The Best of COMM270

What a great semester in COMM270. We all learned so much about public relations and its impact on society. Throughout the semester, we all submitted our assignments on these handy WordPress blogs.  The following students went above and beyond on their blogs and I commend them on their efforts. Their blogs should be a model for future COMM270 students to aspire to. Great job!

1. Lisa’s Blog

Lisa did a great job on her blog this semester. She completed all of the assignments and did so in a well-organized manner. Lisa’s examples of companies that have successful dialogic loops were great and made it seem like she really understood what a dialogic loop was. I also like the layout of Lisa’s blog, it is nice and colorful. She did a great job of posting a lot of pictures, which made her blog even more fun to read. Good job Lisa, you should be proud of all of your hard work!

2. Rocco’s Blog

Similar to Lisa, Rocco did a great job of keeping up on all of the assignments throughout the semester. I really like the way that Rocco connected the assigned readings to his entries. He also took advantage of lots of videos and pictures, which complemented the information on his blog. Great job Rocco!

3. Tara’s Blog

I really liked to read Tara’s blog because she made everything seem so fun. She showed a great deal of enthusiasm for whatever she was writing about. Tara’s paper on Bagel Jay’s showed a great deal of understanding of the content from Kelleher’s book. Congratulations on a great blog Tara!


Five Ways COMM270 Students Were Introduced to Public Relations

1. What is right or wrong? Students in COMM270 got to explore the issue of ethics in public relations through a visit from Jeffrey Halik, a senior account supervisor at Roberts Communications. Halik discussed his many ethical dilemmas he faced while working for a variety of companies throughout his career. Additionally, Professor Reinson added insight on his own experiences. Students were able to put themselves in the shoes of modern-day public relations practitioners and make their own ethical decisions.

Jeffrey Halik, COMM270 guest speaker

Additionally, students were able to watch an intriguing film called The Corporation that discussed the rise of corporations and their ethical struggles in the media. This film made students aware of the ethical dilemmas that public relations practitioners face while working in these corporations every day. Additionally, the film made students think about how ethical the profession of public relations really is.

Watch this trailer for the film
The Corporation to see what cool things that COMM270 students got to watch and discuss. Visit the film’s website at:

The field of public relations has been in constant evolution. What is in store for the future of public relations? Students got to explore their thoughts about the future of public relations via lively classroom discussions as well as through readings from public relations experts. Students were encouraged to think not only of the history of public relations, but also how they think that public relations will evolve in the coming years. Most students found that public relations practitioners were focusing their efforts more online and the class assignments reflected this nature. Students were constantly online, taking advantage of the knowledge right at their fingertips, like public relations practitioners are doing every day.
Check out this video: “
PR2.0 and the Future of Public Relations” by Gerd Leonhard

3. The online presence of public relations is becoming increasingly important. As a result of this, students in COMM270 were able to develop their own online presence. These online skills are so important in modern-day public relations and students were able to see that in COMM270. All assignments were submitted via the student’s own personal blog and students were also required to create and use a Twitter account. This use of social media made students of COMM270 prepared for a career in modern-day public relations.

Students created their own blogs at

If you have never used WordPress before to make a blog, watch this video to learn how!

Students were encouraged to critique companies’ online public relations presences via the semester-ending white paper. As part of this paper, students read Public Relations Online by Tom Kelleher and through doing so; they developed knowledge of how a company can have a successful public relations presence online. Students then chose a company and critiqued its website, giving the company alternatives that would improve its public relations presence.

4. Students not only learned about what public relations is, they also learned the importance of the field in modern society. From reading Stuart Ewen’s PR! A Social History of Spin, students’ eyes were opened up to the idea that almost every aspect of their society is touched by public relations. (Read the book here) COMM270 taught students to be more aware of the world around them and how the news they read every day is manufactured by public relations professionals. Students learned how public relations practitioners manufacture “pseudo-events” to create news and how these “pseudo-events” have influenced the way that people view news. These “pseudo-events” often overshadow spontaneous events, and in COMM270, students learned why that is and how society has been impacted by it.

Students in COMM270 read this book.

This is a video of Tiger Woods’ recent press conference. A press conference is a good example of a pseudo-event – something that COMM270 students know very well!

5. Who created public relations? Students learn in COMM270 that public relations was not created by one single person. Public relations was a result of the impacts that many different people had as well as through the development of modern day society. Through lectures and readings, students developed a fundamental knowledge of who’s who in public relations. Students studied the numerous people who helped make the profession what it is today. Students also explored how each pioneer impacted the field and the changes that each person brought on. The most important public relations pioneers that students learned about in COMM270 were Edward L. Bernays, Walter Lippmann (Click here to read a short biography on Walter Lippmann), and C. Wright Mills.

C. Wright Mills

Check out this video to see Edward L. Bernays on David Letterman. This is a short clip of an interview where Bernays cracks a joke, while at the same time making an interesting point about how he can make the public perceive him in the way that he wants. This thought of manipulating public opinion is something that Bernays is very well-known for and why he is studied in COMM270.

