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PR Journal

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

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Title: Examining The Role of Women in the Development of Public Relations

Author: Suzannah Patterson, Ph.D., APR, Assistant Professor, Valdosta State University.

Abstract: This essay documents the contributions of women to the history of public relations. It discusses the work of 27 noteworthy women who actively used public relations strategies, tactics, and tools to evoke significant social change. Women were selected on the basis of their effective or innovative use of public relations, their contributions to society through the use of public relations, and the inspiration they engendered through public relations. Though severely limited by the social norms of their times, these women made creative use of numerous public relations strategies, tactics, and tools including symbolism, public debate, positioning, printed material, the media tour, and oratory.

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Title: Cognitive Processing of Crisis Communication: Effects of CSR and Crisis Response Strategies on Stakeholder Perceptions of a Racial Crisis Dynamics

Authors: Hye Kyung Kim and Sung-Un Yang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University.

Abstract: In order to provide a more refined understanding of crisis situations, especially crises resulting from race issues, the researchers identified crisis dynamic variables from existing literature (e.g., Coombs & Holladay, 2002) and connected these links in a model. The cognitive processing model of crisis communication investigates how precrisis corporate social responsibility (CSR) practice and different crisis-response strategies affect stakeholders’ attributions of organizational responsibility, emotional response, organizational reputation, and supportive intention in the time of a crisis. An experiment was conducted as the primary research method. The significant findings include 1) direct effects of both positive CSR history and accommodative crisisresponse on organizational reputation, which are mediated to stakeholders’ supportive intentions, 2) interaction between CSR history and crisis-response on organizational responsibility, and 3) mediation of emotional response aroused by a crisis. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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Title: Learning from Past Crises- Do Iconic Cases Help or Hinder?

Author: Tony Jaques, Ph.D., School of Applied Communication, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.

Abstract: Studying past crises is accepted as important for managerial and organizational learning, yet experience suggests there has been little improvement over time in overall crisis response. This paper considers the reasons for this failure and revisits some iconic organizational crises – including Tylenol and Exxon Valdez – to question if they merit the attention they receive. The paper also explores the way in which misleading or inappropriate lessons can easily be drawn from such cases and asks how relevant they are today. Moreover, does a persistent focus on a very limited number of historic cases help or hinder improving management best practice and should we instead identify and analyze ‘new icons’ from more recent experience.

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Title: Influence of the Gender of Reporters, News Topics, and Circulation Size on Framing of Public Relations

Authors: Jeongsub Lim, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Communication at Austin Peay State University, and Jiyang Bae, Ph.D., School of Journalism and Advertising, Catholic University of Daegu in South Korea.

Abstract: This study explored how external news factors influenced media framing of public relations by analyzing daily newspapers’ news content dedicated to depictions of public relations. The gender of reporters, news topics, and circulation size of newspapers significantly predicted how the newspapers framed public relations. In line with prior research, a neutral frame was dominant. When negative and positive frames were compared, male reporters took more negative approaches than female reporters, and female reporters took favorable stances toward public relations. Both negative and positive frames of public relations were more frequently present in hard news than in soft news. Large newspapers emphasized a negative frame toward public relations, and small newspapers highlighted a positive frame.

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Title: PR in the News: How a Sample of Network Newscasts Framed Public Relations

Authors: Emily Kinsky, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Communication Division, Pepperdine University, and Coy Callison, Ph.D., Associate Professor, College of Mass Communications, Texas Tech University.

Abstract: Content analysis was conducted on a random sample of news stories using PR related terms on ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news broadcasts from 1997 to 2005. A Lexis-Nexis keyword search resulted in 530 transcripts using common references to public relations. Of the 530 stories resulting from the search, 36% were randomly selected for coding. Out of the list of 12 referencing terms, the most common was “public relations.” Overall, the terms were used properly more often than improperly, but the most common type of reference was a cliché. Terms were used negatively more often than positively or neutrally. Politics/government stories had the most negative framing of PR.

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