So, keeping in the tradition of this blog and therefore posting about public relations as much as possible (though I realize it's been sort of a smorgasboard along the way), I'll share with you here the extremely abbreviated version of my 85-page paper that I presented last month to my graduate committee.
"Integrating Public Relations Theory Across Multiple Projects: A Graduate Internship Report Offering Insight into Experiences and Lessons Learned"
Overall, I felt the sociopsychological and sociocultural traditions, as discussed often by Littlejohn and Foss, were prevalent as overall frames through which to view my experiences.
I came away with the following five focal points to discuss regarding my experiences:
- Audience analysis: you must target the right audiences with the right messages for them. Therefore, knowing psychographic and demographic information about your audiences is key. In addition, I discuss how the narrative perspective of rhetorical criticism can actually lend a tool for creating effective messages across cultures.
- Media usage: I discussed agenda-setting, framing and priming theories here, and more specifically, I wrote about agenda-building. As public relations practitioners, we often build the agenda for the agenda-setters (the media), especially in a symbiotic age between the two professions. Also, I took a McLuhan approach, advocating that the medium really is the message.
- Research importance: Every PR project starts with good research. While the type and depth of the research varies by case, it is always the first and most important step to success. I discussed the importance of understanding statistics and research methods, including such strategies as using open-ended questions in focus group and surveys.
- Public voice: Here, I primarily discussed the two-way symmetrical model of public relations first made famous by the Grunigs while they were at the University of Maryland through their "Excellence Study." I believe it is important to give our various publics voices, finding a win-win zone using a mixed-motive model. However, I also discuss the ethical implications of this concept from a critical perspective.
- Advice: In the last part of my report, I offered advice to future graduate students who decide to become professional-track, internship-option students. This includes selection of an internship and workplace performance.
I would like to personally thank Dr. Rachel Holloway for her guidance in this project and Todd Marcum for allowing me to experience this great opportunity.