Potential Final Exam Questions w/Answers

  1. Who did Stuart Ewen visit in the first part of PR! A Social History of Spin?
    A. Edward Bernays

  2. What class did Stuart Ewen teach at Hunter College?
    A. The CULT(ure) of Publicity

  3. What are three tactics mentioned by Bernays to manipulate public opinion?
    A. Create circumstance
    B. Use statistics, field surveying, sociology
    C. Get support from diversified leaders

  4. Which public relations practitioner used social science to help further public relations knowledge?
    A. Edward Bernays

  5. What journalist discussed how internal motives can drive external behaviors?
    A. Walter Lippmann

  6. What sociologist discussed the differences between a mass society and a public?
    A. C. Wright Mills

  7. What are the main features of a public?
    A. Virtually as many people express opinions as those who receive them
    B. Public communication is so well organized that there is a chance immediately and effectively to answer back any opinion expressed in public
    C. Authoritative institutions do not penetrate the public

  8. According to Mills, what has formed most of the pictures in our heads?
    A. Media
  9. What are the five motivations that drive public relations?
    A. Profit
    B. Recruitment
    C. Legitimacy
    D. Agitation
    E. Advocacy

  10. Which war-time president was particularly good at “manufacturing” the news?
    A. FDR

  11. In general, do pseudo-events overshadow spontaneous events?
    A. Yes

  12. What type of relationship exists between journalism and public relations?
    A. A symbiotic relationship
  13. Who was “Dumb Jack?”
    A. Bernays’ family chauffeur

  14. What is the relevance of “Dumb Jack”
    A. He existed in a time before people had a social conscious. Once people developed this consciousness, public relations was born. No longer could the “aristocratic-ness” of the society stand up to democratic ideals. Reinson said: PR is there to make sure people don’t get angry. If everyone worked as hard as Dumb Jack and didn’t get any days off they would be angry. If they did not complain about it, like Dumb Jack did not, we would not need public relations.

  15. Who did Ewen’s class “fool?”
    A. A reporter from the New York Newsday who had been sent to do a story on Ewen’s class

  16. What did Nayirah’s story do?
    A. Helped to convince the American public to enter into the first Gulf War.

  17. Are the public relations tactics that Bernays used still in practice today?
    A. Yes. Reinson said: Bernays was about keeping PR in the background, not in the open. PR people should be invisible. Ivy Lee had his principles that said all work should be done out in the open.

  18. Which story is an example of a pseudo-event?
    A. “Rochester’s Housing Market: It’s Affordable!”

  19. Was Mills in favor of large national corporations?
    A. No, he said that they are centers of manipulation and authority. Reinson said: Mills is a Marxist; he is not in favor of big business. So…Mills reacts to the media and the “power elite.” Ike is about the military/industrial complex. They both make the same argument but come at it from different perspectives.
  20. According to Daniel J. Boorstin, how is the success of a pseudo-event measured?
    A. By how well it is reported. Reinson said: it is about the symbiotic relationship between public relations and journalism. Now, more and more self-created news will be professionally done without using the news media.

  21. In the rush to get stories, how has the process of news gathering changed?
    A. News gathering has turned into news making for journalists

  22. What do public relations practitioners do for journalists?
    A. They give the journalists news to report on

  23. What do journalists do for public relations practitioners?
    A. They give PR 3rd party credibility

  24. What area of public relations manages news media response to an unplanned event?
    A. Crisis communication

  25. True or False: It has been said that the picture of reality which journalism provides has been distorted by the increased use of pseudo-events.
    A. True

Kelleher MegaQuiz: Where are they now?

Tom Kelleher-

What is he doing online-
I think that Tom Kelleher is doing a great job of connecting with people online. He has his own website at: The website includes the courses that he is teaching as well as his Curriculum Vitae and his own blog. He has a variety of information online about him for people to learn. Follow this link to go to Kelleher’s blog: Follow this link to go to Kelleher’s Twitter:

What he is doing now:
Tom Kelleher lives in Hawaii. Currently, he is an associate professor at the School of Communications at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He typically teaches an introduction to communication class each semester. He is still teaching and also doing research. His latest research is
“Measuring Ecoshock and Affective Learning: A Comparison of Student Responses to Online and Face-to-Face Learning Ecologies” (Sept 2009). (Read it here: He has also researched about organizational contingencies, organizational blogs and the public relations practitioner stance toward publics. He is also going to have a piece published in the Journal of Public Relations Research about social media sometime this year.

Tom Kelleher’s contact information is as follows:
(808) 956-9944

Richard L. Daft-

What he is doing online:
I do not think that Richard L. Daft is doing a good job connecting with people online. He does not take advantage of social media and does not have his own website. He has his regular “professor” website on Vanderbilt’s website, but that is about it (Check it out here: It is strange since he is such a prominent figure that he would not take advantage of new technologies. Maybe this is because he knows that the richest form of communication is face-to-face and that is what he prefers.

What is he doing now:
Richard L. Daft lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Currently, he is a junior professor of management at Vanderbilt University. Daft helped create the media richness theory and has published many books about it. In 2004, he was listed as one of the most highly cited researchers in
Economics and Business. It appears that he has taken a bit of a break from intense research since approximately 2003. He seems to be focusing on teaching and enjoying his life. He mostly teaches classes about leadership at Vanderbilt. He has taught at Vanderbilt since 1989.

Richard L. Daft’s contact information is as follows:
(615) 292-0448

Here is a link to a survey asking people, “Is Cheerleading a Sport?”

Let’s look at what Kelleher said in his book to see if he would approve of this survey.

In his book Public Relations Online, Kelleher asks, “How many…would be willing to respond to the survey?” Well according to the results of this survey, a lot of people were willing. Over 35,000 people took this survey. I think that Kelleher would think that this is a decent survey. It is short and concise and easy to take. This poll does not appear to have had any problem finding a large amount of people to take the poll. Also, the poll is multiple choice so people cannot really submit bogus answers, like Kelleher told researchers to watch out for.

