Posts By / Tom Watson

Bull run – archive research and lectures in Pamplona

Pamplona in the Spanish province of Navarra is renowned for the annual Running of the Bulls, popularised by Ernest Hemingway, and as being on the path of the Camino de Santiago. It is also home to the Universidad de Navarra whose Faculty of Communication has two strong links to BU.

Associate Professor John Oliver of the Faculty of Media & Communication (FMC) is one of the leaders of the European Media Management Association (EMMA) which is very active in Pamplona and includes the university’s President. Professor Tom Watson of FMC collaborates with public relations historian Dr Natalia Rodriguez-Salcedo, a regular participant in the International History of Public Relations Conference held each year at BU.

From November 23-27, Professor Watson visited the Pamplona university and spent time in its excellent archive researching the development of public relations education policies by European professional bodies from the 1950s to 1980.

“Dr Rodriguez-Salcedo has catalogued the records of pioneer Spanish practitioner, Joaquin Maestre Mora, who was very active in the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) from the 1960s to 1980s,” he said. ‘This links with BU’s own IPRA archive. My Spanish colleague investigated IPRA archive in 2014 and identified gaps in our files that could be filled from the Maestre archive.”

The investigations of both archives have led to journal articles and conference presentations by the two researchers, with another paper to come in 2016. “As archives are digitised, access to this basic material of communication history research will become easier but there is still nothing like leafing through paper files and finding the unexpected,” said Professor Watson.

While at the Universidad de Navarra, he gave guest lectures to UG and PG students on management of corporate communication, crisis management and the measurement and evaluation of public relations. Professor Watson also discussed current developments in research assessment with staff in the Faculty of Communication.

Professor Tom Watson addressing the CorpComClub at Universidad de Navarra

Professor Tom Watson addressing the CorpComClub at Universidad de Navarra

Linking research and practice – Appointment to international panel

Professor Tom Watson of the Faculty of Media & Communication has been appointed to the Academic Advisory Panel of AMEC (the Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication). He joins six other leading communication measurement and evaluation researchers from Australia, Germany, UK and US. The Panel is chaired by Professor Jim Macnamara of the University of Technology Sydney.

The panel’s role is to “provide expert advice and input to AMEC in relation to research methodology and methods, education and learning, and standards”.

“The measurement of public relations and corporate communication is an important and perennial professional issue,” said Professor Watson. “AMEC is the international body for the communication measurement sector and includes all the major media measurement suppliers in more than 30 countries.”

Professor Watson’s co-authored book (with Paul Noble), Evaluating Public Relations is now in its third edition. “Increasingly, there is a shift from measurement to evaluation, with the understanding of the value created through communication becoming a critical issue for communicators. In the book’s latest edition, we focused more on concepts of value. Creating world-wide standards on value is becoming more important and so the AMEC initiative to create this high-level link between research and practice is very timely.

iamecMASTER

Representations of PR – online resource

Representation of professions and employment takes many forms and is often shaped by books and visual and aural media.

In the public relations field, characters such as Edina in Absolutely Fabulous and the foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It are well known, as are terms like “PR success” and “PR disaster”, even though the events may have little to do with public relations practices or activities.

Apart from one US researcher, Professor Joe Saltzman of the University of Southern California, there has been little investigation of representations of public relations in books and entertainment media.

Working with colleagues in Australia, Sweden and the US, Professor Tom Watson of the Faculty of Media & Communication developed the PRDepiction blog:  https://prdepiction.wordpress.com/​ in 2012.

“We wanted to create a resource that would offer a catalogue of books, films, TV and radio, as well as articles, and encourage interdisciplinary research,” said Professor Watson.

As the blog has a relatively simple structure, additions and amendments can be made quickly. It has just been overhauled with a new look and revisions and more entries.

“PRDepiction has grown over the years and become more international. The latest additions include TV series in Australia and the UK, and a three-book series on a fashion PR guru from Australia,” said Professor Watson.

