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«SPEAKING OF FAITH: PUBLIC RELATIONS PRACTICE AMONG RELIGION COMMUNICATORS IN THE UNITED STATES Committee: Dominic L. Lasorsa, Co-Supervisor Ronald ...»

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This study also posed an intriguing theoretical question for scholars of religion and public relations: Have these two disciplines been independently investigating a common social dynamic? Unfortunately, the survey results in this study do not provide an answer. In fact, the findings here could make no connection between what religion communicators do and changes in the dynamic U.S. religion marketplace. But that does not mean future studies might not detect a common dynamic that researchers from sociology, public relations and other social sciences might want to explore. Combining techniques and theories from related fields may lead to a broader ontology of sociology, religion and public relations.

If future research ever finds a common dynamic, that discovery could renew consideration of the moral quandary raised in Chapter 1. Niebuhr (1929) and Grunig (1992, 2006a, 2006b) present different moral positions concerning two-way symmetrical relationships in a religious context. Those opposing positions seem to be built on different levels of moral analysis. Religion communicators in this study generally agree with statements about two-way symmetrical practices. Ethicists, therefore, might want to explore when—if ever—two-way symmetrical public relations practices would be morally inappropriate for religion communicators.

–  –  –

2006 Questionnaire used with members of the Religion Communicators Council What do religion communicators do?

This survey is for members of the Religion Communicators Council. The purpose is to provide the board benchmarks for professional development planning. For this questionnaire “department” refers to the office or organizational unit of which you are a part, such as communications, benevolence interpretation, public relations or marketing. “Organization” refers to the overall religious organization. If you work for a local unit or judicatory of a faith organization, such as a

conference, synod or diocese, your “organization” answers should refer to that local unit. NOTE:

Many questions use language that may seem “commercial” or “corporate.” That’s because we want to compare your responses to those of communicators in earlier corporate studies. Please associate those terms with similar concepts in your religious organization. Your answers to all the questions—even the ones that may not seem to apply to you—are important to the accuracy of this research. Thanks for your input and your contribution to improving RCC.

In the following questions, please circle the number of the appropriate response.

1. Does your communication department report directly to the most senior manager in your religious organization?

a. Yes (Please skip to Question 4) b. No

2. Does an indirect reporting relationship exist, then, from the communication department to the most senior manager (for example, in which the department reports directly on some matters but not all)?

a. Yes (Please skip to Question 4) b. No

3. Which of the following best describes your communication department’s reporting relationship?

a. The department reports to a senior manager who, in turn, reports to the most senior manager.

b. The department reports to a more junior level of management.

c. Some other reporting relationship (please specify). ___________________________

4. Please describe the extent to which your communication department contributes to each of the following organizational functions.

No Minor Average Major Extremely strong contribution contribution contribution contribution contribution a. Strategic planning

b. Response to major social issues.............1 2 3 4 5 c. Major initiatives (e.g., new programs, movements into new areas of ministry, launches of new products or services, starts of new faith communities, property acquisitions, new facilities)

d. Routine operations (e.g., development and maintenance of employee communication, community relations or media relations programs)

5. Which of the following communication activities conducted by your department, if any, must be cleared by senior managers outside your department? (Circle all that apply) a. None g. Statements that include direct quotes b. New projects h. Specialized content c. Major projects (in terms of expenditures) i. Statements with political ramifications d. Statements, oral or written, that involve numbers j. “Sensitive” information e. Financial information k. Statements about top administrators l. Other (please specify) _____________

f. Crisis communication

–  –  –

18. Which of these four communication functions best describes your primary role?

a. I am the organization’s expert on diagnosing and solving communication problems.

b. I am the specialist in writing and producing communication materials.

c. I am the liaison, promoting two-way communication between management and our various publics.

d. I am the problem-solving process facilitator, helping management go through defining problems, setting objectives and planning programs in a systematic fashion.

19. The next items list tasks requiring special expertise or knowledge that is available in some communication departments but not in others. Using a five-point scale, indicate the extent to which your department or someone in your department has the expertise or knowledge to perform each task. If no one has the expertise, select 1. If your department is among the tops in the field for the task described, pick 5. Select 2 to 4 to show levels of expertise between those extremes.





None Some Average Good Tops a. Determine how publics react to the organization.........1 2 3 4 5 b. Coordinate press coverage or arrange media coverage of an event

c. Get publics to behave as your organization wants.......1 2 3 4 5 d. Produce a Web site

e. Negotiate with an activist group

f. Manage people

g. Conduct evaluation research

h. Provide objective information about your organization.....1 2 3 4 5 g. Produce publications

h. Persuade a reporter to publicize your organization..................1 2 3 4 5 i. Use theories of conflict resolution in dealing with publics......1 2 3 4 5 j. Write an advertisement

k. Take photographs

1. Understand the news values of journalists

m, Get your organization’s name into the media.............1 2 3 4 5 n. Write speeches

o. Keep bad publicity out of the media

p. Develop goals and objectives for your department..................1 2 3 4 5 q. Produce audio/visuals (graphics, slide shows, videos, radio spots)

r. Prepare a department budget

s. Use attitude theory in a campaign

t. Manipulate publics scientifically

u. Get maximum publicity from a staged event...............1 2 3 4 5 v. Perform environmental scanning

w. Write news releases and feature articles

x. Develop strategies for solving communication problems.1 2 3 4 5 y. Prepare news stories that reporters will use.................1 2 3 4 5 None Some Average Good Tops z. Create and manage a speakers bureau

aa. Help management understand the opinion of particular publics.1 2 3 4 5 bb. Use research to segment publics

cc. Manage the organization’s response to issues............1 2 3 4 5 dd. Perform as journalists inside your organization.........1 2 3 4 5 ee. Persuade a public that your organization is right on an issue...1 2 3 4 5

