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JRMC 8150: PUBLIC RELATIONS THEORY
Department of Advertising/Public Relations
Henry W. Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication
UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA
Term: Fall 2007, 3 credits Prerequisites: POD
Room and Time: JRL Room 205 (The Dean’s Conference Room), Thursdays 2-4:45 p.m.
Instructor: Dr. Lynne Sallot, APR, Fellow PRSA, Professor
Office: JRL 223-E Office Hours: 11 a.m.-noon on Tuesdays & Thursdays, and by appointment.
Phone office (706) 542-4999 anytime, home (706) 208-0941 emergencies only.
Office fax: (706) 542-2183. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Public relations is the business of relationship management."
John Pavlik, Rutgers University
All business in a democratic society begins with public permission and exists by public approval...The purpose of public relations is to deserve and maintain public approval.
-- Arthur Page, AT&T
Objectives: To study theories, advanced concepts, principles, methods and best practices as they apply to public relations and that will be meaningful to students' immediate and future career goals; to provide an opportunity to become familiar with some of the academic research literature in public relations that reflects and guides theory development in the field; to study and apply management and research techniques in public relations; to provide an opportunity to meet and learn from professionals in the practice.
In support of these objectives, students will be responsible for readings designated in the class schedule as well as supplementary readings appropriate to assignments and course projects. Our class meetings will consist largely of group discussions of your readings and course projects, and some dates with guest speakers.
Course assignments will consist of the following:
1. Weekly two+-page, typewritten, informal thought papers in reaction to the assigned readings. These will be due no later than 2 p.m. the Wednesday before class. You are required to turn in two copies--one in each of two envelopes taped outside and to the right of my office door (223-E) in the 223 suite, one copy for the weeks’ coordinators, the other copy for me. You should also bring a third copy of your paper to class. The thought papers may take the form of a brief critical essay; a list of questions, concerns, or criticisms, a research idea, etc. The purpose of the exercise is to provide an opportunity to demonstrate that you've read, thought about and synthesized the readings. These weekly papers will be particularly helpful to those who find it difficult to speak up in class and they will also help guide our discussions. Quality does count; the weekly thought papers will account for 30% of your grade in this course and will substitute for a mid-term exam. Here are examples of topics you might address:
> Present the most critical issue(s) from the readings. What contrasting positions might be taken?
Are these positions incompatible or can they be reconciled?
> Raise a question relevant to the topic but not answered in the readings.
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> Point out methodological problems. Suggest alternative explanations for the findings.
> Comment on an article or area of research. Tell why this is important or unimportant, how it
fits with research in other areas, etc.
> Propose a new study to test a hypothesis. The hypothesis can be your own or one you've read
or heard about.
> Criticize a theoretical position – what has it clarified, ignored, confused, etc.
> Consider how the material could be applied to real-world problems, including a PR case study.
Again, two copies of these weekly thought papers are required and due Wednesdays by
2 p.m. – one for me and one for the weekly coordinators in the envelopes outside 223-E, and bring a third copy to class for yourself.
2. In addition, each student will serve one or two weeks during the term as a discussion coordinator and may be assigned one supplementary article each time relevant to the assigned readings. The leader(s) for the week will be expected to write and distribute copies of original abstracts of the supplementary readings and present them orally to the class. Printed discussion points / discussion agendas are also helpful. Leaders must also check photocopied class readings two weeks in advance and alert the instructor about any missing or unreadable pages.
The discussion coordinators also will be responsible for reviewing the weekly thought papers before class and "leading" the discussion with the instructor. The coordinators are NOT lecturers, and other class members should not feel they have a "light" week when they are themselves not coordinating. Leaders must all still turn in a thought/reaction paper for “their” week’s readings. Everyone is expected and encouraged to contribute to discussions. I will also jump in with my own comments and questions, too, so coordinators should not feel bad or deficient when I help steer discussion. I will act as discussion leader the first week.
