COMM 3600A




Power Points:


















Writing Prompt 8




Weekly assignments:

Week 1, Aug. 17—Three-paragraph press release lede for India Day 2017 (due Tuesday, Aug. 22); read pp. 2-15 in Guth and Marsh; and be prepared for a pop quiz based on the reading for Tuesday (Aug. 22) at the start of class.

Week 2, Aug. 21 and 23—Quiz #1 on Thursday.

Week 3, Aug. 28 and 30—In-class writing prompt on Tuesday; Cinema Series recommendation for Thursday. In the textbook (Guth & Marsh), read 19-22, 147-153 and 169-170; and 173-179.

Week 4, Sept. 5 and 7—Discuss mass communication theories; history of P.R.; and writing for P.R. Using social media for research/reporting.

Week 5. Sept. 14—Press release for Constitution Day. Public relations research. Read pp. 106-125 in Guth and Marsh. (No class on Sept. 12 due to Hurricane Irma.)

Week 6, Sept. 19 and 21—Research and Public Relations. Writing prompt: Giving directions. Read pp. 37-53 in Guth and Marsh for Tuesday, Sept. 26 class. Exam #1 Review (handout).

Week 7, Sept. 26 and 28—Guest speaker will be Taylor Lamb, sports information director at Augusta University. On Thursday, Exam No. 1.

Week 8, Oct. 3 and 5—History of public relations. Read pp. 31-48 in Guth and Marsh.

Week 9, Oct. 10 and 12—Finish P.R. criticism and begin P.R. planning. Read pp. 126-132 and Chomsky handout. No class on Thursday (Fall Break). Don’t forget campaign memo #2 is due Tuesday, Oct. 17.


Fall 2017

Augusta University

Dept. of Communication

The course: COMM 3600A (Public Relations Practices).

Professor: Dr. David W. Bulla, associate professor.


Telephone number: (706) 993-0054.

Course website:


Description: This course examines common practices in the field of public relations, including study of the publics served and an evaluation of the effectiveness of public relations campaigns with emphasis on image building. We will learn how to write for public relations and how to communicate with the world through both legacy and social media.

Meeting time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Place: Allgood Hall E355.

Dr. Bulla’s office: Allgood Hall E114.

Dr. Bulla’s office hours: Mondays, 10 a.m.-noon; Tuesdays, 1-3;30 p.m.; and Thursdays, 1-2:30 p.m.

Learning outcomes:

1. Introduce students to PR field.

2. Students will be able to explain what publics are and how to target a message to different publics.

3. Students will learn how write key PR documents, including press releases, emails to the news media and scripts of video news releases.

4. Students will be able to explain what strategic thinking is and how it is used in PR, and to conceptualize a campaign.

Text: Davie W. Guth and Charles Marsh, Public Relations: A Values Driven Approach 6th ed. (New York: Pearson, 2017).


Welcome to Public Relations Practices for Far 2017:

Public relations is probably the most fun field there is in communications. Not because all you do is throw parties and stand in front of cameras making speeches – far from it. Many days, you won’t leave your office, and you’ll spend those days crunching numbers or writing speeches or maybe, if you’re lucky, designing newsletters. You don’t have to like people to be an excellent PR person. You do have to be an excellent writer and thinking. You have to be able to look at a client’s problem and figure out the best solution to it. And there’s never just one solution. That’s what makes PR fun – the challenge of figure out which out of multiple choices is the best one for the situation your client is in. Every PR activity you undertake will be limited by three factors: time, talent, and money. If your client needs a 30-minute promotional film made in two weeks and has a budget of $1,500, you’re going to have to find one heckuva film maker to come up with a respectable outcome. And, if you take on the client, you’ll have to produce an outcome that is at least respectable (excellent is way better, though).

This class will introduce you to methods and techniques PR people use to produce outcomes they can be proud of, that will get them repeat business, and that will meet professional standards of ethics and requirements of law. You will have the opportunity to take other classes later that will help you hone and develop your public relations skills.

Teaching methods:

The primary method of instruction is class discussion. The instructor will also lead class discussion and elaborate on material from the required text through use of contemporary examples in the news and other materials.

Methods of Evaluation:

  1. Three exams—100 points each (objective and essay) for a total of 300 points
  2. Writing prompts—10 of these for 25 points each for a total of 250 points
  3. Homework and quizzes – 10 of these for 25 points each for a total of 250 points
  4. Final project: Campaign document/presentation – 200 points

Total: 1,000 points

Grading rubric:

Your work will be evaluated and graded according to the following criteria:

A= Excellent work that demonstrates a comprehensive and solid understanding of the material. Your work incudes thoughtful and original insights and interpretations, is well focused, and demonstrates well-reasoned commentary and analysis (i.e., you supported your arguments with strong, appropriate evidence). An A signified mastery.

B=Good work that is where most student work falls. It’s complete and shows an accurate understanding of course material. There is a reasonable degree of insight and a broad level of analysis. The work is competent but predictable and shows a general level of understanding. Sources are used properly and writing is clear. B work is reasonable, clear, appropriate, and complete. It demonstrates proficiency with the material.

