The West Java Provincial Government is a regional government-owned institution, which is tasked with providing effective and efficient services to all members of society. One of the activities carried out by the West Java Provincial Government is the implementation of the PON XIX (National Sports Week) Event which was held in September from 17 until 29 2016. This event is the duty and responsibility of the Public Relations Division of the West Java Provincial Government in terms of handling publications and public relations. The focus of this research is to analyze how the West Java Provincial Government's PR strategy in planning, and implementing the XIX National Sports Week. The study uses a descriptive qualitative approach, case study methods, and an in-depth interview with several key informants from the Public Relations Section of the West Java Provincial Government. The research found that the West Java Provincial Government Public Relations implements a Public Relations strategy with stages such as stakeholders, public, issues, and evaluation. At the stakeholder stage, the West Java Provincial Government's Public Relations has built good relations with stakeholders, while on the public stage, Public Relations try to provide the understanding and convey the purpose of the program to gain support and understanding from the community. At the issue stage, the West Java Provincial Government Public Relations carried out various ways to overcome the existing issues related to this event (issue management) while at the evaluation stage, the West Java Provincial Government Public Relations did not directly evaluate its activities.
Public Relations (PR) is an effort that is deliberately carried out and planned on an ongoing basis to create mutual understanding between an institution or institution and the community. Besides, PR also have the aim of creating a positive image of an organization, institution, or company in the eyes of the public (society). The positive image of the organization is intended so that the institution or company can stay alive and improve its performance in providing more benefits to others. Vasquez and Taylor (2001) stated that initially PR were a one-way manipulative communication activity, but later developed into a two-way symmetrical or dialogue communication activity.
According to Rex Harlow in Ruslan (2008), PR is a typical management function and supports coaching, maintenance of a common path between the organization and the public, regarding communication, understanding, acceptance, and collaboration activities. Besides, PR also involve management in dealing with problems or problems, helping management to respond to public opinion, and supporting management in following and utilizing change effectively. According to Wilcox (2006, as cited in Djusan, 2013), the role of PR is very important, especially in the dissemination of information from one institution to the public. PR activities are closely related to the formation of public opinion and changes in the attitudes of the public, and this determines what the image of the organization will look like according to public opinion. According to Bernays (1965), PR has three definitions, namely, providing information to society, direct persuasion to society to change attitudes and actions, and efforts to integrate attitudes and actions from problems with society and from society to the problem (as cited in Jansen, 2013).
Meanwhile, Cutlip et al. (2006) stated that PR is a management function that assesses public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of a person or organization in the public interest, and plans and carries out an activity program to gain an understanding, understanding, and support from the public. Meanwhile, according to Dozier and Broom (1995), the role of PR practitioners is to act as an intermediary and assist management by creating opportunities to hear what the public has to say and creating opportunities for the public to hear what management expects (Siswanto & Abraham, 2016). In addressing a problem, PR needs to pay attention to three components that are interconnected and have their respective interests, namely the government, society (public), and the media. The interaction of these three components needs special attention for the PR division in local government because there are elements of reciprocal communication that involve the public and the media.
The local government as an institution in charge of serving the community must be able to respond quickly and well to any difficulties. This condition forces local governments to apply professional concepts and strategies in all fields, including in the field of PR. PR is one of the organizational components that perform image management system. The study of government PR differs from political PR which focuses on elected officials through elections or political campaigns. Government PR is concerned with public administration or public affairs (Lee et al., 2012).
Grunig and Grunig (2008) related to government PR emphasizes communication management between the government and all citizens by applying the definition of PR in governmental settings. According to Lee et al. (2012), providing public services is the most important and necessary thing for government PR, and the purpose of conveying this public information is to advance the performance of the government itself. As stated by Sugiyanto et al. (2016) government PR in Indonesia began to appear in the reform era in 1999. At the beginning of the emergence of government PR with Indonesia, it was built symmetrically in networks, idealistic or critical, as part of individual competence and managerial performance.
Government PR can be broadly interpreted as an agency within a government that takes all actions to foster harmonious relations with internal and external audiences, as well as foster the dignity of government agencies to gain understanding, trust, cooperation, and support from internal and external audiences in carrying out their main duties. Research on the role of government PR in local government entitled "The Role Of Government Public Relations As Facilitators Communication In Bureau Of Public Relations At South Kalimantan Province" conducted by Siswanto and Abraham in 2016. In their research, Siswanto and Abraham (2016) conveyed that PR practitioners in carrying out Public relations activities are still in a passive position, especially in terms of the ability to analyze information and news. The Public Relations Bureau of the South Kalimantan Provincial government tends to run programs that have been implemented without having the will to develop public relations activities in its position as the main PPID.
