Internet Explorer 7, 8, and 9 are no longer supported. Please use a newer browser.
Concourse works best with JavaScript enabled.
UCLA logo

382468: Writing for Public Relations
MGMT-X 469.12

  • Fall 2021
  • Section 1
  • 4 Credits
  • 09/21/2021 to 11/30/2021
  • Modified 09/02/2021

Meeting Times

Class meets via Zoom on Tuesday evenings, September 21 - November 30, 2021 from 7-10 pm (Pacific Coast Time)

The class is eleven weeks.

Once enrolled, students can access Zoom via the Canvas shell. The live sessions can be recorded so students may view them at a later time. 

Details on accessing Canvas will be emailed to you after completing enrollment. Courses in Canvas are typically accessible 2 days before the course start date. If applicable, instructions for accessing and using Zoom will also be provided in Canvas.

Canvas & Zoom Info

Holidays during the FALL 2021 quarter include:

Veterans Day, Thursday, November 11

Thanksgiving Holiday, Thursday & Friday, November 25  & 26




This course provides a detailed survey of professional public relations writing in its many forms. It is structured to illustrate both the style and content of corporate, agency, nonprofit, and special client writing tasks in today's highly competitive public relations market. This class is directed toward those already possessing well-honed writing skills. Students create their own examples of news releases, pitch letters, biographies, position papers, media advisories, feature writing, speeches, crisis communications, and other typical public relations writing as part of a strategic public relations campaign kit.


  • Understand the role and responsibilities of Public Relations in business with sensitivity to legal and ethical concerns in the creation of written communications.
  • Develop the tools, techniques, and strategies to master the art of strategic writing for Public Relations.
  • Learn the specifics of key message formulation based on target audience research and market segmentation to create a media message matrix.
  • Learn the specifics of research, identifying target audiences and methodologies used to deliver key messages to them.
  • Learn the techniques to create a strategic Public Relations plan.
  • Leverage critical thinking skills to understand and implement the public relations planning models (ROPE, RACE, SMART, ROSTIR)  to achieve campaign success.
  • Understand the importance of the PESO Model and its impact in Public Relations.
  • Enhance written communication skills through the weekly assignments focused on the development of Public Relations materials, tools and other written deliverables.
  • Reinforce the use of and importance of AP Style in all written materials distributed to the news media.


Upon completion of this course students will have the ability to:

  • Apply research methods to better identify target audience segmentation.
  • Evaluate the PESO Model and construct communication plans.
  • Analyze target audience needs and write public relations materials applying AP Style including:
  • news releases
  • fact sheets
  • media alerts
  • bios
  • pitch letters
  • crisis statements
  • speeches
  • and media kits



Becoming a Public Relations Writer: Strategic Writing for Emerging and Established Media

  • Author: Ronald D. Smith
  • Edition: 6th
  • ISBN: ISBN-13: 978-0367281571 ISBN-10: 0367281570
  • Availability: Amazon
  • Price: $75.69 Amazon Prime

The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law

  • Edition: 2020
  • ISBN: ISBN:-10-1541647572 or ISBN-13:978-154164757241647572
  • Availability: Amazon Prices $23.49 to $24.93

Please know this is a required textbook for the course.

Students may choose the paperback or spiral bound book version for this class.




Students will be assigned homework each week, take three quizzes and complete the final project.

Guest Speakers

Public relations professionals have been invited to share their knowledge and expertise with you this quarter. Please note speakers are subject to their own availability. Students will be notified upon speaker confirmation.


Assignments are to be submitted via Canvas since this is a Remote Instruction course.

Students are reminded to put their names, assignment title, and page number on every page of each assignment submitted for credit. All work is to be double-spaced with one-inch margins on the top, bottom and sides. Papers submitted with no names or page numbers will receive no grade. Please use Helvetica 12 PT. NO PDFs allowed.

It is the students’ responsibility to read the textbook chapter assignments each week and come to class prepared to discuss and participate in the class discussion. I will not lecture directly from the textbook but may provide supplemental materials as deemed appropriate.

Students will greatly increase the value of this class if they complete the assigned reading before we discuss the subject matter in our virtual classroom. This course covers a large and varied amount of subject matter and it is important that students keep up with the reading to benefit from the course content and add to their skill set.


Since this is a Remote Instruction course, it is important that students make every effort to attend each class as attendance counts towards your final grade.

If for some reason you are unable to attend due to illness or a work commitment, please notify me prior to the class. You will still be expected to complete the homework that is due the following week. You must attend each class to earn class participation points. A study-buddy system will be introduced the first night of class and you will have a partner to check in with should you miss a class. A master contact list will be created for everyone in the first class and distributed the following week. 

