Article by School of Communication director receives national acclaim

Photo of Lynn Zoch

Lynn M. Zoch

An article co-authored by Lynn M. Zoch, director of the Radford University School of Communication (SOC) and professor of communication, has been named one of five best articles published during the past year by Public Relations Journal.

"This honor is important to me because it validates the importance to public relations professionals of the research we're doing, and have been doing since 2005," Zoch said.

The article, titled "Dictating the News: Understanding Newsworthiness from the Journalistic Perspective," was co-authored with Dustin Supa, assistant professor of public relations at Boston University. In it, Zoch and Supa explore how journalists and public relations practitioners determine if an event or article is newsworthy.

What the pair found is that journalists and public relations practitioners both value timeliness and immediacy in news or press releases, with factors like localness, educational value, issue prominence and cultural relevance also playing a part.

"Very little research has been done over the years about media relations, because many academics view it as 'just' a tactic, and most journals focus on academics. Because PR Journal is supported by PRSA, professionals in the field read it too, and they are the people we're trying to reach with our work," Zoch said.

The article was published in the Winter 2014 edition of Public Relations Journal, a publication of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Each year, PRSA honors the authors of the five best articles by inviting them to make a presentation about their research at the annual PRSA International Conference, to be held this year October 12-14 in Washington, D.C.

An overall best article will be chosen at the conference from among the author presentations.

"This well-deserved recognition is just the most recent evidence of the high quality of Dr. Zoch's ongoing program of research," said Kate Hawkins, dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, home to the SOC. "I'm particularly pleased that as the school's director, Dr. Zoch is leading her faculty through the example of her own scholarly productivity." 

The SOC produces some of Virginia's finest communication and media professionals. Five undergraduate concentrations are represented in the school: advertising, communication studies, journalism, production technology and public relations.

The school also offers a master's degree in Corporate and Professional Communication at the graduate level.

Apr 16, 2014