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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Managing the Message
Module Code CM50130
School School of Communications
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Martin Molony
Semester 2: Martin Molony
Autumn: Martin Molony
Module TeachersMartin Molony
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module will equip students to identify what messages need to be delivered to whom, when and the form and content of the messages.

Learning Outcomes

1. Identify, map and prioritise all stakeholders.
2. Distinguish between data, information and messages.
3. Create clear, concise and comprehensible messages.
4. Critically evaluate proactive and reactive messages within campaigns.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture10Lectures on module topics, including news values, news angles, pitching stories, digital communication and the care and feeding of the press.
Workshop20Workshops to include exercises in the generation and delivery of Public Relations messages.
Online activity20Use of course-related material on Loop.
Independent Study20Daily, critical consumption of news and current affairs across a range of platforms.
Independent Study35Personal research, study and skills development.
Assignment Completion20Research, preparation and delivery of module assignments.
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

Stakeholder identification; Stakeholder mapping (interest vs impact); Stakeholder management; Adapting the message to suit the market or target audience.

Drafting key messages
How to write clearly and with purpose. Testing your message. The importance of securing consensus and approval.

Delivering the Message
Getting the message out to the target audience, internally or externally; reactive and pro-active communication; selecting appropriate channels; timing and frequency.

Effective Personal Communication
Communicating effectively in one-to-one and group environments.

What Makes News?
Timeliness / currency; Proximity; Prominence; Usefulness; Human interest; Novelty; Conflict.

Pitching Your Story
Identifying your target audience; Knowing your media and their journalists; Thinking like a freelance journalist; Identifying online influencers; Pitching to the point; Pitch a story, not your organisation.

Press Releases
The news test; Timing: news deadlines an and embargoes; Write like a reporter; Who, why, what, where, when and how; Making headlines work; The news pyramid; The Gunning fog index;Being concise: less is more; Boiler-plate text; Quotations; Tone and pace in writing; Ethical and legal considerations; Traps, snares ad pitfalls: Classic failures in media releases.

Digital Communication
Creating content for digital platforms: blogs, web sites and social media; Linear vs. non-linear stories; The 24-hour news cycle; SEO: use of meta-data: titles, description and keywords.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Professional PracticeStory Pitch: This assignment requires students to take on the role of a Public Relations practitioner, pitching a story to a journalist for coverage in a specified news outlet.20%n/a
Practical/skills evaluationMedia Releases: This assignment requires students to write a news release for given scenarios, described in each of the briefs provided.30%n/a
AssignmentMessage Analysis: This assignment requires students to analyse the messages used by the participants in a chosen topical item / news story / campaign reported by mainstream media or social media.50%n/a
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

  • Truss, Lynn: 2009, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Fourth Estate,
  • Mahoney, James: 2017, Public Relations Writing, eBook, Oxford University Press Australia,
  • Randall, David: 2011, The Universal Journalist, eBook, Pluto, London,
  • Waddington, Stephen: 2012, Share This: the social media handbook for PR professionals, eBook, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK,
  • Lloyd, John & Toogood, Laura: 2014, Journalism and PR: News Media and Public Relations in the Digital Age, Reuters Institute,
  • Martin N. Ndlela: 2019, Crisis Communication: A Stakeholder Approach, eBook, Springer International Publishing,
  • Mizrahi, Janet: 2016, Writing for Public Relations: a practical guide for professionals, eBook, Business Expert Press, New York,
  • Rau, Chris: 2010, Dealing with the Media, eBook, UNSW Press, Sydney, 9781742230924
  • Scott, David Meerman: 2015, The New Rules for Marketing & PR, eBook, Wiley, Hoboken, New Jersey,
  • Thornton, Gail S; Mansi, Viviane Regina; Carramenha, Bruno; Cappellano, Thatiana.: 2019, Strategic Employee Communication: Building a Culture of Engagement, Palgrave Macmillan,
  • Wilcox, Dennis L. & Reber, Bryan H.: 2014, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, Pearson,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
GDPRSCGrad Dip in Public Relations&Strat Comms
MSCPRMSc in Public Relations & Strategic Comm

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