Fall 2016 1

As I told my students I initially viewed the idea of blogging with deep skepticism. (This was back in the early aughts when blogging as a journalist meant regurgitating stuff from your notebook that didn’t make it into your published story.)

But now blogging is one of my favorite things. I do it each time I teach J452: Strategic Public img_3342Relations Communication at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication. Each student also blogs, picking a theme tied to an industry or facet of PR that interests them, and also builds and executes and accompanying personal social media strategy. They blog mostly twice a week: one blog post about a topic they choose related to their theme and one in response to a news item about their theme I’ve picked.

That means from fashion to foreign policy and from cosmetics to cars, the students’ themes keep me looking at the news in a new light. Yes, I’m still reading stories about politics, race, sports, celebrities, the media landscape and social issues, but I’m looking for ones that either showcase or hint at the role public relations plays in our world.

This (hopefully) makes students look at the news in a new light, to see the PR everywhere.  In this quarter’s first installment of weekly insPiRation, they’ll find stories that touch on personal brand and image management, company brand, crisis communications, corporate social responsibility, media relations and more.

Take a look:

Autos…Ad & PR…
Trying To Disrupt the Auto Industry With The Onion’s Help (The New York Times)
How are advertising and public relations being combined in service of Elio’s brand and to raise brand awareness? Is a risky strategy like this just what a three-wheeled car company needs or is it a mistake? How does it compare to the PR strategy of another industry disrupter, Tesla? (PS: Who likes regular car commercials anyway?)

Foreign policy…
Antonio Guterres To Be Next UN Secretary General (The Guardian)
Guterres is widely seen as competent and was unanimously chosen, yet his choice was a surprise to many who thought it was a woman’s turn. How can Guterres appeal within his organization and to leaders around the world who either wanted a woman or someone not so vocal about refugees? What credibility does he bring as a spokesman for “the downtrodden” and do you expect him to change public opinion around the world? Is it good or bad for the UN’s mission that secretary general candidates now have to brand themselves and make public appeals for the post?

Foreign policy… fashion…

Kate Middleton’s Tour of Canada: A Designer Scorecard (The New York Times)
How did Kate Middleton use fashion to support Britain’s foreign policy messages on this trip? In other words, what’s the connect between fashion and foreign policy PR? In today’s social media world, why is fashion more important than ever to foreign policy?

From Fencing Jackets to Tulle Skirts, Dior Sees Many Ways to Dress a Feminist
(The Washington Post)
Fashion Week has many publics so will Maria Grazia Chiuri’s “unequivocal statement about feminism” go over well? When women are appointed to posts formerly held only by men what opportunities and challenges do they have about creating their image as leader?

The Plus Factor: The Rise of The Sober Social Scene (Well+Good)
How are the sober and sober curious using PR elements – events and celebrity endorsements – to create “sober as the new cool”? How does the rise of the sober curious public tie into the rise of wellness and natural food culture more generally?

Top 3 Reasons For Nonprofits To Send Press Releases (Beyond PR)
The author lists three key reasons beyond earned media coverage for nonprofits to send press releases: they can potentially increase brand awareness, fundraising opportunities and donations, and event ticket sales. Why are items one and three so important for nonprofits? Why do nonprofits need to approach PR differently than for-profits?

Cosmetics and Skin Care…
California Baby Founder Launches Natural Advisory Council (New York Magazine)
We’ll discuss the idea of safe cosmetics and corporate social responsibility as a class later this term! But in that instance, the company felt pressured by consumers to phase out chemicals. In this case, a “natural” beauty company is taking a stand, saying even “natural” beauty companies aren’t necessarily so natural. Will California Baby consumers appreciate this political stance? What are the risks for California Baby in terms of its customers?

Trump Tape Fallout: Concern Over Billy Bush Grows at ‘Today’ Show (The Hollywood Reporter)
NBC Has Suspended Billy Bush. But Will he Ever Come Back? (The Washington Post)
If you were on Billy Bush’s PR team what would you advise? What publics is the ‘Today’ show trying to maintain relationships with? Is Bill Bush a journalist – and should he be held to the standards of a journalist? What happens when journalists or TV personalities land in hot water?

Kalief Browder’s Story Will Be Turned Into A Series, Produced By Jay-Z (Mashable)
Musicians are often political in their music. But will Jay-Z’s foray into social justice documentary have an impact on his brand? If so, in what way and with whom?

Behind Ayesha Curry’s Quest To Become A New Kind Of Food Megastar (New York Magazine)
“Now, Curry is setting the stage to be something like the modern version of a Food Network star, which means navigating a media world that’s more fragmented than ever before, while maintaining a strong, seemingly authentic message everywhere.” So how can she accomplish this? How has food, cooking and cuisine become something way different from when Julia Childs hosted her first TV show? And does being married to a celebrity athlete help or hurt Ayesha Curry’s brand?

LeBron James Just Endorsed Hillary Clinton For President (Mashable)

The New Golden Age of Black Athlete Activism (The Daily Beast)

Do you agree that today’s black athletes can use their brand for social activism without pushback compare dot earlier generations? What has changed in the PR world about how athletes communicate their brands since the time of Muhammad Ali? Are reactions – and effect on brand – different for Venus Williams, Colin Kaepernick and LeBron James? And if so, why? Is endorsing a candidate considered different than taking a stand on social issues?



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