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Early in life we are taught the three Rs – Reading, Writing and ‘Rithmetic – as indispensible to getting on in life.
There are at least another two Three R’s out there to help us navigate a tumultour world.
One of them is the Three R’s of Crisis Communications. Crisis Managers are taught that when a crisis occurs, and the incident is too recent to gather all the facts together, it is important to communicate the Three Rs – Regret, Reason and Remedy.
This is what President Obama practiced when he made his statement after the Boston Marathon explosions. Firstly he expressed Regret by conveying the nation’s sympathy for Boston and the victims and their families.
Secondly, he expressed Reason – why it happened. In this instance neither he nor anyone knows yet the motives of the attack. It looks like a terrorist attack but unless the facts are gathered, verified and analyzed, he could not come to conclusions. In such circumstances it is OK to say that you do not yet know, provided that the information is delivered with the proper authority.
Thirdly, he also expressed Remedy – what he plans to do about it. Here he spoke of his determination to catch and punish the person or people responsible. The BBC article at the end of this posting discussed the merits of such a disciplined approach.
It is useful to bear in mind that in crisis situations, often no matter what you say you will be criticized. Already Obama has been criticized by some for not using the word “terrorism” but he is doing the right thing. If he used the word, and it later turns out that it was perpetrated by a person or persons who are fanatics or crizies rather than ideologues, then he would look very silly indeed. Crisis management is often an exercise in damage limitation so that you do not shoot yourself in the foot and lose control of the situation.
President Obama’s words – swift, solemn and understated – stressed three main points. The nation’s sympathy for Boston. The fact that the motives for the attack were as yet unknown. His determination to catch and punish the person or people responsible.
But what came over more than anything was a frustration that so much is unknown.
Much will be said in the coming days about terrible crimes like this bringing a nation together but they can also divide, and raise questions about leadership.
The truth is that it is difficult for the president to strike the right tone in the very midst of uncertainty. His words, hours after the attack, will have to bear scrutiny in the days, weeks and years to come. The wrong implication or interpretation could come back to haunt him.
He – apparently very deliberately – did not use the word terrorism even though he has been criticised in the past for not being quick enough to use the label.
Indeed he has already been criticised for not using it now, but apparently feels caution and certainty are more important than the barbs of critics – particularly when, to many Americans, the word terrorism is misunderstood to only mean action by foreigners.
Nevertheless, a White House official was quick to stress after the statement that this was being treated as an act of terrorism.
Indeed it does seem fairly obvious that it was an attack deliberately planned to cause death and injury. In most people’s book that is terrorism. But what if the motive wasn’t political, but some other grievance by an individual? This president can be careful with words, and likes to be certain of his facts before making judgements. Some find that irritating. Others just want to make political capital out of any situation.
There will be other questions – about whether intelligence services missed anything, whether security should be higher around the nation, and many more questions that may not yet be obvious.
President Obama will have to balance the firmness and resolution the country expects with his clear desire not to be pushed into snap solutions ahead of clear answers.
Then there is the Three Rs of Terrorism, coined by Louise Richardson in her excellent book that tried to answer the question: What Terrorists Want.
The Three Rs of Terrorism, according to her, are Revenge, Reknown and Reaction.
Terrorists are often people who feel that they have been slighted in life, either by a country, a system or an organization, or society at large. They also usually have a strong sense of right and wrong. Terrorist acts are ways by which such persons seek to wreck revenge on the offending party.
Terrorists also seek Reknown. Not necessarily for themselves but for their organizations. The way to get Reknown is to inflict damage on famous landmarks, people or events, in this case the Boston Marathon.
Then there is Reaction. All acts of terrorism are carried out to provoke a reaction. If the terrorists are lucky they provoke the targeted party to overreact with force or oppressive policies, thereby weakening their enemies and strengthening their causes. When Osama bombed the Twin Towers in 2001 he scored a huge victory when it provoked then US President George W Bush to formulate policies that further alienated the US from the Muslim world, and reinforced the image of the US as being an oppressive and aggressive global dictator. Guantanamo became the icon of all that was wrong about the US’s reaction to the bombing.
