Where to Begin; Bridging the Gap between PR and Social Media

Diane Bégin, University of Alberta
Public relations practitioners must understand their audience and whom their audience trusts. After “America’s most trusted man” Walter Cronkite passed on in 2009, it was suggested that the word trust should have been buried with him, as there were no obvious heirs to his role.
Lakoff and Johnson claim that “most of our normal conceptual system is metaphorically structured and that “we understand and experience one thing in terms of another,” so to understand why trust shifted, we must examine history.
For over 100 years, traditional media personalities and public relations practitioners have had a love-hate relationship with one another that increasingly lacked trust. While new technologies were introduced, such as the fax machine, their relationship remained largely unchanged until the introduction of the internet.
Brogan and Smith outline “why we trust people is the same, it’s only in the way we come to trust people that is changing and that’s because communication is changing.” With the internet, the blogger changed the game and humanized media relationships by changing the way people come to trust.
This poster is based on my graduate research from 2010, where I examined a blogger as a case study, using Brogan and Smith’s Trust Agent model to establish why people trusted this individual.
To build on the research I will incorporate some of the theoretical frameworks I also studied in 2010 while I completed my accreditation in public relations.
I will examine how this new media landscape makes Grunig’s two-way symmetric model more relevant for public relations practitioners and why Marston’s RACE formula can no longer be simply used in a linear format. My professional experiences integrating new media into public relations will be used as the case study.

For PDF of related poster click here.
Brent Wilson King
Diane Bégin MA APR ,
Senior Consultant,
Thornley Fallis Communications
Diane Bégin MA APR completed her graduate studies at the University of Alberta with a final project on why people are shifting their trust to bloggers when they once turned to traditional news sources. Concurrently in 2010, she also completed her accreditation in public relations (APR), with a work sample that received a CPRS National Gold Award of Excellence for Social Media. She is an active volunteer with her local CPRS board and the national social media taskforce.
For Linkedin profile click here.