Here's the thing....

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars..."-Jack Kerouac

Sunday, September 24, 2006

HP: Somewhat of a right decision (Blog #4)

So, the Chairman of HP is gone now, and is not resigning in January as had been previously planned. She had been trying to plug a media leak that had been going on from the boardroom to print, but had also been going about it unethically.

So, when is the line crossed? I think that the intention there was good, but the way that it was done was entirely unethical. Obviously, things that go on in the boardroom are private. If leaked, however, a PR person would be there addressing the media and stating its point of view, making sure that it was published right along the "leak". I don't even think the investigation was wrong, because a company's confidentiality is in most contracts. However, the extent that she authorized was wrong, even if she claims that she did not know the extreme that the investigators went to.

"Determined to protect confidential board discussions, Dunn hired investigators who impersonated board members, employees and journalists to obtain their phone records. The detectives also spied on an HP director and concocted an e-mail sting to dupe a reporter for CNet Networks Inc.'s, an online technology site." Taken from the news article link above, this is an account of the extent that Pattie Dunn went to to figure out who was leaking information to the press.

The chairmanship will now be passed to the CEO, Mark Hurd. He is not on the list of people that will currently be prosecueted. However, the article states that he was the one that authorized the email sting, but that he did not authorize the software used to trace the reporterts computer. My question to Mr. Hurd is how he actually expected them to conduct the email "STING" if there was no trace used? Companies trace their employees computers all the time. In my opinion, it seems to be a lame attempt to cover up his part in the scandal. He did admit to attending a meeting about the investigations, but did not read the report that gave the leaker's identity and details of the investigation.

So, Mr. Hurd, what kind of CEO and now new chairmain will you make if you dont know exactly what is going on? Why not read a report that states all of this information? You are the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, which is a humongous computer company. Come on! I smell something very sneaky that is going on.

"Two other HP employees who played pivotal roles in the scandal are also being let go, according to a person familiar with the matter. They are Kevin Hunsaker, HP's chief ethics officer, and Anthony Gentilucci, who manages HP's global investigations unit in Boston". This quote was said by a person who did not want to be identified because the terms of their departure were still being negociated. Is that even ethical for this "person" to do that? He could have just said two other officers are being let go.

However, HP did make the correct move in letting go the ethics person and the manager of the investigation unit. These are two people that were heavily involved in the scandal.

Honestly, I think they should have just revamped the board. Is this plausible? No. Are there many "computer experts" out in the field? Yes. It doesn't make it plausible, though.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Pope... a PR Disaster? (Blog #3)

So.... everyone knows the pope. ----->

The guy that is the spokesperson for Catholicism as a whole, right? Do you see how many bodyguards he has in his open popemobile? The media is definetely making that fact known.

Well, to put it kindly, he's been making a bit of a mess in the past week, and trying somewhat to make up for it. The pope, in his speech in his home country of Germany, quoted medieval Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologos criticising some teachings of the Prophet Mohammed as "evil and inhuman. On Wedensday, the pope said that he was sorry for the reaction that some countries had, but never actually retracted his words. He stated that he deeply respected the Islam religion, and hoped that this would begin peace talks. I honestly believe that the Pope knew exactly what he was saying, because if he was truly sorry, he would have apologized. Instead, we have people rioting in the Muslim countries, burning down churches and believing that all Christians are against Muslims. Today, President Chavez of Venezuela called Bush "the devil" and told the Pope to watch his words to the Islam religion all in the same breath. As PR professionals, we would have advised his popeness to issue an apology immediately after the riots began happening. Also, we probably would have not let him write his speech all by himself, but rather make sure that his speech caters to the right audience. Since the Pope is used to speaking for his weekly audiences of vastly Catholic believers, he might have written his speech with that in mind. I grew up Catholic, and have seen the narrow-mindedness of parts of the religion when it is something other than Catholicism. One of my good friends from HS is Muslim, and she, as well as her family, were completely outraged by the remarks made, and what has been going on in the Islam countries.

There have been comments that the Pope needs advisors to check over his words, and make sure that he is putting the Catholic Church in the best light. However, there was a news video today released that had the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, saying that he publically accepted the Pope's "apology" to the Islam nation. If the Archbishops, who work directly under the Pope, are saying that they accept his apology, how will the Pope know where his boundaries are? That he should have issued an apology immediately, instead of apologizing for a reaction that the Muslims had?

