Chapters 11 & 12

Reaching a Multi-cultural and Diverse Audience:

Match the audience with the media.  It is important for public relations professionals to understand the array of printed, spoken, visual and new media methods available to select the right medium or media to use for reaching key audiences.

For instance, television has the strongest emotional impact of all media; print is the most effective for details; radio is effective to target audiences; online media is growing so fast that it will possibly overtake print media and television to become the primary source of information.

Chapter 12 – Public relations and the law

Defamation – the combination of libel (a printed falsehood about someone) and slander (an oral falsehood about someone.)

Coyprights – protection of creative work from unauthorized use.  Under current law, a work is automatically copyrighted the moment it is fixed in tangible form.  It does not have to carry a notice of copyright.  Registration is not a condition of copyright protection. A copyright protects original material for the life of the creator plus 70 years for individual works and 95 years from publications for copyrights held by corporations.

Fair-Use versus Infringement:

Fair use means part of the copyrighted article may be quoted directly, but must be brief in relation to the original work.  It may also be reproduced in limited quantities.

Permission is required for copyrighted material to be used in advertisements and promotional brochures.

An organization can order a quantity of reprints from a publisher by paying a licensing fee or through the copyright clearance center, which represents a large number of publishers at

Rights of Freelance Writers

The US Supreme Court in 1989 ruled that writers retain ownership of their work and that purchasers of it simply gain a ‘license’ to reproduce it. (Community for Creative Nonviolence v. Reid)

Writers may agree to assign all copyright rights to the work they have been hired to do or they may give permission only for a specific one-time use.

The US Supreme Court, in The New York Times v. Tasini, ruled in 2001 that publishers, my making articles accessible through electronic databases (CD-ROM, online databases or World Wide Web), infringed the copyrights of freelance contributors. 

All agreements with freelance writers must be in writing, and use of material must be clearly stated.

Copyright issues on the internet:

  • Original materials in digital form are still protected by copyright laws on the internet and the World Wide Web.
  • Copyrighted material of others should not be posted on the internet unless specific permission is granted.

Sources: Public Relations Strategies and Tactics,


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