Source Credibility and Communication Strategy

Following on from yesterday’s post, here’s another presentation from the Air Academy’s class on “Communicating for Effect”. Today it’s an examination of source credibility, something the target audience for the class – public affairs officers – frequently lack.

Make no mistake, theirs is an important job; as the course description says, “As the lead public communication counselor to senior officials, the Public Affairs officer is the joint force commander’s (JFC’s) principal spokesperson and senior advisor on public affairs matters and the role PA plays in broader information operations. To gain such a position of trust, the PAO must have the ability to provide information to the media, to the commander, and to the supporting forces in near real time.”

organizational need to effectively communicate

Just as true, however, is that while they might, in theory, be responsible for handling information for a number of different audiences, not all agree on the importance – or, indeed, intelligence – of those audiences. And, when they are in agreement on these matters, the priority assigned certain audiences might well surprise you, as this image shows.

Given the lack of credibility credited to military spokespersons – or at least some military spokespersons (ah, paging General Petraeus…) – by the public – excuse me, domestic audience – it’s hard to imagine that Congress could consider them less credible still. It’s also interesting to note what I imagine is the relatively modern prioritization, where credibility of military propaganda with “indigenous audiences” is paramount. This seems an attitude uniquely tailored to modern “small wars”, and a paradigm shift from what seems to have been the standard of the “us and them” cold war era.

The rest of the presentation can be downloaded here (475KB PDF.) Tomorrow, a presentation on media framing, and then a little surprise on Friday.

Published in: General, Security | on September 19th, 2007| Comments Off on Source Credibility and Communication Strategy

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