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57132 Media Relations

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2018 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Communication: Public Communication
Credit points: 8 cp
Result type: Grade, no marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


In this subject, students explore the role and uses of media relations for communication management. They explore the relationship between journalism and public relations and the structures, regulatory frameworks and processes relevant to developing media strategies. They review mass communication research traditions such as media effects theories and agenda setting, applying their understanding to issues for professional public relations practice. Public opinion and diffusion of ideas and innovations are examined, along with the concept of the public interest. Students investigate ways in which new media have changed the landscape for communicating with publics and for media relations. They practise developing media plans and products to broaden their awareness of the diversity of media channels. In their final project, they develop briefing notes and perform as interviewees in the UTS television studios.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

a. Recognise and demonstrate the place of media relations in public relations practice
b. Critically examine debate in the literature and apply to media relations practice
c. Identify critical paths of influence and apply newsworthiness principles to design a strategic media plan
d. Communicate newsworthy material to relevant material
e. Develop appropriate preparatory notes for media interviews and perform to a professional standard as an interviewee
f. Communicate effectively in professional contexts

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject engages with the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs), which are tailored to the Graduate Attributes set for all graduates of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:

  • Apply an advanced body of practice-oriented knowledge and skills to develop, implement and evaluate innovative solutions to real-world communication challenges with a high-level of personal autonomy and accountability (1.1)
  • Critically and creatively re-think and reflect on public relations, advertising and organisational change models and practices for the 21st century beyond dominant models and approaches (2.2)
  • Locate, gather, organise and synthesise information across diverse platforms to guide their mastery of contemporary communication issues and challenges (2.3)
  • Graduates are able to persuade and engage diverse audiences through both written and oral communication strategies, across a range of media formats, with consideration of others' needs and views (6.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

A variety of teaching and learning strategies will be used, including lectures, collaborative workshops, visiting speakers, seminar presentations and online discussion. The learning program is designed for students to learn independently as well as to interact productively in small groups. Students will participate in interviews in the UTS Multimodal studio. Interviews will be filmed for the purpose of marking or double-marking. Any recording of these interviews will be destroyed after marking is complete.

Content (topics)

This subject situates media relations practice in the broader practice of communication management. It explores the literature from media and communication studies, including media effects research traditions, framing, agenda-setting/building and cultivation. These inform practice. The relationship between journalism and media relations is examined. The public sphere, and the constructs of public opinion, create contexts for the development of media strategies. These strategies are examined for the relationships between media users and those publics students plan to reach for designated clients; for the design of objectives and appropriate media distribution channels. Media writing for legacy and social media are explained and practised. Students are prepared for their roles as interviewees with exploration of the types, structures and styles of interviews and journalists. They are trained in techniques for role-plays as representatives of their client organisations.


Assessment task 1: Presentation and accompanying written material


a, b and f

Weight: 25%

Presentation: 15 minutes; Written Material: 1000-1500 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Analysis of concepts and theories for media relations practice 25 a, b 2.2
Identification and justification of selected academic debate 10 a, b 2.2
Depth and scope of academic research 15 b 2.3
Application of research to practice examples 15 b 6.1
Organisation and clarity of presentation 20 f 6.1
Clarity of written expression and accuracy of UTS Harvard referencing 15 f 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Media strategy


a, b, c and f

Weight: 40%

1500 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Newsworthiness of media strategy 15 c 1.1
Achievability of strategy for client 15 c 1.1
Scope of research 15 a, b 2.3
Appropriateness of media objectives 10 a, c 1.1
Persuasiveness and succinctness of key messages 10 f 1.1
Strength of rationale for media choice 15 c 1.1
Strength of rationale for excluded media 10 c 1.1
Professionalism of strategy writing and structure 10 f 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Media kit


a, c, d and f

Weight: 15%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Newsworthiness of media release angle 25 d 6.1
Appropriateness of media release layout and style 15 c 1.1
Conformity of backgrounders to layout and style conventions 20 a, d 1.1
Contribution of backgrounders to media objectives 15 a, c, d 2.2
Use of key messages and information 10 d, f 1.1
Professionalism of expression and presentation 15 d, f 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 4: Television interview preparation and television performance


a, c, d, e and f

Weight: 20%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Anticipation of and response to difficult questions 20 a, e, f 6.1
Newsworthiness of angle in preparation 10 d 1.1
Development of appropriate objectives for the interview 10 a, c 1.1
Achievement of objectives 10 e, f 2.2
Evidence of preparation for the interview, including non-verbal 20 e 2.3
Credibility and clarity in performance 20 e 1.1
Professionalism of written expression 10 f 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

