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The impact of public information specialists from institutions of higher education on radio news

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The impact of public information specialists from institutions of higher education on radio news
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Kacskos, Janet Datisman
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vii, 71 leaves : forms ; 29 cm

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Radio journalism ( lcsh )
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Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, Communication.
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by Janet Datisman Kacskos.

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Full Text
THE IMPACT OF PUBLIC INFORMATION SPECIALISTS
FROM INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION ON RADIO NEWS
by
Janet Datisman Kacskos
B.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, 1981
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Communication
1993


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Janet Datisman Kacskos
has been approved for the
Department op


Kacskos, Janet Datisman (M.A., Communication)
The Impact of Public Information Specialists from Institutions of
Higher Education on Radio News
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Jon Winterton
ABSTRACT
The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how public information
specialists at institutions of higher education impact radio news. This was
done by sending out a questionnaire to all radio news directors in Colorado.
News directors from 120 out of the 151 radio stations responded. In addition,
a separate questionnaire was sent out to the public information specialists at
the twenty-four institutions of higher education in Colorado. Nineteen
responded. Both surveys were administered in Fall, 1992. Seven hypotheses
were posited regarding the relationship between public information specialists
and radio news directors. While a strong relationship was confirmed by the
data for all the hypotheses, three were statistically significant.
The first hypothesis posited that the frequency of contacts broadcast
journalists report making with public relations people was positively related to
the frequency with which they report using news releases sent from public
relations people. There was a significant correlation between these two
behaviors. The second hypothesis was also significant. It said that the
iii


number of contacts public relations people from colleges or universities make
with broadcast journalists, according to the broadcast journalists, was
positively related to the frequency of the use of sound bites or information
from professors or staff members that the radio station reported that they use.
In addition, hypothesis five was confirmed strongly by the data. It postulated
that the frequency of contacts made by a public relations person to broadcast
journalists, according to the broadcasters, was positively related to the
frequency with which the broadcasters report using news releases from
colleges and universities. Thus, it could be summarized that public relations
people need to make contacts with broadcasters, if they want their news
releases, sound bites and other information used on the air. The data put
more weight on the frequency of contacts, rather than the personal
relationship between the broadcaster and the public relations person.
This abstract accurately represents the content
thesis. I recommend its publication.
intent of the candidaf&s
MM-
JonrWinterton
IV


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
A sincere thank you to my thesis committee members, Dr. Sam Betty
for assisting with the statistics; Benita Dilley, for so thoroughly editing my
work; and my adviser, Dr. Jon Winterton, who told me I could do it, even
when I wasnt so sure, and gave me excellent guidance and information
through numerous courses such as Introduction to Graduate Studies.
Those who provided support and cooperation throughout the process of
compiling this thesis include my supervisor at Metropolitan State College of
Denver, Nancy Munser, and the radio station news directors and public
information specialists surveyed for this research. Nancy was very
understanding throughout the entire process and encouraged me to complete
this research project.
A special thanks to my mother who always provided a shoulder to lean
on when things werent going well and to my husband, Craig, who helped me
put everything in perspective and kept me sane during this process.
v


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION AND PROBLEM................................... 1
The Problem................................................ 1
Elite Power Group Theory................................... 2
The Role and Tasks of Radio Journalists.................... 5
The Role and Functions of Public Information
Specialists from Institutions of Higher Education ... 7
News Releases............................................. 10
Plan for Thesis.......................................... 13
2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE AND HYPOTHESES 15
Elite Power Group Theory.................................. 17
Public Relations Influence................................ 19
The Relationship Between Radio Journalists
and Public Relations Specialists.................... 21
Where do Radio Stations Get Their News?....................24
Research Question and Hypotheses...........................25
3. DATA COLLECTION AND
DATA ANALYSIS STRATEGY...............................28
The Method................................................ 28
Sampling.................................................. 31
4. FINDINGS.................................................. 33
Other Findings from Broadcast Questionnaires.............. 44
Other Findings from Public Relations
Questionnaires...................................... 45
VMS Findings.............................................. 46
vi


5. DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS..................... 47
Research Limitations...................... 53
Future Research........................... 55
QUESTIONNAIRE FOR BROADCAST JOURNALISTS........ 57
QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION
SPECIALISTS............................... 60
QUESTIONNAIRE FOR VMS........................... 62
BIBLIOGRAPHY.................................... 64
Vll


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION AND PROBLEM
Radio, radio, where would life be? Where would life be,
without it?
We hear that catchy radio lingo by the Radio Advertising Bureau on
many radio stations. This thesis deals with a certain part of radio, the
journalists who write and air the news on radio and where their lives would
be without public relations people from higher education institutions.
Public information specialists and radio journalists share some of the
same values while differing on others. In the article "Using Role Theory to
Study Cross Perceptions of Journalists and Public Relations Practitioners,"
Andrew Belz, Albert D. Talbott and Kenneth Starck say that the relationship
between the two groups can be very problematic, "To some extent, public
relations practitioners and journalists are dependent on each other" (125).
The Problem
This paper looks at the relationship between public information
specialists at institutions of higher education and radio journalists and the
impact of this relationship on radio news content. It also examines the role, if
any, that public relations representatives have in helping to select the news
1


that the public will hear on the radio. It is based on the contention that the
way broadcast media get their news has been changing over the past several
years and that they are more reliant on public relations departments than in
the past. A theory recently proposed by Roya Akhavan-Majid discusses some
of the ways that the media have changed.
Elite Power Group Theory
Akhavan-Majids "American Mass Media and the Myth of
Libertarianism: Toward an Elite Power Group Theory" provides a useful
theoretical foundation for this investigation. Akhavan-Majid has written many
articles about mass media, not only in the U.S, but also in Japan. He has also
been quoted extensively, in discussions of the mass media and his model has
been used in other theses. The model deals with the media moving away
from the Libertarian model which he says is characterized by "plurality of
media outlets, independence from the power elite, and freedom from
government control," and the media moving towards "concentration in media
outlets, integration with other elite power groups, and two-way flow of
influence and control between the government and the press" (145).
His major contention is "that the U.S. news media today are often little
more than transmission belts for the official viewpoint, thriving on
2


ready-made handouts, press releases..." (140). His assertion suggests that there
is a stronger relationship today between public information specialists and
radio journalists than in past years.
Belz et al. uses role theory to study two interacting roles, that of
journalist and public information specialist. Role theory suggests that people
play parts determined, to some extent, by others expectations.
In an article in the Canadian Journal of Communication. J. Charron
discussed the cooperation, conflict and negotiation between journalists and
public information specialists:
The relationship between journalists and public relations
practitioners is at once cooperative and fraught with conflict and
implies a double negotiation: over the exchange of resources,
and over the rules regulating this exchange (47).
The research done in this thesis hypothesizes Akhavan-Majids Elite
Power Group Model. His model indicates that journalists, both print and
broadcast, are doing less investigative and true reporting today and are getting
their information "the easy way."
Radio journalists get their information from many sources, ranging
from wire services such as the Associated Press (AP) and United Press
International (UPI) and newspapers to newsmakers and public relations
representatives.
The questions asked in the surveys examine if news releases are used
3


