Vol. 2, No. 2 – Winter 2000


Disclosing Disclosure:  New Challenges for Financial Communicators – Robina Xavier
Choosing Communication Tools in Social Issues Campaigns – Judy Gregory
Writing in the Workplace:  The Writing Practices of Public Relations Practitioners – Roslyn Petelin
Early Theory in Public Relations – Steve Mackey
Courting the Lost Consumer:  Corporate Identify, Corporate ... – Judy Motion and Shirley Leitch
Observations from Asia Pacific PR Learning Programs: Taking ... – Edward Moore, APR and Mark Gordon
Environmentalism for the 21st Century – Patrick Moore
Corporate Citizenship – David Birch
Making Communications Work when it Really Matters – Admiral Chris Barrie
Developments in the Use of Process Models for Effective Issue Management – Tony Jaques, MPRIA
Case Study:  The Big Burner Controversy.  A Case Study in Issue ... – Keith Jackson
Book Reviews

Disclosing Disclosure:  New Challenges for Financial Communicators

Robina Xavier

Stockmarket regulators in Australia, Canada and the United States have all issued recent challenges to listed companies on their disclosure practices, questioning in many cases what has been long standing practice.  Financial public relations counsellors are constantly called upon to advise on the communication consequences of different disclosure strategies.  This paper will explore the challenges, faced by a group of financial communicators within seven Australian listed companies, in setting and enacting disclosure policies for their organisations.  It will identify key issues involved in communicating within a regulated environment, as well as address the implications of new technology for future practice.


Choosing Communication Tools in Social Issues Campaigns

Judy Gregory

Choosing the communication tools to best reach priority audiences is an ongoing challenge for social issues communicators.  Social issues communicators must decide which tools will be seen and remembered by their audiences, and which tools will make the best use of their limited resources.  In this paper, I consider the communication tools of social issues campaigns from the perspective of audiences.  I ask what types of communication tools people prefer to use when they are confronted with questions about social issues.  Through a survey and follow-up qualitative interviews, I propose that social issues campaigns will be most likely to meet their audience’s preferences if they use multiple communication tools.  I identify four communications tools that meet the information preferences of most participants in this study: brochures and booklets, friends and family, magazines and newspapers, and television and radio programs.  Only a small number of participants in this study selected the internet as a preferred information source, suggesting that the internet is not yet well recognised as a valuable source of information about social issues.  Brochures and booklets were selected as a preferred information source by more than double the number of participants who selected the internet.


Writing in the Workplace:  The Writing Practices of Public Relations Practitioners

Roslyn Petelin

In this paper I present findings from a preliminary survey of the writing practices of 16 public relations practitioners who were working in-house or in consultancies in Brisbane in 1999.  I deal with their writing backgrounds and skills, their beliefs about writing and use of writing tools, their processes of client briefing and document production, their preferred writing environment, and the extent of their editorial interaction with their colleagues.  Finally, I suggest strategies that public relations practitioners could adopt to raise the quality of writing in their workplace, and emphasise the importance of training in professional writing for public relations graduates preparing to practise their profession.


Early Theory in Public Relations

Steve Mackey

Currently there is a debate between the more orthodox theorists of public relations and those who would like to see a greater application of critical and cultural theory.  This article goes back into the history of public relations theory and finds that, in the early days, public relations was theorised in a way which has interesting correspondences to the approaches of today’s critical and cultural theorists.


Courting the Lost Consumer:  Corporate Identify, Corporate Brands, and the New Zealand Insurance Industry

Judy Motion and Shirley Leitch

Traditionally, the corporate identity and the corporate branding practices of the New Zealand insurance industry have been male oriented.  The three campaigns analysed in this paper, however, included or focused on women, a major group of lost consumers for the industry.  It is not possible for an organisation to position itself in a way that allows it to be equally attractive to all people.  However, few organisations can afford to alienate half of their potential consumers and expect to prosper over the longer term.  In 1997, a national referendum on compulsory superannuation focused public and industry attention on the opportunity that the largely untapped female market offered.  Thus the referendum provided the broader social context in which the campaigns analysed in this paper were situated.  The paper employs discourse theory (Fairclough, 1992, 1995) to analyse the process of articulation (Hall, 1986) that the insurance companies engaged in to build a “commonness of thought and meaning” (Kitchen and Wheeler, 1997) with their lost consumers.  The paper concludes that, in order to successfully court groups of lost consumers, organisations must understand both the differences that divide and the commonalities that unite the members of their various publics, including consumers.  Thus, corporate branding campaigns must offer multiple subject positions to individuals in recognition of the many different roles that individuals may play.  Campaigns must also identify the key nodal points that link the life experiences of the individuals within their publics, and build upon these nodal points when constructing messages.


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