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PR Journal

Title: "A Great Day for Oiled Pelicans": BP, Twitter and the Deep Water Horizon Crisis Response

Author: Laura Richardson Walton, Ph.D., APR; Skye C. Cooley, Ph.D.; and John H. Nicholson,  Ph.D., Assistant Professors in the Department of Communication at Mississippi State University.

Abstract: Professors Walton, Cooley and Nicholson report on their study that used content analysis to assess BP’s communication efforts on the social media micro-blog Twitter within the framework of the Situational Crisis Communication Theory Model. With the proliferation of social media in our society, effective and efficient organizational responses during crises are certain to become more and more dependent on social networking platforms. As such, this study takes an important first step.

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Title: Examining How Social and Emerging Media Have Been Used in Public Relations Between 2006 and 2012: A Longitudinal Analysis

Authors: Donald K. Wright, Ph.D., APR, Fellow, PRSA, Harold Burson Professor and Chair in Public Relations, College of Communication, Boston University, and Michelle Dryfka Hinson, M.A., Adjunct Instructor, Department of Public Relations, College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida.

Abstract: The seventh annual survey of Dr. Wright and Ms. Hinson measuring how social and other emerging media are being used in public relations practice found the use of these new media has increase each year since 2006. Those who practice public relations continue to consider social networks – especially Facebook – the most important social media in the overall communication and public relations efforts followed by micro-blogging sites such as Twitter, search engine marketing, video sharing sites such as YouTube, blogs, electronic forums and podcasts. Communication or public relations continues to be the most likely organizational function to be responsible for monitoring and managing an organization’s blog and social media communication. Dr. Rob Wakefield, Associate Editor of PRSA’s Public Relations Review, has pointed out the Wright-Hinson this longitudinal study represents "a unique investigation in the field about an important, constantly moving topic."

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Title: Leadership Development in Undergraduate Public Relations Students: A Case Study

Authors: Mitchell Freidman, Ed.D., Term Assistant Professor, School of Business and Professional Studies, University of San Francisco.

Abstract: The article by Dr. Friedman reports on a qualitative case study that considered the relationship between a Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter and its local PRSA affiliate chapter. Among other things, this study probed student views on leadership related to their PRSSA chapter officer experience. Dr. Friedman reports the student officers who participated in the study adopted a leadership purpose grounded in advising and guiding fellow students who aspire to careers in public relations. This study adds to the body of knowledge on leadership development in public relations, a topic unfortunately not covered much in previous research.

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Title: Fortune 500 Foray: How the Nation’s Largest Insurer Leverages Social Media

Authors: Matt Kelly, M.A., freelance social business consultant, and Dustin W. Supa, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Public Relations, College of Communication, Boston University.

Abstract: A social media challenge is the focus of the article by Mr. Kelly and Dr. Dupa. It consists of a series of case studies within State Farm Insurance Company that demonstrate how State Farm has been able to leverage, on multiple occasions and across multiple platforms, its presence as the largest provider of insurance in the United States. The goal of the article is to show how a large, mature corporate entity is able to increase its presence with current and potential clients through social media. Though this paper does not necessarily indicate best practices for all corporate social media, it does identify which tactics have worked well for State Farm, and ultimately attempts to increase the body of knowledge of measuring and leveraging social media as a successful tool in public relations.

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Title: Social Media and Strategic Communication: A Two-Year Study of Attitudes and Perceptions about Social Media Among College Students 

Bobbi Kay Lewis, Ph.D. and Cynthia Nichols, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University.

Abstract: Given that social media are having an impact on professionals in the industry, this study conducted by Drs. Lewis and Nichols, investigates if social media are having a similar impact on college students in general and further, have an impact on students studying in the area of public relations and advertising. The uses, attitudes and perceptions of social media among college students were explored through survey data over a 2-year period. The researchers found that education affects students’ understanding and attitudes towards social media. It is important for educators and curriculum leaders to have an appreciation of students’ knowledge base of social media and how they employ it in their construction of knowledge and reality. It is also valuable for professionals in the industry, who are hiring recent college graduates, to gain insight into how students perceive social media in their own lives and as strategic tools. Findings suggest that college students majoring in advertising and public relations view social media more positively than other majors because they understand how it fits in to the industry in which they are being educated. These finding suggest that social media should be incorporated into strategic communications curriculum to better prepare students for the current media climate.

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Title: Feminization of the Film? Occupational Roles of Public Relations Characters in Movies

Authors: Cheryl Ann Lambert, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Public Relations, College of Communication, Boston University, and Candace White, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Public Relations, College of Communication and Information, University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Abstract: The purpose of study authored by Drs. Lambert and White was to assess how public relations practitioners are depicted in films with regard to role and gender, using Social Role Theory as a theoretical framework. The article discusses the contentions that media contribute to the social construction of reality, that media messages have a cumulative, culture-building effect, and that media play a role in the formation of cultural assumptions such as gender expectations regarding women in the workplace. The article also explores how roles depicted in films can mirror socially-accepted roles as well as perpetuate stereotypes associated with them.

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Title: Absence of Trade Press Coverage of Mass Communication Academic Research: A Bittersweet Victory for Public Relations

Authors: Patrick Merle, M.A., Ph.D. Candidate and Graduate Instructor, and Coy Callison, Ph.D., Professor and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, College of Mass Communications, Texas Tech University.

Abstract: The article by Mr. Merle and Dr. Callison reports about a content analysis study of more than two thousand communication trade magazine articles in an attempt to determine how professional-focused publications cover academic research and how specifically the public relations trade press address scholarly work. Results indicated academic research appeared in less than one percent of the articles studied while industry research was more prevalent and discussed six percent of the time.

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