Meanwhile, research from Djusan in 2013 found a shift in the communication paradigm of government PR in Indonesia after 1999. The paradigm in question is that Public Relations is no longer linear or one-way to society in the form of delivering policy information and (government programs), but government PR are two-way/reciprocal. This two-way government PR paradigm demands that the government listen to the aspirations of the community. The two studies above indicate that the existence of a PR department in a government agency or agency is a must, both functionally and operationally.
The role of government PR can be part of a tool or channel for government agencies, namely to facilitate the process of positive interaction and disseminate information on national or regional, and provincial development publications through cooperation with the mass media or the press (Ruslan, 2008). The media used can be in the form of electronic media, printed media, or new media, which are currently being developed such as news portals and social media.
The main functions of government PR, according to Ruslan (2008) are basically as follows:
(a) Safeguarding the policies and work programs of the government they represent, (b) Providing services, disseminating messages and information regarding policies, to be able to socialize development programs, both nationally and regionally to the community, (c) Become a proactive communicator as well as a mediator in efforts to bridge the interests of government agencies on the one hand and accommodate the aspirations or opinions of the public (society), (d) Actively participating in creating a conducive and dynamic climate to secure stability and development programs, both in the short and long term. (p. 110)
The West Java Provincial Government is a regional government-owned institution, which is a non-profit organization to provide effective and efficient services to all members of society. For this reason, all offices and divisions in the West Java Provincial Government are required to respond and be productive in fulfilling fast and quality services to the community. The PR Division is obliged to increase its role in maintaining the image of the provincial government in the eyes of the public. To improve the image of the West Java Provincial Government, a harmonious relationship approach is needed to build good relations with the internal and external public. To communicate matters relating to the activities and performance of the West Java Provincial Government to the public, certain strategies are needed to convey messages correctly and following applicable administrative procedures.
One of the activities carried out by the West Java Provincial Government is the implementation of the XIX National Sports Week event which was held on September 17-29 and was commanded directly by the Governor of West Java, namely Ahmad Heryawan. There are 44 sports with 756 match numbers involving 9,533 athletes, 4,071 officials, 10,271 organizing committees, and 18,468 volunteers from all provinces in Indonesia. Seeing the many parties involved in this activity, it becomes a challenge and a big job that is not easy and requires hard work from all parties. Various problems and problems arose during the implementation of this activity, both problems within the competition arena and outside the competition arena.
The XIX National Sports Week event, which is a national-scale sporting event, has many agendas that require the host, in this case, the West Java Provincial Government to be a good host for all contingents throughout Indonesia. Therefore, several administrative policy strategies are needed, such as budgeting, program monitoring, and evaluation of the implementation of the PR program. In a leadership, being a "spokesperson" is a common task carried out by the PR Division, because PR is a representation of leadership policies in an institution or organization.
- "What are the policies and strategies of the PR Bureau of the West Java Provincial Government in building a positive image of the local government through the XIX National Sports Week event in 2016?"
- The research question is "How does the West Java Provincial Government's PR Bureau plan, implement, and evaluate the XIX National Sports Week event in 2016 to form a positive image of the West Java Provincial Government as the organizer and host?"
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to determine the PR strategy of the West Java Provincial Government PR Division in forming a positive image of the local government through the XIX National Sports Week event in 2016. As a permanent event held every four years in Indonesia, the PR strategy at this event can be an example of evaluating the next National Sports Week event.
This type of research is qualitative research, which is a research procedure that produces descriptive data in the form of written or spoken words from the person or observed symptoms. According to Denzin and Lincoln (2008) qualitative research is an activity located where research is placed in the world, qualitative research consists of a series of material interpretation practices. This research uses a case study approach (as cited in Creswell, 2007, p. 3). A case study is an in-depth study of a social unit in such a way as to produce a well-organized and complete picture of the social unit (Yin, 2003). The case study performs a detailed examination of an example of a class of phenomena.
Case studies cannot provide reliable information about a broader class, but may be useful in the early stages of investigation because they provide hypotheses, which can be tested systematically with a larger number of cases (Flyvbjerg, 2011). Creswell (2010) explains the case study approach is a research design found in many fields, where researchers develop an in-depth analysis of a case, such as events, activities, processes, or an individual. To obtain the data needed in this study, the techniques used by researchers were in-depth interviews with several informants, field observations, and a collection of supporting data in the form of activity reports, photographs, and news clippings from the West Java Provincial Government PR Section.
