(Banner graphic of PR Journal logo)

PR Journal

Title: Standardization in Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation

Authors: David Michaelson, Ph.D. and Don W. Stacks, Ph.D.

Abstract: Drs. Michaelson and Stacks have produced a unique classic that reflects the combined talents of two of the world’s leading experts on methodological approaches to research, measurement and evaluation in public relations and communication. There used to be a time when most public relations measurement focused mainly upon communication outputs. That’s changing today as people begin to realize that just because the an output message appeared in print, broadcast or on the web doesn’t necessarily mean that anybody read, listened to or watched the message much less took action because of it. Coupled with this move from outputs to outcomes based measurement comes the need for standards in the public relations research, measurement and evaluation industry. This article points out that most of the attempts to develop such standards remain primitive and probably are misunderstood by a significant number of public relations practitioners and academics, as well as the measurement community itself.

Download article

Title: Millennials’ Approaches to Ethical Decision Making: A Survey of Young Public Relations Agency Employees

Authors: Patricia A. Curtin, Ph.D., Tiffany Gallicano, Ph.D., and Kelli Matthews, M.A.

Abstract: The article by Curtin, Gallicano, and Matthews reports on a nationwide survey of the Millennial Generation of public relations agency employees examining their approach to ethical decision making and their relationships with their agency employers. The survey employed scaled originally developed by Linda Hon and Jim Grunig to measure relationship outcomes: control mutuality, trust, commitment, and satisfaction. Although the results of the organization-employee measures were reported in previous research, they were used in this article to illuminate the relationship between ethics and the organization-employee relationship. This article also explores the usefulness of Shannon Bowen’s practical model for ethical decision making from the perspectives of Millennial agency practitioners. The study’s findings demonstrate that Millennials value transparency and clear ethical rules and expectations, experiencing much better relations with those agencies that both talk the talk and walk the walk in terms of social responsibility.

Download article

Title: The Press Release: Do TV and Newspaper Editors See Eye to Eye?

Author: Reginald F. Moody, Ph.D.

Abstract: In an effort to expand and compare results with a 2008 study of newspaper editors, Dr. Moody’s article asked this question: Do TV assignment editors have similar preferences for writing style in press releases as do their newspaper counterparts, or are they inclined to respond differently, owing to the demands of TV audiences and the characteristics of the broadcast medium? Results of this experiment indicate that TV assignment editors are just as likely as newspaper editors to use all or part of press releases written in either the inverted pyramid style or narrative style. However, the two have mixed opinions as to which writing style produces a more interesting and enjoyable, more informative, clearer and more understandable and more credible press release. Dr. Moody discusses how public relations students and professionals can benefit from this disparity of response between TV assignment editors and newspaper editors in the acceptance or rejection of news releases based on writing style.

Download article

Title: The Secondhand Effects of College Drinking: The Need for Media Relations

Authors: Shelly Campo, Natoshia M. Askelson, Ph.D., Teresa Mastin, Ph.D. and Mary Slonske.

Abstract: Professors Campo, Askelson, Mastin and Sionske provide us with a study that examines the coverage of the negative consequences of drinking among college students. This content analysis looks at coverage from1996-2006 in 32 major US newspapers. Of the total 255 articles, 209 covered at least one negative consequence of college drinking. Consequences were framed as individual in nature and did not acknowledge the impact on other individuals and institutions. Those related to damage to self were covered most often in newspapers from this time period, appearing in nearly every article that mentioned a negative consequence. Damage to others and damages to institutions were mentioned very infrequently. While a range of negative consequences of heavy episodic drinking are covered, the most common harm covered is death, which is severe but highly unlikely. Coverage of more commonly occurring negative consequences were far less frequent. Coverage varied by region and was not consistent with where the greatest college drinking problems are found. The article points out that public relations and public health professionals can use media advocacy to work with the media to illuminate the secondhand impact of episodic drinking beyond those affecting the drinker.

Download article

Title: Food Warnings and Recalls: Remembering Readability in Crisis Communication

Authors: Julie M. Novak, Ph.D., R.D., and Paula Biskup, M.A.

Abstract: The article by Dr. Novak and Ms. Biskup examines readability literacy levels for the crisis communication, food-related warnings and recalls, distributed by the Food and Drug Administration and United States Department of Agriculture. Readability measures were calculated for the food-related press releases disseminated on the agencies’ Web sites for the six month period of January through June 2008. The study’s results suggest the food-related warnings and recalls were written at reading levels above nearly half of the U.S. population. The article concludes that the high readability levels of the FDA and USDA written alerts about foodborne illnesses and outbreaks negatively influence message effectiveness. Although time constraints inherently affect crisis communication, readability measures can and should be remembered and used.

Download article

Title: Classroom to Boardroom: The Role of Gender in Leadership Style, Stereotypes and Aptitude for Command in Public Relations

Author: Victoria Geyer-Semple.

Abstract: Dr. Geyer-Semple’s contribution to this issue uses scholarly literature grounded in organizational communication theory, feminist perspectives and gender theory on the public relations industry to provide a theoretical framework for primary research conducted on both undergraduate public relations majors and public relations practitioners. Results from primary research (interviews with undergraduate students and a survey administered to public relations practitioners) reveal parallels and disconnects between student expectations and professional realities of the role gender plays in the public relations discipline. In an attempt to help foster diversity and reduce gendered stereotypes within undergraduate public relations programs and the public relations industry fresh, pedagogical recommendations are explored.

Download article

Title: The NYPD: The Nation’s Largest Police Department as a Study in Public Information

Author: Ashleigh Blair Egan, M.S.

Abstract: In analyzing communication between the NYPD and the news media, the article by Ms. Egan focuses attention on coverage in The New York Times. The newspaper article analysis is supplemented by interviews with individuals with unique perspectives on communication techniques of the NYPD. Being a large public service department, the public communication of the NYPD differs from that of a typical organization or a smaller public service department. By reviewing the existing models of public relations and examining the communication of four major NYPD cases from the last four decades, this article examines the models of communication that have been utilized by the NYPD in the past, and discusses a public information hybrid model that could be effective in their future communication.

Download article