Remote Instruction will require you to log on via Canvas prior to the start of the class.  Please make certain that you have access to Canvas and are ready to start class at 7 pm.  Should you have any technical challenges please contact Canvas Technical Support 24/7 at 833-430-3501.

Class participation counts towards your final grade in this course and Canvas/Zoom will provide me with an attendance report for every student each week of class.

Digital Etiquette in the Classroom

Remote instruction will require digital etiquette. Cell phones are to be turned off or to silent during the weekly class meetings. Students are reminded that during Zoom lectures they are to be prepared for class, professionally attired, and ready to engage with the other students during class discussions.

Weekly attendance is required to earn class participation points and Zoom will provide the instructor with a report on each student's participation.

Please be aware that during a Zoom session your environment will be seen by others in the class as well as by your instructor.  Prior to the first class, it is advised to check your settings and environment to be confident you are ready to have others view your personal space.


Students with questions about the assignments or homework feedback may contact the instructor via the Canvas email feature. Click on the inbox in the upper right corner next to your (student) name. Be sure and select the specific course and then click on the “compose a new message” icon (pencil image on paper icon).

I respond to emails with 24 hours.  Weekends I may take longer but I make an effort to respond quickly to my student's requests.

Students may also make an appointment with the instructor to discuss their work BY CONFIRMED APPOINTMENT (via Canvas).  My virtual office hours are Wednesday mornings via Zoom from 9-11 am.  Students may also speak to me by phone by confirmed appointment.

Questions are always welcomed.

All course assignments are to be sent via Canvas. 



Your final course grade will be based on points earned for your class participation each week  and the successful completion of all written assignments. Students are expected to be punctual to our Virtual Class, meet all deadlines and contribute their unique perspectives during the weekly interactive course lectures.  Students are encouraged to share their personal experiences in PR as it related to the weekly topics. 


All homework assignments are to be emailed to the instructor via CANVAS by the deadline indicated in this syllabus. The class meets virtually on Tuesday evenings from 7-10 pm.  Homework deadline is Monday each week by Noon Pacific Time. 

Homework will be graded and returned to you with my comments, suggestions and feedback prior to the start of the next class. At the beginning of each class I provide an agenda for the class and will take time to review the assignments in detail and answer any student questions.

It is expected that all assignments are to be error free. It is your responsibility to proofread your work carefully to make certain your words are spelled correctly, your punctuation is right, your sentence structure is complete, your facts are correct and there are no typos or errors in AP Style usage.

Proofreading your work out loud before you submit your work for a grade, will greatly improve your grade in each assignment.  Print out what you believe is your best work, read it out loud and make the necessary changes you see as a result of your final proof reading session.

One point is deducted for every error you make and know that the point loss can add up by the end of the quarter class and have a dramatic impact on your final course grade.  Take the time to proof read your work as if your assignments were ready to be published online.  Every point counts. 





Types of evaluations and related weights
Type Weight Topic Notes
Weekly Homework Assignments 100 points

10 points x 10 = 100 points

Homework is assigned every week and is due every Monday by noon unless otherwise stated by the instructor in class. Each weekly assignment is worth 25% of your final grade. Each homework assignment is worth 10 points and there are 10 assignments for a total of 100 points.

NOTE: The first assignment is a biography of your fellow student and used as an assessment tool of your writing style.  All students will be given credit for that first assignment however no grade will be issued for the first assignment.

There are ten other weekly assignments worth 10 points each for a total of 100 points.

Quizzes 75 points

(3 total) 25 points x 3 = 75 points

Quizzes: there will be three quizzes in this class.. Each quiz will be worth 25 points each for a total of 75 points. The quizzes will cover the assigned reading, supplemental materials and content discussed in class.

Quiz #1 will cover Chapters 1-7, Quiz #2 will cover Chapters 8-13, and Quiz #3 will cover Chapters 14-18. Quizzes will be available on Canvas and you will have one week to complete.

  • QUIZ #1 (Chapters 1-7) is scheduled for the week of October 18-23, 2021.
  • QUIZ #2 (Chapters 8-13) is scheduled for the week of November 8 - 13, 2021.
  • QUIZ #3 (Chapters 14-18) is scheduled for the week of November 29 - December 4, 2021.

Three quizzes count for 18.75% of your final grade. Quizzes will be based on the assigned reading, supplemental materials and class discussions.


