CQUniversity Unit Profile
JOUR13001 Public Relations and the Media
Public Relations and the Media
All details in this unit profile for JOUR13001 have been officially approved by CQUniversity and represent a learning partnership between the University and you (our student).
The information will not be changed unless absolutely necessary and any change will be clearly indicated by an approved correction included in the profile.
General Information

Overview

Understanding the relationship between journalism and public relations is vital when performing the role of media liaison, especially in an organisational context. This unit introduces you to media management theories and concepts, and teaches you skills that form the basis of media liaison. These include writing press releases, preparing talent, targeting effective media, and knowledge of the modern digital media environment. This unit will enable you to develop public relations activities with a journalistic focus, including online social media campaigns.

Details

Career Level: Undergraduate
Unit Level: Level 3
Credit Points: 6
Student Contribution Band: 10
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load: 0.125

Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

36 credit points

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Offerings For Term 2 - 2021

Online
Rockhampton

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Class and Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Class Timetable

Bundaberg, Cairns, Emerald, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville
Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney

Assessment Overview

1. Online discussion forum
Weighting: 20%
2. Group Work
Weighting: 30%
3. Written Assessment
Weighting: 50%

Assessment Grading

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%). Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades.

Previous Student Feedback

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Feedback from Student Feedback

Feedback

Students struggled with the group-based nature of the assessment.

Recommendation

It is recommended that group work continue, as this is a pedagogically sound practice. Groupwork assessment will be delivered via the SPA groupwork assessment tool, as this allows students to give peer feedback on each other's contribution.

Feedback from Student Feedback

Feedback

Students commented that the resources were a great support to their learning.

Recommendation

It is recommended that real-world resources continue to be integrated into the unit.

Feedback from Student Feedback

Feedback

Students noted assessment expectations felt high.

Recommendation

It is recommended the amount of work students are required to undertake for their assessment is reviewed, and consideration is given to scaffolding assessment item tasks.

Unit Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. Identify the role and context of media manager or media liaison officer within an organisation
  2. Apply journalistic skills within a public relations context
  3. Determine organisational goals when dealing with the media
  4. Prepare and use key messages
  5. Develop strategies for using the media to support public relations activities and an organisation’s goals.
Alignment of Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Graduate Attributes
N/A Level
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Professional Level
Advanced Level

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes

Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Online discussion forum - 20%
2 - Group Work - 30%
3 - Written Assessment - 50%

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
5 - Team Work
6 - Information Technology Competence
7 - Cross Cultural Competence
8 - Ethical practice
9 - Social Innovation

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes

Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 - Online discussion forum - 20%
2 - Group Work - 30%
3 - Written Assessment - 50%
Textbooks and Resources

Textbooks

There are no required textbooks.

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Internet
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
Referencing Style

All submissions for this unit must use the referencing style: American Psychological Association 7th Edition (APA 7th edition)

For further information, see the Assessment Tasks.

Teaching Contacts
Amy Johnson Unit Coordinator
a.johnson2@cqu.edu.au
Schedule
1| Introduction to Public Relations and the Media Begin Date: 12 Jul 2021

Module/Topic

Public relations practitioners are often required to work with the media as part of promotion or issues management. This module provides an overview of the specific and complex relationship between public relations practitioners and media organisations.

Chapter

Readings are provided on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

2| Media Relationships Begin Date: 19 Jul 2021

Module/Topic

Media relations officers are required to work with journalists, producers, and writers as part of promotion or issues management on behalf of an organisation. Public relations practitioners and journalists work to different timelines and agendas. If you are working in media relations, it is important to maintain healthy, objective, and productive relationships with the media.

Chapter

Readings are provided on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

3| What is News and Why is it Important? Begin Date: 26 Jul 2021

Module/Topic

This week, we look at creating 'news' to attract media attention.We will focus on newsworthiness of events and issues, specifically from a public relations perspective. This is slightly different to news from a journalist's perspective. Your challenge, when working in an organisation, is to sort through information and either identify something that may be of interest to the media, or to rework the information so that it is of interest to the media.

Chapter

Readings are provided on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

4| Press Agentry Begin Date: 02 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Media relations involves more than merely 'seeking publicity', but part of the media relations role certainly involves proactive media engagement. This week we look at the specific techniques of press agentry. Once the domain of publicity stunts, press agentry is moving toward the idea of influence through talk. So, while you may still hold a media launch, a better strategy may be to engage stakeholders in a different way via social media.

