Sunday, December 9, 2012

"They must be guilty of something: if not murder then stealing deodorant."

"They must be guilty of something: if not murder then stealing deodorant".
Reference to David Protess' Huffington Post Story on Anthony Porter:  There was a period of time in state and federal government when many innovative programs were developed with the help of universities and research institutes. For example, in Wisconsin in the 60's and 70's under progressive and balanced state leadership we were able to admit with compensation that the state might have falsely charged someone (we had no death penalty to commit the ultimate mistake). The state used victim compensation laws when it failed to protect our citizens from losses caused by criminals. State funded programs seemed to provide a social balance. Our priorities today seem out of order. Illinois government can't seem to get anything right. It is convenient for judges, state's attorneys and harsh administrators' to assume that someone charged must be guilty of some crime even if they were innocent of the crime they were originally charged. These may be tough times economically but when did we lose our sense of balance and justice?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Distance Learning/Teaching - Hybrid Model

For many decades the University of Wisconsin-Madison used distance learning methods as part of their out-reach to rural parts of the state and to reach busy professionals. Experience for several years as a Business School professor with a Medical School Administrative Medicine MBA style degree defined the value of a hybrid program.

Hybrid is defined as using a combination of distance technology learning and face-to-face teaching. The model used contact via available relevant technology (from slow scan video in the 1970s, digital voice and video conference calls in the 1980s, web-based text and video in the 90s and 3-D in the past decade). It also used stone and glass classroom bookends of class start-up and closing. Graduation was an option of in person or by distance.

While some classes may be taught purely at a distance; the very high cost and challenges of many professional degree classes would seem to demand a mix of more face-to-face networking through direct human interaction. I would suggest a mix of 80 percent distance with 20 percent interpersonal in a classroom.

While many universities and corporations use various forms of distance learning for certificates, degrees and even simple meetings (see, the discussion is still open on the success of pure and hybrid models.  Even if a program used only distance learning technology; as a student or participant I would be very tempted to plan a face-to-face meeting during the program and before graduation.
 Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D. Professor, Northwestern University

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It is nearly Movember. Grow a mustache for men's cancer awareness

It is nearly Movember. It will be men's cancer month and it is now time to being growing a mustache to  raise awareness.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

View a brilliant gift of pictures, words, music on theTsunami by a Japanese grad student who visited Northwestern. Thank you Yoko Tsuneki.

An extraordinary Japanese woman, Yoko Tsuneki, visited the U.S., Northwestern University with her classmates from Otaru University and our home. With her friends and my family watching she showed a video gift of photos, music and words from her heart and the Japanese people for the support during their earthquake an Tsunami.  The fews minutes of photos, words and music are very moving and a tribute to the men, women and organizations like who gave help and continue to help. 

View a brilliant gift of pictures, words, music on theTsunami by a Japanese grad student who visited Northwestern. Thank you Yoko Tsuneki. Please post the link on your sites.

Friday, October 5, 2012

PRjournalism or Content Management as a Career in PR

PRjournalism (PRournalism) or Content Management as a Career in PR  for 10th edition of Advertising &IMC: Principles and Practice Sandra Moriarty (Author), Nancy D Mitchell (Author), William D. Wells (Author)
Clarke Caywood Ph.D.,
Professor, Medill School, Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. He is author of The Handbook of Strategic Public Relations and Integrated Marketing Communications, 2012. Inspired by Handbook Chapter by Smith and Caywood

One trend that suggests journalism and public relations have a future in organizations other than traditional reporting. The trend is seen in Technorati (2011) trends in blogging on the subjects of business and technology. They increasingly dominate non-hobbyist sectors of the blogging field providing journalism style content and a promised degree of journalistic credibility.  Technorati stated that Professional Part- and Full-Time bloggers represent 18% of the total group. Independent bloggers use blogging as a way to supplement their income, or consider it their full-time job. Technorati also notes that corporate bloggers make up 8% of the blogosphere. They blog as part of their full-time job or blog full-time for a company or organization they work for. These bloggers primarily talk about technology and business in their blogs. Thirteen percent of the blogosphere is characterized as entrepreneurs or individuals blogging for a company or organization they own. 84% of these bloggers blog primarily about the industry they work in, with 46% blogging about business and 40% about technology.  Blogging, twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Avatar sites, even newspapers, magazines and broadcast will demand more outlets not necessarily lead by traditional journalists but by a new career path of PRournalists combining PR and journalism as modern content managers and providers. 