Students are expected to read the subject outline to ensure they are familiar with the subject requirements. As class discussion and participation in activities form an integral part of this subject, you are expected to attend, arrive punctually and actively participate in classes. If you experience difficulties meeting this requirement, please contact your lecturer. Students who have a reason for extended absence (e.g., illness) may be required to complete additional work to ensure they achieve the subject objectives.

Attendance is essential in this subject. Classes are based on a collaborative approach that involves essential work-shopping and interchange of ideas with other students and the tutor. A roll will be taken at each class. Students who have more than two absences from class will be refused final assessment (see Rule 3.8).?

It is essential to attempt all assessment tasks to pass the subject as each assessment meets unique subject learning objectives.

Recommended texts

eReadings are available online for this subject. They are a small selection of articles and chapters to supplement lecture material. Go to 'Subject Documents' in UTSOnline.


Allan, S. 2010, News culture, 3rd edn, Open University Press, Berkshire, UK.
Alysen, B., Oakham, M.,Patching, R., Sedorkin, G. 2011, Reporting in a multimedia world, 2nd edn, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW.
Berger, A.A. 2016, Media and communication research methods: an introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches, 4th edn, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Botan, C.H. & Hazleton, V. (eds.) 2006, Public relations theory II, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, Mahwah, NJ & London.
Briggs, M. 2015, JournalismNext: A practical guide to digital reporting and publishing, 3rd edn, CQ Press, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Bryant, J. & Oliver, M. (eds.) 2009, Media effects: advances in theory and research, 3rd edn, Routledge, New York.
Butsch, R. (ed.) 2007, Media and public spheres, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK, New York.
Butsch, R. & Livingstone, S. 2014, Meanings of audiences: comparative discourses, Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, & New York.
Cottle, S. (ed.) 2003, News, public relations and power, Sage Publications, London, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Croteau, D. & Haynes, W. 2012, Media Society: Industries, images, and audiences, 4th edn, SAGE, Thousand Oaks.
Cunningham, S. & Turnbull, S. (eds.) 2014, The media & communications in Australia, 4th edn, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, Australia.
Dearing, J.W. & Rogers, E.M. 1996, Agenda-setting, SAGE, Thousand Oaks, CA, London.
Devereux, E. 2014, Understanding the media, 3rd edn, SAGE, Los Angeles.
Downing, J. (ed.) 2004, The SAGE handbook of media studies, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Ferguson, S.D. 2000, Researching the public opinion environment: theories and methods, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA, London.
Ginneken, Jaap van 2003, Collective behavior and public opinion: rapid shifts in opinion and communication, L. Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ.
Heath, R.L. (ed.) 2010, The SAGE handbook of public relations, 2nd edn, Sage Publications, Los Angeles.
Hirst, M. & Harrison, J. 2007, Communication and new media: from broadcast to narrowcast, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Victoria.
Kim, C.M. 2016, Social media campaigns, Routledge, New York.
Klingemann, H.-D. & Rommele, A. (eds.) 2002, Public information campaigns and opinion research: a handbook for the student & practitioner, Sage, London.
Macnamara, J. 2012, Public relations: Theories, practices, critiques, Pearson Australia, Frenchs Forest, NSW.
Macnamara, J. 2014, Journalism and PR: Unpacking, ‘spin’, stereotypes and media myths, Peter Lang, New York.
Macnamara, J. 2014, The 21st century media (r)evolution: emergent communication practices, 2nd edn, Peter Lang, New York.
McCauley, M.P., Artz, B.L., Halleck, D, Peterson, E.E. & Artz, P.U. (eds.) 2003, Public broadcasting and the public interest, M.E. Sharpe, Armonk, NY.
