Chapter 9 Notes

Public Opinion and Persuasion

  • Public opinion is elusive and extremely difficult to measure.
  • Types of leaders
    • Formal opinion leaders: hold positions such as elected officials, presidents of companies or heads of membership groups. Also called power leaders
    • Informal opinion leaders: those who have clout with peers because of some special characteristic. Role models who are admired and emulate or opinion leaders who can exert peer pressure on others. Highly informed, articulate and credible on particular issues.
    • 10 to 12 percent of the general public are opinion leaders.
    • Mass media means that information from a PR source can be efficiently and rapidly disseminated to literally millions of people.
    • Wayne Wanta has explored second level agenda setting effects, finding evidence that the media not only set an agenda but also convey a set of attributes about the subject of the news.
    • Mass media effects also are increased when people cannot verify information through personal experience or knowledge. Particularly in crisis situations
    • Framing theory
      • Impacts public understanding and consequently policy information
      • Conflict theory
        • Generate or promote conflict or controversy to gain positive position in the marketplace of ideas.
        • Persuasion is used to
  1. Change or neutralize hostile opinion
  2. Crystallize latent opinions and positive attitudes
  3. Conserve favorable opinions
  • Audience analysis
    • Psychographics- this method attempts to classify people by lifestyle, attitudes, and beliefs.
    • The most persuasive messages are direct, simply expressed and contain only on primary idea.

June 25, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Chapter 8 Notes


  • Evaluation is the measurement of results against established objectives set during the planning process.
  • PR budget devoted to measurement which is close to 5 percent but by 2010 will increase to 10 percent.
  • The most widely used methods for evaluating public relations efforts are
    • Measurement of production
    • Message exposure
    • Audience awareness
    • Audience attitudes
    • Audience action
    • Advertising Equivalency
  • Calculate the value of message exposure by converting stories into regular news columns or on the air into equivalent advertising cost.
  • Computer software and databases can analyze the content of media placements by such variables as market penetration, type of publication, tone of coverage, sources quoted, and mention of key copy points.
  • Benchmark coverage before and after a campaign to determine whether organizations publicity efforts paid off in terms of placement and mention of key messages.
  • Cost effectiveness is calculated by taking the cost of the publicity program and dividing it by the total media impressions.
  • Day-after recall participants are asked to view a specific television program or read a particular news story and the next day they are interviewed to see what key messages are recalled.
  • Baseline study is a measurement of audience attitudes and options before, during and after a PR campaign.
  • The entire communication activity of an organization should be evaluated at least once a year to make sure that every primary and secondary public receiving appropriate message.
  • Split message is common in direct mail campaigns.
    • Two or three different appeals may be prepared by a charitable organization and sent to different audiences. The response rate is then monitored to learn what messages and graphics seemed to be the most effective.
  • Readership interest surveys
    • Get feedback about the types of stories employees are most interested in reading.

June 24, 2010. Chapter Notes, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.


 For week four, I viewed an interview with Martin Waxman who owns his own PR agency in Toronto, Canada. He has based his agency on three pillars including: simplicity, energy and integrity. At the beginning of opening his agency he described media relations at being at the core of the agency but as time has continued social relations has moved to the forefront. Along with running his PR agency, he also runs a podcast that has an episode every week. Waxman felt that having a podcast is more personal to produce because you don’t have the same time to think about what you r going to say. You say what you’re thinking a d you can’t turn around and edit it like you can in a blog. The most he has to prepare himself for a podcast is a 45 minute talk session before filming about the things that they are going to discuss on the show. Waxman stresses the importance of blogging, podcast and Twitter to stay connected in the social media world. The most important thing that I learned from the interview was what he looks for in hiring new people. It’s important to have the basic and traditional skills that come with PR. I focus so much time and energy on what is new in social media and I forget to know the beginnings and where everything started. Also learning the importance of participating in blogs, podcast and Twitter, of my own and following up on people who are prominent in the industry. Know the important people of the business and what they are saying and what the comments are to the information that they are putting out. I want to learn about what skills are needed in the social media industry. I want to hear about how he started in the PR industry and the experiences he had. I also would like to learn more about his agency and what is involved in running your own PR business.