Now we have another act of terrorism that is horrific to witness, and while many in the world have understandably condemned the act in the strongest terms, it may be instructive to keep the Three Rs of Terrorism in mind when formulating policies to respond to this act.
It always amazes Unspun how everyone in Indonesia, especially the politicians, excel at barking up the wrong tree whenever something big happens and they are suggesting ways to avoid future such incidents.
The Sleman Prison Attack (brow) is one such incident. As with the past the politicians are zeroing on the amorphous concept called the government, the lack of political will, the lack of enforcement etc etc.
All righteous sounding noises noises signifying nothing and eventuating in noting.
There is something thatt the Fourth Estate, The Press, can do about it though and it is by adopting a simple question they often use for heads of organizations mired in scandal: “Sir, Will you resign from your position to take responsibility for this situation?”
It is simple, direct to the point and places accountability squarely on the shoulders of those who are responsible for the overall discipline and conduct of their organisations – the head of the organization.
Yet such questions are never asked in Indonesia by the media to the heads, in this case of the military and the police. As a result the concept of responsibility for things happening on their “watch” never gets fully realised and dissipates in the heat of the rhetoric that accompanies each incident.
As a result the chiefs of the military and the police do not feel the heat even if their people killed others, or torch the rival’s organization, or commit cold blooded executions. They have no incentive to change things. Neither will thier successors because they know that they would not be held accountable.
Does anyone know what is stopping Indonesian journalists from asking such a simple question?
Lawmakers have lambasted the government for its failure to protect the public after a brutal attack on Cebongan Prison in Sleman, Yogyakarta, left four people dead.
An unidentified group of 17 gunmen, wearing face masks and carrying assault rifles, barged into the jail early on Saturday morning, threatening the wardens before executing four prisoners awaiting trial over the death of a soldier.
Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) secretary general Tjahjo Kumolo said on Sunday that the attack was a major embarrassment for the government.
“Revenge motives aside, this attack signifies an open attempt to disgrace the ruling government, in particular the Justice and Human Rights Ministry,” he said, warning a spate of similar violence could now be triggered.
Tjahjo called for all parties caught up in the attack — from Cebongan correctional authorities to the Indonesian military — to be transparent and ready for a full investigation into what happened.
“This incident indicates there is something wrong with the system,” he said.
Tjahjo noted a similar case in Papua, where an army post was attacked by rebels, remained unsolved, as did an attack on a police station in Poso, Central Sulawesi.
Comr. Gen. Sutarman, the National Police’s chief of criminal investigations, said that he had sent a team of officers to look into the incident.
“The National Police will provide backup for this case. The team is being led by [head of general crime] Brig. Gen. Ari Dono,” he said, adding that the police were still examining the crime scene and had yet to identify the assailants.
Fadli Zon, the deputy chairman of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), said that the country was being taken over by “mafia.”
“I’ve never heard of such incidents except in action movies,” he said in a statement on Sunday. “The state is powerless and weak in the face of the armed forces. Rule of law is absent and undignified.”
Fadli said the government must take the executions seriously, and demanded swift steps to apprehend the culprits and ensure that such a shocking attack didn’t happen again.
“If not taken seriously, the public will lose confidence in law enforcers and they will take justice into their own hands,” he said. “This brutal incident shouldn’t have happened in Indonesia.”
Separately, Gerindra lawmaker Martin Hutabarat said vigilante acts usually stemmed from a lack of respect for the legal system, which was considered unable — or unwilling — to punish offenders.
“If the people trust our law enforcers, this incident wouldn’t have happened,” he said.
Tubagus Hasanuddin, deputy chairman of House Commission I on defense, also called for a strong response from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
“This case is not just a matter of discipline. This is an attempt to fight the government. The president must be firm when dealing with this case,” he said on Sunday.