McQuail, D. 2010, McQuail's mass communication theory, 6th edn, SAGE, London.
Mickey, T.J. 2003, Deconstructing public relations: public relations criticism, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, Mahwah, NJ.
Pang, A. 2010, 'Mediating the media: A journalist-centric media relations model', Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 15, iss 2, pp.192-204.
Perry, D.K. 2002, Theory and research in mass communication: contexts and consequences, Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ, London.
Potter, W.J. 2012, Media effects, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA
Richardson, J.E. (ed.) 2010, Language and journalism, Routledge, London & New York.
Rowe, D. 2005, 'Fourth estate or fan club? Sports journalism engages the popular', in S. Allan (ed.), Journalism: Critical issues, Open University Press, Maidenhead, UK.
Ruddock, A. 2007, Investigating audiences, SAGE Publications, London.
Ruler, B. van, Vercic, A.T. & Vercic, D. (eds) 2008, Public relations metrics: research and evaluation, Routledge, New York.
Schroder, K., Drotner, K., Kline, S. & Murray, C. 2003, Researching audiences: A practical guide to methods in media audience analysis, Oxford University Press, New York.
Schultz, B., Caskey, P.H. & Esherick, C. 2014, Media relations in sport, 4th edn, FiT Publishing, Morgantown, WV.
Sedorkin, G. 2011, Interviewing: a guide for journalists and writers, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW.
Smith, R.D. 2013, Strategic planning for public relations, 4th edn, Routledge, London, New York.
Sommers, S. 2009, Building media relationships: How to establish, maintain and develop long-term relationships with the media, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, Don Mills, Ontario; Oxford.
Sparks, G.G. 2010, Media effects research: a basic overview, 3rd edn, Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Boston, MA.
Stanton, R. 2007, Media Relations, Oxford University Press, Sth Melbourne, Vic.
Stempel, G.H. III, Weaver, D.H. & Wilhoit, G.C. (eds.) 2003, Mass communication research and theory, Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA.
Stevenson, N. 2002, Understanding media cultures: social theory and mass communication, Sage, London.
Stoldt, G.C., Dittmore, S.W. & Branvold, S.E. 2012, Sport public relations: Managing stakeholder communication, 2nd edn, Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL.
Traudt, P. 2005, Media, audiences, effects, Pearson Education, Boston.
Warner, M. 2002, Publics and counterpublics, Zone Books, New York, NY; MIT Press [distributor], London.
Weber, L. 2009, Sticks & stones: How digital reputations are created over time and lost in a click, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ.
Williams, K. 2003, Understanding media theory, Arnold, London.

Resources for public relations and media writing
Broom, G.M. 2013, Cutlip & Center's effective public relations, 11th edn, Pearson, Boston.
Guth, D.W. & Marsh, C. 2012, Public relations: A values-driven approach, 5th edn, Pearson Allyn and Bacon, Boston.
Hicks, W. with Adams, S., Gilbert, H. & Holmes, T. 2008, Writing for journalists, 2nd edn, Routledge, London, New York.
Newsom, D. & Haynes, J. 2017, Public relations writing: Strategies and structures, 11th edn, Cengage Learning, Boston MA.
Smith, R.D. 2012, Becoming a public relations writer: a writing workbook for emerging and established media, Routledge, New York.
Stewart, S. 2004, Media training 101: a guide to meeting the press, John Wiley, Hoboken, NJ.
Treadwell, D.F. & Treadwell, J.B. 2004, Public relations writing: principles in practice, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Wilcox, D.L. & Reber, B.H. 2013, Public relations writing and media techniques, 7th edn, Pearson Education, Boston.
Yopp, J.J., McAdams, K.C. & Thornburg, R. 2010, Reaching audiences: a guide to media writing, 5th edn, Allyn and Bacon, Boston.
Zappala, J.M. & Carden, A.R. 2010, Public relations writing worktext: A practical guide for the profession, 3rd edn, Routledge, New York & London.