According to a new ranking issued today by BlacklandPR, the merging of Christchurch schools was the toughest public relations job faced by anyone in New Zealand in 2012.
BlacklandPR Director Mark Blackham says the company assessed which high profile events faced the most the complex and sizable communication challenge.
The Christchurch school issue rated the highest because the far reaching scope of the building and logistics plan contrasted with the strong emotions of pupils and parents, against the background of the Christchurch earthquakes.
“Factors in the issue would challenge the world’s best PR exponents; Christchurch schooling has to be reorganised, thousands of people will be affected, and all of them fear change that affects their children’s educational futures,” Mark Blackham said.
Also in the top three PR challenges was the Government’s plan for changing class sizes, and the introduction of the Christchurch Central Development Unit.
Mr Blackham said it was no surprise to find Government matters dominating the rankings. “Government is always about very complex issues. It has to juggle competing and incompatible vested interests, professional sticky-beaks, and the national interest.
He said BlacklandPR compiles the rankings to contrast with “PR Blunder” lists which make shallow judgements about issues.
“We’d like people to appreciate the complexity of PR issues. Complex matters, strong emotions and high stakes require astute communications.
“It’s easy to criticise others and to misinterpret events.
“It’s easy to say something was a disaster just because it is controversial. Controversy is not in itself a blunder. In a pluralistic society, people are going to disagree.
“The job of public relations is to keep onside with those that matter, and to avoid other people getting so agitated they stop you doing your thing,” he said.
“The 13th most challenging issue was introduction of the Ministry of Education’s teacher pay system. The difficulty with ICT glitches is that it’s hard to disentangle human error from technical problems. PR’s main job is to establish and hold empathy between everyone involved,” Mr Blackham said.
Note: See full list below.
Contact: Mark Blackham, Director, BlacklandPR. 021 891 042 / 04-499 6940
BlacklandPR is a Wellington-based PR consultancy built for the social era. It specialises in today’s type of tough issues, using modern techniques to help organisations talk with real people.
The BlacklandPR 12 Toughest PR Jobs, 2012