The public had a right to feel terrorized, Tubagus added, with gunman wielding an arsenal of weaponry and taking over a high-security prison with ease.
“Where’s the control [from the army and police]? The state can be considered negligent,” he said.
The Cebongan attack is believed to be linked to a murder at a Slemen club, Hugo’s Cafe, early on Tuesday morning. Special Forces (Kopassus) soldier First Sgt. Heru Santosa allegedly was stabbed to death when he tried to break up a fight at the venue.
Sleman Police arrested four men in connection with the murder: Hendrik Angel Sahetapi, 31; Yohanes Juan Mambait, 38; Gameliel Yermianto Rohi Riwu, 29; and Adrianus Candra Galaja, 33.
Around 1:15 a.m on Saturday morning the jail was stormed by men claiming they were police. After unsuccessfully trying to move the suspects out of their cells, they opened fire, killing all four.
Should Malaysian citizens file a class action suit for wholesale incompetence while spending the taxpayers’ money?
A general election is expected next month in the Southeast Asian nation of Malaysia, and that usually means political shenanigans—abuse of national security laws, media manipulation and character assassination. After the last election in 2008, when the ruling coalition barely held on to power, public anger at such practices prompted Prime Minister Najib Razak to redraft laws and reform the electoral system. However, new revelations that his government paid American journalists to attack opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim raise questions whether those changes went far enough.
In January, conservative American blogger Joshua Treviño belatedly registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, revealing that from 2008-2011 he was paid $389,724.70, as well as a free trip to Malaysia, to provide “public relations and media consultancy” services to the Malaysian government.
These consisted of writing for a website called Malaysia Matters, now defunct, as well as channeling $130,950 to other conservative writers who wrote pro-government pieces for other newspapers and websites. When questioned in 2011 by the Politico website about whether Malaysian interests funded his activities, Mr. Treviño flatly denied it: “I was never on any ‘Malaysian entity’s payroll,’ and I resent your assumption that I was.”
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim
The campaign was more targeted than the Malaysian ruling coalition’s domestic attacks on Mr. Anwar. Mr. Treviño’s site mainly went after the opposition leader for anti-Semitic remarks and his alliance with the Islamist party PAS, and even accused him of links to terrorists through the International Institute of Islamic Thought. Mr. Anwar has made anti-Semitic comments—though that’s in part to fend off domestic accusations that he’s too cozy with Zionists. He also has ties to organizations that have taken Saudi money, but the suggestion that he somehow has “ties to terrorism” is preposterous.
The site also defended an outrageous charge of sodomy brought against Mr. Anwar from 2008-2012, and it criticized the U.S. State Department and The Wall Street Journal for taking Mr. Anwar’s side. These postings were clearly aimed at sowing doubt among other would-be Anwar defenders in the U.S., especially on the right of the U.S. political spectrum.
Mr. Treviño paid other writers who know almost nothing about Malaysia but mimicked his propaganda. The New Ledger, edited by Ben Domenech, was even more vociferous, calling Mr. Anwar a “vile anti-Semite and cowardly woman-abuser.” One posting was entitled, “Muslim Brotherhood’s terrorist money flowing to Anwar Ibrahim.” According to Mr. Treviño’s filing, he paid Mr. Domenech $36,000 for “opinion writing.” Three contributors of anti-Anwar items to the New Ledger—Rachel Motte, Christopher Badeaux and Brad Jackson—were paid $9,500, $11,000 and $24,700 respectively.
Mr. Treviño was initially paid by public relations multinational APCO Worldwide, which had a longstanding contract with the Malaysian government. APCO’s Kuala Lumpur representative through 2010, Paul Stadlen, now works in Prime Minister Najib’s office. David All, who at the time ran his own PR firm and collaborated on Malaysia Matters, also provided cash.
But from 2009-11, the Malaysian money came through Fact-Based Communications, which under the leadership of journalist John Defterios produced programs on client countries for CNN, CNBC and the BBC. After this was revealed in 2011, the three networks dropped all FBC programs, and Atlantic Media Company President Justin Smith resigned from its board.