20. About how many people are employed by your overall organization? _____________

21. About how many communication professionals are employed by your department?

____________

22. Does your department or organization use the services of outside public relations, advertising or marketing firms?

a. Yes b. No (please skip to Question 24)

23. Please indicate which of these public relations services, if any, your department or organization purchases from outside public relations firms (Circle numbers for all that apply).

a. None b. Preparation and placement of publicity and advertising materials c. Preparation of publications directed to employees, stakeholders, investors and similar publics d. Consulting about relations with the news media during periods of actual or potential controversy or disputes e. Consulting about top-level strategic problems related to the relationship your organization has with outside organizations or groups f. Research in support of the public relations function g. Assisting in developing a communication department or doing an audit of an existing department h. Other (please specify) _________________________________________________

24. Are you? a. Maleb. Female

25. Your age is: _____________________

26. How many years have you worked in communication? ________________________

–  –  –

29. The highest level of formal training you have completed in communication,

journalism, advertising, public relations or marketing is:

a. No formal training in communication, journalism, advertising, public relations or marketing b. Some continuing education courses c. Some undergraduate-level college courses d. A bachelor’s degree e. Some graduate-level courses f. A master’s degree g. A doctoral degree

30. Which, if any, professional credential in communication or public relations have you earned? (Circle numbers for all that apply) a. None b. Accredited in Public Relations (APR) c. Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) d. Faith group certification in communication e. Other (please specify) _________________________________________________

31. To which, if any, of the following professional communication or public relation associations do you belong? (Circle numbers for all that apply) a. Religion Communicators Council b. Public Relations Society of America c. International Association of Business Communicators d. Women in Communication e. Groups related to your faith group f. Society of Professional Journalists g. Radio-Television News Directors Association h. Society of News Design i. None j. Other (please specify) __________________________________________________

32. About how many times a year, if any, do you attend meetings of professional communication/public relations associations? _________________________________

33. In the past 10 years, how many times, if any, have you served as an officer of a professional communication/public relations association? _______________________

–  –  –

36. Your faith group is: ____________________________________________________

That completes the questionnaire. Thanks so much for your time and responses. Your input will help RCC leaders target future professional development offerings to your needs.

–  –  –

2008 Questionnaire sent to faith group leaders supervising members of the Religion Communicators Council What should religion communicators do?

This survey is for faith group executives who supervise members of the Religion Communicators Council. The purpose is to provide broad benchmarks for understanding the place of communication within religious organizations. RCC will use this information in planning professional development offerings for members.

NOTE: Many questions use language that may seem “commercial.” That’s because they were developed for a study of 300 secular organizations in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Please associate those terms with similar concepts in your organization. Your answers to all the questions—even the ones that may not seem to apply to you—are important to the accuracy of this research. Thanks for your input.

In the following questions, please circle the letter or number of the appropriate response.

1. Does your communication department report directly to the most senior manager in your religious organization?

a. Yes (Please skip to Question 4) b. No

2. Does an indirect reporting relationship exist, then, from the communication department to the most senior manager (for example, in which the department reports directly on some matters but not all)?

a. Yes (Please skip to Question 4) b. No

3. Which of the following best describes your communication department’s reporting relationship?

a. The department reports to a senior manager who, in turn, reports to the most senior manager.

b. The department reports to a more junior level of management.

c. Some other reporting relationship (please specify). ___________________________

4. Please describe the extent to which your communication department contributes to each of the following organizational functions.

No Minor Average Major Extremely strong contribution contribution contribution contribution contribution a. Strategic planning

b. Response to major social issues...............1 2 3 4 5 c. Major initiatives (e.g., new programs, movements into new areas of ministry, launches of new products or services, starts of new faith communities, property acquisitions, new facilities)

d. Routine operations (e.g., development and maintenance of employee communication, community relations or media relations programs).......1

–  –  –

And the winners are … DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards (2005). RCC e-Counselor, March.

Baptists top award winner list (1987). RPRC Counselor, Summer, 6.

Becker, H. (1932). Systematic sociology. New York: Wiley.

Bernays, E.L. (1923). Crystallizing public opinion. New York: Boni and Liveright Publishers.

Bernays, E.L. (1928). Propaganda. New York: H. Liveright.

Bernays, Edward L. (1955). The theory and practice of public relations: A resume. In

E.L. Bernays (Ed.), The engineering of consent (pp. 3-25). Norman, OK:

University of Oklahoma Press.

Black, R.D. (2002). Highlights of membership survey. Counselor, Spring, 8.

Board looking at career development possibilities (1985-86). RPRC Counselor, Winter, 4.

Botan, C.H., & Hazelton, V. (Eds.) (1989). Public relations theory. Hillsdale, NJ:

Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

Botan, C.H., & Hazelton, V. (Eds.) (2006). Public relations theory II. Mahwah, NJ:

Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.



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