By Daniela Raymond
The media sets the ultimate agenda for public discussion of issues and helps provide a forum for political expression. Journalism and media act as a binder bridging the world of politics to communities.
The media also choose what they want to discuss. This agenda-setting creates stories for politicians and voters and that affects the way they react. One of the first things that drives elections is as simple as name recognition.
According to a recent Pew Research Center Study, 62% of Americans get their news via social media platforms. But the real task of governance begins once elections are over. In the past, presidents have changed the tone of the press using both personal and professional means if they were not happy with it. For example, President Franklin D. Roosevelt used gentlemen’s agreements, loyalty and leaking information — sometimes off the record — to prevent journalists from publishing stories. Acts like these have boomed in today’s era of social media.
So what is this driving force that keeps politics going? Public Relations. Politicians around the world are constantly in the spotlight, and there will always be a need for someone to convey all the necessary information about their upcoming campaigns, projects and initiatives.
The Public Relations Student Society of America at SUNY Plattsburgh is dedicated to showing students the ins and outs of media relations and networking through their meetings and events like Political Night. The event will be hosted Nov. 30 at 6 p.m. to take proactive steps to engage the public and share insights into the complex and intriguing world of political public relations.
Speakers coming to this event include but are not limited to: David DeCancio, Town of Bethlehem board member; Carl E. Heastie, senior adviser to NYS Assembly speaker; Chyresse Wells, former deputy press secretary to the governor and now works for Corning Place; Jonathan Slater, professor emeritus; and Matt Nelligan, running for mayor of Schenectady.
“This event should be a good and fun night to showcase public relations to the students,” said PRSSA Member Joseph Buchanan.
Many people work on political campaigns to make sure the candidate presents themselves in the best possible light, both in public and in the media. For politicians and political organizations, the PR team often plans conferences, political debates and other pertinent events. Even searching for occasions and gatherings that politicians can go to to enhance their reputation.
This media exposure can be critical for candidates and their parties, allowing them to reach a larger audience. PR professionals are usually charged with organizing media engagements and ensuring that their candidate’s public profile stays strong.
PR and communications are on the rise in politics today partly due to the large expansion of social media increasing its importance in political communication. Previously political campaigns have heavily relied on traditional media like newspapers and television. Now media platforms and campaigns can directly engage with voters and share their messages in real time. This allows the profession to have a greater emphasis on PR strategies to manage and control the narrative while in a digital space.
“People don’t really realize how diverse PR is, hopefully, the multitude of speakers can showcase it,” Buchanan said.
In the ever-changing landscape of politics, effective communication is essential to shaping public perception and garnering support for political figures and causes. Political public relations, a strategic approach to information dissemination within governmental bodies, plays a crucial role in this process.