Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Gotta Love The Blogging!

Blog 1

(Alpha) Utili VS Commi

Utilitarianism is the “greatest happiness for the greater number.” Now utilitarianism is quite silly, in my opinion. It makes sense in every aspect, but at the same time, it makes no logical sense. Utilitarianism is a selfish way of thinking, and a horrible way to represent a product or company. As a public relation’s firm, to uphold ultilitarianism is to foresee disaster.

Even though I say this theory is silly, I would like to take a moment and justify my comment. What if there were 400 people stranded on an island? Let’s say that a rescue boat finally came along, but could only take 300 of those on the island. That is the majority of the group, so no need to worry about the other 100 stranded, right? Well that is foolish and selfish thinking! Would people seriously leave the rest to die without a second thought? Well some would, and have. But why not take the 300 and find a solution for the others?

With utilitarianism, the majority is the only thing that seems to be on their agenda. Happiness for the greater good becomes void when no effort is put into creating happiness for the miserable/unsatisfied/unhappy. That statement may or may not have been kind of broad, but another example of the utilitarianism theory being ignorant or unjust is when thinking about 9/11. It can be taken to the extreme when it comes to comparing it with the 9/11 attacks. Could we imagine someone with authority on 9/11 saying, “Do not enter those collapsing buildings b/c we have rescued the majority, so our job is done?” I don’t think so and neither do you! If people did not risk their lives for other people, how cold and inhumane had our society become?

When comparing utilitarianism with communitarianism, they seem very alike in some aspects. Communitarianism wants public relationists to focus on the community rights as opposed to individual rights, once again focusing on the majority’s well being. However, how do community and individual not go hand in hand? Maybe not all individuals are apart of whichever specific community might need good PR, but every individual lives in a community. Did that make sense? Well what I am trying to point out is why does the majority always have to win? Why can’t the small people get some individual attention and some respect? Do no just overlook these people, like they are not people! We all have thoughts and rights, and to neglect any individual is just bad business. As plain as that sounds, it is true.

Why would you not go out of your way to satisfy all of the individuals in the community? Is that really so hard? In some instances, yes, but compromise is usually a good goal in certain situations.

The PRSA’s code of ethics seems to lean more toward communitarianism. Within all the “professional values” listed on the website, they all seem to use general phrase “public interest” and “general public.” They do however, attempt to say they will treat their clients fairly, so in that sense you could assume some cases are on an individual basis, of course.

Becoming a PRSA member is not even a requirement anymore, so that is interesting. I would definitely only trust a PR agent if they were members of PRSA. Sadly enough it’s true, because you cannot put your trust into just anyone anymore. You need to do thorough research before signing contracts and placing a representative in charge of what is putting food on your table. There are just too many cases of corruption and deceit occurring right under people’s noses.

Blog 2

Untitled

Well if I am not mistaken it is week two and we covered chapters three and four, as opposed to chapters two and three needed to complete the exercise. Therefore, I am going to go ahead and summarize/provide commentary on this week’s readings.

Chapter three is entitled Regulating Public Relations Speech, which touches on a variety of issues and acts that can help strengthen or weaken those within the PR world. It also gives a simple layout of certain facts and histories, which helps us better understand what great lengths PR representatives could need to take in order to protect their client.

It first touches on lobbying, which is protected by the First Amendment, yet regulated by the government. It is when “an individual contacts their client and spends at least 20% of their time during a six-month period providing a service to the client. Lobbyists who make more than $5K in a six-month period for services and in-house lobbying that spend more than $20K on activities are required to register with the government.” When I hear the word lobbying I pretty much think of it as someone contributing as much money allowed to a certain politician, in order to network and have this politician win as a candidate. Winning is never really guaranteed, but the amount of money put into a political race is so disgusting…it makes me sick to my stomach.

Grassroots lobbying uses a pr campaign to influence the public’s opinion about certain candidates/politicians. I think this type of lobbying is more beneficial to the public and the candidate. As the public we get to see how bad the candidate wants to win, and what supposed issues they are for or against as opposed their opponent. It benefits the candidate either way because the more they say their name the more likely you are to remember it and feel “comforted” by this candidate. It is always interesting to see ads during election time. The people doing the ads have some creativity, to say the least.

