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August 19, 2011
The Verizon Strike: PR Isn't Battle Tactics
 
As the Verizon strike continues, PR is likely to become increasingly smudged with misunderstanding. "[The] Verizon strike is also a public relations fight," says a headline in The Philadelphia Inquirer. But PR as a relational discipline isn't battle tactics — yet they're what a strike setting promotes.

So confusion over what's meant by the term "public relations" is likely to grow while Verizon's unionized workers and managers have at each other. A strike is more like an all-out marketing campaign than a PR dialogue (which is what we like to think PR really is). Read this account from the Philadelphia battle lines and decide which is which, and mourn for an abused communication discipline.

Labor-management battles are actually settings in which communication becomes overwhelmed by tactical anxiety. Leave "public relations" out of them. Yet it's all on public display. And it's particularly difficult in an era, like the present, when communication styles and infrastructure are changing so notably. Along with the need, of course, to maintain living standards.

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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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