Current Crisis: Planned Parenthood

The Planned Parenthood crisis broke out a little over 4 months ago. Blowing up all social media across the nation and exploiting videos that many individuals felt were extremely inappropriate. The Wall Street Journal wrote an article stating, “The crisis this week involves Planned Parenthood and how it is dealing with the release of videotapes showing medical personnel talking to undercover activists who filmed them speaking about collecting and selling tissues from aborted fetuses for medical research (Dipietro, 2015)”. This created a huge scandal amongst many Americans and arose debates amongst political groups on whether or not the process of abortion should be legal.

In recent articles, Fox News spoke out about the disturbing videos stating, “A new, graphic video released by the Center for Medication Progress is the latest undercover video that describes the reported black market for selling fetal body parts (Fox News Insider, 2015)”. This would be the third undercover video that was released confirming that Planned Parenthood officials were discussing the selling of aborted fetal body parts. Once the video was released again, Planned Parenthood representatives spoke out about the videos claiming that they were not true and that Pro-Life activists morphed the videos into something that they believed would grab the attention of other people, especially politicians. They claim that pro-life activists want to use the videos as evidence in passing a law that all abortion should be illegal.

Political debates on the topic have increased dramatically since the tapes were released. This not only put Planned Parenthood in the spotlight, but also many other health centers that deal directly with the abortion process. In recent debates, Jeb Bush has spoken out saying that he believes congress has the right to investigate based upon the videos that have been leaked (O’Keefe, 2015). He also believes that any federal investigation is justified by the amount of federal funding that these programs are receiving (O’Keefe, 2015). The political aspects pertaining to this subject have struck up a great deal of controversy. Laws are looking to be passed against Planned Parenthood due to the videos.

The crisis of the Planned Parenthood videos has caused a great deal of controversy and debate amongst Americans not only in politics, but in every day life. The news coverage of Planned Parenthood representatives has only shed a more negative light on the crisis. Representatives are denying the videos and stating that they were morphed into something they are not, even though they have demonstrated clearly in three separate videos that they are selling fetal body parts. Other Planned Parenthood representatives have been saying that they are, “…stressing special ways to abort babies without “crushing” them so their organs and limbs can be harvested for researchers…(Hall, 2015)”. According to Hall, women are not giving up on reporting the news from health centers to continue to provide new evidence of the leaked video footage.

In my opinion, I think the way Planned Parenthood representatives handled the matter only caused more criticism from the public. I find that after watching videos and interviews, the crisis management team does not appear to be doing any “fixing.” In order to implement an effective plan, there should have been a meeting between all of the head spokespersons for the company to lay down some guidelines. First, it would have been effective to issue a script to those who speak out about the company. If the topic of the leaked videos or anything else confrontational were to come up, the staff would know exactly what to say and most importantly, the statements would be the same across the board. Secondly, there should be an understanding that these videos are in the public eye and denying what the public is seeing is just setting up the company for more negative accusations. The only thing that this crisis management team appears to be doing is just telling their spokespersons to deny the videos and nothing else. Obviously this is not helping the companies overall image, and in order to hold on to the little integrity that they have left, they need to be making more of a real action plan. For example, releasing statements every time a new video is released, writing speeches for executive personnel who will be getting interviewed by the press, holding press conferences, and hosting events that showcase other services Planned Parenthood provides patients. Their image is the number one thing that is being diminished, so showing that they are still a strong company, even though they are up against many pitch forks and screaming protestors, will ultimately help their image for the time being.

References:

Dipietro, B. (2015, August). Crisis of the Week: Planned Parenthood Feels the Heat. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 28, 2015 from http://blogs.wsj.com/riskandcompliance/2015/08/04/crisis-of-the-week-planned-parenthood-feels-the-heat/

Disturbing New Planned Parenthood Video Details Harvesting Fetal Body Parts (2015, July). Fox News Insider. Retrieved September 28, 2015 from http://insider.foxnews.com/2015/07/28/disturbing-new-planned-parenthood-video-details-harvesting-fetal-body-parts

Hall, R. (2015, August 4). Conservative Women’s Leader to CNN: Drop Planned Parenthood Consultant. mdc NewsBusters. Retrieved September 28, 2015 from http://newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/randy-hall/2015/08/04/conservative-womens-leader-cnn-drop-planned-parenthood-consultant

O’Keefe, E. (2015). Jeb bush: Congress ‘has every right to investigate’ planned parenthood videos. Washington: WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/1697998396?accountid=39473

Why research is important in Public Relations

Whether it be simple statistics of competitors or understanding what will please their consumers, research is the main component for these answers. This is why researching in Public Relations, or for any field in fact. As a student, performing research is expected in every course. Once finished with school, consistent researching doesn’t stop there. There is always some sort of information that companies can gain and the only way to do so is to research.