I’m not sure how meaningful Kelleher would find the results: 60% said Yes, 35% said No, 2% said Depends on who you ask and 1% said I don’t know and I don’t care. Not many people who dislike cheerleading would visit this site that is about cheerleading. Maybe that it why so many people have answered yes. I think that the survey is put together well, but its results may not be completely accurate.

Hands-Online Activity in Kelleher

Case #1: Jack Link’s Beef Jerky Sasquatch Meets Social Media with Carmichael Lynch Spong
To promote Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, Carmichael Lynch Spong and Carmichael Lynch brought the agency’s “Messin’ With Sasquatch” ad campaign to people online. They gave the Sasquatch his own MySpace page and videos of him were also posted on YouTube. The Sasquatch had his own website where users could “mess” with him. This was an extremely successful campaign. Sasquatch has over 140,000 friends and his videos have been viewed over hundreds of thousands of times.

Check out this video of Messin’ with Sasquatch – Over 1,000,000 views!!

Their Overall Communication Strategy:
very two-way, symmetrical, facilitative, dialogic and markets-as-conversations.

Case #2: Astorino – Discover.Design.Build Blog with Peppercom
Architecture, design and construction firm Astorino wanted to increase awareness of one of their new projects. At the same time, they wanted to get engaged with current and potential clients and get in touch with leaders in their field. To do this, Peppercom helped them create a blog, named Discover.Design.Build. Astorino posts approximately three times a week, updating readers on the latest projects and industry trends. Since its creation, the blog has been seen as an industry leader and has been featured in PR publications.
Check out the blog at:

Their Overall Communication Strategy: very two-way, symmetrical, facilitative, dialogic, and markets-as-conversations

Kelleher MegaQuiz Part #3

Kelleher’s lasting concepts consist of systems theory, two-way communication, and relational approaches to public relations. Kelleher’s main argument behind why these lasting concepts matter is “how well they stay grounded as the media landscape changes” (XIV). He says that he wrote the book based on how these concepts can stay grounded.  The field of public relations is in constant evolution because the media landscape has not stayed consistent. For example, would a company have ever thought about having a presence on social media websites like Facebook two years ago? We can use Kelleher’s “lasting concepts” to help give us a consistent framework for our online public relations practices.

Did the media landscape of five years ago resemble this? I don't think so. The only thing constant in media right now is change.

The concept of two-way communication is very important to my white paper. Kelleher went into a lot of detail telling his readers about the importance of building relationships through two-way communication. In my white paper, I discussed how these relationships can be built based on new ways of developing two-way communication online.

Kelleher MegaQuiz Part #2

In 2003, Lance V. Porter and Lynne M. Sallot instituted a national e-mail survey to public relations practitioners to figure out how these practitioners used the Internet in their jobs. The study was called “The Internet and Public Relations: Investigating practitioners’ roles and World Wide Web use.” The study said that increased web use increases efficiency. The study also said that managers are using the Internet more for research and evaluation than technicians are. The study also found that women have caught up to men in their use of technology.

Peer-reviewed journals are scrutinized by experts in their specific field. Illustration: James Yang

The article I used to find out about this study was found in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly (80, no. 3, 2003). This is a peer-reviewed journal. Peer-reviewed journals are made up of a community of experts in a given field who are qualified to review submitted pieces. Not every piece is accepted. It is a scholarly journal that specialists use to publish their research or ideas.

If the same study was done in 2010, I would have done some things differently. First, the study did not research anything about new technologies. I think it would be interesting to focus the study on a new technology like social media. The study would ask practitioners how often they use social media to increase publicity and how they do it.

Here is a link to some information to Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly:

Kelleher MegaQuiz Part #1


    I think that UGG Australia (manufacturer of sheepskin boots)’s website does a great job of using a dialogic loop with its customers
    . I once heard a rumor that UGG Australia offered maintenance cleanings and partial replacements for $20. I wanted to find out if this was true so I logged on to their website and checked out customer service ( I saw that they offer a phone number, e-mail, and an Instant Messenger! I used their instant messenger and not only did I get a quick response, but the lady was very friendly and helpful. I felt like I could ask her anything about UGGs and she would be happy to respond. This is a true dialogic loop.


    Do you carry a Verizon Wireless phone? I do and I love it. Not only am I very happy with the fact that I always have service, I also love their customer service. They have the typical way of approaching customer service: calling the 1800 number or e-mailing them. But Verizon Wireless also offers something different. Dial 611 on your Verizon cell phone and you will automatically be connected with a customer service representative who can help you in any way possible. You can stay with customer service, or they can direct you to other departments like Technical Support depending on your needs. You talk, they listen. A great dialogic loop. Visit customer
    support at Verizon Wireless here:

    Victoria’s Secret offers many ways to contact customer service. ( You can call them or e-mail them and they will respond to you quickly. They also offer an FAQ section to answer common questions like shipping and returns. I think that it would be better for them to offer an instant messenger option like UGG does so that you can get your response quicker and easier. I have called their number before and always seem to find myself frustrated with all of the prompts I have to go through. It sometimes takes forever for my question to be answered. If they offered me another option rather than calling or e-mailing, I would definitely take advantage of it.