more today by broadcast journalists than in past years and if the relationship
between public information specialists and broadcasters makes a difference in
the news heard on the radio. Questions are also asked examining if the
frequency of contacts that public relations specialists make to broadcasters
impacts radio news. The theoretical issue examined is, since journalists can
now be classified within The Elite Power Group Model, as explained by
Akhavan-Majid, if the frequency of contacts or the relationship between
public relations representatives and broadcast media impacts the frequency of
the use of news releases on the air. The findings are then discussed and
future research questions are posed.
The information in this thesis is very pertinent to public relations
representatives. It should help them in deciding how and if to work with the
broadcast news media and where to spend their time and efforts. Radio
journalists may be interested in knowing how often and to what extent then-
peers use news releases from public relations people and what sort of
relationships the two groups have. It may also be interesting for both groups
to examine the Elite Power Group Theory.
Akhavan-Majid writes that journalists have become something along
the lines of puppets, "their ability to serve as forums for the expression of
diverse views and opinions diminishes...and their willingness and ability to
perform a watchdog function may be expected to erode" (142). He explains
4


that the media is being manipulated by profits and government policy.
While Akhavan-Majid contends that the media is losing some of its
force, Patricia Ewing Pace and Jo Culbertson in Successful Public Relations
for the Professions state there is still a lot of power wielded by both
broadcasters and public information specialists:
Electronic media, radio and television are among the most
powerful forces in our society. Public relations messages via
these media have a great deal of impact, especially for
professional firms (85).
The Role and Tasks of Radio Journalists
In their book Radio Journalism. John R. Bittner and Denise A. Bittner
discuss the first radio news broadcast and explain the significance of the
medium:
But first, if this broadcast is reaching you, please drop us a card.
Address station KDKA, Westinghouse, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania."
With those words, radio began its first major news broadcast to
the American public the November, 1920 Harding-Cox
Presidential election returns. Over the next fifty years, this new
medium would transform the structure of society and shrink the
globe...It would bring news to more people with greater speed
than any other medium. Radio would come of age and survive
the challenges of television to become the most pervasive
medium in the world today (131).
Radio news ranges from thirty second headlines on some radio stations
to twenty-four hour continuous feeds on other radio stations. Radio
Journalists: A broadcast journalist or radio personality presents the day-to-day
5


happenings in that region, state, country, or the world either in a taped or live
broadcast.
In his book Broadcast Journalism: An Introduction to News Writing.
Mark W. Hall gives a definition of a radio journalist:
True broadcast journalists, to indicate their extensive training,
are persons specifically trained for reporting the days events by
radio...They have received extensive training in the complexities
of hard, journalistic reporting combined with a knowledge of
radio...A good journalist must be aware of just about everything
that is going on in the world (77).
While the actual job for radio journalists varies with each station, most
job descriptions include that the applicant should have a college degree in
journalism and the ability to conduct interviews, both over the telephone and
in person. Radio journalists also need to know how to gather, write and
deliver the news in an accurate, fair manner over the air.
Sheila Stainback, a New York-based reporter and one of the top
African American newswomen in the industry contends that attitude is also
important for radio journalists, "Smile, smile, smile. I tell young reporters to
keep a chipper attitude, and by that I mean they should be friendly, but not
inviting" (24).
The Bittners expound on how broadcast journalists develop their news
judgments:
The comparative importance of news does not lend itself to tidy
categories and automatic definitions. News judgment is learned
6


over a period of time, tempered by ethics and refined by
professional experience (145).
While news judgement is just as important to radio journalists as it is to
television journalists, the radio broadcast journalists often take a back seat in
terms of salaries and how well known they are. However, radio is a
legitimate news source for many people. One of the premiere broadcast
journalists, Edward R. Murrow, was discussed by Kenrick in Prime Time:
(Edward R. Murrow) believed, and always would believe that
radio was a more useful and serious means of communication
(than television), and he frequently said that a commentator had
no need to be seen, only to be heard (182).
In his paper on the Elite Power Group Theory, Akhavan-Majid is far
more critical of journalists, saying that, far from striving to perform as
watchdogs for the people, they are, "driven primarily by the need to fill their
newsholes as efficiently and conveniently as possible." He continues:
The idea that the U.S. news media today are often little more
than "transmission belts" for the official viewpoint, thriving on
ready-made handouts, press releases, press conferences,
background briefings, and quotes from prominent officials, is
thus well documented and widely accepted in the academic
community (140).
While Woodward agrees that the media have changed, he contends that
radio continues to play an important part in our lives. Woodward reports that
of a total American population of 250 million, radio reaches about 200 million
each weekday. In fact, the Radio Advertising Bureau calculates that there
7


are 5.6 radios per household in the United States (45).
The Role and Functions of Public Information Specialists
from Institutions of Higher Education
Public Relations People: Are those people hired by companies or
organizations to represent their firm in a positive manner and who provide
stories to reporters, including radio reporters. Fitzpatrick writing in Public
Welfare says that public information officer, public relations advisor, public
affairs consultant call the position what you will, every agency needs a
skilled professional communicator who can convey the truth about an agencys
programs, policies, and philosophies, "A communications professional can
ensure that agency news is smoothly delivered to the public in a series of
easily digestible bites" (33-34).
Writing in Advertising & Marketing Review. Deborah Radman says
that a companys promotional efforts should include a plan for working with
the media (24-25). Gene Grabowski in Public Relations Quarterly gives an
informal definition, "Oh, he just talks on the phone with reporters and tries to
get them to write stories" (27). Grabowski goes on to name the seven deadly
sins of media relations saying that poor sales skills is a biggie, "When people
ask me what I do for a living. I often tell them Im a salesman of ideas" (27).
Robert Dilenschneider and Dan Forrestal defined public relations as,
8


"...the use of information to influence public opinion" (28).
Public relations should not be taught in schools of journalism and/or
mass communications, argues Ziff in his article "Public Relations in the
Academic Media Empire." In "thumbing his nose" at public relations
education he suggests that public relations belongs in a school of management,
and journalism should leap out of the communications realm:
The liberation of journalism education would...give heart to
those thousands of good journalism students who continue to
submit themselves to whatever academic regime is required,
however bizarre, to get a ticket toward a craft they love. It
might even affect how journalism is practiced, including
liberating it from the gaudy and triumphant march of Publicity
(18).
While Ziff obviously does not care for the public relations field,
Bissland and Rentner in their article "Educations Role in Professionalizing
Public Relations: A Progress Report" explain that public relations is trying to
gain professional status by stressing specialized education for the field. They
say that the number of public relations courses and programs offered by
colleges and universities has mushroomed in recent years, and since 1975, no
fewer than three separate commissions have made recommendations for
enhancing and formalizing public relations education. Cutlip also takes a
different approach from Ziff, "Today more than 300 colleges and universities
offer one or more courses in public relations most of them, appropriately, in
courses allied to the journalism curriculum" (115).
9


