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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 2008, 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: 10-10:45 a.m. & 12:15-1 p.m. Tuesdays, 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 goal.
Outcomes: On completion of the course, students will have learned how to read, understand and synthesize complex information and succinctly report their conclusions in writing and verbally; become familiar with some of the academic research literature in public relations that reflects and guides theory development in the field; will have studied and applied management and research techniques in public relations; will have met and interacted 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 final papers, and to write papers from these readings. Our class meetings will consist largely of group discussions of your readings and papers, and some dates with guest speakers. I have established a gmail account for our class. Go to www.gmail.com, for ID, enter: prtheoryclass and for password, enter: grady8150
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 our class. You are required to e-mail your paper as an attachment in MS WORD-compatible text (not Vista!) to email@example.com You should also bring a hard 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 for you to demonstrate that you've read, thought about, understood 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 class 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:
> What are some of the themes that tie the readings together? What is their significance to public relations academe or practice? Tell why the article(s) is/are important, how it/they fit(s) with research in other areas, etc.
> 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.
> Propose a new study to test a hypothesis from the readings. 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 PR case studies.
Again, you must e-mail your weekly thought papers to prtheoryclass@gmail no later than 2 p.m. Wednesdays and bring a hard 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 or two.
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. 8, and it will serve as the final exam for this course. The paper MUST be written in academic format and in APA style (not AP 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 (excluding notes/references), double-spaced, in APA style. 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. 16, 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
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OF YOUR FINAL PAPER IN PLASTIC SLEEVES! Letter grades will adhere to UGA’s plus (+) / minus (-) system.
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%
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. 8, will serve as the final exam for this course.
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 a Disability Resource Center 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, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. I reserve the right to deduct points for non-attendance. Sign-in attendance sheets will 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.
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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 online concerning your experience in JRMC 8150 this term. You will need to complete your online evaluation between our last class meeting, Nov. 20, and Dec. 4, when we’ll informally gather at my home. 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, the Advertising/Public Relations Department and the Grady College.
Because I believe that more immediate evaluation is important to our work, I will provide opportunities throughout the term (usually in brief, informal anonymous "reaction" memos) for you to express your views about our class. We will discuss your responses and your 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 numbered 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: 8/21 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 (706) 548-0656. Hours are from
8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. (Note: not open Saturdays or Sundays)
8/23 GRADUATE CLASSES DROP / ADD ENDS.
8/27 Last day to register for GA PRSA lunch to be paired with a professional!
Week 2: 8/28 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: 9/4 Conceptualizing Public Relations II
Leader: L. Sallot
Note: Class today will begin at 2:45 p.m. because of the Georgia PRSA meeting in Atlanta. The meeting will be at Maggiano's in Buckhead Our own Dr. Kaye Sweeter will moderate: "Point. Click. Connect. A Look at Social Media's Impact on Public Relations" (go to www.prsageorgia.org for more info). Panelists will include: John Bell, managing director, 360 Digital Influence, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide; Mike Haines, director of sales, southeast, Facebook; and David Santucci, vice president of marketing & communications, Georgia Aquarium. It will be preceded by a 9:15 a.m. seminar led by John Bell. Students who register by 8/27 attend each will be paired up with a professional at the luncheon and will receive the members’ rates . Details on how to register are at our gmail account.
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: 9/11 Persuasion and Critique of Excellence Theory
Leader: Nick Browning
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