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PR Journal

Editor's Corner
Editor: Donald K. Wright, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA

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Title: Is It Still Just a Women's Issue? A Study of Work-Life Balance Among Men and Women in Public Relations

Authors: Linda Aldoory, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at University of Maryland, Hua Jiang, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Communication at University of Maryland, Elizabeth L. Toth, Ph.D., APR, Chair and Professor in the Department of Communication at University of Maryland, and Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D., APR, Associate Professor of Public Relations in the School of Journalism and Media Studies at San Diego State University.

Abstract: This study examined how work-life balance is perceived by male and female public relations professionals. Eight focus groups were conducted. Findings revealed a fluid and complex work-personal continuum affected by such factors as societal norms;organizational contradictions; new technology; professional identity; and parenthood. Practitioners expressed blame and guilt narratives. Several challenges to work-life balance were discussed, and various strategies for attaining balance were detailed.

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Title: Comprising or Compromising Credibility? Use of Spokesperson Quotations in News Releases Issued by Major Health Agencies

Authors: Elizabeth Johnson Avery, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Public Relations in the School of Advertising and Public Relations at The University of Tennessee and Sora Kim, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Public Relations at DePaul University.

Abstract: As audiences may increasingly question source credibility during crisis following situations following recent misinforming efforts such as FEMA's staged press conference, the use of spokesperson quotations in press releases deserves greater scrutiny, particularly in the context of relaying health information. This study analyzes use of direct quotations in avian flu press releases issued by leading health agencies to reveal the nature of quotes and use of sources. Findings reveal unique considerations with respect to issuing public directives, communicating unknowns while quelling uncertainty, and balancing use of sources external and internal to the organization, all while preserving spokesperson and organizational credibility.

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Title: Employee Newspapers and Mixed Messages: A Case Study of Discordant Culture Production

Author: Phillip J. Hutchison, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Integrated Strategic Communications in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at University of Kentucky.

Abstract: This research employs a narrative analysis to examine potentially troublesome mixed messages implicit in an Air Force installation newspaper over time. The author demonstrates how such internal information products create meaning at two levels: through the intended messages in the newspaper's discursive content, and through the discourses implicit in the social performance of the newspaper as it reflects organizational culture. The case study demonstrates that these impulses are not necessarily harmonious. Accordingly, it identifies a problematic situation in which the newspapers overtly emphasize values of "mission," "team," and "quality," yet implicitly enact discourses related to hierarchy and control.

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Title: The CEO as Celebrity Blogger: Is There a Ghost or Ghostwriter in the Machine?

Authors: Samuel A. Terilli, Jr., J.D. Assistant Professor of Journalism in the School of Communication at University of Miami and Liney Inga Arnorsdottir, Candidate for a Master of Arts in Public Relations in the School of Communication at University of Miami.

Abstract: By virtue of their high-profile, corporate positions, CEO bloggers raise the interest level in, as well as interesting legal and ethical questions about, their blogs. CEO bloggers and other corporate bloggers exist in a legal world in which the speech of corporations is generally deemed commercial speech that receives diluted First Amendment protection. Therefore, a business must pay particular attention to the communications, including blogs, of its associated executives, particularly high-profile CEOs. This article examines a sample of significant CEO blogs to determine whether those CEOs have attempted to distance their blogs from their businesses or have in fact embraced their corporate or business status and used the blogs not for their individual or personal expression, but as acknowledged and thus transparently business-oriented communications tools. The article concludes the latter has occurred far more often than the former and that this result bodes well both for corporate credibility in blog-facilitated communication and for the growth of CEO and similar blogs.

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Title: From Communication to Action: The Use of Core Framing Tasks in Public Relations Messages on Activist Organizations' websites

Authors: Lynn M. Zoch, Ph.D., Director and Professor in the School of Communication at Radford University, Erik L. Collins, J.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at University of South Carolina and Hilary Fussell Sisco, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Relations at Quinnipiac University.

Abstract: This exploratory research asks whether the public relations messages created by activist organizations and published in an unfiltered medium - their own websites - fit Snow and Benford's framing processes (Benford & Snow, 2000). These authors suggest that issue-related messages from activist organizations be structured to include their core framing tasks to help inform and motivate individuals seeking information about a particular issue. The findings indicate that only 18% of the websites in the study contained issue-related public relations messages that included all of the framing tasks. These results suggest that activist groups represented in this study may not be making the most efficient use of their websites as a means of advancing their interests.

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