However, I do not think the Vatican knows how to handle media, or a positive PR campaign. When Da Vinci Code was set to hit theatres, the Vatican hired a PR company to do a negative campaign against the movie. However, I would think that a campaign to support people seeing the movie, to understand what people are saying, and then speaking about the positives of Catholicism, would work just as well. By doing a negative campaign, it fueled people to go see the movie, and then questions werent answered. The Pope asked everyone to boycott the movie, and didnt do anything about counteracting the movies message. He understood on a level that he needed to counteract the message, but did it the wrong way.

It's a never ending cycle, and one that needs to be broken. The question is, when will the conformity stop? When will the stubborness stop, and change be accepted in the Catholic Church?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Utlitarianism v. Communitarianism (Blog #2)

According to the national Public Relations Society of America, the code of ethics was formed to meet three goals that they believed that needed to be provided to the members of the organization: to provide behavioral guidelines to its members; to educate management on public relations standards; and to distinguish public relations professionals from those individuals who use the title but are perceived as giving the profession a bad name. Several ethical frameworks exist in society today, with two being the lead front-runners for good PR practice, and on the opposite side of the spectrum, bad PR practice.
When a PR professional uses a utilitarian approach, it is completely ends-based. This theory is geared towards the conclusion of what will happen at the end of a campaign. Utilitarianism is a principle that holds that the right course of action in any situation is the one that produces the greatest balance of benefits over harms for everyone that is in the situation. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances were to get there; as long as the maximum benefit was reached, it honestly does not matter.
I honestly do not believe that any of the values that the PRSA code of ethics tries to instill into the professionals reflects the utilitarian approach. I believe it is the anti-approach for what they are trying to gear from: people who give the profession a bad name because they do anything to achieve a goal, no matter the cost. The code of ethics is to put into effect behavioral guidelines, and what professionals should model themselves after. This approach is just an example of how a PR professional shouldn’t act. The code of ethics, to me, demonstrates that a professional should try to reach the maximum benefit by following moral values and guidelines that should be learned through the study of public relations.
Communitarianism PR is all about the community, and the circumstances that bring the individuals of that community together. For example, if a PR professional was to gear a campaign towards a Hispanic market, that professional would ultimately have to take the community aspect into high regard. In the Hispanic market, the value of their community, and how it will benefit the social aspect as a whole, rather than an individual, is vital to whether the community will be receptive to campaigns.
The PRSA code begins with six values that the society believes are imperative to the profession. The first value is advocacy, which “serve the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for clients and provide a voice in the marketplace of ideas to aid informed public debate” (Gower, 14). This value almost directly mirrors the communitarian theory, except that for an organization, it is for a person. By serving the public interest acting as an advocate for clients, they are influencing the client on what is best for the community. This approach is best used for community-based markets, because that is the number one requirement for how to market to them.
The fifth value of the PRSA code, loyalty, also has a communitarian influence. The value states that the PR professional is loyal to their client, but continue to serve the public interest. Although somewhat a devil’s advocate, this value still has a resemblance towards communitarianism PR. By serving the public interest, while staying loyal to the client, the professional is working towards what the public wants, with a loyal viewpoint of what the client wants. The client, in essence, is unknowingly dictating what would best serve their interests in the community to the professional. The professional is doing exactly what a communitarian should do, according to Kathie Leeper. Leeper states that “a communitarian approach would suggest that what is best for the community is ultimately in the best interests of the organization (Gower, 10).”
These ethical theories have helped shape not only the code of ethics, but have shaped PR professionals as well.

PR Code of Ethics (Blog # 1)

Three codes exist through the field of PR: the United States Public Relations Society of America Code, Britain’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations, and the International Association of Business Communicators. The three codes main goal is to instill into PR professionals a code of ethics to follow that will make this profession successful and at a high level or morality. Since the PR field deals mainly with people’s perceptions, it is imperative that a code of ethics be put out by each international or national PR society/organization for a member to follow. Each of the three codes values honesty with yourself, your clients and your community. Integrity and fairness are at the utmost importance of these codes, because of the severity that not holding those values will have on the profession and the clients that benefit from the PR field.