"Public Relations is a two-way communication process," according to
Pace and Culbertson, "between a firms professionals and the audience they
want to reach" (43). The firms professionals would in the case of higher
education, include the president, the vice presidents, possibly the cabinet, the
governing board and at times, the faculty, staff and students of the college or
university. In other applications, it would be the president of the company
and other high ranking decision makers.
Bissland reports that according to his study, the majority of public
relations practitioners are women, approaching middle age, well-educated and
loyal employees who have worked an average of 6.8 years for their present
employer and 11.9 years in the public relations field:
Respondents showed high levels of formal education: 94.5% of
our 650 respondents had at least a bachelors degree; 26.8%
reported a masters degree, whereas 25.2% reported some
graduate work (98).
Toni Delacorte, Judy Kimsey and Susan Hales in How to Get Free
Press take the definition of public relations a step further:
Think of PR as an ongoing process that will keep the business in
the public eye, create goodwill within the community and among
the companys employees, and establish credibility and a clear
image of the product or service rendered (117).
Public relations people at institutions of higher education are those
people who represent the interests of colleges and universities in a positive
manner to the media. Indeed, they are paid by and are held accountable to
10


their employers. In his handbook, Lesly says, "Fundamentally, the assignment
of the educational public relations person is to explain change occurring in
and coming from the college or university" (111).
News Releases
One task of public relations specialists is sending out news releases. A
news release is a one page story about a certain aspect that can be sent to
print and broadcast media. According to John Warren and Linda Morton in
"Readability and Acceptance of Public Relations Releases from Institutions of
Higher Education," the best news release is one page long, its easy to read
and they found that releases with longer paragraphs were more acceptable
than shorter paragraphs.
Educational public relations people write news releases about events at
their institutions and about the professors and staff who make up the
institutions. The goal of the news release is to get publicity or a mention for
the college or university either on radio, television or in the print media.
Hall also deals with news releases:
One overlooked source of potential features are the stacks of
free public relations handouts, audio tapes, etc. These "news
releases," while often only seeking free publicity, very often can
lead to solid features with important news value (91).
News releases are written by a variety of organizations, ranging from
11


non-profit groups such as United Way to government offices, such as city hall.
In the Media Relations Handbook, the National Council on the Aging writes
that a news release needs to include the "Who? What? When? Where? and
Why?" of the story.
Some of the inquiries made in the questionnaires used in this thesis
deal with news releases, such as "With reporters having more work and less
time today than reporters in past years, do you ever use news releases that are
mailed to you from colleges or universities?" Another questions asked in the
survey for broadcast journalists asked how often news releases were used.
In their book, Radio Journalism, the Bittners discuss the origin of news
releases, "...most press releases are mailed on a regular basis by government,
education, business and industry" (20).
Radio journalists report that they seldom read news releases in their
entirety. Marilyn LeBlanc, the news director for KRFX in Denver says, "Most
of the prepared news releases that come in here are so poorly written that I
just toss them. Others should be paid advertisements, theyre not news at all.
The ones I do use, I rewrite to make them shorter, crisper and easier to
understand."
The journalist often rewrites the news release or uses just portions.
Radio news time is limited and broadcast journalists do not have the liberty to
use an entire news release. Radio reporters also rewrite releases or use just
12


portions, so that they contribute their writing style or editing style to the story.
The National Council on the Aging write about news releases and broadcast
media:
The electronic media offer a great variety of ways to publicize
your organization. Basically, the same news releases that are
distributed to newspapers can be used for television and radio
stations, although TV and radio allot only a small amount of
time to each story, and television likes stories that are visually
attractive. Keep these elements in mind when dealing with
television and radio stations (111).
A release sent out by a college may be changed by the broadcast
journalist to be less favorable for that institution, although Akhavan-Majid
would contend that the media have "opened themselves up to manipulation"
and often use press releases without even checking the facts (143).
Akhavan-Majid takes the view that news releases can include ready-
made handouts, press releases, press conferences, background briefings, and
quotes from prominent officials.
Plan for Thesis
The problem examined in this paper looks at the relationship between
public information specialists at institutions of higher education and radio
journalists and the impact of this relationship on radio news content. In this
first section the problem was examined along with the Elite Power Group
Theory, which is a basis for the paper. Definitions and explanations of radio
13


journalists, public information specialists and news releases were then given.
The second chapter deals with a review of the literature and posits the
hypotheses. Through the literature, the paper examines the influence of
public relations, the relationship between radio journalists and public relations
specialists and where radio stations get their news. Finally the research
question and hypotheses are listed.
The third chapter contains the data collection and data analysis
strategy. The method of data collection was via three mailed questionnaires;
one sent to radio journalists in Colorado, one sent to public information
specialists at higher education institutions and one sent to a broadcast
monitoring group. All of the questionnaires were sent with a stamped,
addressed return envelope.
The questions looked at both the frequency of contacts made by public
relations people and the relationship of public relations people with
broadcasters and how often news releases or professors from colleges were
used on the air. The hypotheses posited that more contacts and a better
relationship would increase the use of news releases and college staff and
faculty on the air.
The fourth chapter lists the findings and examines the information from
a statistical point of view, using chi square.
The last chapter discusses the findings within the framework of the
14


Elite Power Group Theory, looks at research limitations and then poses future
research questions.
15


CHAPTER TWO
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE AND HYPOTHESES
There is some information that has been some written about radio
reporters and some information that has been written about public relations
people, however, very little of the information looks at the relationship
between the two groups. The majority of the information is in books and
looks at journalists in general, both print and broadcast and public relations
specialists in general, from private and non-profit organizations.
One journal article that looks at journalists in general and public
relations specialists in general is Akhavan-Majids, "American Mass Media and
the Myth of Libertarianism: Toward an Elite Power Group Theory." This
article and theory has been used as the support for the thesis.
The review of the literature is offered in four areas; first a look at the
basis Elite Power Group Theory, then public relations influence, the
relationship between radio journalists and public relations specialists, and
where radio stations get their news.
The first area examines the Elite Power Group Theory and also looks
at how Woodwards thesis, "Deregulation and the Decline of Radio News,"
discusses the demise of a specific part of the media, radio news. Also
examined are articles by M. Collins and R.B. Horwitz regarding the changing
16


times of radio. Lloyd Dennis discusses how public relations is changing and
Deborah Radman discusses where the public relations industry is going.
The second area, public relations influence, includes information on
public relations influence on newspapers from a book by Jeff and Marie
Blyskal, and on the growing power of public relations from an article by John
Detweiler. Michael Lee writes of the possible successes for public relations
practitioners.
The third area examined is the relationship between radio journalists
and public relations specialists. James Bissland and Terry Lynn Rentner in
their article, "Educations Role in Professionalizing Public Relations," discuss
how public relations people can relate to journalists. Belz, Talbott and Starck
in "Using Role Theory to Study Cross Perceptions of Journalists and Public
Relations Practitioners," discuss the perceptions that each discipline has of the
other. Atwood and Marie Copping discuss situational theory in "Applying
Situational Communication Theory to an International Political Problem: Two
Studies," and Scott Cutlip discusses in "Public Relations The Manufacture of
Opinion," how much of the information we read and hear is actually from
public relations. Also commenting on the relationship are the Blyskals in their
book and Woodward in his thesis.
The fourth area deals with where radio stations get their news. Carole
17