Additions can be sent to PR Depiction as blog Comments or to twatson@bournemouth.ac.uk. The blog also has a Twitter address, @PRDepiction.

PRDepiction's Twitter logo

Third book in PR history series published by Palgrave

The third book in Professor Tom Watson’s edited world history of public relations series, Middle Eastern and African Perspectives on the Development of Public Relations: Other Voices, has arrived.

Ten chapters from Turkey to South Africa and the Arab Gulf to Nigeria are covered by 14 authors.

The next book in the series, Latin American and Caribbean Perspectives, is due for online publishing by Palgrave Macmillan in its Pivot series next week. The hard copy will follow in 3-4 weeks’ time.

And the manuscript on Western European Perspectives will be submitted next week, too.

Busy times for PR history scholarship and publishing!

Third time lucky in Bangkok

 

Group photo of the delegates at the opening of the Researcher Links Workshop in Bangkok on November 2

Working with partners at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, a team from BU led and participated in a British Council Researcher Links Workshop in Bangkok from November 2 to 4.

For Professor Tom Watson of the Media School and Associate Professor Jirayudh Sinthuphan of Chula’s Faculty of Communication Arts, it was ‘mission accomplished’, as the Workshop had been postponed twice in February and May because of Thailand’s febrile politics.

“This time, there were no problems as Bangkok was about as quiet as it will ever be,” said Professor Watson. “As a result, the Workshop was attended by representatives of four UK and seven Thai universities who worked very well together”.

From the three days of collaborative working, four projects related the Workshop theme of ‘the impact of social media upon corporate and marketing communication in Thailand and UK’ emerged. They will be developed over the coming months into research actions, bids for funding and publications.

With Professor Watson were Associate Professor John Oliver (Senior Researcher), Dr Ana Adi (Deputy Workshop Coordinator), Dr Tauheed Ramjaun and Mona Esfahani, all from the Corporate & Marketing Communications academic group. Among the Thai participants was Dr Waraporn Chatratichart of the University of the Thailand Chamber of Commerce, who is a PhD alumna from the Media School.

“The Workshop also reinforced the existing relationship between BU and Chulalongkorn University as the Dean of the Faculty of Communication Arts, Dr Duangkamol Chartprasert, and Professor Parichart Sthapitanonda both took part as Senior Researchers,” said Professor Watson. “The BU-Chula relationship has great potential for research collaboration and staff exchanges. I hope that other BU staff will follow the opportunity that the Workshop has opened up.”

 

Bangkok comms conference launched

Following the very successful first International Corporate and Marketing Communication in Asia Conference (ICMCAC), held in November 2013, Chulalongkorn University and Bournemouth University are again providing a scholarly platform for research into Asian perspectives of corporate and marketing communication in all forms and time scales.

The conference will be conducted over two days (January 29 and 30, 2015) with a keynote speaker on both days. It is organised by a partnership of two leading research and teaching universities in the field of corporate and marketing communication with the aim of creating an Asian perspective in research and scholarship.

Advertising, corporate communication, marketing communications, mass communication, media and public relations researchers as well as educators and graduate students from Asia and Australasia are invited to submit  abstracts for paper and poster presentation at the 2nd ICMCAC. Researchers from outside these regions are most welcome to submit abstracts with cross-cultural or Asian perspectives.

Professor Tom Watson is BU’s conference leader and organiser for ICMCAC. Professor Watson said the first conference had drawn papers from 10 countries ranging including many Asian universities: “It was the start for development of Asian perspectives in the fields of corporate and marketing communications, and associated area of research”.

For Call for the Papers, click on this link: 2nd ICMCAC Call for Papers)

There are three themes for the 2nd ICMCAC:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Asia
  • Creativity in corporate and marketing communications, including creative industries perspectives
  • Cultural identity and norms in mass communication in Asia

General papers are welcomed on a range of topics, as well. The deadline for submissions is: Friday, October 24, 2014 to comira@chula.ac.th.

