For Immediate Release is a twice weekly commentary on public relations and technology.  Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz host the show via the For Immediate Release website or through podcast.  Hobson is located in Wokingham, Berkshire, England and Holtz is located in Concord, California.  Together, they offer a well-rounded perspective on the ever-changing world of public relations.


After a short introduction, Hobson and Holtz cut to Eric Schwartzman in Singapore for a report on the current use of social media to help leverage government communications.  Singapore is the richest country in south east Asia and there has been an explosion in the use of social media by communication professionals.  Schwartzman noted that the people of Singapore are openly willing to embrace any and every aspect of social media.  He explained how the people of Singapore are adapting to social media much faster than Americans.


Nicholas Aaron Khoo a communication professional in Singapore explained how the speed in which social media is being adapted has had dramatic effects in surrounding areas.  In Malaysia an incumbent party of the past 50 years was almost defeated in an election because the opposing party used social media for their campaign.  Even with the success of social media, many communicators have not figured out the rules to this new technology.  The government in Singapore use social media to cover up problems instead of addressing the issues at hand. 


The next topic was focused on a practical joke that two employees of the BBC that made a prank call to a veteran actor using foul language during a radio show.  There were over 30,000 complaints to the BBC about the call.  Clearly, many people were outraged by the prank call, but it is important to note that a facebook group was made with 34,000 members supporting the pranksters.  Hobson noted that there has become a need to have a rapid crisis management team to help address such problems.


This was my first time listening to For Immediate Release and I really enjoyed listening to all the different perspectives that were provided.  Aside from the ridiculous transition music, the information is presented in a very comprehendible manner and the hour long podcast seems to pass rather quickly.  I will continue to listen to For Immediate Release because the information is so current and really helpful to a student like myself going into the field of public relations.


Preparation for a Crisis

November 4, 2008

Donald Levy explores the dangers of journalists seeking to expose information that could possibly damage the reputation of a company.  He uses the hypothetical situation that popular documentary director Michael Moore makes an unexpected visit to a company demanding answers from the CEO.  If he cannot talk to the CEO, he would be more than comfortable putting the media relations person on the “hot seat” in order to get the information he needs for his documentary.

As a PR practitioner, one can be faced with many difficult decisions.  Since the reporter is unexpected, you have no statement prepared to address the problem.  You have not received permission to answer the questions that are being asked and doing so could cost the PR practitioner their job.  Avoiding the question completely or answering “no comment” only makes the company look suspicious and motivates journalists to be relentless in their search for finding damaging information.


The key to combating this potentially dangerous situation is preparation according to Levy.  Levy explains how the really difficult questions come from reporters who focus on how the company has taken advantage of the public or endangered them in some way.  Levy explains how the best response to negative accusations is by answering with what is referred to as a positive opposite (27).  When representing a company, the PR practitioner should explain that the organization sets out to protect its publics, not harm them. 

 It is always important to plan for the future when it comes to crisis situations.  Many problems can be solved by thinking ahead and having positive press releases, photos, video clips, or anything that can represent your company in a positive light.  Showing this type of hard evidence to journalist empowers the PR practitioner with credibility.


 This article helps me to understand the importance of being prepared for anything when it comes to representing your company.  To be an effective PR practitioner, one should always be thinking of hypothetical situations that could have a negative impact on the organization that is represented.  When answering questions, the PR practitioner should be fluid with responses and give the reporter not only words but physical evidence.  This preparation allows the practitioner to not only influence reporters perceptions, but it helps build valuable relationships with the various media outlets that are ultimately responsible for covering your organization.



Levy, Ronald N. (2007).  You: ready for Michael Moore.  Public Relations 

             Quarterly, Vol. 52.1 (pp.27-29)

A Glance at Photography

November 4, 2008


News University offers an incredibly helpful way for amateur photographers to learn the different elements involved in capturing images.  Sometimes a minor adjustment in a photograph can change the perspective of those who view the image.  Public relations practitioners should be very conscious of the images they place in various publications.  The content within the photograph has the ability to change one’s perception.  Photographs can be powerful and persuasive vehicles to carry your organization’s message.

News University stresses the importance of knowing the different elements of a photograph.  Each element creates an impact in the mind of the person viewing the image.  Often times a photographer will capture multiple elements in a photograph that will enhance the overall message that is being conveyed. 

A picture is worth a thousand words but how those “words” are perceived can greatly effect the central message of the photograph.  I have learned that a visual surprise element in a photograph is often associtated with humor.  If you want to express intense emotion through an image it is best to use images of human facial expressions.  Human facial expressions speak universally to those who view the image. Changing the point of view of a photograph can also have profound effects on the image produced. The goal is to use a combination of different elements to enhance the quality of your photograph.





Twitter: Is it for you?

November 4, 2008

Twitter is a social networking sight that allows you to post updates about yourself in 140 characters or less.  This efficient form of communication places emphasis on importance and brevity of information. 

In order to effectively use twitter, it is imperative to make frequent updates and have a vigilant following.  This is one factor that makes using this website difficult for me.  Twitter is only effective if you voluntarily disclose information about yourself.  While many people are comfortable with this minimal level of disclosure, I find the whole process a little bit strange.  I rarely make updates on my facebook account and it is incredibly difficult for me to voluntarily disclose information about myself.  I believe that it breaches my limit on personal disclosure. 

Twitter has been beneficial to many of my fellow students.  It has allowed them to make business contacts with CEO’s of large corporations.  Being able to make an important contact is priceless, especially if it only takes 140 characters of your time.  I will continue to use twitter sparingly until I find more relevant uses for it or until I become more comfortable with the nature of this site.