Center for Strategic Communication

by Scott W. Ruston

The International Communication Association (ICA) holds its annual conference later this week here in Phoenix 24-28 May, and the CSC is sponsoring two events focused on strategic communication.  If you’re interested in strategic communication and in town for ICA, please consider these events.

First, the CSC has put together a back-to-back panel series on strategic communication in the public sector.  The first panel addresses theoretical and ethical issues and the second focuses on case studies (detailed panel descriptions below.)  The panels are scheduled to begin at 9:00am, Monday May 28, in the Sheraton Downtown Phoenix, in Room Maryvale B.

Second, the CSC will host a networking reception 8pm, Sunday May 27 at the Compass Room (located in the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 122 North 2nd Street, Phoenix, AZ) for scholars and practitioners of strategic communication.

We look forward to seeing you at both events.

State- and Supra-State-Sponsored Strategic Communication I:  Theories, Foundations and Ethics (Monday, May 28, 9:00 in Maryvale B)

Strategic communication is deeply intertwined in many of the pressing government policy action problems of the present day.   Consider US Secretary of State Clinton acknowledging to Congress that the US is losing the ‘battle of the narrative’ in Afghanistan or the Japanese government’s struggle to assure its own citizens and the world of the expediency of their crisis response. Consider, too, the challenges the UN has in formulating crisis and post-crisis intervention polices, or the challenges NATO faces in articulating to its constituent citizens and leaders the future direction of the organization.  These examples illustrate that strategic communication should be an intrinsic part of policy development, public diplomacy and crisis response among a number of governmental and supra-governmental agency actions. However, only modest attention has been paid to strategic communication in the public sector.

What are the foundational concepts and theories that inform our understanding of strategic communication in government contexts? What ethical concerns are involved when governments attempt to inform, persuade, or influence their citizens or other populations?  How should these concerns be addressed?  This panel explores definitional issues, theoretical considerations, methodological approaches and ethical concerns to come to a richer understanding of strategic communication in a government context.

State- and Supra-State-Sponsored Strategic Communication II:  Case Studies in Success and Failure (Monday, May 28, 10:30 in Maryvale B)

This panel uses case studies to explore the factors that lead to success or failure in strategic communication from states to their citizens. These cases include the American government’s communication about cancer prevention and control, the “War on Terror,” and concerning the prosecution of polygamy. Two papers have an international perspective, examining “The Singapore Story” as a narrative about the city-state that attempts to support its corporatist system of governance, and a comparative view of Singaporean and Indonesian responses to Islamist terrorist threats. What are the factors that make government-to-population communication successful? How do states use new forms of media to get their messages across? How do populations respond? What causes them to accept or reject the message, or act to support or oppose the campaign?

Other ICA Panels of Interest to Strategic Communication Scholars and Practitioners

Friday, May 25:

Corporate & Strategic Public Relations (12:00 in Alhambra)

New Era of Strategic Communication: Data & Algorithms (3:00 in Valley of the Sun E)

Creating Community, Achieving Mission (3:00 in Paradise Valley)

Saturday, May 26:

CSR Communication in Social Media: Theory, Cases, Research (9:00 in Alhambra)

Safety, Risk & Crisis Communication (10:30 in Alhambra)

Building Community Through Public Sector Orgs (4:45 in Valley Sun B)

Sunday, May 27

State-Press Relationships and Diplomacy (9:00 in Maryvale A)