This chapter also covers the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It was established in 1914 and has changed its goals throughout the years, but today its main concern is the public’s protection involving commercial speech. The FTC wants to ensure people are not being deceived in any way by certain advertising. “The FTC defines deceptive advertising as material representation, omission, or practice that is likely to mislead a reasonable customer.”

A few years ago, some sweepstakes that still exist today would offer so much money just for entering. However, they would say or in fine print write, your chances of winning increases with the purchase of this, that, and the other. You see/hear more and more today, “No purchase necessary to win,” written in bigger print. The fine print alone does not cover the validity of the ad, because the FTC says the average customer does not read the fine print. I may be mistaken, but I remember ABC’s 20/20 having Publisher’s Clearinghouse investigation. In the end, they found that more than a majority of their winners had in fact purchased other items they offered. They did state no purchase was necessary to win, but the results obviously stated differently. This is unfair, misleading and deceptive advertising, which the FTC has in fact regulated.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deals with regulating just that. It regulates specific foods and drugs allowed to be released for public consumption or use. The FDA is actually concerned more about the way certain foods and drugs are being advertised to the public. They have “jurisdiction to ‘regulate labels and any written, printed, or graphic matter,” related to prescription drugs. They have made it mandatory for advertisers to tell consumers the benefits and risks of a drug, and acknowledge it will not help everyone.

The Securities and Exchange Commission was created to “administer federal securities laws and issue rules and regulations to provide protection for investors and ensure that the securities markets are fair and honest.” In other words, it was created to protect investors by providing them with information concerning securities offered and to ban deceitful practices in the sale of securities in general. The SEC is actually the more complex part of chapter three because there is so much detailed information that is needed to understand why and how businesses are sued or go bankrupt. Companies are required to do many things, to say the least. One of which is to file a 10-K annual report (which has many requirements within it) and abide with timely disclosures. There is selective disclosure and insider trading to watch out for as well.

Chapter four is entitled Harming Others. The main point of this chapter is the clarification of libel. Libel is defamation of ones’ character. This includes false statements made about another person, which in turn can be responsible in ruining one’s reputation, or doing some measure of harm. Libel is applicable in both verbal and print material. When libel happens, suing more or less occurs. Everyone has the right to sue for libel, except for governments and government agencies. In order to sue for libel, however, one must prove all of the six elements are true. The six “essential elements” are publication, identification, defamation, fault, falsity, and injury.

At the end of this section, it briefly touches on ways to avoid libel. One way would be to back up opinions with facts, check and recheck all quotes, during interviews keeps all tapes and notes, etc.

The next section discusses invasion of privacy. There are four “torts” of privacy: intrusion, appropriation, false light, and public disclosure of embarrassing private facts. Obvious ways of invading one’s privacy would be to break into it physically or electronically (intrusion) now and days. We discussed briefly the other day about how students are posting their personal information online websites such as facebook.com and how people in general are doing the same on myspace.com. This is interesting because if an employer looks up a particular person’s page they have the right to not employ that person based on what they read. This is in no way an invasion of privacy because that person voluntarily put information about himself online so anyone could see.

Blog 3

HP Lawsuit Adds Insider Trading Claims

“The lawsuit claims executives sold on fear,” yeah how many times has this been done? Clearly you were guilty and clearly you knew you would have to face the repercussions, but wait let me grab millions of dollars before then. It sucks even more that the company is defending the CEO in question (well initially I would too). Given they have millions of dollars riding on them as a company, but to just disregard the accusations seems a bit careless. If the accusations against your company are false as they are implying, you need to make a statement defending your own personal facts. There might be court issues in doing this, but if done with precaution and care things look better for the company.

It really is making HP look even worse than ever before. I know they mentioned the claims were “baseless,” but they still could have said more. In August, HP is said to have also initiated a $6 billion stock buyback prior to the news hitting the media. Yeah things look convincing (sarcastic tone). Maybe it is best that they hide in their big buildings. They seem to do that best.