The conference website is:http://cuprimcconference.net

The venue for the conference is the Pathumwan Princess hotel, near to Chulalongkorn University and the National Stadium rail station.

Conference organisers Jirayudh Sinthuphan (R) and Tom Watson (L) with Phanasari Kularb (C)
Conference organisers Jirayudh Sinthuphan (R) and Tom Watson (L) with Phanasari Kularb (C)

PR historians meet in Brussels

Plans for future joint research were discussed at a meeting of the European Public Relations History Network (EPRHN) in Brussels on September 12.

The network, which was established with Fusion Fund assistance in 2013, met during the annual EUPRERA Congress and was attended by 15 PR historians from Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Turkey and England.

In addition to developing joint bids to national and European funding sources, EPRHN members have been contributing to a PR history book series which is being edited by Professor Tom Watson of the Media School.

Other plans are research into WW1 propaganda and information campaigns, comparative studies, collaboration with researchers in political communication and nation branding fields, and the role of PR during 20th century European dictatorships.

“EPRHN works as a virtual organisation and is gathering momentum. The key to it becoming a sustained network is both funding and outcomes,” said Professor Watson. “At present, there are outcomes in the form of accessible online resources and publications. So more effort is going into research bids when opportunities arise.”

Grand Place de Bruxelles

Visiting Spanish historian researches PR archives

Since June 30, Professor Natalia Rodriguez Salcedo of the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain has been a visiting scholar at BU, based in the Corporate & Marketing Communications academic group in The Media School.

During a four-week period, she has undertaken detailed research in the archive of the International Public Relations Association (IPRA), which was the first major PR association established in Europe in 1955. The IPRA archive was developed by Professor Tom Watson in 2011.

It is an important source of information about PR’s evolution in the immediate post-World War 2 world and the field’s international expansion in the second half of the 20th century.

“Archives like that of IPRA are always difficult to find and provide essential material for PR historians,” said Professor Rodriguez Salcedo. She has also undertaken research at BU’s Library, including its special collection of historic PR books. As a result of her research, she and Professor Watson are exploring future research collaboration on the development of the PR sector in Europe, especially philosophical and practices approaches that evolved separately from the US.

Professor Rodriguez Salcedo also observed Professor Watson’s editorial and reviewing roles in developing a six-book series, ‘National Perspectives on the Development of Public Relations’ which is being published by Palgrave-Macmillan. She will be a contributor to the fifth book of the series, ‘Western Europe Perspectives’, with a chapter on the history of public relations in Spain.

During her stay Professor Rodriguez Salcedo, who is a member of the European Public Relations History Network, attended the 5th International History of Public Relations Conference at BU on July 2-3, at which she delivered a paper on the formation of the first Spanish PR consultancy and chaired a conference session.

Professor Natalia Rodriguez Salcedo discusses the IPRA archive with its founder, Professor Tom Watson

 

IHPRC celebrates 5th birthday

The International History of Public Relations Conference (IHPRC) celebrated its fifth birthday on the first day of the 2014 conference on Wednesday, July 2.

The conference chair, Prof Tom Watson, was joined in cutting the celebration cake by Prof Don Wright (BostonUniversity), Associate Professor Meg Lamme (UniversityofAlabama) and Associate Professor Natalia Rodriguez Salcedo (UniversityofNavarra), who were members of an advisory panel consulted on the establishment of the conference in 2009.

 The conference, which was opened by the Dean of The Media School, Stephen Jukes, has been attended by delegates from more than 12 countries. Some 33 papers and a Keynote Panel have been presented.

More than 150 papers have been offered by delegates from 30 countries in the past five years. The conference has established the field of PR history and spurred a big growth in journal and book publishing, with two more books launched at the 2014 conference.

 Planning is already beginning for the 2015 conference to be held on July 7-8.

(L-R) Prof Don Wright, Prof Tom Watson, Assoc Prof Meg Lamme & Assoc Prof Natalia Rodriguez Salcedo

 

‘Intelligences’ theme of PR conference

Dr David MacQueen and Prof Tom Watson of The Media School both chaired panels and presented papers at the PR Meeting #4 conference in Barcelona last week.