June 24, 2010. Topic of the Week, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Chapter 7 Notes


  • Goal is to inform, persuade, motivate or achieve mutual understanding.
  • Five Communication Elements
  1. It has a sender/source  (encoder)
  2. A message
  3. A channel
  4. A receiver (decoder)
  5. Feedback from the receiver to the sender
  • The most effective two way communication is two people having a face-to –face conversation.
  • Media uses and gratification theory
    • The communication process is interactive
    • The communicator wants to inform and even persuade
    • The recipient wants to be entertained, informed, or alerted to opportunities that can fulfill individual needs.
    • Clarity and simplicity of messages are enhanced by the use of symbols, acronyms, and slogans.
    • Jargon interferes with the message and impedes the receiver’s ability to understand it.
    • Clichés and hype words can seriously undermine the credibility of the message.
    • Sleeper effect people may retain the information and eventually separate the source from the opinion.
    • Key points should be mentioned at the beginning and then summarized at the end.
    • Entropy which means that messages continually lose information as media channels and people process the information and pass it on to others.
    • Five stages of the adoption process
  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Evaluation
  4. Trial
  5. Adoption
  • Not necessary to go through all five stages
  • How decisions are influenced
    • Awareness stage: mass media vehicles such as advertising, short news articles, feature stories, radio and television
    • Interest stage: detailed brochures, specialized publications, small group seminars, web sites, and meetings to provide details.
    • Evaluation, Trial, and Adoption stages: personal experience, group norms and options of family and friends become more influential than mass media.
    • 72 of consumers are influenced by their own experience and another 56 percent by friends and family.
    • 75 percent of word of mouth communication occurs offline and in person.

June 24, 2010. Chapter Notes, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Chapter 6 Notes

Program Planning

  • Eight basic elements
    • Situation
    • Objectives
    • Audience
    • Strategy
    • Tactics
    • Calendar/ Timetable
    • Budget
    • Evaluation
    • Objectives
      • Informational objectives: expose audiences to information and to increase awareness of an issue an even or a product.
      • Motivational: changing attitudes and influence behavior
      • Bottom line oriented and are based on clearly measurable results that can be quantified
      • PR programs should be directed toward a specific and defined audience or publics.
      • A strategy provides guidelines and key message themes for the overall program and a rationale for the actions and program components that are planned.
      • Program planning should take into account the environment context of the situation and the time when key messages are most meaningful.
      • Concentrate the most effort at the beginning of the campaign when a number of tactics are implemented.
      • Gantt chart is a column matrix that has two sides. Left side has a vertical list of activities that must be accomplished and the top has a horizontal line of days, weeks or months.
      • It is not unusual for 70 percent to be salaries and administrative fees in a budget.

June 24, 2010. Chapter Notes, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Chapter 5 Notes


  • Public relations professional use research to:
    • To achieve credibility with management
    • To define audiences and segment publics
    • To formulate strategy
    • To test messages
    • To help management keep in touch
    • To prevent crisis
    • To monitor the competition
    • To sway public opinion  
    • To generate publicity
    • To measure success
    • Primary research new and original information is generated through research design that is directed to answer a specific question. Example: in dept interviews, focus groups, surveys and polls.
    • Archival research in an organizations files to reference books, computer databases and online research
      • The success of the product or service in the past
      • Analysis of what geographical areas provide the most sales
      • A profile of a typical customer who buys the product or uses the service.
      • Common reference services: Statistical Abstract of the United Sates (census info), American Demographics ( population shifts and lifestyle), Simmon’s Media and Markets ( survey of households on product usage by brand and exposure to various media)
      • A lot of PR research is qualitative which is good for probing attitudes and perceptions of messages and testing messages.
      • Content analysis is the systematic and objective counting or categorizing of information.
        • Measure the amount of media coverage and the content of the coverage
        • 250 to 500 people will give an accurate data with 5 or 6 percent variance that will help to determine public attitudes and opinions.
        • Questionnaire Construction
          • Highly charged words elicit an emotional reaction from the respondent.

          Responses to surveys questions are influenced by events

          Give a range of possible answers

        • The major disadvantage of telephone surveys is the difficulty in getting access to numbers.
        • Mail questionnaires reach a large geographical audience and is less expensive
        • Personal interviews are the most expensive but can generate a lot of information.


June 24, 2010. Chapter Notes, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Chapter 4 Notes

Public Relations Department and Firms

  • George Westinghouse reportedly created the first corporate public relations department in 1889 when he hired two men to publicize his pet project, alternating current (AC) electricity.
  • Large complex organizations have a greater tendency then small firms to include PR in the policy making process.
  • Small scale organizations
    • Few public pressures and little governmental regulatory interest
    • Traditional organizations have little to no input into management decisions and policy formation.
  • A seat at the management table should be the goal of PR practitioners.
  • Influence of the company is based on four factors
    • Perception of value by top management
    • Practitioners taking on the managerial role
    • Reporting to the CEO
    • Years of professional experience
    • In large corporations corporate communications or communications outnumber the term public relations.
  • Public relations is a staff function
  • Levels of influence
    • Lowest level advisory has to need to make recommendations or request them, often not effective.
    • Compulsory-advisory position- line managers have to at least listen to the appropriate staff experts before deciding a strategy.
    • Concurring advisory- helps to approve copies and layouts
    • Command authority- has the right to make changes with or without the consent of PR.
  • Public Relations firms
    • Found in every industrialized nation and most of the developing world
    • Gives counsel and performs tactical services to carry out an agreed on program.
    • Internet has fueled the global reach of PR firms.
  • Request for Proposal
    • A firm is invited to make a presentation regarding their capabilities and express their ideas about what program they would create to address the potential client’s particular needs.
  • Advantages of PR Firms
    • Objectivity
    • A variety of skills and expertise
    • Extensive resources
    • International jobs
    • Offices throughout the country
    • Special problem solving skills
    • Credibility
  • Disadvantages
    • Superficial grasp of clients unique problems
    • Lack of full time commitment
    • Need for prolong briefing period
    • Resentment by internal staff
    • Need for strong direction by top management
    • Need for full information and confidence
    • Cost
  • Fees and charges
    • Basic hourly fee plus out of pocket expenses
    • Retainer fee
    • Fixed project fee
    • Pay for placement

June 21, 2010. Chapter Notes, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Chapter 3 Notes

Ethics and Professionalism

  • PR professionals have to take four things into consideration when dealing with ethics
  1. The public interest
  2. The employer’s self interest
  3. The standards of the public relations profession
  4. Their personal values
  • The largest public relations organization in the world is the Public Relations Society of America
    • It has 19 professional interest sections that represent such areas as: employee communications, counseling firms, entertainment and sports, food and beverage.
    • Has an extensive professional development program that offers short courses, seminars, teleconferences and Webcast
    • Holds am annual meeting and publish two major periodicals: Tactics and The Strategist
    • Codes for specific situations
      • Financial information- 12 point code of ethics keeps members responsible of exercising independent professional judgment, keeping track of company affairs, `and all investor laws and regulations, and ensuring full and fair disclosure.
      • Video News Releases- information contained in a VNR must be accurate and reliable, a video news release must be identified as such, the sponsor of the release must be clearly identified on the tape, and persons interviewed on the VNR must be accurately identified by name title and affiliation in the video.
      • A practitioner should have a sense of independence, a sense of responsibility to society and public interest, manifest concern for the competence and honor of the profession as a whole and a higher loyalty to standards.

June 21, 2010. Chapter Notes, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Chapter 2 Notes

The Evolution of Public Relations

  • Julius Caesar was the first politician to publish a book, Commentaries, which was used to further his goals of becoming emperor of the Roman Empire.
  • The Roman Catholic Church was a major influence in PR throughout the Middle Ages and was among the first to use the word propaganda.
  • The Boston Tea Party is known as the best known publicity stunt of all time.
  • Amos Kendall was the first presidential press secretary to President Andrew Jackson. Was the first to use newspaper reprints in public relations
  • Samuel Insull

President of the Chicago Edison Company

Created a monthly customer magazine

Started the bill stuffer by inserting company information into customer bills

  • Henry Ford

America’s first major industrialist

Used the idea that credit and publicity always go to those who do something first and always be accessible to the press

  • Teddy Roosevelt

Made use of news conferences and press interviews

  • Ivy Lee: the first PR counsel

Led by Ivy Ledbetter Lee

Open Informational policy

  • Edward L. Bernays: Father of Modern PR

A new model of PR that emphasized the application of social science research and behavioral psychology to formulate campaigns and messages that could change people’s perceptions and encourage certain behaviors.

  • Women now make up 70 percent of practicitioners

Women find the field more welcoming

Women make more money in PR

Can start a PR firm without a lot of capitol

Have better listening and communication skills

More sensitive in facilitating two way communications

June 21, 2010. Chapter Notes, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

PR Professional Interview

Kanika Whipple was born in Los Angeles, California and is 32 years old. She graduated from Pepperdine University, with her B.S degree in Public Relations. Kanika currently runs the PR department for the American Cancer Society here in Kennesaw, Georgia.  I am currently volunteering with Kanika at the American Cancer Society as her helper and I shadow her at her programs. The interview was conducted face-to-face on June 9, 2010.

The interview took place in her office, which provided a calm and relaxed environment to gain information.  I started the interview off by asking her what a typical week is like for her.  

Well, there’s not really a typical week.  Last week was determining the needs for my programs.  If I am focusing on promotion, I make sure a release is written and send it through to our Marketing Director for any input.  I then refer to our media list to send the information out.  Often, if a volunteer I work with has relationships with any media, I forward it to them.  Besides that, I am generally in the community talking to nurses, doctors, MAs,

Tell me about a project you worked on that you are especially proud of.

While at Hill and Knowlton, I was a part of a team that worked on Sony Playstation.  This was awhile ago when the Xbox was coming out and threatening to take over a huge portion of the market share.  Most recently, we created the first Survivor Concert this past year in Cobb County and it garnered great press in the local media.

What do you do to keep current in the PR industry?

I read a ton!  PRSA is a great resource.  And, continuously writing to promote our programs helps a lot, too.  It kind of keeps me in practice though that is not a real function of what I currently do.

What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR?

I wish I would have known to stay in the field longer than I had, if I were to make this a lifelong career.  I exposed myself to agency pr, but not much else.  I would have taken the time to delve into other areas.

How important is writing in your career? 

It is extremely important to know how to write, particularly in AP style.  I think it is important to know how to write in a way that would catch the reporter’s attention – get your client noticed. 

What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?

    • Network, network, network
    • Fine tune your writing
    • Learn the preferences of the media you are targeting
    • Expect to work hard


Did your education prepare you for working in PR? How? 

My education definitely prepared me for public relations in a theoretical and broader sense.  But, most of my education in public relations was developed by working hands-on.

What has surprised you the most about working in PR? 

How much people really don’t know or understand about the field.  It’s often confused with advertising and is thought of as something easy to do, when it really is a lot of work.

How has PR changed since you entered the field? 

Yes, I think the way that information is gathered has changed and social marketing has also altered how things are done.  Blogger relations….people pitch bloggers now which is amazing because they are not reporters.  But, they still have a voice and a following.  I also remember the days of Media Map.  Now, there are web-based directories that I understand companies to use more.

June 10, 2010. PRCA 2330, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

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