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Chapter 5 and 6 Notes

by: runnergal

Chapter 5 and 6 Notes JOUR 201


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These notes cover the information discussed in Chapters 5 and 6 of the textbook.
Principles of Public Relations
Dr. Brooke McKeever
Class Notes
journalism, public relations
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by runnergal on Wednesday September 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to JOUR 201 at University of South Carolina taught by Dr. Brooke McKeever in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 6 views. For similar materials see Principles of Public Relations in Journalism at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 09/28/16
Chapter 5: Research and Understanding Public Opinion  The Need for Research in Public Relations o Research produces numbers that add tangible value to PR products and services. o PR professionals do lots of research regarding issue management: identifying issues and determine which issues will have the largest impact on the company, business, etc. o Researching and Resolving a Problem  Problem identification: figure out what the problem is and what is causing the problem.  Secondary research: look into the background of a problem. Look at records and data that already exist, such as employment records or recent complaints.  Primary research: conduct a survey or experiment that numerically defines the problem.  Informal research: conduct other types of research, such as focus groups, to understand the problem more fully.  Proving the Worth of Public Relations o Research and good relations with media, employees, community, etc. helps PR professionals express the value of their services. o Preliminary Research Techniques  Research: gathering information about a topic(s).  Informal research, aka preliminary research, is nonscientific and used as background research.  Record Keeping  PR professionals should keep records of information.  Databases help PR professionals keep track of information, but PR professionals should also carefully consider what information they put in each database.  Key Contacts  Opinion leaders: important people in an industry, community, or organization.  Key contacts: opinion leaders that PR professionals rely on for information.  Key contacts provide early warning for issues that may become major problems.  Special Committees  PR professionals may organize committees comprised of key contacts and decision makers to help identify potential issues and create solutions to those issues.  Focus Groups  Focus group: small group of people that share a few demographic characteristics. Their opinions, thoughts, body language, etc. provide insight into potential issues.  Focus groups help researchers create survey questions.  Focus groups allow participants to express how they feel more fully than in a survey, allowing for more in-depth analysis.  Casual Monitoring  Systemically screening any information like phone calls, emails, etc. that comes into an organization.  Important because any information can be spread quickly with the advent of the internet and social media.  The Internet, Library, and Database Sources  Most organizations have websites and databases.  Libraries subscribe to numerous databases, making reference librarians key sources of information.  Trade journals and professional journals are also important sources of information. o Formal, Scientific Research Techniques  Formal research: scientific research.  Secondary sources of research should be fully examined before pursuing primary research.  Content Analysis  Content analysis: a type of research method that enables the researcher to code, quantify, and graph verbal content, ex. comments sections, blogs, etc.  Survey Research  Survey research: detailed examinations of people’s ideas, preferences, opinions, knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions.  Helps researchers understand publics better.  Most common surveys in PR are focused on demographics or opinion.  Helps researchers separate people into different publics based on different characteristics.  Experimental Research  Experimental research: where a treatment is imposed on a subject(s).  Field experiments: uses the real environment, but there is a lack of control over lurking variables. This is the most common type of experiment in the PR profession.  Laboratory experiments: can control lurking variables, but may not accurately simulate the real environment and all of its perceptions, attitudes, etc. o Collecting Formal Research Data  Descriptive and Inferential Methods  Descriptive data: values of variables that are used to describe something about the subjects in the experiment, i.e. gender, race, age, income, etc.  Inferential data: values of variables that are used to describe something about people that are not in the experiment.  Methods for Obtaining Information  Qualitative research: produces non-numerical data, ex. race, gender, opinions, etc.  Observations: limited to the researcher’s perceptions, attitudes, etc. The data is less biased if the researchers are trained in exactly what to observe and how to observe it.  Interviews: allow researchers to get information from subjects that they might not get with a different research method. Classified as structured (questions with yes/no or multiple choice responses) or unstructured (questions with open-ended answers). Untrained interviewers may give off non-verbal cues though, which may alter the data. Must be 10 minutes or less. Can be online, over the phone, or in person.  Questionnaires: questions must be simple and straightforward to in order to collect valid data.  Cost, purpose, and subjects must all be considered when choosing which method to use.  Sampling Methods  Sample: a representative subgroup of a public.  The best samples are taken using methods based on the theory of probability.  Simple random sampling: a sampling method where each member of a public is equally likely to be selected for the sample.  Systemic sampling: a sampling method where a sample is chosen by selecting subjects from a list of names or numbers.  Measuring Public Opinion o Mass Opinion  Mass opinion: the average opinion of the members of a group’s opinion, i.e. presidential polls. o Public Opinion  Public opinion: the average opinion of the members of a public’s or subgroup’s opinion.  Public opinion polls should also answer why the participants feel the way(s) they do. o Identifying Publics  Public: peoples who 1) face similar indeterminate situations; 2) identify the indeterminate variable in the situation; and 3) act on the problem to find a solution.  Latent public: a group of people that identifies an indeterminate situations but does not identify the problem.  Aware public: a group of people that identifies a problem but does not act on the problem.  Active public: a group of people that idertifies a problem and acts on it.  These categories allow PR professionals to tailor their messages to each group’s wants and needs. o Environmental Monitoring  Environmental monitoring: keeping track of changes in the PR environment.  Environmental scanning: monitoring, analyzing, and distributing of information to leaders in an organization, business, etc.  Internet allows continuous scanning to occur since new information is posted every second.  Internet newsgroups promote single-issue groups.  Special Public Relations Research Techniques o Public Relations Audit  Public relations audit: examines and analyzes internal and external public relations in a specific organization.  