#8 “Tone of Mystery”, or “Funeral”?

One of the suggestions of the students was the idea that everyone come to class dressed in black. This was thought by the student to add a “tone of mystery” and a “sense of import” to the class. However, this backfired in the way that it drew so much attention to the difference between the class and the reporter. Ewen even refers to this last suggestion as “the most perilous”, and acknowledges the concerns of one student that the sea of black clothing might too closely resemble a funeral. However, after a lot of discussion, Ewen agrees to this final spin on the class.


He’s important…but not memorable

Number 6)

Ewen mentioned to Bernays that he was listed as one of the top 100 most influential American…. Bernays responded by saying that you have to be beautiful or Walter Cronkite to be remembered in the minds of Americans.

 This is important because it shows that Americans really aren’t interested in PR historians.

#5 Palazzi vs. the (CULT)ure of Publicity

Before the class visit, Ewen met with both the reporter and the class separately.  Ewen advised the reporter to a) not bring a photographer to class or take any pictures herself, b) that he did not tell the class she would be coming to avoid disruption, and c) to blend in as if she were a student herself.

On the other hand, Ewen told the students exactly who the reporter was, when she was coming, and why.  He did this to show an example of true public relations.  True public relations are not spontaneous. They are planned, which is exactly how Ewen wanted it to happen, for the means of being reported.  This allowed Ewen to teach the class some techniques outlined by Edward Bernays, as well as succeeding in giving the reporter the exact interesting story she was looking for, which is the way public relations works.

#5. Spinning into Reality

Prior to the visit of the reporter, Ewen discussed with his class the different ways they could put a public relations spin on the class. Some of them came up with ridiculous suggestions that would just seem absurd to any visitor to the class. Through this brainstorming activity, the students learned that it is important that the spin they put on events needs to also appear to be reality.

#4 “The CULT(ure) of Publicity

In 1993, Ewen began teaching an undergraduate class at Hunter College, City University of New York.  Ewen wanted to entitle the class something that would “bring about a response” (21). Putting the first part of “culture” in all caps, (CULT) brought about an interest to students as well as a reporter for New York Newsday. Lynn Palazzi, the reporter, was interested in writing an article about “interesting courses being taught at colleges”.  The typography of this course was the main reason the course caught her eye. Ewen explains that his emphasis on CULT was “a reference to the ways that public relations people often define their job as one that requires mesmerizing, more than informing, the public mind.

“The Great Communicator” also a spin doctor




"The Great Communicator"








Goethe: Faust is the most famous work of German literature

“Frankly, to manufacture thought

Is like a masterpiece by a weaver wrought.” – Goethe, Faust,1832


   Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Robinson Speaks out on Public Interest

“If business succeeds in establishing public confidence in its goals, then the public will follow he counsel of business leadership as the means for reaching those goals.

                The public relations moral of all of this is: Declare your end or goal in respect of public interest before you begin selling your means for reaching that goal.”

                                                                       –Claude Robinson, president,

                                                                         Opinion Research, Inc., 1947

Fairman realizes the value of PR at Borden

“[P]ublic relations is the white hope of our restless times.”

 -Milton Fairman, director of Borden dairy company, 1952

Master of the Current Situation

“A leader or an interest that can make itself master of current symbols is the master of the current situation.”

                Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion, 1922