    The Democrat and Chronicle thrives on news-driven relationships. Therefore, they need to develop these relationships through their news delivery, which can be difficult. However, I think they do a great job developing relationships with their readers online. Check out this story:–Neighborhood-schools–safety-will-be-part-of-mayoral-control-plan&referrer=NEWSFRONTCAROUSEL See all of the interactivity that helps to develop relationships? This story already has twelve comments on it. In his book, Kelleher talked about developing interactivity to help build relationships and through letting readers comment and review stories. The D&C also offers forums and a “thumbs up/thumbs down” section for readers to voice their opinions.
    Visit the opinion section at the D&C here:


    I am looking at purchasing a new Ford Escape in the next year. While in the process of searching for a car, I visited Ford’s website for guidance. I really think that they did a great job developing a successful dialogic loop with me online. I did not even need to talk to anyone and all of my questions were answered. I built my own Escape, priced it, and found a similar one in my area. This interactivity is making Ford work well with its prospective buyers. I feel like I can rely on the website just as well as the physical dealership to answer my questions. I am very happy with their method of dialogue. Although it is not a complete “loop,” I think that it is efficient and pleasing to customers. Ford built a relationship with me and at the same time, I felt like I built a relationship with my future car!
    Visit the Ford Escape’s website at:

White Paper

What this paper will do for ST, Inc.

Public Relations Online by Tom Kelleher

This paper is intended to improve ST’s online public relations presence. Through my reading of Tom Kelleher’s Public Relations Online, I have learned a lot about what makes a company’s online public relations tactics successful. I plan to use that knowledge to present new ideas to the people at ST that will help to improve the way that ST’s website builds relationships with its visitors.

Currently, ST’s website does not have a relationship-building public relations presence at all. One look at the website and one will see that it is merely informational. ST’s website is not friendly and it in no way tries to develop relationships with clients, which is one of the goals of public relations. Kelleher discussed how two-way communication is a “lasting concept” for online public relations and I will take advantage of this knowledge to build up ST’s online two-way communication skills.

Kelleher said that “The function of PR is connected with the concept of interactivity.” I think that developing interactivity online is very important for ST to do. As of right now; there is no way for them to develop relationships through their website. ST has a great opportunity to develop these relationships through increasing the interactivity on its website.

The information in Kelleher’s book is very useful to ST. As discussed before, the website lacks in interactivity and Kelleher goes into a lot of detail of what to do to fix this problem. If this public relations problem is addressed and the website improves, it will have a positive impact on ST’s customers. They will be much happier that the website provides them with opportunities to connect better with the company that they are working with. The methods that I will discuss to improve interactivity on ST’s website will also help to increase public awareness about what ST does and will bring in potential customers.

How to Increase Interactivity
Visitors to ST’s website want to be more connected with the company. Increasing interactivity can connect these visitors better with ST. According to the Nonprofit Resource Center, “To remain current and competitive, organizations must incorporate enhanced, user-focused, and interactive features into websites.” (

Over and over again in the book, Kelleher emphasized the importance of using the website to develop relationships with customers by engaging them. This is relevant to one of Kelleher’s “lasting concepts” of relational antecedents: Individual people. Interactivity will help pull in these individual people by making the website more “user-focused.” They will find themselves more involved and will chose to work with the company that is involving them. These new methods that I will discuss will solve the lack of interactivity on the website and will help ST build relationships with its customers more effectively.


First, I think that ST should create its own forum. A forum is an internet-based discussion board. I think that this would be beneficial for ST because it will increase interactivity and also help to save time. Here is an example that Kelleher used to explain the importance of forums for companies:

“…if you’ve got a fairly specific question about your computer hardware, there is a pretty good chance someone else using that hardware has the same question, such as “Will my Hewlett Packard 4110 OfficeJet printer work with my Apple Airport Extreme?” We probably wouldn’t call this a “frequently asked” question, but even if it’s asked a couple of times, the organization can save time by making the answer available to anyone who looks for it in the future” (Kelleher 93).

A forum would be a great way for ST to address specific problems while also making the website more interactive. Customers will be able to search for their problem and hopefully find an answer for it on the forum. This eliminates the “middle man” per say by using the website as the model for customer questions. If customers cannot find their answer, they can always call one of the phone numbers listed in the “Contact Us” section to speak to a representative.

Practical Machinist – A popular forum for machinists. ST could use this forum as a basic model for its own. Check it out here.

Public Relations is not all about external communication. It also focuses on improving internal communication. This can be done online through setting up a company intranet. An intranet is a private computer network that uses internet protocol technologies to securely share an organization’s information within that organization. The use of intranets “facilitates employee communication and provides important…information to front line staff that directly correlates with improved customer service.”

Local grocery powerhouse Wegmans uses an intranet. Visit it at

An intranet is a good idea for ST because it is able to bring together all of the regional sales representatives. These representatives are working all over the country and the intranet will be a great way to communicate with all of them at once to give instructions, notify them of updates, and to give them the news that they would not otherwise receive since they do not work at the headquarters in Fairport, N.Y.


Extranets are a great way to connect the business with its customers in a secure means online.

An extranet is similar to an intranet, but it also includes people that are not part of the company. ST can use this technology to connect itself with its customers, improving communication. ST will be able to let customers know exactly what step their product is in the order process. This opens up the lines of communication between ST and its customers and makes the customers more confident in their choice to work with ST since they will know what is going on at all times. Kelleher discussed how a company like ST can use an extranet to also communicate with suppliers to alert them of stock levels. This extranet has numerous public relations benefits for a company like ST.