Based on the results of observations, research, data collection, and interviews with informants, the authors describe the steps and stages that appear in the West Java Provincial Government PR activities in the XIX National Sports Week event. In this case, the researcher examines the external and internal activities carried out by PR to reach the public or audiences so as to obtain complete and accurate information about the events being carried out by the West Java local government.
Government PR itself has the goal of being able to inform and foster citizen support. The community still has a sense of suspicion and fear of the programs that are being carried out by the government, so that the emergence of confusing news among the community has further decreased public trust in the government. The goal of PR is achieved by carrying out several plans and strategies by PR to be able to reach the public. PR also need to handle issues circulating in the community to be able to maintain the image of the government and also the success of the government program. Therefore, if the goal of PR has been fulfilled, namely to get attention and understanding from the public, then the public will not be affected by hoax reporting and the image of the government will not become worse.
The informant interviewed in this study was the Head of the PR and Documentation Section of the West Java Province PR Bureau, namely Ade Sukalsah who also served as the Coordinator of the West Java Provincial Government Media Services. In addition, Azis Zulfikar A. Zusca as the Head of the Publication Subdivision, and Tubagus Anfiari as the Head of the Coverage and Documentation Subdivision along with other resource persons are Ajar Nugraha as the executor of the public opinion section and media news analysis at the XIX National Sports Week committee in 2016.
The selection of this informant was based on his role in the PR Bureau of the West Java Provincial Government. Researchers consider informants who have a significant role in the activities of the XIX National Sports Week so that the resulting data can be trusted and according to facts and informants are selected based on the information needed by researchers. In this study, informants were divided into two categories, namely main informants and supporting informants. In the West Java provincial government structure, the PR Bureau is under the auspices of the regional secretariat and is divided into three working sections, namely the Media and Information Services Section, the News and Publication Section, and the Protocol Section. Each of these sections is in charge of several sub-sections, as shown in the following organizational structure chart: (See in Figure 1).
The West Java Provincial Government PR Bureau as part of the government has the duty and responsibility to improve the welfare of society, through the dissemination of information and socialization of government programs to the public. When the government issues various kinds of policies related to people's lives, including competition activities organized by the central government in collaboration with the provincial government, such as the National Sports Week which is routinely held every four years. Through interviews in this study, researchers analyzed how the PR of the West Java Provincial Government would deliver the policy so that later the community could support this government program.
The importance of analysis in the process of delivering the message of the West Java Provincial Government PR to the public is needed to provide an overview of the delivery of messages that have been carried out. This is also to provide an evaluation of the message delivery process if it is necessary so that the delivery of messages to the community is even better and can be used as a role model for other regions that will carry out the same activities.
In the implementation of the XIX National Sports Week in 2016, Mr. Ade Sukalsah as the Head of the Publication, Coverage and Documentation Section as well as the Coordinator of Broadcasting Media Services and Media Services. The Executive Board of the National Sports Week formed a PR and Soft News Team. The team led by Muhammad Abdur with two members namely M. Jatnika Sadili who works as a journalist for Persib.co.id and Muhammad Julda Bakrah who works as a scriptwriter for national TV/web programs, the main tasks of the team are as follows: (1) Providing feed information and related analysis to the Spokesperson for the XIX National Sports Week; (2) Provide information feed and related analysis to Yanmed as Coordinator of the XIX National Sports Week; (3) Provide information feed and related analysis to the Manager, Deputy Manager, and management staff of the XIX National Sports Week Media Center (MC); (4) Provide related information feeds and activity guides to the XIX National Sports Week Ambassadors; (5) The writer of the speech/article/release materials, both hard news and soft news, as well as taking photos related to these materials will be given to Yanmed who is also the Coordinator and/or the official web admin team. All these results are then traced and recapitulated, especially for mainstream media online news pages or outside www.pon-peparnas2016jabar.go.id.
PR activities are very much needed in national-scale organizational activities such as the XIX National Sports Week, which was held from 17 to 29 September 2016 to provide accurate information to the public about the activities at the event. One of the instruments in PR activities is the existence of a MC. According to Mr. Sukalsan, MC can be defined as, "a tool or material used to achieve the purpose of delivering information and PR programs, such as television, radio, magazines, newspapers, internet, books, and many."
