Race / Ethnic Issues
Increasing "the ranks of our military" is "one of the first steps we can take together" to "position America to meet every challenge that confronts us," said President Bush in last week's State of the Union address. "Tonight I ask the Congress to authorize an increase in the size of our active Army and Marine Corps by 92,000 in the next five years."
The 92,000 figure was put forward by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who told the Senate Armed Services Committee on January 12 that more troops are needed to boost "combat capability" and "strengthen our military for the long war against terrorism." The Pentagon plans to meet that goal by reenlisting former Marines and increasing the Army's recruitment and retention rates.
Under the plan, the Army would only "slightly increase its recruitment goals -- by 2,000 to 3,000" a year, according to UPI. But in 2005, "the Army failed to meet its annual recruiting goal by the widest margin in two decades," reported the New York Times. To meet its 2006 goal, the Army hired more recruiters, raised the maximum allowable age for recruits, doubled the percentage of recruits who scored low on aptitude tests, issued waivers for some recruits' prior convictions, and significantly increased cash bonuses.
If it was that difficult for the Army to meet past recruiting goals, how will it meet future, larger ones? Some clues are offered in the Army's self-nomination for a prestigious public relations award.
The Association of National Advertisers recently held its Multicultural Marketing Conference, "which drew more than 300 attendees from companies such as McDonald's Corp., Sprint, Home Depot and Lexus." Earvin "Magic" Johnson told the conference that early engagement of communities of color resulted in brand loyalty. If "somebody beat you in, we're going to stick with them," he said.
"Wal-Mart Stores accounts for 65% of Latino music sold in the U.S. -- more than double the giant retailer's market share in the general market," writes AdAge.
"Media democracy" is a term that everyone defines a little differently.
Is it quality reporting that not only informs about local, national and international issues, but also facilitates citizen involvement? Is it having the diversity of our communities represented among media owners? Is it giving local programmers access to the airwaves? Is it holding broadcasters to the terms of their freely-granted licenses? Is it ensuring a variety of news and cultural media offerings?
PR Week has good news for marketers and PR professionals seeking to reach Black audiences: there are "about 1,100 [radio] stations in the U.S. programmed toward African Americans. ...