PUBRL204-20A (HAM)

Contemporary Public Relations Writing

15 Points

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Division of Management
School of Management and Marketing


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Placement/WIL Coordinator(s)


Student Representative(s)

Lab Technician(s)



You can contact staff by:

  • Calling +64 7 838 4466 select option 1, then enter the extension.
  • Extensions starting with 4, 5, 9 or 3 can also be direct dialled:
    • For extensions starting with 4: dial +64 7 838 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 5: dial +64 7 858 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 9: dial +64 7 837 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 3: dial +64 7 2620 + the last 3 digits of the extension e.g. 3123 = +64 7 262 0123.
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Paper Description

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Writing remains an essential skill for public relations practitioners, and employers from a wide array of industries favour graduates with strong writing, editing, and proofreading ability. Many seasoned practitioners cite writing as the most important attribute in prospective employees.

The tools public relations professionals use change and evolve frequently so writers must show knowledge of a range of genres and also adapt quickly to emerging ones. At the same time, they must understand the way their work contributes to an organisation’s goals and objectives.

Therefore, this course is essential in helping you develop your writing skills to a professional standard so that you will become authorities on writing in your future workplaces and produce materials that are in line with organisational objectives.
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Paper Structure

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This paper will be blended between face-to-face lectures and tutorials (at computer labs), and online (Moodle) activities for skill development and assignment preparation. Moodle is the online tool that you are required to access for all the paper details.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Learning outcomes:
    1. Apply research skills and theories of professional writing to plan and justify specific organisational collateral for a range of audiences, purposes and contexts; (Assessed by Assignments 1, 2, 3 and 4)
    2. Design and produce professional-standard content for a range of genres in both established and digital media; (Assessed by Assignments 1, 2 and 3)
    3. Edit, proofread and evaluate your own and others’ work competently, showing understanding of the text, sub-text and context. (Assessed by Assignments 1, 2, 3 and 4)
    Linked to the following assessments:
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Please ensure that you follow submission instructions carefully and note that you have two separate submissions for each of the three portfolio document: 1) a planning/rationale sheet; 2) a portfolio document (newsletter / annual report / persuasive online writing)

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Portfolio Document ONE: Newsletter
3 Apr 2020
10:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Portfolio Document TWO: Annual Report
10 May 2020
10:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Portfolio Document THREE: Persuasive Online Writing
15 Jun 2020
10:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Participation
8 Jun 2020
No set time
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Recommended Readings

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Smith, R. (2017). Becoming a public relations writer: Strategic writing for emerging and established media (5th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Bivins, T. H. (2014). Public relations writing: The essentials of style and format (8th ed.). New York, NY: McGaw-Hill.

Wilcox, D. L. & Reber, B. H. (2013). Public Relations writing and media techniques (7th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

These books are on Course Reserve at the library. The new 6th edition (2019) may be released at the library soon. The digital version of Smith’s book (4th ed.) is also available on ProQuest ebrary. Please notice the 4th edition has a slightly different subtitle: Becoming a public relations writer: A writing workbook for emerging and established media.

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Other Resources

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Other recommended readings and resources are accessible in Waikato Reading Lists.

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Online Support

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You can access the paper details (paper outline, lecture slides, assignments, reading lists, etc.) through Moodle which displays all the papers you are currently enrolled in. Moodle is available from your computer desktop when you log on in the Waikato Management School computer labs. You can also access Moodle by going to

All lectures will be recorded so that you can easily retrieve the Panopto recordings after class via Moodle. Even though the lecture recordings will be made available, you are still expected to be physically present at lectures. In-class activities, exercises, and discussions will not be recorded.

The course recommended readings are accessible in Waikato Reading Lists, a resource management tool that allows teaching staff to provide you with the course related readings lists. Go to the Waikato Reading Lists page via Moodle, and search by our paper code, title, or the Convenor's name. You will easily access your Course Reading Lists.

If you have any questions about using Moodle, Reading Lists, or other online support tools, please seek assistance from the Course Convenor or directly contact ITS Service Desk (call: 07 838 4008; email:

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Learning hours for PUBRL204 are 150 hours over 15 weeks. Consider learning hours to be the total of class time and your own time. Therefore, you should expect to spend three hours each week in class, and seven hours each week outside of class. Outside of class time you are expected to review lecture slides/Panopto recordings, complete the readings, prepare and complete assignments, and carry out other learning activities as required.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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Note any linkages to other papers where the linkage is of importance.
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Restricted papers: MCOM332, MCOM432

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