PR Pioneer: Moss Kendrix (1917-1989)
The Museum of Public Relations
IPR has partnered with The Museum of Public Relations to feature some of the many Black PR Pioneers in celebration of Black History Month

Moss Kendrix (1917-1989) was a public relations pioneer who left a lasting legacy and a major imprint on the way African Americans are portrayed through the power of advertising. During his lifetime, he designed countless public relations and advertising campaigns that promoted African-American visibility for news organizations, entertainers, and corporate clients including Carnation, the Ford Motor Company, and the Coca-Cola company.

He educated his corporate clients about the buying power of the African-American consumer, and helped to make America realize that African Americans were more complex than the derogatory images depicted in the advertising of the past.

Read the rest of Moss Kendrix's bio to learn about his life and significant impact on the public relations industry.
The Role of the Communicator – Navigating Social Unrest
Emily K. Graham, Chief Equity and Impact Officer, Omnicom; Natalie T.J. Tindall, Ph.D., Department Chair, Associate Professor, Lamar University
Emily Graham and Dr. Natalie Tindall are co-directors of the IPR Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

As 2021 begins, the work of the communicator remains front and center. Brands should be prepared to point to the specific actions that are being taken to address systemic racism and promote diversity, equity and inclusion, with a focus on increased attention and progress since spring 2020. The push for accountability, meaningful action and investment will only grow in the days and months ahead.

The insurrection at the U.S. Capitol recently laid bare the complexity of issues surrounding the topic of social and racial injustice. What seemed to be an incident related to the U.S. Presidential Election outcome increasingly showed more insidious issues at play.

Communicators found themselves in the crosshairs of a familiar decision-making process – to say something or not – and when, and what tone? It’s a sad déjà vu of June 2020 after George Floyd’s murder.

And while many of us haphazardly found our footing last year reacting to unexpected, dual pandemics – one that has a vaccine and one that has no immediate remedy – we’ve found that both pandemics – Covid-19 and social injustice – will be unfortunate mainstays in 2021.

Read the rest of the blog to see how this year is different and discover five ways communicators are essential to navigating social and racial injustice.
Hidden Figures in Public Relations: Putting a Long Overdue Spotlight on African American PR Pioneers
Denise Hill, Ph.D., APR, Associate Professor, Elon University
This summary is provided by the IPR Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion based on the original Hill Podcast episode

Dr. Denise Hill spoke about minority public relations pioneers that have been excluded from history on her podcast, Hill Podcast.

Dr. Hill referred to Scott Cutlip’s two foundational public relations textbooks, The Unseen Power and Public Relations, and A History from the 17th Century to 20th Century, to demonstrate how minority pioneers have been left out of public relations history.

Out of the 17 pioneers Cutlip mentioned throughout these textbooks, none were minorities. According to Dr. Hill, there were two women mentioned out of the 17 pioneers, and they were mentioned in relation to the men with whom they worked. Cutlip did mention in the prologue of the textbook that the absence of minority public relations leaders was not his choice, but a fact of history.

Dr. Hill mentioned several minority public relations pioneers that could have been included in these seminal textbooks, including Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Henry Lee Moon, Joseph V. Baker, and Moss Kendrix.

Read more to learn about these excluded public relations pioneers and their vital contributions to the PR industry.
Under the Surface: COVID-19 Vaccine Narratives, Misinformation, and Data Deficits on Social Media
Rory Smith, Seb Cubbon, and Claire Wardle, First Draft News
This summary is provided by the IPR COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Resource Center

This executive summary discusses the complexity of the vaccine information ecosystem, which includes many different narratives leading to uncertainty, misinformation, and "data deficits."

Researchers analyzed 1,200 posts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook Pages, and public Facebook Groups that included the words "vaccine" or "vaccination" in English, Spanish, and French from June 15, 2020 to September 15, 2020.

Key findings include:
  • Two main topics were dominant across all three language communities:
  • References to the "political and economic motives" behind the vaccines
  • References to the safety and and necessity of vaccines
  • More posts linked vaccines to conspiracy theories than both moral issues and religious/civil liberties concerns combined.
  • Significant information deficits ("data deficits") concerning vaccine ingredients and novel vaccine technologies (such as mRNA vaccines) are being filled by unreliable sources spreading misinformation.
  • Ideologically disparate communities (Libertarians, traditional "anti-vaxxers", New Age groups, QAnon adherents, and others) are uniting around safety and necessity concerns of a COVID-19 vaccine.

For information on COVID-19 vaccine communication, visit the IPR Communicator's Guide to Vaccination.

Read more to see the observed trends in COVID-19 vaccine discourse and recommendations on how to combat misinformation narratives.
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