Public Relations Writing

Course Details

Course Number: MCOM-4673  Section Number: 101

Fall 2010

Location: Fain Fine Arts Center

Classroom Number: B127

Days & Times:

MWF @ 12 - 12:50 p.m.



Course Attachments

Textbooks

The PR Style Guide, 2nd edition  ISBN: 9780495006435

MSU Faculty Member
Liz Minden   
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Course Objectives

 A.        COURSE DESCRIPTION & OBJECTIVES:

 Through discussion, readings 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. conduct research that defines an organization’s public relations opportunities.
  2. select the most appropriate channels and messages to communicate with an organization’s varied audiences.
  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.

Readings from the text will be assigned, but many materials will be from outside sources.  The course strongly emphasizes developing writing skills from a PR perspective and the research and planning that are required to develop effective PR messages.  Discussions and in-class exercises will focus on recognizing an organization’s PR opportunities and how to communicate effectively in writing with an organization’s stakeholders.


Course Expectations

 B.        COURSE ACTIVITIES & ASSIGNMENTS

            ASSIGNMENT                                                                                   # OF POINTS

            ONE (1) CLIENT SITUATION ANALYSIS REPORT                                  100

            ONE (1) CLIENT SPECIAL EVENT PROPOSAL                                       200

            ONE (1) CLIENT TRI-FOLD BROCHURE                                                  200

            TWO (2) EVENT PRESS RELEASES (50 pts. each)                                100

            ONE (1) CLIENT SPECIAL EVENT KIT                                                       100


Grading Standards

 C.        COURSE GRADES

  1. Late work will not be accepted.  If you know you’ll be out of town on a due date, turn in your work early.  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.
  5. Students are expected to come to class having read the assigned chapters upon which any quizzes will be based.
  6. The ability to make up any missed assignment is at the discretion of the instructor.
  7. Numerical grades are awarded for each quiz and assignment.  To determine your grade for the course, quiz 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 above.

8.   ASSIGNMENT GRADING CRITERIA:

  • DEADLINES:  All deadlines for the assignments listed in the course schedule of this syllabus 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.
  • QUALITY:  Assignment work quality also is important.  Your work should be as nearly professional in quality as possible.  For this reason, the following basic criteria will be used in grading your assignments:

             (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


Final Exam12/8/2010  3:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Submission Format Policy
  1. Homework assignments must be typed, double spaced.
  2. Points will be deducted from homework assignments that have numerous grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors.
  3. Correct style and formats for each assignment should be followed.


Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy

Late work will not be accepted.  If you know you’ll be out of town on a due date, turn in your work early.  A late assignment earns a zero for points.


Plagiarism Policy Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception. Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters. We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student. We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed. Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Attendance:  The university attendance policy is included in the MSU Student Handbook.  Attendance records will be kept for this course.  Generally, makeup work will be allowed only if you are participating in official school activities and provide a letter from the sponsoring professor, coach or administrator.  Students who miss more than three class periods without verifiably good reasons will be dropped from this course.


Other Policies

 D.         COURSE POLICIES:

1.   Attendance:  The university attendance policy is included in the MSU Student Handbook.  Attendance records will be kept for this course.  Generally, makeup work will be allowed only if you are participating in official school activities and provide a letter from the sponsoring professor, coach or administrator.  Students who miss more than three class periods without verifiably good reasons will be dropped from this course.

2.   Academic Dishonesty:  The MSU Student Honor Creed, written and adopted by the MSU Student Senate and 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.”

      The policy on Academic Dishonesty is outlined in the MSU Student Handbook, and includes cheating, collusion and plagiarism.  STUDENTS WHO VIOLATE THE TERMS OF THIS POLICY AND THE MSU STUDENT HONOR CREED WILL RECEIVE AN ‘F’ FOR THIS COURSE.

3.   Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act: Any student with a disability that may prevent full participation in this course and who is registered with the Office of Disability Services, should notify the instructor at the beginning of the course to ensure that alternatives may be found to provide full class participation.

4.   Limited Right:  By enrolling in this course, the student expressly grants Midwestern State University 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.  Additionally, the instructor will not release a student’s academic information or discuss a student’s academic progress or class attendance with his/her parent or guardian.  Furthermore, 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 will be dropped from the course.  (See MSU Student Handbook under “Standards of Conduct.”)

7.    Other:

  • You may be asked to provide your assignments on a portable computer medium (e.g., jump/thumb drive) or by email.
  • 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.
  • Turn off your iPods, MP3 players 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.

BE AWARE THAT the instructor reserves the right to change any part of this syllabus for any reason, but will give sufficient notice if changes are necessary.


Writing Proficiency Requirement All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed English 1113 and English 1123 and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at http://academics.mwsu.edu/wpr, or call 397-4131.