The functions of the MC in the National Sports Week event are as follows: (1) Collection, screening, documentation, and publication; (2) Formulation of fostering relations with official agencies and the public as well as publications; (3) Formulation of policies to facilitate the implementation of public information. The MC during the XIX National Sports Week is a forum for network implementation with several media partners (MNC TV) and partners for all mass media in informing the policies of the National Sports Week Executive Board. MC is also designed as a vehicle for gathering partners in various media circles in order to absorb and disseminate development information, besides that it will absorb information from various groups, process data, analyze it, and then become information that will be provided to the mass media, funders, or policy makers.
According to Tubagus Anfiari, the MC at the XIX National Sports Week side by side with competent and competent human resources in the field of Information and Communication with existing activities such as collecting, processing and analyzing and packaging information, to be used as official information material for the mass media and or input the next leadership policy.
Due to the needs and operations in the field, the MC at the West Java National Sports Week is also divided into three types, namely the largest and most complete Main MC and located in two ballrooms of the Trans Luxury Hotel. This MC will collect various data from the Intermediate MC and the National Sports Week MC. The main facilities available are journalists' work rooms, press conference rooms, and recreation rooms, all of which have the largest and most complete specifications, sizes, and dimensions compared to MC Medium and MC of the National Sports Week. (See in Figure 2).
Intermediary MC are placed in two locations with the most contested sporting events, namely in the city of Bandung, precisely at the Gelora Bandung Lautan Api Stadium and Bandung Regency at the Jalak Harupat Stadium Complex. This Intermediate MC collects reports and data, from the MC in each sport held in the two cities or districts with the facilities provided are journalists' workspaces and press conference rooms. Both have medium specifications, sizes, and dimensions, or smaller than the Main MC but larger than the sports MC and the National Sports Week MC. The third is the MC of the National Sports Week, which is a MC in 14 cities and regencies where the National Sports Week is held outside the City and Regency Bandung, such as Cimahi City, Sumedang Regency, West Bandung Regency, Cirebon City, Indramayu Regency, Ciamis Regency, City Tasikmalaya, West Bandung Regency, Subang, Sukabumi Regency, Karawang Regency, Bekasi Regency, Bekasi City, Bogor Regency, and Pangandaran Regency. In this MC there is also a special room for the central MC at the National Sports Week level. The rest is MCs at sports locations with the main facilities available are journalists' offices and press conference rooms. Both have specifications, sizes, and dimensions below Main MC and Medium MC.
The MC planning above is realized by making concepts and surveys in all locations shortly before the XIX National Sports Week is held, especially coordinating with the PR of the Regency Government and City Government which will be the location of the activity. In addition, the venue was surveyed to present good and professional MCs. There are two main activities, namely the use of workspace facilities, including computer rooms and press conferences; and lounge facilities (Main MC) as well as use of computer workspaces and press conferences. For the Main MC, the computer workspace facilities are used per day between 100 and 200 journalists, while press conferences, the activities include:
As previously explained, the workspace facility is used every day by 100 to 200 journalists, both from print and electronic media. In the implementation of the XIX National Sports Week, the implementation of the plans that have been made in all types of MC follows the concepts and specifications made by the PR Section of the West Java Provincial Secretariat in collaboration with the XIX National Sports Week team. The level of utilization of MC in the mass media that occurs at all levels of the MC varies, but if averaged, its use is quite high. To deal with information that has spread in the community, PR takes various ways to regain public trust, among others by holding a press conference and forming an MC was done by the PR Bureau of West Java Province in the 2016 National Sports Week event. Kasali (2003) stated that PR is a management function that evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of a person or company towards the public, develops plan, and runs communication programs to gain public understanding and acceptance. From this understanding, the West Java Provincial Government PR in collaboration with the team from the 2016 National Sports Week Executive Committee carried out planned internal and external activities, to obtain a good image, mutual understanding, mutual trust, mutual respect, goodwill, and tolerance for the public.
From the data of informants who have been interviewed, it can be seen that PR is structured in the structure of positions and each has a different task. The Head of the PR Bureau as the highest position in the PR Bureau of the West Java Provincial Government, which oversees three divisions, has the authority to carry out the obligations given to the position (legal authority) regarding the formation and maintenance of the image of the West Java Provincial Government in the eyes of the public. In the framework of the XIX National Sports Week, PR carried out several stages of PR by implementing strategic management as in Kasali (2003). The PR Strategic Management Model has 7 stages. However, only stages 1-3 are strategic stages. The three stages are the stakeholder stage, the public stage, and the issue stage (Kasali, 2003). In addition, there is an evaluation stage carried out by the West Java Provincial Government PR in carrying out the XIX National Sports Week event. At the stakeholder stage, it is explained that a company or organization has a relationship with its public if the behavior affects its stakeholders or vice versa. Ongoing communication with stakeholders helps the organization to remain stable.
