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Archive for April, 2009

The Swine Flu!

n1078620104_30021172_25031 I am afraid all the information online about the swine flu is going to cause chaos, like in this picture. Social media seems like it is making this whole situation worse than it already is. There is so much news online with precautions and information about the sickness I think it is scaring people and making others panicky. The flu started in Mexico surrounding pigs, but it seems like the only people at risk of contracting this disease are people working closely with pigs and individuals living or traveling in Mexico. There have only been a handful of cases confirmed in the United States. It is important that the government is taking this issue so seriously, providing precautionary statements and necessary funding if this disease spreads quick and far. However, I am worried that all the scary pictures and updates on the Internet are freaking people out more than necessary.

There have only been 12 documented cases in the United States in the past four years. It is impossible to catch the swine flu from eating pork. To me it seems pretty rare to get this sickness. I think the public relations professionals who work for the U.S. government in the health area may be spreading too many scary pictures and worrisome documents for the publics own good. Too much information could cause a frenzy of panic among people, which would only make things worse.

I have provided a link explaining all areas of the swine flu:

http://health.msn.com/health-topics/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100237427&GT1=31036

 

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My First Podcast!

058  Today I recorded my first podcast and it was wonderful. I had fun picking out the music, working on the fade out control and just recording. I talked about ski racing and social media which are two of my greatest passions. This is an area that I hope to work in one day, so I explored the importance of blogging in all industries. I think the title of my show and sing off and pretty creative and fit me well. Let me know what you think. I hope you like my podcast. I have added it as a link here:

http://www.jcomm.uoregon.edu/Members/clambers/01%20Track%2001%2050.m4a

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emerald-squareI worked on a difficult case today in another one of my public relations classes and I wanted to explore it more and maybe get some feedback. This was an interesting case, it took place about 15 years ago in Georgia and it involved racial incidents at a high school. The racial incidents were public, leaving all the parents extremely concerned for their children’s safety. What shocked me about this incident was that the following day school went on as if nothing had happened. The day, however, did not play out that way because another inappropriate episode took place: a student’s arm was broken after having an oboe thrown at her.

What baffles my mind is that after the first event happened on Wednesday the principal did nothing about it until Sunday. It took him four days to take action and when he finally did, no one felt any better. He called all the parents to a meeting that would take place on Sunday, but he didn’t say a word as to what it would be about, only that it was serious. When the worried parents arrived the principal had no crisis communications plan, and more importantly no plan as to how the students would be kept safe while simultaneously continuing classes. The entire situation was a disaster all around.

This seems like a situation where the public relations professionals working for the school distract should already have had a crisis communications plan laid out for a situation like this. Events similar to this event already had taken place in various locations around the U.S. So, I don’t understand why a plan in response to this wasn’t already compiled. Another issue that confuses me is why the public relations practitioners were not called immediately to fix this. The principal had no idea how to handle this situation, or what to say to the parents to make them feel more comfortable. Everything was so unorganized. Where were the public relations practitioners?

 

I have included a link to the American Association of Homes and Services that has a great example of a crisis communications plan:

http://www.aahsa.org/article.aspx?id=1272

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PR and Ethics

picture-015 I’ve become more aware of ethics in public relations lately. There are so many fuzzy lines in public relations; for example, there are over 500 definition of the profession and people don’t need specific credentials to be a public relations practitioner. This makes ethics difficult to follow. One very important aspect practitioners need to follow is being true to their word. If they say they will do one thing they better follow through, or it could lead to them losing clients and credibility. I’m sure everyone has experienced another person not following through with their word, but in a professional setting it can lead to many more problems.

Another serious issue in ethics is being timely and informed. This is especially important to a company during a crisis. When a company has a crisis that must be dealt with it needs to happen in a timely fashion. A press release needs to be put out quickly, with no errors. Any media questions should be answered thoroughly and without hesitation, so the media knows the company has everything under control and they are handling the situation. Doing this leads into another important ethics topic: preparation.

Preparation is important in all parts of business, but especially in public relations. If a company is not prepared for the worst case scenario they will could be put into a bigger mess than they already are in. Public relations practitioners working for companies need to have a crisis communications plan already laid out, so when a crisis does happen they don’t have to waste time developing one. There should be binders informing the company what to do in any case: how they will respond to the media; what they will say; and how to deal with the company as a whole. An example of a company who did not have this together was Peanut Corp. They got themselves into trouble after the salmonella outbreak. Another example of something perfectly laid out is the picture at the top of the post. It is a special exhibit about perfection that was displayed at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City.

I have included a link to inform about art at the MOMA:

http://www.moma.org

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Domino’s

picture-030 I recently learned about a very serious issue that Domino’s is forced to deal with right now due to some ridiculous employees. Two Domino’s employees released several videos on YouTube of them doing foul things to foods back in the kitchen and then several the products to customers. One worker puts cheese up his nose, and puts salami down his pants. All of this is caught on tape and then broadcast for the entire world to see. This completely amazes me, I can’t imagine why these people would have done something like this not caring about the serious consequences.

It is mind-boggling to think about he mess these people have created for the company and how many customers Domino’s is going to lose because of them. They have also created a huge mess for the pubic relations practitioners for Domino’s. The first thing they will have to do is send out a press release to the community where this Domino’s is located expressing their concern and apologies. This seems like it could be such a mess Domino’s could be in over their heads. I would hate to have to deal with a situation like this. Especially having to own up to the fact that the company would hire a person who would do something as disgusting as that.

 

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Ski Racing PR

n11511343_32182301_110515 I have been working on a presentation about social media in the sports public relations world, but more specifically with ski racing. I have been a ski racer my entire life, so I thought this would be exciting and interesting. However, it is much more difficult than I thought and I am learning so much more about the world of ski racing. Social media and the Internet truly are immensely important to the wide world of the classic winter sport. I am discovering that there are a few areas that could be improved such as: more athletes should have blogs to engage with their fans, there should be more live footage of ski racing and interviews available online, there should be a member only sight where fans can go to catch up on all the latest happenings and events in the sport, and popular ski racing magazines should send out weekly emails to subscribers, during season, to remind them of upcoming events. These are just my ideas from the beginning stages of researching this topic.

There are also things going well in the ski racing community, in regards to social media. One being that for people already committed and involved in the sport there is an abundance of websites for them to navigate to in order to find news on professional athletes, and events coming up. There are also some excellent sights where people can purchase merchandise, and find results from races of all ages and abilities.

It seems to me that public relations professionals are greatly needed for the sport of ski racing to promote awareness. However, I am wondering if this is a sport that will always be less popular than other American sports, and it really doesn’t need public relations professionals. This is something I would like to explore more.

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My First Post

s11511474_36028330_51351 Hello, everyone! This is my first blog and I am very excited to begin blogging. This picture was taken in Venice, Italy when I was studying abroad last spring. It was an unbelievable experience, I highly recommend that everyone study abroad at some point. I learned so much more about myself and the wonders of the world. I am blogging for a class I’m taking at the University of Oregon called, advanced public relations writing with Tiffany Derville. I am blogging for everyone, but mostly for Tiffany. My blog will primarily be about all parts of public relations that interest me such as sports public relations, the growing field of social media, entertainment public relations, and other bits and pieces that interest me. Plus a few other things about life that I love.  There will definitely be talk about travel.  Talk to you soon!

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