Public relations and journalism as “Prournalism” - First C:  Content

The first issue of “who will provide content” is a contemporary topic that is argued by surviving members of the press, by researchers in the automated delivery of journalism and by investors in new media systems.  If a precipitous decline in the numbers of traditional news hunters and gatherers means a relative decline in content; then new sources for news content, information and even entertainment content will have to be developed, staffed and supported. The content will certainly be needed for the rapidly increasing numbers of newer channels of communications.  However, while traditional journalistic channels are dying in some countries, they are growing rapidly in others such as China.  The growth and demand for content includes the growth of advertising and public relations to feed the dragon. Journalism has always been an experimenter in new media as has public relations. From a mirror perspective, both fields have served the public and their audiences with useful content and often credible communication standards.  Caywood and Smith in Caywood, 2012.

The future seems to be the logical placement of traditional journalists and new journalists into a wide range of organizations from hospitals, to NGOs, to churches, to government and politics to the largest potential content provider - business.  New “third party journalists” may be former journalists and new crops of young journalists able and willing to deliver content. They will likely deliver this content from their catbird seat in many legitimate organizations with huge quantities of digital information to share for free.  Editors in surviving journalistic pipelines may be charged with determining the credibility of the content of the wider and wider range of content providers. This may be more proactive than simply tossing away the past high percent of public relations generated content. 


Second C:  Credibility

Credible content and context may be most critical during a crisis in any institution. Based on the research literature of the value of communication during organizational crises, it is fair to suggest that each of the institutions in crisis or calamity conditions would benefit from professional communications. (Englehart in Caywood, 2012). Academic fields such as public relations and organizational communications define themselves in thought and practice as offering to retain, regain and maintain the reputation of organizations and their leaders using behavior and two-way (or more) communications.

The field of public relations is defined as “the profitable integration of an organization’s new and continuing relationships with stakeholders, including customers, by managing all communication contacts with the organization that create and protect the brand and reputation of the organization. Caywood, 1997 and 2012 (Kindle Edition 2009/2012) and “Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.” PRSA, 2009,) There must be trust and credibility in that relationship.    In the past decade most of our cherished institutions have lost their credibility as defined by trust (Edelman Trust Barometer or according to the public view (Pew Research 

All institutions are loved, abhorred or not noticed by one stakeholder group or another at some point in time.  Who will speak credibly about the missions of our social, economic, political and governmental organizations? It seems reasonable to suggest that the students from journalism/advertising/public relations programs with their long tradition of credibility and content development through teaching of journalistic knowledge and skills can provide an educated and trained source of institutional creditability and content.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Earned Press Essay for forth coming Sandra Moriarty Text Book

