PR in Action assignment details

Purpose of the assignment

One objective of this course is to make students aware of the different types and forms of public relations practice, and thus able to identify instances of public relations in their everyday life. This assignment asks students to report on and summarize one such example from mainstream media or documented personal experience, placing it in the context of the terms, theories, concepts and categories learned in class.


Students must find a news story in the media that discusses, explicitly or implicitly, the effects of public relations in some area of business, nonprofit, or political life. The article may have appeared in a newspaper, magazine, trade publication, broadcast media outlet (with content posted online) or other regularly updated format, in print or electronic format. It must be dated within the past 12 months.

See example posted to BlackBoard. (You may not use the example posted.)

Longer pieces (one or more full pages, or complete broadcast news stories) will lend themselves better to this assignment. You are responsible for choosing an item that will allow you to complete the assignment as described below.

Your analysis of the article or broadcast should include the following sections:


Summarize the subject of the news article or broadcast, briefly describing the situation it recounts. The summary should take no more than 1-2 paragraphs.

Part 2: Professionalism

Explain whether the piece’s depiction of public relations corresponds to that of a profession. Does the article or broadcast portray public relations as meeting the criteria for a profession as defined in class and in the readings, or not? In what ways? Give specific examples, using concepts and definitions from the textbook and class lectures to support your argument.

Part 3: Categories of PR

Use the categories listed on page 35 of your textbook to identify what types of public relations tasks are described in the article or broadcast. Make sure to support your argument with examples from the news item itself.

Part 4: Roles and Concepts of Public Relations

Use the definitions in the first chapter of the book and class notes to identify the public relations roles and concepts implied or explicitly mentioned in the article or broadcast. If no specific mentions are made, consider what types of public relations functions would or should typically be involved in a situation such as the one described. Roles and concepts to think about include, for example:

  • public relations (generally speaking)
  • marketing
  • internal relations
  • publicity
  • press agentry
  • public affairs
  • issues management
  • lobbying
  • investor relations
  • development

Format & style

PR in Action reports must be typed and double-spaced, with 1” margins on all sides, and using APA citation style for quotations or references. No cover sheet or abstract is necessary. They must be between 3 and 4 pages in length. Your name should appear in the header at the top of each page; pages should be numbered. Submit the paper through the appropriate item on Blackboard. Please include either a link to the URL of the item used for the assignment, if available online, or attach a PDF to your paper.

Assignments should be neat and easy to read. The assignment should be written in essay format and present a coherent argument. You may use headers to identify the different sections of your analysis, but it should not be written as a numbered list or set of bullet points.

Papers must be submitted electronically, via Blackboard, by the deadline stated on the syllabus or announced in class to avoid late penalties.


PR in Action assignments will be graded based on:

  • compliance with all instructions;
  • accuracy, thoroughness and conciseness of descriptions;
  • evidence of clear understanding of the types of public relations practice, professionalism and ethics, theories, and and other concepts addressed in the course thus far, and the ability to correctly identify them in the chosen media item;
  • clarity of writing, proper grammar, spelling and punctuation, as well as adherence to APA style guidelines where necessary.

The assignment will be worth 15% of your total grade for the semester.


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