Understanding the legal aspects of my chosen field is an important endeavor, both for my own edification and for the protection of my clients and business. My favorite course assignment for this class was the week 1 assignment for constructing a PSA. I have to write them for work and I really didn’t know what I was doing until we got the rubric for how to prep for the composition of a PSA. It is amazing how impactful yet concise a well formulated PSA is. This will certainly be the most helpful element of the course to me as I move forward.
The second most helpful element of the course was the information regarding the FTC. Better understanding the clarity around grey areas regarding misleading advertising will help me to stay out of trouble! Part of being a public relations professional, is being able to give sound counsel. In order to do that for clients, I need to thoroughly understand the laws surrounding their desired messages. When a client wants to make a statement or claim that is attention grabbing or compelling, it is important to make sure that, even as a third party, I inquire into the support that can be provided for such a claim. If it exists, it only serves to strengthen the advertising message, and if it is absent, then that provides me with a red flag. It is better to say nothing than to speak with a false tongue. Consumer confidence is a fragile glass which can be shattered violently if one deludes them rather than delivers on one’s word to them.
Being introduced to Gertz v. Welch and NY Times v. Sullivan was a great experience. Taking a deep look at such formative cases gave me a much better understanding of the legal viewpoint around defamation. As the media seems to be skewed more and more towards feeling and away from facts, we see much more hype emotional manipulation. I want to maintain my integrity in everything that I do, so those cases were a very real wake up call to the importance of double checking the facts before committing to publication.