A Matter of Principle in Advertising (9th Edition) by Sandra Moriarty, Nancy D Mitchell and William D. Wells
</span><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;"><span style="color: windowtext; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 16pt; line-height: 200%; mso-bidi-font-size: 10.0pt; mso-no-proof: no;">Integrating Advertising and PR Media Planning</span></i></b><span style="color: windowtext; display: none; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%; mso-bidi-font-size: 10.0pt; mso-hide: all; mso-no-proof: no;"><link linkend="AAJRBVS0.tif" preference="1"/>
Clarke Caywood Ph.D.,
Professor, Medill School, Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. He is author of  The Handbook of Strategic Public Relations and Integrated Marketing Communications, 2012.
Ask advertising directors in a company or agency what profitable target media they have chosen for message delivery for their new corporate or product/service brand strategy. They will probably give a list of traditional mass media advertising vehicles.
Then ask the PR director in the same company or company PR agency what the targeted media will be for the same program. It will often be a list of news and feature story outlets in web social media or traditional print and broadcast .
In an integrated approach to media planning, the communication leaders should logically be targeting the same media to reach similar readers, viewers, and listeners. If not, the C-Suite—chief executive officer, chief financial officer, and chief marketing officer—in the client company would want to know why not.
These newer models of media planning seem to be aligned with the growth of the large holding companies that contain advertising, direct database marketing, e-commerce, public relations, and, now, media buying agencies where coordination and cross-functional planning are essential.
In the IMC program at Medill, we define integrated media planning as “coordinated research, planning, securing, and evaluation of all purchased and earned media.” Earned media
is used by marketing and PR practitioners to differentiate paid media about a product, service, or company (advertising, promotions, direct mail, Web ads, etc.) from positive or negative broadcast, print, and Internet media articles and simple mentions about the product, service, or company. The term earned  should beused to avoid the term free, which accurately suggests the company does not pay the media for the placement.  The term free also  does not address the fact that the publication of such stories requires hours of  billed effort or years of experience by PR professionals to persuade journalists to cover the product, service, or company for the benefit of their readers or viewers.
Just as selecting media for advertising has become a science and management art, the field of selection and analysis of earned media (including print, broadcast, tweets and blogs) for public relations is now more of a science. Today the existence of far richer database systems assists media managers who want to know which reporters, quoted experts, trade books, new publications, broadcasts, bloggers, and more are the most “profitable” targets for public relations messages. In other words, when we refer to media planning
, we mean coordinating and jointly planning the earned media of public relations along with advertising and other purchased media.
Using the new built-in media metric systems from research firms, PR directors can calculate return on investment on advertising versus PR. With PR, they can read and judge a range of positive, neutral, or negative messages, as well as share-of-mind measures of media impact, advertising equivalency estimates, and other effectiveness indicators (see Caywood, Chapter 3, 2012 Handbook of Strategic Public Relations and Integrated Marketing Communications, 2012.
Now, when the chief marketing officer and other C-Suite officers ask the integrated agency directors of advertising, public relations, or IMC if the media are fully planned to reach targeted audiences, they can answer affirmatively.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