Social Media

There are a ton of social media websites that ST can take advantage of.

In a discussion with Ryan Nolan, who works in technical services at ST, it was found that social media is ST’s main concern online. “There’s this great ability for us to market ourselves on these new networking sites. It would be great if we could take advantage of this stuff. It is the kind of new thing that will help keep us globally competitive and connected.” This use of social media is becoming so important to online public relations. However, small companies like ST have yet taken advantage of these new technologies. Utilizing social media is imperative to stay competitive in the modern marketplace, just like what Mr. Nolan said.

The most obvious benefit to utilizing social media websites is that it is free advertising. It does not cost anything to sign up for Facebook and it puts the company’s name out there for more people to see the company who may not have before. Other than the free advertising, is the ability that the social networking websites allow companies to interact with their publics. According to Targeted Advertising Solutions, LLC, companies can use social networking websites to form “the visitor experience in a manner that creates a deeper more meaningful engagement between your corporation and the customers.” They can become “friends” with or “follow” other companies or customers and they can also keep each other abreast on company news. Users can comment on pictures placed on Flickr or Facebook, videos on YouTube and they can even post things on ST’s “wall.” This increases involvement with the company and helps ST to build more relationships through interactivity online.

Follow this link to see a lengthy list of all of the social media websites that ST could take advantage of:


Kelleher discussed that clients in other countries value face to face interaction. About 30% of ST’s sales are overseas. I think that the overseas customers would value the use of videos on ST’s website. At the same time, this would also increase interactivity. ST would put up videos of Autofacers, and of Herman Bilz tools. These videos would include an employee giving background information about the tool, showing viewers exactly how the tool works and there would also be videos of the tool in action. This is a great idea to increase interactivity by engaging visitors and to also appeal to a more global audience.

What Impact These Suggestions Will Have
These suggestions, based on what I read in the book
Public Relations Online by Tom Kelleher, will help ST increase their online public relations presence. This increase in online public relations will directly affect its customer’s experiences and will also improve communication within and outside of the company.

The steps that I have presented will be the missing puzzle pieces to improving ST’s internal and external communication while at the same time assisting ST in building relationships online.

Through increasing interactivity online with customers, suppliers, and employees, ST will reap the benefits of increasing its online public relations presence. Communication within and outside of the company will improve and become more efficient, saving the company time and money. Additionally, the use of social networking websites will improve the company’s ability to market itself on the Internet, and more importantly, it will help ST develop relationships with its public. These relationships are crucial for ST to become public relations savvy. In my opinion, this development of relationships between businesses and their publics is the ultimate “lasting concept” of online public relations.

Bernays Social Media Press Release

Suggested Community Program Assignment

I do not think that the United Way and the National Association of Manufacturers share the same goals in influencing the community. These two groups are in completely different industries so it is hard to compare them. For example, the United Way does not really have a need to influence manufacturers or merchants, because the United Way is not trying to sell to them or make them produce a product. I do not think that the United Way needs to influence the bar association either because they are not trying to pursue any types of justice.  I did not see any instances of the United Way trying to influence churches because this organization is secular.

However, I think that the two organizations have one thing in common: they want to influence people in the community. I think that the main groups that the United Way is trying to influence are group leaders, parents, and companies. Why is this? Because the United Way is a not-for-profit organization, meaning they run off of donations and these groups are their biggest donors. So let’s break it down and see exactly what the United Way is doing to influence their targets.

The biggest event of the year for the Rochester United Way is the Day of Caring. I think that this event is a great example of the United Way reaching out to the whole local committee. On this Day of Caring, people throughout the Rochester area take off of work or school to come and help out local not-for-profit agencies with various projects. This is the United Way’s most popular volunteer event of the year.

Now before I go on to describe how the Day of Caring has influenced the local community, I want to clarify something. I think that this title of “group leaders” is too generic. I feel like it should really be saying “community leaders.” These are the types of people who come from all sorts of backgrounds and are very influential in the community. What I mean by this is that the group of community leaders may be people like the town mayor or the president of a local company, but they can also include the president of the local school’s PTA or a radio personality. Influencing these groups, I think, is key to the success of a community organization like the United Way.

So back to the United Way of Rochester’s Day of Caring. Let’s look at this event from one of our community leaders’ point of view: the president of a local company. What if he allowed all of his employees the day off of work to participate in the Day of Caring? That would be a great public relations move for his company wouldn’t it? That is a way that the United Way can influence companies. (And hopefully get them to donate!)

How about the president of the PTA? She would look good if she got all of her fellow parents to sign up to get involved. I think that parents would be very supportive of an event like this because it shows their children that they, too, can have a positive impact on their community. Hopefully some day, their children could get involved in the program as well.

Staying on the subject of children, what if local educators decided to make the Day of Caring a field trip for their classes? This would be a great way for the United Way to have an impact on local schools. I know that many schools do have clubs dedicated to community service and the United Way can take advantage of these clubs to get some more publicity for themselves and their event.

Lastly, how about having that local radio personality talk about the Day of Caring and what he/she will be involved with? Lots of people listen to the radio and would hear their “cool” announcer getting involved…so why not them? Through this, the United Way is able to use the radio to influence community members.

