• MOOC coordinators Manuel Gértrudix Barrio & Rubén Arcos Martín
  • Content written by Rubén Arcos Martín & Irena Chiru
  • Multimedia design by Alejandro Carbonell Alcocer
  • Visual Identity by Juan Romero Luis

Strategic communication and public opinions

This section started by providing a solid understanding of strategic communication as a specialized process usually applied in countering disinformation and propaganda. It examined the nature of strategic communication, which is defined as the purposeful use of communication by an organization - corporations, but also not-for-profit organizations (including advocacy and activist groups) and government. Hence, the key-concept related to strategic communication is “engaging in purposeful communication” with an emphasis on strategy as well as on holistic understanding of communication. In addition, it explored the impact of strategic communication in times of “information war” and its principles and practical implications. In close relation to the models of communication based on strategic communication, this section also offered practical clarifications to several inter-related concepts that have been intensively and sometimes interchangeably used in the recent years: public, public opinion, media and information. Besides the theoretical approaches provided for these concepts, this section explored the impact of media as relevant actors in the process of shaping of citizens’ opinion(s):

  • The media have played an important role in educating people on matters of public interest in general
  • Media can make significant contributions to information flows and play an agenda-setting role
  • Media can promote a model of ‘shared responsibility’, in which citizens are encouraged to play an active role in the production and sharing of information, this being mainly seen within the last years via social media
  • The role of the news media has shifted from gatekeeping to gate watching, whereby they publicize and share relevant news content rather than focus solely on its production
  • Social media can also facilitate multi-directional information flows.

In a nutshell, for centuries, media has developed a considerable power over societies and different groups, regardless of their education, wealth or status, influencing people’s thoughts, perceptions, or actions, and therefore shaping public opinion(s). In addition, in the last decade, the way information and communication technologies have evolved, and the way people use them deeply change our means of communication and public opinion(s).

Methodology and Resources

  • Christopher, P. 2011. Strategic Communication Origins, Concepts, and Current Debates, Praeger, chapter 1 (1-17).
  • Freeman, R. Edward (1984). Strategic management: a stakeholder approach. Marshfield, MA: Pitman
  • Publishing.
  • Glynn, Carroll; Herbst, Susan; Lindeman, Mark; O’Keefe, Garrett; Saphiro, Robert Y. (2016). Public Opinion,
  • Third edition. Boulder: Westview Press.
  • Hallahan, K., D. Holtzhausen, B. van Ruler, D. Vercic, and K. Sriramesh. 2007. Defining strategic communication. International Journal of Strategic Communication 1:3–35.