Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A New York Police Department Public Relations Campaign Backfires


A 'public relations campaign' is an effort that an organization makes to reach the public with a positive message about itself. This story doesn't have many good vocabulary words, I just thought it deserved to be posted.  

The New York City Police Department has, in my opinion, a pretty bad reputation.  A reputation is how people generally feel about something or someone.  

During the Occupy Wall Street protests the police were terrible toward the protesters and New York City cops (a cop is a term for a police officer) generally seem rude and violent.  

So the NYPD decided to use twitter to show how kind and warm and cuddly they are. (to cuddle means to hold someone affectionately - cuddly is the adverbial form).  Their plan backfired.  If something backfires, it has the opposite effect.

The NYPD asked people to submit photos of themselves standing next to a NY police officer.  Instead people began sending in photos they had taken of NY police officers harming people.  You can see the photos by clicking the link below.

What I think is interesting is that none of these photos was ever in a newspaper in New York City. This is because journalism in America is a joke and many things which are wrong exist because newspapers do not report on them.

The article:

http://www.theverge.com/2014/4/22/5641266/nypd-twitter-photo-contest-backfires

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

to harness twitter - to use twitter; you put a harness on a horse in order to be able to use the horse to pull a carriage or buggy

to drum up support - to bring about or cause support

apprehending - catching

a suspect - someone who is thought to be a criminal 

NYPD officers are known worldwide for their timely and hands-on response to citizen grievances - this is a good example of 'sarcasm.' Sarcasm is when you make a statement that everyone knows to be false in order to point to the real truth of a situation.  A sarcastic statement is usually funny and points to the truth.  A grievance is a complaint.  The person who posted this is, basically, saying that if you call up the NYPD and complain about something, they might just beat you up.

justified - it should have happened, it can be excused

overly brutal police presence - many people feel New York City police are not educated and are violent people

anti-police - against the police

co-opting - taking something away and using it for another purpose

You might not have known this, but the NYPD can help you with that kink in your neck - another example of sarcasm.  The poster is saying, sarcastically, "If you have a problem with your neck, a police officer will kindly kneel on your neck to give you the appropriate medical attention."

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