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Check out a review of GSPM Strategic Public Relations Program Director Larry Parnell and GSPM Prof. Janis Teruggi Page's new book, Introduction to Strategic Public Relations:  Digital, Global, and Socially Responsible Communication.

In their often-cited article from the first edition of the International Journal of Strategic Communication journal, Hallahan, Holtzhausen, van Ruler, Verčič, and Sriramesh (2007) define strategic public relations as “the purposeful use of communication by an organization to fulfill its mission” (p. 3). Like Hallahan et al.’s, hundreds of scholarly articles as well as books and textbooks have been written on the subject, analyzing it from a variety of perspectives, including internationally. Page and Parnell’s book, SAGE Publications first foray into the topic, does manage to stand out from the crowd, by offering interesting, current information with a hands-on approach.

Page and Parnell, who both teach at George Washington University (GWU), carry with them years of professional experience in the field, and are still partners in PR consulting firms, bring their know-how and background to a book that is openly meant for an introduction public relations class. Backed by renowned scholars in the field, such as Donald K. Wright and Don W. Stacks, the book is loyal to its subtitle, as it devotes quite a few of its hundreds of pages to discussing how globalization and also technology, including social media, have changed public relations. More than anything, though, the book includes the overarching theme of the “social responsibility” public relations professionals have.

Read the full review here.

The Graduate School of Political Management is always looking for the latest and greatest tools, techniques, and strategies for success in the fields of politics, communications, and advocacy. One key source of information is our Board of Advisors, senior leaders in their fields that have taken the time to provide strategic guidance and insights to our school and its students.

We asked our Blue Co-Chair Robert Hoopes, President of VOX Global and General Manager of FleishmanHillard's DC office, and Red Co-Chair Leigh Ann Pusey, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications at Eli Lilly and Company.

They told us that the opportunity to work to improve political discourse, as well as engaging with the next generation of political leaders has been an inspiration to them.

The Graduate School of Political Management's social media monitoring research initiative, the PEORIA Project, released three new pieces on the impact twitter is having on politics and communications.

The first, published in the Washington Post, detailed rise and continued strength of the #MeToo movement. Researchers found that while #MeToo had been an activist hashtag on social media for some time, it exploded after the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment news. The reach and volume, in effect how many people saw the hashtag and how often they saw it, grew at least in part because well-known public figures were sharing their stories of harassment for the first time. Read more at the Washington Post.

Secondly, the PEORIA Project released its first quarterly report. Among the many findings, lead researcher Dr. Michael Cohen found that Congressional incumbents in close races should try their best to stay out of Twitter's glare. Two of the top mentions on political twitter in this category, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-CA) and Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA), have already announced that they will not seek reelection to their seats in November. Read the full report on our website.

Lastly, the project also published its most recent ECHO report. In it, Cohen found that in the battle over who deserves blame over the government shutdown that started last week, Twitter found President Donald Trump more at fault than Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Read the full report at US News.

As we get closer to the election, we expect to find more insights into the ways in which social media shapes and amplifies political messages, and the PEORIA Project will bring them to you. Be sure to subscribe to our PEORIA Project newsletter here.

Grassroots Professional Network

The Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) didn’t become the first and foremost school of applied politics, communications, and advocacy on its own. We have an extensive network of partners that team up with us for panel discussions, networking receptions, and other events. One of GSPM’s key partners over the last three years has been the Grassroots Professional Network (GPN).

Founded in 2015, the GPN started as a community for public affairs professionals to provide professional development and networking opportunities. From those humble beginnings, the organization quickly garnered hundreds of members. The group now offers a portfolio of online resources, industry assets, and networking events, all at no cost.

GSPM and GPN started their partnership three years ago in the fall of 2015 with a series of lunch and learn events featuring advocacy industry leaders, including alumni of the GSPM. From there, the relationship has grown exponentially. In 2017, the groups worked together to create The Agora Government Relations and Public Affairs Marketplace, which featured more than three dozen vendors and drew more than 800 attendees. Using that success as a guide, GSPM and GPN plan on expanding their relationship yet again in 2018, starting with the State of Advocacy Forum to be held on campus at GW on January 31.

“GPN would not be nearly as successful of a non-profit organization without the support, ideas, and innovation of the GSPM program and staff who have taken an interest in seeing GPN grow and succeed throughout the course of our partnership. I look forward to working with GSPM for many years to come,” said GPN Founder and Chairman Joshua Habursky.

In many instances, GSPM alumni have been at the forefront of these events, serving as facilitators and panelists. Both groups look forward to a continuing relationship that raises the profile of each organization, and continues to professionalize the field of grassroots advocacy.

Current Student Taylor McCarty says GSPM is "the ultimate networking opportunity"


It’s not what you know it’s who you know. Your network is your net worth. These sayings are clichés for a reason, but like many clichés, they contain a grain of truth. How do you stand out in a crowded job market? How do you learn about job openings before anyone else?

