Chapter 2 Reading Notes

June 12, 2010 at 5:13 pm (PRCA 3330 Reading Notes)

          Chapter 2 in Public Relations Writing & Media Techniques was all about becoming a persuasive writer. This chapter was especially interesting to me because I took a class called Persuasion (COMS 3337) last spring that coverd many of the concepts I learned in chapter 2 and I would recommend it as a communication studies elective to anyone in our major. Persuasion is something that has been on this earth as long as humans have; according to the text:

 “it was formalized as a concept more than 2,000 years ago by the Greeks, who made rhetoric, the art of using language effectively and persuasively, part of their educational system. Aristotle was the first to set down the ideas of ethos, logos, and pathos, which translate roughly as ‘source credibility,’ ‘logical argument,’ and ’emotional appeal,’ respectively”

          Chapter 2 was a great overview of the basics of communication which include a sender, a message, a channel, and a reciever. I believe that communication is such an important part of PR and I like knowing how the process works so that I can be more effective when communicating with my audience in my professional future. This chapter also covers a few theories of communication that are most applicable to public relations writers. One theory is the Media Uses and Gratification Theory, which states that the communication process is interactive. The Cognitive Dissonance Theory which essentially says that people will not believe a message contrary to their predispositions unless the communicator can introduce information that causes them to question their beliefs. The Framing Theory is used to describe how journalists and editors select certain facts, themes, and even words to “frame” a story in order to generate maximum interest and understanding among readers and viewers. This theory applies to public relations because over half of the content found in today’s mass media is supplied by public relations sources. The Diffusion and Adoption Theory states that there are five steps in the process of acquiring new ideas; these five steps include awareness, interest, trial, evaluation, and adoption. The Heirarchy of Needs Theory is based on the work of Abraham Maslow, who listed basic human needs on a scale from basic survival to more complex needs: physiological, safety, social, ego, and self-actualization needs are the ones he listed, in order.

          This chapter also mentioned key factors in persuasive writing, some of which include:  audience analysis, source credibility, appeal to self interest, clarity of the message, semantics, suggestions for action, and a few others that also play a vital role in delivering a written persuasive message. Persuasion and Propaganda were also mentioned and along with the ethics of persuasion and being called a ‘spin doctor’ is exactly the best thing for a PR writer. This chapter has taught me so much about being a persuasive PR writer and how to remain ethically sound in doing so!

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