PR Campaign for Catalonia’s Push for Independence

How is the region of Catalonia portraying itself throughout their modern movement for independence? Public relations play a significant role in this nation building process for the region of Catalonia. There is an increasing focus on the building of relationships with foreign publics: public diplomacy. Catalonia has been attempting to overcome problems derived from the absence of a state of its own, such as suppressed political perspective and a distinct identity. Another problem arises in the economy, as the prosperous region’s tax money is not reinvested into Catalonia itself. These supposed struggles were in part the result of the Franco dictatorship (1939-1975) oppression when the Catalan autonomy, language and culture were taken away, which created a mutual resentment between the Catalan people and the rest of the country of Spain.

The long standing former President of the Government of Catalonia, Jordi Pujol, understood the recent importance of international relations to political Catalan nationalism, that would come through the development of a national identity as well as the promotion of Catalonia’s aforementioned economic interests. Catalonia uses sport and tourism as a part of their public relations strategy towards creating their own identity and as a part of building a positive international reputation. They are continuing to inform the international public of the competitive and cultural advantages that Catalonia has to offer to tourists and to businesses, in hopes of terminating the possibility of the Spanish central government absorbing their culture. Through these campaigns, Catalonians are drawing a distinct public image in order to support their continued movement for independence, while the federal government, on the other hand, hopes to keep the region as a rich part of Spain.

Conquering Fear

The South African activist and former president Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) has been an advocate for human rights his whole life. During his imprisonment, he was forbidden to write anything of political nature. He managed to smuggle out letters, statements, and a 500 page autobiography that continued to spark the anti-apartheid movement. Mandela inspired millions including then-president Obama. "I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life," said a visibly moved Obama in a tribute where world leaders mourned his death. 

June 10th marks the day Mandela first wrote from prison. Since then, his works have been translated into countless languages, including all official 11 languages of South Africa. His brave actions demonstrate the importance of education and freedom for all. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” -- Nelson Mandela

Crisis Management: The Historic Relationship between Ivy Lee & John D. Rockefeller

Who does one go to for public relations advice in 1906? John D. Rockefeller turned, of course, to early practitioner, and considered to most, the founder of public relations - Ivy Lee. Public relations first became a profession when Lee took it upon himself to look into Rockefeller’s coal mines, as well as the Pennsylvania Railroad in the early 1900’s. The railroad was coming into scrutiny from regulators, politicians, journalists and the general public and a change of attitude was needed. That’s exactly what Lee had brought to the table. 

When the miners went on strike, Lee exemplified some early PR tactics by “listening to the complaints of the miners, improved their conditions, danced with their wives, and became a hero to the miners.” Lee crafted his press releases with exceptional care and advised PRR officials to provide reporters with access to the New York improvements under controlled conditions. Lee gave reporters tours of underground tunnels - the first time ever any reporter was permitted underground. He exemplified his well known public relations principles of telling the truth and providing accurate facts when the Pennsylvania Railroad first achieved its favorable press coverage.


The Development of Alphabet "Aravrit"

Have you ever noticed that you can still read the lines of the newspaper cut in half by the page fold? Or when scrolling down a screen you can still figure out what is written there even if the letters are partially hidden? That's because readers of the Latin Alphabet utilize the tops of letters to recognize them. 

It doesn't only work with the Latin Alphabet. An Israeli typeface designer, Liron Lavi Turkenich, found that Arabic speakers also look at the top of letters, while Hebrew speakers look at the bottom of the letters. This revelation inspired her to combine the top of the arabic letters with the bottom of hebrew letters in a way that would be easily understood by both populations. The resulting “Aravrit,” alphabet unites two alphabets separated by over three thousand years, since their respective Aramaic based ancestors split apart. This will eliminate the need for multilingual signage, menus and possibly even books and newspapers. More important, it's seen as an important step in bridging the culture and communications gap between Israeli Jews and Arabs. 

And “Aravrit,” is not the only one. Daniel Grumer has also developed a typeface combining the two alphabets. “Abraham,” is a dual-alphabet font “which aims to display both languages in a visually equitable manner.” Now the main issue going forward is developing a way to automate the language so that it can be used by everyone.

Remembering Orwell's 'Revolutionary Act'

Sixty eight years ago, George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-four was published. Orwell describes his vision of a future where language is twisted to aid in oppression. He advocates the misuse of the English language and warns against the power words have to manipulate and lead the public to accept propaganda as reality. His terms ‘newspeak’ - “a language that is ambiguous and designed to conceal the true meaning of words for a purpose” whether political, social or economic, lives on with his legacy. After the 2017 presidential election, 1984 had reached the bestseller list. Observers had pulled similarities between the current political situation and that of Orwell’s dystopian world. He reminds us that “in a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” -- George Orwell

Origin of "Propaganda"

1622--For 300 years, the word "propaganda" did not have a negative connotation. The first time the word was used was when Pope Gregory XV founded the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide). The Congregation, based in Rome, was set up to oversee the efforts of missionaries, who were charged with propagating Catholicism throughout the Christian world. The word did not have a negative connotation until it was used by the Nazis in the 1930s. When Bernays wrote the book by that name, in 1928, it was used to mean persuasion of the masses. Read Bernays's entire book here:

The Museum Transcribes Hours of Video Footage of Edward Bernays

The Museum is transcribing dozens of hours of video shot of Edward Bernays, from 1986 to 1995. In this photo, Bernays talks about his Uncle Freud, who gave this signed portrait as a wedding gift to Edward and Doris in 1922. This screenshot was taken from a video of Bernays's study, filled to the ceiling with a hundred or more photos of such notables as Pres. Coolidge, Thomas Edison, Eleanor Roosevelt, and members of the Freud/Bernays families.