United Airlines’ Crash Landing

It’s been almost a week since Chicago Department of Aviation officers dragged Dr. David Dao off his United Airlines flight, in order to make room for other crew members. Since then, there has been extensive coverage of the event and United Airlines has issued several statements. I believe from a public relations standpoint, United started off very poorly, but since then they have responded more thoughtfully and carefully.

Monday morning, the morning after the event, Oscar Munoz, United’s CEO issued a public statement and a letter to employee’s. That letter to the employees was where United really messed up.

“This situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help,” Munoz said. “Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right.”

Yikes. There are a few words and phrases in that letter that anyone who has seen the video would instantly red flag. First and foremost, “politely” and “established procedures”. Now, I’m sure that the altercation began with a polite request, but the video evidence shows three officers dragging the bloodied man out of the plane as he struggles and screams. That’s not “polite” and I really hope that’s not United’s “established procedure” for such instances. I can understand Munoz saying those things when everything was still up in the air, but this is after he, and thousands of others, had seen the video. And then to end the statement claiming that you, the CEO, stand behind the officers that did this. Not good. Not good at all.

However, since that letter, and as things became clearer, I think Munoz and United took the right steps, including the suspension of the three officers and multiple apologies to Dao, the other passengers, and all United Airlines patrons stating,

“The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened. Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way.”

Munoz went on to say that United is committing that law enforcement will not be contacted unless there is a security threat, and they are conducting a thorough review of company policies and crew training, and results of the review will be released by April 30.

This nightmare event followed by the very poorly worded letter to employees has dug United into a very deep hole, and it’s going to take a lot more than apologizing to regain the trust of the public. Unfortunately for them, that’s all they can really do for now.

Click here for a video and more information.


A Look at Luke

Who am I?

My name is Luke Theisen, I am currently a junior at Harding University working towards a bachelor’s degree in public relations. I am a native Michigander from a town named Howell. I have five things that I am truly passionate about: God, my girlfriend and future wife Mikaela, the Detroit Red Wings, video games, and Star Wars (more specifically Darth Vader). There was a time where playing piano, guitar and ukulele would have been on that list, but as my life progresses certain things start to get replaced by school and work and other lame adult responsibility things. At least that’s what I like to say. In honesty, most of my time is spent with Mikaela.

As for my career choice, I have two “dream jobs” that brought me to the field of public relations. The first is being hired as a community manager for a video game company. The ideal scenario would be to work at Bungie, Inc. as a community manager for their game Destiny, as that’s the game/company that introduced me to the job. The second “dream job” would be working as a PR rep for the Red Wings.

As you can see, I’m trying my best to intertwine my passions with my career. I’m a firm believer in pursuing your passions and making what you love also what you get paid to do. I want to have a job I actually enjoy, not one that just brings in a paycheck. Now if only the Galactic Empire needed a PR guy…

What is this blog about?

This blog is pretty much just a class blog. I created it in Fall 2016 for my Print News Writing class and now it serves as my blog for Public Relations Tactics. Naturally, that means the theme for this blog is Public Relations. Up until this point all of my posts are about prompts I am given by a professor, however, pretty soon my fellow students and I will be writing about ideas and events we choose. As for the future of this blog after I graduate, we will just have to wait and see.

What I’ve learned about blogging.

I’ve learned quite a bit since creating this blog. On the technical side of things, I’ve learned about Search Engine Optimization and how to improve your chances of getting your content onto people’s screens and I’ve learned about the back end workings of a blog and blogging websites. But on a more practical side of things, I’ve learned how much work actually goes into creating a successful blog. I’ve learned that it isn’t about getting the most views, it’s about getting consistent viewers. And I’ve learned that blogs are a very powerful platform in the right hands, and can make or break a person or company.

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco 2014 Annual Report

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco won a Bronze Anvil Award of Commendation in 2016 in the Annual Reports category for Associations/Government/Nonprofit Organizations. They were given the award for their 2014 Annual Report titled, “Does College Matter?” The report seeks to answer that very question through numerous letters and essays, a college calculator to help students (or potential students) get an idea on how long it will take them to pay off their loans, multiple graphs and charts, audio clips/interviews, glossaries, videos, and even a weekly podcast. All of the resources provided in the report are neatly arranged on a website and are also available for download. Also included on the website is a link to subscribe to the San Francisco Fed Annual Report.

The essays are written by staff members at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (including the President and CEO, the Senior Economic Education Manager, and the Senior Vice President and Associate Director of Research) and have audio interviews embedded within the essay. Balancing passion with practicality, whether or not college pays, and the value of lifelong learning are a few of the topics discussed.

The podcast has been going for two seasons now and a new episode is added every week during a season with new guests and topics.

After skimming through everything this report has to offer it’s pretty clear that the answer is yes, college is worth it. I learned that college graduates start earning $5,000 – $6,000 more a year than high school graduates, but after 15 years that number grows to over $25,000. I also learned about the “breakeven” year and that students paying $9,000 in annual tuition for four years can break even in nine years, according to research. Those facts barely scratch the surface of everything contained in this report.

It’s very clear why this report won the Award of Commendation and, quite frankly, I’m shocked it didn’t win an actual Bronze Anvil. It is without a doubt one of the best reports I’ve ever looked at. The organization is clean and easy to navigate through, the information is extremely helpful and almost overwhelming in quantity, and if the essays aren’t enough, they have a podcast that is still being recorded (Keep in mind that this is the organization’s 2014 Annual Report and they have uploaded 37 new podcast episodes through 2016).

I encourage you to take a look yourself: 2014 Annual Report.