The Media, Politics and Public Life

By Geoffrey Craig | Go to book overview
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7
Political information management

The personal image of political leaders is a focus of contemporary political communication, but the looks, style and character of politicians is only the most prominent product of a process in which a broad range of personnel deploy their sophisticated skills to produce political texts and images, control the flow of information within and across organisations, and manage relations with the mass media and the public. The professional communicators employed by politicians and political parties include media advisers, public relations consultants, speech writers, advertising executives, political strategy consultants and pollsters. In addition to these professional communicators, political personnel such as party leaders and government ministers or other members of parliament perform important strategy or planning roles. Graham Richardson, for example, was an important strategist in the Australian Labor governments of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. In Britain, Peter Mandelson managed the public image of Labour, initially as the party's communications director and subsequently as an MR

Politicians or political parties may themselves employ a range of personnel to manage their public communications, but there are a great number of professional communicators who are employed by other individuals, corporations and organisations seeking to influence the political process. The public relations industry has experienced phenomenal growth in recent decades, outstripping the employment growth of journalists, and it continues to shape the news agenda. Corporations and other organisations have well-staffed media relations

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