Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Required Reading 

The wonder of the Internet is serendipity. I stumbled on a site while researching Presidential transitions into the White House that has two of the best papers I have read on communications. They are about the White House Press Office and Office of Communications. They are here and here. Both should be required reading for every PR practitioner.

First of all, the communications challenges and problems at the White House are greater than those of any other organization in the US and perhaps, the world. Secondly, the need to communicate is a nonstop, high-pressure, 24-hour-a-day task that burns out those who do it in about two years, according to the two essays. Third, there are multiple constituencies that must be served at all times if one wants to survive and support the President who is the ultimate boss. Fourth, there is a need to coordinate communications constantly to prevent embarrassing or stupid errors. Fifth, your critics are sitting nearby with a clear view of the door to the oval office -- the media. They demand information for their stories on a regularly scheduled basis throughout the day. And, it goes on. Some of the best parts of the papers are quotes taken from interviews with former Press Secretaries and heads of the Office of Communication.

There is much here to think about, and I wish I known about them four years ago. If by any chance, you have not read them, take an hour and plow through. You will be glad you did. Were I still teaching, I would make them obligatory reading for my students.

And amazingly, the papers were not written by a communications professional, but a professor of Political Science.


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