Howard and Wilma Mathews discuss that dilemma in On Deadline: Managing
Media Relations. Woodward also discusses the growing problem of radio
journalists trying to find news.
The chapter concludes with the research question and hypotheses.
Elite Power Group Theory
Akhavan-Majid writes that the world of mass media has changed. He
asserts that it used to be that Libertarianism was the ideal that often inspired
journalists as well as the standard against which mass media performance was
often judged by critics. Libertarianism, according to Akhavan-Majid:
...views human beings as rational and capable of discovering the
truth if allowed to participate in a free marketplace of ideas...As
a partner of the people in the search for the truth, the press is
required to function as a watchdog (147).
He says those days are gone and that the mass media can now be described
using an Elite Power Group Model, an elite whose power is steadily increasing
through concentration of ownership, integration with other power elites, and
two-way flow of influence and control:
For example, the nations largest newspaper chain, Gannett
shares directors with Merrill Lynch, Standard Oil, Phillips
Petroleum, Kerr-McGee, Twentieth Century-Fox, McDonnell
Douglas, McGraw-Hill, Eastern Airlines and New York
Telephone Company (144).
Profits now seem to be the driving force behind all mediums.
18


Woodward writes that mom and pop radio stations are a thing of the past.
Even the smallest stations are now owned by corporate giants or at least by
people more interested in turning a buck than in community service (41).
The Elite Power Group Theory attempts to come up with an
explanation of why the media is changing, saying profits are the most
important factor and that the reporting media are a "transmission belt" for the
government and other various groups who use the media. Cliff Dodge, the
President of the Colorado Broadcasters Association calls Akhavan-Majids
theory "common sense."
In his paper on the Elite Power Group Model, Akhavan-Majid states
that 4,600 reporters, representing some 870 news organizations file exactly the
same stories every day, many based on "staged events." He lists that as just
one example of why the media can no longer be classified in the
Libertarianism model, but fit better under the Elite Power Group Model.
Because of the control, Akhavan-Majid contends that newsgathering routines
are created that emphasize beat reporting, staged pseudo-events and quotes
from credible sources, as well as the expanded use of press releases.
Collins, agreeing with Akhavan-Majids statement that media are
primarily driven to fill their newsholes, says that radio stations are desperate
for news with dwindling staffs and fewer resources:
The golden days of full newsrooms, of Edward R. Murrow and
19


H.V. Kaltenbom, are gone. Some radio networks have had to
borrow, buy or pirate television audio to keep pace with
unfolding stories (29).
In addition, syndicated program packages are being used more and
more by radio stations, according to R.B. Horwitz in The Irony of Regulatory
Reform.
In order to keep up with the changing media Lloyd Dennis, in "Deja
Vu All Over Again" writes that public relations needs to change and will
require both a vast skein of internal and external communication linkages and
synergy between traditional public affairs and public relations skills, "So
change in the function of public affairs is evident change in the direction of
being proactive, anticipatory, and integrated into real decision-making" (15).
Agreeing with Dennis, Radman says the new partnership of public
relations and marketing is moving rapidly toward focused interaction with all
individuals in a position to influence the fortunes of an organization (24-25).
That, in turn, agrees with Akhavan-Majids notion that the media have
become "transmission belts" for anyone who wants to use them (140).
Public Relations Influence
Jeff and Marie Blyskal in their book PR: How the Public Relations
Industry Writes the News maintain that while journalists find it easy to dismiss
public relations influence as minimal, they do admit to using public relations,
20


extensively. They quote Seymour Topping, managing editor of the New York
Times:
PR people do influence the news, but really more in a functional
manner rather than in terms of giving new editorial direction.
We get hundreds of press releases every day....Quite a lot of our
business stories originate from press releases (50).
Topping says that public relations is becoming a second news network
behind the legitimate news media, a second network that feeds the real news
media more and more of its news.
Public relation people may ask more of reporters in the future and thus
gain more influence. Detweiler in Public Relations Quarterly writes that the
confirmation process of Justice Thomas suggests that for many years to come
the nation can be assured that the First Amendment will be interpreted at the
nations highest court by at least one very persuasive, self-avowed "media
victim." Detweiler says this new legal climate should embolden public
information specialists to push for prepublication assurances from reporters.
If you can convince newspaper and radio reporters, and news directors
that what you are saying is news, you will get publicity, or free coverage. Lee,
in Real Estate Today, goes on to say that public relations is not for the
fainthearted and successful public relations is no piece of cake, "But with a
well-planned public relations effort, you may get past the gatekeepers. And if
your company becomes big news, it may mean big success" (10).
21


The Blyskals go on to say that from interviewing Charles Staebler, the
assistant managing editor at the Wall Street Journal, they found out that many
public relations pitched stories do not survive, perhaps because they are not
well written, are outdated or plain boring:
However, of all the stories that do make it into the newspaper,
the percentage of them that have PR roots is shocking. Staebler
estimates that perhaps 50 percent of the average Journals
stories are spurred by a press release (46).
Along those lines, 40% of the news content in a typical newspaper
originated with public relations press releases, according to research by Cutlip,
a retired dean of the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism and Mass
Communications at the University of Georgia. That 40 percent figure is also
used by Cutlip in a recent article in the Gannett Center Journal (105).
The Blyskals throughout their book give examples of the large
percentage of press releases that end up as stories in newspapers. They point
out that the Columbia Journalism Review looked at typical issues of the Wall
Street Journal and found that 72 percent were based solely on press releases.
They go on to say that the press and public relations are in bed together
almost everywhere you turn.
The Relationship Between Radio Journalists and Public Relations Specialists
Several relationships between journalists and public relations specialists
22


