Book Report: Keystone XL PR This Report Will Cover

Pages: 7 (2919 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Communication - Journalism  ·  Buy This Paper

Keystone XL PR

This report will cover several different points of analysis and summary. First will be a summary of public relations and what those two words mean in a broad context. Second, the author will define and explain the different type of stakeholders as it pertains to an organization. Third, the author will explain the issue facing TransCanada as it pertains to the Keystone XL pipeline. Lastly, the publics of TransCanada relative to the Keystone XL Pipeline will be defined and explained.

The stated definition of public relations tends to very depending on the outlook and the perspective of the person or entity that is doing the defining, but the general definition from person to person is fairly consistent even if the scope varies a lot. Public relations is the art of presenting information in a way that most benefits the company or organization that is doing the presentation and how exactly this all manifests itself depends on the motivation for the public relations pitch including whether the information is good or bad, whether the public relations spin is proactive or reactive and the nature of the business and/or events being dealt with themselves (AlexGPR, 2013).

1.2 What public relations does for organizations generally, and how this varies across practice contexts (120 words)

There are three main types of actions and duties that a public relations department will often have to deal with. Those three dimensions are proactively making a release regarding good or bad news, reacting to good or bad news after it comes out and the general systemic release of information to stakeholders of the company or organization (BLS, 2013).

Getting out in front of an event that impacts a company and its stakeholders is very vital because being reactionary regarding such news can put companies on defense and it gives the company or organization lesser ability to contain the damage and curtail the effects of the bad news itself rather than allow it to have more widespread damage to public perceptions. The other main stream of public relations activity stems from the general news streams that companies often give to the press and/or release on their corporate websites (PRSA, 2013).

1.3 What public relations does for your organization in particular

The latter point made in the immediately prior paragraph leads to a major dimension of public relations that all companies have to deal with to some extent, but it is true for some companies and people more than others and TransCanada certainly falls under the "more" category. Examples of companies that are public enemy number one to many corners of the political and social spectrum are Halliburton, Exxon-Mobil (or just about any other oil company), Koch Industries, any company that is known (or rumored) to be using sweat shops, any company that takes advantage of a civil or other war, any company that outsources jobs to other companies, any company that actively (or is at least perceived to be) avoiding unionization of employees, any companies whose leaders or executives express religious/political ideas that are controversial and so forth (Lucchesi, 2013).

1.4 Why public relations matters for your organization (120 words)

Public relations matters for TransCanada because it has a lot to do with the long-standing viability and ongoing reputation of the company at large and either of those being out of whack can lead to very poor performance by the company or even the company not being able to operate properly.

Another reason public relations matters so much for TransCanada is that the stakes in general for TransCanada as it relates to general issues and specific ones like the Keystone XL pipeline are much, much higher than they are for more standard organizations that are not omnipresent on the "radar" of the media or consumers. When there is an accident with TransCanada, everyone knows almost immediately and the proverbial vultures swarm quite quickly.

2.1 An existing academic definition of stakeholders (120 words)

The stakeholders of a company are usually fairly easy to identify and define and the scope of these stakeholders is often not all that wide. However, that can easily be said to be untrue as it relates to TransCanada because there is an inordinate amount of people that TransCanada does or could affect given how certain market and work conditions play out. First, we shall start with the stakeholders that are common to most firms (TransCanada, 2013).

The next easy group of stakeholders to spot is any other people that have a financial stake in the company. This would include people that are partners or shareholders in a company. Shares of a company can all be held by a partnership or a family but it can also extend all the way to the publicly traded stock exchanges like New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ (TransCanada, 2013).

2.2 The importance of stakeholders to organizations in general (120 words)

The general importance of stakeholders is easy to see and the importance gets larger and larger as the scope of stakeholders gets larger and larger. In general terms, stakeholders are important because they all have some sort of stake in the company and if the fortunes or activities of the company cause problems, then it impacts those stakeholders in some form or way and this can have negative consequences to the firm in question.

For example, shareholders will not be pleased if the company's revenues are falling but they'll happy if they're rising. Employees will be happy if the company does well because their job is likely safe if that is the case whereas they'll be less than enthused if the company has to do layoffs due to financial struggles.

2.3 The identification of your organization's stakeholders (120 words)

The swath of people that are included in TransCanada's stakeholders is very large and is far from being limited only to the employees and shareholders of the company. Energy prices impact everyone in some manner or form, so stakeholders for TransCanada would even include people like colleges, businesses or anyone else that relies on energy and energy prices to any significant manner or degree.

However, many people in the stakeholder equation for TransCanada have their position as stakeholders with the company either created or even enhanced based on their beliefs and priorities relative to the environment including damage and the advocacy for green energy. Regardless, they are stakeholders as well because they are focused on the environment.

2.4 The importance of stakeholders to your organization (120 words)

The importance of stakeholders to TransCanada is no less easy to put a finger on than the identification of them in the first place. The two larger set of stakeholders as it relates to TransCanada are the employees who are mixed in with the high-stakes nature of the company's PR and performance and then there is also the regular citizens who can be affected greatly by energy prices and accidents. Even though they are not employee or shareholders, their "skin in the game" is quite large if things go wrong. Prices are important because energy is often viewed as the lifeblood of the economy and much the same is true of accidents. Keeping all of those shareholders ameliorated and at the same time is no easy task but must be done as good as possible.

3.1 What the issue is from a public relations perspective (330 words)

The final few sentences of the prior section perhaps best encapsulate the sort of thing that TransCanada is up against as it relates to the Keystone XL Pipeline. While energy stability and safety is usually very good and while the truly tragic events that have occurred with energy are fairly fleeting, the events that have happened as well as the borderline hysteria that some people like to stir up has made the job selling TransCanada very hard for politicians in both Canada and the United States (TransCanada, 2013).

The United States in particular is dragging its feet with President Obama and many other Democrats apparently cold to the idea of the pipeline snaking through the United States after it passes through Canada, apparently for environmental and/or green energy reasons. The United States State Department has offered a clean bill of health for the pipeline and many pro-energy groups state that the pipeline is integral to make the United States energy-independent (ENS, 2013)(Eilperin & Mufson, 2013).

However, they are many detractors to the pipeline, and their concerns and problems with the pipeline are many. Some say the pipeline just feeds the notion that North America needs to get away from fossil fuels as green energy is the wave of the future. Pro-pipeline people counter that while green energy will eventually rule the day, North America (nor any other part of the world) is there yet and that will not change for some time. Anti-pipeline people voice concerns about safety and the prospect of oil spills and other accidents. Pro-pipeline people say that the chances of such a thing happening are exceedingly small and that the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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