Political communication

Topics: Public relations, Mass media, Advertising Pages: 10 (2308 words) Published: February 12, 2014
Political Communication –
COM3707

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Table of contents
1 INTRODUCTION
2 DEFINITION AND HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF MEDIA AND IMAGEMANAGEMENT 3 ASPECTS OF POLITICAL PUBLIC RELATIONS
3.1 Media Management
3.1.1 Debates
3.1.2 Party conferences
3.1.3 Photo-opportunities
3.1.4 Meta-coverage
3.1.5 News conferences
3.1.6Public relations professionals
3.2 Image Management
4 THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDIA AND IMAGE MANAGEMENT
5 THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE MEDIA AND POLITICAL PARTIES
6 CONCLUSION
SOURCES CONSULTED

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INTRODUCTION
In the political environment there are many factors that can lead to an election being won or lost. One of the most important factors in this environment for any politician or political party is the manner in which the media portrays them. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that politicians pay attention to the manner in which they manage their relationships with the media how they manage their image. In this essay we will look at these issues, starting with a brief definition and historical overview, followed by the forms of public relations activities. We will also look at why it is important for politicians to pay attention to public relations and lastly we will look at the relationship between politicians and the media.

2 DEFINITION AND HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF MEDIA AND IMAGE MANAGEMENT Media and image management are forms of political public relations. Political public relations is very important to political organisation, because it deals with the type of political communication, which is seen by the public as unbiased (Karam, Sonderling and Zwane 2001:77). It is seen as unbiased because political organisations do not pay for these messages to be disseminated about them (i.e. “free media”). Since they do not pay to receive this coverage, the public finds these messages much more believable, than other paid forms of media, such as advertising. The fact that the political organisation does not pay for it, means that they do not have control over the content, resulting in the public finding these messages more believable.

Access to “free media”, however, is not entirely without a cost. Political organisation must employ public relations professional to manage the organisations relationship with the free media, and these individuals do not come cheap.

Media management as a form of political public relations ensures that politicians are able to get as much as possible positive exposure in the free media.(Karam et al 2001: 77) In order to gain such exposure, public relations professionals attempt to exert influence over the media organisation, by providing them with newsworthy material, while at the same time, ensuring that they are able to control, to a certain degree, how the political party/actor is portrayed.

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Image management is the planning and creating of the image of a political individual/party in order to ensure that this image is a positive one. Image management can also relate to the image of the political organisation – usually referred to as political marketing.

Political public relations developed out of corporate public relations. Corporate public relations came about as a result of capitalism in the 1920s in the USA (Karam et al 2001: 77).

Corporate public relations came about when large organisations started to realise that the public’s opinion about their activities may have a negative impact on their business. These organisations, therefore, started a relationships with the media as a way of ensuring that the public saw them in a positive light (Karam et al 2001:78). The political public relations professional initially came from this environment (McNair 2011:121).

The practice of corporate public relations, was then, not long after being implemented in the corporate environment, also adopted in the political environment in the United Sates. In time, many other...
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