Learn About Public Relations: Just Ask China

December 13, 2007

By: Eryn Bateson



In many ways, China has one of the fastest growing markets in the world.  With a large consumer population, and thriving economy, it was only a matter of time before China was in need of public relations professionals.  China learned about public relations from western society and adapted it to suit their culture.  The Public Relations profession in China has only just emerged in the last twenty years; however, it is growing quickly, and it now appears that there are many things that the rest of the world could learn from China.

            What I find interesting, is how quickly public relations practices in China have evolved. The public relations industry in China has maintained an annual growth rate of more than 30 percent over the past two years, according to The People’s Republic of China.  In the past twenty years, China not only adopted the profession, but they have also adapted it to suit their unique culture.  It is easy to make the mistake of viewing China as a single market, when in reality the country has 31 provinces and autonomous regions, each with its own economic characteristics, development levels, and culture. Therefore, the focus and approach of public relations activities need to be adapted to suit local interests.

            There are many challenges for public relations in China, which serve to teach the rest of the world about ethical practices within this profession.  In China, the government and media interact with public relations differently than they would in the west.  For example, the government in China has many restrictions on the media.  It passes what can and can not be shown to the general public.  The internet also has many restrictions as to what can be viewed or shown to the general public.  This causes some unique challenges when trying to communicate.  It is also surprising that public relations professionals commonly give gifts to clients and media contacts.  They also pay a “transportation fee” to reporters for coming to cover their story.  The question is: “Is this an unethical practice?” Many countries would say this practice is unethical. However, China would view this as a common form of etiquette.  The practice is still under debate in China and in many other countries as well. 

            Aside from the challenges, some of the public relations practices in China exceed the western standards.  One man, who arrived for a conference on business, was greeted at the airport by public relations consultants with a great deal of fanfare.  There were banners and a welcoming party; not to mention the huge dinner that was arranged for him, complete with dancers and contortionists. 

            In many respects, there is a lot that the western world could learn from China about its public relations practices.  It would not only be beneficial for China to have western supporters, but I am sure that there is a lot that western Public Relations professionals could learn from China as well. For more information please take a look at these websites:



Arts Journalism

December 13, 2007

By: Anne Brookes 

Arts Journalism is a branch of journalism that has only recently begun to spread its roots and become recognized as an area of journalism.  Although the arts are often viewed as an elite group, with the growth of the internet more people are learning about different forms of artwork and are becoming interested in what it has to offer.  With the use of the internet and with members of society soaking up information more quickly than ever before, many are looking at information they may not have had access to before such as dance, music, visual arts and theatre.

 In the early 1900s it was believed that journalism should be taken as seriously as medical school.  It was also believed there should be a commonality between all journalists to make journalism a proper profession and to rid it of its reputation for being gossipy.  Journalism students are taught that they must learn the facts of the story they are involved in and they must not write a biased story.  The society of Professional Journalists says that “Journalists should be: honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting, and interpreting information, ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.  Journalists are free of obligation to any interest other than a public’s right to know, and are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers, and each to other.”

Those who specialize in Arts Journalism prepare articles for subjectsthey enjoy in the art world, but they also prepare articles for areasthat they do not have a lot of knowledge in.  It is the role of the arts’journalist to research every angle of the artwork that they are looking at.  It is also important to write articles that showcase what regularreaders will look at, and to write an article that can make an impact toas many readers as possible. There is currently not a lot of regulationtowards Arts Journalism but the guidelines are the same guidelinesused by any form of journalism.  

With the technology of the internet, people are able to look at newspapers from all around the world in seconds and learn about topics that were not as easily accessible in the past. www.artsjournal.com is a good website for people who know what kind of artwork they enjoy, or for anyone with a general interest in the arts.  Artsjournal is similar to Google where viewers can look up specific things but can also find a list of articles from a single topic from many different sources. Many journalists use the internet as a starting point to get information on their issue and it helps them to become more familiar with what they are going to write about.

