Chapter Eleven relationship building: public relations, sponsorship, and corporate advertising
Activities & EXERCISES
Have the students write a news release about an upcoming campus activity. The students should use the Checklist: Writing News Releases on p. 349. The students then submit the news release to the campus newspaper or a local paper and then monitor the paper over the next few days to see if the release is printed.
Should Broadcasters be Required to Accept Advocacy Advertising?Commercials dealing with controversial public issues such as gun control or abortion are called advertorials or advocacy advertising.
The question whether stations should be required to air such advertising has not been the key focus of this four-decade debate, but the related issues of editorials and a station’s responsibility to the community have. The key difference is that people pay to air advocacy advertising, while editorial commentary is a community service stations must provide at no cost. In addition, because advocacy advertising is so similar to commentary, the rules governing commentary are regularly applied to advocacy advertising, as well.
At one time, the law forced stations to accept advocacy commentary, but that government ruling had an expiration date that was eventually allowed to lapse. However, law continues to dictate that stations must provide “equal time” to opponents. A countering influence was a 1973 Supreme Court ruling that radio and television stations have an absolute right to refuse to sell time for advertising dealing with political campaigns or controversial public issues. Thus, today, stations sit on a fence when it comes to advocacy advertising — they will review it for content and propriety in order to determine if it can be aired.
If the broadcast media were required to accept advocacy advertising, some believe individuals, groups, and companies could purchase airtime to promote self-serving, even propagandistic views. Yet, most newspapers and magazines today accept advocacy advertising. They, like TV stations, are also free to reject such advertising when it does not meet their standards. Would newspapers, as well, like being forced to print advocacy advertising regardless of content?
Broadcasters should be required to air paid-for advocacy advertising because...
Viewers and listeners have a right to a balanced presentation of views on public issues. Since reporting is biased, advocacy advertising should be allowed so that audiences can receive information representing a broader spectrum of viewpoints.
Advocacy advertising would encourage constructive debate of controversial issues. This would make for a better-informed public.
Prohibiting broadcasters to air advocacy advertising is a denial of the freedoms of speech and of the press as guaranteed by the First Amendment.
It is the responsibility of the broadcast and other media to assure that the public is exposed to all sides of an issue. Since present broadcast policies do not enable this, advocacy advertising is needed to correct this imbalance.
Broadcasters should not be required to air advocacy advertising because...
Reports and commentaries on controversial public issues should be presented in a journalistic format by broadcasters. This is more apt to ensure accuracy, objectivity, and fairness in reporting, and to substantiate all sources.
Advocacy advertising would encourage biased statements. This could lead to public misinformation and widespread conflict on vital issues.
Advocacy advertising would be dominated by those advertisers with the most money. Their dominance of the airwaves would destroy balanced information reporting to the public.
The FCC would apply the "fairness" doctrine to advocacy advertising, granting free, equal-time to those who wish to express views opposing those of advocacy advertisers. This practice would cause broadcasters to suffer undue financial loses.
Questions1. Name a controversial issue you feel strongly about. Which of the arguments do you feel best support whether advocacy advertising should or should not be aired about the controversial issue you selected?
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A11-1 Crain’s ad (p. 340)
A11-2 Exhibit 11-1 Top 10 U.S. public relations companies (p.341)
A11-3 Gateway news release (p. 348)
A11-4 Corporate sponsorship IBM and the Olympic Kayaking-Slalom (p. 351)
A11-5 Exhibit 11-2 Annual sponsorship spending in North America (p.353)
A11-6 Wiener Nationals ad (p.354)
A11-7 Exhibit 11.3 U.S. companies’ spending on event sponsorship (p.354)
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