New Book on Reputation Forthcoming by Editor Craig Carroll See Chapter 10

1 Corporate Reputation and Communication Craig Carroll
SECTION 1 Communication Disciplines of Reputation 5,000 words 
2 Public Opinion Cees van Riel Corporate Reputation and the Discipline of Public Opinion
3 Interpersonal Communication Sherry Holladay Corporate Reputation and the Discipline of Interpersonal Communication
4 Organizational Communication Robyn Remke Corporate Reputation and the Discipline of Organizational Communication
5 Advertising Nora J. Rifon* Corporate Reputation and the Discipline of Advertising
5  Karen Smreker
  Sookyong Kim
6 Corporate Communication Peggy Simcic Brønn Corporate Reputation and the Discipline of Corporate Communication
7 Public Relations Judy Motion* Corporate Reputation and the Discipline of Public Relations
  Sally Davenport
  "Shirley Leitch*
   Liz Merlot
8 Management Communication James O'Rourke, IV Corporate Reputation and the Discipline of Management Communication
9 Communication Management Anne Gregory Corporate Reputation and the Discipline of Communication Management
10 Integrated Marketing Communication Clarke L. Caywood Corporate Reputation and the Discipline of Integrated Marketing Communications
11 Marketing Communication Richard Varey Corporate Reputation and the Discipline of Marketing Communication
12 Journalism and Mass Communication 
13 Visual Communication Susan Westcott Alessandri Corporate Reputation and the Discipline of Visual Communication
14 Mass Media Law  Karla Gower  Corporate Reputation and the Discipline of Corporate Communication Law
15 Cross-Cultural Communication Kevin Abraham Corporate Reputation and the Discipline of Cross-Cultural Communication
SECTION 2 Theoretical Perspectives 7,000 words 
16 Agenda-Building and Agenda-Setting Matt Ragas Agenda-Building and Agenda-Setting Theory: Which Companies We Think About and How We Think About Them
17 Complexity theory  Priscilla Murphy  Complexity Theory and the Dynamics of Reputation
  Dawn R. Gilpin
18 Communication Constitution of Organization Stefania Romenti Communicatively constituted reputation and reputation management
  Laura Illia Communicatively constituted reputation: applying the organizational communication perspective to reputation management
19 Excellence Theory  Jeong-Nam Kim "A Strategic Management Approach to Reputation, Relationships, and Publics:
The Research Heritage of the Excellence Theory
  Chun-ju Flora Hung-Baesecke
   Sung Un Yang
  James E. Grunig
20 Image Repair Theory  William Benoit  Image Repair Theory and Corporate Reputation
21 Institutional Theory John Lammers The Institutionalization of Corporate Reputation
  Kristen Guth
22 Organizational Learning Tim Sellnow Experiencing the Reputational Synergy of Success and Failure through Organizational Learning
  Shari Veil
  Kathryn Anthony
23 Rhetorical Theory  Øyvind Ihlen  Relating Rhetoric and Reputation
24 Situational Theory of Crisis  Timothy Coombs  Situational Theory of Crisis:  Situational Crisis Communication and Corporate Reputation
25 Social Capital  Vilma Luoma-aho  Corporate Reputation and the Theory of Social Capital
SECTION 3 Attributes of Reputation  
26 Corporate Attributes and Associations  Sabine Einwiller  Corporate Attributes and Associations
27 Executive Leadership  Juan Meng  What They Say and What They Do: Executives Affect Organizational Reputation through Effective Communication
  Bruce K. Berger
28 Workplace Environment  Hua Jiang  Corporate Reputation and Workplace Environment
29 Corporate Governance Justin Pettigrew Corporate Reputation and the Practice of Corporate Goverenance
  Bryan Reber
30 Products and Services  Pan Ji   Buying and Selling Friends: Valuating Products and Services in Corporate Reputation
  Paul S Lieber
31 Corporate Social Responsibility  Friederike Schultz  Corporate Social Responsibility, Reputation and Moral Communication: a Constructivist View as Alternative to Functionalist, Political and Culturalist Perspectives
32 Financial Performance  Alexander Laskin  Reputation or Financial Performance: Which Comes First?
33 Issues and Risk Management  Bob Heath  Who's in Charge and What's the Solution? Reputation as a Matter of Issue Debate and Risk Management
34 Message Design Peter Smudde Message Design for Managing Corporate Reputations: Form Following Function
  Jeffrey Courtright*
SECTION 4 Contexts of Reputation  
35       Activism Jarol Manheim Contrabrand: Activism and the Leveraging of Corporate Reputation
  Alex D. Holt
36 Authenticity Juan-Carlos Molleda Identity, Perceived Authenticity, and Reputation: A Dynamic Association in Strategic Communications
  Rajul Jain
37 Branding Esben Karmark Corporate Branding and Corporate Reputation
38 Corporate Speech  Robert Kerr  Corporate Reputation and Corporate Speech
39 Diversity Damion Waymer Corporate Reputation Management and Issues of Diversity
  Sarah VanSlette
40 Emerging Markets  Rahul Mitra "Corporate Reputation in Emerging Markets:
A Culture-Centered Review and Critique"
  Mohan Dutta
  Robert J. Green
41       The Internet and Social Media Tina McCorkindale The Power of Social Media and its Influence on Corporate Reputation
  Marcia W. DiStaso
42 Management Fashion Theodore E. Zorn The reputation of corporate reputation: Fads, fashions, and the mainstreaming of corporate reputation research and practice
  Magda Pieczka
43 Reputation Rankings  Jennifer Bartlett  Reputation and Legitimacy: Accreditation and Rankings to Assess Organizations
  Josef Pallas
  Magnus Frostenson
44 Secretive Organizations Craig Scott Hidden Organizations and Reputation
SECTION 5 Communication Research and Evaluation  
45 *Corporate Reputation and Evaluation Don Stacks Corporate Reputation Measurement and Evaluation
  Melissa D. Dodd
  Linjuan Rita Men
46 Corporate Reputation and Return on Investment  Yungwook Kim  Corporate Reputation and Return on Investment (ROI): Measuring the Bottom-line Impact of Reputation
  Jungeun Yang