3. Field report of site visit. During the term, masters’ students will be expected to conduct and report on a site visit to the office of a practicing public relations professional, preferably outside of Athens. Based on your interview with the professional, you will produce a 3-5 page feature article. A supplementary handout further details the assignment, due our last class meeting. Ph.D. students will be given an alternate assignment.
4. Final paper/course project. A final paper will be due by 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 10, and will serve as the final exam for this course. The paper MUST be written in academic format and style and can be on any relevant, pre-approved topic of your choice in either of two forms:
(1) research proposal, suggesting a research endeavor that would test or develop theory in public relations and consisting of a literature review and description of proposed methodology, with bibliography significantly expanded from our class readings;
(2) case study analysis, applying theory to explain the case and test the theory, with bibliography significantly expanded from our class readings.
In an important sense, this paper is for YOU: it is your opportunity to explore an area of public relations that is of interest to you. Either choice should be approximately 15-25 pages,
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double-spaced, APA style (page count excluding notes/references). The proposal option will be more useful to those planning to undertake a thesis / dissertation and, in fact, its form is akin to a brief thesis/dissertation proposal. Once you have selected a topic, check with me for final approval. On Oct. 11, I'll expect a brief memo from you to me outlining what you're planning for your final paper/course project. DON’T TURN IN YOUR FINAL PAPER WITHOUT CHECKING THE TOPIC WITH ME FIRST. DON’T PUT PAGES OF YOUR PAPER IN PLASTIC SLEEVES!
Grading: Your final grade will consist of:
Weekly thought papers -- 30%
Discussion coordinator -- 10%
Class participation -- 5%
Site report -- 15%
Final paper/course project -- 40%
Letter grades will adhere to UGA’s plus (+) / minus (-) system.
All assignments must be typewritten in proper format and style – informal for weekly reaction papers, formal academic format-style for final papers. Writing quality, correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc., will count in grading. Late assignments will not be accepted without "prior arrangements" (see below). Again, the final paper, due by 11 a.m., Monday, Dec. 10, will serve as the final exam for this course. No exams are contemplated.
Honor code: Your work must meet the standards contained in UGA’s "A Culture of Honesty." Each student is responsible for informing themselves about those standards. Each of you should be committed to academic honesty. The quality of students reflects the quality of our College. Cheating in any form compromises your grade and lowers the quality of your degree. Honor Code standards will be in force during all assignments, which are assumed to be your work and your work alone. Any questionable behaviors will result in a zero score for the assignment in question and/or lowered grade or failure of the entire course. I hope each of you values your college education enough to protect yourself from dishonest classmates. If you are aware of cheating taking place, please contact me and I will take appropriate action.
Students with disabilities: UGA has an Office for Disability Services and is committed to providing equal educational opportunities for qualified students with disabilities in accordance with state and federal laws including the American Disabilities Act. At the beginning of the term, students should call to their instructor's attention disabilities that require special consideration.
Attendance and punctuality, at the graduate level, is expected. VERY IMPORTANT: LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. ASSIGNMENTS MISSED WILL RESULT IN
A ZERO GRADE FOR THE ASSIGNMENT UNLESS YOU HAVE MADE PRIOR
ARRANGEMENTS WITH THE INSTRUCTOR. Just as if you were "on-the-job," the "prior arrangements" policy applies to all situations, including death in immediate family or illness
documented by doctor's note. My office phone is (706) 542-4999 anytime, home (706) 208-0941, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. I reserve the right to deduct points for non-attendance. Sign-in attendance
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sheets may be circulated. Students are expected to arrive and be seated on time and otherwise behave in the manner expected of professionals. Any distractions, such as chronic tardiness and talking out of turn, will not be tolerated. Turn off cell phones / pagers when you enter our classroom. Dispose or take with you and recycle any trash that you generate.
Course readings: In addition to the assigned weekly readings, supplementary references are listed in a separate handout. ESPECIALLY if you have had no prior PR courses, these references will be helpful to you, and are available at UGA’s main library.
