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PR Journal

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

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Title: Can You See the Writing on My Wall? A Content Analysis of the Fortune 50’s Facebook Social Networking Sites.

Authors: Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Appalachian State University.

Abstract: Dr. McCorkindale’s article represents one of the first research studies to analyze social networking sites such as Facebook from a public relations perspective. Although most of the Fortune 50 companies are active in Facebook, as this article shows, most of them are not utilizing this medium to its fullest extent. While some organizations are posting news releases and mission statements on Facebook, most of the organizations studied in this article are not using the social networking site effectively to communicate with external or internal audiences. Dr. McCorkindale also does not give these organizations high marks for how they are employing engagement and relationship building strategies via Facebook.

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Title: Effects of Crisis Type and Interactive Online Media Type on Public Trust During Organizational Crises.

Author: Seth Oyer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Public Relations Sequence Head, Department of Journalism and Public Relations, School of Media and Communication, Bowling Green State University.

Abstract: The article by Professor Oyer employs a two-by-three experimental design to test the effects of interactive online media type (specifically blog and streaming video) and crisis type (accident, intentional or victim) on public trust during organizational crises. This appears to be the first study of its kind to bridge the logical gaps between new media effects, crisis communication and trust. Dr. Oyer's use of experimental research methodology - something not seen very much in the public relations research literature - offers predictive qualities not available with other research methods.

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Title: How New Communications Media Are Being Used in Public Relations: A Longitudinal Analysis.

Authors: Donald K. Wright, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, Professor of Public Relations, College of Communication, Boston University, and Michelle D. Hinson, M.A., Director of Development, Institute for Public Relations, University of Florida.

Abstract: How public relations practitioners actually are using new communications media is the focal point of the article by Dr. Wright and Ms. Hinson who report on a two-year trend study examining this use by more than a thousand practitioners. This research found social networking site Facebook the most used new media for public relations messages in 2010replacing search engine marketing that ranked first in a similar study the authors conducted in 2009. This study also found that the overall use of social networking, micro-blogging and video-sharing websites in public relations practice increased dramatically between 2009 and 2010.

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Title: Social Media and Strategic Communication: Attitudes and Perceptions Among College Students.

Bobbi Kay Lewis, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Oklahoma State University.

Abstract: The article by Dr. Lewis builds off an earlier social media study by Wright and Hinson and examines the impact of advertising and public relations messages that are distributed via social media and directed at university students. Findings tell us that education affects student understanding and attitudes toward social media. Results also discovered that students majoring in advertising and public relations view social media more positively than other majors because they understand how it fit into the industry in which they are being educated.

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Title: How to Influence Editorials: A Case Study

Robert Sommer, M.A., Director, and John R. Maycroft, M.P.P., Research Assistant, Institute of Public Policy and Political Communication, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Abstract: Mr. Sommer and Mr. Maycroft provide us with an article that takes a qualitative look at the forces that go into the production of newspaper editorials. This study is unique because the authors were able to receive the cooperation of a number of top political, business and newspaper industry leaders who were interviewed to discern the importance they place upon editorials ad the strategies these important stakeholders use to influence editorial boards. This study found that those who receive favorable editorial page coverage are more likely to be knowledgeable, proactive, open, honest and accessible to editorial boards.

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