Arts Journalism is an area of journalism which has not been highly researched in the past.  Through media and with globalization growing as fast as it is, Arts Journalism will grow and become more recognized.  The internet has a way of informing the public about anything there is to look at.  Arts Journalism has grown within the last few years and will continually grow with the amount of information the internet provides.


Please visit: www.artsjournal.com


An Organized Corporate Effort to Make a Difference

December 13, 2007

By: Amber Yantha 

Figure 1.1 

Corporate social responsibility is something that has recently entered the spotlight in the past few years.  Many consumers are becoming more aware of corporations’ extra-circular activities and those consumers judge the company on its social involvement. Many consumers also participate in the programs without even realizing it.  For example: How many bags have you bought from companies which take the place of plastic bags?  Or have you donated your change as you wait for your coffee? 

Corporations like Shell, Royal Bank, and Aldo each participate in their own way.  In areas like education, environment, and even corporation created charities, publics want to see corporations getting involved in the community.  Companies understand the importance of social involvement and they know that not ‘getting on the bandwagon’ could ultimately leave them behind in profits. 

Corporate social responsibility is something that has recently entered the spotlight in the past few years.  Many consumers are becoming more aware of corporations’ extra-circular activities and those consumers judge the company on its social involvement. Many consumers also participate in the programs without even realizing it.  For example: How many bags have you bought from companies which take the place of plastic bags?  Or have you donated your change as you wait for your coffee? 

            This topic is not all about corporations though; it is about a global change.  Corporate social responsibility has changed people’s places of work, as well as their habits as consumers. IABC Café blog noted that in 2005 the Globe and Mail stated that “93% of Canadian employees believed in corporate social responsibility”.  Corporations have taken this subject to an internal level, attempting to reduce their company’s ‘footprint’.  You may be or have been involved with companies that have internal recycling programs or some that insist on communication primarily through e-mail.  Companies like this are trying to reduce their waste and their impact on society and this all relates back to their footprint. 

The public is now demanding a more concerned and caring corporate environment.  Consumers have discovered their power and don’t want to give it back.  They are even able to control the cause the company supports by lobbying for their preferred cause. The public are becoming activists and are informing corporations of causes that society believes to be of value.  Companies are not fighting back.  It has been said that there is relationship between good social responsibly in a company and their good financial standing; therefore, companies have to be wary of what the public is saying. 

Companies are also focusing on their input on a global scale.   With globalization came the realization that different publics demand different things.  Companies now have a greater understanding of other cultures and their different practices.  Many companies are realizing that for their company to stand out and succeed, they need to put effort toward this cause.  This effort needs to be showcased to the public and have the highest standards or it will affect many other aspects of their business.  Corporate social responsibility is not a trend, and companies in the 21st century know that this needs to be a part of their business plan.  Companies must have a level of responsibility to society in order to impress their stakeholders, as well as to have an edge in a cluttered world.

To learn more about corporate social responsibility:







Perez Hilton and his Fabulous Blog

December 13, 2007

By: Claudia Alas-Duran

As the technological era continues to flourish, so are the different ways of communicating.  There have always been different ways of communicating and transferring information from one person to another but with the recent surge of the internet, communication has become rather easy, and the audience one is able to reach has become uncountable. 

Some of the new and unique ways people are now using to get their words across are blogs. Blogs create a journal like environment where anyone with access to the internet is able to read the journal postings or create their own. In the blogs, people are able to write about anything and everything. Blogs create a very personal feeling for the writer and the reader by creating a platform for personal expression.  But at what point does a blogger cross the ethical line? Because there really aren’t any rules about what one can blog about, blogging creates a world of direct open communication where one is able to say and post anything and everything. A blogger that has caused quite a controversy with this issue is Perez Hilton. Perez Hilton runs his own celebrity gossip website.  He is loved by many and hated by even more. Though according to TMZ.com, Perez has been accused of stealing photographs, stealing information, and writing very rude comments about celebrities, his blog is still so widely read that he is able to make or break a celebrity through his blog. At the same time, Perez does not think he is doing anything wrong.  He is merely expressing his opinion and he is having tremendous success in doing so. His success is because he is able to communicate his message to a worldwide audience, and of course, his success is also because the things he chooses to blog about are very controversial.

