Proposed Syllabus for JMC 603


DEPARTMENT:             Journalism and Mass Communication

COURSE NUMBER:      JMC 603               CREDIT HOURS: Three (3)


I.       TITLE:                 Seminar in Public Relations


II.        CATALOG DESCRIPTION: An in-depth study of the profession of public relations with a focus on

contemporary issues, problems, and challenges using guided discussion and analysis of case studies. Prerequisite: Graduate Standing. Enrollment is limited with preference given to JMC graduate students.


III.       PURPOSE:  To provide an intellectually stimulating seminar examining public relations and its role in

mass media and in society and the challenges facing public relations professionals today.


IV.              COURSE OBJECTIVES:  Upon completing this seminar, each student should:  1) understand what public relations is and how public relations professionals do their jobs; 2) be able to evaluate the effectiveness of public relations strategies; 3) be familiar with issues and concerns public relations professionals face in today’s increasingly global society; and 4) understand the importance of ethical behavior in public relations.


V.                 CONTENT OUTLINE:


A.     Public Relations: An Overview 

The Business of Public Relations

The Public Relations Professional

Communication Theory and Public Opinion

Proactive Public Relations

Reactive Public Relations

Operating in a Diverse Society

Legal and Ethical Concerns

B.     Issues, Challenges, and Strategies

Public Relations in a Global Society

Crisis Communication and Public Relations

Public Relations Disasters

                        Public Relation Success Stories


VI.              INSTRUCTIONAL ACTIVITIES:  Guided discussions, case study analysis, presentations, research.


VII.           FIELD AND CLINICAL EXPERIENCES:  As needed to complete coursework.


VIII.        RESOURCES:  Textbook, readings, Waterfield Library, videotapes, faculty and local experts in the field.




Graded assignments include:


Examinations (40 %) – There will be two exams.  To make sure that all students have a basic understanding of public relations and its related elements, the first exam will be an in-class exam over the material covered in Section A.  The second will be a take-home final exam in which students will be presented with a public relations problem and asked to explain how, as a public relations professional, they would deal with the problem.


Case Study Analysis and Presentation (50%) – Each student will be required to research, analyze, and lead class discussion on public relations case studies assigned by the professor. 


Participation and Attendance (10%) – Because each student is expected to participate in and contribute to the seminar discussions with intelligent and informed comments and questions, attendance is critical for a successful class.



Final letter grades are assigned according to the following scale:


                        A  =  92 -100                C =  74 - 82                  D =  65-73

                        B  =  83-91                                                       E  =  64 and below





Attendance and punctuality are required.  As you would be expected to be punctual and present on a professional job, you are expected to attend all classes.  A legitimate reason for being absent should be brought to the instructor's attention by notifying the instructor of an absence ahead of time...just as you would notify a professional employer.


Please see the current edition of the Murray State University Graduate Bulletin for details of the university attendance policy. 


XI.       ACADEMIC HONESTY:  (Adopted by Board of Regents, February 14, 1975) 


Academic Honesty:


Cheating, plagiarism (submitting another person’s material as one’s own) or doing work for another person who will receive academic credit are all impermissible.  This includes the use of unauthorized books, notebooks or other sources in order to secure or give help during an examination:  the unauthorized copying of examinations, assignments, reports, or term papers; or the presentation of unacknowledged material as if it were the student’s own work.  Disciplinary action may be taken beyond the academic discipline administered by the faculty member who teaches the course in which the cheating took place.  Faculty reserve the right to invalidate any examination or other evaluative measures if substantial evidence exists that the integrity of the examination has been compromised.


For the official university policy, see "Academic Honesty" in the latest Murray State University Gradute Bulletin. 



            (Professor may select from the following suggestions.)


►Guth, D. W., and Marsh, C.  Public Relations:  A Values-Driven Approach.  Needham Heights, MD:  Allyn and Bacon, 2nd ed., 2003.


►Ledingham, John A. and Bruning, Stephen D (editors).  Public Relations as Relationship Management, A Relational Approach to the Study and Practice of Public Relations:  Mahwah, NJ:  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2000.


►Hendrix, Jerry A. Public Relations Cases. Belmont, CA:  Wadsworth Thomson Learning, 5th ed., 2000.


►Banks, Stephen P. Multicultural Public Relations, A Social-Interpretive Approach.  Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 2000.


►Holtz, Shel Public Relations on the Net Winning Strategies to Inform and Influence the Media, the Investment Community, the Government, the Public and More! New York, NY:  American Management Association, 1999.


XIII.    PREREQUISITES: Graduate Standing. Enrollment is limited, with preference to JMC graduate students.