OK, now let’s take a look at what happens after the Day of Caring. The publicity for the United Way does not end there. Now we have all of the press releases from companies who participated, stories from the people that have been helped, and generally just a word of mouth circulating around town all about what happened on the Day of Caring. The newspapers will be hard-pressed to find the best story from all of the ones they will receive about who participated in the Day of Caring. This publicity is boundless for the United Way and through it; the United Way is able to influence the entire community.

A large area-wide program like the Day of Caring opens so many doors for influencing people in the community. Participating in the Day of Caring makes the participants look good and it also helps the United Way build up its reputation within the community!

The United Way clearly has much different goals than the NAM but they both need to influence community leaders for their programs to be successful.  I think that while their target leaders are different, their main goal is the same: to be successful. And to be successful, they must take advantage of the various groups and media around them.

Ewen “Rewriting History” Final Project: Recent Developments Relating to Chapter Two

In chapter two, Ewen discussed many of the negative consequences of public relations. He explained how not every campaign is out to promote itself for the common good. Public relations campaigns can hurt society. Ewen explained this by telling readers about a young girl’s fictitious story that was used to influence the American public into wanting to enter into the First Persian Gulf War.

The fictitious tale known as Nayirah’s story caused a lot of controversy and is one of the reasons Americans were so intent on entering into the Persian Gulf War. Since that public relations debacle ended, the U.S. entered into the war and $60 billion dollars later, one could say that the U.S. had success. Sanctions were placed on Iraq and Iraqi forces were removed from Kuwait. But that did not end the conflict. In 2003, the U.S. entered into Iraq once again, initiating the Second Gulf War. This war was not very successful and caused a lot of public unrest and dissatisfaction in the United States.

Nayirah “testifying” her story

Ewen also talked about fake grassroots campaigns, known as “astro turf organizing.” These campaigns are held by organizations that have a public relations goal but are disguised as spontaneous grassroots organizations. This fake grassroots phenomenon is still going on today. One example of astro turf organizing is the “50 Cent Party” of China. This organization is comprised of pay-per-comment bloggers hired by schools and political organizations in China to go on the Internet and counter negative information that they find. This group of people appears to be out to get their pro-China messages across but in reality, they are just being paid to express nationalism.

It is pretty clear that even though Ewen published his book in 1996, the public relations processes he discussed are still going on today. History always repeats itself doesn’t it?

Ewen “Rewriting History” Final Project: Historical Developments

I think that the historical developments that led up to what Ewen talked about in chapter two can be summed up in five words: the rise of public relations. I do not think that there is any clear cut way of defining the exact historical developments that led up to what Ewen did with his class except for the rise of a field that has provided the class with so many examples of techniques to influence others. Just like Ewen said at the beginning of the chapter, public relations is not clear cut and it is not easy to condense it.

However, I do think that the case studies Ewen discussed after the classroom story have historical relevance to his class’s actions. For example, Ewen discussed that there are unspoken visual techniques that public relations practitioners use to create a mood.

Oooh, what a dramatic background you have Mr. President!

Ewen used the example of a president standing in front of a dramatic background. How long has that been going on? I feel like our president is always standing in front of a dramatic background. This example runs along the same lines of how Ewen’s class all dressed in black. In doing so, they were to use a piece of public relations history to be able to influence the reporter and make her think that they were a bunch of “urban hipsters” when maybe they were not.

Ewen “Rewriting History” Final Project: Chapter Outline

Chapter 2: Dealing in Reality: Protocols of Persuasion

PR! A Social History of Spin by Stuart Ewen

Chapter 2 of Stuart Ewen’s PR! A Social History of Spin begins with Ewen discussing his frustrations with writing his book. He says that his topic for the book, the role of public relations in twentieth century American life, was not as easy and natural and he thought it was going to be. Ewen realized that every aspect of American society is touched by public relations professionals and to condense the history into a simple book was going to be a daunting task.

Stuart Ewen

Ewen goes on to describe a class he taught in the spring of 1993 at Hunter College, City University of New York, called The CULT(ure) of Publicity. Ewen’s intention was to teach the class about the rise of public relations practices in the United States.

After he had started teaching the class, Ewen was approached with a public relations opportunity. Lynn Palazzi, a reporter for New York Newsday, a New York City tabloid ( ), was interested in writing a story about Ewen’s class for an article about interesting classes being taught in New York City.

Palazzi wanted to interview Ewen and also attend his class. Ewen said that he would be happy to oblige but in order to come into his classroom, she had to follow two conditions: 1. She cannot bring a photographer and 2. She should try to blend in with the students, as to not be a disruption to the class since they will not know that a reporter is coming. Palazzi agreed and they set up a day that she would come interview him and attend his class.

In the class session before Palazzi’s visit, Ewen informed his class that a reporter would be visiting. He told the class about the article that she was writing and also told them that she would think that none of the students would know that she was there.

Ewen then thought that “…this provided us with a perfect occasion to test out some of the techniques outlined by Bernays…What could we do to turn our class into “news”?” (Ewen 22-23). Excited, the students began to think up some possible ideas that would secretly influence the way she would write about the class. They came up with a plan.

First, the class would begin with students bringing in news clippings from local newspapers, with articles from Palazzi’s New York Newsday being the most prominent. Students would then discuss how these articles were shaped by public relations professionals. Second, the students would consistently raise their hand, to show lots of enthusiasm. Lastly, to add some mystery, everyone would show up to class dressed in black.

