Development and purpose of public relations

Status: Scheduled

COMPETENCIES TO MASTER

  • Can explain the development and purpose of public relations
  • Can identify and analyze ethical considerations in public relations

Overview

As the director of the Public Relations Department at ACME Widget Company, your job is to ensure that ACME maintains its positive image in the public eye. This may sound relatively simple — but it’s no easy task. Unlike advertising, which allows organizations to deliver specific messages directly to selected audiences, quality public relations works in subtler ways. To keep the public informed of the great new things going on at ACME, you’ll need to get stories about the company into the news. This will involve creating connections with news organizations by utilizing a variety of creative strategies to spread the company’s news in engaging, exciting ways. With plans in place for ACME to form a business partnership with the nonprofit organization Spokes of Hope in the coming year, you have been handed an excellent opportunity to build some positive publicity for ACME.

Directions

You work as the director of public relations at ACME Widget Company. As director, you are responsible for all hiring decisions within the department. Next week, three new interns are slated to begin working in the department, and you plan to create an orientation meeting for their first day.

Part 1: Since the interns come from various backgrounds, you will provide them with a handout that outlines the major purposes of public relations as well as its development through history. Design a Purpose of Public Relations handout that includes:

  • descriptions of the major methodological developments in the history of the field of public relations as well as the major figures in the field
  • a description of the major differences between public relations and the similar but distinct field of advertising
  • a description of the specific purposes of public relations at ACME, which will help acclimate the new interns to the company culture
  • a brief one-sentence vision statement for the public relations department in the handout based on what you believe makes for quality public relations work

Part 2: For the second portion of the orientation, you will create a role-playing game that features ethical scenarios. This activity will serve two purposes: It will help the interns become more comfortable working together, and it will acquaint each with the ethical standards that the public relations department at ACME strives to uphold. Create a role-playing game featuring three different ethical scenarios that the interns may face during their time in the public relations department. Write three scenarios that will challenge the interns’ ethical decision-making abilities, and provide the roles that will be acted out in each. Write a 250-word analysis of each scenario you create that explains the correct response to the scenario. You will use these written explanations to provide feedback to the interns after they act out the scenarios.

The following are some potential ideas for scenarios:

  • Gift giving to journalists
  • Presenting products and services dishonestly
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Independence of a journalist receiving a news release
  • Providing help to competing firms or clients
  • Spreading uninformed rumors about competing firms’ clients
  • Hiring or buying a grassroots campaign (astroturfing)
  • Lying by omission
  • Failing to address false disseminated information about a client
  • Flak

DELIVERABLES

  • Purpose of Public Relations Handout

    Accepted File Types: .doc, .docx, .odt, .rtf, .txt, .pdf

  • Role-playing Game documentIncludes: three role playing scenarios and a 250-word analysis of each scenario

    Accepted File Types: .doc, .docx, .odt, .rtf, .txt, .pdf

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