Blog 4

The sentencing of Skilling

You know I can’t help feel sorry for the guy just b/c his sentencing will make him in his mid 70s by the time he gets out. I feel sorry for like a minute, but then remember all the people that were innocent and loss their careers because of his decision making. It is interesting that he is not being thrown in jail for maybe perhaps aiding in the company bankruptcy. Well that is what they said, but in actuality it is the fact that the company itself failed and he lied. Hey well that is something you don’t hear everyday. You know how many people would be behind bars if we were to throw all liars in jail? Maybe everyone of the face of this earth! Skilling lied about Enron's financial condition and the investors involved with Enron’s failure.

I must admit that it is not as if Skilling did not try to prevent the company from plummeting. He knew about CFO Andy Fastow's embezzlement of millions from the company and asked Ken Lay to return, but was rejected by the company. But then again Lay was the one that was in the end hiding information and conjured up the conspiracy to begin with (well more or less). Skilling eventually found out, but did nothing to protect anyone, but himself which rightfully backfired.

Geez! When you look at all that we know know about the company! The other companies (Merrill Lynch, etc.) that were in on the act! That is the most appauling thing about this case! I mean we sort of all assume people are greedy and working together, but to know that it went beyond just a deal here and there is so disheartening.

Blog 5

A company does the right thing

Cocaine, huh? Yeah that’s has to be the most ridiculous ploy to get people to buy a lousy energy drink. I think as a society we are already reliant on a variety of substances, so the energy drink campaign is just so ridiculous to me. Most of them taste like your drinking carbonated Sweet-Tart candies or something. It contains nothing but sugar, which is not good for the balancing of…anything really. Our bodies will feel maybe a bit of a “high” (and for how long?) but sometimes the wearing off of the drink can create depressing lows in some people.

They call this drink the “next best thing that’s legal” (or something like that). Well how are they so surprised at all the media attention? I think 7-Eleven did right by not selling the drink. Other vendors have taken it off their shelves as well. I think with the name “Cocaine” you are making adolescents and even young adults curious. Curious to what it feels like to do cocaine and maybe even compare it to the drink. I’ve seen videos of people strung out on Coke (takes of the supermodel Gia comes to mind). They can’t complete sentences, they inadvertently convulse their entire bodies, and are usually not here on Earth mentally for long periods of time.

I feel like these “energy” drinks are doing nothing but causing people to be more stimulant dependent and of course cause weight gain. There is just way too much sugar for in those drinks for someone to be consuming at one time. I have a feeling we will be hearing negative results on a variety of energy drinks in the future.

Blog 6

More Reality

Our discussion on I suppose it is OK to say stereotypes and our own personal realities was good. It could have been more without internal restraints from everyone, but for the most part I think the overall point came across. You are different, and I am different. Can we dwell on this earth together? Well I mean clearly we do…but then again we don’t, hence wars and crime. As college students our eyes are opened to new ideas that can be unfamiliar to us. Yet I think it is easier, given our surroundings, to explore that unfamiliar path or idea, because the person beside me is just as curious as I am. I feel like “out in the real world” people are already set in their ways. They have spent years building an internal system that makes it easier for them to live life. It contains all their beliefs, their education level, their characteristics and even who/what is acceptable or unacceptable. As a student I think I am given more time to “go through a phase” or to just question things as a whole.

I said in the first sentence that our discussion was about our own personal realities. I know people on campus…off-campus. I look at my friends and think wow! My reality is so different from yours! Your grandmother just bought you a car for the hell of it? Wait you’re only a year younger than me and you have never worked for any place longer than a month. I write this because things like this in my life are not even a possibility. No one buys me a car for the hell of it. I bought the car I own now with every penny I earned. I work. I have responsibility. I think about Kirk (from class) and how he has traveled and lived in other countries for periods of time for pleasure and eduacational purposes. When I talk to him, it seems like he has so many frequent flyer miles it’s ridiculous haha. I went overseas this past summer and know for a fact (unless I do some irresponsible charging on a credit card) I will not be back there for a while.

This is me…my reality. Some things are “easy” while some things are “hard” in certain individual’s lives. Yet, at the same time I have come to realize that it is life. I can’t be bitter toward the person beside me because their life or path in life has allowed them more “privledges.” I know now to just say I am me and you are you, but I am not going to ridicule or look down on you for what you were born into (more or less).

