Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wikipedia assignments fall short

Please review what you turned in to me for your Wikipedia assignment--three or four groups gave me everything listed in the assignment, but most did not. If your duo didn't give me everything listed in the assignment, please resubmit your assignment with all requirements.

For the test

Your take-home part of the test, which you'll bring with you Monday, is a mindmap of the term "corporate social responsibility." Another term related to this one, "cause-related marketing," might help you define the first more accurately. When firms are engaged in corporate social responsibility in its truest sense, are they also engaged in cause-related marketing? Visit sites for, or (and search for corporate social responsibility). These will give you an idea of what's happening in this area in large corporations.

If you aren't sure what a mindmap is, visit that entry at Wikipedia. The example at the top of the entry is pretty elaborated--you don't need to have such a dense mindmap, but you do need to show that you understand the definition of social corporate responsibility, how it works in the real world, and some critiques of the concept.

For the test, you'll have a long essay question about the differences between corporate and commercial speech, and how the First Amendment fits into this dichotomy.

Other issues to review for the test, from Karla Gower's text and the handout chapters:

What ethical values are necessary to govern the use of advertising and PR in social media and social networking?

Why are codes of ethics important to professions? What are some of the criticisms of the PRSA code?

How does a PR professional serve as an ethical advocate?

The FTC (FDA or SEC) and relevance to PR practice, and more broadly, to integrated practices that you may be involved in some day.

Think of an example of how defamation could occur in the PR context. Discuss red flags and strategies for avoiding libel.

Consider privacy and PR work, and strategies for ensuring that sensitive matters are kept private.

Read about PR and negligence, especially concerning contests.

What are two reasons PR pros should care about copyright?

What is Fair Use, and why does this concept probably not apply to most commercial activities?

What are some of the intended and unintended effects of political advertising? Of direct-to-consumer drug advertising?
How would PR professionals be involved in these issues?

Ideas for case studies and parameters for assignment

Your case study for the final project will need to have a clear ethical dimension, at least in the way that you tell the story. For instance, it's perhaps not readily apparent that the Dallas Cowboys case study from our textbook has an ethical dimension, based on the way that the organization told the story about Michael Irvin stabbing a teammate. But there were clear legal and ethical issues the organization wished to ignore.

Using the utilitarian/communitarian frameworks sometimes helps us find these other dimensions of the case. You'll of course need to focus on the communications/relationship-building activities.

The final study should be 10-12 pages long, double-spaced, including works cited but not appendix pages. Use APA or MLA style, coupled with practical suggestions from AP Style (such as time, day, date format--no dates such as "February 14th"; in AP Style, February would be abbreviated, and you wouldn't use -th).

Research should start immediately, with proposals due Nov. 5. Some ideas for local/state issues:

Any non-profit's alliance with donors, such as the Lance Armstrong Foundation's funding sources, which include Altria (the tobacco company) and many chemical and Big Pharma companies (cough-cough);

Any technology company's efforts to be greener, in terms of providing for disposal of its toxic hardware (Texas-based TI or Dell);

The selection of contractors for the new Cowboys' stadium, and the decision about what to do with the old stadium;

Reunion Arena decision;

Continuing debate in Farmers Branch over immigration;

Debacle at the DISD;

Any number of bond elections around the area;

The new Toyota dealership in the Metroplex that is using green construction and will be a model for future dealerships around the nation.

Like the smaller studies you've already completed, you'll need to include an introduction, background and timeline, both of the communitarian/utilitarian perspectives, discussion, and conclusion. It should be written in impeccable formal discourse. Here are further guidelines:

Introduction (a beginning anecdote or tipping point);

Background and review of scholarship (here's where you'll tell the case story, perhaps using a timeline, and you'll review existing research that is pertinent to your ethical discussion); here you will reconstruct the four parts of the PR process ("what happened" part of paper);

Discussion of the ethical dimensions of the case (your analysis and evaluation of "what happened"), first, through the two models of utilitarianism and communitarianism, using the values. Here, you might also want to include scholarship or editorial comments from newspapers and blogs about how others have viewed the ethics of this case. Is the organization on record about its own actions?

Conclusion, which will include your critical analysis and also a reference to the broader goals of cosmopolitanism--did everybody matter? What were best practices that were followed or ignored?

Please consider a topic, and we'll start discussing this further next week.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Social media discussion on Monday, Oct. 20

We'll be discussing social media and social networking on Monday during our class. That means our test will move to Monday, Oct. 27. Test format: short answer and short essay.

See you Wednesday for chapters 3 and 4 of our textbook.

Monday, October 06, 2008

One last link for your JetBlue assignment ...

... an article from the NYTimes about the current status of JetBlue, with a lot of good context about the airline industry.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

For week 7 ...

... bring your resume Monday, if you were going to try a revision or if you didn't have time to stick around to talk about it with me. Remember, there's an internship fair 12-2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7.

We'll start talking about chapter 1-4 in Karla Gower's text, so please be prepared to discuss this text. We'll also have a case study on Big Pharma advertising.

Most important: Your case study on JetBlue is due Wednesday, Oct. 8.

Link of the week: "Giant Pool of Money"

This series (and some recent followups this week) explains the credit crisis and bailout, in a way that's completely understandable. Check it out through podcasts, in order to have a better understanding: