Friday, February 19, 2010

The Fear Factor

Aristotle defined pathos as arguments that are based on emotions-on arousing feelings such as fear, guilt, anger, humour or compassion.Public Relations practitioners can use these appeals to induce buying a product, support a cause or take important decisions pertaining to health.

Lately we saw public service announcements like the one on creating awareness on cervical cancer and the latest one on the TB-HIV connection, on television. They are using the appeal of fear, especially the one on HIV-TB. It persuades to get oneself checked for HIV in case suffering from TB.

It is said that fear is a vital appeal to evoke the desired response, here getting yourself tested for any abnormality in health at a local government health centre.

Health promotion campaigns are typically designed to elicit fear, yet the use of fear is often ineffective in achieving the desired behavior change says R F Soames of Job Psychology Department, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.In the abstract of his paper 'Effective and ineffective use of fear in health promotion campaigns' he adds "Campaigns which attempt to use fear as part of a punishment procedure are unlikely to succeed. Consistent with established principles of learning, fear is most likely to be effective if the campaign allows for the desired behavior to be reinforced by a reduction in the level of fear. This entails five requirements: 1) fear onset should occur before the desired behavior is offered; 2) the event upon which the fear is based should appear to be likely; 3) a specific desired behavior should be offered as part of the campaign; 4) the level of fear elicited should only be such that the desired behavior offered is sufficient to substantially reduce the fear; 5) fear offset should occur as a reinforcer for the desired behavior, confirming its effectiveness. Under some circumstances it may be difficult to ensure that these requirements are met. In general, a positive reinforcement approach may prove to be more effective than the use of fear."

Information, knowledge and Fear can be three ways to structure campaigns.In our country fear works best when it comes to doing health campaigns.The results are that people straight run to the nearest health centre for tests. What is your opinion?

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Time Of Multiple Media

Henry Jenkins, Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California says something very interesting.He says that both the old and the new media are there to stay.In his words "students clearly need both and more importantly, they need to understand the relationship between the two. They need to understand the different structures through which traditional encyclopedias and Wikipedia produce and evaluate information, for example. They need to be able to read charts, maps, and graphs, but also to be able to produce and interpret information through simulations. They need to be able to express themselves orally, with pens and paper, and with video cameras and digital editing equipment."

So this debate whether new media will kill the old media takes a different dimension.It is true media evolves and new mediums are formed but the older media doesn't die. For e.g. newspapers change the way they are packaged to suit the new trends in emerging new media but may not be dying.

For public relations students this is a learning that the number of media through which they communicate is increasing and they will have to manage yet another set of emerging media.

I m currently researching whether this dependence on the old media decrease with the rising new media? Will the rate at which media relations is conducted in India take a backseat considering the fact we are now having alternative medium such as the the internet? Of course all this keeping in mind infrastructural development in our country.

what do you think?