Category Archives: Class Notes Overview

Public Opinion and Persuasion, ch. 9

(taken from

Public Opinion- this can be defined in two different ways.

  1. “is the sum of individual opinions on an issue affecting those individuals”
  2. “is a collection of views held by persons interested in the subject”

Many people are persuading by those who have a lot of say on a subject. Public awareness is made through rallies and demonstrations. There are leaders who also try to influence people on their opinions and views. They are categorized as formal opinion leaders and informal opinion leaders. The formal leaders are elected officials, presidents of companies, or heads of membership groups. The informal leaders are people who have clout over peers through a certain characteristic. This person can be an actor, or role model for example. This chapter talks about persuasion and how it plays into public relations. After reading on this topic I agree that the most difficult persuasive task would be trying to “turn hostile opinions into favorable ones.” It is proven that the messages that are short, to the point, and easy to understand make the most impact. The audience can relate and focus on the simple meaning. I agree with this idea also. It is much easier to grab the concept of something simple and to the point.

Wilcox, D.L., & Cameron, G.T. (2009). Public relations: Strategies and tactics (9th Ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

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Evaluation, ch. 8

The 4th step of the public relations process is evaluation. In evaluating how a message that was delivered to an audience you must see if it was effective and how many it reached. After reading through chapter 8 in our text I thought one of the most important parts was the information on measurement of message exposure.

counting-sheep This is smart. Each firm can compare how they are doing in exposure compared to other firms. There are so many possibilities to reach out to your audience whether it be blogs or internet, web news sources, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, or  TV. Another interesting topic was the discussion of audience and how to measure their attitudes and how much they are affected. Audiences awareness and understanding of a message are studied. The change that you observe can be looked at to see if it is attributed to public relations efforts.

Wilcox, D.L., & Cameron, G.T. (2009). Public relations: Strategies and tactics (9th Ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

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Public Relations Departments and Firms, ch. 4

Public Relations departments vary from company to company in what they do.

Public Relations firms can range from one to two person operations to global size firms. The sizes range everywhere. Here in the United States, we have the world’s most public relations firms. The estimated number is around 7,000. Pretty neat right? The field continues to grow as there is a need for PR professionals.

Here’s a list of services public relations firms provide today:  (this list can be found in the textbook, page 112-113)

  • Marketing communications– promotion of products and services through the use of news releases, feature stories, special events, brochures, and media tours.
  • Executive speech training- top executives are coached on public affairs activities, including personal appearances.
  • Research and evaluation– scientific surveys are conducted to measure public attitudes and perceptions
  • Crisis communication- management is counseled on what to say and do in an emergency
  • Media analysis– appropriate media are examined for targeting specific messages to key audiences
  • Community relations- management is counceled on ways to achieve official and public support for projects such as building or expanding a factory
  • Events management– news conferences, anniversary celebrations, rallies, symposiums, and national conferences are planned and conducted
  • Public affairs– materials and testimony are prepared for government hearings and regulatory bodies, and background briefings are prepared
  • Branding and corporate reputation– advice is given on programs that establish a company brand and its reputation for quality
  • Financial relations-management is counseled on ways to avoid takeover by another firm and effectively communicate with stockholders, security analysts, and instituational investors

Wilcox, D.L., & Cameron, G.T. (2009). Public relations: Strategies and tactics (9th Ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

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Reaching a Multicultural and Diverse Audience, ch. 11

The groups of diverse cultural, ethnic, religous, and economic statuses is what makes an audience different. When these groups come together with similar interests it can work or sometimes can be a conflict.

When it comes to different age groups you must approach them all in their own unique way. The age groups are categorized as:

  • Youth and young adults
  • Baby-boomers
  • Seniors

As a professional in PR you must be able to understand the differences in cultural values, and reach out to different racial and ethnic groups.

One of the most important tips I took from this chapter was matching the audience with the media. This only makes sense. An older audience might prefer print media over the internet. Why? The reason is that elderly were not exposed to the new technological advances that the younger generations were exposed to. My generation has grown up with computers in our classrooms. We have been using the internet for research since late elementary to early middle school. The older generation (seniors) are more likely to look to media that they know. In this case with the example I gave, one would assume they prefer the newspaper.

Wilcox, D.L., & Cameron, G.T. (2009). Public relations: Strategies and tactics (9th Ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

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Communication, ch. 7

What is communication?

Well Websters dictionary defines it as:

1. The activity of communicating.

2. Something that is communicated between people or groups.

3. A connection allowing access between persons or places.


It is also the third step in the public relations process. It may also be referred to as “execution,” and is known as the most visible part of public relations work.


The main process of communication is the goal of getting a message across from an encoder to a decoder. There must be a source which is also known as the sender/encoder. The sender sends the message that travels through a channel to a receiver. The receiver then decodes the message. The fifth element in the proccess can be feedback from the reciever to the sender. (There has to be a shared experience.)


The most effective two-way communication envolves two people having a face-to-face conversation. The reason that face-to-face is so important is because you are then able to see gestures, facial expressions, intimacy between conversation, hear the tone of voice each other uses, and be able to receive instand feedback. The bigger a group gets the harder it is to communicate with each other. This has become a problem in mass media.


Two Types of Audiences:

  1. Active: The people are already at the interest stage. They are seeking out more information. An example of an active audience would be one who is about to purchase something and finds it attractive, basically already sold on that product. The person will ask for more information about the product in detail. They might also read in-depth articles concerning the product before purchase, or perhaps talk to someone who knows something about the product.
  2. Passive: The people who pay attention to the message only because it offers a type of entertainment. They can be made aware of the message through brief encounters. They like to use communication channels that can be utilized while they are doing not much else. An example of this type of audience would be an announcement they heard on the radio on the way to church.

 Wilcox, D.L., & Cameron, G.T. (2009). Public relations: Strategies and tactics (9th Ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

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Research: ch. 5

The main process of PR can be summed up by an acronym -RACE.

  1. Research– figure out what the problem is
  2. Action- what we do about the problem
  3. Communication– how are we going to tell the public
  4. Evaluation– see if you reached your audience, and study the effects

Questions asked about research, (note: these can be found on Barbara Nixon’s blog,, click here

  • Should the organization do the research in-house or hire an outside consultant?
  • How will the research data be analyzed, reported, or applied?
  • How soon will the results be needed?
  • How much will the research cost?

There are two types of Reseach

  1. Primary– in-depth interviews, focus groups, surveys, and polls.
  2. Secondary– existing information, such as, information in books, magazine articles, and electronic databases

Two Methods of Research:

  1. Qualitative
  • “Soft” data
  • Usually uses open-ended questions, unstructured
  • Exploratory in nature; probing, fishing-expedition type of research
  • Usually valid, but not reliable
  • Rarely projectable to larger audiences
  • Generally uses nonrandom samples
  • Examples: Focus groups; one-on-one; in-depth interviews; observation; participation; role-playing studies; convenience polling

     2.    Quantitative

  • “Hard” data
  • Usually uses close-ended questions, requires forced choices, highly structured
  • Descriptive or explanatory type of research
  • Usually valid and reliable
  • Usually projectable to larger audiences
  • Generally uses random samples
  • Examples: Telephone polls, mail surveys, mall intercept studies, face-to-face interviews, shared cost, or omnibus studies; panal studies

Last little offerings of advice:

  • In research you must think carefully about how you word your questions in a questionaire.
  • Role-playing can even be helpful when gaining insights into the strengths and weaknesses of an organization.

Wilcox, D.L., & Cameron, G.T. (2009). Public relations: Strategies and tactics (9th Ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

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PR Ethics, Ch. 3

The topic of discussion is Ethics and Beliefs. We all believe different things, so who is to say what is right or wrong? Hopefully this post will help you evaluate what kind of a thinker you are in a professional situation.

What you believe in can and does most likely determine the way you act. Philosophers state that there are three basic categories in which individuals fall under.

  1. Absolute– The absolute believes that every decision is either “right” or “wrong,” regardless of the consequences. It is based on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant that the end cannot justify the means.
  2. Existential- The existentialist, whose choices are not made in a prescribed value system, which decides on the basis of immediate practical choice. This approach is somewhat grounded in Aristotle’s idea that individuals should seek a balance, or midpoint, between two extremes. In other words, Aristotle would disagree with Kant by saying, “never say never.”
  3. Situational– The situationalist believes that each decision is based on what would cause the least harm or the most good. This often is called the utilitarian approach. This concept was advanced by John Stuart Mill, who believed the end could justify the means as long as the result benefited the greatest number of people.

Another approach to ethics is simply and well-known as “The Golden Rule“- love your neighbor as yourself, or “treat others as you would like to be treated.”

Three principles that you should keep in mind that are essential from the IABC Code of Ethics are:

  • Professional communication is legal
  • Professional communication is ethical
  • Professional communication is in good taste

If you need more ethical or professional questions answered groups such as, PRSA, IABC, and IPRA may provide a code of conduct that has been published or have educational programs.

(Note: Information from this post was primarily found in the textbook for, Introduction to Public Relations course, Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics.) Wilcox, D.L., & Cameron, G.T. (2009) Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

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