Author: Jossy Nkwocha,
Publishers: Zoom Lens Books, Lagos
Reviewer: Mezie Ekenna, ANIPR
Price: Not stated
As public relations battles
for relevance in the current global economic milieu, practitioners of the profession, as well as students and lecturers are seeking new strategies and techniques to confront emerging challenges. One area of public relations that requires special attention is media relations. Because of the media’s awesome power, corporate organisations and networth individuals such as political office holders want to handle or manage the media more professionally, effectively and efficiently.
The third edition of Jossy Nkwocha’s PR management book titled Effective Media Relations: Issues, Strategies & Dynamics (2009) comes handy. It is both scholarly and professional in nature, apparently to serve the needs scenarios of both academics and professional practice. Many PR books available in Nigeria are written from foreign perspectives, but this one is immensely Nigerian in context and content.
The author rightly identifies media relations as one of the functional branches of public relations. He defines it as “the strategic public relations function which establishes and maintains mutual understanding, goodwill, cooperation, respect and support between an organisation or networth individuals and the mass media practitioners/owners with the aim of achieving maximum positive publicity and media support, as well as other defined corporate and PR objectives.”
A critique of this book, recently released by its publishers, would be based on certain basic criteria which a new edition should satisfy. Such criteria would include needs scenario analysis, infusion of new sets of information, fresh insights, updates, new chapters, fresh perspectives, and so on. Indeed, one could ask: what is new about the new edition? This is the task of this review.
The book has 15 chapters spanning the gamut of specialised media relations with an introductory chapter on the history and dynamics of public relations practice in Nigeria. Each chapter ends with a set of questions to task the reader.
Perhaps the most refreshing chapters are the ones on media relations research and planning (chp. 3), specialised public relations writings and interviews (chp. 4), new techniques, tools and strategies of media relations (chp.5). The author in these chapters reveals why many press releases, for instance, end up in editors’ trash bin.
Other outstanding chapters of the book are on evaluation mechanisms in media relations (chp. 7), budgeting and costing (chp. 11), laws and ethics (chp. 13), crisis and issues management (chp. 14) as well as information and communications technologies ICT (chp. 15).
The author painstakingly takes the reader through all aspects of media relations that enhance media visibility and support required by corporate organisations and networth individuals in the new dispensation.
The new edition comes in a glossy cover design in green and light grey, with embossed title. Its 15 chapters are infused with fresh facts such as new trends in global media relations practice (pg. 78-82), the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill (pg. 209), updates on major newspapers in Nigeria (pg. 223 & 224), and chronological order of early newspapers in Nigeria 1869 – 1964 (pg. 286-286).
These and various other fresh insights and facts would surely satisfy the needs of final year and post-graduate students who are engaged in research projects, as well as practitioners who face various challenges in their daily duties.
Let me recall that Effective Media Relations was first published in 1999 as a small 12-chapter book. It became an instant success, accepted by both academics and professionals across the country. According to the publishers, as at the last count, the book was a recommended text in 12 universities, and fort eh professional examinations of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).
At the time of writing the book in 1999, Nkwocha was the General Editor of Newswatch magazine, fresh from a Masters degree programme in public relations at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Enugu Campus). The spicing on the cake was a generous foreword by Prof. Ikechukwu Nwosu, current President of NIPR and a tough scholar.
In ten years, the book has gone through two editions that have turned it into a bigger, better and richer package. In the preface to the third edition, the author stated that various feedbacks from stakeholders have helped to invigorate the new edition. This must be in addition to Nkwocha’s seven years post-Newswatch experience in public relations practice, consultancy, research and teaching.
The author’s Harvard referencing makes the book the academics delight. In the next edition of the book, the author should try and provide contemporary case studies, which would help both students and practitioners. In summary, Effective Media Relations: Issues, Strategies and Dynamics is a worthy contribution to knowledge and public relations literature in Nigeria.
- Mr. Ekenne is a public relations practitioner based in Lagos.