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THE CRITIQUE: The Public Relations industry Landscape in Uganda.

THE CRITIQUE: The Public Relations industry Landscape in Uganda.

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Published by Baliboola N Ivan
HIGHLIGHTING MISCONCEPTIONS AND THE DEVELOPMENT IN THE UGANDAN PUBLIC RELATIONS INDUSTRY
HIGHLIGHTING MISCONCEPTIONS AND THE DEVELOPMENT IN THE UGANDAN PUBLIC RELATIONS INDUSTRY

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Published by: Baliboola N Ivan on Jan 21, 2011
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12/26/2013

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THE CRITIQUE
: The Public Relations industryLandscape in Uganda.
HIGHLIGHTING MISCONCEPTIONS ANDTHE DEVELOPMENT IN THE UGANDANPUBLIC RELATIONS INDUSTRY
There is a misconception about writing in Public Relations. People think that a Public relations isfor people who cannot write. They think it involves less writing. Some simply opt for PR tothinking they will not write a lot compared to journalists.Top executives in organizations think that Public relations can easily end bad policies, poorplanning and organizational problems involving public opinion.The misconception that anyone can do public relations still exists in Uganda. Some organizations
don’t
look at skilled personell
 but handpick anyone who may be boss’s relative,
boyfriend,Personal Assistant, girlfriend to fill public Relations positions.People think Beauty should be the criteria for choosing/appointing Public Relations People.There is a Misconception that PR is about being nice or appealing. People believe that if one isnice, kind and always smiling, they can be good public relations people. Smile will not writepress releases neither will it help you manage a crisis. Those without experience in journalismcan make good public relations people.Duty of Public Relations is perceived to be for extra work of the organization such as organizingChristmas parties, front desk inquiries. Public relations is preoccupied with peripheral orirrelevant roles which is because management is not certain about the role of PR andpractitioners are not also being sure of their roles in an organization.All problems faced by the Public relations industry stems from the lack of profession training forPublic Relations practitioners and profession being young compared others establishedprofessions like law and medicine.PR and marketing.Organizations put Pr under marketing department. Furthermore he says that inorder for PR departments to excel, it should be separate from marketing because they both playdifferent and important roles.Today we see more university students taking up PR option and shun print and broadcast classthinking that with PR there is less writing which is not the case. As PR you are act as a writereditor and publisher at the same time. A public Relations person will write and edit the press
release alone. It’s
worthy noting that PR calls for good writing skills because some they are in
 
charge of 
the organizations’
external and internal communication which involves a lot of writing.Writing is an integral part of PR.It is also true that some top executives think that PR is magic that can easily end bad policies,poor planning and performance and other organizational problems involving public opinion.Public relations can try, explain or communicate effectively whenever there are organizationalproblems but not automatically end unpopular polices. For example PR departments of bureaucratic, inefficient government owned service providers cannot solve all crises and negativeimages because problems are sometimes beyond their control. They will also require services of legal, management experts and not only PR to end problems.PR alongside other organizations functions like production, Public
relations’ function like
production, marketing, finance and human resource can help an organization achieve its goalsand objectivesThere is misconception that public relations is the organization section responsible for extrawork of an organization such as organizing parties, giving condolence to employees. This is truefor case of Uganda where public relations departments are assigned all extra work in anorganization like buying newspapers,Public relations that aimed at dispensing charity is fading out and now CSR which is nowbecoming corporate Governance. In the past it was about splashing money the needy. Today wesee organization supporting health and social campaigns.Many organizations used to place PR departments under marketing departments. It could havebeen the case in the past. Today we see organizations without public relations departmentsoutsourcing PR services. Telecoms, banks and other organizations now hire PR Agencies to doPR on their behalf. The marketing department becomes a bridge between PR firm and theorganization. Ugandan organizations have appreciated the importance of PR working separatelyfrom marketing department.PR is a young profession and lack of professional training. But we have seen an increase in thenumber of universities and institutions teaching Public relations. This has come with increase inenrollment for example UCU by year 2000 had small group of Pr Class but today the number hassince tripled.Also the professional body Public Relations Association of Uganda (PRAU) has carried outsensitization campaigns and trainings to equip the professionals with new skills; Prau has alsoreached out to students through annual Award competition. In the future we will haveprofessionals outnumbering the Jobs available.

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Tenywa Anthony added this note
Nice read. Offers insights into where PR is coming from or heading. Thanks a lot.
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insightful
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