I personally believe Perez Hilton is a comical genius. I say comical because he doesn’t take himself or the things he writes about too seriously and I admire his nonchalant way of viewing life.  Perez Hilton simply does not seem to care about what people think of him. While many people in Hollywood hate him, there are those who, like me, admire the way he uses blogging to get his point of view across. Yes, sometimes the things he chooses to blog about, or the comments he makes about specific celebrities are mean.  But I think the people who view his comments as being absolutely serious need to understand what satire and humour involve.  Perez enjoys creating controversy because for one, it’s fun (and let’s be honest, he is only saying what most people are thinking but are too scared to say), and secondly, the more controversy his blog creates, the more publicity, and page views he gets, which is what he wants. Perez has admitted that he enjoys the attention.

The Internet allows people to express themselves and as the internet becomes more accessible to more parts of the world, blogging will continue to flourish in popularity. Blogging allows people to write what they want, and in Perez Hilton’s case, blogging allows him to express his opinions about celebrities, while he becomes famous too.  Though many people dislike Perez and his blog, the popularity of his blog cannot be denied.  I predict it that it will only get more popular as more and more people discover it. It is a fun blog to read, and if anyone should learn anything about Perez Hilton, they should learn not to care so much about what people think!

If you want to learn more about Perez Hilton, check out these web sites:




Digital Audio Broadcasting

December 13, 2007

By: Chris Brittian

Digital Audio Broadcasting, or DAB as it is most commonly referred to, is the newest and clearest form or radio broadcasting. Eventually DAB will allow the simultaneous transfer of crystal clear audio and high definition video.  This will enable transmissions to be received on personal hand held devices. Unlike newspapers, television, and the Internet, where anyone can access a message, accessing messages through DAB will require people to fit a certain criteria, such as owning a DAB receiver.

In the 1920s radio broadcasting began with the AM frequency. FM provided a clearer more concise audio signal; however, with doubling the quality, it doubled the amount of necessary power to transmit FM frequencies so the distance the signal could be transmitted was compromised (Communications Research Center of Canada, 2002). DAB revolutionized terrestrial broadcasting by allowing a multi-layer transmission of sound. In 1998 the first DAB receivers were available for consumer use.    



Where its predecessors fell short, DAB is capable of producing CD quality sound. The development of  DAB receivers has evolved as has DAB itself over the years. The first DAB receiver that was available was a large home-based component receiver which was bulky and very expensive (getdabdigitalradio.com, 2007). Most vehicles now come equipped with SAT-DAB receivers right from the factory and everything from BMW to Suzuki installs either XM or Sirius capable stereos (wikipedia.org, 2007). Consumers can also purchase personal DAB receivers that will work in a vehicle, or can be portable, much like an MP3 player.



To receive DAB broadcasts, special devices are required by the consumer.  While there are still methods of broadcasting that work well, only audiophiles are drawn to DAB because of its superior sound quality. To receive a DAB signal you need to be outside or near a window because currently the signals are to finite to transmit through walls and ceilings.



The next and most popular step in DAB is incorporating the use of communications satellites to transmit the signal.

SAT DAB Providers:

Currently the most prevalent service providers are XM and Sirius satellite radio. Both DAB and SAT DAB are having difficulty catching on as of late due to the recent boom in portable music devices. Sirius and XM Satellite Radio plan on merging in early 2008 to increase their subscriber rate and to decrease their individual broadcasting costs by sharing them together. Both XM and Sirius are funded by consumer subscriptions.


DAB News:

In Montreal in March of 2007, the CBC conducted a field trial of broadcasting two live television series and multiple live radio services within an existing DAB signal. The broadcast was extremely successful.   Once the benefits of DAB are recognized and endorsed by major corporations for news, entertainment, and advertising, a broadcasting network will be developed in Canada.

