Friday, September 23, 2016

Blast from a Usable Public Diplomacy Past: Communications vs. Programming

From Public Diplomacy Council  -- John Brown [Excerpt from:] Interview with Kristin Ahlberg | State Department Historian’s Office" (re recently published documents from the Office of the Historian, State Department on the Carter Administration and Public Diplomacy, about US public diplomacy in the 1970s):
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JB. 10. In one of his interesting letters to the [United States Information Agency] Public Affairs Officers (PAOs) in the field -- documents that are refreshingly free of bureaucratic “communication” and “programming” in the practice of public diplomacy -- here's a message by the USIA director Reinhart:
KQ. Reinhardt stated that a distinction must be drawn between programming and communication. Continuing, he stated that as neither USIA [USICA] nor CU [JB see ] “was ever acknowledged as full partners in diplomacy,” the resultant lack of relevance cultivated “institutional self-doubt,” leading to the development of too many programs justifying these entities’ existence. “I do not believe that activities or ‘program’s necessarily sum to communication,” he asserted, adding that USICA would not insist on quantity: “But I, for one, would vastly prefer a few demonstrable accomplishments in the realm of ideas rather than a plethora of merely good activities and programs.” [JB emphasis] Reinhardt stressed that a program “is an event; communication is a process.”

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