The most effective way is to leverage your personal and professional networks. Your current and former coworkers, your friends, and the alumni of the schools you attended are the key to your job search. This is even more important when looking for career opportunities in competitive fields such as politics and advocacy.

We asked several of our alumni how they got into the world of politics, and why they look to GSPM for future hires. A key for Bret Caldwell, GSPM ’95 and Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, was a shared understanding. “What I’m looking for are people who can enter an organization and adapt quickly; have the skills to bring about organizational change if necessary; and the ability to become leaders within the organization,” said Caldwell.

While filling a recent vacancy, Caldwell interviewed another alum, Ash Latimer, GSPM ’15. “It was clear she was going to be a great add to the team and since we’ve both been through the program it’s very apparent we’re on the same wavelength on our approach to tackling complex issues,” he noted.

Latimer first found out about the opportunity from a mutual friend. “I got a text saying are you interested in working for the Teamster’s,” she said. “Within an hour he had connected me with Bret. We set up a meeting two days later, I met with assistant directors the next week, and I got the offer later that week.”

For Bill Meierling, GSPM ’08 and Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President, Public Affairs at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the school’s unique curriculum is an asset for any politico on a job hunt. “If you actually want to win the campaign, you go to GSPM,” he says. “Thinking about the types of classes offered you can really get a specialized education in various disciplines in politics. It’s the single best place to gain knowledge from practitioners.”

Meierling added that the longevity of the school is a key asset for anyone looking to work in Washington. “There are 5,000 alumni in the school, and about 2,000 in the DC area. There aren’t 2,000 corporate offices in DC so think about how many organizations where there is a GSPMer. Virtually every one.”

Taylor McCarty, a current student and Communications Strategist at DDC, echoed that sentiment. “I stay in touch with the students and several professors and it’s benefited me personally and professionally,” she said. “It’s a great way to find a mentor and make new friends. You never know who may lend a helping hand down the road.”

(apologies to George Gershwin and Gene Kelly)

By Prof. Michael Cornfield

June 5, 2017

My Facebook reaction to the president’s announcement to exit the Paris climate agreement last Thursday was this:

GSPM grad Travis Taylor was skeptical:

Travis is right about the low priority Americans accord the environment as a campaign issue. A Reuters/IPSOS poll concluded just before the announcement was in keeping with the trend; environment was selected at the top issue by a mere 3% of voters, far below the top three of economy/jobs (20%), health care (18%), and terrorism (16%).

But I think Trump gave the issue a boost in salience. He is by far the most famous person on earth, maybe in human history; he gets more free media coverage than the next 1,000 people combined. His spotlight moves quickly from topic to topic, but the Paris exit was declared from the Rose Garden, it was a binary decision everyone understands, and the time frame for it is four years, not decades (the eco-time frame) or one day (the @realdonaldtrump time frame).

So I think the announcement sets off a messaging contest in sync with the 2018 and 2020 elections. Good issue positioning entails linking across standard categories. The battle will be over Paris AND job creation (especially job loss to foreign countries, Trump’s issue citadel), Paris AND energy prices (gas, of course, but also electric) and even Paris AND quality of life (hazards and disasters) in the battleground states and districts where voters live. We’ve already seen Dominion Power becoming an issue in the 2017 Virginia primaries.

Behind the messaging, this will be a battle of corporate clout: fossil-fuels against renewables, inland against coastal real estate. The fossil inlanders have a tremendous head start in the form of Koch-backed Americans For Prosperity (AFP) and its related influence organizations. By 2015, AFP had a $150 million yearly budget, 500 paid staffers including directors in 34 states, and 2.4 million activists advocating, among other things, a “No Climate Tax” pledge taken by three-fifths of GOP House members and over half of GOP Senate members in the 113th Congress (2013-2014).

The opposition to Trump’s announcement voiced by CEOs of big corporations, Michael Bloomberg, the governors of California, New York, and Washington state, and numerous mayors is a significant reaction. That’s all it is for now.

It was a busy week in the world of politics and our professors at the Graduate School of Political Management had plenty to say about it. Here's a quick roundup of some of their insights.

Visit our news page for complete coverage.

Trump should follow the Bill Clinton scandal playbook

Professor Matt Dallek provides a scandal playbook for President Trump in Yahoo News. He says that the Bill Clinton approach, which requires delegating all scandal response to his lawyers and political aides, would work better than the current full-frontal assault on every new revelation.

Yes, Trump is getting pounded — but it doesn't mean impeachment is imminent

Professor Steve Billet tells the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that even though the headlines are bad for President Trump, the bottom line is that he is safe in office as long as he has the support of Congressional leadership.

The New TV Drama: As The White House Turns

Professor Michael Cornfield discusses the hottest drama in daytime television: the White House Daily Press Briefing with NPR. He says that the possibility of an eruption from  White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes each new installment must-see TV.

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