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Deel 1: Van theorie naar praktijk

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Deel 1: Van theorie naar praktijk



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Samenvatting Communicatiewetenschappelijke Beroepsoriëntatie

Deel 1: Van theorie naar praktijk

Tekst 1:


Tekst 1: Nothing is as practical as a good theory: what communication research can offer to the practice of political communication.
Practitioners and researchers – A difficult relationship
Stereotypes:

Beoefenaars van public relations (pr) hebben stereotypes over communicatie wetenschappers. Ze zitten in hun ivoren toren, geen voeling met de praktische wereld van politieke communicatie, inefficiënt gebruik van bronnen en betaald door het publiek, meestal traag en 'behind the curve of modern communication practices'.

Langs de andere kant: PR is een praktijkgerichte wereld, werkt op kosten - baten georiënteerde manier, snel reageren op wat de stakeholder nodig heeft, and is always ahead of the curve.
Communicatiewetenschappers hebben de neiging om pr beoefenaars te zien als mensen helemaal niet bewust van de theorie en alleen geleid door ervaring, die hen soms in de foute richting zal wijzen.
König:

theory” is no antagonism to practice but indeed its basis in that its content is proven intersubjective evidence. A lot of theories of social sciences that were constructed after single projects turned out to find a practical value in the end.


Sociale wetenschappen hebben een lange weg afgelegd van pure normatieve en/of subjectieve menswetenschappen tot empirisch onderbouwd onderzoek en theorie. Onder "theorie" verstaat men hier een systeem van goed bevestigde beweringen/verklaringen over relaties tussen variabelen.

Redenen voor deze veranderingen:



  • Sociale wetenschappen zijn geconfronteerd geweest met een aantal sociale problemen waarover de samenleving en de politiek harde bewijzen over verwachtte. Snelle sociale veranderingen brengen de nood voor sterke antwoorden op serieuze vragen met zich mee. Vb: het effect van toenemende interculturele mobiliteit of van sociaal demografische veranderingen binnen de economie.

  • Het feit dat goed empirisch onderbouwd onderzoek zijn voordelen kon bewijzen. Theorieën werken hier niet zo met dezelfde precisie als in de natuurwetenschappen en in de technologie, maar zijn wel goed genoeg om een aantal varienties binnen menselijk gedrag te verklaren. (vb game theory, cognitive dissonance)

→ Deze theorieën kunnen toegepast worden op de meest verschillende aspecten van ons sociaal leven, van persoonlijk tot belangrijk voor de samenleving. Ze kunnen zo zelfs een rol gaan spelen op het gebied van politieke besluitvorming.

Communicatiewetenschappelijk onderzoek als onderdeel van de sociale wetenschappen is vandaag de dag een vakgebied van bewijs en verklaring, in staat tot het voorspellen van concrete effecten gevolgen van specifieke oorzaken - zoals het voorspellen van de uitkomsten van PR metingen of maatregelen.


Beoefenaars in de praktijk, in het veld van communicatie, zijn nog steeds wat argwanend tegenover onderzoek naar en binnen hun vak.

  • research is unfamiliar to many practitioners who have not studied this particular fields themselves, and unfamiliarity makes things look more complicated than they are.

It is also more convenient to think in mono – causalities rather than multi – causality (as in the social sciences), because a higher grade of complexity makes decision making an even more tedious and challenging process.


  • A second reason for the reservations is anxiety. Empirical communication research has the ability to assess the practitioners work. This had the potential to lead to a certain discomfort with and suspicion toward this research.

It's very hard to get the opnioin of managers via surveys than of regular employees that might indicate a certain mistrust.
Er is langs twee kanten druk om onderzoek te integreren in de wereld van de praktijk.

  • De sociale wetenschappen bieden steeds meer bruikbare theorieën aan die niet meer genegeerd kunnen worden.

  • Er is een toenemende vraag van het management om de efficiëntie van PR maatregelen te beoordelen

in Germany, 90 percent of PR professionals say that evaluating the results of PR is an important topic, although less than 50 percent of all communication projects are being evaluated eventually
Deels kan deze verandering verklaard worden door het feit dat publieke beelden en branding belangrijke troeven zijn voor organisaties, zowel in private als in publieke sfeer.
The demands brought to PR by management can only be met by more evidence based procedures.

  • Of course, single and subjective experiences are also a form of “evidence” but they are of a different kind and of a different quality because they often are not measurable, not quantifiable, and not repeatable.

→ they are non theoretical in the sense as described above and therefore do not qualify as perpetual solutions.
Challenges of modern political communication
Alongside these professional needs, there is another aspect that makes the evaluation

of PR projects highly significant: the challenges modern political communication has

to face.

three trends in political communication: (1) deprofessionalization, (2) fragmentation, and (3) randomization.