The conference, which features research on critical approaches to public relations and strategic communication, had a focus on ‘intelligences’ this year.

Dr McQueen chaired a session which included fellow speakers from the the US, Spain and New Zealand. His paper, jointly authored with Graeme Baxter of Robert Gordon University, considered community resistance to corporate power in Scotland and Ireland.

Prof Watson presented a critical review of repetitive research issues in PR, in a session which also included speakers from Australia and Sweden. On the final afternoon of the conference he was a panel speaker on academic writing and publishing.

“This conference is a top event as it has broad international participation and always pushes into new research territory,” said Prof Watson. “This year, it was built around Howard Gardners’s work on intelligences, which brought forward aspects such as competitive, professional, spiritual, digital, emotional, dialogic, wicked and feminist intelligences.”

(L-R) PR Meeting # organisers Prof Jordi Xifra (Pompeu Fabra) and Prof David McKie (Wakato) with Prof Tom Watson

Delphi comes to Leipzig via BU

Delphi method is an unsung qualitative research technique used for investigating complex issues. It was the subject of one of The Media School’s Prof Tom Watson’s teaching actions during his Erasmus visit to Leipzig University in Germany last week.

He was hosted by Prof Gunter Bentele and Prof Ansgar Zerfass of the university’s Communication Management Research Institute (Instituts KMW), who are also co-researchers with him.

“Delphi method has been little used in PR and Communication Management research. So this was an opportunity to present it to a group of Early Career Researchers and PhD students,” said Prof Watson who used it for an international study of PR research priorities in 2007/08.

He is hopeful that Delphi method, which draws its name from the oracle of Delphi as it is used for forecasting and policy creation, will be more widely used at both universities. “It gets very rich results amongst practitioners and from international experts.”

Other actions during Prof Watson’s Erasmus visit, supported by the British Council and a FIF SMN selection, were two seminars to Masters students on PR history and PR measurement as well as mentoring meetings with PhD students.

Leipzig University has been an Erasmus partner of BU for the past four years. It has one of Europe’s leading communication management and PR research teams, with an international reputation. Professors Bentele and Zerfass have both visited BU under the Erasmus banner. Students have also come from Leipzig to BU for six months’ study on the MA Public Relations.

“As well as being where J.S. Bach composed his music in the Thomaskirche (St Thomas’s Church) in the 18th century, the venue of the annual World Goth Festival and a charming city centre , Leipzig is a top university which started in 1409”, said Prof Watson. “There is great potential to further develop our relationship with it and its very welcoming staff.”

Thomaskirche, Leipzig, where J.S. Bach composed most of his music

 

3rd edition of ‘Evaluating Public Relations’ published

The third edition of the enduring public relations text, Evaluating Public Relations, has been published by Kogan Page. Much revised by authors Professor Tom Watson (Media School) and former lecturer Paul Noble, the book has greater emphasis on the measurement of social media and concepts of value created by that communication.

“When the first edition of Evaluating Public Relations came out in 2005, it mostly dealt with the measurement of media relations activity”, Professor Watson said. “In it, we included a chapter on how to measure PR-influenced coverage on a no- or low-cost basis. An updated version is included in the latest edition.

“But the world of PR practice has moved on and so the book includes the measurement and evaluation of social media, more focus on outcomes rather than outputs, and advice to meet increasing demands that PR/communication delivers value to the organisation.”

Professor Watson said that the new edition calls for PR/communication practitioners to take “a big step forward in the planning and strategy-setting processes.”

“Not only should communication objectives align with organisational objectives, but practitioners must ensure that communication is part of the organisation or client’s own objectives.”

The third edition includes new and revised chapters based on Professor Watson’s research into the history of PR measurement and his work, with Professor Ansgar Zerfass of Leipzig University, on methods of performance management in PR/communications.