Teaching PR On-Line for Northwestern State University

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Importance of Good Writing

A note to my students at NSULA.

Many studies show that Good WRITING is one of the skills that employers are looking for in Public Relations students. If you don't believe me, look up the article by Marie Hardin in Public Relations Review, Vol. 30: 357-364.

Therefore, throughout this class I will be grading your work in part based on how well it is written. The things I will look most closely at are proper spellling, punctuation, and choice of words.

I'll let each of you retain your own personal writing style, but let's work together to make sure that all your assignments are well-written.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


A book students might want to consider reviewing for my class is "Buzzmarketing: Get People to Talk about Your Stuff" by Mark Hughes. The book is an easy and entertaining read. It is supported by white papers and supporting materials on its great website

The Buzzmarkeing book is all about how to obtain more publicity for your organization using public relations methods. It is a very engaging book and one that I highly recommend.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My Example-How to do a PR Campaign for 3060

Dr. Jensen's Example of How to Develop the PR campaign

Identify the Topic for the Campaign

I volunteer for a local genealogy library that has great resources but very few customers. Our primary problem is that the number of patrons is so small that our library might be closed, even though we are a not-for-profit.

Identify Research that Needs to be Done

We need to answer the following questions:

· Does the library fill a unique niche in the community?

· Are there enough people in the community with an interest in this topic to justify our being open?

· Are others offering similar services?

· How much to people in the community know about the library?

· What can we do to increase visibility of the library?

· Are there certain key publics that we wan to target to get more people to the library?

Actions that Need to be Taken

  • Identify key constituents
  • Identify organizations that are our allies (that will work with us)
  • Identify specific publics that we can target who might like to use the library
  • Lay out the framework for a communications plan
  • Identify the overall goal and specific measurable objectives that need to be met to determine if the PR campaign is succeeding and if the library is viable

Describe Communications Needs

Identify if the following communications (among others) may be needed

· WWW site

· Brochure

· E-mail news list

· Press Releases

· Logos

· Slogans

· Determine if we have the personnel to develop some of these communications and, if not, how these will be produced

Note: I will require that each student develop and submit at least one of these items to me (i.e., a logo, a slogan, a web design, etc.).

Evaluation Measures

Identify how the success of the PR campaign will be evaluated:

Outcomes that relate to the overall viability of the library

· Did the campaign increase traffic to the library?

· Did we build linkages and relationships between the library and organizations and individuals who want to work with us?

· Did we identify unique services the library provides that are unique in the community (not provided by others)

Identify the success of news coverage

· Mentions in the mass media

o News clips

o Placements of spokespeople in interviews

· Increase in website hits

· Numbers of people signed up for the email list server

How to develop the PR Case Study for Jour 3060

How to Develop the Public Relations Case Study for Principles of Public Relations (JOUR 3060)

Over the course of the semester, each student will be required to develop a very basic Public Relations campaign for an issue of their choosing.
The idea is that each of you will use the principles taught in the class to go through some of the processes you will use if you were developing an actual PR effort.
I will be very wide open about how each of you may develop your campaigns. For example, you might want to focus on developing a slogan or a PowerPoint slide presentation. On the other hand, you might choose to emphasize topics related to research or evaluation. Ultimately, what I have at the conclusion of this process is a product that you might feel comfortable giving to a public relations client.
Here is a brief overview of how the process will work
By January 28-Each student will Identify the Issue they will develop a PR campaign about and briefly describes the idea behind the campaign.
By February 14-Each student will briefly Describe the Research that needs to be done for their campaign. This can be as simple as describing what types of research you might want to do (if you had sufficient resources) or you can do some very basic research about your cause.
By March 11-Each student briefly will present the Actions that Need to be Taken they will consider or undertake for their PR campaign. Students can either talk about some of the actions they would take or perhaps could do some of them.
By March 18-Each student will briefly Describe Communications Needs they may wish to develop for their campaign.
By April 1- Students will briefly discuss how they will Evaluate the success of their PR campaign.

How the PR 3060 Class Will Be Run

On Saturday of each week:
* the PowerPoint slides will be posted for the upcoming chapter
* Journal articles will be posted for the upcoming chapter. You will choose 1 of these to write a reaction paper about
* The case study assignment for the upcoming chapter will be posted
On Wednesday from Noon to 1 PM each week (unless otherwise noted)
* I will have a live chat with the students about the assignments and the upcoming quiz
On Wednesday from Noon to 1 PM each week (unless otherwise noted)
* I will have a live chat with the students about the assignments and the upcoming quiz
* This includes the quiz, the reaction paper & the case study
Students are always welcome to email me at rwjensen@ag.tamu.edu

I will try to answer each email personally.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Advice for Students Considering Taking My Class

Students considering taking PR 3060 at NSULA from Ric Jensen need to be aware that this class will require them to submit work every week.
If you do not keep up with these weekly assignments, it will hurt your grade and will likely reduce your chances of succeeding in this class.
My expectations are that students will do the following each and every week:
* Take a scored quiz on Blackboard
* Read a journal article and write a 2-page paper that briefly summarizes the article. In the paper, students will need to tell me how they react to the article (if they agreed with it or not and/or how they think the article affects PR practice)
* Write a 2-page paper where you react to a case study
These weekly assignments will not be difficult. I've put examples about how to write a reaction to a journal article and how to respond to a case study on the Blackboard site. I will soon post an example of how to develop a PR campaign.
Before each weekly quiz, I'll give you my PowerPoint slides. I will also have a Blackboard chat where we can discuss items covered in the chapter and I'll try to answer your questions.
In exchange for this weekly work, there will be only 1 major exam for the class--the final. The final will consist of questions asked during the weekly quizzes.
Students will also be required to develop, over the course of a semester, a brief and basic PR campaign.
Finally, students can choose to write a book review for extra credit.
I've also created a web blog where I will discuss many of the current issues that will be presented in class. It's basic right now but you can view it at http://www.ricjensen.blogspot.com
In sum, if you want a great experience in PR, please consider taking my class! The course load is reasonable and I will work with you via email and web chats.
But, if you don't want to keep up with homework each and every week, you might want to think about whether this class is really for you!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Great book for PR & non-profits

I just got a copy of a pretty good for PR people working with non-profits, including universities and government. The book is The Media Relations Handbook for Agencies, Associations, Nonprofits and Congress. It is very easy to read and has some great practical advice. Read about it here.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

PR and the Spin on Iraq

The Los Angeles Times reported recently that the US government may be paying the mass media in Iraq to place stories that favor the American point of view in that country. The article raises interesting ethical dilemmas for PR professions. You can view it here.