Mediations: Philip Young

  • Mediations comments on public relations theory and practice, with an emphasis on social media and communication ethics. Philip Young is project leader for NEMO: New Media, Modern Democracy at Campus Helsingborg, Lund University, Sweden. All views expressed here are personal and should not be seen as representing Lund University or any other organisation.

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    I have to defend the defenders - as the only thing they have done regarding this comment is to make photographs of themselves. This minor event is blown out of proportions of the commentators (among PR-commentators). Explanation: Especially in Norway everybody are extremely tense 'cause of the upcoming trial starting next week in addition to eagerness to not miss a comma of any event. Event though PR and law hasn't been commented neither analyzed quite well. Interesting theme to comment during the trial.

    Thanks, Pål, your comments are appreciated. I was trying not to be overly critical of the lawyers, particularly at a difficult time. Rather I wanted to explore the difference between legal advocacy and PR advocacy. As I understand the situation the photos weren't released as part of a PR push and I appreciate the desire not to look anything but serious and professional, but - assuming they had some control over what was released - it still seems ill-judged. The legal team will be judged by its performance in the courtroom and it unfortunate of what looks like image-management draws attention.

    I think you should criticise the legal team - not for representing Breivik, but for seeking to publicise themselves in an intentionally glamorous TV-series promotional way. These pix were not composed in this way by accident. Again, there's nothing wrong in this photocomposition for, say, a general PR pic, but to release them in this context is bad judgment for both the legal team and their client.

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