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Public Relations Journal — Vol. 4, No. 4

Editor's Corner

Editor: Donald K. Wright, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA

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Title: Public Relations Management at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital:  A Case Study

Authors: Erika H. Powelson, Powelson Communications, and Kenneth D. Plowman, Ph.D., APR, Professor, Department of Communication, Brigham Young University.

Abstract: Dr. Plowman’s article consists of a healthcare industry case study case study designed to explain the importance of communications management. This case study explored three theories relative to the management style of the public relations director: participative versus authoritarian management, symmetrical versus asymmetrical communication, and the role of the dominant coalition.  Dr Plowman argues that the management style of the director is important because it affects the staff.

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Title: Increasing Publicity and Thematic News Coverage: The Impact of Localizing News Releases in a State-Wide Experimental Field Study

Authors: Bonnie Bressers, B.A., and Joye Gordon, Ph.D., Kansas State University

Abstract: The article by Professor Bressers focuses on a state-wide experimental field study in Kansas where newspapers were sent news releases over a four-month period addressing four children’s health issues. Half of the releases contained state-level data; half contained county-level data. A content analysis showed that the effect of localizing content was overwhelming, with county-level data published 6-to-1 times more than state-level news releases. Additionally, front-page placement of news releases occurred one-quarter of the time. The article also provides information about the impact of readily available, public relations data and relational software that can efficiently increase publication frequency and prominence of public relations messages.

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Title: Media Non-Transparency Research: A Case of Romania

Authors: Anna Klyueva and Katerina Tsetsura, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Oklahoma

Abstract: The article presents the results of the latest country-to-country study on media transparency, the data for which were collected in Romania. The goal of this study was to examine problems of media non-transparency by examining media practices in Romania. Specifically, the study explored perceptions and opinions of Romanian media professionals (journalists and public relations practitioners) about non-transparent media practices that occur in a variety of Romanian media outlets.  The article provides an overview of the media environment in Romania, describing the development of journalism and public relations professions in this former Soviet bloc country. Then, it reports the results of the survey conducted among Romanian media professionals on the issues of media influences, direct and indirect payments, and media credibility.

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Title: An Online Ethics Training Module for Public Relations Professionals: A Demonstration Project

Authors: Lee Anne Peck, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Northern Colorado and Nancy J. Matchett, Ph.D., Director, Institute of Professional Ethics and Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Northern Colorado

Abstract: Online ethics training is the focal point for the article by Dr. Peck where researchers developed and tested an online training module with both experienced public relations professionals and newcomers to the field with the hopes of helping them sharpen and refine their ethical decision-making skills. The study found that although most testers reported the Web site was difficult to navigate and/or found the ethical content to be complex, the majority believed their ethical decision-making abilities were improved. The goal of the research was to develop a specific “Public Relations” area on a CED Web site that would be devoted to the ethical issues likely to arise in the public relations field.

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Title: Public Relations in Advocacy: Stem Cell Research Organizations’ Use of the Internet in Resource Mobilization

Authors: Maureen Taylor, Ph.D., Professor and Gaylord Family Chair of Strategic Communications, University of Oklahoma and Shuktara Sen Das, Rutgers University

Abstract: Dr. Taylor provides us with another case study this one exploring how the Internet is used by the advocacy organizations participating in the stem cell research debate. This research examines 54 medical Web sites as advocacy tools in respect to their information subsidies to the media and resource mobilization for members. The findings suggest that the Internet has untapped potential to provide both tangible and intangible resources to organizations that advocate for social issues. Based on these findings, the article provides recommendations for public relations practitioners who work in advocacy on ways to use their Web sites for resource mobilization and information subsidies. 

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Title: The Translucency Corollary: Why Full Transparency is Not Always the Most Ethical Approach

Authors:
Robert I. Wakefield, Ph.D., APR, Associate Professor, and Susan B. Walton, APR, Brigham Young University

Abstract: The article by Dr. Wakefield attempts to show that the term transparency has been so broadly interpreted, invoked, and abused that it risks losing its intent of open communication that enhances dialogue and benefits both organizations and society. This article argues that the term transparency has two flaws that need to be clarified to strengthen its usage in public relations. First that transparency increasingly is interpreted as being completely open at all  times and second that entities increasingly are spouting self-proclaimed “transparent” communication, when investigation reveals that those claims are smokescreens to deflect an actual disdain for transparency.

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Title: Taking Tips from Zenith’s Legendary Eugene McDonald, Jr.: Getting Public Relations and Advertising to Say “I Do”

Author: Reginald F. Moody, Ph.D., of the Department of Communication, University of South Alabama

Abstract: Dr. Moody’s article suggests that public relations instruction is not complete until public relations and advertising combine their curricula in the direction of integrated marketing communication. Professor Moody finds support for this argument by going back to the days of Commander Eugene F. McDonald, Jr., Zenith radio’s flashy and colorful promotions genius. Dr. Moody suggests that McDonald’s successful and profitable integration of public relations with advertising can have a major impact on public relations education, especially in the campaigns course.

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