Black PR History Event, Feb. 1, Frederick Douglass

1841-- Frederick Douglass, a newly freed man and budding leader of the anti-slavery movement, sat for his first photograph. He felt that the newly invented daguerreotype portrait could become such an influential force in the movement, that Douglass sat for 160 photographs in all-- becoming the most photographed person of the 19th century. Photography, he said, “highlighted the essential humanity of its subjects,” so that “the humblest servant girl may now possess a picture of herself such as the wealth of kings could not purchase 50 years ago.” Learn more how Douglass employed photography in his anti-slavery campaign from Douglass's own descendant, Ken Morris, at the next Black PR History event, Feb. 1, 6pm, 11 E. 61 St. Register here. 


The New York Times: A Note from the Publisher

1896--Adolph Ochs purchases a small NYC newspaper with hopes of reviving its circulation and rebuilding its stature in the news world. His vision is “to give the news impartially, without fear or favor, regardless of party, sect, or interests involved," and “to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.” Today, 121 years later, his great, great grandson, Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, takes over the reins of the New York Times, with a pledge to uphold the paper's original vision: "Misinformation is rising and trust in the media is declining as technology platforms elevate clickbait, rumor and propaganda over real journalism, and politicians jockey for advantage by inflaming suspicion of the press." See the whole Note from the Publisher here. 

Adolph Ochs

Adolph Ochs

Arthur Gregg Sulzberger

Arthur Gregg Sulzberger

Marylin Monroe: Happy Birthday to You!

1889-- The Hill sisters in Kentucky write a special tune for the kindergarteners they taught. "Good morning to you" soon catches on and is sung in classrooms across the country. By the turn of the century, children began replacing the words with "Happy birthday to you," and the ballad becomes the most-sung song in the world. But the most famous rendition of the song was sung not by children, but by a 40 year old Marilyn Monroe, in Madison Square Garden in 1962 to celebrate the birthday of JFK. 

1932: "Happy Days" Meant to Cheer Up Nation

1932-- The weekly paper, "Happy Days," was the official national publication serving the millions of young men deployed during the Depression in the Civilian Conservation Corps. It was an apt title for these poor, jobless enrollees, who finally had three squares a day, medical care and $25 to send home each month to their struggling families. Most of the paper's content itself was intentionally "happy" as well, a much-needed relief from the bad news back home.

Event: The Business of Persuasion: Celebrating the legendary life of Harold Burson

The Museum of Public Relations, in association with CCI at Baruch College and Burson-Marsteller, presents: “The Business of Persuasion: Celebrating the legendary life of Harold Burson.” This event starred Harold Burson, Buck Buchwald, Mike Fernandez, Dick Martin and Dr. Michael Goodman and was hosted at Baruch College on December 11, 2017. Find a full recording of the event below:  

The Museum of Public Relations, in association with CCI at Baruch College and Burson-Marsteller, presents: “The Business of Persuasion: Celebrating the legendary life of Harold Burson”

Posted by The Museum of Public Relations on Monday, December 11, 2017

Coca-Cola's Crisis in India

Coca-Cola's crisis in the Indian market is a lesson learned for foreign multinational companies. It reflected how the consistent denial of allegations and incapability of addressing the pressing issues on time can elevate a crisis. Despite significant CSR investments in the rural areas of India at the beginning of 2003, Coca-Cola faced a list of allegations from local farmers, activists, and NGOs. The company was accused of causing water shortages, polluting the environment, releasing toxic waste into the water, and selling pesticide-contaminated products, which ultimately dragged it into huge trouble in the country.

Even though the Centre for Science and the Environment, an independent environmental group, confirmed that the company’s soft drinks contained more than 24 times of the allowed amount of pesticide residue, Coca-Cola disputed all allegations. It contested the report, called for an immediate press meeting and questioned the very method of the groups testing, despite the fact that it was conducted following Environmental Protection Agency standard procedures. Replying to the groundwater extracting and drought allegations, Coca-Cola blamed the decreased rainfall that year, which was supposed to have caused the drought, not its bottling plant. Also, the company's untimely marketing strategy that promoted their products’ safety and quality, triggered an angry response from activists and local politicians.

Therefore, a national movement demanding to ban Coca-Cola products started to gain momentum. It created huge pressure on the company to shut down its bottling operations in India's various water-stressed areas. Also, the government put a partial ban on the company, while various states stopped selling the soft drinks in schools and government offices. As a direct consequence, Coca-Cola witnessed a 30-40 percent reduction in sales. Even in western countries, the company started to feel the consequences of its unethical behavior in India. Students in several US and UK universities removed Coca-Cola products from student cafeterias and other shops.

Coca-Cola took the wrong approach by not admitting its mistake in the first place and correcting it immediately. The company wasted a good amount of time before it even acknowledged the crisis. Therefore, the company allowed the crisis to spread, which ultimately resulted in unnecessarily great mistrust and criticism from their customers.    

By Priyanka Banerjee 


BBC: Century of the Self (2002)

The BBC documentary series, Century of the Self (2002), reveals how "the principles of Freudianism, initially through Bernays, had a profound effect on corporations and governments, and led directly to the new all-pervasive ideas of market research and focus groups - psychoanalysis of products and ideas." See the film:

Read the article: "How Freud Got Under Our Skin":…/medicalscience.highereducation


Fake News, A New Term: Is It Really New?

The term ‘fake news’, which means false, fabricated and inappropriate information, first appeared in the 1990s, when TV Guide published a cover story on the subject, advising professional on how to mark sponsored Video News Releases (which are “video segment(s) made to look like news reports, but are created by a PR firm, advertising agency, marketing firm, corporation, or government agency,” as defined by Wikipedia). TV Guide recommended that media organizations should always display the source of external material when it is used in a broadcast – for as long as the material is on screen. The article was published during a time when media outlets were often not properly marking external or promotional material. As a result, broadcasts were losing credibility and reliability – a development that TV Guide wanted to bring attention to. So, while some claim to have come up with the term “fake news,” this cover proves that it has been used for at least 25 years.


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