‘Post Truth’ PR

Some recent reflections from Pamplona

I’m starting a new blog to track the creation of my next book on appearance, deception, fast and slow communication. It’s provisionally titled Public Relations and Depth Communication: Behind the Mask (for the Routledge New Directions in Public Relations and Communications Research series). Will have thoughts, reviews, links. Followers, suggestions & contributions cordially invited here: Mask bookmask

  • with thanks to Padraig Macnamara for beautiful logo

Paperback writer

Just discovered my book on public relations and professional ethics is now in paperback. Always wanted it to be more accessible – do hope some of you will buy or borrow it .

PR and ethics book


Public Relations Ethics Fawkes

Intense Indonesia

Ran a research workshop in Yogyakarta, Indonesia last week with colleagues from the University Atma Yogyakarta as part of a British Council project led by Prof Anne Gregory. The team are researching community engagement on renewable energy in rural communities. Fascinating work that has real importance for  developing countries and energy policy. It has also raised issues of cultural bias in research instruments, as villagers have been reluctant to sign ethics forms or speak up in focus groups because individual opinion is not part of collective decision making.

Luckily the UAJY team is creative and resourceful and have developed ethical, culturally sensitive approaches that will yield rich results.

My job was to focus on structuring the final report.  Again, realise that a formal report is a culturally specific product   – feels rather imperialist to force material into the traditional Exec Summary/Intro/Method/ Findings/Recommendations/Conclusions boxes. Then find myself describing this as a means of telling the story of the research and it makes sense. Reports are just another form of conversation after all.

We worked hard but had a really splendid few days of exchange and discovery – finding the common sense under the forms and formats, learning about each other’s ways of working. And Javanese food in particular – so many feasts of unfamiliar delight. My favourite was Javanese breakfast (a banquet of meat, rice and coconut) accompanied by gamelan concert (see pix). There were brief temple outings, but the heat floored me by mid morning so we retreated to a/c shopping.

The rest will have to wait till next time.


What does PR look like in different countries? Do we agree on its contribution to organisations and society? How does a capability approach address issues of cultural, media, specialist educational access and other differences that competency frameworks fail to acknowledge? How will this work be of practical value to practitioners, professional bodies and educators?

This pre-conference, hosted by Professor Anne Gregory and the University of Huddersfield Research team, will share mid-term findings from a global research project supported by the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management and partner universities in six continents.

The first stage of this two-year project is the identification of core capabilities using the Delphi method with practitioners, academics and employers. Results of this research will be presented by:

  • Professor Jesper Falkheimer, Lund University, Sweden
  • Professor Gregor Halff, Singapore Management University,  Chair of the Global Alliance
  • Professor Ronel Rensburg, University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • Professor Gabriel Sadi, Interamerican Open University, Argentina
  • Dr Johanna Fawkes, University of Huddersfield, UK

The panel will be chaired by Professor Anne Gregory, Huddersfield.

This will be followed by a wider discussion of the challenges facing scholars and practitioners trying to build a global approach to public relations and communication management. Industry speakers have been invited to lead this debate.

Academics and practitioners are invited to register to attend this event

  • If you would like to present a paper, please submit extended abstracts (500 words) on these themes by March 27. A special edition of the Journal of Communication Management will be dedicated to selected papers presented at this pre-conference.

Contact: Dr. Johanna Fawkes, j.fawkes@hud.ac.uk

More details of the project here: Global Capability Framework, PR & Comms



ICA Pre-conference CFP

The call for papers for the ICA Pre-conference on Global Capabilities for Public Relations and Communications Management is available here: pc-building

The half day session will hear presentations from Huddersfield and our research partners and invites extended abstracts from others in this field, as well as welcoming interested attendees. Hope to see you in San Diego in May.


Worth checking out this opportunity for PR and communication researchers – please circulate:

Leeds Beckett University has a sponsored PhD vacancy available. This is funding for a corporate responsibility and communications based PhD bursary. http://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/research/research-degrees/research-studentships-and-fees-only-bursaries/ Each studentship will have a bursary of £14,296 per annum (pro-rata into 12 monthly payments) plus UK/EU Fees paid for a period of three years. The University has recently won a major contract worth £18 million over five years, to deliver a new and highly innovative Integrated Healthy Lifestyles Service in the UK. This PhD is part of this programme. Applications close on the 5th June 2016, for an October 2016 start. Specifically this call is for PhD proposals exploring the role of State and Commerce in the healthy eating debate(s): Businesses recognize their role and responsibility in the healthy eating debate. They, like state actors, spend much time, effort and resource attempting to respond to the issue and to get their message across. Frequently this fails, is confused or is perceived as distrustful and self-interested marketing of the corporate brand by consumers, government, the media and NGO groups. This research will explore the role of the state at both a national and local level on the debate as well as the important but often misdirected and misunderstood attempts by business to respond appropriately to government as well as consumer and pressure group demands and expectations for a ‘responsible’ approach. The research may explore the efforts of business to respond to this agenda to build a framework of understanding from a local level and potentially in partnership with actors on the ground. Processes of communication will be analysed and evaluated to support and build deeper and more meaningful engagement with stakeholders at all levels. For further details please contact Professor Ralph Tench tel:+44(0)113 81 27539, email: r.tench@leedsbeckett.ac.uk