are posited by Bissland and Rentner in "Educations Role in Professionalizing
Public Relations." Their findings show that the majority of the public
information specialists overwhelmingly prefer the "Two-Way Symmetrical
Model," the purpose of which is mutual understanding. They explain the
model by saying that both sides feel free to ask questions and give
information. Bissland and Rentner found that the Two-Way Symmetrical
Model is chosen ahead of "the Press Agentry/Publicity Model," the purpose of
which is propaganda; the Public Information Model, the purpose of which is
just dissemination of information; or the Two-Way Asymmetric Model, the
purpose of which is scientific persuasion.
The "Two-Way Symmetrical Model," could be tied into Akhavan-
Majids theory in that he says the media are no longer functioning as an
adversary of the government in the public interest, but instead the media has
reached an understanding with the government and other agencies.
It doesnt matter if a public relations person is specifically trained in
public relations, according to Bissland and Rentner, or if theyve entered the
field without formal education, both groups of practitioners still prefer the
mutual understanding model. (97-99).
The relationship between radio journalists and public relations
specialists is discussed by Belz, Talbott and Starck. They used role theory to
study cross perceptions of journalists and public information specialists. Their
23


primary finding was that journalists and public relations officers differ sharply
over their perceptions of the public relations role, yet both groups have
similar perceptions of the journalistic role. Whereas the journalists have more
widely disparate perceptions of the two roles, most public relations specialists
viewed the two roles as having a lot of similarity. Both sides agreed that the
journalistic role involves accuracy, fairness, objectivity, balance and
informativeness. However, the journalists perceived that public relations
involved advocacy, persuasion, withholding of information, and aggressiveness.
Belz, Talbott and Starck suggest that this implies that journalists who choose
to enter public relations will suffer from inter-role conflict (130-132).
This different perception of roles could be put into the "Exemplar-
Based Model of Social Judgment," from Eliot R. Smith and Michael A. Zarate
which says specific past experiences with the target person and other
individuals, as well as more abstract schematic knowledge, influence
judgements and perceptions of people and groups. The past encounters that
journalists and public relations officers have had with each other, their
knowledge of each others group and what theyve heard about the other
group may account for the relationships they now report having.
This would also fit into the social judgment theory described by
Gordon B. Moskowitz and Robert J. Roman where "individuals can
spontaneously form stereotypic inferences to a member of a relevant outgroup
24


without being aware that such inferences have even occurred" (728). A radio
journalist may lump all public relations officers into one category of "flacks"
without being aware of their bias. Once developed, the stereotype could
actually feed into itself.
While newspapers seem to have a close relationship with public
relations, they are not the only medium in that category. The Blyskals report
that local radio and TV stations are more dependent on public relations than
newspapers because they have smaller news staffs.
In his thesis, Bill Woodward writes that the number of persons
employed in radio news has declined since the Federal Communications
Commission deregulated radio in 1981. Woodward sent out a survey to all
station managers and all station news directors in Colorado during 1990; "The
survey reveals that numerous radio stations have eliminated news departments
and news personnel, and have dramatically reduced the quality of news
programming" (40).
This agrees with the Elite Power Group Model of the growing
concentration and conglomeration of radio stations, as opposed to diversity
and plurality. Fewer companies are owning more stations and can get by with
fewer employees.
25


Where Do Radio Stations Get Their News?
In the book On Deadline Managing Media Relations. Carole Howard
and Wilma Mathews discuss how reporters gather their news, "Most radio
stations manage with small news operations. They depend primarily on
material that comes over the wire services, is delivered to the station, or is
called in to the news director" (200).
Woodward says there are less people to get news for radio stations
today. He says the disappearance of radio newscasters is traceable to several
factors, including a demand for higher profits. That fits into the Elite Power
Group Theory, where Akhavan-Majid writes about the integration of media
with other power elites:
The concentration and conglomeration in media ownership in
the United States has been accompanied by growing integration
between the media, big business, and government elites through
both interlocking directorates and personnel flow and overlap
(148).
As an example, Akhavan-Majid points to the fact that the nations largest
newspaper chain, Gannett, shares directors with Merrill Lynch, Standard Oil,
Phillips Petroleum, Kerr-McGee, Twentieth Century-Fox, McDonnell Douglas,
McGraw-Hill, Eastern Airlines, and New York Telephone Company.
Howard and Mathews suggest talking with the radio news directors and
program directors to get detailed information on a station and the
opportunities for public information specialists, so you can help them in their
26


gathering of the news. "If you become acquainted with representatives of the
media and stay in touch, it will reap rewards for your organization and youll
be able to get your information in print or on the air" (88).
Research Question and Hypotheses
The overall research question is "Does the frequency of contacts or the
relationships between broadcast journalists and public relations specialists
impact the use of news releases or using professors or staff more on the air?"
This question implies that either the frequency of contact or the relationship
will impact the frequency of the use of news releases or using sound bites or
information from professors or staff members on the air. It also fits into
Akhavan-Majids model that the media is a "transmission belt" and that public
relations people do have an impact on radio news.
These questions lead into the hypotheses:
HYPOTHESES:
HI. The frequency of contacts broadcast journalists report making to
public relations people is positively related to the frequency with which
they report using news releases sent by public relations people.
H2. The frequency of contacts public relations people from colleges or
universities make with broadcast journalists, according to the broadcast
journalists, is positively related to the frequency of the use of sound
bites or information from professors or staff members that the radio
station reports that they use.
27


H3. The relationship radio journalists report having with a public
relations person is positively related to the radio journalists saying they
use news releases more now than in past years.
H4: A broadcast journalists relationship they report having with a
public relations person from higher education is positively related to
the frequency they report having professors or staff from the college or
university on the air.
H5: The frequency of contacts made by a public relations person to
broadcast journalists, according to the broadcasters, is positively related
to the frequency with which the broadcasters report using news releases
from colleges and universities.
H6: The frequency with which a public relations person says they
contact a radio station will be positively related to the frequency that
the public relations person says the radio station uses their information.
H7: The better a relationship a public relations person says they have
with a broadcast journalist is positively related to the public relations
person saying that radio people are using more news releases today
than in past years.
By testing the hypotheses, the study was able to determine the use of
news releases in broadcast news and the impact contacts and relationships
between broadcast journalists and public relations people from higher
education have on the news content. The hypotheses also looked at how
important it is for public relations people from higher education to spend time
making contacts and developing positive relationships with broadcast
journalists.
28


