module specification

MC5061 - Media Relations (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Media Relations
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
100 hours Guided independent study
50 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Coursework 30%   Group coursework of media relations material
Coursework 70%   Individual: A series of media relations tasks
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester City Tuesday Morning

Module summary

This module explores the entire media environment and is designed to provide students with the understanding and skills required to work with digital and non-digital media within the context of designing and delivering public relations campaigns.

The module examines the role of public relations within a fast changing media landscape and explores theory and practice relating to patterns of media usage, including digital communication.

The module aims to develop students ability to analyse the fragmenting 21st century media landscape; to analyse public relations in its wider social and political context; to discuss and debate the future of media and communications; and to synthesise key academic and industry sources.

The module also calls on students to reflect on their own communications presence and to deploy traditional and digital communications skills as part of a personal strategy to enhance their own employability.

Prior learning requirements

120 Credits at Level 4

Module aims

This module is designed to provide students with the understanding and skills required to work with various media in designing and delivering public relations campaigns.

The module also aims to assist students in the acquisition of the following skills:

  • Researching
  • Communicating/presenting – orally and in writing, including inter-cultural communication
  • Being creative
  • Academic writing/literacy
  • Digital literacy and IT skills
  • Career Management


  • The modern media landscape, including ownership, structure and audience
  • The emergence of traditional and digital media
  • The impact of new media on PR practice and the digital PR toolkit
  • Ethics, technology and the new media
  • Engaging with media: how PR influences the news agenda
  • The news agenda and its impact on journalists and news editors’ information needs
  • Social media and the implications for PR practice                                                                                         
  • Delivery channels and methods for media relations  – news releases, VNRs, photocalls, media/press events, on-line delivery
  • The structure of the news release, photos and captions, feature-writing
  • Relationship-building with the media – the role of the press office, timeliness of information, pro-active/reactive agendas
  • Evaluating media relations and digital media campaigns

Learning and teaching

This module will be delivered through weekly lectures and seminars which will be enhanced with workshop activities during the course of the semester.
One of the guest lecture “events” will include visiting speakers from PR agencies working in the media relations world, including digital and social media sectors (eg ex-LMBS students working in public relations) who will visit the class to provide case studies of their agencies’ work for clients. This external input will enhance the module learning through ensuring that the theoretical concepts introduced on the module are seen in action in active industry examples.
The visits will also include external speakers discussing their own career experience in PR and the way they have utilised the media to enhance their own careers and employability. This aspect of the module is intended to encourage students to focus on their own career development and the need for evidence of competence, skills and practice in the form of a portfolio of creative writing including press releases, backgrounders, feature articles, blogs and other traditional and digital media material. 
An action and experiential learning approach will be used to help students relate their own experience as target consumers and receivers of off and on-line communications campaigns, and thereby encourage them to interact with external audiences and media platforms as a result of such programmes.  The module will encourage students to reflect upon these communications campaigns, identify their personal learning and share their thoughts in structured class discussions.
Video and online case studies will be used as the starting point to stimulate discussion and to ensure a problem-based approach to the seminar sessions.
Weblearn will be used for the distribution of the Module booklet, for setting workshop exercises and for updates and commentary on all relevant aspects of the media and resulting communications. It will also be used to direct students to updated readings, relevant media articles relating to media relations and all module news. In addition, it will also be used for distribution of assessment information, to provide supplementary information relating to assessment in response to student queries and for the timely provision of initial marks and generic feedback following formative assessment.

Learning outcomes

On completing the module students will be able to :

  1. Explain the structure of the UK media industry and the context in which public relations practitioners operate
  2. Write a press release and other media relation tools to engage with relevant media
  3. Understand how digital technology, particularly interactivity, is changing the way organisations interact with their customers and stakeholders
  4. Define the ethical issues that media relations and digital technology poses as non-mediated communications develop and the importance this places on public relations professionals handling the communications process
  5. Evaluate relevant media tools and design a communications solution to help an organisation achieve its media objectives

Assessment strategy


Assessment strategy Learning Outcomes Skill Development
Group coursework including the development of media relations material, analyses and exercises relating to topical events and activities within the media. 1,2,3,4, Research & Data analysis (P) (A)
Knowledge application & written presentation (A)
Critical thinking, problem solving & decision making (P) (A)
Collaborating with others (A)
Enterprise skills (P)
Individual: A series of media relations tasks covering writing, media selection and press pack design and preparation (2,000 words) 1,2,3,4,5 Academic reading (P) (A)
Application of knowledge (P) (A)
Critical thinking & academic writing (P) (A)

The factors driving assessment strategy for this module are the need for a valid, transparent and diverse approach. The assessment strategy was also influenced by the need to fulfil the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ (CIPR) requirements relating to “PR Practice,” as cited in the CIPR’s criteria for course recognition, which include the areas of “media relations……writing…….social media/digital communication.....ethics.”

The assessment is demanding in that it is continuous and requires students to answer weekly the question: “What have I learned?” in their learning notes.  This in turn will form the basis of each student’s media relations assessment coursework, which will be supplemented by a series of wider media relations exercises – including the research and creation of press releases, press notices, press advisory and background notes, feature article proposals - many of which will be added to the tasks undertaken as part of student assessments.

Such a “portfolio” approach is designed to help students build a set of skills in the generation of media relations tools, to provide evidence of learning and skills for potential employers and to guide students as they reflect on which areas of the PR industry where their skills are most relevant.


Module Texts:
Bland, M., Theaker, A., and Wragg, D. 2009.Effective Media Relations. London: CIPR/Kogan Page.
Foster J: Effective Writing Skills for Public Relations, 2005 IPR/Kogan Page
Phillips. D. and Young, P. 2009. Online Public Relations.London: Kogan Page/CIPR.
Tench, R & Yeomans, L 2013 Exploring Public Relations: Prentice Hall
Supporting Texts:
Breakenridge, D. 2008.PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools, New Audiences. London: FT.
Dewdney, A. and Ride, P. 2006.The New Media Handbook.London: Routledge.
Li, C. and Bernoff,, J. 2008.Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Press.
Smith. P. and Taylor, J. 2004.Marketing Communications: An Integrated Approach.London: Kogan Page.
Tapscott, D. and Williams,.A. 2008. Wikinomics: How mass collaboration changes everything, London: Atlantic Books.