Class Participation 110 points

10 points x 11 classes = 110 points

Class participation counts 27.50% of your final grade. Each week that you attend the entire class (7-10 pm) you will be awarded 10 points for that class for a total of 110 points for class participation.  Canvas and Zoom will provide me with a weekly attendance report for each student that I will use in calculating the points earned towards the final grade.


Final Project 115 points

Final Project 28.75% of your final grade. The final project is worth 115 points.

The Final Project consists of the creation of an Electronic Media Kit (EPK). More information about the assignment will be shared as we begin the course.  Elements of this final project will be discussed each week in class and thus students will demonstrate their course knowledge with the creation and execution of this public relations electronic media kit.

 The Final Project will be distributed in Week 10 and time will be allocated in class to answer any questions students may have about the assignment.  The Final Project is due via Canvas no later than Saturday, December 11, 2021 by 11:59 pm Pacific Time.

The Final Project is worth 115 points towards your final grade in the class. It is worth 28.75% of your final grade.

More details will be shared each week of class.



For every mistake identified you will receive a one-point deduction from the total points on each assignment submitted.

Your course work grades are assigned points. The maximum points earned in this course is 400 points. The grade points earned and the percentage scale for this course are detailed in the assignment table.


Resulting grade and related performance levels
Grade Range Notes
A 90-100%

Point breakdown 360-400 points

B 80-89%

Point breakdown 359-320 points

C 70-79%

Point breakdown 319-280 points

F 0-69%
Satisfactory 70-100%
Unsatisfactory 0-69%

Course Policies

Students are expected to follow the daily news and be prepared to discuss current affairs in class. Developing awareness of a broad range of PR, advertising, integrated marketing, and social media-focused print magazines, online publications, and blogs, as well as prominent business newspapers and magazines, is essential to keeping abreast of developments in the paid, earned, shared and owned media domains. These publications include, but are not limited to:

Advertising/PR/Social Media


§   Advertising Age.

§   Adweek.



§   Chief Marketer.


§   The Holmes Report.

§   iMedia Connection.

§   Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter.

§   Mashable.

§   MediaPost.

§   PR News.

§   PRNewser.

§ PR Tactics/PR Strategist.

§   PRWeek.

§ / Ragan’s PR Daily.

§   Social Media Examiner.


§   Associated Press.

§   Barron’s.

§   Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

§   Bloomberg.

§   The Economist.

§   Entrepreneur.

§   Fast Company.

§   Financial Times.

§   Forbes.

§   Fortune.

§   Inc. Magazine.

§   Investor’s Business Daily.

§   Los Angeles Times.

§   New York Times.

§   Reuters.

§   Success.

§   USA Today.

§   Wall Street Journal.

§   Wired.

Instructor’s Expectations

It is my responsibility as the instructor to prepare you for a career as a public relations writer. To achieve this goal, I have designed the class content to help you understand the professional demands, expectations and requirements placed on PR professionals.

I fully expect you to:

  • Be prepared each week, be engaged and punctual to our virtual class. Be ready at 7 pm.
  • Be respectful to each other and your conduct should reflect the highest levels of honesty, effort and integrity.  Please be respectful as we engage in Remote Instruction.
  • Complete all assigned readings before class so you can fully participate in the weekly discussions. This is a fast-paced course with weekly written assignments, so you will benefit greatly and add to your skill set by being current.
  • Attend class and participate. Missing a night of class is equivalent to missing an entire week of content. Absences and lack of participation will impact your learning and your final grade. Note: class absences are excused for religious holidays, medical reasons and emergencies only. Please email me as soon as possible prior to class that you will not be attending. 
  • Submit your homework on time and in the required format. NO LATE ASSIGNMENTS ARE ACCEPTED.
  • Be current and well informed about current events, PR industry trends, and world affairs so you can actively participate in class discussions. Please read a combination of the suggested news and trade publications listed in this syllabus.
  • Create your homework assignments in a Word document and not submit a PDF. Use 12 point Helvetica. Double space your homework.
  • Submit each page of your homework with your name, page number and assignment title, and date. Homework submitted with no names on the assignment will receive no credit.
  • Proofread your homework assignments to accurately reflect your absolute best work and demonstrate your correct use of AP Style.
  • Remember that for every mistake I note, a one-point deduction will be made for each error. Points deducted can add up quickly and impact your final grade.  Proof read.
  • Course syllabus is subject to change as deemed necessary by the instructor.

Planning Your Study Time

To plan your study time, it is estimated that will spend three hours in the classroom with the instructor and approximately seven to ten additional hours per week outside of class reading the textbook, completing the weekly assignments, studying for the three quizzes and completing the final media kit project. 

