General Motors recall of defective cars that have been linked to at least 13 deaths

Assignment outline:

The assignment consists of two parts; a portfolio and a report. The portfolio needs to be consist of an analysis of media coverage of the chosen company. Analysing media coverage is the most traditional method to measure the results of public relations activities, as clippings can indicate the audience’s potential exposure to the message. This assignment tests students’ practical skills at evaluation, using their theoretical knowledge to offer credible comment on a hot industry topic.

This assignment is comprised of two parts (although submitted as one assignment):

A) Practical – Portfolio

You will complete a media analysis exercise based on 10 editorial clippings about one company of your own choice. These 10 clippings need to be from a selection of media e.g. press cuttings / websites / broadcast clips / social networks. Advertisements must not be used.

This media analysis, for each clipping i.e. 10 in total, should be presented in bullet points (as it will not contribute to your word count) and should include:

1. Placement: Where in the publication or broadcast it was found: on the front page of the paper or inside; as the lead story on the evening news or an item stuck between sports and weather etc. Also include prominence: e.g. did it have a photo for extra impact?
2. Audience reach: Circulation of the newspaper, size of the television or radio audience or amount of online page impressions
3. Context: News story, feature, investigative piece, editorial, column, a letter to the editor or social media response
4. Content: Inclusion of key messages. It is not enough to simply count the number of times a company, product or issue is mentioned. Look for key messages, such as product attributes (low price, reliability, environmentally safe, physically safe, easy to use, etc) or company attributes (environmental responsibility, good labour relations, good community citizen and so on). Messages can be contained in the news story or in quotes provided by customers, stock analysts or other observers/ stakeholders
5. Tone: Positive, negative or neutral
6. Stakeholders: Whose viewpoint is included in the article e.g. a key influencer through twitter or a blog / a corporate investor through a financial news story / a customer through a Facebook comment. At least three or four different viewpoints should be identified within the complete portfolio i.e. not for each individual clipping.

Choose a company that has been in the headlines post January 2014. You may find that you are able to have a more thorough analysis of a company that has experienced some form of negative press/crisis. This would enable you to recommend suggestions for improvement.

B) Report – Analysis of clippings

The aim of the report is to discuss the importance of evaluating campaigns and evaluate the success of the chosen campaign via the clippings in the portfolio. Using theory, students should showcase their understanding of key PR concepts including planning, communication models and evaluation within a 1,500 word report (+/- 5%). Credible comment should be provided on the importance of campaign evaluation. The report should be structured as follows:

Executive summary: Usually one or two paragraphs which summarises the report aims, literature review, overview of the results of the evaluation and conclusion (not included in word count)

Background: This introduces your reader to the company, its sector and where appropriate, a particular topic for analysis (two paragraphs maximum). Also included should be a brief overview of any key issues that are affecting the sector e.g. financial crisis in banking, tourism and the environment, etc. (not included in word count)

Literature review: An overview of key theories surrounding PR campaign models, media analysis and evaluation

Analysis of clippings: Analysing the prominence and success of the clippings. This section should particularly focus on if anything should be changed in the future to change negative messages into positives, or how to target audiences more effectively. Students should refer to specific clippings during their analysis (i.e. Clipping 1 shows that…)

Conclusion: Highlight the content of the report and what has been learnt from evaluating the campaign. Is there anything that could be done differently next time to ensure more positive/wide spread media coverage?

References: Using Harvard Referencing System

Appendices: Part A – Portfolio

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