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Anderson publishes articles examining public relations history and social movements

The associate professor of communications investigated how public relations was used to promote sex education initiatives immediately before and during World War I. 

Bill Anderson, associate professor of communications, recently published two articles examining the history of how public relations was employed to promote sex education initiatives in the early 20th century. One article focuses on the efforts during World War I and the other concentrates on the time period immediately before the Great War.

Associate Professor Bill Anderson

The first article, titled "Social movements and public relations in the early twentieth century: How one group used public relations to curtail venereal disease rates,” appears in the Journal of Public Relations Research. The case study expands public relations history theory by examining how American Social Hygiene Association (ASHA) members practiced public relations and “used persuasive communication to pierce the veil of silence around venereal disease.” Lessons from this case can illustrate how public relations can be conducted more effectively, especially in relation to social movements. The article appears in the journal’s 2017 print edition and was published online in March.

Anderson’s second article, published in Public Relations Review, is titled "The great war against venereal disease: How the government used PR to wage an anti-vice campaign.” The study explores how ASHA, a non-governmental organization, worked with the U.S. federal government during World War I to equate sexual health with wartime patriotism to lower venereal disease rates. According to the study, the partnership with ASHA provided the government with a way to enhance military efficiency. At the same time, ASHA gained access to a national audience for its vision of sexual health. “The great war against venereal disease” was also published online in March.

Tommy Kopetskie,
4/14/2017 9:20 AM