Institute for Public Relations
IPR is featuring some of the many AAPI pioneers who have had an impact on the field of public relations in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month.
Born to Chinese immigrants, Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015) was an activist, author, and philosopher. She founded community organizations and political movements, lectured widely on human rights, and wrote books on her vision of a revolution in America.
At 16 she enrolled in Barnard College, graduated in 1935 with a degree in philosophy, and in 1940 earned a doctorate from Bryn Mawr College. Despite being highly educated, Lee Boggs made little money and was forced to find free housing. This led to her involvement in protesting poor living conditions and other community causes.
In 1953, Lee Boggs moved to Detroit and married James Boggs, a Black autoworker, writer, and radical activist. Here she founded food cooperatives and community groups to support the elderly, organized unemployed workers, and fought utility shut-offs. In columns for a local weekly newspaper, The Michigan Citizen, she promoted civic reforms. In 1992, she co-founded Detroit Summer, a youth program that repairs homes, paints murals, organizes music festivals, and turns vacant lots into community gardens. In 2013, she opened the James and Grace Lee Boggs School, a charter elementary school. Her work for civil rights and related causes spanned seven decades until her death in 2015.
Juan Meng, Ph.D., University of Georgia, & Marlene S. Neill, Ph.D., APR, Baylor University
This blog is provided by the IPR Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

The communication profession has been criticized for lacking racial diversity and inclusion. At the same time, gender inclusion in the industry remains skewed in top leadership. A study published by PRovoke in 2015 addressed that while women make up 70% of the communication workforce in the United States, they only hold about 30% of the top positions in the industry. Such an underrepresentation in top leadership reinforces the persistent pay gap between men and women working in public relations. Research conducted by the Holmes Report and Ketchum Global Research & Analytics in 2017 confirmed the existence of the pay gap around ethnicity in the industry. Specifically, the pay gap grows larger for people of color when compared with white male professionals while holding all other variables constant such as tenure, education, and job role. In particular, the disparity between what white men and women of color earn is the biggest. 

According to the most recent labor force statistics released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the racial and ethnic makeup of the public relations industry in the U.S. in 2020 includes 91% white, 4.3% African American, 2.3% Asian American, and 7.6% Hispanic or Latino. With less than 10% people of color in the industry, what is the number of women of color sitting on leadership teams? In our recent research on women and leadership in public relations, we faced a similar challenge when recruiting women of color to participate in our studies. Purposeful and strategic efforts must be made to recruit an ethnically diverse sample if the goal is to hear their voices, learn from their experiences, and share their insights before a call to action.

This summary is provided by the IPR Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer examined Americans’ views on how businesses have handled racism and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I).
A survey of 1,150 adults was conducted from October 19 - November 18, 2020.
Key findings include:
  • 1-in-3 respondents thought American institutions made progress in addressing racism over the last year.
  • 18% believe American institutions have gotten worse at addressing racism over the last year.
  • Less than 1-in-4 American employees trust their CEOs to tell the truth about diversity, equity & inclusion within their organization.
  • This figure is lower for Black American employees at 14%.
  • 46% of all Americans agree with the statement that “with few exceptions, the business community has done very little in the way of concrete actions to address systemic racism in our country” — a two percentage point increase from August 2020.
  • Over half of Black, Latinx, and Asian and Pacific Islander Americans agree with this statement.
  • The number of American employees who feel that their employer has made progress in combatting racism in the workplace has increased by 17 percentage points since August 2020.

Sylvia M. Chan-Olmsted, Ph.D., & Yufan Sunny Qin, University of Florida
This abstract is summarized by IPR from the original journal article published in the Journal of Brand Strategy.
Dr. Sylvia Chan-Olmsted and Yufan Sunny Qin examined how fake news sponsored by brands influences consumers’ brand trust. Specifically, they explored the effects of fake news on brand trust and the factors (e.g., product involvement, audiences’ previous fake news experiences, and media consumption) that might influence this association.
An online survey was conducted with 600 participants.
Key findings include:
  • The “fakeness” of news is subjective to consumers’ perceptions and falls along a spectrum.
  • Fake news is not a significant factor that affects trust in brands, though brand trust is negatively influenced by the perceived credibility of sponsored news.  
  • News credibility is declining overall, causing a decrease in the impact of credibility on brand trust.

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