Vol. 4, No. 2 – 2003

 

A Public Relations Pariah:  Working Parents and Childcare Expenses – Kate Kearins and Keith Hooper
Five Hypotheses on an Epistemology of Public Relations – Noel Turnbull
Public Relations on the Internet:  The State ... – C.K. Weaver, M. Schoenberger-Orgad and A. Pope
Case Study:  Banking on the Bush:  The Launch ... – L. Kellaway, R. Fewster and B. Macleod-Smith
Book Reviews


A Public Relations Pariah:  Working Parents and Childcare Expenses

Kate Kearins and Keith Hooper

The absence of tax deductibility of childcare expenses for working parents, despite adversely affecting many people, has not attracted widespread attention in either Australia or New Zealand.  Over a half century ago, the issue was judged ‘settled’, and ever since judges have ruled that childcare is not a necessary expense for working parents.  We argue that like other social causes reflecting changing socio-economic patterns, the case for children deductibility is really a public relations rather than jurisprudence issue, and one with which public relations professionals could usefully engage.

 

Five Hypotheses on an Epistemology of Public Relations

Noel Turnbull

Public relations education in Australia has primarily developed in response to market forces within the public relations industry.  While this development has led to an increasing number of courses, and a range of subject choices, there has been relatively limited work on developing an epistemology of public relations.  The current review of public relations education at RMIT University is providing opportunities to explore new approaches.  When the review of the competencies required for such a course is combined with consideration of work in some scientific and social science disciplines, which illuminate our understanding of what shapes attitudes and behaviours, it is possible to develop some tentative hypotheses on future directions for public relations practice, teaching and research.  Further, it is possible to identify insights into critical theories of public relations which can be derived from analysis of the interactions between these competencies and the context within which they operate.

 

Public Relations on the Internet:  The State of the Art in New Zealand

C.K. Weaver, M. Schoenberger-Orgad and A. Pope

The paper investigates public relations use of the Internet in New Zealand and reports on a survey of 50 public relations practitioners’ use and perceptions of Internet communications.  The research identifies New Zealand public relations practitioners as using the Internet for a wide range of public relations purposes, and particularly valuing how the medium provides publics with instant access to a vast range of organisational information.  The low cost of Internet communication and the fact that the message can be controlled were also of considerable importance to respondents.  In these terms, the Internet is regarded as an integral part of the communications program.  However, little evidence of developed strategies, objectives and goals in the public relations use of Internet communications was found.  Further, there was minimal evidence of using the Internet to facilitate two-way communication with publics.  Many practitioners simply regard the Internet as a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week silo for information seekers; this indicates a need for a more subtle appreciation of the fine art of Internet-based public relations in this country.

 

Case Study:  Banking on the Bush:  The Launch of Elders Rural Bank

L. Kellaway, R. Fewster and B. Macleod-Smith

This case study describes the role played by Porter Novelli Australia in the successful launch of the Elders Rural Bank in June 2000.  The launch required significant flexibility and adaptability from the PR professionals involved for a variety of reasons, including the vast and decentralised geographical audience and the very uncertain and short timeframes within which the launch had to be implemented.  The case study underlines the great value of PR consultants working as partners in the client’s business team.  The importance of specifying clear goals and objectives for a PR campaign is underlined.  As clients increasingly expect PR practitioners to evaluate the outcomes of their campaigns ever more fully it is also important to point to specific measures that demonstrate the effectiveness of the PR contribution.

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