Thriller or Filler: Cases in Public Relations Management by Patricia Swann

By Patricia Swann

Published by Routledge

Swann clearly aims to equip PR students and professionals with real life examples to challenge and stimulate. Though a bit conservative with social media examples, the book isn’t devoid of them and slices up some of the best case studies around. For example, only a quarter of the way in the notorious Domino’s Pizza online video debacle presents itself.

Its ten central chapters cover law and ethical dilemmas, CSR, media relations, conflict managem­ent, activism, consumer relations, entertainment and leisure, community relations, cultural and financial services and investor relations. The opening chapter is over-simplified – I’d have expected a more in-depth look from a book designed for higher-level students or PR practitioners. Additionally, Swann defines PR practitioners as reactive problem solvers, rather than proactive instigators.

Despite this, I enjoyed Swann’s ability to dissect and explain some tough PR incidents – take for example the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011. Swann leads us through daily media activity, as well as cultural considerations.

Swann’s style is informative and uncomplicated. Readers are encouraged to address key questions and if necessary, dig slightly deeper into moral arguments.

With typically North American ‘press agentry’ themes, the book is obviou­sly written with the discerning Public Relations Society of America audience in mind. However it is defin­itely worth a read. If you’re a PR professional, I’d offer this book as a good starting point, but perhaps a few more elements are needed to do some real analysis.

Anton Perreau, account manager, Battenhall

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