PR Transitions with White House

By: Donald Smith

On January 20, the inauguration for Donald Trump to assume his presidency was held. However, a controversy followed shortly after the event. The topic of the controversy was the size of attendance at President Trump’s inauguration being substantially smaller than Barack Obama’s from 2009. The comparison was characterized by this photo tweeted out by the National Park Services.

[A composite image showing the presidential inauguration comparison for Obama (left) and Trump (right)] By, Barnes
This comparison created a negative outlook on President Trump’s administration. In order to curb this reaction press secretary Sean Spicer held a non-conventional press conference the following day. In the press conference Spicer scolded the media for purposely engaging in false reporting. Later, Spicer referenced several statistics that were reported as false afterwards.

Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to Trump, then proceeded to back up Spicer’s claims in a separate broadcast interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” In this interview she stated that Spicer was not using false information, but “alternative facts.” This statement has created a hashtag on Twitter called #alternativefacts where people post comedic material satirizing the political situation.

Now, both Spicer and Conway are seen as public relations professionals. Therefore, by them making false claims on the inauguration attendance size, they have created a distrust between the public and the profession, as if the public did not trust us already. In an attempt to try and conduct some PR for the profession, Public Relations Society of America has stepped into the fray and made a statement rejecting the new White House staff for breaking the code of ethics held up by those in the organization and profession with the “alternative facts.”

Not only have these events caused distrust, but due to Trump consistently discrediting national mainstream media outlets (i.e. CNN) and criticizing large name corporations (i.e. Boeing) professionals will have to differ in tactics in how they go about interacting with the media. So, they will have to be on their toes for the next several years as trust level and relationships among the White House and the media determine effective ways to reach publics.

Going Live: Social Media makes you a Journalist

By: Connor Gray

While there are many different platforms that have always allowed for live content during significant events around the world, there is one piece of social media that is relatively new to most platforms: live video. The magic with this tool is the infinite number of ways it can be utilized in today’s public. During a time in America where things are certainly tense, live video is becoming essential to giving communication. The twist here is that it’s not exclusive to media outlets like CNN, but to the general public. With live video, anyone can present information raw and untouched.

 

Live video footage may be relatively new, but raw video footage has certainly been a component to some platforms for a while. Snapchat was initially released in September 2011 for Apple users and was one of the first apps to allow people to send direct, unedited videos to the public. With their advent of the “My Story” feature, users could immediately release footage to the public. As Snapchat matured, other social media platforms scrambled to catch up to this idea of live footage. By mid-2016, other media heavy-hitters like Facebook and Instagram had created their own versions of live video to connect with the public.

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These new features have elevated the role of the public in citizen journalism. Citizen journalism has certainly become a vital part to the media in the last few years. Citizens have been called to become make-shift journalists in areas where media resources aren’t readily available. With features like Facebook live, users can immediately broadcast scenes of civil injustice, red carpet premieres, and the recent Inauguration.

As 2017 has already proven to be a volatile year within the United States, live video footage is going to become even more essential to spreading information. The best part of this citizen journalism is that it truly represents the public in the media, because the actual public is producing it. These new updates not only show a diversity in the media, but help lend to a more holistic view of perspective.