Specifically, how important is research to those in public relations? The answer is, very important. The complexity of data that public relations professionals must comprise is discovered solely through research. In the text “The Importance of Research to Public Relations” by Brigitta R. Brunner, she argues that researching in public relations has a specific structure and without that most research would be invalid (Brunner, 2003). Collecting informal research for a campaign gives a public relations professional knowledge in more than one aspect of a client.  By gaining this kind of information, public relations professionals are able to develop programs for clients.Research is the backbone of a campaign and without valuable knowledge of the client and their products, your campaign would be lacking successful, key components.

The research element of public relations plays a large role not only in developing strategies and campaign’s, but understanding your clients competitors. Without understanding these important values, a company can not learn how to excel their business. Through the use of research on not only statistics, but also social media platforms, blogs, and past work, a company can track their competitors and explore how their campaigns are succeeding or failing in the public eye. “Putting thorough research into any realistic plans help you establish realistic goals, meet communication objectives and increase your campaigns’ chances for success” (Sanchez, 2013).This helps further a campaign by developing a list of do’s and don’ts when PR-ing a product. By doing this, the client will feel more comfortable moving forward with a campaign pitch. In order to gain confidence and trust in the client, you as a PR professional need to show valuable research you have done. This not only builds your credibility but also shows that you have fully taken the time to understand the clients wants and needs.

In public relations, research also allows a team to understand the market that their client is working within. Knowing demographics as well as certain individuals to persuade the product is important. Also, “Market research involves more than demographics – you have to analyze the behavior, lifestyles, and preferences of your audience” (“The Importance of Research in Public Relations”). The client’s main focus is to release effective propaganda to those in their target market. In order to do this effectively, PR professionals need to research the best way to connect with these particular groups of people. If this is not done right then the focus of the entire campaign would be unclear and you would not impress the client or their work done thus far.

Research in Public Relations contributes to a variety of aspects when it come to organizing a campaign for a client. Not only does this cover basic information, but it also allows Public Relations professional to devise a plan geared directly towards the clients wants. Research is the key component to a successful campaign.

References:

Brunner, B. R. (2003). The importance of research to public relations. Review Of Communication3(4), 419-423. doi:10.1080/1535859032000106327

The Importance of Research in Public Relations (n.d.). PR Friend. Retrieved September 16, 2015.

Sanchez, C. (2013, September). 3 Reasons Why Research is Crucial to Effective Public Relations. Weber Shandwick. Retrieved September 16, 2015.

Why I decided Public Relations was the right fit

As a typical freshman, I did what most do and picked a major that I ended up changing within five minutes of being a student at Grand Valley. After spending a majority of my free time playing sports through out grade school, I thought it would be logical to major in athletic training. That was until I attended a few health classes and left more green in the face than interested in fixing peoples dismantled bodies.

Well, the indecisiveness didn’t stop there. While many students take one strait road to their degree, I’m making it more interesting and wiggling down a winding road to mine. You know when the college tour guide tells you that you shouldn’t feel bad about changing a major because it took them multiple attempts to get to theirs? Well, they should start making that “warning” a sticker to put on your binders or agendas because I found out really fast that, that is a common thing most college students do. But hey, I am not complaining! I believe that taking the time to slowly maneuver down my winding road is really helping me understand what is the right major and career for me.

I am in a sorority…shocker, right…well, it was to me. My sister joined her sophomore year and when I came to Grand Valley she pretty much gave me no choice, I just had to join. Actually, to my surprise, I genuinely liked the girls I got to meet and decided, what the heck, I might as well join this organization and see what it has to offer.

Little did I know that those screaming girls dressed in head to toe pastels are the women that would help me understand the educational path I wanted to take. Once I joined the sorority, I was able to talk to girls that were in the same situation as me. Started with a bio major and now don’t know what to do. Immediately after joining, I was given the chances to volunteer around campus and meet great people who I got to work with on events. Also, I was awarded the opportunity to represent my chapter on junior panhel where I was planning events and promoting greek life. One of the girls I was working with knew that I was miserable with my current major and mentioned something about public relations. After some consideration and talking to some girls who majored in public relations in my sorority, I thought it was worth a shot to try it out.

Again, to my surprise, I loved public relations. Once I changed my major and started my PR classes, I quickly realized I was in the right place. What I realized is that public relations is stepping outside of the box and making something look great in the best way possible. Through out my entire time here at Grand Valley that is all I have been doing. I have been taking the time to step out of the box and try things that I may not have thought to be fun or interesting to me. I want to help people see that kind of desire in the product or company that I will one day promote. I want my clients to step out of the box and see the potential that their brand has for success. The more I pursue this career the more I want to succeed in it, and I can honestly say that I will not be switching directions to another major.