The World According to Renee

Views, Reviews, Randoms and More…

Weaving the Truth

A few years ago now, I was at a seminar listening to a woman speak about the profession of copywriting. What she spoke about rang true to me and I realised that I had been copywriting for years without realising it. It was an exciting moment, knowing this was an actual profession and one that paid well and was in high demand! And I already knew the basics!

Fast forward a couple of years and I was stalking websites about university courses. Spurred on by my own bored brain and friends’ suggestions, I was looking for something engaging which would fast track my career. Eventually, I settled on a Communications degree, majoring in Media Communications. It was just the challenge I hoped it would be; expanding my tired brain into new territory, forcing me to think outside the square, teaching me about a world previously hidden.

Most people doing this degree are working towards a qualification in journalism, so there are a lot of journalism-related units to be studied even if you want to stay far, far away from it in your professional life. Recently, the degree structure was changed and I was forced to choose new majors, settling on the twin majors of Public Relations and Screen Studies.

PR is something I knew nothing about. When PR is mentioned, this exchange from Mad About You plays through my brain:

Jamie: You don’t even know what I do!
Paul: You’re in Public Relations.
Jamie: And what does that mean?
Paul: It means that you relate. Publicly.

Now, as I trawl through the unit, I see the web expanding. Journalism, copywriting and PR are tightly intertwined. In the beginning, newspapers wanted to sell advertising space, so they created bigger papers. Copywriters wrote the advertising and journalists couldn’t get enough news to fill these larger publications, so publicists started sending in “puff pieces” promoting entertainment. Around WWI, major organisations, such as the Army, realised public opinion was important so they started hiring promoters to write pieces for papers. Public Relations in Australia was born.

As my textbook attempts to explain that PR is more than spin-doctoring, I’m seeing the web tighten even more. Truth is woven into the messages we see, hear and read every day even though the full truth is rarely presented. In the 1950s, smoking advertising told women that cigarettes formed part of their weight loss regime- smoke more, eat less. You can’t argue with logic like that.

 

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March 22, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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