prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Archive for May, 2010

Which mess is bigger…the oil spill or the government’s response?

Posted by prof e on May 29, 2010

More than five weeks after the April 20th explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that started it, the BP oil spill has eclipsed the size of the catastrophe known as the Exxon Valdez. Today we learned that the ‘top-kill’ procedure has failed, and that thousands of gallons of oil continue daily to add to the 18-40 million gallons of oil already fouling the gulf and the delicate marshes that line the coast of Louisiana. Some of this oil may make its way into the currents that will carry it around the Florida keys and up the east coast of the US. While that may take weeks or months, the mess has already reached Washington D.C.

In an effort to demonstrate that he is in control, President Obama made a three-hour visit to the region yesterday before heading off on his holiday trip to Chicago. Critics of the president note that he is skipping the traditional Memorial Day celebration at Arlington cemetery while taking his second vacation since the oil spill began. Similar criticism leveled at President Bush when he appeared to be too removed from the Katrina devastation has some calling this Obama’s Katrina. Whether the comparison is fair or not is beside the point…the real issue here is one of public perception. If enough people begin to see parallels between the two presidents’ handling of these two tragic events, the political fallout will likely be as damaging to Obama as it was to Bush.

Crisis communication is only one aspect of the job for PR professionals. But right now, the gulf oil spill crisis is sucking the air out of any other PR agenda that the White House would prefer to have on page one. Short of successfully capping the leak and quickly cleaning up the gulf coast region, (neither of which look likely at this time), this crisis is going to continue to wear on the White House. As Mara Liasonn at NPR aptly noted, “the longer the spill goes uncapped and the greater the environmental damage, the harder it will be for the White House to look competent and effective.”

Posted in politics, PR | 3 Comments »

Smart TV Headed Your Way

Posted by prof e on May 17, 2010

TV has been pretty dumb for most of its 60+ years of existence. And no, I’m not talking about the intellectual content of the programming. I’m talking about the fact that a TV receiver is a relatively dumb appliance. It receives A/V signals and displays them on demand and at the whim of the person holding the remote control device. But changes are underway and your TV could be in for an upgrade. Google, Intel and Sony are conspiring to bring to market a TV that acts a lot more like a computer than the TV sets we know and love. With YouTube receiving over 2 billions hits daily, it may be time for traditional TV to learn a few things from social media success stories. We’ve been hearing promises of interactive TV for decades…and this may just be the perfect storm of technology companies and social forces that will bring it to pass. “Stay tuned for more,” as they like to say before heading into a commercial break.

More information at TechCrunch

Posted in interactive media, new media, tv | 10 Comments »