In the News: The Practice of Media Relations in Canada/Workshop Management: Method to Magic

Article excerpt

William Wray Carney, In The News: The Practice of Media Relations in Canada (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2002), 225pp. Paper. $24.95. ISBN 0-8886-4382-9.

Dorothy Strachan and Marian Pitters, Workshop Management: Method to Magic (Ottawa: ST Press, 2003), 274pp. Paper, with CD-ROM. $46.75. ISBN 0- 9688-0361-X.

A book that truly explores the extent and nature of 'media relations in Canada' would be most welcome. Unfortunately, this under-researched, misleadingly titled and inconsistently executed textbook does not fit the bill.

Key terms are not defined. False premises and assumptions abound, including the assumption that almost all of media relations involves government and business agencies and organisations. The glowing references to 'traditional pr' as opposed to 'spin' imply that 'traditional' practice is older and better. A glance at history reveals that government 'spin' dates back several centuries and 'traditional' business practice has long included advocacy and sales of healthendangering products such as corsets and cocaine. Whose 'tradition'? Where? When?

There are numerous references to 'philosophy' but no philosophical concepts or texts are discussed or cited. The four pages dedicated to 'ethics' consist mainly of the Canadian Public Relations Society's professional standards code, and journalists' guidelines from C. McKercher's and C. Cumming's book, The Canadian Reporter, with no discussion of how they might apply to media relations practitioners.

The editorial process has missed some crucial details. There is no index - indispensable for an academic text - and the reader is left to untangle such incoherent passages as: 'We live in an multiplicity of media, each with its own qualities and point of view.' That sentence opens a confusing paragraph, followed by a non sequitur referring to the 'second premise of this book' (xvi). The bibliography is disorganised and perplexing. …

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