Chapter

Readings are provided on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

5| Media Audiences: Publics or Masses? Begin Date: 09 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

An audience is a collection of individuals who listen or watch some event or spectacle. But how do you reach them through the media? This week we learn how to recognise a target audience and select appropriate media channels to engage them in your message.

Chapter

Readings are provided on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Vacation Week Begin Date: 16 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

6| Media Relations as Strategy Begin Date: 23 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Strategy, from a media relations perspective, involves implementing actions via relevant media that will reach relevant audiences to achieve a desired outcome. Strategy can be reflected proactively or reactively. This week we look at media campaigns as strategic, proactive tools.

Chapter

Readings are provided on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Media Coverage Analysis Due: Week 6 Friday (27 Aug 2021) 11:59 pm AEST
7| Setting the Agenda Begin Date: 30 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Every interaction we have with the media needs to be strategic in the sense that it supports our organisational image or goals. This week, we examine how to think and act strategically in a media relations sense to help promote an organisational agenda.

Chapter

Readings are provided on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

8| Maintaining an Agenda Begin Date: 06 Sep 2021

Module/Topic

Maintaining a profile and message that prompts action is a particular challenge to the media relations practitioner. The challenge for someone in media relations is to find new and innovative ways to promote a message. This week we learn there are plenty of opportunities for your voice to be heard if it is well considered and of interest to an audience.

Chapter

Readings are provided on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

9| Reacting to an Agenda Begin Date: 13 Sep 2021

Module/Topic

Many dealings with the media are reactive. In most cases involving media contact, the media will want an interview. If you are well prepared, any media contact becomes an opportunity to sell your organisation, its message, and accordingly, its image.

Chapter

Readings are provided on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

10| Writing for the Media Begin Date: 20 Sep 2021

Module/Topic

We have previously discussed writing simply, in journalistic style, to attract media attention. There are other areas of media writing, however, that you may encounter in a role as a media relations practitioner, including community service announcements, blogs, speeches and feature articles. This week we look at some other forms of media writing.

Chapter

Readings are provided on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Unit Engagement Due: Week 10 Thursday (23 Sep 2021) 11:59 pm AEST
11| The Medium is the Message Begin Date: 27 Sep 2021

Module/Topic

Up to this point, we have looked at media relations from a strategic perspective. We have considered the importance of understanding the audience and targeting messages appropriately within a media context. This week, we look at media from a practical perspective including how people interact with specific mediums and key trends for future media practice.

Chapter

Readings are provided on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

12| Review Begin Date: 04 Oct 2021

Module/Topic

Chapter

No new content

Events and Submissions/Topic

Review/Exam Week Begin Date: 11 Oct 2021

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Media Campaign Due: Review/Exam Week Monday (11 Oct 2021) 11:59 pm AEST
Exam Week Begin Date: 18 Oct 2021

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment Tasks

1 Online discussion forum

Assessment Title
Unit Engagement

Task Description

Students are expected to engage with the unit materials, staff, and fellow students in a way that encourages peer review, and reflection upon personal knowledge and professional practice. Specifically, you are required to:

  • Respond to the Moodle exercises during the term. Post your response in the relevant Week area in the Unit Discussion Forum on the unit website. If you have not posted anything by the middle of Week 3, teaching staff will contact you to discuss your commitment and ability to study in this unit.
  • Select FIVE of what you consider to be your most well-considered responses to the exercises and submit them in Week 10 with a brief justification as to why the exercise and response was useful to helping you learn about key concepts in this unit. It is this submission that will be marked. You can edit your posts to correct errors or change focus based on the feedback you have received.

In general, participate regularly in unit discussion via the Unit Discussion Forum by responding to fellow students and staff posts in a way that promotes collegiality and learning. If you post along the way during term, including a comment about why you found the particular exercise useful (if at all), you will simply need to collate these for your Week 10 submission.

Rationale

You do not need to do all the exercises, but you do need to do a minimum of FIVE, and we have found that students who do the Moodle exercises perform better in assessment because the exercises prompt reflection and engagement with the unit. We recognise that people are busy with work, study, and family commitments. We do not expect you to be posting every day, or even every week if you are an external student. Experience tells us, however, that when students engage with others and staff via discussion forums and in class, they have a better overall unit experience.

The Unit Coordinator will engage with the Discussion Forum twice per week. If you are time poor, simply access the Forum after the Unit Coordinator contact hours, which will be advised at the start of term.


