Revolutionary Measures

The power of PR

English: A Syrian soldier aims an AK-47 assaul...

The current civil war and use of chemical weapons in Syria is destroying the lives of millions in that country. With deaths from the conflict estimated at over 100,000 and an estimated 7 million people in need of aid, it is a humanitarian disaster across the region.

But alongside the actual fighting there is an equally hard fought war going on for the hearts and minds of the rest of the world, including voters, MPs, senators and governments. Western citizens and legislators are worried about being dragged into the worsening situation in Syria through military action, despite widespread abhorrence of the use of chemical weapons on civilians and children, leading to indecision on next steps.

This has triggered a media offensive, with all sides using the power of public relations to jockey for position:

Whatever your views on culpability, the winners from this PR battle have been the Syrian regime and the Russian government. By coming up with an alternative proposal to military action (dismantling Syria’s chemical weapons), Vladimir Putin has moved the debate on and surprised the US government’s PR machine. Using the global media cleverly he’s been able to exploit widespread worries about the consequences of war and change the direction of discussions. A combination of message and media has essentially delivered the PR success that has met his objectives.

If diplomacy is a continuation of war by other means, then PR is demonstrating that it is a vital general in the ranks – whether you believe it is used for the right or wrong reasons.


September 18, 2013 Posted by | Marketing, PR | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Afghan Wikileaks – why it needs old media

Logo used by Wikileaks
Image via Wikipedia

On a first look, the publication of 90,000 US military records on Wikileaks shows the power of citizen journalism and social media. It is extremely unlikely that any mainstream news organisation would have been able to get legal clearance to publish the leaked Afghan War records – you can see the lawyers going apoplectic at the very thought of it.

But how did Wikileaks get the crucial second source and endorsement for the documents? Not through its own resources or credibility but by sharing them with the New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel. Only when they had cross-checked the information (and the media organisations had their exclusives) were they released.

It shows the essentially symbiotic relationship between ‘old’ media and new channels. Both sides need each other if they are to break big stories – and I can’t see this changing in the near future.

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July 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment