Sarah Wilson's PR Blog

December 2, 2009

Diversity Choice – International Film

Filed under: International PR — swilso37 @ 10:59 pm

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly was shown in the theater of GSU’s Russell Union. The admission was $3 for students. There were not that many people there, and the crowd was not diverse at all. I would say the crowd was not even a good representation of the diversity that can be found at GSU.

The film is about a French man named Jean-Dominique Bauby. Bauby was the editor-in-chief for the well-known fashion magazine and one of my personal favorites, Elle.

I have never been to France before, so I cannot say that it was an accurate representation of the French culture. However, from my belief, this film did a phenomenal job at interpreting the story and tragedy Bauby dealt with which is understood in all cultures and countries. I did like how it gave a taste of the French culture, but I always say that one can never know a culture until they go experience it themselves.

What I learned from this event was that some students do actually take advantage of the theater in the Union. I wish the movie was publicized more on GSU’s campus though. A good place to advertise for an international film would be in the language department or international studies department which can be found in the Forest Drive Building on GSU’s campus.

I would love to attend another international film event again. I enjoy getting a glimpse of other cultures and often wonder what it would be like to visit them or even work in them.

I would compare this event to going to see a film that is about the life of someone famous who led a very interesting life full of drama. Two movies that come to mind are Walk the Line, a film on the life of Johnny Cash, and Ray, the film on the life of Ray Charles. Both films are based on the lives of two famous musicians who had struggles and how they overcame those struggles.

I felt very comfortable at this event because it was in a theater, so it was a very laid back atmosphere, and someone from a different culture could go unnoticed in a dark theater. Not to mention, the majority of people there were from my class, so I was used to being around them!

I thoroughly enjoyed the event, but I’m afraid that if GSU doesn’t start to advertise more about these types of films being shown on campus, then the attendance will lack in numbers. The only time I ever hear of a film being shown on our campus is when I walk into the Union and see what is playing. This is a problem that could be fixed easily! Yet, there could have been flyers, and I just don’t see them because I only go to Veazey Hall when I am on campus.

Full Summary/Synopsis of Film


December 1, 2009

Components of Culture – Jailed for wearing pants?

Filed under: International PR — swilso37 @ 10:04 am

In the United States, our culture is one that women and men are free to wear what they please. Of course there are dress codes within businesses and organizations, but U.S. citizens still have the right to choose what they put on before they head out the door in the morning. It is unheard and bazaar to know that a woman journalist in Sudan was put in jail for wearing pants. (Just so happens that I am wearing pants right now!)  This can have something to do with public relations on a global scale because countries around the world have various cultures and beliefs and various different views on what is right and wrong. Being a woman in the United States, we have so many privileges compared to women in other countries across the world, such as China. After doing an in-depth analysis of Hillary Clinton’s 1995 speech in Beijing, China at the U.N.’s 4th World Conference on Women, I truly understand the horrible conditions and treatment of women in other cultures. In some, women are not even seen to have the same rights as a human being. If a woman was to get involved or even get a job within international public relations, she would have to do a great amount of research about the country and cultures within a country before she were to work or visit the country. I believe this story can open a lot of eyes to the fact that every country and culture can be different in so many ways. In international public relations, a practitioner needs to be aware of the diverse cultural aspects within a country.

Link to article: http: Sudan Woman Imprisoned for Wearing Pants

Hillary Clinton’s 1995 Speech: Hillary Clinton at World Conference on Women

Tabloid Junk: The President and the Framing Theory

Filed under: International PR — swilso37 @ 9:43 am

In a guilty-pleasure of mine, the tabloid, I read about President Obama’s supposed “relations” with a man named Larry Sinclair. Sinclair claimed that President Obama and him had acts of intimacy in a hotel and in a limo back in 1999.  Sinclair also states that the president and himself consumed cocaine during this time. Sinclair is a convicted felon with drug trafficking and is now planning to run for office in the senate in order to take over President Obama in his rise to power. (Oh, the crazy stories of the tabloids!)

In the view of public relations, Sinclair’s claims were taken care of by putting an end to all of them. They did the=is by giving the audience (the country) a portrait of Larry Sinclair. They painted and told everyone the type of person he is (in my opinion, crazy). This was to keep Sinclair from persuading the county’s view of the president. This is what the media knows as the framing theory. The framing theory shapes or frames information that is given to the public to include those ideas that shine good light on what they want and ignore or downplay the bad parts of something or someone. This is known to other communication specialists as intensify and downplay.

It is sad to say that in the U.S., something with no validity or credibility, such as a tabloid, can be believed by our citizens. This shows that our media is not as controlled as other countries’ media outlets.

In other cultures where the media is controlled and owned by the government (like Nigeria – learned from interview), these types of developments would never reach the public, especially a controversy surrounding the head of the government like the president.

Technology is a social trend. With the development of technology, feedback is given faster  and more often which results in more of diverse public. Then others can log on the to the Internet, read these opinions of people, and it can persuade the opinion of that person reading the blog or article. This creates empowerment of the public. Publics now feel that they can do some research themselves and find the truth. Unfortunately, we cannot believe everything that is presented to us! (Which is a big problem in today’s society.) Needless to say, the media and the outlets surrounding them have a heavy influence of shaping people’s opinions, and in a  nutshell, explains the framing theory.

Article on Sinclair & Obama

Sinclair’s video he posted on youtube

November 16, 2009

Diversity Calendar Blog

Filed under: International PR — swilso37 @ 9:34 pm

picture of the menu taken by me from my Blackberry

On Monday, November 16, 2009, I attended Georgia Southern’s International Week: A Diner’s World Tour. The event took place at Landrum located on GSU’s campus. It was hosted by the Department of International Studies. After talking with the food services manager at Landrum, I found out that the event is held every year, and the department submits recipes to the cooks of Landrum, they make the food themselves.

The menu was made up of:

  • Jerk Chicken – a Jamaican barbeque
  • Tonkatsu – an Asian style pork chop
  • Bobotie – a South African original which is similar to meatloaf
  • German Potato Salad – vinegar based
  • Rice with Herbes de Provence
  • Korean Squash
  • Brazilian Collards
  • Baklava – a rich, sweet pastry featured in many cuisines in the area once controlled by the former Ottoman Empire, in Central Asia and in the lands in between. It and its variants are thus popular in Turkey, the Balkans, Cyprus, much of the Arab world, Iran, the Caucasus, Afghanistan and the lands of the Turkic peoples of Central Asia.

The majority of people at the event were GSU students. From my observation, most of the students appeared to be freshmen. I did not notice anyone who looked as if they were of a different nationality other than American. The food was a good representation of each culture that had an item on the menu; however, I believe the presentation of each cuisine could have been better. It was presented like any other cafeteria food that’s served at Landrum. Maybe they should consider having each dish on a small table of its own decorated with the nation’s flag. Also, a brief history/cultural tradition of the dish could also be displayed on the table. This will create more of a diverse feeling/scenery at the event.

Some information that I learned from the event is that Bobotie is almost exactly like a meatloaf, but with a strong taste of curry. I find it very interesting how one distinct spice can change the classic American meatloaf into a rich/flavorful South African favorite.

A similar American event that the World’s Diner Tour reminded me of is a “pot luck dinner”. At a pot luck dinner, everyone brings their own dish and samples everything else that was brought by other individuals. I believe pot luck dinners can relate to the World’s Diner Tour because at the event, people of different heritages and cultures sampled other nation’s cuisines.

At the event, I did not feel any different, or out of place because it was a diverse event; however, as I mentioned earlier, the majority of attendees were American GSU students. The only culture shock for me was being surrounded by freshmen. I truly felt overwhelmed by that, because I am used to Veazey Hall, the communications building on campus or what I like to call my second home. I am senior about to graduate in a couple of weeks, and all of my classes have been in Veazey Hall for the past three semesters. Most students in this building are juniors and seniors.

I believe the event needs to be publicized more. If it were better publicized, maybe more people of different cultures would come and have suggestions about how to make the event more diverse, but honestly, how diverse can an event be in South Georgia?

November 9, 2009

Guest Speaker – Richard Bailey

Filed under: International PR — swilso37 @ 12:25 pm

On Thursday, November 5, Richard Bailey spoke to our international public relations class. I found him very informative; however, due to technical problems on Skype, our talk with Mr. Bailey was cut short. I felt that I needed some questions answered since he has great knowledge on the public relations and the industry, so I figured I would look him up write him the questions that I needed answered. Richard Bailey was kind enough to post the questions I had on his blog with his answers which I also posted here.

1. What do you do to keep current on PR trends?

I’m a member of our professional body (the CIPR); I read books on and around the subject; I blog about PR and read PR blogs; I talk to practitioners and students; I teach practitioners who are studying for a PR qualification; I attend conferences; I’m a member of PROpenMic.

If I had to pick just one of these, books are still be best way to gain a deeper understanding of a subject.

2. How has PR changed since you entered the industry?

The principles haven’t changed in 20 years – but the practice has changed a lot (though it still has some way to go). Looking back, for many years I didn’t do public relations – I simply did media relations (and most of that was press relations).

PR has changed as the media landscape has evolved, most notably with the emergence of social media.

But as Sir Martin Sorrell suggested, there are other factors too: the internationalisation of business, the importance of internal communications (‘change management’); the agenda around legitimacy and corporate responsibility; the rise of activism.

In summary, looking back I’d say I provided an important tactical tool to my clients. Yet public relations advisers are today in a position to provide key strategic advice.

3. Do you believe that marketing and advertising are encroaching into public relations (eg through relationship marketing)? If yes, please give an example.

This question is hugely significant to people who work in public relations and to public relations academics – since the future of the discipline is at stake. But I suspect it’s of less interest to clients.

There is no question in my mind that certain promotional techniques have been losing effectiveness in our short-attention-span economy. Public relations – either through editorial endorsement or through other forms of third party recommendation – has been a beneficiary from the relative decline of advertising. Yet marketing is not standing still and relationship marketing, viral marketing, word of mouth marketing, social marketing, cause-related marketing etc are all ways in which marketing is seeking to colonise part of the space historically occupied by public relations.

I suggest you need to separate out the purpose for which PR is being used. If it’s being used to promote sales, then this is a marketing function and PR needs to find its niche in the marketing mix (the traditional exclusive domain of marketing PR has been media relations, as discussed earlier).

If the purpose of PR is to ensure the organisation’s social legitimacy (and thus its long-term survival and success), then I view this as the domain of public relations (or corporate communications), not of marketing. Your question asks about case studies – and clearly there’s a need for these to demonstrate to others that public relations can play this more strategic role. Among academics, Charles Fombrun has done most to articulate the field of corporate reputation management and to provide tools for measuring corporate reputation.

The case study I would have talked to you about yesterday, had there been time, is a contradictory one. It’s the award-winning PR campaign for Queensland Tourism (‘The Best Job in the World’). It’s contradictory because the winning team is a Australian advertising agency, CumminsNitro. PR may be a powerful tool, but there’s nothing to stop others learning some lessons.

4. What three tips would you give to someone just starting in PR?

One. Start with your own public relations. Join networks and put energy into your chosen networks. Look to get known and take note of your Google search rankings.

Two. It’s good to be open-minded and capable of learning – but you’ll get hired for being passionate and expert. So look for a sector to specialise in. (As Weber Shandwick’s Colin Byrne tells graduates, it’s better to know everything about something than something about everything).

Three. Be curious and keep learning. Don’t be afraid to ask!

I am very thankful for the information Richard Bailey shared.

About Richard Bailey


In the 1980s Bailey wrote about business and technology for a magazine based in London and New York. In the 1990s he worked in PR management specializing technology. In the 2000s he has been focusing on PR education and training.

For more information on Richard Bailey, visit his blog:

To see the post where Richard Bailey answered my questions, visit:

October 1, 2009

Personal Interview with non-U.S. Citizen

Filed under: International PR — swilso37 @ 9:25 am

On Tuesday, September 29, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tayo Olayinka, a Georgia Southern student who is from Nigeria. During our interview I asked a series of questions about the Nigerian culture and how public relations is viewed in her home country. Tayo was quick to tell me that it has been five years since she has been back home in Nigeria. The series of questions that I asked Tayo are:

  • How does the media operate in Nigeria?
  • What is your view on global business?
  • What has surprised you most about the cultural differences between America and Nigeria?
  • Is public relations a profession that you are familiar with in Nigeria?
  • What advice do you have for an American seeking employment in Nigeria?
  • What are the biggest challenges you have faced in America because of your cultural differences?
  • How different is public relations in Nigeria?
  • What is the differentiation between advertisement and publicity in Nigeria? Are there any differences at all?
  • Should the Nigerian culture be considered when practitioners from the U.S. want to run a campaign in Nigeria? Why?
  • In your opinion on global public relations, does societal culture overpower organizational culture?
  • What can be done to improve Nigeria’s education and/or awareness of public relations? 

During my interview with Tayo, I learned a great deal about the Nigerian culture and their public relations system. The media in Nigeria is government owned which puts the breaks on the development of public relations in Nigeria. Tayo also informed me that cultural background is far more important in Nigeria than to most U.S. citizens. According to Tayo, Nigeria is more of a collectivism country than an individualistic. However, she can see a change with the younger generations of Nigeria, they have more individualistic characteristics than the older generations. If a PR practitioner from the U.S. was thinking of running a campaign in Nigeria, the American practitioner would need to have a deep understanding of Nigeria’s cultural background in order to have success. When Tayo was living in Nigeria, she was not familiar with public relations, but after moving to the U.S., she knows more, and is even majoring in public relations at Georgia Southern University. Tayo told me that after researching the Internet, she now knows that there is PR in Nigeria, it is still in much need of development though. She also believed that knowledge in global business is important because being educated beyond your country’s borders is extremely beneficial. Tayo said that there is not enough educated practitioners in Nigeria right now. She believes that if the government will improve, so will Nigeria’s public relations. Tayo stated that the main problem right now is from the people running the country, and if well educated PR practitioners moved back to Nigeria after getting an education, awareness on public relations would be created and the government would hopefully understand the importance of public relations and how they could use it to help them.

September 28, 2009

Guest Speaker – Dr. Sun-A-Lee

Filed under: International PR — swilso37 @ 5:58 pm

Dr. Sun-A-Lee gave a lecture to my international public relations class on Thursday, September 24. The topic of her discussion was culture on global scale. Dr. Sun-A-Lee’s speech was extrememly interesting. She showed shocking statistics about different cultures. She also dispalyed some global demographics.

Dr. Sun-A-Lee is from from South Korea and moved to America in her early twenties. She taught us about some typical stereotypes that people from American may have about her because of the fact she is from South Korea. She told us that a stereotype does not have to be bad or negative, because a stereotypes are about viewing and assuming characteristics of a society as a whole (i.e. everyone has that same characteristic in that society) rather than judging that person on their individual characteristcs. Not everyone within a culture displays the same characteristics. I found many of her points very interesting. Dr. Sun-A-Lee’s discussion was a great success in our class and will be recalled for many future topics in the class.

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