Influence-peddling has a long and sordid history in Washington, and governments that use repressive methods at home yet want to remain on friendly terms with the U.S. typically have the biggest bankrolls. It’s not unheard of for PR operators to pay less reputable journalists and think-tankers to write favorable coverage, as the Jack Abramoff case in the mid-2000s showed.
The Malaysian scheme, however, is notable because it drew in respected writers such as Rachel Ehrenfeld, who has contributed to the Journal in the past and took $30,000, Claire Berlinski, who got $6,750, and Seth Mandel, an editor at Commentary magazine, who was paid $5,500. Some of the articles appeared in well-known publications such as National Review and the Washington Times.
Mr. Najib’s falling popularity at home suggests his days as Prime Minister could be numbered. The irony is that he was more democratic and played a more responsible role in the region than his predecessors. Even opposition figures have quietly admitted to us that he has steered Malaysia in the right direction. That should have been more than enough for a legitimate public relations operation to work with. Resorting to underhanded tactics to undermine the opposition has only backfired for Mr. Najib, at home and abroad.
A version of this article appeared March 9, 2013, on page A12 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Malaysia’s U.S. Propaganda.
One for the record. Will this up the game for TV business news reporting in Indonesia? What would it mean for companies operating here? Do they need to have better media handling skills to take advantage of this development?
Bloomberg LP will start broadcasting Bloomberg Television Indonesia in May, more than 20 years after the financial news and information giant opened a bureau in the world’s fourth-most populous country and Southeast Asia’s largest economy.
Andrew Lack, chief executive of Bloomberg Media Group, said that Indonesia had huge potential as a market for media content. Bloomberg LP established the Bloomberg Media Group — a combination of its television, print, radio, mobile and digital media properties — in 2011.
Indonesia’s economy grew 6.2 percent in 2012, among the fastest in the Asia-Pacific region and faster than developed economies in Europe and North America. Among the 10 Asean member states, only the Philippine economy expanded at a faster pace.
“When you are in the finance and business information business, you’ve been watching Indonesia in the past several years … I ask, ‘How do I get to Indonesia and how soon?’” Lack said on Thursday.
A survey by market researcher Nielsen in 2010 estimated that there were around 50 million TV viewers in Indonesia, of which around three million were pay TV viewers. Indonesia has a population of more than 240 million people. Bloomberg LP says on its website that the Bloomberg Television network is available in more than 310 million homes worldwide.
To set up its Indonesia operation, Bloomberg Television has formed a partnership with Idea Group, a media holding company backed by Recapital Group, which is headed by Sandiaga Uno and Rosan Roeslani. Idea Group was also behind the creation of the online marketplace Bukalapak.com.
Adithya Chandra Wardhana, the chief executive of Bloomberg Television Indonesia, said that it planned to work with existing broadcast companies in Indonesia on free-to-air, pay TV, Internet and mobile platforms.
Adithya said that the company had secured a deal with local regional television networks such as Jakarta TV in the capital region, Surabaya TV in East Java and Depok TV in West Java. Bloomberg Television Indonesia is also in talks with Makassar TV to provide content for the eastern part of the country.
Bloomberg Television Indonesia is also in talks with several major pay television networks, Adithya said, but declined to name them, as the deals have yet to be finalized. “We target middle-, upper-class and affluent audiences. We will be the only television network that specializes in business and financial news here,” he said.
“We will create business content in Bahasa Indonesia, about 80 percent local and 20 percent international.”
The company has recruited Kania Sutisnawinata and Tomy Tjokro, both of whom are former Metro TV news anchors, and 50 other journalists.
Bloomberg Television Indonesia will also air live from the Indonesia Stock Exchange every day to its global network, which is expected to benefit Indonesia.
“I think Indonesia will benefit most from the exposure that we bring,” said Parameshwaran Ravindranathan, head of Asia Pacific for Bloomberg Television, based in Hong Kong.