Course evaluation: Because our College cares about your assessment of the quality of your education, during our last class meeting you will have the opportunity to respond to a College course evaluation form concerning your experience in JRMC 8150 this term. You will have approximately 15 minutes to complete the form; I will not be in the room at that time. One of you will be asked to administer the forms, collect, seal and deliver them to the Dean's office for tallying and transcription. Your anonymity is assured. Results – including typing of comments – are prepared by the Dean's office and are NOT be communicated to the instructor until AFTER grades are submitted. I use the results to guide course design and delivery in future classes, and student responses are used in the evaluation of the professor, the course and the program. Your opinions, suggestions and insights are important to me and to the Advertising/Public Relations Department and the Grady College.
I believe that more immediate evaluation is important to our work, and I will provide opportunities throughout the term (usually in brief, informal anonymous "reaction" memos) for you to express your views about this class. We will discuss your responses and hope these observations will beneficially inform and guide our class interactions. I also invite and encourage you to visit with me during my office hours or by appointment anytime you wish to discuss the class in general or your work specifically.
Subject to change: This syllabus is a general plan for the course; deviations announced to the class by the instructor may be necessary. Following is a proposed course schedule (dates and other details subject to change).
Note: I have carefully selected our readings after much consideration, and have purposefully ordered them. Readings are grouped by theme and are numbered by week we are meeting in the class and by the reading’s order in the lineup for that week. Next week’s readings – our second week of class – begin with Reading 2-1 and end with 2-11. In your weekly reaction papers, you may refer to readings by their numbers. While I suggest you read them in order, you do not need to react to the readings in order – in fact, the best syntheses often discuss / compare / contrast certain papers together out of numerical order! Opening and concluding paragraphs summarizing your thoughts in your papers are helpful.
I look forward to studying and discussing this material with you and I hope we all enjoy our time together this semester!
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PROPOSED COURSE SCHEDULE
Week 1: 8/16 Introduction
Review syllabus / Discussion-leader assignments / Complete data sheets
NOTE: WEEKS 2&3 READINGS ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE FROM
ATHENS BLUEPRINT, 269 West Dougherty St. (at Pulaski Street), phone 548-0656.
GRADUATE CLASSES DROP / ADD ENDS 8/23.
Week 2: 8/23 Conceptualizing Public Relations I: Definitions / History / Research Agenda
Leader: L. Sallot
2-1 Delia, J. G. (1987). Communication research: A history. In C. Berger & S. Chaffee (Eds.) Handbook of Communication Science (pp. 20-98). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
2-2 Broom, G. M. (2006). An open-system approach to building theory in public relations. Journal of Public Relations Research, 18:2, 141-150.
2-3 Sallot, L. M., Lyon, L. J., Acosta-Alzuru, C., and Jones, K. O. (2003). From aardvark to zebra: A new millennium analysis of theory development in public relations academic journals. Journal of Public Relations Research, 15:1, 27-90.
2-4 Cornelissen, J. P. (2000). Toward an understanding of the use of academic theories in public relations practice. Public Relations Review, 26:3, 315-326.
2-5 Grunig, J. E. (1976). Organizations and public relations: Testing a communication theory. Journalism Monographs, 46, 1-59.
2-6 Grunig, J. E., and Hunt, T. (1984). Managing public relations. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston. Chapters 1&2, 3-46.
2-7 Budd, John, Jr. (1995). Commentary: Communications doesn't define PR, it diminishes it. Public Relations Review, 21:3, 177-179.
Cases: 2-8 Taylor, J. S. (1994, Feb.) Consuming cancer charity. Z Magazine, 30-33.
2-9 Tylenol Fights Back. (1983, March). Public Relations Journal, 39, 10-14.
2-10 Snyder, L. (1983). An anniversary review and critique: The Tylenol crisis. Public
Relations Review, 9, 24-34.