Depending on the extent of your academic preparation and recent college-level course work  in the topic area, the amount of study time needed many vary considerably. It is highly recommended that you schedule additional time to carefully proof read your assignments prior to submission.

Institutional Policies

Student Conduct

Students are subject to disciplinary action for several types of misconduct or attempted misconduct, including but not limited to academic dishonesty, such as cheating, multiple submission, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University; or behavioral misconduct, such as theft or misuse of the intellectual property of others, harassment, or disruption of the learning environment. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Student Rights & Responsibilities Policy and to report concerns regarding at:

Services for Students with Disabilities

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, UCLA Extension provides appropriate accommodations and support services to qualified applicants and students with disabilities. These include, but are not limited to, auxiliary aids/services such as sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices for hearing-impaired individuals, extended time for and proctoring of exams, and registration assistance. Accommodations and types of support services vary and are specifically designed to meet the disability-related needs of each student based on current, verifiable medical documentation. Arrangements for auxiliary aids/services are available only through UCLA Extension’s Service for Students with Disabilities Office at (310) 825-7851 or by email at [email protected]. For complete information see:


Your instructor may post the interim grade Incomplete/I if at the end of the class your overall work is of passing quality but a portion could not be submitted for understandable reasons (e.g. illness). It is your responsibility to petition your instructor for permission to submit work late and to provide an explanation, and it is his or her sole decision whether to accept the explanation. If permitted, the Incomplete/I grade will be posted and a time frame defined for you to submit the missing work, ranging from one to twelve weeks. Incomplete/I grades that remain unchanged after twelve weeks will lapse to F, NP or U. Receiving an I grade entitles you to submit only the missing work your instructor has agreed to accept late, and does not allow other work to be retaken or oblige UCLA Extension to provide continuing access to course materials via Canvas. The Incomplete/I grade is not an option for courses that do not bear credit, such as 700, 800, or 900-level courses. For complete information, see:

All Grades are Final

No change of grade may be made by anyone other than the instructor, and then, only to correct clerical errors. No term grade except Incomplete may be revised by re-examination. The correction of a clerical error may be authorized only by the instructor of record communicating directly with personnel of Student and Alumni Services.

Sexual Harassment

The University of California is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all individuals who participate in University programs and activities can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. Every member of the community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence, and that such behavior violates both law and University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates our policy.

All Extension students and instructors who believe they have been sexually harassed are encouraged to contact the Department of Student and Alumni Services for complaint resolution: UCLA Extension, 1145 Gayley Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024; Voice/TTY: (310) 825-7031. View the University’s full Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence at

Additional Items

Protecting Privacy and Data During Live Instruction

Live meeting sessions for this class, when applicable, are being conducted over Zoom. As the host, the instructor may be recording live sessions. Only the host has the ability to record meetings, no recording by other means is permitted. Recorded sessions will be posted in the Videos area of this class unless otherwise notified. Due to privacy, recordings are not available for download and are only accessible via Canvas for the duration of the class. If you have privacy concerns and do not wish to appear in the recording, do not turn on your video and/or audio. If you also prefer to use a pseudonym instead of your name, please let the instructor know what name you will be using so that the instructor knows who you are during the session. To rename yourself during a Zoom meeting, click on Participants, click on your name, click on More, click on Rename. If you would like to ask a question, you may do so privately through the Zoom chat by addressing your chat question to the instructor only (and not to ""everyone""). Additionally, chat may be used and moderated for live questions, and saving of chats is enabled. If you have questions or concerns about this, please contact the instructor via Canvas Inbox.

Pursuant to the terms of the agreement between Zoom and UCLA Extension, the data is used solely for this purpose and Zoom is prohibited from re-disclosing this information. UCLA Extension also does not use the data for any other purpose. Recordings will be deleted when no longer necessary. However, recordings may become part of an administrative disciplinary record if misconduct occurs during a video conference.

Course and Instructor Evaluation

UCLA Extension values your feedback on course and instructor evaluations. We ask all students to take a few minutes to complete an end-of-course evaluation survey. Updates to the course and instruction are influenced by your feedback. Understanding your student experience is essential to ensure continuing excellence in the online classroom and is appreciated by your instructor and the UCLA Extension academic leadership.

Your participation in a survey is voluntary, and your responses are confidential. After instructors submit grades, they will be given an evaluation report, but this report will not contain your name.

