Blog reports assignment details

Purpose of the assignment

Public relations practitioners need to keep pace with the numerous, rapidly changing environments in which they operate. Many professionals and educators in the field find professional blogs to be an effective means of doing so. Other advantages of reading and/or actively participating in the professional blogosphere include opportunities to network with other professionals; establish and maintain a professional reputation with potential clients, employers, and peers; and identify niches for professional development.

This assignment gives students the opportunity to follow trends and issues in the public relations profession, as well as to apply the concepts learned in class..

What it consists of

Check the blogroll on the course web site and read a few sample entries from those that spark your interest. Choose one that you will follow throughout the semester, and let me know which one you have selected by commenting on this post. You may also suggest another blog that you would like to follow: comment on the same post with a link to the blog in question. If it is written by one or more public relations professionals or scholars and is relevant to the course, I will add it to the list.

More than one student may follow the same blog.

Monitoring

You will be expected to regularly monitor your chosen blog throughout the semester–consider yourself a sort of “beat reporter” covering that blog (and if the author has a Twitter account, I recommend that you follow it as well). Note that bloggers may post infrequently or stop posting altogether for a variety of reasons. If more than a week goes by without any posts, it is your responsibility to contact me immediately to discuss the possibility of changing to a more active blog. Since your reports must be based on recent posts, you will not be able to complete the assignment unless your blog is updated regularly. I read most of the blogs on the list, but it is not up to me to point out when you may be falling behind. Waiting until the last minute–a day or two before the report is due–to catch up on your blog is a practice that can lead to problems for this reason. I am unlikely to be sympathetic to requests to change a blog “beat” shortly before a deadline.

Discussing

During class discussions, feel free to bring up relevant content you have read in your selected blog. You may also be called upon to summarize recent content, or relate it to the topic of the readings and/or lecture. As mentioned above, I am a habitual reader of most of the linked blogs. Be ready to discuss the content of your blog at any time.

Reporting

The grade for this assignment is determined by the four written reports that you will submit during the course of the semester. The purpose of these reports is to:

  • summarize the key topics covered by the blog during the most recent posts (or posts since the last report). What trends and issues in the profession did you learn about by reading this blog? What situations occurred that the blog author found worthy of discussion? You do not need to give summary information for every single post: focus on identifying trends and themes.
  • relate the blog content to topics covered in class. For example, did any of the posts remind you of theories or concepts learned? Exemplify aspects of the profession that came up in readings, lectures, or discussions? Call into question claims made in class? What similarities or differences can you observe between the practice as described in class and your blogger’s own experiences or thoughts?
  • reflect on the ways and degree to which reading this blog contributes to, changes, enhances, or even diminishes how you view public relations as a field of practice and/or study. Do you think of the profession differently based on what you’ve read? Has the blog helped you better understand certain aspects of the practice or study of PR–or, conversely, made you more confused or uncertain? This is the only portion of the report that should express your personal thoughts and opinions. Feel free to disagree with the blogger or with points made in class, or even to note things you don’t understand; the point of this part of the assignment is to allow you to process your own reactions to what you are reading and learning, so you will gain more from it by being honest than by pretending agreement or mastery.

Format and style

Blog reports must be typed and double-spaced, with 1” margins on all sides, and otherwise prepared according to APA style requirements. They must be between 1.5 and 2 pages in length. Your name, and the name and URL of the blog you are covering  should appear in the header at the top of each page; pages should be numbered. Avoid direct quotes; paraphrase whenever possible. However, if you must quote, make sure to cite the specific post you are quoting using APA style.

Blog reports should be written in essay format and present a coherent argument. I recommend that you use section headers for the reporting, relating, and reflecting sections to help organize your essay and make sure you cover all of the required points, but it should not be written as a numbered list or set of bullet points.

Papers must be submitted electronically via Blackboard. Due dates are those indicated on the syllabus unless other notice is given (and the syllabus will be adjusted accordingly). Per the course policies, the assignments must be submitted by the beginning of class time on the stated dates; late penalties will begin to accrue immediately after that time.

Grading and points

Blog reports will be graded based on:

  • accuracy, thoroughness and conciseness of descriptions;
  • evidence of clear understanding of the public relations concepts, theories, and issues addressed in the course, and the ability to correctly identify them in the blog readings;
  • critical thinking skills as evidenced in the relating and reflecting portions of the report;
  • clarity of writing, proper grammar, spelling and punctuation, as well as adherence to APA style guidelines.

Blog reports will be worth a cumulative total of 10% of your grade for the semester.

38 responses to “Blog reports assignment details

  1. Pingback: Blog selections #jmc310 | Publicly Relating

  2. I would like to follow the “Little Pink Book PR” blog for this semester. Looks like an interesting and fun blog to keep up with.

  3. I would like to cover Dave Fleet’s blog, Exploring the intersection of communications, PR and social media.

    Fleet is a PR professional from Toronto. This blog is not on the blogroll, but Fleet updates fairly often and seems to talk about topics relevant to this class.

  4. I would like to cover the “PR Junkie” for this semester. I think the blog seems well focused and the writers sense of humor comes across really well– should be interesting!

  5. I want to follow the “Little Pink Book PR” blog. I am interested in the entertainment/event planning side of PR so I think this blog will cater towards the field I want to go into.

