ERIC Number: ED333506
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr-5
Reference Count: N/A
Argumentation and Public Relations.
Stovall, Richard L.
Issue management oriented public relations provides an excellent pedagogical device for anyone interested in the application of argumentation. This can be illustrated by a case study in which a commercial metals company was wrongly accused of improperly disposing of toxic waste at a particular site. To counter the bad publicity that followed the accusation and the investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the company worked with a public relations firm in a process of inquiry to locate and define the problem, discover its extent, and define possible solutions. They then sent press releases that indicated no wrongdoing and that the company fully intended to defend that position to the local and national press. On the heels of the news release an advertisement was placed in the local paper which addressed several questions of inquiry in an open and honest manner. The ad focused on the nature and extent of the problem while allowing the reader to explore the problem with the company, and while pledging honesty, cooperation, and environmentally safe action. As a result of the ad much of the news coverage became more favorable toward the company, the local Chamber of Commerce came to their aid, and business returned to levels approaching normal. Later, a jury cleared the company of wrongdoing. This case provides students with an opportunity to see questions of inquiry eliminating hundreds of needless contentions before corporate advocacy began. It also illustrates that it is time to re-establish inquiry as an inherent part of argumentation. (PRA)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Advertising Effectiveness; Issues Management; Media Coverage
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southern States Communication Association (Tampa, FL, April 3-7, 1991).