Lynn Zoch wins further acclaim


Lynn Zoch, director of the School of Communication

Lynn M. Zoch, director of the Radford University School of Communication (SOC) and professor of communication, is the co-author on two articles that have received widespread acclaim in the field of public relations.

The articles are "Does social media use affect journalists’ perceptions of source credibility?" and "Dictating the news: Understanding newsworthiness from the journalistic perspective," both co-authored with Dustin Supa, assistant professor of public relations at Boston University.

In the first article, Zoch and Supa, joined by Jessica Scanlon, a graduate student at Boston University, explore how the development of social media has changed the field of media relations, or the relationship between journalists and public relations practitioners. Although social media has become a powerful force in communication, the study found that public relations practitioners have not been able to use it to replace traditional media relations tactics.

The article was selected as the top paper in the Public Relations Division for the 2014 conference of the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication, to be held in Montreal on August 6-9.

In the second piece, "Dictating the News: Understanding Newsworthiness from the Journalistic Perspective," the pair 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.

"These well-deserved recognitions are 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.

May 29, 2014