Syllabus Lecture Notes Issues Tracking What's New

ISSUE TRACKING GUIDELINES (pdf version, with grading sheet, 108K)
NM2219 Principles of Communication Management
Dr. Linda M. Perry • Dr. Iccha Basnyat

The first objective of this term project is for you to learn how to watch for and track issues that may affect your employer, your profession, your country or you. This is a crucial first step for managing issues. The second objective is for you to learn how to strategically manage issues' impacts on an affected organization or governmental body using public relations theories and principles learned in class.

For this project, you should watch for issues that affect public opinion at home or globally and that would respond to public relations tactics you are learning about in class. Remember that an issue is subject to debate. It involves a controversy, or a problem to be resolved. The issue may impact local, state, national or international businesses, organizations or public officials.

Watch for current issues and be prepared to discuss two or three by the time of your first discussion group meeting, the week of 24 Aug. Your instructors will lead discussions on current issues, including your choice, at that first group meeting. You will break up into groups of 5 to 7, and each group should settle on tracking one issue by the week of 1 Sept. No two groups within a tutorial should track the same issue. By the week of 8 Sept., your group should agree on an organization or government body that can be affected by the issue.

In addition to local media, monitor at least one major daily newspaper outside of Singapore for developments in your issue. Excellent reports will be taken from several news sources. Clip all articles you can find about the issue, or print out articles found on the Internet. Write the date and source on each clip. Hint: Google has an excellent tracking device to help you find articles on your issue. If your issue dies or is resolved, pick another quickly. As you collect the clips, write a short summary about each development. (If you were doing this for an employer, you would track several issues of interest to, or that may have an impact on, your organization. The summaries would be given to your superior daily.)

Most issues are complex enough to have many facets. Each group member should concentrate on one such facet, and each group member should have about 12 to 15 clips by the time the report is due. There may be some overlap. Each member must compile an annotated bibliography (containing short summaries of each article or new updates) submitted with the group's report. Be sure to put your name on your bibliography.

By the week of 3 Nov., your group should be prepared to deliver a short (7-15-minute) presentation to your tutorial, with a written outline summarizing the issue and your group's recommendation. To address the issue on behalf of the organization you have chosen to represent, propose at least one public relations objective and at least one tactic to achieve that objective. The excellent report will consider more than one tactic, as appropriate. The presentation must not go over the time limit set by the instructor. Points earned for the presentation will be determined by content and by how well the presenters were prepared and followed these criteria. Audio/visual aids to comprehension are a plus.

By 17 Nov., each group should submit a three- to five-page report of its issue. This report should include an objective summary of the issue and how it has developed up to the time of the report. The summary should be brief and concise, not more than three pages, double-spaced. The report will include a discussion (at least one page of the report) on how the issue relates to what you have learned in class. For example, you might report how good public relations practices could have averted the problem, or could have (or did) manage the problem. You might report how public opinion was formed about the issue, affected a situation, or was engineered or manipulated. An excellent report will discuss at least three principles, theories or other elements learned in class and correctly applied to your issue. In addition, you will propose at least one realistic and measurable public relations objective and tactic to address the issue on behalf of your organization. The excellent report will propose more than one tactic, as appropriate. Set at least one measurable objective for each tactic. Finally, the excellent report will reflect any feedback received on the outline and/or presentation.

The report is to be typed, double-spaced, with the clips, printouts or photocopies attached. Add a page of bibliographic references, citing at least 10 articles, etc., used in the group's summary and recommendations. The excellent report will have at least 15 citations. The citations may be in footnote style or in a reference list. Also enclose each group member's annotated bibliography and a copy of the Issue Tracking Grade Sheet (see pdf version of these instructions to print out the grade sheet) with your issue and group members’ names clearly written on the lines provided. Append a cover sheet and package the report neatly in a large envelope with your group's names and majors, the issue addressed and your tutorial instructor's name written on the outside. The number of points earned (out of 100) will be determined by the quality of the summary and the application section and by how well criteria were met and directions were followed. Writing, grammar and spelling are important.

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