Blog 7

Welcome to Appiah

Our discussion today in class was interesting and needed. Well it at least helped me see that we clearly have notions about how others should live their lives. I mean we were raised with standards and look at people that are different from us like they are aliens. However, I think our society is learning slowly, but surely, how to embrace differences. Not just embrace them, but learn more. I feel like we are more curious now than ever before (maybe b/c of the growing pace of technology). I think it is human nature to ask the question “why” everyday of our life. So why do some people still practice female circumcision? Why, not?

Well the fact that it is human torture and rids sexual pleasure is a good enough reason as to why certain people should prevent this from happening. Now as to why certain groups of people (in Africa and other countries) want to do this to women seems like another man-driven cause or something. Baby boys are usually circumcised at birth, so why not do the same for baby girls? I think certain groups of people allow the men to wait until they are older, just as they do with the women. I do see the need to be “clean,” but I do not think human torture is beneficial to anyone.

Blog 8

Case Studies

I am definitely leaning towards doing Michael J. Fox for my case study. It seems like there is just so much surrounding his cause. The fact that he has Parkinson’s Disease and is doing all the ad campaigns not on medication is interesting. Interesting is completely the wrong word. Real is how I would describe the ads.

Rush Limbaugh, of course, has to make comments that stir up emotions. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but the fact that he has on-air time makes his comments linger on a bit more in Americas ears. Fox’s campaign is controversial, so I will have to do some extensive examinations on stem cell research

Blog 9

Randomness

Yes yes…so Halloween is here. Well actually in a few days. This is the first time EVER that I am excited about this random “holiday.” I would always wonder what the big deal was. Well I suppose something has happened to me subconsciously because now I think of this holiday as the only time adults can be crazy and get away with it. You can be silly, immature, and a slut all in one night? That’s like a calling to some people haha.

I am probably excited because I am making up my costumes. I usually suck at things like this, but for some reason I have a lot of things lying around that will do me good this year. There is a Great Gatsby Era party and that is exciting! I would have never thought of throwing a party wit this theme. So that’ll be fun.

So I’m writing this random journal entry and I know you’re wondering when is she ever going to post hers up? The entire semester has passes already. Well not just yet, just one more real month of classes left. Thinking about it makes me relieved, but at my present state I’m still panicky. Well back to the posting of the blogs…I should have emailed them to you earlier…or wait here’s a thought figured out earlier how to freagin post crap on blogger.com

Blog 10

Connection to slave labor in Brazil

Wow! That was much to read. That was overall saddening. I can only imagine what it is like to live in dos Reis’ reality. It’s only a story I read on the internet that I will soon forget about because as a selfish human being, I will focus on me again. People are out there suffering just to live, and working to live. Not just to live decent lives like you and me, but to just live. I guess we can say that about any person living on the street or even about ourselves. dos Reis is not working to live, but rather living to work. That is no life.

On top of everything I read, I was surprised the term slavery even came up. This is ridiculous! What kind of position are people in that make others agree to free labor? Well clearly not everyone has a choice. I have an idea of what it means to be trapped or a slave, but really I have the slightest idea what it feels like to have no one to turn to. To be trapped in the jungle? What century are we living in? What is going on?! That is all I have to say really, because this is clearly ridiculous!

Blog 11

Appiah at the Washington Post

So reading the book this semester has definitely made me want to read more works by Appiah. A very educated man that I am upset I have not heard about prior to this class. From the link, I like how Appiah is answering a question and says, “They don't converse, they try to convert.” That is so deep. That is so true. How many times do you see rallies and protests? The signs seem to bash each opposing cause or person. I said earlier how I think we are excited to learn about the unfamiliar, but not everyone comes to terms with understanding. This is important. I think a lot of times people hear words, but do not understand them. I am guilty of it, but when needed I try. I think trying to understand one another is the only way to make some sort of change in this world.

Appiah says it best when answering the first question. He says, “ I think by recognizing that these issues are subjct to disputation within every society as well as across societies. We need a global conversation that recognizes that we have these very different views and that seeks, first, simple understanding of each others positions.” And I can’t help but agree.

