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Public Relations Journal — Vol. 6, No. 1

Title: Rehabilitating Your Organization’s Image: Public Relations Professionals’ Perceptions of the Effectiveness and Ethicality of Image Repair Strategies in Crisis Situations

Authors: Denise P. Ferguson, Ph.D., APR, J. D. Wallace, Ph.D. and Robert C. Chandler, Ph.D.

Abstract: The article by Professors Ferguson, Wallace and Chandler offers evidence-based decision making from empirical research based on practicing public relations professionals’ reported perceptions and use of specific strategies in different types of crisis situations. The use of crisis communication strategies among public relations professionals, focusing on judgments about which strategies are ethical, which strategies professionals are likely to use and recommend, and which strategies are most effective, is contextualized within three common reputation crisis scenarios (accidents, product safety, and illegal activity).

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Title: The Impact of Apology on Organization – Public Relationships and Perceptions of Corporate Social Responsibility

Authors: Michel M. Haigh, Ph.D. and Frank Dardis, Ph.D.

Abstract: The study by Drs. Haig and Dardis tests Benoit’s five image restoration strategies within a single crisis situation to examine how each strategy impacts perceptions of the organization – public relationship and corporate social responsibility. They report on an experiment that measures consumers’ reactions to the different crisis messages. Results indicate the reducing the offensiveness strategy led to higher perceptions of the organization – public relationship and corporate social responsibility. This study provides a guide for how corporate communicators should develop messages in times of crisis. The study provides clearer evidence of how the messages communicated during a crisis impacts corporate social responsibility and the organization – public relationship.

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Title: Animal-Welfare Activists vs. the Calgary Stampede: “That’s Entertainment?”

Author: Colleen Killingsworth, MCM, APR, ABC, FCPRS.

Abstract: The case study by Dr. Killingsworth focuses on the reputation of the Calgary Stampede, the world’s largest outdoor rodeo which attracts more than one million visitors, has been shaken after the death of six horses in 2010. Animal-welfare advocates, who oppose the use of animals in entertainment, pressure the Stampede every year to stop cruel events such as calf-roping steer-wrestling and chuckwagon racing. After the death of the six horses, animal-welfare advocates were more vocal than ever through social and traditional media channels, resulting in a reputational loss for the Stampede in 2010 compared to 2009. This case study is explored in three parts.

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Title: Elite and Popular Newspaper Publication of Press Releases: Differential Success Factors?

Authors: Sam Lehman-Wilzig, Ph.D., and Michal Seletzky, Ph.D., Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

Abstract: This study authored by Drs. Lehman-Wilzig and Seletzky examines for whether elite and popular newspapers are influenced differently by public relations practices of PR agencies. Based on 373 press releases, 71 potential variables were tested for successful press release publication in two types of Israeli newspapers: popular (Yediot Akhronot and Maariv) and elite (Haaretz). In addition, 32 journalists (including 6 editors) and 13 public relations agency managers were surveyed. A mathematical formula was devised to pinpoint the central success factors. The main findings highlight success elements for each type of newspaper: news importance, novelty and usefulness; writing quality and timely transmission to the paper; press release source (agency/manager/practitioner experience; reputation; educational level; and mutual trust relationship with journalists/editors). The implications of the basic findings are explored.

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Title: Revisiting the Continuum of Types of Organization-Public Relationships: From a Resource-Based View

Author: Linjuan Rita Men, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Miami.

Abstract: By combining the growing body of knowledge on organization-public relationship and insights from the resource-based theory in strategic management, Linjuan Rita Men’s study explores the different types of relationships existing in Mainland China and which types of relationships are perceived as strategic resources that contribute to corporate sustainable competitive advantage. Through 15 in-depth interviews with public relations directors and other strategic managers from 14 Fortune 500 and Forbes China 100 companies, the findings showed that exchange relationships are the most common type of relationships in China.

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Title: Tell It All?: Challenging Crisis Communications’ Rules

Author: Jo Robertson, D.Sc.

Abstract: Professor Robertson’s article focuses on the public relations maxim suggesting if a company in crisis proactively releases additional information that could prove damaging, rather than waiting for if/when the media uncovers it, this will shorten the news cycle of the story and could lessen the overall reputational damage. The researcher sought to determine academically whether there is validity to the truism. The number of news stories generated about crises were counted, stock fluctuations were tracked, and journalists were surveyed to determine whether learning that a company withheld information affects journalists’ trust, causes journalists to search harder for additional negative information, and/or increase the total number of stories published/broadcast.

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Title: Dimensions of Emergency Messages as Perceived by Journalists and Sources

Authors: Chris Swindell, Ph.D. and James Hertog, Ph.D.

Abstract: The article by Drs. Swindell and Herrtog posits a set of dimensions along which emergency communication message construction between journalists and official sources differs from other message interaction. The coorientation model is used to assess both groups’ views about three features of emergency news and to evaluate their expectations about each others’ views on the topic. Journalists and official sources exhibit somewhat similar attitudes and beliefs with regard to accuracy, timeliness, and audience panic but vary widely with regard to their understanding of the other’s views. Findings indicating such divergence are a concern because they could become a barrier to the provision of high-quality emergency news, a source of important guidance to the public during times of crisis.

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Title: A Struggle for Legitimacy: Russian Women Secure Their Professional Identities in Public Relations in a Hyper-Sexualized Patriarchal Workplace

Author: Katerina Tsetsura, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma.

Abstract: Dr. Tsetsura’s qualitative study seeks to understand a process of identity negotiation by female public relations practitioners in the workplace in transitional hyper-sexualized societies, such as Russia, where public relations is a relatively young field. Using a framework of positioning and concepts of multiple identity negotiation and body disciplining, the study reveals how female public relations practitioners in Russia engage in a constant process of securing their professional identities, specifically disciplining their bodies and controlling their physical presence. The results demonstrated that dress code self-enforcement helped to underscore the professionalism for female public relations practitioners.p>

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