Assessment Due Date

Week 10 Thursday (23 Sep 2021) 11:59 pm AEST

Throughout term. Final submission Thurs Week 10.


Return Date to Students

Week 12 Thursday (7 Oct 2021)

Assignments will be returned within two weeks of on-time submission.


Weighting
20%

Assessment Criteria

A detailed assessment criteria is available on Moodle.

Students will be assessed on:

  • Writing standard
  • Writing structure
  • Evidence of research
  • Referencing
  • Reflection


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Submission Instructions
Submit the assessment via the unit Moodle site as a single Word document.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Identify the role and context of media manager or media liaison officer within an organisation


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Information Literacy
  • Information Technology Competence
  • Ethical practice

2 Group Work

Assessment Title
Media Coverage Analysis

Task Description

During Week 2, the Unit Coordinator will provide a number of options from which you will select a topic (it will be a current issue). Students are to select a topic of interest no later than Tuesday, Week 3.

Students will work in teams of four, and these teams will be assigned based on the topic chosen.

The Unit Coordinator will establish team forums through which you will be able to communicate with your fellow team members.

Team members will be required to conduct a self and peer assessment during Week 6. More details in relation to this will be provided on the unit website.

As a team, you will be required to analyse the topic by addressing the following specific task requirements:

A. Media Coverage:

  1. Provide a brief but comprehensive background to the issue.
  2. Identify the time period and scope of media for which media coverage was to be analysed (eg. between 10 – 13 July, major national print, television, radio, and online media sources).
  3. Determine what media coverage was obtained, and whether it was negative or positive in tone.
  4. Identify the relevant news criteria used by the journalist to make the issue relevant to the public interest.
  5. Identify messages portrayed in the coverage about the organisation, issue or event.

B. The Organisation’s Approach:

  1. Provide a general overview of the organisation’s approach to the media coverage (including organisational press releases, statements, responses in media articles).
  2. Identify the organisation’s key spokesperson, if any.
  3. Determine whether the organisation actively engaged with the media, or appeared reluctant to communicate.
  4. Identify any key organisational messages used in communication from the organisation.
  5. Identify what was done well and what was done poorly by the organisation in responding to the issue.
  6. Provide recommendations as to how the organisation could have handled the issue.

C. Writing and Teamwork:

  1. The team can choose to present the assessment either as a written report, or in a visual presentation (such as PowerPoint, Prezi or similar). If the team chooses to present the assessment visually, a voice over is required to explain the slides. For both the report and the visual presentation, appropriate headings must be used. All media coverage must be referenced using the APA referencing style. Details about how to present this assessment will be available on Moodle.
  2. Base your recommendations and analysis on research and consideration of unit concepts to date, and reference accordingly.
  3. Nominate one member of the team to liaise with the Unit Coordinator with any questions.
  4. Submit one assignment per unit via online assignment submission and all members of the unit must be clearly identified on the assignment’s cover/title page.
  5. There is no word count specified.

Contact the Unit Coordinator if you have any concerns about doing this assessment in a team. You may be able to work individually, but will Fail the teamwork component which will mean a High Distinction will not be possible in this assessment for students who work individually.

Rationale

This assessment encourages students to familiarise themselves with how a particular issue is reported on by the media, and managed by a particular organisation. We encourage students to work in teams because the size of the task is quite large for only one person, particularly when it comes to analysing media coverage, and being able to work with others both in-person and online is a key requirement in professional communication industries.

Assessing Team Participation

Students will participate in a self and peer assessment process. Details of how this will occur will be provided at the commencement of term.


Assessment Due Date

Week 6 Friday (27 Aug 2021) 11:59 pm AEST

File size must be less than 100MB.


Return Date to Students

Week 8 Friday (10 Sep 2021)

Assignments will be returned within two weeks of on-time submission.


Weighting
30%

Assessment Criteria

A detailed marking criteria is available via Moodle.

Students will be assessed on:

  • Background to issue
  • Assessment of coverage
  • Analysis of news criteria and messages used in media coverage
  • Analysis of organisation’s engagement and recommendations
  • Organisational key messages
  • Writing Standard
  • Report/Presentation Structure
  • Referencing
  • Attention to requirements of task
  • Teamwork


Referencing Style

Submission
Online Group

Submission Instructions
Only one team member needs to submit the assessment.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Apply journalistic skills within a public relations context
  • Determine organisational goals when dealing with the media


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Information Literacy
  • Team Work
  • Information Technology Competence
  • Cross Cultural Competence
  • Ethical practice

3 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
Media Campaign

Task Description

You will create a campaign to attract media coverage for a real client. This is a design project only- the campaign will not be implemented. The client will be provided by the Unit Coordinator, or you may choose your own client provided it satisfies the learning outcomes for the unit. You may elect to continue to work in the team to which you were assigned for your media coverage analysis assignment, or you may elect to do the assignment as an individual task. There is no team mark allocated for this assessment and no disadvantage to working as an individual. The choice is yours!