Blog 12

Girl Next To Me

So today I finally got to properly meet the young lady sitting beside me in class. I do not usually sit next to her, but have a couple of times. Her name is Ashley. She is a cute bubbly person and seems to have her values in place. Something about her personality in the short time we talked made me think that.

For similarities, we like a lot of the same foods and usually are thought to be younger than we are. We both are currently doing an internship that involves promotional work in the entertainment business. That is rare! She is doing one with Morach (I probably spelled that wrong) and I am doing one with Clear Channel’s KISS FM. I am open to all sorts of music. I love to find new artists and make their music my own, so I do not have a particular genre of music I prefer. Ashley on the other hand loves rap. She was telling me about her boyfriend that found this group called “Girl Talk.” I think they are rap. I still haven’t checked them out yet, but will.

We actually seemed to have a few more differences than similarities. She is in a sorority called Kappa Kappa Gamma. I used to be more involved with on campus social life, but never really had the time any more. I never did the sorority thing because it seems too clickish to me. I mean pay for friends? Just kidding I know it is not about that at all, but it is hella expensive…haha. They do community service and volunteer work.

Ashley’s ethnic background is German and French…”pretty much white” as she puts it. My ethnic background is Jamaican, English and Indian. I have never been to Jamaiaca and Ashley has never been out of the US. That is one thing we would have had in common, but this summer was my first trip out of the US as an adult. I was too young to remember one other time. We both have an interest in European culture and their way of life/thinking. It is all interesting to us.

It was cool doing this assignment in class. I mean Ashley is a cool person. It would have been interesting if you would have given us a list of questions to ask each other, based on our morals or something like that. We did a basic surface meet and greet, but with harder hitting questions laid out for us, we could then dive right in.

Blog 13

Turkey Break

So I’m back in Houston and it’s that annual turkey break. I am excited and stressed. I can’t wait to eat momma’s food, but I have to return to working on Dr. Well’s strenuous assignments. I suppose it’s for the best. I am building up my portfolio. I can’t say for certain if my work will be seen by employers, but I know it is needed in this field.

Wow so Houston…totally not my home anymore. It’s great to see familiar faces, but I have built a life for myself in the DFW area. It’s weird because ever since I was 18 yrs of age I have not spent my young adult in Denton. I barely know what is going on in Houston anymore, which is normal. The entire time I was at college, I always thought that going home would be an alternative to my own personal plans. Now I realize that I do not even want to build a life in Houston! Maybe that’s crazy to say, but I do not see myself living there. On top of that the number one reason, would to be to not get sucked in again. If I go back I do not think I will move forward. I could still move forward, but it won’t be at the same pace.

You know this will probably be my last blog *tear*. Well I am not even sure how many we are supposed to have. Aren’t there like 15 weeks in a semester? So 15 sounds like a good number. For some reason it seemed like a hassle writing these blogs, but it’s not. Once I get started, it’s actually quite relieving and I want to share/express my thoughts. I thought it was going to be a lot more stressful, but it wasn’t…so that’s cool.

Blog 14

Omega

OK so this one is definitely my last blog. The semester is finally wrapping up. I’m still overwhelmed with crap due when it’s due. Like our case study for this class. I am glad I checked to see if our final was really on Monday. For me Monday would have been murder! So I am aiming for Wednesday. 16 pages, right? Geez! Well, I’m sure it could be worse.

So this class seems like a great class to have next semester. I feel like I learned a lot and didn’t even know it at the time. As I sit here reflecting on we discussed in class, I learned a whole bunch. Ethics is apart of life. Businesses have ethics professionals. It is not that rare anymore companies to have an ethics partner or what-have-you. You wanted our comments on this course, and I feel like it is necessary. I think at the beginning of the course I was going to dread learning all the vocabulary (haha), but it was not so bad after all. I really enjoyed the course.

I had some random thoughts for the next class that could possibly take this course. I think if on the 3rd week of school or so it would be helpful for other students and yourself to just go around the room and do that elementary thing. You know have them answer questions about themselves, like where they are from, where they have traveled, and how they would classify themselves (cosmo, utili, etc.). I think our group conversations toward the end of this semester should be more in the middle, like in October. Well I guess it was…but more time.