Vol. 1, No. 2 – Winter 1999


Public Relations:  A Profession of Limited Privilege – Rhonda Breit
Communication during Downsizing:  How ... –  Helena D. Economo & Theodore E. Zorn
Staking Claims:  Marketing, Public Relations and Territories – David McKie & Marie Louise Hunt
Australian Government Communication:  A Paradigm Shift – Rosaleen Symth
Challenges for Public Relations Educators in a Global Communications’ Environment – Joy Chia
Continuing Professionalism in ... – Colonel Bob Crawshaw & Lieutenant Colonel Charles Reynolds
Research in Public Relations:  A Review of the use of Evaluation and Formative ... – Jim R. Macnamara
11th Annual Giving Trends™ in Australia Report 1999 – O’Keefe & Partners
Notes on Public Relations in India.  Emerging New Human Environment – A Challenge
Case Study:  Australia’s National Tobacco Campaign Evaluation Report, Volume One Summary
Book Reviews

Public Relations:  A Profession of Limited Privilege

Rhonda Breit

The tort of defamation attempts to balance two fundamental human rights:  the right of the individual to protect their reputation and the right to freedom of speech.  In weighing up these competing rights, the courts have refined the guidelines as to when defamatory material is protected by privilege.  This article examines recent authorities to predict how these cases affect public relations practitioners.  First it examines the protection accorded to publishers at common law by privilege and outlines the effect of some recent decisions in the application of this protection.  Finally it attempts to map the effect of these decisions on public relations practice.


Communication during Downsizing:  How Downsizing Survivors Construct Effective Corporate Communication

Helena D. Economo & Theodore E. Zorn

Downsizing and restructuring have become ubiquitous features of the organisational landscape in contemporary society.  Corporate communication within downsizing organisations is an important but understudied phenomenon.  Our interest in this paper is primarily with communication internal to organisations, particularly communication between management and organisational “survivors” of downsizing.  We report the results of field research with “survivors” in a multinational organisation that was in the midst of downsizing.  The purpose of the study was to investigate what survivors considered to be communication that is effective in helping them deal with the downsizing process.  Thirty-one survivors, all members of one downsizing organisation, participated in interviews of focus groups in which they were asked to describe examples of communication related to the downsize.  An interpretive, thematic analysis of participant accounts was conducted.  Implications for corporate communication practice and research are discussed.


Staking Claims:  Marketing, Public Relations and Territories

David McKie & Marie Louise Hunt

Paradoxically, despite the tendency for disciplines to move towards an increasing interdisciplinarity, demarcation disputes continue to counter trends towards convergence.  Such disputes frequently occur when fields share some common interests and differential power.  Along the sometimes ill-defined boundaries between marketing and public relations and between journalism and public relations, occupants of the different fields have proposed cooperative ventures, fought border wars, and called truces.  Recent battles, both locally and internationally, have highlighted some territorial advantages and disadvantages.  This article uses these disputes to explore some of what has been, what continues to be, and what might be at stake for public relations in such discursive, institutional and ethical struggles.


Australian Government Communication:  A Paradigm Shift

Rosaleen Symth

This paper explores the way in which the Australian federal government has gone from a one-way model of communication with a concentration on process rather than outcomes to a result-oriented two way model.  Focus is placed on the extent to which the federal government now relies on outsourcing for expertise in market research, public relations and advertising;  the oversight role of the Ministerial Committee on Government Communication; controversies over the demarcation between government publicity and advertising and party political advertising; and the increasingly interactive nature of government communication as driven by the Internet.


Challenges for Public Relations Educators in a Global Communications’ Environment 

Joy Chia

As new electronic communication technologies expand the horizons of public relations practitioners, educators of public relations are challenged to work within new frameworks for course delivery.  This paper raises issues around the impact of these new technologies as the internationalisation of communication changes the context of practitioners and educators functioning in both the local and global arena.


Continuing Professionalism in Military Public Relations

Colonel Bob Crawshaw & Lieutenant Colonel Charles Reynolds

The Australian Army is one of the big Australians in Australian PR.  It has one of the largest PR workforces in the country and regularly communicates with local, national and international audiences.

Like others, it faces the challenge of ensuring that its PR professionals remain at the forefront of best PR practice.  After a 12 month development period, it recently introduced a competency-based model to identify and measure PR performance and to assist in the individual management and professional development of its practitioners.


11th Annual Giving Trends™ in Australia Report 1999

O’Keefe & Partners

This 11th Annual Giving Trends report spells good news for the Third Sector.  Despite increasing competition for the charitable dollar, corporate and private Australia continues to respond positively to calls for support from an increasing number of Non-Profit Organisations (NPO’s).

The past 12 months have seen a number of casualties in the Third Sector.  Predictably, disappointing results have been experienced by organisations that have failed to re-assess their fundraising base and implement strategies for long-term development.  On the other hand, those organisations that are strategically focussed and open to new and innovative fundraising strategies are reaping the rewards.

These are dynamic­ – and potentially explosive – times for fundraising.  Australians are more affluent than in the recent past.  Unemployment is down and much of the population has more disposable income that at any time, particularly those in the 25-40 year age bracket, a traditional high expense period, and least attractive to charitable marketing.

The real challenge is to harness the generosity and goodwill of his traditionally neglected donor segment.  This untapped market has the dollars – and is ripe for the philanthropic message.


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