Some previously mentioned research methods are also used in audits.  Audit Categories 1. Relevant publics: the organization creates a list of all publics it has a relationship with or that could affect the organization. Identifies the audience. 2. The organization’s standing with publics: use research methods to figure out how public view the organization in question. 3. Issues of concern to the publics: use environmental monitoring methods to create issue agendas for each relevant public. Compare publics’ important issues to the organization’s own policies. 4. Power of publics: publics are rated in accordance with how much economic and political/regulatory power they have.  Joyce Jones Auditing Process 1. Find out what “we” (the organization) thinks. 2. Find out what “they” (the publics) think. 3. Evaluate the differences between the organization and the publics. 4. Recommend a public relations program to address information gaps. o Organizational Image Surveys  Organizational image surveys: surveys that figure out a public’s attitude towards the organization.  These surveys measure: 1. Familiarity with the organization and its leaders. 2. Degree of positive and negative attitudes towards the organization. 3. Characteristics that publics assign to the organization.  Some organizations employ outside researchers or consulting services to design and implement these surveys. o Communication Audits  Communication audit: assesses communication channels of an organization. Determines if the receivers of the information, like employees or consumers, are satisfied with the information; if the information is comprehensible and useful; and which communications channels that publics prefer.  Communication climate surveys: assesses how open the organization’s communication channels are.  Network analysis: assesses the frequency of interaction in a specific communication channel.  Readership surveys: assesses which organization publications are read most frequently.  Content analysis: assesses the quantity of favorable and unfavorable content regarding an organization.  Readability studies: assesses the clarity of written messages. There are many different ways to analyze clarity.  Although all of these studies are possible with most data, an organization must determine which studies would be most useful. o Social Audits  Social audit: assess publics’ perceptions of an organization’s social responsiveness.  Organizations need to be clear about what kind of relationship they have with each different public. Chapter 6: Strategic Planning for Public Relations Effectiveness  Strategic Planning o Strategic planning: process of assessing what resources you have and what you can do with those resources. o Planning PR moves makes PR proactive: works ahead of potential problems. o Too many problems forces PR professionals to focus only on the most pressing problems or are only directed to address issues after they have become problems, allowing other, smaller problems to snowball.  Importance of Planning: o Identifying an objective, planning a strategy, and creating a budget helps PR professionals address issues before they become problems. o Planning enables PR professionals to promote a positive image for an organization, rather than constantly combat negative press. o Manager input makes plans more effective. o PR strategies often fail because of a lack of communication between managers and PR professionals.  Fundamentals of Public Relations Planning o Two categories: 1. Strategic plans: long-range plans that focus on major organizational goals. 2. Tactical plans: short-term plans that focus on specific decisions that will help accomplish the strategic goals. More focused on everyday operations. o In order to create a plan, PR professionals must try to foresee any potential problems in relation to various publics. o Public opinion surveys: these surveys predict publics’ reactions to potential decisions and policies by an organization. Usually comprised of qualitative (non- numerical) data. o Brainstorming: group discussion method used to think of lots of new and innovative ways to combat PR issues and problems that can be critiqued at a later date. o Scenario construction: group discussion method where people envision potential problems and discuss how the organization would react to those problems.  Elements of Planning o Goals: what the organization wants to accomplish. Also referred to as strategies, objectives, missions, and purposes. o Campaign Plans (Single Use)  Single use plans: plans used to accomplish specific objectives.  Writing the Plan 1. Create goals in relation to the organization’s mission statement. Resources, such as time and money, should also be considered when creating goals. 2. Determine the current situation and identify the problem. 3. Determine the threats that may hinder your goals and the opportunities that may help your goals. Resources, people, and policies, etc. may all be considered threats or opportunities. 4. Research, categorize, choose, and prioritize your target audience(s). The descriptions of those audiences should be very thorough. At this point, PR professionals should also create a specific problem statement that defines what the problem is and how the organization will combat it. 5. Create a theme for the campaign that is short, captures the theme, and will stand the test of time. 6. Create specific goals for the campaign that are attainable and measurable, ex. increase readership by 25%. 7. Develop strategies that will help the organization accomplish its goals, ex. contact potential consumers. 8. Create very specific tactics to implement the strategies, ex. send potential consumers some free copies of the first magazine. 9. Develop evaluation methods. Use either formative evaluation (evaluate progress at multiple stages) or summative evaluation (assesses the outcome of the campaign at the end of the campaign). 10. Create a budget that will accomplish certain PR strategies. This budget (zero-base budget) is usually created by figuring out 1) the essential resources; 2) the total use of those resources; and 3) the costs of those resources. Public relations counselors often submit zero-base budgets with their bids to organizations. 11. Create a timetable that includes each event in the campaign. 12. Assign personnel to each goal. o Planning by Objectives  Management by objectives (MBO): set both long-term and short-term objectives and create plans to achieve those objectives.  This strategy usually infiltrates every level of the organization.  “Balanced Scorecard”: list of objectives the organization wants to accomplish with their respective deadlines. o Standing Plans  Standing plans: routine plans that address recurring problems.  Overuse of standing plans may make an organization less responsive to its environment though.  Policies  Policies: guidelines for decision making.  May formalize what is already occurring at lower levels of the organization.  Outside organizations can also set or influence policies.  PR must plan their strategies in concurrence with organizational policy.  Procedures  Procedures: guidelines for implementing standard policy.  PR emergencies should be handled according to a predetermined procedure.  Rules  Rules: statements that specify which actions should be taken in a certain situation.  Kodak Galleries o Kodak used Ketchum Public Relations to rebrand itself in the digital age. o Kodak focused on its multiple uses. o It launched a new product in 2005: the Kodak EasyShare One wireless digital camera with numerous media releases and events.


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