CO 350

Spring, 13



Blog Post 7


Pr Ethics Contexts: the Past:

Edward Bernays


The reading will cover two chapters from “PR! A social history of spin,” by Stuart Ewen; access to the two chapters is off of Mycampus



Chapter 1 (pp. 2-18)

  1. What did Bernays think democracy was all about? Did he have a very high opinion of the average person?

Bernays did not have a very high opinion of the average person.  He made it very  clear that the average IQ of an American was 100.  That being said, he was very skeptical of people with that level of intelligence voicing their opinions in the government.  He believed that democracy was about the elite and intelligent studying the psychology and sociology of the average person and changing their mass conformist mindset.


  1. What does public relations have to do with “applied social science”?

He believes that the public relations professional should study the habits, likes, dislikes, psychology, and sociology of the average person and the mass market in order to find out their current opinions and change the opinion of the organization in society.


  1. what is the “trans-historic concern” that public relations is a response to?

The trans-historic concern of public relations is the requirement for the officials in power to shape the opinions of the masses.  To illustrate this, he described how his family employed a chauffeur named “Dumb Jack” who would cart him and his family all over the city every day for 25 dollars a week.  He thought that this was not a bad deal for him or for the driver, but he ended the story with “but that was before people got a social conscience.”  This statement solidified that public relations has been a response to the call to raise awareness for people living in poverty and other subpar living conditions.


  1. how does Bernays define “news”?



Chapter 8 (pp. 159-173) (note: to jump to p. 159, type “cornell” in the search bar on the left)

  1. Was Bernays a “social engineer”? Explain (42,45) 165,168

Yes, he was a social engineer.  He believed that in order to influence the public, he must find out which individuals are currently influencing the public.  One example of this was the campaign to get people to eat more bacon.  He explained that an advertisement by the bacon company saying all of the benefits of bacon would not do much.  Instead, if a doctor endorsed bacon and told the public the benefits of bacon, then they would listen.  He believed that he needed to know how to pull the strings of the mass mind by studying their habits and attitudes in order to know how to influence their thoughts and behaviors.


  1. What did Bernays consider to be “news”? (47) 170-1

Bernays considered reality to be news.  However that reality is in its most “simplified and dramatized form” in order to appeal to the senses of the masses.  Then, it is considered news.




CO 350

Spring, 13


Blog Post 6

“Global Theory” of Public Relations


“Paradigms of Global Public Relations” (mycampus handout)

These questions are basically over pp. 1-3

  1. Explain this phrase: “global public relations should fall in the middle between standardization and individualization”

This phrase is in reference to a global public relations practice.  Often practitioners wonder if PR should be practiced standard across the world or if they should individualize it to their own country.  When it is stated that global public relations should fall in the middle, it is saying that there should be a standardized system of ethics, strategy, and two-way symmetrical communication.  However, it should individualize the practice to that specific country.


  1. Is the global theory a normative theory? Explain

Yes, it is a normative theory.  The author of this text emphasizes the should and would of public relations practice.  The global theory states that public relations should fall in the middle between standardization and individualization, and that there could be a set of global standardized principles through which to practice public relations.  However, there is not currently that balance or those standardized rules.


  1. According to Grunig’s research, which of the four “models” does seem to be universal

The press-agentry publicity model of public relations is the one that seems to be practiced universally.  However, this model is proven to be the least effective.


  1. This global theory argues that public relations will be most effective when what happens

Public Relations will be most effective when it applies the 8 generic principles globally and each country tailors them to its own political, economic, and social norms to make it its own.


  1. Explain, in your own words, the 8 “generic principles”

Empowerment of Public Relations—PR professionals have access to senior management of a company and are informed of major decisions and remain in communication with those upper-level management professionals.

Integrated Communication Functions—branches of communication are consolidated or work closely together to put out the same strategic communication

Separate Management Function—a PR department should be its own department and not an extension of marketing, law, or other parts of the company.  When public relations is used as this tool, communication function is lost.

  • It should be headed by a senior manager who directs the communications technicians, rather than a communications technician his/herself.
  • They should be involved in strategic communication between the organization and its publics to maintain the relationships
  • Two-Way Symmetrical Model—These departments should communicate with the organization’s publics and take the advice that they give.
  • Diverse—these departments should include gender diversity, ethnic diversity, and racial diversity in order to communicate with a diverse public
  • Ethical—these branches should practice a standard of ethics that promotes moral and socially responsible behavior.