    • This website showed up in my statistics —

      Thanks Jessica, hopefully, the Pink Book will be able to help you out 🙂

      Also, Dr. Gilpin, this looks like an amazing assignment! I wish we had an assignment like this when I was at the University of Florida back in ’07!

      Best of luck this semester,

      Sasha Muradali
      owner, Little Pink Book PR

      • Sasha, glad you approve! As you can see, your blog is a popular one with students. I’m sure they’ll learn a lot from reading it, and maybe even join in the conversation in your comments.

  6. Danielle, no problem. Great find! I’ll add Dave Fleet to the blogroll so that others can check out his blog as well.

  7. I am going to follow ‘Spin Sucks’ for the semester. It is updated daily and I like that it covers social media.

  8. I would like to follow the “Little Pink Book PR” it looks like a blog to learn about PR in a fun and easy way to follow. Thanks!

  9. Hi Dr.Gilpin! I posted a second ago but I didn’t realize I was still logged into my WordPress account for my blog. But I would like to follow the “Little Pink Book PR” for the class. I read the first few posts and they’re really interesting. Thanks and sorry about the mixup.

  10. I would like to cover the Public Relations and Managing Reputation blog.
    The blog appears to be updated regularly, and the posts are very detailed and informative, and they seem to consist of a lot of information that could be related to our class.

    Thanks!

    Cassidy Olson

  11. Hi Dr. Gilpin,
    I was hoping that I would be able to follow a blog that is not on the Blog Roll, it is called PR-Squared and is written by a Todd Defren. The blog is on the lists of top PR blogs and is very interesting, well laid out and updated very regularly.
    http://www.pr-squared.com/
    Thanks!
    Rachel Steingard

  12. I will be covering the Occam’s RazR blog… seems very interesting…

  13. I’ll be following Dave Fleet’s blog. I like his focuses on social media.

  14. BulletProofBlog looks really interesting and I’d like to follow it for my assignment 🙂 Thank you!

  15. Rachel, no problem with PR Squared. I’ve been reading it for years, and it used to be on the list for classes. I took it off because Todd Defren is one of those people who straddles the line between PR and marketing, and in my view often conflates the two. But as long as you stay aware of the differences–which could also make an interesting perspective for your reports–I’m happy to read your thoughts on his posts.

  16. I am going to follow “The Little Pink Book PR” blog as it covers the topics that I am most interested in!

  17. “Todd Defren is one of those people who straddles the line between PR and marketing, and in my view often conflates the two.”

    I’m trying to decide if that’s good or bad. 😉

  18. Pingback: The Creative Destruction of Public Relations

  19. I don’t think there is a line between PR and marketing. It’s just a big fuzzy grey area now…

  20. Caitlin McQuarrie

    For the Blog Report I am going to be following Little Pink Book!

  21. Hi Dr. Gilpin,
    I am would like to follow the Socialized PR Blog. http://www.socializedpr.com/
    A lot of the blogs are diverse and interesting, they don’t just stick one topic all the time and are always relevant to what is going on in social media. I hope this blog fits the shoe for this assignment.

    Sara Peters

  22. Dr. Gilpin,

    I would like to follow Spinsucks.com. I like that there are a few contributors and the second post on the page had an image from Mad Men so I’m hooked. The first couple of posts seemed extremely relevant as well. The website name is pretty catchy too! Thank you!

    ~Shula

  23. I posted on the other thread that I’ll be following Todd Defren’s blog, PR-Squared, and then today I saw he posted about our class. Wow. Mind blown. Very excited now to be following this blog. I think it’ll be a challenge defining the two, but definitely will be interesting perspective as well.

  24. Hey Dr. Gilpin!

    I wanted to let you know that I’d love to follow Bulletproof Blog, as crisis management and the legal issues associated with public relations are topics of great interest to me. Let me know if I need to narrow my selection to one of the channels; otherwise, I’ve got a new homepage to set!

  25. Hi Dr Gilpin

    I have already send you which blog i want to follow. But I could not see it. Ok I will send it again. I want to follow Dave Fleet’s blog, “Exploring the intersection of communications, PR and social media.” I think it is interesting for me how PR connected with Social Media.
    Thanks.
    Chinkhand.

  26. Rachel Sutherland

    Blog report is finished…just having trouble finding the usual Blackboard assignment submission button for this class…?

    Thanks

  27. Rachel Sutherland

    Duh…nevermind. 🙂

  28. Michelle Berbling

    I would like to do my blog report on PR Junkie. It seems interesting and especially relative to things happening in the PR world right NOW. The writer blogs on a wide range of topics, so there should always be something new to include in my reports.

  29. Hey Dr. Gilpin! I’ve finally made a decision and have decided to follow PR Junkie, it seems interesting and is updated often. Thanks!

  30. Dr. Gilpin,

    I will be following the BulletProof Blog this semester. I am extremely interested in crisis management and how PR professionals think and react in these situations.

    Thanks.

  31. I forgot to post on here but I have been reading Occam’s RazR and would like to follow that blog.

  32. I plan to follow PR Junkie for my blog report this semester!

  33. Pingback: The Creative Destruction of Public Relations « Public Relations Writer

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