The Office of Public Information of the United Nations
Williams, John Duncan, Jr
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A. STATEMENT OF THE TOPIC UNDER STUDY. The Office of Public Information, part of the Secretariat of the United Nations, is charged with the vital task of assuring that timely, complete and unbiased information concerning the United Nations is disseminated to the entire world. The purpose of this study was to examine the functional capabilities, the policies, the personnel, the financing and the effectiveness of the OPI. Further, an attempt was made to isolate specific problem areas confronting the OPI and to seek to suggest solutions to these problems which might increase the impact of the United Nations information program. B. STUDY METHODS AND PROCEDURES. Although the literature concerning the United Nations itself is vast, materials dealing specifically with the operation of the OPI proved limited. Some textbook materials relating to principles of communications, public relations, mass audiences and so forth proved useful as did the official depository of United Nations documents maintained by the World Peace Foundation, Boston office. Largely, however, the incisive and meaningful data was gleaned from on-the-scene observation of the OPI at work, exhaustive interviews with OPI officials and a study of internal memos on regulations, procedures and policies. C. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS. The study disproved pre-conceived notions held by the researcher that the OPI would prove hamstrung by international politics, its own bureaucracy and by a personnel system hinging on political rather than professional considerations. The study revealed that the OPI is a completely modernized, energetic and highly professional information system. Content studies of OPI produced informational materials indicated that the materials are uniformly concise, informative non-propagaridistic and undoubtedly effective description of the news events, programs and policies of the United Nations and the specialized agencies. D. IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH. Since the present study yielded the fact that the OPI has not, thus far (due in part to budgetary and personal limitations) developed a viable system of gauging or evaluating the effect or impact of their programs, it would appear that a study which could yield a design for worldwide "feedback" operations would be both challenging and of infinite value.
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