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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Press and Public Relations
Module Code CM3100
School School of Communications
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Martin Molony
Semester 2: Martin Molony
Autumn: Martin Molony
Module TeachersMartin Molony
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

To enable students to define key concepts of public relations; To explain the distinction between public relations and advertising and marketing; To familiarise students with the workings of press relations and public relations campaigns; To encourage critical thinking in relation to the practice of public relations.

Learning Outcomes

1. Recognise public relations activities within an organisation.
2. Define the nature of public relations within a range of organisations.
3. Differentiate between public relations, advertising and marketing.
4. Deconstruct a public relations plan into its constituent elements.
5. Evaluate the success, or otherwise, of a public relations campaign.
6. Identify appropriate public relations activities for given situations and specific publics.
7. Demonstrate an awareness of issues relating the ethical practice of Public Relations.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture22Weekly class contact and tutor consultation
Assignment Completion30Case Study Assignment
Online activity25Use of course-related material on Moodle
Independent Study48General research and reading
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

What is Public Relations?
Perceptions of Public Relations; Best practice in Public Relations; Forms of Public Relations; Functions of Public Relations; Defining publics; Public Relations & Advertising; Public Relations & Marketing; Public Relations & Journalism; Measuring the effectiveness of PR.

Public Relations Activities
Media kits; News releases; Photocalls; Video news releases; News conferences: Expert sources; Public service announcements; Reputation advertising; Endorsements; Op-Ed articles; Audience opportunities; Media tours; Public consulation; Crisis management; Corporate Social Responsiblity; Sponsorship; PR, new media and social media.

The News Release
What is a press release?; Effective news releases; Understanding a news story; News angles; Inverted pyramid structure; News release common mistakes; The care and feeding of the press.

Crisis Communications
What is a crisis?; Issues management; Case studies in crisis communications (Tylenol, Exxon, NatWest, Virgin Rail, Brian Cowan, BP); Lessons from 9/11.

Social Media for Public Relations
Web 2.0 & PR 2.0; Channels for online presence; Social Media revolution; RSS; Blogs; Wikis; Facebook; LinkedIn; Twitter; You Tube; Effective Social Media campaigns; Key strategies in using social media for Public Relations.

Toxic Sludge is Good For You
Worst PR practices; Analysis of poor professional standards; Discussion of unethical PR activities.

Ethics in Public Relations
"Good day to bury bad news"; Ambush Marketing; What are ethics?; Myths to avoid ethics; Ethics - duty to whom?; Ethical issues in Public Relations; PRII code of practice; Code of Lisbon; PRSA code of ethics; Decision-making (Potter, Sims); Parson's Pillars; The Four-Way Test; Common ethical issues; Case studies in unethical PR.

The Journalist & the PR Professional
Understanding the role of a journalist; Understanding the environment in which a journalist works; Motivations of a journalist vs. serving a PR client; Churnalism; Labelling PR content in news; The newsroom environment; Targetting the right journalist; The newsroom of tomorrow.

Public Relations for Non-Profits
The third sector; Volunteerism and philanthropy; Role of PR in non-profit organisations; Case studies.

Public Relations Planning and Evaluation
What constitutes a plan?; Key elements of a PR plan; Strategic planning; Ten step planning process; Goals and objectives; PR campaign evaluation.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
EssayAn individual case study of a chosen public relations campaign, including a reflection on appropriate improvements.70%Sem 1 End
Loop QuizStudents will be required to complete online quizzes within Loop.30%As required
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Broom, Glen M.: 2013, Cutlip and Center's Effective Public Relations, Pearson Education, New Jersey,
  • Fink, Stephen: 2013, Crisis communications: the definitive guide to managing the message, McGraw-Hill Education, New York,
  • Hackley, Christopher E: 2010, Advertising and promotion: in integrated marketing communications, 2nd, Sage Publications, London,
  • L'Etang, Jacqui: 2015, The Routledge handbook of critical public relations, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, Abingdon, Oxon,
  • Lloyd, John & Toogood, Laura: 2015, Journalism and PR: news media and public relations in the digital age, I. B. Tauris, London,
  • Scott, David Meerman: 2013, The new rules of marketing & PR, 4th edition, John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey,
  • Theaker, Alison & Yaxley, Heather: 2013, The public relations strategic toolkit, Routledge, London,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
BAJLBachelor of Arts (BAJL)
BAJLIBachelor of Arts (BAJLI)
BAJLNBachelor of Arts (BAJLN) - Intra Law
BAJMBachelor of Arts (BAJM)
BAJMIBachelor of Arts (BAJMI)
BAJMNBachelor of Arts (BAJMN) Intra
BSSCIBA Social Sciences & Cultural Innovation
BSSCIIBA Social Sciences & Cultural Innovation
BSSCINBA Social Sciences & Cultural Innovation
CSBA in Communication Studies
GIBA Gaeilge agus Iriseoireacht
GIMDBA Gaeilge, Iriseoireacht & na MeƔin Dh
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
JRBA in Journalism
MMABSc in Multimedia

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