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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 2017 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. Understand the place of media relations in public relations practice
b. Critically examine mass communication research traditions
c. Identify, develop and present the application of a debate in the literature to media relations practice
d. Apply newsworthiness principles to the production of professional public relations plans and communication products
e. Identify critical paths of influence and innovation
f. Identify and apply the basic constructs of relationship–building to media relations
g. Develop appropriate briefing notes for media interviews and perform to a professional standard as an interviewee

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject addresses the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

1. Professional Readiness

1.1 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
1.2 Graduates are able to continually develop the multi-media skills that are required to remain current in professional practice

2. Critical and Creative Inquiry
2.2 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
2.3 Locate, gather, organise and synthesise information across diverse platforms to guide their mastery of contemporary communication issues and challenges

3. International and Intercultural Engagement
3.2 Graduates are able to continually reflect on and interrogate their cultural values, and those of colleagues and organisations

6. Effective Communication
6.1 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

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)

  • Role of media relations in communication management
  • Relationship between journalism and public relations
  • Media strategy development: the relevant structures and processes; strategy planning, objectives and evaluation
  • 'Mass' communication research traditions: media effects theories, agenda setting, cultivation. Implications for media relations
  • Public opinion and diffusion of ideas and innovations
  • Public interest and new media
  • Media interview functions, techniques and roles
  • Preparation for interviews; identifying type and purpose; training in techniques, role-plays.


Assessment task 1: Presentation and accompanying written material


a, b, c and d

Weight: 25%

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

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
clearly explain, discuss and analyse concepts and theories as they relate to the practice of media relations; 15 a 2.2
identify and critically examine an issue for media relations which warrants debate or exploration (justify); 15 a, b, c 2.2
refer to appropriate concepts and literature to support issue selection, analysis and discussion; 15 b, c 2.3
adopt a critical, analytic role in the assessment of theory and communication practices 15 b 2.2
produce a clear, well-organised and informative presentation on the identified issue/debate and its application to practice 20 a, b, c 6.1
produce clear and grammatical written expression, with no typographical, referencing (use UTS Harvard), spelling or punctuation errors 10 d 6.1
adhere to length limit 10 d 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Media strategy


a, d, e and f

Weight: 40%

1200-1500 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
devise an achievable and appropriate media strategy for this scenario, the client publics and media outlet, based on research and sound argument 35 a, d 1.1
devise measurable and appropriate objectives for the media strategy 25 e 1.1
provide a convincing rationale 25 e, f 3.1
prepare written materials to a professional standard including appropriate structure, accurate referencing, spelling, punctuation and grammar, clarity of expression, and absence of typographical errors 10 d 2.2
adhere to word limits 5 d 2.2
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Media kit


a and d

Weight: 15%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
produce a media release which conforms to layout and style conventions and uses a newsworthy angle for identified publics and objectives in the media strategy 40 a, d 6.1
produce backgrounders which are informative and well-researched, observe format and style conventions, complement the media release, and work to achieve the objectives of the strategy 35 d 6.1
prepare written materials to a professional standard including appropriate structure, accurate referencing, spelling, punctuation and grammar, clarity of expression, and absence of typographical errors 20 d 2.2
adhere to word limits 5 d 2.2
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 4: Television interview preparation and television performance


d, f and g

Weight: 20%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
anticipate difficult or challenging questions for your interview and devise credible, appropriate answers 10 d 6.1
develop an angle which is newsworthy and succinct, engaging key messages 20 d, f 6.1
devise appropriate objectives for the interview 10 d, g 1.2
achieve your stated objectives for the interview 10 d, g 1.2
be well prepared for the interview, including nonverbal presentation 15 g 2.2
perform well as a spokesperson/interviewee, appearing credible, honest, sensitive and professional without unnecessary avoidance or obfuscation 20 d, g 2.2
prepare written materials to a professional standard including appropriate structure, accurate referencing, spelling, punctuation and grammar, clarity of expression, and absence of typographical errors 10 d, g 2.2
adhere to word limits 5 d 2.2
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.