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Academics discuss political public relations

Posted by Elena del Valle on November 16, 2012

Political Public Relations book cover

Political Public Relations book cover

Photos: Spiro Kiousis, Jesper Stromback

In Political Public Relations: Principles and Applications (Routledge, $49.95), a 338-page softcover book published in 2011 targeting an audience of students and practitioners with an interest in the developing field, fifteen men and three women, many of them in academia, discuss political public relations. The editors of the book, Spiro Kiousis, PhD*, and Jesper Stromback, PhD, believe that although political public relations plays an important role in society little theorizing or research takes place.

They participated in the book project to encourage integrative theory and research to connect public relations, political communication, political science and related fields. Stromback is Lubbe Nordström Professor and chair in Journalism, and professor in Media and Communication at Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden. Kiousis is associate professor and chair of the Department of Public Relations, College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida.

Spiro Kiousis, co-editor, Political Public Relations
Spiro Kiousis, co-editor, Political Public Relations

“The recent presidential election campaign highlighted the ongoing importance of effective public relations and communication in winning an election. While the temptation to relegate traditional strategies and tactics as obsolete is high, the success of each candidate at different phases of the campaign rested on their ability to use both traditional channels (such as debates) or social media channels (such as YouTube), said Spiro Kiousis, co-editor, Political Public Relations by email.”

The book includes fifteen chapters. The first two chapters define political public relations and identify its roots. The next two are about news management, agenda indexing and building. The next chapters address political campaigning and presidential elections. The remaining chapters discuss corporate issues, political marketing, strategic framing, crisis communication, relationship management, government communication, digital issues, research and future issues as well as diplomacy, foreign relations and global political public relations.

“Oftentimes public relations in politics is misunderstood as being only about spin och news management, but at heart, political public relations is about organizations seeking to establish, build an maintain beneficial relationships and reputations with its key publics to help support its mission and achieve its goals. As such, public relations has always been an intrinsic part of politics and is key to long-term success both when campaigning and governing, and this book highlights both the principles and applications of public relations in politics,” said Stromback by email.

Jesper Stromback, co-editor, Political Public Relations

Jesper Stromback, co-editor, Political Public Relations

The book’s definition of political public relations is “the management process by which an organization or individual actor for political purposes, through purposeful communication and action, seeks to influence and to establish, build, and maintain beneficial relationships and reputations with its key publics to help support its mission and achieve its goals.” A book related website, political-public-relations.com, most recently updated September 2012 and run by the editors, extends the conversation beyond the book.

In addition to Kiousis and Stromback, the contributing authors are Paul Baines, PhD, W. Timothy Coombs, PhD, Mathew Eshbough-Soha, PhD, Guy J. Golan, Kirk Hallan, Robert Heath, PhD, Nigel Jackson, John A. Ledingham, PhD, Paul S. Lieber, Darren G. Lilleker, Diana Knott Martinelli, PhD, Juan Carlos Molleda, PhD, Karen Sanders, Kay Sweetser, PhD, John C. Tedesco, PhD, and Damion Waymer, PhD.

*Elena del Valle and Spiro Kiousis serve on the University of Florida Public Relations Advisory Council


Political Public Relations book cover

Click to buy Political Public Relations


Academics explore media effect on public opinion

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 8, 2012

The News and Public Opinion book cover

The News and Public Opinion book cover

Photos:R. Lance Holbert, Wayne Wanta, Spiro Kiousis

Four academics, Max McCombs, R. Lance Holbert, Spiro Kiousis* and Wayne Wanta, discuss the effects of news media (print, television and radio) on public opinion in The News and Public Opinion Media Effects on Civic Life (Polity Books, $22.95). In the 210-page softcover book published in 2011, they address the public’s attention to news media, effects of media exposure on the gathering of information and forming of attitudes and opinions, and how these elements affect public life or how the process affects public opinion.

R. Lance Holbert
R. Lance Holbert, co-author, The News and Public Opinion

The authors point out that some media are suffering financially. In relation to news they refer to how the television networks news programs have decreasing audience numbers which have led to a loss of profitability and power. Soft news programs are more profitable and the networks remain focused on making a profit; also, older men are the most likely to watch network news programs and a young demographic is not following in their footsteps, they say.

Wayne Wanta
Wayne Wanta, co-author, The News and Public Opinion

Cable news networks like CNN and Fox News have a role as well. Fox News viewers, according to a study by Jonathan Morris, were not was well informed as the viewers of other television news programs, followed specific voting patters, held specific political views and had a political perspective distinct from viewers of other news networks.

Public trust of news media is very low and entertainment content within public affairs has become popular because “the present practice of journalism is so poor,” the authors say in the first chapter. Citizen involvement in journalism has been greatly enhanced, and continues through the internet; the audience of news media is decreasing and to reach them segmentation, including by ethnicity and language, has become increasingly necessary, the authors say. In the Audiences for News chapter, they indicate their belief that ethnic-based news media will continue to grow.

Spiro Kiousis
Spiro Kiousis, co-author, The News and Public Opinion

Education plays a role in learning from the media and people with high levels of education learn more and at a faster rate than their counterparts with low educational levels, according to the authors who discovered that newspaper readers learn more than television audiences. Gender also plays a role, they believe, with men favoring hard news and women favoring soft news. The authors also discuss media selectivity and the importance of form versus content.

*Elena del Valle and Spiro Kiousis serve on the University of Florida Public Relations Advisory Council.


The News and Public Opinion book cover

Click to buy The News and Public Opinion