Airframe and PR

11Feb10

This week for my PR Connection I decided to write about how public relations is portayed in a book I am reading: Michael Crichton’s Airframe. The book is a story about Casey, a Vice President of Norton Industries, a company that builds planes. Casey goes from VP to PR when there is a plane “malfunction,” resulting in three deaths, and 56 injuries. What really happens is hazy, and the company is running out of people to get answers to, when the pilot hops on the next plane and flies back to Hong Kong. Casey and the rest of the employees have to figure out what happened, and protect the image of their company.

I haven’t finished the book, I am not even half way through, but from what I’ve seen the book plays into several stereotypes of the Public Relations world. Casey is chosen to handle the publicity for the company by her boss. Her boss has confidence in her skills with managing the public in a way that makes the company seem confident and controlled. He also describes her as being attractive enough to talk to the press. I think the idea of the public relations professional being physically attractive is stereotypical of the PR world. While it may be true in many circumstances, it’s not a limiting factor. I think when using this is in the book it will aid in how people typical view Public Relations professionals.

Secondly, I really like the use of ethics in this book. Casey feels it’s extremely important to pick the pieces out of what happened, and retrace the steps of what could happen. She does not want to deliver information if it’s not true, and I think that makes her a great role model for Public Relations professionals. In situations like these it’s important for the person handling the situation to stay calm, collective and factual.

After reading part of this book  I have realized the importance of remaining ethical in Public Relations practices. While I may never be in a situation like Casey did in the book, It’s still important to practice PR ethically and with using your own judgement on what’s right.

I look forward to finishing this book and seeing what else I can relate from it to Public Relations.

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