Our last day of class before spring break was partially spent on the discussion of ghostwriters’ blogging for a company and where it falls on the moral spectrum. I thought this topic was just being addressed as a segue into our next case study, so you can imagine my surprise when I came across a blog discussing this same topic. Bill Sledzik, an associate professor of Journalism and Mass Communications at Kent State University, spent his long post defending the idea of ghostwriting when done in a professional and responsible manner.
Like many students and professionals alike, I am on the fence. Both sides can make solid arguments. Both are persuasive. Both can make you test your own personal morals. I feel like this is a common trend, not only in PR, but in life in general. There are always two sides to an issue (sometimes more) and when deciding ethically, unfortunately you are the only one who can help yourself.
It’s a scary thought. Knowing that we are soon going to be the little fish in a ginormous pond and realizing that there is no survival guide to help us along. From what I’ve gathered from the handful of people I know already in that pond, is our morals and ethics will be tested continuously throughout our profession. There will always be people to give advice and try to help along the way, but when it comes down to it, you are in charge of your decisions and your future.
I honestly don’t know what I will do when I am faced with one of these ethical dilemmas, but I would like to hope that I will do what I feel is best without any outside influences. Unfortunately, there will never be a decision every single person will agree on, but by staying true to ourselves, hopefully we will be able to get through these bumps in the road.
With blogging becoming such an important part of media and customer relations, many people (like myself) are being forced to learn the intricacies of blogging if they want to survive in the world of PR. Doing so gives many advantages to a company or a PR professional: It can facilitate communication between a corporation and the consumer; it gives PR people another, more accessible outlet to disseminate information; and it can build media/consumer trust in a company or even an individual PR professional. Or can it?
While there is no doubt that blogging creates an easier flow of information, there is no guarantee that people will have trust in the information that is released. Blogging is just makes it easier for people to see what you have to say. It’s the substance of what you actually say that will decide whether or your not your blog is successful. You need to have credible information that people will care about in order to build lasting relationships with your readers, or else they will not return to your blog. In his blog, Les Potter questions whether or not it is even possible to develop trust among readers, and if it is, how to go about doing it.
This topic is touched upon in the blog post titled Ten Social Resolutions for Marketers in 2009. One of the things that is touched on in the article, and that we are taught in Online Media, is that bloggers need to be up-to-date with a lot of the information that they are discussing. That means actively monitoring and commenting on similar blogs, staying current on all types of news, and engaging in other types of conversation with other bloggers. If you want bloggers to take you seiously, or even are considering pitching a story to a blogger, it is important that they have some information about you and don’t feel that you are just using them. A good way to do that is to use your own blog to get their attention through links and references.
As a new member to the world of blogging, I decided to Google PR blogs and see what else is out there. I came across Naked PR, a blog written by Jennifer Mattern. Mattern refers to her blog as “cutting through the crap in online public relations” among other things. In reading her blog, which is quite interesting (although uses the occasional expletive), I discovered the entry “Journalism is Dead?”, a post about a media summit in which those attending discuss the concept of journalism and PR as a dying profession because everyone these days is a “communicator.”
The issue with this belief is that while everyone is indeed a “communicator,” not everyone is skilled to practice PR or journalism. It is a studied profession in which we are taught the correct way to go about our jobs in an ethical fashion. I find it hard to believe that the two professions will disappear because without both, many businesses could not survive. I do agree with the notion that the profession must be more than a press release, as Neville Hobson states, but I think that it’s already more than that. The creation of a PR campaign requires an educated team of PR professionals who know how to go about planning and executing a successful campaign. It isn’t all about press releases.
What do you think of the idea of PR and journalism being dying professions?
Dr. Karen Miller Russell of the University of Georgia invites PR students to pitch her for the opportunity to post in her blog, which is read by other public relations faculty and students, but also numerous practitioners of PR and other communication fields. The invitation is open for the entire month of October, so you have a little time to think about whether you have a post to suggest.
I want to point everyone toward a post today over at Jennifer Van Grove’s blog, about building relationships with influential bloggers for public relations purposes. The post raises some interesting questions: Is it worth the effort? Why or why not? How to convince clients and/or employers that the return on investment (ROI) justifies the time spent cultivating bloggers? In what situations is the ROI high enough to be worthwhile, and when is it not?
Jennifer is reporting on a panel she was part of at the recent BlogWorld & New Media Expo, which is also worth reading about.
To begin with, I am thinking about blogging in general. My thoughts on blogging is that it is not for everyone, you really have to be good at writing and beyond that you have to be a compelling writer to create a following. I came across an article on Communication Overtones about money and fame in blogging. I thought to myself, do people really get into blogging by going “hey I could totally be Perez Hilton one day?” Do they actually have the passion and skill to deliver information to people by finding a way to share their talent, and that turns out to be by blogging? I didn’t realize how big of an interest blogging was until this class, before when I thought of blogging I thought of My Space and celebrity bloggers, like Perez, now I think on a whole new level.
My main questions is, if people are really out there just to make tons of money or even find fame among blogging is it really because they want to blog? It seems that if you are going to make this huge lifestyle change to follow a specific topic (celebrities, PR ideas,etc.) then you must really like it right? Or does someone actually do it just because they think they will become huge, although there are over 70 million blogs out there, it almost seems impossible to be successful if you aren’t talented.
My main point is that I can’t believe people actually are out there just to find fame or become rich off of it when it is more of a networking thing. It seems like it could be a fun hobby by looking for blogs that interest you and reading/posting on them but the information has to come from somewhere and it has to be reliable–basically you need to have some sort of significance behind your blogging and I don’t think people who are out for fame and money will have the actual desire to want to impact a specific topic.