Effect of communication revolution and house journals
Er. Prabhat Kishore
One of the primary functions of human organizations-whether private or public- is communication. The need for a communication has been felt since men started living in groups or ‘Samaj’. In primitive societies communication was slow. Due to lack of communication system, these societies tended to be more insular, compared to the outgoing society of the modern world. The communication for primitive societies was mainly personal and informal.
Individual human beings are brought together in one place or assembled in a number of places, to do something that involves joint co-operation making a product or products, performing a service or services. As these groups grow in size or their activities diversify or they become more scattered geographically, a point is reached where oral communication between members becomes more and more difficult. At this point, these organizations may consider that an internally circulated publication will help to establish a medium of communication or other forms of written communication such as letters, notes and memoranda.
Today, we are in the age of communication revolution. Modern societies are depending largely on the formal modes of communication. The informal modes take the forms basically of oral communication. The formal mode is made printed word and audio-visual.
Communication, as we all understand, is the process of transmitting information, meaning and understanding from one person to another. It is defined as ‘the art of imparting information. It is the interaction of information, ideas and opinions between and among people in an organisation or a group that we are concerned with.
Our basic approach as an organisation is now to gain public recognition for our achievements, support for our viewpoint and understanding of our problems. The public relation practitioners have to know how well the public know all about us and how we have to communicate to them. This takes the form of external and internal communication with the employee is our subject for discussion.
Employee in a company is the king-pin. He has to be motivated with deep and abiding belief in the validity and utility of his doing the specific job that he does. He has to be given the filling the terms and conditions of his employment are generous. Company cases for him as an individual he has to be helped to develop strong loyalties in the organization.
The study of human relation has in the modern societies today, came to the stage of classified practice of management. The emphasis is on achieving employee co-operation and build-up his moral and motivates him for better performance.
Managers have been in existence for as long as the individual has put others in a position of subordination for the purpose of accomplishing some predetermined goals. It is only recently that the practicing managers have begun to shift the emphasis from strict production orientation to a growing awareness and concern for human aspect of management. Let us confess here that this itself was the result of the labour union movements, rather than a voluntary effort on part of the managers to better understand the labour and provide for his welfare.
As the organizations grow, the internal communication gap becomes magnified. The attempt is to close it by both personal and impersonal modes to communication. Example of personal communication is visit of the managers to the worker’s canteen, occasional trip to the shot floor etc. The impersonal modes of communication developed are through the print media or the audio-visual, as in the developed countries.
Vital Role of House journals
Traditionally, as an impersonal media, house journals are considered to be an organized medium of communication. In organized industries, especially in the production industries, wall newspapers may be the next medium which could be exploited profitably. It is yet new for the Public Relations man.
In India, the number of internally generated and circulated journals in recent years appears to have increased almost dramatically, in keeping with the post-World War II trend the world over. Moreover, a company may bring out such publication in many languages, to reach the different language among its employees.
A company may also direct its house journal towards a group of people outside its employee-say, its dealers or its customers if they can be, they can be identified and easily approached by post.
The primary task of a house journal, directed towards the employees is to keep them informed about management policy and to give practical information and the latest news of some aspects of the companies’ activities. It can help to promote interest and to eliminate un-necessary discussion and untenable rumors. Through clear and honest exposition of relevant fact, a house journal can promote better management employee relations and create a genuine team spirit.
A house journal if used properly, can help to promote training, health services, safety, union matters and cultural and social activity within the enterprise. It can explain, clarify and support new measures. It can give employees a background to help them understand the purpose of the organization they work for. Surely, this is an ideal way of developing a sense of belonging among workers, which alone would generate the necessary co-operation with the management.
Good internal information is also the basis, on which successful external public relation activity is built. A good internal publication will also be readable to people outside the organization. Many organizations send their internal house journal to outside readers. This is justified on two grounds- economy of producing only one journal, and secondly that journals once printed is no longer a truly internal communication.
A house journal is a non-commercial periodical publication whose readership is the company staff. It is neither a vehicle of propaganda nor an advertising forum or source of revenue. It is not a priced publication. It differs widely from any other commercial magazine. It is selective with regard to both its readership and its goals. Properly brought out, a company house journal can be an information media of the most praise-worthy kind. It is an extremely flexible medium of communication. The editor enjoys enormous scope for making adjustments to the requirements of in views always.
The three criteria we must attempt to keep in view while producing the House Journal are: (a) Publication, informative without being propagandist, (b) educational, without being dogmatic, and (c) human, without being paternalistic.
The four aims of the House Journals are : (a) to develop and maintain within the organisation good human relation necessary for good working conditions, (b) to demonstrate to every employee the value and importance of his professional contribution to the total functioning of the organization as a whole, (c) to keep the readership informed in an objective manner about the activities within the organization and matters of social & personal interest, (d) to provide opportunity to every employee within the context of his own skill or craft to express his opinion.
The House journal must be in a position to provide news which is objective and complete. It should form a part of the ongoing dialogue between the company and the employees. The news coverage should be comprehensive and acceptable to all.
In fact, the role of a company paper involves more than just providing news. It must create better climate, better human relations to make known to every employee whatever his job, the value and importance of his professional contribution. How we achieve is a test of the editor.
There are obvious barriers which develop between individual employees because of specialization, technology and professional isolation. These must be broken-news items, articles on the various disciplines of organization would be of a great help.
Some random suggestions for stories are (1) Recognition of people get from government, Industry, Cultural & Social Organisation and what it means to them and to you. (2) Case studies-problems faced, how they are tackled, (3) Special aptitudes at work why people do the things they do. (4) First person/profile stories-people who save money for the company by devotion to duty-highlight the workers. How colleagues can help with some problems people face (blood donation, scholarships), (5) Stories of people helping each other in bad times, (6) Tours people undertake, places people visit-enjoyments, the great moments, (7) “Heard around the office”-jokes and funny happenings, (8) Sports News-Staff participation makes good news, keep a separate page for it.
There are seven-point formula for planning a House Journal. To determine the type of journal we want to produce, let us take into consideration the following: (1) The readers –who will they be? (2) The quantity, (3) The Frequency-Weekly, monthly, quarterly, (4) Title-something distinctive in character but not too over, (5) The printing process-probably letter press or offset if point run is large, (6) Format-size of page, whether newspaper or magazine, (7) Cost-how many pages, how many copies, frequency, black & white or colour etc.
The House Journal informs a part of newspaper journalist source material; this is particularly true of industrial or economic writers. To an alert journalist there could be an unlimited amount of interesting materials. It is perhaps a pity that the press is hardly aware of this and it is not wrong to say that very few business houses direct their journals towards journalist.
(The author works as Additional State Programme Officer, Bihar Education Project Council Patna)