Currently in both South Korea and Germany live television is broadcast through a DAB signal and is able to be received through cellular phones and DAB capable PDA’



DAB in PR:

DAB will allow public relations and communications professionals to easily reach their publics with audio and video as a much less expensive alternative to television. DAB signals are not yet regulated and the equipment to transmit is fairly inexpensive and compact so an organization could easily transmit their own programs much like podcasts.

DAB allows for up to the minute news to travel around the world via computers and satellites, and unlike television, it’

s portable.

Society has reached a point now where it is focused on convenience and integration to fast paced lives. It was inconvenient to need a hard line to make a phone call, so along came cell phones. It was inconvenient to take a computer abroad, so along came laptops. It was inconvenient to need an internet connection to check e-mail, so along came wireless internet and the BlackBerry. Now it is seemingly inconvenient to set aside time to watch television to receive news and media, so along comes digital audio broadcasting.


For more information about DAB, please visit the following sites:



GPS and Satellite Technology – Useful in the World of PR?

December 13, 2007

By:Sneh Kukrej 

When I first started researching GPS and Satellites, I could not figure out how such a topic would be relevant to the field of Corporate Communications and Public Relations.  I understood that satellites allow professionals in the field to use various methods of communication, and yet I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around how it could have such a great impact on our work.  Added to this, I was completely unaware of how long Global Positioning Systems have been around.  I was under the impression that GPS was a relatively new phenomenon, and by this I mean the past 5-10 years.  In actuality, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) were first launched in 1978, by the United States Department of Defense to simplify and improve military navigation. 

Though GPS is generally thought of as being a personal navigational device, this is not so. The GPS is comprised of three components; space segment, control segment, and user segment. Personal navigational devices fall under the user segment of GPS, whereby the handheld device, which processes the satellite information, receives a signal. As someone who once believed GPS to be a personal navigational device, I thought the only way this could be beneficial to professionals in our field would be to help us find out way around cities where we may have to travel to conduct our work. I have not learned that “the range of potential applications for GPS is limited only by a user’s imagination” (Graham-Rowe). One such way is that companies can use GPS to track information that can help improve the way their product or service is delivered. As professional communicators, we must always be aware of our audience, and this is a remarkable too to help us do so. Granted, this does not apply to all aspects of the communications world.

Communications satellites, on the other hand, are satellites placed into orbit for the purpose of telecommunication.  These satellites are what enable professional communicators to get their message out using television, radio broadcasting, and videoconferencing.  Communications satellites are also used in conjunction with satellite phones.  These are phones that provide a means of communication in remote areas where cellular service is unavailable. 


In theory this sounded like a fantastic idea to me; however, I wasn’t sure how this would be beneficial in practicality, until a few weeks ago.  When Steve Matthews, of World Vision, visited our class and spoke with us about the work he does: I was in awe.  Steve showed our class his suitcase full of what he calls “necessities” that he does not ever travel without.  I was amazed at how Steve used things that I would not have thought had any practical use for communicators.  However, with everything that was in his suitcase, he was able to create a world of communications on his own, regardless of what part of the world he is and what might be available to him in that area.

After completing this report and hearing Steve speak to our class, I gained a better understanding of how Global Positioning Systems and satellites are relevant to the world of Corporate Communications and Public Relations.


If you would like to find out more information about satellites, check out:


Internet Gaming and Public Relations

December 10, 2007

By: Stephanie Sargent

Internet games have been gaining popularity over the past few years. In fact most teens play for hours on end, much to the displeasure of their parents and teachers alike. It seems so long ago that Internet Gaming began, back when navigation of the games was achieved by using simple command text. The user controlled the actions of their character in an online forest.  It was a very simplistic version of today’s World of WarCraft. Internet Gaming has evolved throughout the years and today there are enough online games to suit everyone’s tastes. You can play online role playing games like World of WarCraft, or online casino games like poker and blackjack. Of course for those people who have more hand eye coordination there are always your first person shooter games, but best of all are the old arcade favorites, like Tetris and Pac Man.

