NOTE FROM JEFF MOROSOFF: Each semester, my public relations students in Hofstra University’s Honors College are required to contribute posts to my blog. The following guest post was written by sophomore Nyala Stagger:
In January, Arik Hanson, principal at digital communications consultancy ACH Communications, wrote an article about the hit television show, Scandal, and its representation of the PR industry. In this article he questioned other public relations professionals from top firms of the country and got their opinion of the show and its relation to PR.
When I initially saw the title, “Does Scandal’s Olivia Pope represent the PR industry well?” I automatically answered, “Of course!” being a proud gladiator (as fans and followers of Pope are called). She represents some of what I hope to be as a PR professional: passionate, savvy, quick-witted, strategic, and most importantly effective.
As I continued to read, however, I had to admit to myself that, like any other television show, Scandal is a fictionalization of the real world, and thus, some of Olivia Pope’s work as a crisis management consultant and campaign aide are very far from the truth. Obviously the task of covering up a murder committed by a top politician wouldn’t be a part of my day-to-day life in the PR industry.
Despite the campaign rigging, crime scene clean ups, and an affair with the president of the United States, nevertheless, Olivia Pope still exhibits some PR skills that are great examples for a public relations student, like me, including improving her clients’ public image, producing relationships with her clients and the public via the media, understanding the basic needs of people, and being tactful and strategic with decisions about her clients to satisfy those needs. As Anuli Akanegbu of Edelman said in Arik Hanson’s article, Olivia Pope “is a problem-solver that thinks quickly, strategically and creatively as any good PR practitioner should.”
How well do you think Scandal blurs the lines of fiction and reality? Do you think it gives people the wrong impression of an already hard-to-define profession or should she still be applauded for the great public relations skills she exhibits?