Monday, June 6, 2011
Do we know our publics?
Public Relations practitioners are constantly looking for different media to publish their press releases, articles, interviews, features, analysis etc.It is done so that as much as coverage is obtained.It is also done hoping that as many people to whom the news is related to are reading or watching it.
But what are these different types of publics to whom our news concerns? Does it matter to all in a similar manner or are there 'situational' publics?
James Grunig proposed the 'Situational Theory' (Grunig & Hunt, 1984). He explained that publics can be identified and classified according to how much they are aware of a problem and to what extent they could do something about it. The theory studies the formation of publics and how organisations should keep a watch and segment them accordingly so that communication is done to that specificity.The theory identifies the following four categories:
If we notice the different kinds of campaigns that have happened in our country, whether it was the Jessica lal case, fight for the Bhopal gas victims, the latest anti-corruption campaigns etc, you will see that there will always be some who will sit up and notice and act upon it.It all depends on how much it affects them and what they feel they can do about it.The rest of us will only discuss it casually over tea or on social media sites etc.
Knowledge of our publics is necessary so that behavioral change can be expected, to change people from being latent to aware to active publics as explained above. So what motivates us to react uniformly on an issue? Is some other motivation needed? Or can we act uniformly on an issue?
Do let me know your views.