MWF @ 1 – 1:50 p.m.
A. COURSE DESCRIPTION & OBJECTIVES:
Information will be provided through lectures, text and materials from outside sources. Research and planning that are required in developing effective public relations writing skills will be emphasized. Discussions and in-class exercises will focus on recognizing an organization’s PR opportunities and how to communicate effectively with an organization’s audiences.
Through discussions, exercises and homework assignments, this course is designed to:
1. Provide you with an understanding of the importance of planning and developing public relations messages.
2. Help you learn to make effective decisions in planning public relations messages.
3. Provide the skills for developing and writing effective public relations messages.
4. Integrate public relations theory with the skills you need to be an effective public relations writer.
Upon successful completion of this course you should be able to:
1. Identify and define an organization’s public relations opportunities.
2. Select the most appropriate channels and messages to communicate with an organization’s varied audiences, including the news media.
3. Write public relations messages for an organization’s audiences using several different formats and styles.
4. Apply public relations theory to a variety of public relations writing situations.
B. COURSE ACTIVITIES & ASSIGNMENTS
1. FIVE IN-CLASS EXERCISES: 15 points each
Exercise Assignment Date
Fact Sheets Feb. 15
News Ideas March 8
Newsletters April 5
Photos April 12
TBA April 26
2. FIVE HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS:
Assignment # of Possible Pts.
Client Selection & Notes – Due Feb. 8 50
Fact Sheet – Due Feb. 22 75
News Release – Due March 27 100
Newsletter Mock-up – Due April 19 100
Newsletter – Due May 6 by 5:30 p.m. 200
C. COURSE GRADES
1. Late work will not be accepted. A late assignment earns a zero for points.
2. Fabricating information or using another’s work as your own earns you an “F” for the course. (See “Course Policies” #2.)
3. Points will be deducted from homework assignments that have numerous grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors.
4. Homework assignments must be typed, double-space, on only one side of the paper.
5. The ability to make up any missed assignment is at the discretion of the instructor.
6. Numerical grades are awarded for each exercise and assignment. To determine your grade for the course, exercise and assignment grades will be totaled and then divided by the total number of possible points to derive your percentage. The grading scale is:
A = 90% -100% of the total possible points
B = 80% - 89% of the total possible points
C = 70% - 79% of the total possible points
D = 60% - 69% of the total possible points
F = Less than 60% of the total possible points
**NOTE: The instructor reserves the right to adjust or cancel assignments as the course progresses. If for some reason assignments total somewhat more or fewer than the original number set for the course, the method of calculating the final grade will remain the same: the total points a student achieves for all submitted assignments will be divided by the total possible points for all the assignments to obtain a percentage, and a grade will be assigned according to the percentage scale outlined on page two.
7. ASSIGNMENT GRADING CRITERIA:
a. DEADLINES: All deadlines for the homework assignments have been made to insure reasonable completion times. You should plan accordingly. Students will be given ample notice of any changes in deadlines. SINCE THE PR PROFESSION IS CALENDAR-DRIVEN AND DEADLINES ARE IMPORTANT, NO ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THE CLASS PERIODS IN WHICH THEY ARE DUE.
b. QUALITY: Your homework assignments should be as nearly professional in quality as possible. Basic grading criteria include, but are not limited to:
(i) Neatness; use of correct materials and logical format
(ii) Correct grammar, spelling and punctuation
(iii) Meeting deadlines
(iv) Writing accuracy, clarity/readability, appropriate to audience
(v) Content - complete and based on research information
Late work will not be accepted. A late assignment earns a zero for points.
Attendance: Students are expected to attend, be on time for and participate in class. The instructor reserves the right to drop any student who misses more than three class periods. Students who miss more than three class periods without verifiably good reasons will be dropped from this course.
E. COURSE POLICIES
1. Attendance: Students are expected to attend, be on time for and participate in class. The instructor reserves the right to drop any student who misses more than three class periods. Students who miss more than three class periods without verifiably good reasons will be dropped from this course.
2. Plagiarism and cheating: The MSU Student Honor Creed, found in both your student handbook and the university catalog, includes the statement: “As an MSU student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else to do so.” Plagiarism, lying and cheating include, but are not limited to: fabricating information and sources, copying material from publications without crediting the author, turning in another student’s work as your own, and copying quiz/exam answers from another person. STUDENTS FOUND CHEATING, PLAGIARIZING OR MAKING UP INFORMATION WILL RECEIVE AN “F” FOR THIS COURSE.
3. Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act: Any student with a disability who is registered with the MSU Office of Disability Support Services should notify the instructor at the beginning of the course to ensure that alternatives may be found to provide the student with full class participation.
4. Limited Right: By enrolling in this course, the student expressly grants MSU a “limited right” in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course. This “limited right” shall include, but shall not be limited to, the right to reproduce the student’s work product in order to verify originality and authenticity, and for educational purposes.
5. FERPA: The instructor abides by the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The instructor also will not release a student’s academic information or discuss a student’s academic progress or class attendance with his/her parent or guardian. Additionally, the instructor will not discuss a student’s grades with him/her in class, over the phone or by email. STUDENTS WHO HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR GRADES MUST MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE INSTRUCTOR.
6. Disruptive Behavior: Anyone disrupting the class – or violating any other Standard of Conduct applicable to the classroom environment – will be dropped from the course. (See MSU Student Handbook, “Standards of Student Conduct.”)
a. Turn off the sound on your cell phone during class. No text messaging either. If your phone rings or you’re found sending a text-message during class, you will be dropped from the course.
b. Turn off your iPods and similar technology. Like ringing cell phones, this is a class disruption issue and you will be dropped from the course if you do not comply.
c. Be polite. Discourtesy of any kind will not be tolerated.
7. Senior Portfolio:
Please note that all mass communication majors are required to submit a portfolio as part of their Internship course (Internship is a prerequisite to Senior Production). This requirement is a part of MSU’s reaccreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is non-negotiable. Through the portfolio, students are required to demonstrate communication competence through the written word and visual communication; two examples of each competency are required.
As you go through this and other classes, you are responsible for saving course work that could be included in your senior portfolio.
Please see me, your adviser, the department chair or any mass communication faculty member for handouts with more information ("Mass Communication Portfolio Competencies" and "Mass Communication Portfolio FAQ"). These handouts are also available our department web page: http://finearts.mwsu.edu/masscomm/.
8. Other: You may be asked to provide your assignments on a portable computer medium
(e.g., jump/thumb drive) or by email.
BE AWARE THAT the instructor reserves the right to change any part of this syllabus for any reason, and will give sufficient notice if changes are necessary.