About Your Online Course Materials

Please note the following about online course components at UCLA Extension:

  • Students must have basic computer skills, including the use of word processing software, email, and the ability to use internet browsers, such as Safari, Firefox, or Chrome.
  • Students are responsible for meeting the technical requirements of Canvas and familiarizing themselves with the Canvas Learning Management System.
  • Students are responsible for keeping a copy of all assignments and work submitted, and to be aware of all assignments, due dates, and course guidelines.
  • Students are encouraged to keep and/or download a local copy of their assignment files, as access to the online environment of a specific course is limited to 30 days after the final course date, as listed in the course catalog.

    To download all your assignment submissions in Canvas, please refer to the online support guide. for more information or contact Canvas Support via the help menu within Canvas.

UCLA Extension Canvas and Learning Support

For immediate 24/7 Canvas technical support, including holidays, click on Help (located on the menu to the left) where you can call or chat live with a Canvas Support representative.

UCLA Extension Instructional Design and Learning Support
The UCLA Extension Learning Support staff assists both students and instructors with Canvas-related technical support, as well as general and administrative questions.

Learning Support staff is available Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 5 PM (Pacific Time), except holidays:

Campus Safety Escorts

For students taking classes held on the UCLA campus and in and around Westwood Village, the UCLA Police Department provides a free walking escort service every day of the year from dusk until 1 a.m. Community Service Officers (CSOs) are available to walk students, faculty, staff members and visitors to and from anywhere on campus, in Westwood Village, and in the village apartments. CSOs are uniformed students who have received special training and are employed by the UCLA Police Department. To obtain an escort, please call (310) 794-9255 and allow 15 to 20 minutes for your escort to arrive. For complete information, see:


Course Reading Assignments and Homework Due Dates




Percentage of Final

Due Date

Week One


Read chapters 1-2 prior to the first class. Pages 1-47.

Writing and What It Means to You.

Effective Writing.

Course Overview

Student Introductions

Professional Bio

Credit only

 Credit only

Monday, September 27, 2021 by NOON.

Week Two


Read Chapter 3 & 4. Pages 48-93

Persuasive and Ethical Communication.

The Writing Process

Research Assignment

10  points


Monday, October 4, 2021 BY NOON

 Week Three


Read Chapter 5, 6, 7

Pages 97-144-96

News and Public Relations.

Fact Sheet and Advisory.

News Writing Style.

Ethics Assignment

10 points


Monday, October 11, 2021 BY NOON

Week Four


Read Chapters 8 & 9 Pages 145-204.

Print News Release.

Broadcast News Release.

News Release Exercise

10 points

Quiz #1 25 points Chapters 1-7.

Quiz available on Canvas from October 18 to October 23, 2021 by 11:59 PM Pacific Time.






(6.25% each quiz)

Monday, October 18, 2021 BY NOON

Week Five


Read Chapters 10 & 11 Pages 205-253.

Transmedia News Package for Print, Broadcast, Online and Social Media.

News Feature.

Social Media PESO Exercise

10  points


Monday, October 25, 2021 BY NOON.

Week Six


Read Chapters 12 & 13 Pages 254-301.

Advocacy and Opinion.

Newsletter, Magazine and Corporate Report.


10 points


Monday, November 1, 2021 BY NOON.

Week Seven


Read Chapters  14 & 15.

Pages 302-332.

Website, Blog and Wiki.

Flier and Brochure.


10 points


Quiz #2 25 points(Chapters 8-13) Quiz available on Canvas from November 8 to November 13, 2021 by 11:59 PM Pacific Time.





Quiz #2 is worth 6.25%

Monday, November 8, 2021 BY NOON.

Week Eight


Read Chapters 16 & 17 Pages 333-371.

Week Nine


Read Chapter 18.

Pages 372-398.

Direct Mail and Online Appeals.

Public Relations Advertising








10 points.





10 points









Monday, November 15, 2021 BY NOON



Monday, November 22, 2021 BY NOON.

Week Ten



Student Speech Presentations

Course Evaluation


 10 points

Quiz #3 25 points

Chapters 14-18 In-class quiz. Quiz available on Canvas from November 29 to December 4, 2021 by 11:59 PM Pacific Time.





Quiz #3 is worth 6.25%

Monday, November 29, 2021 BY NOON

Week Eleven







Final Project Discussion.

Class wrap-up. Final questions.

Course Evaluation.

10 points

Final Project

Media Kit

115 points



Monday, December 6, 2021 BY NOON

Final due Saturday, December 11, 2021 by 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

Class Participation


Weekly Discussions


10 points per class. Must be present entire class to earn points each week.



9-21-2021 to 11-30-2021.


Total Points


400 Points