COM 322 PUBLIC RELATIONS
FALL 1999

Gerald J. Biesecker-Mast                         Office Hours: MWF 2-3 p.m..; TH 3-4 p.m.
208 Ropp Hall
Phone: x3208
e-mail: mastg@bluffton.edu
home page: http://www.bluffton.edu/~mastg/

Course Description
Introduces strategic issues and effective practices of communication between organizations and their constituencies. Includes the study of public opinion research, media relations, public communication campaigns, consumer identity, and representational ethics. Students gain practical experience in writing news releases, conducting surveys, and designing integrated campaigns.

Course Objectives
The course prepares students for effective and ethical public communication on behalf of contemporary organizations (profit and non-profit). Students will acquire knowledge about the history of public relations in modern organizations and a variety of theories and paradigms of effective public relations.  Students will gain skills in the practical arts of market/audience research and analysis, campaign development, image and text design, media relations, crisis management, and communication ethics.  More specifically, students will learn to develop market surveys, write news releases, produce public service announcements, conduct news conferences, and design web pages.  Throughout the class, students will consider the professional and social obligations associated with a career in public relations.

Requirements and Evaluation
In addition to studying the textbook, students will develop a public communication portfolio for a campus or area organization, conduct a news conference, and complete two examinations.  The portfolio will include a market survey, a public service announcement, a news release, an advertisement, and an integrated campaign proposal. In addition, students will be required to conduct a news conference in which their portfolio is presented to the class.  The two exams will consist of both objective and essay questions. The final grade is determined as follows:
 

portfolio (5% for each part) 25%
news conference 15%
midterm exam 25%
final exam 25%
participation 10%

Attendance Policy
Students are expected to attend each class period.  Unexcused absences will be reflected in the students participation grade. Additionally, students are responsible for any material missed during an excused or unexcused absence.  Excused absences are absences which have been acknowledged as legitimate by the instructor. These will be dtermined on a case by case basis.

Academic Honesty
In accordance with Bluffton College's Honor system, the exams will not be monitored and students will be asked to affirm that "I am unaware of any aid having been given or received" on each examination.  Additonally, students are expected to do original work for the assignments and to cite all material that is borrowed from other sources.  Acknowledged violations of the Honor System either during examinations or through plagiarism will result in a failing grade for the test or assignment and will be reported to the Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs. In extreme instances of academic dishonesty the student may receive a failing grade for the class. Contested cases will be reported to the Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs and resolved through the campus judicial system.

Books and Materials
Fraser P. Seitel, The Practice of Public Relations. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1998.

Class Assignment Schedule
 
Date Reading Assignment Classroom Activity
Unit 1: Defining Public Relations
Mon., Aug. 30 Introduction to course, syllabus discussion of course goals and syllabus
Wed., Sept. 1 Chapter 1, 11-21 discussion: defining public relations
Fri., Sept. 3 Chapter 2, 23-46 discussion: evolution of the profession
Unit 2: Researching the Publics
Mon., Sept. 6 Chapter 3, 47-74 discussion: analyzing public opinon
Wed., Sept. 8 Chapter 5, 99-120 discussion: survey construction
Friday, Sept. 10 Chapter 6, 121-142 discussion: communication principles
Mon., Sept. 13 prepare survey drafts workshop survey questions
Wed., Sept. 15 prepare survey drafts workshop survey questions
Fri., Sept. 17 final surveys to be sent out (due date) guest speaker
Unit 3: Relating to the Media
Mon., Sept. 20 Chapter 8, 169-196 discussion: writing for media
Wed., Sept. 22 Chapter 9, 197-222  discussion: media kit construction
Fri., Sept. 24 work on news release guest speaker
Mon., Sept. 27 work on news release workshop news releases
Wed., Sept. 29 work on news release workshop news releases
Fri., Oct. 1 Chapter 10, 223-241 guest speaker
Mon., Oct. 4 Chapter 12, 275-296 (news releases due) discussion: public service announcements
Wed., Oct. 6 Chapter 4, 75-98 discussion: ethics again
Fri., Oct. 8 prepare psa's workshop psa's
Mon. Oct. 11 prepare psa's workshop psa's
Wed., Oct. 13 prepare for midterm exam take midterm exam
Unit 4: Constituting Internal Publics
Fri., Oct. 15 Chapter 7, 143-168 (psa's due) discussion: representing management
Mon., Oct. 18 Chapter 14, 325-348 discussion: representing employees
Wed., Oct. 20 Chapter 15, 349-374 discussion: representing justice
Fri., Oct. 22 Chapter 16, 375-396 discussion: transcending consumerism
Unit 5: Preparing Campaigns
Mon., Oct. 26 Chapter 13, 297-323 discussion: public relations and marketing
Wed., Oct. 27 work on campaign plans (ads due) discussion: designing campaign plans
Fri., Oct. 29 work on campaign plans workshop campaign plans
Mon., Nov. 1 work on campaign plans workshop campaign plans
Wed., Nov. 3 NCA guest speaker
Fri., Nov. 5 NCA guest speaker
Mon., Nov. 8 prepare news conference news conferences
Wed., Nov. 10 prepare news conference news conferences
Fri., Nov. 12 prepare news conference news conferences
Mon., Nov. 15 prepare news conference news conferences
Wed., Nov. 17 prepare news conference news conferences
Fri., Nov. 19 prepare news conference news conferences
Mon., Nov. 22 prepare news conference news conferences
Wed., Nov. 24 Thanksgiving break Thanksgiving break
Fri., Nov. 26 Thanksgiving break Thanksgiving break
Mon., Nov. 29 prepare news conference news conferences
Wed., Dec. 1 prepare news conference news conferences
Fri., Dec. 3 prepare news conference news conferences
Mon., Dec. 6 Chapter 20, 473-506 discussion, public relations in the future
Wed., Dec. 8 review for final
Mon., Dec. 13 prepare for final exam final exam, 1:30-3:30 p.m.