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The emoji has become a critical part of our online communications, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when face-to-face contact is hard to come by. (Domingo Alvarez/Unsplash)

Emoji power: How a 🤯 or a 👏🏽 fuel social media engagement, especially amid COVID-19

In the absence of face-to-face interactions, people are using emojis to help express themselves. New research suggests that emoji use can drive engagement and make content more viral.
A mourner in Calgary places flowers at a memorial for a Cargill worker who died from COVID-19. A PR campaign that alleged workers would rather collect government assistance than work failed to mention their employment in industries hit hard by COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Public relations is bad news

Public relations is a form of manipulation, used to shift public opinion. It is expressly designed to benefit the organization wielding it, something we’d be wise to remember during the pandemic.
The goal of every public appearance or interview by a politician is to “stay on message”. In itself, it’s not a malign tactic but the constant repetition of the same messages without answering questions can be a form of obfuscation. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

The vomit principle, the dead bat, the freeze: how political spin doctors’ tactics aim to shape the news

Any good political spin doctor employs a range of overt and covert tactics to get their message across. Here are some of the most common ones.
Lacking self-awareness? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India on Feb. 21, 2018. Trudeau was pilloried in domestic and international media for wearing Indian traditional outfits during his trip. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Justin Trudeau’s India debacle shows the pitfalls of ‘nation branding’

Justin Trudeau’s disastrous trip to India is regarded by some as an exercise in so-called nation branding gone badly. But we might want to blame the game, not the player.
The hacks and flacks of old in Frith’s ‘A Private View at the Royal Academy, 1881’ Wikimedia Commons

How arts journalism can thrive in the age of PR

Public relations and arts journalism are inextricable. And so, unlike in other areas of the media, the influence that PR has on the arts sections of newspapers and magazines is not so contentious. But…

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