It isn’t eyebrows but heckles that Indonesia’s new education curriculum should raise.
What sort of reasoning goes behind an education philosophy that requires a 10th grade student to learn to be disciplined like an electron, “which always moves within its orbit.” Quacks talking about quarks.
And there’s more shit-for-brains reasoning: Students, proclaim the new curriculum should learn how to behave in a heterogeneous society after studying linear and non-linear equations.
The mind boggles at how presumably educated people can come up with such pseudo-science recommendations with which to shape our children’s minds. But we have them by the spadeful in the Education Ministry and endorsed by the Education Minister Muhamad Nuh.
How can we rid ourselves of such imbeciles in such positions of responsibility and power?
Hans Nicholas Jong, Mon, February 18 2013,
The government has long attempted to incorporate character building in the nation’s education system, but teachers never thought that they would ever be asked to tell students that they would have to learn about discipline from the behavior of electrons — until they saw the new national curriculum.
The Indonesian Teachers Unions Federation (FSGI) has expressed its confusion over the new national curriculum in which the Education and Culture Ministry officials appear to be ridiculously trying to shoehorn civic and religious education into subjects such as chemistry and biology.
“The new curriculum states that a 10th grade student must learn to be disciplined like an electron, which always moves within its orbit,” FSGI secretary-general Retno Listyati told The Jakarta Post on Saturday. “How can my students behave like electrons?”
The teachers were also astounded to learn that they would also be required to use math to instill tolerance in students. “The students are expected to learn how to behave in a heterogeneous society after studying linear and non-linear equations,” she said. “How is that even possible?”
In response to the criticism, Deputy Education and Culture Minister Musliar Kaslim said the new curriculum was simpler and therefore more superior to the current curriculum. “We have integrated and simplified elementary-level subjects. They have been condensed into two books,” he said in a phone interview.
“We have improved what needed to be improved and got rid of heavy material that was burdensome to the students.”
With its thematic and integrated approach, the deputy minister claimed the country’s new curriculum was even better than that of international schools. “Their curriculum is only integrated, while ours is integrated as well as thematic. We apply a holistic approach that unifies diverse subject matters with a central theme.”
Teachers, he said, might initially find it difficult to teach multiple subjects in one class sitting.“If you think about it, then it might seem weird,” he said, adding that once the teachers understood the new curriculum, they would adapt to it.
The ministry, he said, had planned to train highly skilled and qualified teachers to ease them into the new curriculum so they could pass on the skills to other teachers. “We have submitted the list of teachers to the regional administrations,” he said.
“The regional administrations will then review the list and decide on whether the teachers on the list were qualified or not.” The ministry is expected to complete the training, with each session lasting one week, within one month, he said, adding that the training will commence in April.
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Unspun mudik-ed to his kampung in Malaysia for the Chinese New Year and was tickled pink by the desperate efforts of the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s attempt to shore up his support among the Chinese community for the upcoming national elections that must be held in the first half of this year.
The context to this desperation is that Najib, who heads the Barisan Nasional, a coalition of race-based parties, that has ruled Malaysia in one form or another since Independence in 1958, has been losing popularity.
In the early days when Malaysians were easier to be duped the party, particularly under Mahathir on, played the nationalist card and fears of mayhem if the coalition lost their two-thirds majority in Parliament.
The formula for electoral victory was simple and effective. Gerrymeander the electoral districts so that a party that had the support of the Malays as a solid voting bloc would always win. The calculation was that if most Malays voted for the Barisan Nasional or BN, and the votes of the Chinese or Indians living in the electoral districts were split, the Barisan Nasional would win.
They then spiced up the electioneering by playing on the fears of the populace by spreading rumours that an opposition victory would destabilise the country and cause racial riots, ad hominem attacks and lots of money and a smooth-running electoral machine.
This all worked when the economic pie was working for Malaysia. But somewhere in the early 2000s the growth of Malaysia began to slow down. The pie shrunk and the inner circles within Umno (the Malay-based dominant partner in the coalition) began to scramble for the limited resources. Corruption escalated.
