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The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at http://www.usq.edu.au/course/specification/current.
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PRL2003 Writing for Public Relations

Semester 1, 2013 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities and Communication
Version produced : 25 April 2014

Contents on this page

Staffing

Examiner: Barbara Ryan
Moderator: Alison Feldman

Other requisites

While there are no pre-requisites for this course, it is strongly advised that students who are pursuing a career in Public Relations also undertake JRN1000 Introduction to Journalism. Students in the Bachelor of Communication should complete JRN1000 Introduction to Journalism BEFORE taking this course.
Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course.

Rationale

The ability to write for a range of document styles is one of the most sought after skills by public relations employers around the world, from news releases through to brochures, annual reports and advertising copy. Social media writing has emerged as top of the list of writing skills for many employers. All of these writing skills are covered in this course.

Synopsis

Students will be introduced to the basics of public relations writing including the concepts of good writing, techniques for persuasive writing and finding and generating newsworthy information. They will study how to write media releases for the print and electronic media, feature articles, backgrounders, brochures, newsletters and speeches. The major emphasis of the course is on developing practical public relations skills.

Objectives

On completion of this course students will have:

  1. examine the range of areas in which public relations writing skills may be employed;
  2. demonstrate academic and professional literacy through a thorough understanding of the written word as a tool of effective, symmetrical communication;
  3. expertise in the standard methods of writing for specific audiences using various mediums and channels including the news and social media;
  4. demonstrate advanced written communication skills by planning and developing a major writing project for a particular purpose and for particular audiences/publics;
  5. consider and apply ethical considerations as part of the planning and writing process.

Topics

Description Weighting(%)
1. Why is writing so important in public relations? 8.00
2. Writing technique 8.00
3. Organising yourself and measuring your success 8.00
4. Writing for mainstream media and media liaison 26.00
5. Writing for Web 2.0 26.00
6. Writing for controlled media newsletters, speeches, advertising, marketing 16.00
7. Advocacy and response writing 8.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (https://bookshop.usq.edu.au/bookweb/subject.cgi?year=2013&sem=01&subject1=PRL2003)

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (https://bookshop.usq.edu.au/contact/)

  • Marsh, CW, Guth, DW & Short, BP 2012, Strategic Writing: Multimedia writing for public relations, advertising and more, 3rd edn, Pearson Education, Boston.
  • PRL2003 Writing for public relations: study book and selected readings, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Please refer to the introductory material.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assignments 45.00
Directed Study 65.00
Private Study 55.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
CMA TEST 15 15 19 Mar 2013
MEDIA MATERIAL 25 25 26 Apr 2013
ONLINE 2.0 MATERIAL 25 25 25 May 2013
CONTROLLED MEDIA MATERIAL 35 35 12 Jun 2013

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at http://policy.usq.edu.au.

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Students may be assigned an "Incomplete" grade to signify that all the requirements of the course have not yet been met. Students who are graded "I" can pass the course by successfully completing such additional work as prescribed by the examiner by a given date. Students who have been awarded an IM, ISM, IDM or IDB grade must access information regarding further work to be completed, in the Student Centre of U Connect. The Grades Page in the Student Centre contains information about further work to be completed. Students who have not completed the additional work to the satisfaction of the examiner by the given date will receive the appropriate Failing grade.

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.

  2. Submission or completion of ALL assessment items for this course is compulsory.

  3. This public relations course maintains high standards of spelling, grammar, syntax and style. Faults in any of these could render a project or proposal unacceptable.