Archive for February, 2011


Learning the philosophical bases for ethical behavior is not an easy task, that’s why there are tools to help. Tools like Harvard philosopher Ralph Potter’s Potter Box and the PRSA Board of Ethics Matrix of Ethical Dilemmas will guide your decision making process. Not that you’re actually going to pull out notes from your college ethics class in real life and draw four squares or look at a matrix to help you decide the right choice, they’re a good method to use in a class setting to help promote your thinking.

The Potter Box is “an ethical framework used to make decisions by utilizing four categories which Potter identifies as universal to all ethical dilemmas.”

The four categories are:

  1. Situation definition
  2. Values
  3. Principles
  4. Loyalties

The real benefit of the model is that it keeps the practitioner from making a quick, unethical decision. After being taught the Potter Box in college, hopefully in real life you will become accustomed to prioritizing the facts, values, loyalties and principles that are most important to your organization in any given situation.  I’m a big list maker, for everything, so even if I’m not making quadrants and instead I’m jotting down bullet points the act of writing things down will help me make a better decision.

Using the Potter Box model in groups during class to discuss a case study helped me realize when two people are analyzing the same issue, they can come up with different decisions. During our class discussion, within our group, we agreed on two different ethical philosophies that helped reason the decision for the situation. We had to go over each category several times to reach a decision and that was very tedious work, especially since we were trying to work as a group.

Overall, I believe the Potter Box theory is tactic you’ll always remember like “FOIL,” or “every good boy does fine.” Besides, you don’t have to work through the Potter Box manually anymore… there’s a website for that ethics-e-learning.com.

trends in PR

Every week I learn something new about social location-based marketing. I’ve only tinkered with Gowalla and Facebook Places because I haven’t figured out what the point is. It reminds me of the Verizon commercial with the parents on Twitter and Facebook. The dad is constantly tweeting pointless information like, “I am sitting on the patio.”

I don’t want to spam everyone’s newsfeed with “Donna Douglas is at University of North Texas GAB rm 111,” “Donna Douglas is at University of North Texas Wooten Hall rm 216” or “Donna Douglas is at University of North Texas GAB rm 114,” Donna Douglas is at home.” I live such an exciting life huh? Haha. I guess it’s worthy to check-in to places that are of interest. For example, last night I attended the Social Location Marketing Book Tour with Simon Salt at the Angelika Theater hosted by SMC Dallas with some fellow PRSSA members and a couple friends. My friends were checking in and posting it to Twitter so their followers could see that they were there and then they could meet up. I started thinking about how awesome this concept was.

This paragraph was going to be about how I couldn’t see myself using check-ins on a daily (or even weekly) basis to inform friends and family on Facebook or acquaintances on Twitter where I was. I’ve started to rethink that. If I checked-in on Facebook it would be to show off that I’m at a cool or notable place. If I checked-in on Twitter it would be to see if anyone I’m following is there. Are you thinking why do I care if I’m at the same bar/event as a random PR professional I follow on Twitter? Because networking is everything. =)

So this blog isn’t meant to be about my personal use of location-based apps. I’ve been learning how useful social location-based applications can be for the marketing and the PR business.  I was curious as to how people were predicting it is going to affect the industries.  According to Eb Adeyeri, blogger for Lewis PR, his number two trend prediction for 2011 is “Location, location, location.” Although he doesn’t go into much detail, he threw in the term geo-fencing which I’ve never heard before but I like the sound of it.

For fun I thought I’d go back in time, to 2008, and see what trends were forecasted for public relations that year. On PR20/20.com the blogger mentioned social media as the number one trend to watch in 2008 because of its affordability and efficiency to connect with others.  Wow. It seems so vague! No one had any idea what social technologies would turn into. For giggles, I’ll share the rest of the list…

8 Public Relations Trends to Watch in 2008 (full blog post here)

  1. Social Media
  2. Online Press Release & Newsrooms
  3. Search Engine Optimization
  4. Content Publishing
  5. Social Bookmarking
  6. RSS Feeds
  7. Google News Alerts
  8. Standardized Services & Pricing

How many of these things have become instinctive to you?