The fortunes of the Barisan Nasional began to slide even further after Mahathir stepped down and was replaced by Abdullah Badawi, who did not have the vision and the ruthlessness of Mahathir to drive the country forward and keep the Umno elite from their rapacious scramble for mollah.
Badawi, predictably, did not last and was quickly replaced by Najib, son of second the late Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Razak. Like many scions of the elite Najib grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth, went to the best schools in the UK and had no clue about the rough and tumble of realpolitik.
The feeling that Malaysians have about Najib is that he’s smart enough to figure out that corruption is eroding the support of Umno and the Barisan Nasional, and ruining the country. But he’s so hemmed in by the Umno elite whose main preoccupation these days is to rake in as much as they can while the ship sinks that he’s helpless to do anything.
Their rapacity has resulted in even the Malays withdrawing their support for the Barisan Nasional ruining the age-old formula of victory that the BN had relied on through gerrymeandering and social engineering.
Which leads us to the extent of desperation that Najib is showing in courting not only the Malays but also the Chinese, the second largest ethnic group in Malaysia, a task usually outsourced to their junior BN partner the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA). The probem with the MCA, however, is that it can’t deliver any votes because it has lost all credibility with the Chinese. The president of the MCA, for instance, is Choi Soo Lek a 60 plus Chinese whose most notable claim to fame was to star in a leaked video of him and a prostitute in a cheesy hotel.
So Najib now has to court the Chinese themselves. Unspun doesn’t know who’s advising him but it would make a Public Relations professional cringe at the bad advice that he’s getting and the horrible execution of events.
For a joke Unspun’s friends gave him this “any pow” (literally Red Packets containing money that Chinese give to their juniors during Chinese New Year). Najib’s answer?
An “Ang Pow” with his face on the cover (the moustache and weak mouth is a turnoff to most Malaysian). But the juxtapositioning of his face and the year of the snake (they couldn’t get their English right even then) seems to suggest that Najib is a snake. Doesn’t his PR people pay attention to things like that?
Serperntine travails aside Najib also tried a different beat in his new year TVC to the Chinese. So you have here a so called Malay leader whose record has been one of championing the rights of Malays (against the Chinese who would swamp them with their economic prowess if their rights are not protected) doing something very Chinese-y, some would say cheesy. Notice the bad editing where the weak mouth and moustache gets a cameo role.
As if that was not enough, the BN sought to cash in on the popularity of PSY and his Ganggnam Style that has take the world and Malaysians by storm. But Najib forgot that while you can bring the horse to water you can’t make it drink (no pun intended). It resulted in this embarrassing what they hoped to be the rallying of the troops.
All goes to show: you can fool some of the people all the time; all the people some of the time; but never all the people all the time.
Najib should change image consultants. Better still, he should just resign and enjoy retirement and no amount of image making can help him increase his and BN’s electoral chances in the short span of time they have left before the next elections.
Indonesians will be forgiven if they are flabbergasted by the news item below. That’s because in Indonesia there is lacking that narrow-mindedness that is so common among Malaysian, particularly Malay politicians who are unable to distinguish between religion, culture and language.
For you see, in Malaysia, race, and along with it religion and language, are politicised. The formula is simple: Malay(race)=Islam=Koran=Jawi=Malay(language) and anyone that says otherwise is seen as trampling in their underpants.
Hence the hullaballoo in Malaysia whenever they uncover any Bible translated into the Malay language, or in Jawi. Indoensians are too mature and diverse to believe that religion belongs to one ethnic group, race, or language. To them religion transcends the racial/language barriers.
Unspun thinks politicians such as Ibrahim Ali should get some intellectual development and maturity by visiting Indonesia, where the Bible is read mostly in the Indonesian language. In spite of this, Indonesian Muslims are in no danger of being proselytised en mass into some heathen religion. The Indonesians know better than their Malaysian counterparts that the Islamic faith is made of more sterner stuff than the word.