As a form of corporate responsibility to the public, the PR of West Java Province have the responsibility to provide information to the public about the program being implemented. One of them is by establishing relationships with stakeholders involved, including the community, police, media, and district or city governments who are involved in organizing the 2016 National Sports Week event. Information related to the activities of this national sports week and do not forget to also establish relationships by approaching journalists by providing appropriate and comfortable MCs for journalists to carry out their duties properly. So that the information conveyed by journalists through each media can reach a wide audience and provide a positive image for the West Java Provincial Government as the organizer of the XIX National Sports Week.
The public stage is formed when the company/organization is aware of a certain problem. As stated by Grunig and Dozier (2002), which states that the public appears as a result of problems and not the other way around (as cited in Haryanti & Rusfian, 2019). In other words, the public is always there whenever there is a problem that has potential consequences for them. Therefore, PR needs to continue to identify the public who appear with various problems. The problems in the National Sports Week event are especially the perception that arises in the community that the home team is always assisted and won by match officials. In this case, the West Java Provincial Government PR always try to convey information to the wider community that the issue is not true and the National Sports Week committee is fair in every sporting event that is held. In addition, the safety issues that athletes and spectators complain about are also quite disturbing in this National Sports Week event.
Issues management is a proactive process of anticipating, identifying, evaluating and responding to public policy issues that affect an organization's relationship with the public (Cutlip et al., 2006). In this case, the issue that arises is the existence of the hoax news stating that there is a lot of cheating in the organization of sports matches at the National Sports Week, especially related to the issue of the match officials taking sides with the home team. The West Java Provincial Government PR is responsive to widely circulated issues by collaborating with stakeholders to appeal to the public not to easily believe the news spread on social media. This includes as an effort to anticipate dealing with future problems. PR also clarifies the issues that spread in the community by publishing appropriate content and then spreading it in the media. PR of West Java Province has taken various ways to regain the trust and support of the community, including by conducting socialization both through social media and conventional media, holding press conferences, and issuing press releases through MC that have been established up to district and city levels.
The last stage in running a program is evaluating. According to Grunig and Repper, PR must evaluate the effectiveness of carrying out their duties to meet the achievement of goals and reduce conflicts that may arise in the future (as cited in Kasali, 2003, p. 47). The intended goals are communication, accuracy, understanding, agreement, and certain behaviors towards the communication campaign program. According to Ade Sukalsah, the West Java Provincial Government PR did not evaluate directly but used indirect communication. One of the things that can be measured is how the audience responds to the organization after getting exposure from PR, how the image of the organization in the public eye, and the subsequent state of the stock. It is necessary to know the results of these things to be able to prove the success or failure of the PR program.
Paying attention to the implementation of the West Java Province PR duties related to the XIX National Sports Week event in 2016, it can be concluded that the West Java Provincial PR implements strategic management which is divided into 3 (three) strategic stages and the evaluation stage, namely (1) the stakeholder stage, where at At this stage the PR of West Java Province have built good relations with stakeholders, especially external stakeholders. Good relations are carried out by PR with the intent and purpose of obtaining a positive image from the community. In stage (2) public, PR tries to provide understanding and convey the purpose of holding the program to get support and understanding from the community. PR conduct socialization to the public using conventional media and social media and in the issue (3) stage, PR performs various ways to overcome the scattered issues (issue management). The steps taken by PR are to submit press releases and also provide content related to issues that are spread in conventional media and the official social media of the West Java Provincial Government PR. In the last stage, the PR of West Java Province in its activities did not carry out direct evaluations. Evaluation is seen how far the progress of the program. PR will pay attention to public attitudes, and consider the next content that will be provided to the public. These activities are carried out by practitioners and PR staff using interactive media and are a form of indirect communication.
We are grateful to all our interlocutors for their participation and to the anonymous reviewers for their comments on early versions of this article. Many thanks to Telkom University Bandung and Mercu Buana Yogyakarta University for their support for this research.
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31 January 2022
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Communication, Media, Disruptive Era, Digital Era, Media Technology
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Abdurrahman, M. S., Wulandari, A., & Nugroho, C. (2022). Exploring Government Public Relations Strategies in the Pon IXI Event in 2016. In J. A. Wahab, H. Mustafa, & N. Ismail (Eds.), Rethinking Communication and Media Studies in the Disruptive Era, vol 123. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 156-167). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2022.01.02.13