C=Adequate/fair work that covers most of the basics but is incomplete or superficial. There are fact or other errors and weaknesses. Source material isn’t used appropriately or adequately. There is a lack of concrete examples, illustrations and/or appropriate anecdotes. The work may be vague or hard to follow. C work shows basic proficiency

D=Unsatisfactory work that is sort of in the ballpark, so to speak, but demonstrates a serious lack of understanding. It is work that fails to address the rudimentary elements of the course assignment. Sources are used inappropriately or not at all. Writing is poor enough to be hard to read. A D is the result of a conscientious lack of proficiency.

F=The work fails to demonstrate any proficiency at all. It shows flagrant disregard for the course material and the assignment.

0= is assigned to work not turned in.

How to figure your grade: Add up all the possible points. Then add up all your points. Divide your points by the possible points then multiply by 10.


This class will make you a better professional and a more interesting human being. Further, I’ve worked hard to put together a sound educational experience for you, so I expect you to attend each class. So do the school rules. I do take roll at the beginning of class. If you are not present when I call roll, you will be marked absent, and that won’t change. Please note that if you miss a class where work is due, you must email me the work prior to class. Otherwise, I will not take it. If you’re not quite finished by the time class meets, you have until 5 p.m. that day to get the work to me. After that, the 30 percent penalty kicks in. Students who miss only one or fewer classes will receive a 2 percent bonus added to their final grade.

Mobile devices:

Laptops and other electronic devices can be great learning aides, but they can also be distractions. Consequently, my policy tries to walk a line between the two. You may use a laptop in class to take notes. You may not misuse the laptop for things like checking Facebook, emailing, chatting, registering for classes, etc. If you do, you will be banned from bringing the laptop to class again.

Cell phone use is completely and entirely prohibited in all class meetings. You should turn your phone off and stow it out of your sight and everyone else’s. You should not check your phone for any reason during class. Yes, I love my phone, too, but we can survive a class period without accessing it. However, I will have my phone on and out so that we don’t miss any security alerts. Oh, and if your phone rings, beeps, twings, or makes any noise in class, it’ll be banned, too.

Other policies:

1. Quizes and homework cannot be made up.

2. Exams can only be made up by prior arrangement.

3. Any form of cheating of plagiarism will result in a grade of F for the assignment, and if it is sufficient egregious, an F for the course. Any second instance of cheating or plagiarism will result in an F for the class, and I will also seek the most severe penalties allowed under the Student Handbook (up to and including expulsion from the university).

4. Participation is expected, including participation in distribution. That includes both speaking up when you have something relevant to say and listening when others are speaking. It does not include playing on the computer during class.

5. Deadlines are sacrosanct (and if you don’t know what that word means, look it up – it’ll help you build your writer’s vocabulary! 😉  ) If something is due on a Monday, it’s due at the beginning of class. If you don’t have it at when I call for it, you will immediately lose half a letter grade in points, even if you bring it to me when class is over.

6. If you’re having trouble in the class, come see me so we can figure out what you need help with and get you the help you need.

Disability services:

If you have a disability for which you need accommodations, I must be informed of this by the Office of Disabilities and Testing.

Week-by-Week Schedule for Fall 2017 (Bulla)

Tuesdays and Thursdays …

August 17: Introduction to course; index cards; what is P.R.? Reading: Chapter 1 of Guth and Marsh.

August 22 and 24: Models of public relations; jobs in P.R. and professionalism. Reading: Chapter 2 of Guth and Marsh.

August 29 and 31: Process and values; writing a press release. Reading: Chapter 10 of Guth and Marsh.

September 5 and 7: Email as a P.R. tool. P.R. project memo. Research and P.R. Reading: Chapter 7 of Guth and Marsh.

September 12 and 14: Social media and public relations. Reading: Chapter 11 of Guth and Marsh.

September 19 and 21: Case studies; strategy. Reading: Chapter 8 of Guth and Marsh.

September 26 and 28: P.R. history. Reading: Chapter 3 of Guth and Marsh.

October 3 and 5: Criticism of P.R. Reading: Handout.

October 10 and 12: Campaigns. P.R. project proposals.

October 17 and 19: Campaigns. P.R. and tactics. Using video in P.R. Reading: Chapter 9 of Guth and Marsh.

October 24 and 26: Using video in P.R. Reading: Chapter 11 of Guth and Marsh.

October 31 and November 2: Using audio in P.R.  Using video in P.R. Reading: Chapter 11 of Guth and Marsh.

November 7 and 9: Media relations: Events coordination (e.g., The Masters).

November 14 and 16: P.R. across cultures and internationally. Reading: Chapter 14 of Guth and Marsh.

November 21:  P.R. and ethics. Reading: Chapter 6 of Guth and Marsh.


November 28 and 30:  P.R and the law. Reading: Chapter 15 of Guth and Marsh.

December 5 and 7:  Campaign project. Crisis communication. Using video in P.R. Reading: Chapter 112 of Guth and Marsh.

Exam: TBA.

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