarian and utilitarian ethics by using the Dallas Cowboys case study as an example for your own work.

Your last paragraph should be about recommendations you would make if the organization faced the same situation again. Here, you are encouraged to expound on what went right in the case, but you should also have something to recommend for making improvements, since even the best plans may be improved. Use the language of ethics, rather than the vocabulary of economics, for this conclusion.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Is too much information killing democracy?

About media overload, sort of the current version of concerns in Neil Postman's book:


What about two books?

It's seems like Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death would make a good counterpart for the Everything Bad is Good for You--what about reading both? You could pick either book, and we'll discuss them in class together. Each book is being sold for less than $10.

Here's the link for info about the Postman book, which is available in a recent edition: