Public relations is a crucial activity for any company in today's marketplace. It is vital for companies and organizations to be able to effectively communicate with their publics and understand the best ways to do so. College of Media & Communication researchers examine a wide array of topics surrounding public relations, from the way organizations use social media to communicate with their publics all the way to the overall of effectiveness of the practice itself. Insights provided by researchers can be indispensable to practitioners' ability to be as effective as possible with their craft.
The Role of Public Relations in Social Capital and Civic Engagement
Research has shown that scholars in the area of public relations have increasingly argued for the broader role of public relations and strategic communication in society. Specifically, that means how knowledge of public relations can be used to make society better rather than just making organizations more effective. This study looks at how different types of public relations and strategic communication efforts contribute to citizens' social capital and civic engagement. More specifically, this study uses data from the 2010 Pew Internet and American Life Project ‘Social Side of the Internet' survey to examine the relationship between various strategic communication efforts by social, civic, professional, and religious organizations and individuals social capital and civic engagement. The results of this study show initial empirical evidence for the important role of public relations and strategic communications in fostering civic engagement. Read the full article.
Does Planning and Practice Make Perfect? A Study of Communication Culture, Autonomy and PR Practitioners' Confidence in Handling Crises
This study builds off of previous research that examined crisis communication case studies and found that organizations with crisis plans do not always manage crises well. To asses this concept of communication culture, this study looked at organizations' use of two-way symmetrical communication, Public relations professionals' crisis confidence and communication autonomy, and the presence of a crisis plan. An Internet survey of members of the Public Relations Society of America was conducted and 251 valid responses were generated. The study's results revealed several revelations about public relations practitioners and their own ability, their organization's ability and their confidence in responding to a crisis situation. Read the full article.
A missed opportunity? NOAA's use of social media to communicate climate science
This study took an approach that combined public relations research and scientific communication research. In today's media landscape, organizations communicate about science directly to their audiences instead of relying on journalists or news organizations. Online platforms give organizations the opportunity to practice two-way communication with their publics. This can help increase the audience's engagement with science related topics. The study examined how the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) utilizes social media to interact with their publics. Results suggest tht NOAA doesn't fully utilize the dialogic potential of social media. This could enhance both the public's scientific literacy and trust in science regarding climate change specifically. This study informs how public relations theory may complement science communication theory and practice as deficit model-thinking transitions to contemporary approaches for public engagement with science. Read the full article.
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