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Recent paper with Shu-Chuan Chu of DePaul Univ.



Northwestern University, USA

Shu-Chuan Chu, Ph.D.
DePaul University, USA




What distinctions do journalists make between Asian, European and U.S. media relations programs in the automotive industry? What do journalists really think of public relations efforts on behalf of their readers, listeners, viewers, employers or clients? How would automotive journalists use social media? Would the data be more revealing if there were corporate and global regional differences? This report and analysis is based on six years of survey research data collected from 367 journalists in 2010 and from 2005-2009. The research is based on nine Asian, seven European and three U.S. automotive corporations. Using in-depth annual surveys from 2005-2010 the authors structure the findings with a uses and gratifications framework. The preliminary findings in 2010 suggest that the specialized media including freelancers covering the automotive industry have a great deal to contribute to our general understanding of the global relationships between PR and the press. Since the data is based on nine Asian, seven European and three U.S. automotive corporations the responses permit a geographic corporate cross-cultural comparison on some dimensions. The authors will structure the findings using a post hoc uses and gratifications approach.




The exponential growth of social media outlets such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn has dramatically changed today’s media landscape. Social media are essentially self-promoting in that journalists can promote their articles and gain story ideas therein. At the same time, the interactive and social nature of social media makes it an attractive way for advertisers to market products and services. Thus, increasing global marketers have tapped the potential of social media and develop advertising strategy to target consumers around the world. Different from traditional media channels such as newspapers and magazines, social media provide a communal place for consumers to communicate with one another and share brand experience, which greatly increases brand exposure [19]. With social media’s capacity to facilitate immediate and two-way communication, brand-related conversations are generated and exchanged among consumers easily and quickly in the era of consumer control. In this regard, it is also imperative for global automotive companies to gain an in-depth understanding of the psychographic and social needs of their consumers and underlying reasons for consumer use of social media. Accordingly, understanding how automotive journalists use social media and compare their social media habits to traditional media usage will provide valuable implications to international advertising and public relations research and practice, and advance our knowledge of cyber behavior in a global context.




Recently, social media has gained much interest among communication, marketing, and advertising scholars and practitioners [2], [6], [7], [10], [12]. As defined, social media are “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content” [7, p. 61]. Social media encompasses varied applications and platforms including blogs, social networking sites, company sponsored discussion forums, product or service review websites, to name a few [12]. In their recent article, Mangold and Faulds [12] argue that social media have become a hybrid element of integrated marketing communications (IMC) and present a promising tool for communicating with customers. Drawing from the six years of data from the global automotive industry, findings suggest that social media have played a significant role in influencing various aspects of public relations practices such as how and why traditional and online journalists use social media as a source of information. Unfortunately, current academic literature offers very little insight into the uses and gratifications of social media among journalists. Even though social media, in particular blogs, have become one of the most commonly used tools for work by journalists, motivation and usage patterns of these emerging media among journalists have not yet been articulated.


Therefore, this study examines the usage behaviors and motivation for using social media among journalists in the global automotive industry through uses and gratifications theory [8]. The core idea of uses and gratifications theory centers on the underlying social and psychological needs that motivate individuals to use certain types of media for gratifications. These needs trigger the media use because the media users’ behaviors are assumed to be goal-directed [4], [8], and [17]. Gratifications, on the other hand, attract and hold individuals to the certain kinds of media and the types of content that best satisfy their social and psychological needs [18]. Ko, Cho, and Roberts [9] applied uses and gratifications theory to explain psychological and behavioral dimensions regarding online context and found that different individuals can use same mediated communication for different purposes. With the exponential rise in popularity of social media, a few recent studies have employed uses and gratifications to frame theoretical background [5], [13], [15], and [16]. For example, Quan-Haase and Young [15] compared the gratifications obtained from Facebook with those from instant messaging. Ancu and Cozma [1] examined the uses and gratifications of accessing political candidate profiles on MySpace. Overall, findings of these studies suggest that social interaction, information seeking, and entertainment are common gratifications of social media motives and usage. However, prior research mainly focuses on consumers or “audiences.” No research to date has examined the perspective of the journalist, particularly in the global automotive industry where the relationship between the corporate and the press is increasingly interactive and dynamic due to the emergence of social media.

Previous studies on uses and gratifications have stressed that the intrinsic needs interact with social environments and personal characteristics to produce the perceived problems and solutions, which lead to the different motives to use media [18]. From a longitudinal standpoint, the development and advance of social media from 2005 to 2010 could create a different technologically situated social environment for automotive journalists, and thus result in their distinctive social media usage motivations and patterns.




The current paper focuses on the survey study conducted in 2010. The number of respondents to this sixth iteration of the survey continues to grow slightly, with 367 responses in 2010 compared to 363 respondents in 2009. The respondents completed the Web-based survey during July and August of 2010. Among the 367 responses, 33% were from California, 8% from Illinois and 7% from Michigan, with a total of 37 states represented in the survey. In terms of the respondents’ job function, 72% were print journalist, followed by online journalist (71%), blogger (27%), photo journalist (24%), book author (15%), radio journalist (12%) and so on. Additionally, the respondents' areas of expertise were virtually unchanged from last year, with a large majority (82%) doing vehicle reviews, followed by general interest stories (57%). Figure 1 presents respondents’ area of expertise.


Figure 1. Respondents’2010 area(s) of expertise


The initial e-mail invitation to participate went out to 1,800 journalists. It included a cover letter from an industry media leader who gave a brief background and provided a link to the survey. The survey was conducted by the Motor Press Guild, MPR, and designed by the Gronstedt Group, a U.S. based consulting firm, with input from media industry experts as well as several car manufacturer professionals. The survey includes both quantitative rating questions and a qualitative, open-ended question. To gauge respondents’ use of social media, two quantitative questions were asked: (1) which of these social networking tools do you use for work? and (2) what role(s) do these social media play in your reporting? In addition, a qualitative, open-ended question was used to gain an understanding of how automotive companies could better support journalists’ use of social media (“Please tell us how automotive companies could better support your use of social media?”). All comments for the open-ended question from respondents in this survey are "true verbatim" complete with misspellings and grammatical errors (See Appendix).


Questions concerning the overall media relations were also included. “Successful media relations” are defined by the seven criteria. The seven criteria are: (1) Has knowledgeable PR people, (2) Provides useful press releases, product information and materials, (3) PR department responds speedily, (4) Provides access to top executives, designers and engineers, (5) Does a good job of providing test vehicles, (6) Has an effective online press room, and (7) Organizes effective media events. Respondents were asked to rate carmakers on these criteria on seven 7-point Likert type scales, ranging from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 7 (Strongly Agree).




Media Relations

Before examining the use of social media among automotive journalists, overall media relations in each geographical group (Asia, Europe and the U.S.) was discussed to provide a bigger picture of the global automotive industry media. The preliminary findings that beg for more comparative analysis provide more questions than answers on the distinctions between companies and global manufacturing regions. The three geographical groups and automotive manufactures in each region are presented as below (See Table 1).


Table 1. Automotive manufactures in the U.S., Asian, and European

Suzuki Auto
Jaguar/ Land Rover


Granted, these distinctions are harder to make as Volvo and Jaguar/Land/Rover now have Asian ownership, Chrysler has a European minority owner, etc. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting analysis. Findings reported and requiring analysis simply describe Asian automakers falling behind. The average scores for the last five years on the category of Overall Media Relations were combined in three geographical groups as per below (see Figure 2). The U.S. brands continued their positive trend from last year and still enjoy a lead over the Asian name plates, which turned around their negative trajectory from last year. The European automakers decreased slightly from last year and are still trailing Asian and U.S. companies by a huge margin.


Figure 2. Asia, Europe, U.S. Geographical comparison



Other findings point out that all seven criteria of what define “successful media relations” are in decline. Journalism satisfaction with the automotive industry as a whole dropped on six of the seven criteria of successful media relations. Online Press Room saw the biggest drop; the average car company saw a decline of almost 10% on this criterion from last year. Two Asian companies and one U.S. company enjoy the number-one position on three of the seven criteria of successful media relations among the total journalist population. An Asian firm tops the Online Press Room, Best Product Information and Fastest Response Time categories. A U.S. company is ranked first on Provides Access to Top Executives, Designers & Engineers, Online Press Room, and Organizes Effective Media Events. Another Asian company (different country) leads the industry on, Test Vehicles, Media Events and Product Info, while a European company is top-ranked in Knowledgeable PR People, and Hyundai is top-ranked in Test Vehicles.


Six of the seven criteria of successful media relations had a negative net-improvement score for the second straight year (i.e., the number of companies that improved average scores minus the number of companies with declining scores). A net improvement score of two means that 11 companies improved their scores on that criterion and nine companies had declining scores. “Useful press releases” was the only criterion with a positive net improvement score. “Online press room” saw a staggering drop; all 20 companies lost ground on this important criterion.


The Role of Social Media in the Global Automotive Industry

Based on the six years of data regarding the role of social media in the global automotive industry, the descriptive findings highlight possible over time comparisons with more analytical methods. For example, findings of the 2006 report suggest that almost half of the journalists read blogs regularly, with many of them using blogs (both personal and corporate blogs such as GM’s public Fastlane blog and Chrysler’s as a useful source of information (e.g., buzz and rumors). The results also suggest that only a fraction of respondents write their own blog and use blogs as outlets for reporting. In the 2010 report, interestingly, the results showed that blogging has experienced the largest rise, with 27% of respondents were bloggers, compared to 3.7% bloggers in 2006. Moreover, the average journalist published for 3.4 different media channels in 2010, including blogs, podcasts, print, and online publications, rising from 1.3 channels in 2006. Facebook has emerged as the most commonly used social media platform for work by automotive journalists. Taken together, these results emphasize the changing media landscape of convergence and highlight changes and trends in social media usage among journalists from 2005-2010. This comparison between years would allow researchers to draw conclusions about how different social media fulfill journalists’ needs over time.


Specifically, a number of questions relating to the growing impact of social media were included in the 2010 survey. The first question asked what social media the respondents use in their daily work. As seen in the graph below, Facebook almost doubled and is now the most popular social media, overtaking LinkedIn by a wide margin (although LinkedIn is growing rapidly as well). Overall, every social medium is growing dramatically and the share of journalist curmudgeons who are not using any social media is down from 40% last year to just 21% (See Figure 3 below).

Figure 3. Social networking tools used for work 2010

Next was the question, "What role(s) do these social media play in your reporting?" Clearly, many respondents still use social media to catch up with the latest buzz and rumors and to promote their articles, but the number of journalists who use social media to generate story ideas have increased significantly from last year (See Figure 4 below).

Figure 4. The different roles of blogs 2010

When asked respondents how automotive companies could better support their use of social media, there is a clear division between reporters who are embracing social media (“The automakers are doing a bang-up job. The world runs on Twitter”) and detractors (“Quit being faddish. Are you really getting anything out of them?”). These results suggest that the traditional roles of journalists and PR organizations are being challenged as new social media are emerging. The Appendix listed the unedited responses to the question, “Please tell us how automotive companies could better support your use of social media?” Content analysis will be used to mine the responses to this open-ended question.




This research summary has reported some of the descriptive statistical findings. Some of the findings beg for a managerial interpretation for the agencies, industry and journalists who contribute and read the anticipated annual reports.  


For example from the 2010 report , Facebook has now replaced LinkedIn as the most commonly used social media tool for work by automotive reporters. It has almost doubled in use in just one year, and is now used by an overwhelming majority of reporters for their professional work. This finding raises a question of how many automotive or other industry PR departments have a well-developed Facebook strategy. The surveys contain lines of verbatim quotes on how the media use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other channels that deserve further content analysis.  An overwhelming majority (71%) of the reporters want to attend more webinars in the future, but they have some serious reservations about the way automotive companies run their webinars. The research contains comments by the media to be mined for cross global differences.




The main objective of the proposed research is to conduct a post-hoc analysis of six years of highly rich industry data and decipher the imperative role that social media plays among journalists in the global automotive industry. Drawing from the theory of uses and gratifications, this study attempts to understand the relationship between public relations and the press in terms of information flow and examine social media motives and usage behaviors among journalists. As mentioned earlier, in 2010, Facebook has ranked as the most popular social media outlet used by automotive journalists for their professional work. This finding raises an important question as to how global automotive or other industry could develop effective and efficient Facebook or overall social media strategy that better serves journalists and consumers. The global growth of marketing communications activities in social media presents both significant challenges and opportunities for international advertising and public relation scholars and professionals to understand consumer as well as journalist motivations for using social media and the effectiveness of social media as a useful information source. This study will offer implications for both theory and practice, as well as suggestions for further research.


Theoretically, uses and gratifications theory allows researchers to examine mediated communication situations via needs, motives, and gratifications within a cross-cultural context [18]. That is, “culturally situated social experience reinforces basic biological and psychological needs while simultaneously giving direction to their sources of gratification” [11, p. 99]. Accordingly, it is speculated that uses and gratifications of social media among automotive journalists may differ from cultures to cultures. Recent cross-cultural studies suggest that different cultures produce distinctly different media usage and communication styles. For instance, Pfeil, Zaphiris, and Ang [14] investigated the relationship between national cultures and communication styles in Wikipedia, and found that cultural differences exist in cyberspace. That is, the patterns of contributions to Wikipedia are related to the users’ dominant cultural orientations, such as individualism and collectivism. Chau et al. [3] found that consumers from different cultures use the Web for different purposes and perceive the same Web sites differently. These findings from prior studies highlight the potential cultural influence on automotive journalists’ use of social media and cross-cultural differences in overall cyber behavior. Thus, it is reasonable to suspect that journalists from different cultures might display different patterns of uses and gratifications in the culturally-embedded social media including blogs. For example, journalists from a collectivistic culture such as China may emphasize more on social interaction and relationship building gratifications than those in a more individualistic culture (e.g., U.S.). Thus, a careful examination of social media uses and gratifications among journalists in different cultural contexts is deemed as necessary in increasing our understanding of cyber behavior on a globe scale. Similarly, investigating social media uses and gratifications from the perspective of consumer could contribute to the literature on cross-cultural consumer behavior. 


From a managerial perspective, findings of the proposed research will provide initial insight into social media strategy in an international context. Global automotive or other industries should adopt a balanced standardized and localized strategy when developing their social media tactics in other cultures. For example, Japan based car companies such as Toyota and Suzuki should maintain consistent global brand images, while tailor their marketing activities to meet the specific and varying needs of American consumers and journalists when conducting business in the U.S. Along this line, future research could investigate social media usage among journalists in other countries and employ a framework based on uses and gratifications theory as to why automotive journalists integrate numerous social media into their media habits. Likewise, it is crucial to examine global automotive company’s social media marketing strategy and decide whether journalists’ and consumers’ reliance on social media is related to that company’s overall social media marketing performance.