(Subject to Change)
J440: Public Relations Research and Campaigns
Catalog description: Study and practice in research methods, theory, implementation and evaluation of effective programs of communication. Emphasis is on establishing a firm theoretical and research-based approach to planning an effective public relations campaign.
Text: Strategic Communications Planning by Laurie J. Wilson
Graded Item/ Points
Individual Research Paper/ 40
Group Project/PR Campaign /45
1 individual news release/ 15
1 individual PR item for campaign /15
PR current event presentation/ 20
Class attendance, in class work & participation /10
Individual journal reflections (2 per person)/ 10
185-200=A 160-164=B- 134-139=D+
180-184=A- 154-159=C+ 125-133=D
174-179=B+ 145-153=C 120-124=D-
165-173=B 140-144=C- below 120=F
*Requests for Reevaluation: The burden of proof in any disagreement over evaluation of student performance rests with the student. If you desire reevaluation of a grade for an assignment or activity, you must submit your rational in writing. Your request should identify the specific change requested and provide a reasoned argument and evidence in support of that change. Any request for reevaluation must be made within one week of receiving the original evaluation.
Grading: Grades will be earned on the basis of the student’s performance on all required work and class participation. Although students work in groups, grades will be based upon individual performance within the group. In addition, students will be evaluated on class presentations, as well as their portion of the campaign content. Peer evaluations will also be used.
Group Project: The group project will focus on a public relations campaign. The topic or “client” will be real and will center on community non-profit organizations. The course will focus on planning a PR campaign, the required steps and some activities related to developing a campaign. Then each group, acting as a PR agency, will actually develop a PR campaign. This campaign will be presented to the client at the end of the quarter. Here is where the group will reveal its PR strategy.
The PR campaign will contain the following strategic planning elements and
1. Identification of PR problem.
2. Identification of all relevant publics.
3. Goals and objectives of the campaign.
4. Strategy and tactics of the campaign.
6. Timeline: Charts for explaining time elements in the campaign.
7. Evaluation: How will you evaluate your success of campaign—both ongoing and post.
Public Relations Campaign Project Guidelines: The purpose of this exercise is to give students some actual experience in developing a public relations campaign for an actual organization. They should assume their group is a small regional public relations agency that is submitting a proposal for developing a campaign for the organization. The campaign proposal must state clearly how the agency would produce the campaign should it be awarded the contract. A timeline and a cost estimate to conduct the campaign must be provided.
The campaign must contain the following strategic planning elements and information
1. Research available literature. This means students need to do library research on the topic; use the Internet for additional data and information. Finally they will talk to appropriate people and conduct a survey or focus group. Research is the first and most essential step. Each student will turn in an individual research report as Step 1. This research report is due before the campaign can begin. (See syllabus for due date.)
2. Develop at least 2 goals and 2 to 4 supporting objectives for each goal for the campaign.
3. Generate ideas for materials and activities (written and/or electronic) for producing a campaign (brochures, videotapes, e-mail, group meetings, etc.).
4. Develop a budget.
5. Construct a chart for explaining events, activities and time elements in the campaign.
6. Develop an evaluation component – both on going and post – for measuring the effectiveness of the campaign.
All written project proposals are due on date to be determined and announced in class. Presentations by groups will take place on that same date.
Learning Objectives: Upon completion of this course students should be able
• Analyze and assess case studies of public relations campaigns.
• Demonstrate understanding of current issues and practices in the public relations.
• Identify public relations problems and opportunities, develop a campaign to solve the problems, and evaluate the effectiveness of the solution.
• Present and defend proposed solutions to public relations clients.
• Demonstrate strong interpersonal skills and teamwork.
• Define and differentiate between public relations, publicity, and advertising.
• Determine objectives and prepare a timeline and budget for a public relations campaign.
• Develop and present a detailed public relations plan to a non-profit client.
• Write press releases and other articles for clients for submission to the media.
• Research and analyze crisis situations and make PR recommendations for dealing with crisis communications.
• Evaluate ethical and legal issues of public relations and spin.
• Demonstrate the ability to conduct applied research and prepare a written summary of that research.
• Demonstrate the ability to make an oral presentation.
• Demonstrate the ability to link class content with the service learning opportunity of working with a non-profit client.
• Adapt to diverse group settings and work with members of the community.