As a soon-to-be graduate I often find myself asking every professional their view on things like what are the most important things I can be doing to get a job after school, what they prefer to see on a resume and what should I include in my portfolio, among others.

At this week’s PRSSA meeting the President of BizCom Associates, Scott White, gave some advice that really made a difference to me, “Write to be a good writer, not to get the grade.” This helped me get out of my forced creative slump. When you’re forced to be creative by a deadline each week the work produced is hardly your best. Every week staring at my laptop a powerful, thought provoking idea doesn’t automatically come to mind. I know I’m the only person with this problem. I know as a college senior that this definitely won’t be the last time I struggle with this situation. But I now realize that this blog can be something more than just an obligation. It’s another outlet for me to perform on deadline and improve my writing skills.

Another student (Brandon, maybe?) asked Scott what he prefers to read on blogs and if he likes a more conversational tone or a news-story structured blog. Scott said the key to writing is understanding your audience. We’ve all heard that before and apply it to our communication plans and marketing homework but fail to realize it’s the same for a simple blog post.

Scott, having a BA in Journalism from UNT, really emphasized at the meeting how important it is to be a strong writer. To write a basic news release that meets the requirements of standard format isn’t that hard. But to write an effective news release that is going to read and the information published requires being a skilled writer.

Scott White of BizCom Associates Tips to Scoring a Job after Graduation

#1 – Have an internship during school

#2 – Be a strong writer

#3 – Read The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly

A winter storm hit the Metroplex around three in the morning on Tuesday, just a mere five days before Super Bowl XLV. Snow, ice and frigid temperatures being somewhat of a foreign thing to us, we’ve all been freaking out. To all of the out-of-state football visitors in Texas this weather is completely normal for them. Texas doesn’t seem to have the infrastructure to prepare and take action to clearing the roadways and supplying power during such super an arctic event.

Everyone apologizing to out-of-towners, a flurry of complaints on social media and the overly dramatic stories on local news stations haven’t played off to make our host city (or, cities) look like such a good choice for the Super Bowl. I’m not that big of a sports fan but I think the attraction could lead to more annual visitors to North Texas towns, given the right circumstance. There is a lot of speculation about the weather harming the NFL Commissioner’s choice to ever host the game here again.

A lot of out-of-town media have also complained about the branding concept of the North Texas Super Bowl; not the Dallas-Fort-Worth-Arlington-Irving-Grapevine-Grand Prairie Super Bowl. Visitors are saying it’s a little confusing not having a central hub where all of the main events are taking place. For example, the NFL Experience and most of the celebrity parties are being held in Dallas, there are NFL Concerts being held in Grand Prairie, one Super Bowl team is staying in Irving and the other in Fort Worth as well as the ESPN Broadcast.

Now the ice is melting and falling off of Cowboys Stadium and has injured seven people. There is a video posted on NBC 5’s website of ice falling earlier in the day. If someone knew this was a problem, why weren’t more people alerted before injuries were caused? This is all turning into a PR nightmare.

When the decision to put the new Cowboy’s Stadium in Arlington first arose we all questioned whether or not it was a good choice. Residents in Arlington had to be removed from their homes on the land, highway infrastructure has been messed up for years and there’s not a downtown with booming nightlife.

After this Super Bowl experience is over, I hope the North Texas Convention & Visitors Bureaus will come up with a very clear marketing and communications plan to push traveling in Texas. I’m not sure if hosting the Super Bowl will be enough. Maybe when this is all over, a certain town that has been highlighted well will pick up some good PR practices and gain more butts in beds to get their share of that hotel tax.

Update: More things going wrong at Super Bowl XLV
sports.yahoo.com – Christina
sports.yahoo.com – Seating fiasco

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