The day of Palazzi’s visit finally arrived. Before class, she sat down with Ewen and conducted an interview. She explained her reasoning for choosing his class, which was the way in which he spelled the title: The CULT(ure) of Publicity. He explained that he wanted to visualize the course content into the title and also his emphasis on the idea of publicity being mesmerizing, like a cult. After the interview, it was time for class to begin.

When Ewen entered into his classroom he saw everyone dressed in black. Everyone except Palazzi. Ewen himself even felt the effects of all of the black, calling it “chilling” (25). The plan went off without a hitch. However, at the end of the class, he saw Palazzi bolt out of the room, and it worried him that maybe she had been freaked out.

Imagine if everyone in these seats were dressed in black...would that be a "chilling" experience for you?

Later in that semester, Ewen received a call saying that Palazzi’s article was in the paper. Ewen found the article; it was called “College Lite” (26). The article called Ewen’s students “urban hipsters” that wear “varying shades of black—to cast a more critical eye upon the images and messages they’re bombarded with every day.” She compared the class to a lecture, but said that it was more like a “coffee house exchange of ideas” (26). After Ewen’s class read the article, they discussed its content and “Gratified and amused, we [Ewen and his class] congratulated ourselves on having mastered the Way of Spin”

Ewen also talked about negative consequences that may result from using public relations techniques. Ewen tells his readers about a story that was used to increase American support of the U.S. entry into the Persian Gulf War in 1991. The story was about a fifteen year old Kuwaiti girl who allegedly witnessed Iraqi soldiers leaving babies to die in a hospital. In reality, the girl was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S. and she never witnessed such events (28-29). This lie had been concocted by Gary Hymel, Vice President of Hill and Knowlton, one of the largest public relations firms in the world (They still exist today: ). He had been hired by the Kuwaiti royal family to get U.S. support for the war.

Public relations, Ewen says, is good at manufacturing emotion. He uses examples such as the “applause sign,” the publicity of statistical polls, and orchestrated “grassroots” expression (often called Astro Turf Organizing). He also talks about the use of unspoken visual techniques, like how his class dressed in all black, to create a mood. He says that this is used a lot in society, for example, the president making a speech before a dramatic background (29).

Ewen also talks about Life is in the Balance, an education brochure from the Dow Chemical Corporation. The brochure argues about environmental regulation of the petrochemical industry. The brochure also discusses having the right to make your own decisions. The brochure talks nothing about the environmental hazards that their industry is involved with. Visually, the pamphlet is very “green,” it has a green cover and is printed in earth tones. Ewen then emphasizes the importance of the brochure’s façade by saying “It’s not what you say, but how you say it, that matters” (31).

The emphasis that public relations puts on influencing opinion can hurt actual content, Ewen says. For example, his class was so intent on influencing the reporter’s opinion that they did not discuss at length about the content of the actual class. Ewen says that in our society, “prizing message before substance” is typical (32).

In a review of the case studies discussed in the chapter, Ewen closes by saying that “Embedded within such schemes lies a nervous preoccupation with the perils of democracy that has chaperoned the growth of corporate public relations for nearly a century” (33). I think that Ewen means that the struggles we face as a democracy are played off of by public relations. For example, in Nayirah’s case, the public relations played off our democratic want for everyone to be free of harm. The public relations firm that did this story recognized this sentiment among the public and was able to build a campaign out of it. These struggles, or simply just feelings, that we see/feel in our democracy help to build a successful foundation for public relations campaigns.

Ewen also discusses how Bernays said that in our democracy, “public relations has become essential for the maintenance of order” and that “the future of civilization lay in the capacity of elites to guide public opinion efficiently” (34). This belief is reflective of the fact that public relations is guided by the struggles of a democracy. If a politician can play off of our struggles and create a public relations campaign that addresses these struggles, he can be successful. If he can guide the public in the right direction and bring order in a world of chaos, our civilization will have a positive future. Bernays once said “Intelligent men must realize that propaganda is the modern instrument by which they can fight for productive ends and help to bring order out of chaos” (35).


Father of Public Relations Praises Facebook

Edward L. Bernays, public relations pioneer, will present “How Facebook is Changing the Face of Public Relations,” at St. John Fisher College on Friday, April 9. The lecture will begin at 4 p.m. in Basil 135 on the Fisher campus. The event is free and open to the public.

In his lecture, Bernays will discuss Facebook, a social networking website, and the impact it is having on modern public relations. Bernays will explain why Facebook is making public relations more noticeable to the public and also why it is a good thing that Facebook is forcing the public to turn away from their traditional news medias. Bernays has said that it is important for modern public relations professionals to adapt to this shift in news presentation and in his lecture, he will discuss what these people need to do to stay successful in the field.

Bernays is a widely respected public relations expert and has often been referred to as “the father of public relations.” He was the first in his industry to use psychology to influence public opinion and he has written numerous books on his findings, including the groundbreaking “Crystallizing Public Opinion” (1923).

The presentation is sponsored by the communication/journalism department at St. John Fisher College.

For more information, please contact communication/journalism department chair Dr. Jack Rosenberry at or visit the communication/journalism department website at

Kelley’s Answers to MegaQuiz #1

4. On pages 11-13, Lippmann describes how external behaviors are influenced by interior motives. The example he uses is two friends fighting over money. In reality they are fighting over money but behind the scenes, one man is reenacting the past in which a girl chose the other man over him. What is one example of an external behavior that was a result of an interior motive in modern times?