With the increasing amount of time that people are spending playing online video games the issue has been raised about how addicting it is to be a gamer. There is still a lot of debate about whether or not internet games are addictive but the jury is still out. In China, a man died after a three day internet gaming binge, for more information check out this link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2007/sep/17/china.censorship

 There is also debate about whether or not it’s a bad or a good thing if games are addictive. Some people say that the greatest compliment you can give a game designer is that their game is addictive. While I can honestly say that I’m addicted to online poker I don’t think I’ve reached the stage where I’ll die if I keep playing it.

Looking at major industries you’ll notice that, once something hits the mainstream markets and starts to generate large incomes, the government is right there attempting to place regulations on it. As it stands, there are no official rules or regulations imposed by the government concerning Internet Gaming but that will soon change. After all the Internet Gaming industry generates around $12 billion dollars a year and the government is already trying to capitalize on that money.  They are attempting to pass legislations to control the Internet Gaming industry. This is where Public Relations really comes into the picture.

Although it’s sometimes difficult to tie Internet gaming to Public Relations, several large Internet Gaming companies have been featured in the news media announcing that PR companies have been hired to work for them.  Among these companies are  American Gaming Association (AGA), Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (IMEGA SkyUnion Hong Kong Holdings Co., Ltd (IGG.com).

The most informative article about Public Relations Internet Gaming is an interview with Pete Hines and Jayson Hill. I suggest that anyone who is interested in a career in Internet Gaming Public Relations reads it. The link is http://pc.gamezone.com/news/08_08_01_08_11AM.htm

In short, Internet Gaming is becoming a large industry and the market for Public Relations practitioners in this industry is only going to grow in the coming years. 

Viral Marketing – Contagious Technology

December 10, 2007

By Sara Marano 

The term viral marketing was derived from its similarities to the way pathological or computer viruses are spread.  Simply put, viral marketing is a message that starts at one person and, through others, is spread to many people.  With the advancements in technology, this form of marketing has increased in usage, and is a very common way to market ideas, products, people or companies.  This marketing technique was really recognized as its own category of marketing in the mid 1990’s, a classic example being the launch of Hotmail free email accounts, which encouraged the public to use their other services.



In terms of corporate communication and public relations, viral marketing is an easily accessible form of marketing that can have both positive and negative outcomes.  This technique can connect many people and offer information on brands, people or companies that may influence the audience or recipients.  This means they may be more likely to change their opinion, purchase something, or act in regards to an issue.  Information can be passed on quickly, which is unfortunately allowing negative information to travel even more rapidly, and is why viral marketing and crisis management are becoming increasingly important in this world of technology.

Knowing the ways in which messages can be transmitted through viral marketing would be beneficial to any communications professional.  Utilizing this technique enables someone to communicate a specific message, and have many people receive it in a relatively short amount of time, at a low cost.  At the same time, communicators need to know how to control negative messages or ideas about their clients so that incorrect or slanted messages do not receive unwanted attention.

Currently, sites such as Facebook and Myspace are being targeted with “viral messaging” because they are both high traffic social networking sites, and have the ability to send messages rapidly to people of diverse demographics.  People or marketers have the ability to create “groups” that others can join, and send out messages to people to recruit others to join their group. Such tactics can promote a product, an electoral candidate, a fundraiser or even a television show.  These messages are then passed along to “friends” on Facebook or Myspace and then taken away from the computer and spread to people via phone or face to face conversations, depending on the interest in the content of the message. 

            Viral marketing has shown to be a versatile and simplistic means to position a message to a specific public.  Overall the use of viral marketing is something that will continue to grow, especially as technology expands and evolves.  As technology advances, viral marketing will change to accept the new ways of communicating, and marketers will adapt their messages accordingly, because quite frankly, it is quick, simple, and inexpensive.