This goes to show one again how secure the Indonesians are being themselves and how insecure the malaysians are in their faith, their race and where they stand in society. Pathetic and Ibrahim Ali wins a shit-for-brains tag from Unspun.
Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali says his call to Muslims to burn the Malay-language Bible written in Jawi and using the word ‘Allah’ was not intended to hurt the feelings of Christians but that it was a reaction to those trying to violate the federal constitution.
The Independent MP for Pasir Mas explained to Utusan Malaysia that his call was to wake up those who tried to proselytise Muslims.
“We respect Christians and it was not my intention to offend or hurt the feelings of others. We have tolerated a lot.
“But when we voiced out our reaction to the action of a certain party that distributed Malay-language Bibles to students of a secondary school in Penang, many were angered,” the Umno-owned daily quoted Ibrahim as saying.
Full story: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/219603
Last month Unspun was speaking at the International PR Summit in Bali. The talk was entitled was “Sleeping with the Enemy” where essentially Unspun lamented how the Advertising Industry — in defiance of Al Reis’s prediction about The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR — has not only checked its fall but have encroached on PR territory in the use of social media and being very creative in doing so.
The talk was delivered at the Spikes Asia Awards in Singapore and in this year they had a PR category. The submissions for this category were very creative and well documented and packaged. The only trouble with them was that they were all the work of advertising companies, but packed so that it looked like PR programs so they can add another award to their shelves.
No shame in that for the Advertising industry. But shame for the PR industry players who are consistently outclassed by their advertising brethren when it comes to submissions for such awards. And in the creatie ideas employed in the programs.
The study mentioned below is further corroboration that the PR industry needs to jolt itself out of its smugness and be more creative.
GLOBAL – Nearly two-thirds of PR professionals agree that it’s fair to criticise their industry for lacking creative ideas, and about half would label the industry’s creative output as no better than “ordinary”, according to a study published by The Holmes Report in collaboration with Ketchum and No Go Create.Just 6 per cent label PR-industry creativity as “inspirational”
Titled ‘Creativity in PR: A Global Study’, the report (available in PDF form , or below) is based on a worldwide survey of more than 600 people in 35 countries. Respondents included agency and in-house and a diverse a range of industries and sectors covering consumer, corporate, healthcare, technology, digital and public affairs practices.
The report found that just 6 per cent of respondents labelled PR-industry creativity as “inspirational”, while one in 10 described creativity as “unsatisfactory” and 6 per cent said it was “poor” or “non-existent”.
The PR professionals surveyed acknowledged the importance of creativity (95 per cent) and consider themselves to be creative individuals (89 per cent). So why is the industry not delivering more creativity? Popular answers included a lack of time (65 per cent), overworked staff (37 per cent) and a lack of clear creative objectives that hampers personal and organisational creativity (33 per cent).
Asia-Pacific respondents viewed the industry’s creativity in a worse light than those in North America. Among Asia-Pacific respondents, only 37 per cent see PR creativity as “good’ or “inspirational”, while 20 per cent find it “unsatisfactory” or worse. The corresponding numbers in North America were 51 per cent and 11 per cent.
- 42 percent of businesses don’t reward or incentivise creativity.
- 35 percent don’t use any specific interview methods to assess creativity in potential employees.
- 40 percent of clients said their agencies could do better when it came to their creative capabilities.
- Just 16 percent were consistently happy with these capabilities
- 23 percent said they were not happy with their ﬁrm’s creative capabilities.
The vibrancy of a newspaper’s opinion page usually lies with the letters to the editor, arguing for or against a proffered opinion from its stable of writers.
By this measure The Jakarta Globe certainly has a vibrant editorial page, if only online.
The recent opinion piece by Berita Satu Media Holdings group publisher (below) is unorthodox, to say the least, in the ideas it expresses but the real gem there are the comments that its readers have posted. Not since the Globe’s Lady Gaga editorial has The Jakarta Globe attracted such diverse comments.