One example of an interior motive driving an external behavior is seen through the United States’ entry into Iraq. President Bush said that the reason we entered into Iraq was to get Saddam Hussein and find weapons of mass destruction. Once Saddam was caught and no weapons were found, the U.S. still found itself in Iraq. Once his “reasons” were gone, the real factors behind Bush’s decision came to light. According to many, Bush had an ulterior motive for entering into Iraq: oil. The more power the U.S. gained in Iraq, the more power it gained over oil. Bush’s external behavior was entering the U.S. into Iraq and unleashing a war while in the background, his interior motive was to gain control of oil fields.

This is a picture of President Bush composed of the faces of the soldiers who have died in the war

(Picture from:

5. On page 303 and 304 of his book The Power Elite, Mills describes the differences between a “public” and a “mass.” What makes a “public?” What makes a “mass?” Which one are we?

Mills’ book, The Power Elite

A “public” is a state in which there are virtually as many people expressing opinions as there are people hearing the opinions. In a public there is also an ability to speak back to the opinion givers immediately and effectively. Additionally, the people can easily find a way to achieve effective action, even if the action is against the government. The institutions of a public do not penetrate the public, the public is autonomous.

A “mass” is a state in which few people express opinions but there are multitudes of people hearing the opinions. It is difficult for people to answer back quickly and effectively to the opinion givers. Also, the public is not autonomous; it is controlled by its institution.

A modern day example of a mass society is that of China. The people that want to voice their opinions cannot. People cannot answer back to the “opinions” that they hear from the government because the government is completely penetrating the society.

I think that the United States is a public. We are like a public because there are so many people expressing their opinions. We are also able to answer back quickly and effectively to these people giving their opinions. People in our country can also take action against other opinion makers and the government by protesting. I do think that we are a public but for the last aspect, we are a bit mixed between the two. Our government does not absolutely control our actions, but they do have power over us. They can tell us what to say and how to say it, even though we have freedom of speech. This freedom is like something that would happen in a public, but we are restricted. For instance, can you make a threat on the President’s life?

6. Mills said that individuals in a mass society feel like they cannot influence elections. Can a single American influence a presidential election now with the advent of new social networking technologies like Twitter?

I think that one single person can influence a presidential election via new technologies like Twitter. For example, Ashton Kutcher has a very large following on Twitter. Say it is 2008 and he tweets declaring his support for Barack Obama. That could have an effect on the election because Kutcher’s opinions mean a lot to his followers. This could potentially bring in a lot of new voters to Obama who may not have supported him before hearing that their favorite actor does. (Link to Ashton Kutcher’s Twitter:

Another is example is that of Oprah. She has an immense following (Over 3 million on Twitter!) and is extremely influential on the American public. What if she posted on Twitter that she no longer endorsed Obama and wanted McCain to win? I think that move would have a huge impact on the presidential election. Her opinions are very influential to the American public and people trust her and what she says. She is just a single person! It is true that one person can influence so many people.

Listen to my Podcast of this blog post at:

Nicole and Kelley’s Questions for MegaQuiz#1

Nicole’s Questions

1. Bernays said that majority ideas are usually the oldest ideas. However, in modern times, research sometimes proves these old ways as inefficient or incorrect. What is one modern day example of an old majority idea that no longer holds up?

2. Bernays was able to use prominent groups or people in certain industries to promote new products.  What is an example of a new innovation that did not catch on until a prominent person used it?

3.  Lippmann argued that a person’s perception of the world is his picture of truth. This relates to Lippmann’s beliefs on politics; that a person’s picture of the world makes them believe that their opinion is absolute. What is one modern political issue that demonstrates this idea that peoples’ perceptions of the world can make them feel like their opinions are the only right ones?

Kelley’s Questions

4. On pages 11-13, Lippmann describes how external behaviors are influenced by interior motives. The example he uses is two friends fighting over money. In reality they are fighting over money but behind the scenes, one man is reenacting the past in which a girl chose the other man over him. What is one example of an external behavior that was a result of an interior motive in modern times?

5. On page 303 and 304 of his book The Power Elite, Mills describes the differences between a “public” and a “mass.” What makes a “public?” What makes a “mass?” Which one are we?

6. Mills said that individuals in a mass society feel like they cannot influence elections. Can a single American influence a presidential election now with the advent of new social networking technologies like Twitter?

Tweeting Reflection

Tweeting during the film was very different in comparison to taking notes. It really enhanced my learning abilities. We looked up more information about our tweets to add to the class discussion, which I liked. I felt like I could take my learning in whatever direction I wanted. Taking notes on Twitter was interactive; we could see other peoples’ notes and comment on them. It made me feel like my notes were more rewarding because others could see what I was thinking.

On the other hand, the Twitter postings frustrated me. I felt very rushed because I wanted to get 50 tweets in and my computer kept freezing when I was trying to post my comments. I also felt like I did not even watch the movie. I would hear one phrase or name then I would research for a couple of minutes so I could post something while completely ignoring the movie. If I were taking notes with a pen and paper then I think I would actually have left class feeling like I watched the film. If asked if I would use Twitter to take notes again, I do think that I would, but it would be under different circumstances.

Links that I posted:
-George Washington’s Farewell Address
Article about kidnapped journalists
A copy of the U.S. Government’s rules for embedded journalists
Article about how many bombs were dropped in Iraq

Link to what an F-117 Stealth Fighter looks like
Link to a website that shows the top 10 media conglomerates
Website that compares Hitler to Saddam Hussein
Website about peace
Link to Judith Miller’s website