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October 8, 2013
The Federal Shutdown: A Teachable PR Moment
 
The federal government shutdown (and the nearing debt deadline) is giving a PR professor at Temple University in Philadelphia and probably other schools a real-life opportunity to study the hazards of obstinacy in power. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Associate Professor Gregg Feistman's "Public Relations Management and Problems" class is now considering aspects of "Shutdown 101."

This is a great, though dismaying, opportunity realized. "Are people going to remember this?" one Temple PR student asked. "It depends how long it goes," a classmate answered. 

Not far away, at another Philadelphia area university, Villanova, David Fiorenza, an economist in the School of Business, is having his students consider, the Inquirer's Jeff Gammage advises, "whether certain federal services might be privatized to put them beyond the reach of future shutdowns," or "whether local, county, and state agencies could restructure their budgets to become less reliant on federal funding."

Above all, a real-life teachable moment like this provides a grim lesson in the failure of leadership in a nation that ought to know, and practice, better.  

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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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