The campaign will be presented as a written report, in a format suitable to provide directly to the client. The campaign report must include the following specific task requirements:

Title Page (including names of campaign team members if working as a team)

1. Background to campaign:

  • General background
  • Statement of communication problem

2. Stakeholder's Campaign Goal

3. Target public (including justification)

4. Key Messages

5. Campaign Strategies - NOTE: Each strategy needs to include:

  • Evaluation statement (how is this strategy going to be evaluated)
  • Justification statement (why and how this strategy will attract media coverage)
  • Tactics (how the strategy will be implemented)

6. Campaign Limitations/Issues (Identify any possible issues that may affect success or otherwise of campaign or aspects of the campaign)

7. Appendices:

  • Campaign Schedule (GANTT Chart)
  • Target Media (see the Media Directory database via CQUniversity Library)
  • Media releases (written in full), with defined photo opportunities
  • Campaign Fact Sheet or Backgrounder
  • Specific Instructions to Talent

Task Description

This campaign is focused specifically on obtaining media coverage and the focus of your efforts needs to be on appropriate strategies and ideas to attract media coverage. Do not focus your efforts on generating media coverage through advertising, as you have no designated budget for this campaign.

A template will be provided that provides guidance as to how to construct your report.

There is no word length specified, however you will be graded on writing style and report structure. This assessment is focused on the quality of the words, not how many there are. A well written succinct report is likely to grade more highly than a long-winded, poorly crafted one.


Assessment Due Date

Review/Exam Week Monday (11 Oct 2021) 11:59 pm AEST

Submit as a Word document via Moodle.


Return Date to Students

Exam Week Friday (22 Oct 2021)

Assignments will be returned within two weeks of on-time submission.


Weighting
50%

Assessment Criteria

A detailed marking criteria is available via Moodle.

Students will be assessed on:

  • Background
  • Communication Problem
  • Campaign Goal, Strategies, Tactics
  • Publics
  • Key Messages
  • Campaign Limitations/Issues
  • Media
  • Media Releases
  • Writing Standard
  • Report Structure
  • Referencing
  • Attention to requirements of task
  • Response to Feedback


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Submission Instructions
Submit the assessment as a single document.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Prepare and use key messages
  • Develop strategies for using the media to support public relations activities and an organisation’s goals.


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Information Literacy
  • Information Technology Competence
  • Cross Cultural Competence
  • Ethical practice
  • Social Innovation

Academic Integrity Statement

As a CQUniversity student you are expected to act honestly in all aspects of your academic work.

Any assessable work undertaken or submitted for review or assessment must be your own work. Assessable work is any type of work you do to meet the assessment requirements in the unit, including draft work submitted for review and feedback and final work to be assessed.

When you use the ideas, words or data of others in your assessment, you must thoroughly and clearly acknowledge the source of this information by using the correct referencing style for your unit. Using others’ work without proper acknowledgement may be considered a form of intellectual dishonesty.

Participating honestly, respectfully, responsibly, and fairly in your university study ensures the CQUniversity qualification you earn will be valued as a true indication of your individual academic achievement and will continue to receive the respect and recognition it deserves.

As a student, you are responsible for reading and following CQUniversity’s policies, including the Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure. This policy sets out CQUniversity’s expectations of you to act with integrity, examples of academic integrity breaches to avoid, the processes used to address alleged breaches of academic integrity, and potential penalties.

What is a breach of academic integrity?

A breach of academic integrity includes but is not limited to plagiarism, self-plagiarism, collusion, cheating, contract cheating, and academic misconduct. The Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure defines what these terms mean and gives examples.

Why is academic integrity important?

A breach of academic integrity may result in one or more penalties, including suspension or even expulsion from the University. It can also have negative implications for student visas and future enrolment at CQUniversity or elsewhere. Students who engage in contract cheating also risk being blackmailed by contract cheating services.

Where can I get assistance?

For academic advice and guidance, the Academic Learning Centre (ALC) can support you in becoming confident in completing assessments with integrity and of high standard.

What can you do to act with integrity?