Communication and Media Studies 225

COMS 225: Introduction to Public Relations

Credit Hours: (3) Three hours lecture/discussion

Principles, history and practice of public relations in business, educational institutions, social welfare organizations, government and the military services.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Introduction to Public Relations Journalism 326 is the first of a group of courses offered to communications majors with a concentration in public relations. The course is also open to business and marketing majors. It is offered at the junior level so that the student may approach the subject from a foundation of the liberal arts--English, history, political science, foreign language, business and economics, the arts and sciences, and the behavioral sciences.

The course is not intended to cover everything known about public relations and those who practice it, but rather to introduce students to the field. The course is designed both for those seeking careers in PR and those who may find its techniques and resources valuable in other fields. As a survey it is a general examination of the history, philosophy, theory, conditions and techniques of public relations. It examines the practice as it applies to PR agencies, corporations, government, institutions, citizens' groups and other organizations in a rapidly changing society. It is also a study of public opinion and how it is influenced, of news media and other channels of communication, and of the professional aims, legal responsibilities and ethical considerations of the public relations practitioner. The course also provides a theoretical framework for understanding the variety of public relations models which are so much a part of American history of the current mass media milieu.


Detailed Description of the Conduct of Course

Students meet for three hours of lecture per week and are expected to participate in discussions about public relations and readings.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Students will be introduced to the goals and practices of public relations. Students will gain an understanding of the legal and ethical issues surrounding public relations advocacy and persuasion in the marketplace of ideas. Students will understand the history and basic theoretical aspects of public relations and persuasion through the mass media.

Students will understand how public opinion and market research is conducted and how it enhances the ethical practice of public relations. Students will learn how various public relations practitioners function within institutional and organizational settings. Students will learn how to select appropriate media, present issues and research and write a public relations plan.


Assessment Measures

Students are assessed through quizzes on readings, through a midterm and final exam, and through research reports and memos on public relations programs.


Other Course Information

To the extent possible, international and multi-cultural models of information exchange are used to provide examples of professional behavior in the course.



September, 2001 Bill Kennan, Chair