Monday, January 07, 2013

New certified public communicator program at TCU

TCU has developed a new certificate program for public information officers, marketing directors, and other professionals working for city and county agencies and governments. We developed the program with the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers, and we hope to kick it off this summer.

Here's the link to register for the program:

Here are the program's benefits and a short overview:
  • A three-year comprehensive communication plan built for your organization
  • Extensive classroom instruction with public relations, advertising, and marketing professors
  • Latest information on metrics, social influence, and digital media
  • Theoretical foundations plus practical applications
  • A database of public-sector cases
  • Two weeks of instruction during two summers on TCU's campus
  • Networking with public-sector professionals in your cohort
  • Access to professors beyond the classroom
OVERVIEW: The Certified Public Communicator Program at TCU is a post-baccalaureate, graduate-level residential program for two summers (one week each in 2013 and 2014), plus a two-day winter session with strategic communication professors from TCU's Schieffer School of Journalism.

Professional communicators working for city, county, and public-sector agencies create three-year comprehensive communication plans for their organizations during the program.

The CPC program is a partnership of TCU's Schieffer School of Journalism, Extended Education, and the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Squawk, squawk: Chick-fil-A

In June, I talked in my research class about the terms "gay marriage," "same-sex marriage," and "marriage equality." We discussed how words have a history, and how Americans who are now choosing among these terms may be making value statements through these choices. I urged students to use research methods when the meaning of words was up for grabs, in flux, or value-laden. And I also firmly talked about my own preference for the term "marriage equality," because I had made a personal choice to see the debate as firmly in the realm of civil rights. While those other terms are sometimes used interchangeably with marriage equality, I believe this terms may best encapsulate the direction that many Americans are moving in their thinking.

It does take humans time to get used to new ideas, and these three terms show an evolution of this idea, that two people who love one another should be able to marry, no gender "test" need apply.

For many months now, I've been aware of the gay community's and the marriage-equality supporters' frustration with and condemnation of Chick-fil-A. My friends, on Facebook and otherwise, have kept me up-to-date on the company's long-standing financial support for organizations that oppose marriage equality.

Earlier today, I was asked to comment on what public relations advice I would offer Chick-fil-A to recover from the crisis, in two sentences. That's hard to do, especially when things are complicated. It goes without saying that I think this private company's founder is wrong, but of course free to state his opinion and accept the economic consequences.

Companies are, more than ever, pouring thousands and sometimes millions of dollars to support all kinds of political causes. These companies and their owners or leaders can't then be surprised when their customers push back through boycott or protest. If companies want to be political, and apparently Chick-fil-A has made this conscious decision to do so, then they will be exposed to their own form of "voting," when people choose either to spend or to avoid spending as customers.

My comment, however, was short and sweet, and based on public relations business advice:

I would advocate that Chick-fil-A remember its core business and long-time customers, first and foremost, unless the founder has something new to say or a change of heart. It's hard to take that long view, but most customers live in the moderate middle ground and just want to eat good chicken sandwiches.

I hope that the owner might change his mind, but I doubt it. I hope that he and his private company might stop supporting causes that I see as opposed to civil rights. I've been eating less and less at Chick-fil-A since 2011, and for me, the brand is definitely tarnished. If I had space to offer more advice for Chick-fil-A, it would be to reach out to all customers and publics, to foster dialogue, and to listen.

Needless to say, I wish that all of the money that companies are now hosing onto a variety of political candidates, causes, and decision-making bodies could be put back into the genie bottle. Perhaps our economic system will supply some of the answers to this concern, when customers walk away from politicized brands. And we "little people" should definitely push harder for disclosure and campaign finance reform.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Results: Why is it ethical to eat meat?

We discussed this roundly in class, and here are the six top contenders--you can see which was voted as a readers' favorite.

Monday, March 19, 2012

On waging opinion, if you are a female writer
Here's a "classic" piece by Naomi Wolf about women sharing their opinion through traditional media, and a more recent reflection on her work by a blogger/musician. Part of her original work has statistics about the low numbers of women writing for top op-ed spaces in major media in the early 1990s. Has that number gotten larger? Smaller? How do we reckon that number in digital spaces? What is the ethical obligation of major media outlets to offer women's voices in their opinion spaces?
By now, you are probably already waiting for my standard exhortation: This could be an excellent final project for our media ethics class ...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

This view of Kony viral video echoes our class discussion from Tuesday

It's a column written by NYTimes columnist Nicholas Kristof:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Information about drug arrests at other Texas colleges

Here is a link to a Dallas Morning News story, with stats at the end about other universities in Texas. These numbers indicate that they (and relevant police departments) have a different approach than that used last week:

The weed-out approach, which means there is daily and weekly attention paid to this issue, is a much better pathway, and perhaps delivers the same message to students: that the university handles drug cases with daily vigilance and that violators of the student code of conduct will be removed from campus.

If we think about the case with the values labels from class last week, we might focus on the values of "justice" for all the time, every day, and "humaneness," handling things in a more prosaic way instead of the "big bust" drama of the Fort Worth police department. I say this, because those gotcha photos appeared not only on the arrest warrants, but also in the student paper and again on the front page of the Sunday's edition of the Dallas Morning News.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ethics and social media for the newsroom

So, let's put our labels to work. The link below is to a story about CNN firing one of its on-air commentators for tweeting something seen as anti-gay during the Super Bowl. What values are considered from CNN's standpoint, and how do you make them into principles? Then, how do you write social media policy to allow your journalists to tweet?  So, we're moving from value, to principle (and to code of ethics), to media company guidelines.