Deprofessionalization:

dankzij internet veel nieuws maar slecht voor de kwaliteit van publieke communicatie.

Er is vandaag meer nieuws beschikbaar dan ooit te voren, maar er is ook meer "nieuws" dat geplaatst wordt onder dit label zonder de juiste procedures van verificatie gevolgd te hebben, zoals professionele journalisten dit doen.

Het gevolg van meer nieuws afkomstig van pseudo en nonjournalistieke bronnen is het feit dat het publiek orientatie verliest. Het verliest de criteria, de eigenschappen, om professioneel nieuws te onderscheiden van deze niet professionele bronnen.

→ political communication has to do a good job in releasing relevant and professional information to ensure that there is always a large proportion of high-quality news next to the deprofessionalized

input.


To meet the resulting need for top-quality PR instruments, dependable scientific evaluation methods become indispensable.
Fragmentation:

verwijst naar een toenemende "bias" van ideologische bronnen en naar de selectiviteit van gebruikers.

Baum and Groehling:“Regardless of their normative implications, our findings offer a striking validation for those who complain about one-sided coverage of politics in the so-called blogosphere”
Iyengar and Hahn: find the equivalent on the users’ side: “A further implication of voters’ increased exposure to one-sided news coverage is an ‘echo chamber’ effect—the news serves to reinforce existing beliefs and attitudes”

→ Thus, the old-fashioned cognitive dissonance theory mentioned earlier currently sees its revival

through the modern communication patterns.

→ Bishop: “Big Sort” / “Weimar 2.0-syndrome.”: 1918 & 1933 germany was characterized by thousands of newspapers of which most had a clear ideological tendency and a readership that only exposed itself to the messages that fitted their worldview. Thus, the German society became less and less capable of communicating among itself because the worldviews had almost no common

grounds. Today we are again confronted with that problem and are dependent on a differentiated news coverage—and hence also competent, well-informed, and well prepared PR professionals rising to the challenge.

Randomization:

het toenemende onvoorspelbare effecten/gevolgen van communicatie dmv toevallige factoren in het communicatieproces. In bijna alle westerse samenlevingen zien we een afnemende politieke belangstelling en interesse in "het nieuws."

The duty to keep informed is on the decline, particularly among the younger generation.


→ Deze trend leidt onvermijdelijk tot een afname van politieke kennis.

Als kennis en betrokkenheid laag zijn dan zijn mensen meer geneigd om informatie perifeer ipv centraal te verwerken, dit betekend dat perifere cues bepalen of men een boodschap/argument van communicator gaat aanvaarden of niet.

These cues can be such peripheral factors as, Who has the nicer tie? Who talks longer in a talk show? Who gets more approval from the anchor or is more criticized? Who is said to win an election? The weights of the four main factors leading to political judgments—party identification, issues, candidate images, and moods—has shifted toward the latter.

More and more ad hoc judgments based, often unconsciously, on these subtle cues—are pivotal in this process.

→ result is : a “random partisanship” → As a consequence, the voter more

and more becomes a moving target for political communication—and thus the associated PR departments—because most of these cues cannot be planned, and are scarcely in the hands of the communicator.


what communication research can offer to PR practice:

three services: (1) modeling the field and its variables, (2) providing methods for the measurement of PR effectiveness, and (3) measuring PR effectiveness and its quality




  1. Modeling the field and its variables

“models” are deliberate simplifications of complex fields with many dimensions and variables.

They serve a heuristic value and have not the epistemological status of evidence sui generis, but help to identify these dimensions and variables and to stimulate hypotheses about causal relationships among them.

→ models map a field and help the researchers as well as the practitioners to find orientation in

it. researchers get ideas what to investigate and practitioners see their position in an environment of different roles and expectations.

→ These models reflect the different theoretical perspectives their authors have on the respective field.:



  • the system-theoretical model by Herger : constructs “public relations” as one branch of corporate communication next to “market communication,” where the task of PR is the communication with specific target groups and society as a whole in order to build up interaction and trust.

  • The “market model” by Russ-Mohl : focus specifically on the relationship between PR experts and journalists. They conceive of this relationship as a marketplace where PR offers the economic basis for media companies and topical information while journalism offers public attention. The gains of each side on this marketplace then depend on the value of their respective products in a certain situation.




  • the “Intereffication Model” by Bentele (afb reader): The model focuses on the interconnectedness of PR and journalism and their mutual influence, mutual orientation, and mutual dependence. It highlights s the importance of media relations in the broad field of PR in general. The word intereffication ) insinuates that neither PR nor journalism would be able to function properly without the existence of the other. The model uses the constructs “adaptation” and “induction.”

– adaptions: are activities and routines of one side conducted in order to be successful on the other side.

– inductions: are “intended and directed communicative stimuli which result in observable resonances in the respective other system”

For instance, PR practitioners adapt to journalists’ news values and writing styles and,

if they are successful with it, their messages resonate in the media as “inductions”.




  1. Providing methods for measuring PR – effectiveness

A second offer of communication research is to supply concepts for measuring the

effectiveness of PR measures.


  • model van Donsbach and Meissner (afb reader): they have distinguished between the “resonance effect” and the “determination effect.” Both measure the relative impact of PR on media content but from different perspectives.

* resonance effect: indicates the proportion of PR measures that have any effect on media content. measures mere effectiveness

* detemination effect: indicates what proportion of the total coverage of an actor can be traced back to its own PR. also measures the quality and independence of journalism.

The prerequisite for such assessments is, of course, quantitative content analyses of both PR measures and media content.


  • the “reputation index” by Frombrun: In this concept, reputation is defined as “the net perceptions of a company's ability to meet the expectations of all its stakeholders”.

A company's or any other organization’s reputation is built on its scores on six dimensions each measuring different aspects of its reputation: emotional appeal, products and services, vision and leadership, workplace environment, financial performance, and social responsibility.

Representative samples of all stakeholders indicate the performance of the organization on each dimension by means of some twenty statements. The scores are then transferred into a Reputation Quotient.



  • Gelijkend model als vorige: the “balanced score card” approach by Zerfaß: distinguishes for each of its five dimensions between factors of success, value drivers, performance figures, and programs. In a similar way, Hon and Grunig measure the relation of an organization and its publics on six dimensions: control mutuality, trust, satisfaction, commitment, exchange relationships, and communal relationships. A list of items relating to each of the dimensions

is given to the respondents, who have to express their level of consent with each item.
Besides these concepts for modeling PR effectiveness, communication research has developed concrete tools or methods to actually assess effects.

  • Input–output analyses: compare the quantity and quality of the influx of messages by a certain actor with the output by a news medium. This can be assessed at different stages of the communication process, for example, the input and output of a news agency or of a newspaper

  • Comparative input–output analyses: compare the efficiency of several different PR tools such as press conferences versus press releases or interviews.

  • Rechearch about journalists’ attitudes and professional behaviors: The results have amounted in theories of news decisions that allow predictions about the handling of news, including news provided by PR. These studies often apply surveys, quantitative content analyses, participatory observation, and sometimes field or laboratory experiments to draw conclusions.

  • time series analyses: one combines statistically the frequency of PR activities with the frequency and/or quality of an organization’s coverage by one or several news media.




  1. Measuring PR effectiveness and its quality

All these methods have, of course, not much value without their application for

assessing concrete PR effectiveness. All lot of studies measured the effectiveness. All of them serve different purposes and can offer findings for scientists as well as for practitioners. But whereas practitioners are rather interested in engineering effectiveness, social sciences need a normative orientation.

Normative orientation: can be defined as finding the gaps between the norm and the reality of social communication. In an ideal democratic society, the media system should cover reality as independently as possible from influences that are driving toward the representation of particular interests as of political parties. Ironically, the interests of normative communication research and PR practitioners are somewhat opposed in this respect.

Vb input output analyse:

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Conclusions
Reality shows that there is a major need for the assistance of communication research

in the field of PR. It can not only offer helpful instruments for practitioners to make

the effects of their projects and efforts more traceable but, on a higher social level, it

can also serve as a safeguard for the functioning of democracy by uncovering the risky

trends in political communication: deprofessionalization applies to almost every citizen, fragmentation more to the politically interested ones, and randomization to the

politically disinterested audience. What do these trends mean for professional political

communication? Does it become easier for political communicators to get their points across and reach their target audiences? That is questionable. In the flood of claims and

assertions, news and propaganda, and neutral and biased communication, the citizens

need orientation. They will, it is hoped, not take chances and rely on sources who

address them directly or via social media platforms without the checks for relevance

and validity that only professional mediators can provide. Therefore, serious and relevant political communication by political parties, interest groups, or social movements

strongly depends on these “intermediates” qualified by professional procedures and

values and legitimized by social acceptance and credibility.

there is always going to be a great need for scientific studies and opinion polls to assist PR practitioners in the “design” of their releases and instruments and the intermediates in their choices of newsworthy information. This way, all sides gain a benefit from each other and thereby



contribute to the well-being of society in general.


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  • Practitioners and researchers – A difficult relationship
  • Challenges of modern political communication

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