Generating Yellow Ribbon Project Campaign Awareness
1. About the Organization: Singapore Prison Services
Singapore Prison Services (SPS) is a division of the Singapore Police Force that concentrates on the care and rehabilitation of prisoners who have committed social or criminal offences. The organization does not merely concentrate on housing and providing guidance for inmates while they are in remand, it is also dedicated to ensure that no repeat offences ensue. Thus, a major portion of their efforts also concentrate on providing inmates with basic employment skills in hopes of preventing past criminal behaviour from surfacing upon their release into society. This indicates that the SPS provides preventive and after-care measures to maintain former prison inmates compliance with the law as much as possible. (Source: http://www.prisons.gov.sg/about_us.html)
2. About the PR Situation
In 2005, SPS services realized that former inmates released into society faced social stigma in the form of negative public opinions of being ex-offenders and are often denied employment or rejected by society. Such public opinions are harmful and repressive. Seitel (1998, pp50) describes Public Opinion as the aggregate of many individual opinions on a particular issue that affects a group of people by forming consensus or popular attitudes and thoughts. The role of the PR practitioner then is to positively influence an individual’s attitude. As seen in the above definition, public opinions represent popular thoughts that can prove an inmate’s re-integration into society a daunting task. Without the means of finding acceptance or a proper means of living, many relapse back into a life of crime, a paradox that can be resolved through a public relations campaign that aims to educate and seek acceptance. As such, the Yellow Ribbon Project as a public relations campaign in a long-term program that sought to change public perceptions of ex-offenders was launched in order to deliver a second chance. In this situation, the SPS has been providing culinary training to a group of inmates in conjunction with Raffles Hotel (Singapore) that has culminated in a cooking competition. A renowned chef has been at helm in training them and he has marvelled at their ability to pick up skills in a short time. The newsworthiness of this initiative begins with prison inmates partaking in a grand cooking competition not unlike the Iron Chef series. Thus, a Media release highlighting the background of the cooking competition and a feature article in the form of a personality profile written by an SPS Public Relations Executive will be provided for the purposes of fulfilling this assignment. 3. Reasons for Using PR Communication:
3.1 Media Release:
It is deemed that to generate positive publicity and awareness of the ‘bizarre’ cooking competition in conjunction with this year’s Yellow Ribbon Project (YRP), a media release will be sent to newspaper editors in Singapore in hope that the story will be printed and generate interest and positive awareness. A media release has been described by Seitel (1998, pp175) as a document of record to state an organization’s official position or to influence a publication to write favourably about the material discussed and stimulate editors to cover a story. As readers tend to perceive news articles with more credibility, it is hoped that the use of a media release information transformed into a news article will fulfil the communicative objectives of the YRP better in terms of reach and credibility than using an advertisement or provision of information on the organization’s website. 3.2 Feature Article-Personality Profile:
For the second communication tool, a personality profile of a former prison inmate who has found moderate success as a food hawker will be written by an SPS Public Affairs executive and published in a local Singapore Newspaper, The Straits Times special...