So Bravo Jakarta Globe for the vibrancy and efforts to keep free speech alive. Make sure you click on the link and go to the comments.
Thursday afternoon, at around 6:15 p.m., was a painful moment for me, a resident of Jakarta who had the noble intention of meeting with his deputy governor to provide input on efforts to overcome the city’s many problems. I appreciated the fact that Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama clearly wanted to engage with citizens and had quickly agreed to the meeting. But the experience soon turned into a bitter one because of the inappropriate behavior of the deputy governor and the presence of individuals who were not officials but who appeared to have an exclusive right to be inside the working office of the deputy governor.
As a citizen hoping for a sign that there would be something different compared to the leadership of the previous governor, I came with ideas I thought worthy of consideration — such as a short-term answer to Jakarta’s notorious traffic congestion.
I am fully aware that I am no expert in city planning, or an expert in overcoming transportation problems. But as a resident of the city, I feel called to contribute to progress. The idea proposed may not have been a holistic solution, but a leader should at some point have the courage to make a decision, no matter how hard this is, rather than basking in a never-ending discourse. Residents are tired of hearing their leaders complain or blame each other. What residents are waiting for are breakthrough policies that could at least signal that there is an effort by the government to improve conditions.
Back to the atmosphere at the meeting that afternoon.
After some brief small talk, I presented the idea to help reduce congestion through vehicle-color-based restrictions on certain roads — an idea that I have presented on various occasions since 2010. For this Thursday afternoon, I had prepared a paper explaining this effort, which I was to hand over to the deputy governor after the brief presentation.
The gist of my thinking is that whatever the policy undertaken by the government, it should at least show the public that it has the courage to try and take steps that could be implemented in a brief period of time. The most logical solution, I think, is to manage the traffic based on a restriction on vehicles. Of course, the government should at the same time work hard to prepare a solution that is more holistic and long-term.
However, I had not even completed my explanation of the main points before the deputy governor interrupted to say that there already is an abundance of studies on how to alleviate the city’s congestion. Some in a regulatory form, others involving a rejuvenation of the fleet of city buses and also long-term solutions through better management of macro transportation patterns. But whichever choice is made, these are not short-term solutions, as all would need time. Each proposal has its own weakness and could prompt protests from the public if implemented.
I do understand what the deputy governor was saying about the difficulties the authorities were facing, but as a leader, it would have been great if the deputy governor had been able to listen enthusiastically and respectfully — paying full attention to his conversation partner and allowing him to make his point.
But what happened instead? The deputy governor’s warm and friendly welcome was quickly overshadowed by a situation that was certainly not worthy of a deputy governor and his close entourage. While I was explaining the reasons for the visit that afternoon — to try and help create short-term breakthroughs to curb traffic congestion — the deputy governor was busy typing on his BlackBerry.
I initially thought the deputy governor was busy processing my input, but it turned out that he was in fact communicating with others. Even more painful was that while the deputy governor was busy with his own thoughts, a member of his staff repeatedly interrupted the conversation and addressed the deputy governor using the “loe-gue” jargon for “you” and “me.” I really did not get the impression that I was in the office of a deputy governor. Civility and protocol were simply ignored. This is something that is unacceptable in our culture.
The deputy governor’s attempt to strive for egalitarianism, to not overly crave respect and to try to avoid excessive protocol is commendable and should be supported. However, this does not mean that in a civilized society, the deputy governor’s working environment can do away with the spirit of respecting the institution of a deputy governor as a symbol of leadership. The loe-gue jargon is perfectly acceptable in daily interaction, but it is not appropriate for use in the official environment of a leader like the capital city’s deputy governor.
The encounter offers a valuable lesson for those who have chosen to dedicate their lives to public service: learn to be a role model for the people, learn to listen. And stop complaining and blaming each other, because now is the time to really do something.
Peter F. Gontha is the group publisher of BeritaSatu Media Holdings, of which the Jakarta Globe is a part.