Links to viral marketing:

1.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_marketing

2.    http://www.onedegree.ca/2006/03/16/ten-viral-marketing-best-practices

3.    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Viral_marketing



Hill & Knowlton: A Good Place to Start

December 10, 2007

By: Sarah Carruthers 

I have started to think, what do I want out of a job? I want a job that I can be passionate about, I want the opportunity to continuously learn and grow, I want a job that allows me to live my life, and of course, I would not mind a job that could offer me some financial security and health benefits. So where do I do I look to find this? Why not start with a company who has been named to Mediacorps Top 100 Employers six out of the last seven years? Or with a company named to the list of the Top 50 Employers in the GTA? A company ranked based on physical workplace; work and social atmosphere; health, financial and family benefits; performance management; as well as training and skills development? It all sounds pretty good to me. Does it sound good to you too?  Then maybe you should check out Hill & Knowlton Canada. 

H&K works hard to give their public relations practitioners a great deal of freedom. H&K encourages a healthy approach to balancing professional work and personal life: employees are offered the flexibility of working remotely when necessary as well as schedules that work to accommodate their lives. Furthermore, employees are offered substantial health and financial benefits for themselves and their families. 

Employees at H&K are also offered many opportunities to evolve professionally. H&K takes their commitment to professional development seriously, fostering a life-long commitment to learning. H&K works hard to continuously present their staff with training opportunities including “lunch ‘n’ learn” sessions, virtual academy courses, and chances to participate in external conferences. H&K encourages their staff to interact with one another and share knowledge in both formal and informal settings. For example, H&K has a Friday afternoon “beer cart” that is operated by the most recently joined team members to promote these staff interactions.

Beyond all of that, H&K does not restrict their employees to one track during their career. They make it possible for staff members who wish to try something new to move throughout the company. Employees are able to explore work in five categories of practice: Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals, Technology, Marketing and Communications, Public Affairs, Corporate & Financial Communications and Digital. While working in these areas they are given the chance to work with numerous companies, including several Fortune 500 companies.


It is for these reasons and many others that H&K is known for attracting a diverse group of highly talented individuals who develop a unique loyalty to the company. Having done my research on the company and talked to individuals who have attended Information Days at H&K I would encourage any new PR professional to consider H&K. Where better to start a career in PR than with a company who will provide you the opportunity to continue learning while gaining valuable experience that will assist you in reaching both your personal and professional goals?


For more information on Hill & Knowlton please visit:






The Indispensable Business Tool

December 10, 2007

By: Sarah Hogeveen


All over the world, the BlackBerry is enhancing the way people communicate and interact with information. Being away from the office or separated from your computer no longer means you are out of touch, because the BlackBerry empowers you with real-time connectivity.

When the BlackBerry was first introduced to the market it concentrated on e-mail but now the BlackBerry has taken the work place by storm with over eight million subscribers. For many businesses this device keeps people connected 24 hours a day. The device allows workers to make decisions and allows them to be contacted incase of a crisis or an emergency in both their personal and professional lives.

For PR professionals the Blackberry is an indispensable business tool. The BlackBerry  allows professionals to do many things on a small device. As a PR professional, you are able to review media releases, PowerPoint presentations and colour photos all on your BlackBerry. This device is an essential tool to any PR firm or business who has to have constant communication with its clients, employees, sponsors, the media, etc.

Also, customers can use BlackBerry services in over 50 countries worldwide with data roaming agreements. The majority of European and frequently visited business destinations are included to ensure business customers can stay in touch while they are abroad.

The BlackBerry is also a great tool when dealing with emergencies and urgent matters. This device helps business people to remain mobile and also helps them to stay in touch with urgent matters.

But with all the advantages of the BlackBerry or the “CrackBerry” as it is sometimes referred to, there are some problems as well. The BlackBerry has become a bit of an addiction for some people who just can’t seem to put it down.

As we advance further into the information age, technology is our blessing and our nuisance. Business people thank and curse the gods of e-mail for enabling instant communication with employees and clients. Most people can’t even take a vacation without their laptops, cell phones, or BlackBerry devices.

More and more people can now do their jobs outside of the office but a lot more people seem to be using technology for their jobs during non-working hours. With these advancements more and more people are feeling over worked. Technology is ever changing in society, it is important to set boundaries, and no one can do that better than you can.

The best advice I can give to you is: if you think everything is important it’s not.  You have to make choices.


Check out these links for more information about the BlackBerry: