From Australia comes a reminder that those of us in PR need to keep pressing the importance of good, pertinent communication on all those we encounter, leaders especially. "Scientists need work on communication" declares a headline in The Gladstone Observer. True, because we've been hearing so much about global warming in the form of controversy that when its consequences become manifest — as they have this spring in deadly tornadoes and other raucous weather events — we're apt simply to shrug them off. Exactly the wrong response.
Part of the problem, notes The Observer, is that "the scientists doing the work verifying and tracking climate change, and coming up with solutions to it were not the people in the public spotlight talking about the issue."
Newsweek's cover headlines "Weather Panic, This Is The New Normal." And Elizabeth Kolbert adds in The New Yorker that "The larger problem is that this 'new normal' won't last. Each additional ton of carbon dioxide that's spewed into the atmosphere contributes to further warming, thus increasing the risk of violent weather." Despite the economic slowdown, she adds, "global carbon dioxide emissions last year rose by a record amount, to almost thirty-one billion metric tons."
A fit subject for effective communication by leaders everywhere, wouldn't you say? A PR challenge is to prompt, as well as help scientists or whomever to be heard on issues that matter but aren't being clearly perceived. How many other areas of public importance do you know where that's the case? Probably a lot.
Lots of issues are too important to shaping our times to be left to PR people simply to grouse about.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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