2-11 Sallot, L. M., Lyon, L. J., Acosta-Alzuru, C., and Jones, K. O. (2008). Abstract and Appendix A from Aardvark to Zebra redux: An analysis of theory development in public relations academic journals into the 21st century. In T. Hansen-Horn and B. D. Neff (Eds.), Public Relations:From Theory to Practice (pp. 343-387). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
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Week 3: 8/30 Conceptualizing Public Relations II
Leader: Polly Howes
3-1 Grunig, J. E., and Grunig, L. A. (1990, August). Models of public relations: A review and reconceptualization. Paper presented to the Public Relations Division at the annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Minneapolis, MN.
3-1.1 “Taking the Measurements” page depicting reliability and validity
3-2 Grunig, J. E. (1992). What is excellence in management? In J.E. Grunig (Ed.) Excellence in public relations and communication management (pp. 219-250). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
3-3 White, J., and Dozier, D. M. (1992). Public relations and management decision making. In J.E. Grunig (Ed.) Excellence in public relations and communication management (pp. 91-108). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
3-4 Repper, F. C. (1992). How communications managers can apply the theories of excellence and effectiveness. In J. E. Grunig (Ed.) Excellence in public relations and communication management (pp. 109-114). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
3-5 Excerpt, Excellence study questionnaire for CEOs (one page)
3-6 Grunig, J. E. (1993). Image and substance: From symbolic to behavioral relationships. Public Relations Review, 19:2, 121-139.
3-7 McElreath, M., and Blamphin, J. (1994). Partial answers to priority research questions - and gaps - found in PRSA's Body of Knowledge. Journal of Public Relations Research, 6:2, 69-103.
3-8 Marshall, S. A. (1986). NASA after Challenger: The public affairs perspective.
Public Relations Journal, 42:8, 17-24, 39.
3-9 Kaufman, J. A. (1988). Rockwell fails in response to shuttle disaster.
Public Relations Review, 14:4, 8-17.
3-10 Kauffman, J. (2005). Lost in space: A critique of NASA crisis communications
in the Columbia disaster. Public Relations Review, 31:2, 263-275.
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Week 4: 9/6 Persuasion and Critique of Excellence Theory
Leaders: Whitney Turner and Donna Wilcox
4-1 Miller, G. R. (1987). Persuasion. In C. Berger & S. Chaffee (Eds.) Handbook of Communication Science (pp. 446-483). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
4-2 Heath, R. L. (1992). The wrangle in the marketplace: A rhetorical perspective of public relations. In E. L. Toth & R. L. Heath (Eds.) Rhetorical and Critical Approaches to Public Relations (pp. 17-36). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
4-3 White, J. (1988). The vantage problem of public relations. Public Relations Review, 14:2, 3-11.
Handout from 8/30 class: Questionnaire for 4-4 and other background
4-4 Sallot, L. M. (2002). What the public thinks about public relations: An impression management experiment. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 79:1, 150-171.
4-5 Cancel, A. E., Cameron, G. T., Sallot, L. M., and Mitrook, M.A. (1997). It depends: A contingency theory of accommodation in public relations. Journal of Public Relations Research, 9:1, 31-63.
4-6 Roper, J. (2005). Symmetrical communication: Excellent public relations or a strategy for hegemony? Journal of Public Relations Research, 17:1, 69-86.
4-7 Szlemko, W. J., and Christen, C. T. (2007). Public relations and conflict resolution: Toward a synthesis of excellence and contingency theory approaches. Paper presented to the Public Relations Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., August. Note: Fig. 1 & 2 are on pp. 10 & 11!!!
4-8 Sumpter, R., and Tankard, J. (1994). The spin doctor: An alternative model of public relations. Public Relations Review, 20:1, 19-27.
4-9 Dilenschneider, R. (1998, June 1). Spin doctors practice public relations quackery. Wall Street Journal.
4-10 Greve, F. (1990). Slick campaign sought to erase Colombia drug image. Miami Herald, April 1, p. 3G. Note: the country name is spelled Colombia!!!
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Week 5: 9/13 Campaign Development/Research/Planning/Evaluation
Leaders: Haley Binowski and Cynthia Schnably
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