Many people in the communications business (well the best of them anyway) have been influenced in recent years by the advances in social psychology – from social marketing around behaviour change to political policy based on ‘nudge’ strategies to persuade people to do (or not do) various things.
Most of the media coverage of the September 14 Federal election date has focussed on the problems facing politicians and parties but big problems also confront the media itself and, to a lesser extent, the political PR staff.
First, the media: It is noteworthy, as I wrote at the time, that not one member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery was on to the 2010 coup against Prime Minister Rudd until it actually happened. A few people tried to pretend that they had canvassed the story but in fact no-one got it. Now, the biggest political story so far this year – the announcement of the election date – was also missed by everyone in the Gallery although one reporter did break the news a few seconds before it was announced. Of course, there were people who talked about September October because that was in the agreement with the independents but that is not the same as missing the date announcement story as they did. Now the Gallery churns out masses of information and predictions every day but what is clear is that unless someone actually points them in the right direction they rarely find out important stuff for themselves. There are, of course, notable exceptions among those who – as I.F.Stone did – trawl annual reports and official data for insights and stories, but the striking thing about most of these stories is that they don’t fit into the predictable agenda of Gallery coverage and end up well back in the paper or the broadcast when they get covered at all.
With eight months to go before the next Federal election just how important are the opinion polls?
Obviously they are important to the members of the media who write relentlessly about what they mean. Equally they are important to polling firms who get brand exposure which benefits the many other research activities they undertake. But how important they are in forecasting results is another question altogether.
A recent crikey contribution was edited quite heavily, without consultation with me, so I thought it might be useful to post the full article. It is as follows:
Tony Abbott, the US Republicans, industry associations, PR people, political advisers and many others have sadly lost a man who did much to lay the foundations for, and explain, reactionary rhetoric.
It has been axiomatic in public relations that timely and appropriate apologies are a critical part of issues and crisis management. But, what if the apologies get out of hand, end up doing even more damage and are just inappropriate?
Tony Jaques regular Managing Outcomes e-newsletter (http://managingoutcomes.wordpress.com/ ) asked earlier this month if “bad apologies damage issues and damage reputations” ; and, Lance Armstrong’s Oprah appearance has seemingly raised almost as many questions about the apology strategy as it has about what Armstrong did wrong.
To add to the topical items posted from time to time – particularly new speeches, articles and lectures – I’ve now opened a blog page on the site.
Not that I’m becoming an ardent daily blogger, it’s just that I come across things from time to time which I suspect might interest people in the PR industry, people interested in the industry, students, academics and that generic category – others.