CHAPTER THREE
DATA COLLECTION AND DATA ANALYSIS STRATEGY
The method of data collection was via three questionnaires mailed out
along with stamped, self-addressed return envelopes. The questionnaires were
sent to the news directors at their respective radio stations in Colorado, to the
public information specialists at institutions of higher learning in Colorado and
to Video Monitoring Services of America, Inc. (VMS), a broadcast monitoring
group in Denver, Colorado.
Measuring public relations can be difficult. Pace and Culbertson in
Successful Public Relations for the Professions say:
When that audience responds positively-by becoming clients, by
recommending the firms services to others, or even by
requesting additional information-then a successful cycle of
public relations has been completed (77).
The majority of public relations programs still go unmeasured,
according to Lindenmann writing in the Public Relations Journal. "The hunt
for the best research technique has yielded the cold, hard truth that public
relations programs are not easy to measure" (27).
The Method
The sample included all of the news directors at the 151 radio stations
29


in Colorado. Names and addresses were obtained from The Denver
Metropolitan Media Directory, and from The Denver Metropolitan Media
Directory Statewide Supplement, both of which are updated quarterly.
First a detailed questionnaire was sent out to the news directors. Along
with the questionnaire was a stamped, self-addressed envelope. If the
questionnaires were not sent back within six weeks, a follow-up letter was sent
out with a new questionnaire and a stamped, self-addressed envelope. The
original questionnaire was sent out in October, 1992. All of the responses
gathered came back by January 1, 1993.
Questions for the radio news directors included whether or not the
broadcast journalist had a good relationship with public relations specialists
from higher education, the frequency of contact between journalists and public
relations specialists and the frequency of the use of news releases and/or
professors from higher education on the air. The questionnaire is attached in
the appendix.
In addition, the public relations people at the 24 institutions of higher
learning in Colorado were surveyed, also between October, 1992 and January
1, 1993. Some of the questions asked of the public relations persons were
similar to those asked of the news directors.
Other questions looked at the frequency with which public relations
30


people contact radio personnel and the frequency they report of getting news
releases, professors and staff and other information from their college, on the
air. The questionnaire is attached in the appendix. The colleges included the
community colleges, four year colleges and universities in Colorado, as
distinguished by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.
The relationship between the media and public relations people was
examined by looking at the questionnaires. Delacorte et al. discuss how
journalists and public relations specialists should work together:
Since God invented them, journalists have been asking: who,
what, when, where, and sometimes why. These, therefore, are
the questions that all good public relations people must learn to
answer in one form or another (37).
In addition, a representative of VMS was interviewed. VMS is the only
service in Denver that monitors both radio and television stations for
businesses and institutions of higher education. Customers receive a monthly
printout of how many times their name appeared in news stories and in what
context the name appeared. The printout also lists the date, time and channel.
These reports help determine how many stories a month a radio station
devotes to institutions of higher education. The questionnaire for VMS is
attached in appendix.
31


Sampling
The sampling used for the questionnaires falls under the "judgement"
category. A subgroup of the population was selected, Colorado radio news
directors and public relations people from higher education in Colorado.
These subgroups can be judged to be representative of the total population.
However, an attempt at consensus makes it less a "sample."
For the news director population, instead of interviewing all of the
news directors at all of the radio stations in the United States, it was limited
to the news directors at the 151 radio stations in Colorado. With so many
stations and so many different formats, this group should not only give an
overview of Colorado, but of news directors attitudes in general.
Broadcasting magazine reports that Denver radio is in the top twenty-five
markets, which should indicate that Denver has enough stations to be
representative of more than one city.
In the cases where the station currently does not have a news director,
the questionnaire was sent to the interim news director. If there was no
interim news director, the questionnaires were sent to the program director,
who is the supervisor of the newsroom.
For the public information specialists, surveys were sent to the Public
Relations Director and to the Public Information Specialist at each institution.
While all 24 institutions do not have people in those exact positions, Geri
32


Reinardy of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education says addressing
the envelopes to those people will ensure they got to the correct people.
For VMS, a sample judgment was also used. From talking with the
personnel at VMS, it was determined that out of the five employees, that one
person could best answer the questions; Peter Grampp, the head of Client
Services.
The mail survey was chosen, as Charles Ingold in 1992 writes "to
minimize social acceptability bias and some of the problems with self-report
data in general" (19). He reports that mail surveys probably inhibit responses
the least since they can be filled out in relative privacy, without the researcher
addressing respondents in a direct, verbal fashion.
33


CHAPTER FOUR
FINDINGS
To analyze the data chi-square was used to assess the statistical
significance of associations in a crosstabulation. The computer program used
to analyze and display the data was the Statistical Package for the Social
Sciences Personal Computer enhanced edition (SPSS/PC).
The significance of t or SIG T number has been calculated, which is
the probability that such deviation from zero would be due to sampling error.
The significance level used to base the hypotheses on was a minimum of .05.
The methods used explain how radio broadcast journalists relate to
public relations personnel. It also helped answer the following questions,
"How strong is the relationship between broadcasters and public relations
people?" and "How important is the relationship in shaping radio news?"
Also examined were the mode and means in the answers and the
percents. The findings list how each of the questions in the survey were
answered, how the broadcasters answered most frequently and the percent
that responded that way. The findings also list how the public relations
people responded to each question and the percent that responded that way.
One hundred fifty-one surveys were sent out to the radio stations in
Colorado. Of those, 120 broadcast journalists responded, for a 79.5% return
34


rate. Of the 24 colleges and universities in Colorado, 19 or 79.2% responded.
Hypothesis #1
Hypothesis #1 was "The frequency of contacts broadcast journalists
report making to public relations people is positively related to the frequency
with which they report using news releases sent by public relations people."
This compared question #5a and #9 from the survey sent to the news
directors.
Question #5a looked at whether reporters use news releases more
today than in past years. Of the broadcasters, 76.2% said "yes," they do use
the releases more.
Question #9 was the frequency of public relations people contacting
the radio people. In all, 32.6% of the broadcasters said that public relations
people contact them on at least a monthly basis, with 12.4% reporting a
weekly contact. The data said that 31.4% rarely received contacts from public
relations people.
Crosstabulation of responses to questions #5a and 9 are provided in
Table #1.
35


Crosstabulation of Using News Releases More Today
With Frequency of Public Relations Contact
Hypothesis £L Question #5a daily wkly 2/m ninthly rarely ne- ver n/ a
Question #9 daily 1
weekly 4 9 1 1
2/mnth 3 2 9 1
ninthly 3 8 3 2 6 1
yearly 1 5 1
rarely 5 7 7 8 9
never 1 4 2 2 2 10
Hypothesis #1 was accepted as confirmed. There is definitely a
positive relationship between the frequency of contacts made and the
frequency of using news releases. The chi-square was 112.39505, at 42 d.f.
with significance of p < .05, in fact p < .01. The contingency coefficient was
.69544.
Hypothesis #2
Hypothesis #2 was, "The frequency of contacts public relations people
from colleges or universities make with broadcast journalists, according to the
broadcast journalists, is positively related to the frequency of the use of sound
36


bites or information from professors or staff members that the radio station
reports that they use." This hypothesis compared question #6a with question
#8 from the survey sent to the news directors.
Question #6a asked the frequency that radio people used sound bites
or information from professors or staff members from colleges and
universities in Colorado. Fifty-five percent of the broadcast journalists said
they did use sound bites and/or other information and of those the largest
percent used them on a monthly and twice a month basis.
Question #8 looked at the frequency with which public relations
people contact the broadcaster. The most recurrent response (31.2%) from
the broadcasters was a weekly contact. And 58.4% of the broadcasters said
they were contacted on at least a monthly basis, however, 41.6% said they
were only contacted yearly, rarely or never.
Crosstabulations of responses to questions #6a and #8 are provided in
Table #2.
37


