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Opinions Thu, 31 Oct 2019

See Ghana magazine - Parody #2 (inside my copywriting class)

Yesterday my Copywriting class having enjoyed See Ghana Magazine – Parody #1, asked why I had not written part 2.

“You want me to say that the magazine has not been successful as I predicted?” I asked. “The lesson for copywriters and radio presenters is that when a client asks you to promote a product you must ask CRITICAL questions. Catherine Afeku, the former minister for tourism, creative arts and culture herself was going about in Western style wigs as she was promoting ‘Ghanaian culture’ and the See Ghana Magazine.”

She also engaged Abeiku Aggrey Santana to promote tourism.

Now we have parody #2.

Barbara Oteng Gyasi, another wig wearing minister, has hired the musician Sarkordie, and this time, to promote the Year of Return – as reported by Ghanaweb on October 30.

According to Anne M. Cronin, a Reader at Lancaster University, UK, when institutions lose their representational agency, they then seek the help of commercial and charity organisations who work as mediators of communication in a “commercial democracy” to “manage truth.”

In Cronin’s book, Public Relations Capitalism: Promotional Culture, Publics and Commercial Democracy, she interviewed 50 PR practitioners and came to the conclusion that institutions are losing their representational agency role to an emerging corps of commercial and charity organisations which are gaining traction as mediators between public institutions and the general public.

What the above means in practical terms is that in ghana we can never make headway in tourism unless we change our dirty environment, lack of organizational skill, mediocrity, ignorance and dishonesty.

In a recent conversation with my mentor about an academic board schedule, he stated, “In the US, the ‘Reader’ was the newest member of the faculty; his task was to read all the latest publications.”

Thus when scholars disagree as they sometimes do and should, the Reader is asked, “Reader what do the latest journals say about this matter?”

The Reader – because he reads all the time – is thus enabled and able to settle the conflict with “a chapter and a verse.”

Given the poor practice of integrated communications in Ghana, namely, journalism, marketing, public relations, advertising and management, we at writersghana.com strongly recommend that only persons of Reader status should be hired for the schedule of COPYWRITING.

But alas, how many universities in Ghana have functional Readers?

Since “The theory and the practice cannot be divorced from each other,” again as my mentor’s words become evident, serious media houses must appoint copywriters from among Readers; whether or not they have held a university position before should not matter; they must be able to quote a chapter and a verse in justifying their actions.

What do copywriters do?

Practically every radio, TV, public relations, newspaper advertisement, marketing and management strategy will go through COPYWRITING, via writing a script or conjuring a sales pitch, as examples.

That is where the conflict begins.

In the case of ghana “our people do not read anything important,” as my mentor has observed.

In environments where very little to no reading is the norm, when academia invite “celebrated” industry people to preach industry experiences to students and lecturers, we are headed for trouble and further misinformation.

Is academia now adopting a model being used by politiKcians? Then we have a real parody on our hands.

Who is copying whose copywriting model?

And do we know and understand what we are doing?

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Writers and Shakespeares Ghana Limited exist to be a moral and intellectual guide to the best practice of PR and integrated communications around the world, beginning with Ghana.

Columnist: Isaac Ato Mensah