Crosstabulation of Frequency of Using College Information
With Frequency of Public Relations Contact
Hypothesis #2 Question #6a daily wkly 2/m ninthly yriy rarely n
Question #8 daily 2 1
weekly 6 12 6 4 3
2/mnth 2 1 1 l
ninthly 4 3 11 1 2
yearly 1 3 1
rarely 2 1 2 2 2
never 2 3
Table #2
Hypothesis #2 was accepted as confirmed. The chi-square was
88.36956, at 36 d.f. with a significance of p < .05, in fact, p < .01. The
contingency coefficient was .72663.
Hypothesis #3
Hypothesis #3 was, "The relationship a radio journalist reports having
with a public relations person is positively related to the radio journalist
saying they use news releases more now than in past years." This compared
question #5 and question #10 from the survey sent to the news directors.
In question #5, which asked broadcasters if they use news releases
more today, 76.2% of the respondents said that with more work and less time
38


today than reporters in past years, that they use news releases that are mailed
to them by colleges and universities.
Question #10 dealt with the relationship between the public relations
people and the broadcasters. Of the broadcasters, 68% said they either dont
know the public relations person, or only on an acquaintance basis. In all
21.6% said they were on a friendly basis with the public relations people and
10.4% said it was a very friendly relationship.
Crosstabulations of responses to questions #5 and #10 are provided in
Table #3.
Crosstabulation of Using News Releases More Today
With the Relationship Between
Hypothesis #3 Question #5 Yes No
Question # 10 Dont know them 18 16
Acquaintance basis 38 6
Friendly basis 26 2
Very friendly 14
The chi-square for Hypothesis #3 was 23.06532, at 3 d.f. with
significance of p < .05, in fact p < .01. The contingency coefficient was
.40152. The hypothesis was accepted as confirmed.
39


Hypothesis #4
Hypothesis #4 was "A broadcast journalists relationship they report
having with a public relations person from higher education is positively
related to the frequency they report having professors or staff from the
college or university on the air." This compared question #6a and question
#10 from the survey sent to the news directors.
Question #6a looked at the frequency of a broadcaster using professors
or college staff on the air. The most frequent response was either twice a
month or on a monthly basis.
Question #10 dealt with the relationship between the public relations
people and the broadcasters. Sixty-eight percent of the broadcasters said they
either dont know the public relations person, or only on an acquaintance
basis. Of the broadcasters, 21.6% said they were on a friendly basis with the
public relations people and 10.4% said it was a very friendly relationship.
Crosstabulations of responses to questions #6a and #10 are provided
in Table #4.
40


Crosstabulation of Frequency of Using College Information With
Relationship Between Broadcasters and Public Relations Specialists
Hvpothesis #4 Question #6a daily wkly 2/m mnthly yriy rarely ne- ver
Question #10 dont know 2 6 7
acquaint- ance 5 6 8 6 2
friendly 5 5 9 2 2
very friendly 2 3 111 3 2 l 3
Table #4
The chi-square for hypothesis #4 was 41.80132, at 18 d.f. with
significance of p < .05. The contingency coefficient was .58825. There is a
significant relationship, however it is not a linear relationship, rather it is
curvlinear, which challenges the hypothesis.
Hypothesis #5
Hypothesis #5 was "The frequency of contacts made by a public
relations person to broadcast journalists, according to the broadcasters, is
positively related to the frequency with which the broadcasters report using
news releases from colleges and universities. This compared question #5a
and question #8 from the survey sent to the news directors.
41


Question #5a looked at whether reporters use news releases more
today than in past years. Of the broadcasters, 76.2% said "yes," they do use
the releases more.
Question #8 looked at the frequency with which public relations
people contact the broadcaster. The most often response from the
broadcasters was a weekly contact at 31.2%. Of the broadcasters 58.4% said
they were contacted on at least a monthly basis, however, 41.6% said they
were only contacted yearly, rarely or never.
Crosstabulations of responses to questions #5a and #8 are provided in
Table #5.
Crosstabulation of Using News Releases More Today
With Frequency of Public Relations Contact
Hypothesis #5 Question #5a daily wkly 2/m ninthly yearly rarly n
Question #8 daily 1 4 2 3 1
weekly 1 13 1 8 2 4 3
2/mnth 1 11 1 3 1 1 1
monthly 2 1 4 3 5 1
rarely 1 4 6 1 5 1
never 2
Table #5
42


Hypothesis #5 was accepted as confirmed. It shows a very significant
relationship. The chi-square was 47.58007, at 30 d.f. with significance of p <
.05. The contingency coefficient was .57169.
Hypothesis #6
Hypothesis #6 was "The frequency with which a public relations person
says they contact a radio station will be positively related to the frequency
that the public relations person says the radio station uses their information."
This compared question #5a and question #7 from the survey sent to the
public relations officers.
Question #5 asked if the public relations people tried to get professors
or staff members on the radio. Of those responding 94.7% said they do try to
get their people on the air and question #5a where the data confirmed that
the largest percentage of public relations people said that radio stations use
their professors and college staff on a monthly (26.3%) basis.
Question #7 looked at the frequency of public relations people
contacting radio journalists. The largest percent (40%) said they contact radio
journalists on a weekly basis. Eighty percent said they contact the radio
journalists on at least a monthly basis.
Crosstabulations of responses to questions #5 and #7 are provided in
Table #6.
43


Crosstabulation of Getting Professors On the Air
With Frequency of Public Relations Contact
Hvpothesis #6 Question #5a daily, weekly 2/month, monthly yearly, rarely, never
Question #8 daily, weekly 2 1
2/month, monthly 7 1
yearly, rarely, 1 3 4
never
Table #6
Hypothesis #6 was less significant than the other hypotheses. It had a
chi-square of 10.92500, at 4 d.f. with significance of p < .05. The contingency
coefficient was .60422. The significance was likely off because of the low
number of public information specialists surveyed.
Hypothesis #7
Hypothesis #7 was, "The better a relationship a public relations person
says they have with a broadcast journalist is positively related to the public
relations person saying that radio people are using more news releases today
than in past years." This hypothesis compared question #3 and question #9
from the survey sent to public information specialists.
Question #3 asked public information specialists if they thought radio
people are using more news releases today than in past year. The public
relations people were split over the question with 47.1% saying yes and 47.1%
44


saying no. Five point nine percent were not sure.
Question #9 looked at the relationship that a public relations person
said they have with a radio journalist. The largest group (37.5%) said they
were on a friendly basis, 62.5% said they were on a friendly or very friendly
basis and 8.3% said they didnt know the radio journalists.
Crosstabulations of responses to questions #7 and #3 are provided in
Table #7.
Crosstabulation of Using News Releases
With Relationship Between Broadcasters
and Public Relations Specialists
Hypothesis m. Question #3 Yes No
Question #9 Dont know 2
Acquaintance 1 3
Friendly 4 2
Very friendly 4 2
Table #7
Hypothesis #7 was not confirmed by the date. It had a chi-square of
4.33333, at 3 d.f. with significance of p > .05 at .2276. The contingency
coefficient was .44049. Again, it was likely not significant because of the low
numbers of public relations officers who were surveyed.
45


Other Findings From Broadcast Questionnaires
Going over the questions that were not used in the seven hypotheses;
91.6% of the broadcast journalists said that radio news is an important part of
their stations programming, with the majority (68.2%) saying they spent
between two and 10 minutes an hour on news. Over half of the recipients
personally wrote the news for the station, however, most all of the
respondents relied heavily on wire services, other reports and networks such
as ABC, CNN, NPR, CBS and NBC.
Fifty-five percent of the broadcasters said that they use sound bites or
information from professors or staff members from colleges, while 44% said
they did not.
When broadcasters do use professors or staff members, the largest
category (50.9%) call the college themselves. Thirty-eight point one percent
said they did take suggestions from public relations people.
Other Findings From Public Relations Questionnaires
Most (78.9%) of the public relations people report that radio news is
an important target of their institution and the majority (73.7%) said they
write the news releases sent by their institutions.
The largest group (45%) said they sent releases to radio broadcasters
on a weekly basis. Ninety percent said they send releases on at least a
46


monthly basis.
The majority (94.7%) said they do try to get professors or staff
members from their college or university on the radio. In identifying which
professor or staff member will go on the air, 53.6% of the public relations
people said they would call the radio station while 46.4% said the radio
station calls them.
Sixty percent of the public relations people reported that radio
journalists contact them at least twice a month, with the largest group (35%)
saying radio people call them weekly.
VMS Findings
While the information from the questionnaire for VMS personnel was
not used in the hypotheses, the information from it, is interesting and the
findings are reported below.
According to Peter Grampp, who filled out the survey, the purpose of
VMS is to monitor television and radio news and then notify clients on stories
of interest to them and provide videotape, audiotape and transcripts, as
requested. Grampp reported that twelve colleges or universities in Colorado
subscribe to their service.
Grampp says in his analysis of radio news, that public relations
personnel and the information they send out does have an impact on radio
47


news, "We have seen that PR releases and other activity makes up some news
content." In addition, Grampp reported that the information public relations
personnel from colleges and universities send out, seems to be used on radio
news a lot.
48


CHAPTER FIVE
DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS AND FUTURE RESEARCH
Persuasive Communication is as old as Platos Republic, but
what started in the early 1900s as a little-accepted vocation in
our own country has reached the size, scope and power of an
industry. Americas public relations practitioners, some 150,000
strong, wield major influence in the public opinion game.
So says Cutlip in his article, "Public Relations The Manufacture of Opinion."
One hundred fifty-one surveys were sent out to the radio stations in
Colorado. Of those, 120 broadcast journalists responded, for a 79.5% return
rate. Of the 24 colleges and universities in Colorado, 19 or 79.2% responded.
The response rates for both the public relations people and broadcast people
were quite good, which may be related to their interest in the relationship that
does exist between the two groups.
The results from the questionnaire seem to back up the Elite Power
Theory that says the media have become transmission belts for news releases
and public relations specialists. The findings showed that public relations
specialists wield influence among broadcast journalists especially if they
frequently contact the broadcasters. Hypothesis #1 which looked at the
frequency of contacts broadcasters make to public relations people and the
frequency with which they use the news releases from those public relations
49


people showed a very significant relationship.
The frequency of contacts is definitely related to the frequency of using
news releases. This would mean that public relations people cannot be
content to send out a news release every so often, instead they need to send
out releases and make contacts on a very regular basis, if they want their
information to get used.
That was also true in Hypothesis #2 which looked at the frequency of
contacts and the use of sound bites or information from a college. Again, as
the frequency of contact increases, so does the use of sound bites and/or
other information from a college.
It could be as Akhavan-Majid stated that the media need to fill their
newsholes as efficiently and conveniently as possible and more frequency by
the public relations specialist makes it fast and easy to fill the news slot.
Cutlip writes about the relationship between journalists and public
information specialists:
From PRs beginning to its present, public information specialists
and journalists have functioned in a mutually dependent
relationship, sometimes as adversaries and sometimes as
colleagues. Journalists are often captives of practitioners, who
tend to have not only abler manpower public relations
generally pays better than journalism but also news control
(203).
That corresponds with Hypothesis #3 which looked at the relationship
50


between public relations people and radio people and the use of news
releases. The better the relationship did not mean that more releases were
used. Nor did a bad relationship mean that releases were not used. While the
relationship was significant, it did not show any correlation of a public
relations person having to be on a friendly basis with a radio person, in order
to get their releases used.
Hypothesis #4 also looked at the relationship between the two groups
and the frequency that broadcasters said they use professors or staff on the
air. While there was a significant relationship, it is hard to explain the result
because they are not on a linear basis.
It may be as Akhavan-Majid contends, that the media have gone from
being a watchdog, but the adversarial relationship of the past may cause both
parties to be leery of one another and for radio people to use releases if they
are contacted a lot, rather than on the basis of the relationships they have.
From the survey it seems that public relations people should not be afraid to
"bug" radio people, even if it creates a "not friendly" environment, you will
still get your releases used.
Public Relations people are in a good position to get their releases
used. Over 76% of the radio respondents said that with reporters having
more work and less time today than reporters in past years, that they use news
releases that are mailed to them by colleges and universities. Of the
51


broadcast journalists who use them, the largest percent, use them on a weekly
basis. That makes sense, that the radio people who rely on news releases for
their information, would do so on a frequent basis.
Hypothesis #5 looked at the frequency of contacts made as related to
the frequency of using news releases. There was a very significant
relationship found between the two questions, with the increase in frequency
of contacts directly related to more news releases being used.
There was a big discrepancy between how often radio journalists said
they contacted public relations people and how often public relations people
said they were contacted by radio journalists. Of the radio journalists, 43%
said they contacted public relations people at least once a month, while 70%
of the public relations people said that radio journalists contacted them at
least once a month. While the discrepancy exists, it still is clear that the
frequency of contact will help public relations people get their news releases,
professors and staff and sound bites used on the air.
Cutlip goes on to say that the relationship of public relations officers
and journalists, is tumultuously interdependent. He says suspicions and
resentments exist on both sides. And although neither can function alone
effectively, the publics interest is for the relationship to be adversarial.
That adversarial role fits into the Akhavan-Majid model which says the
press is required to function as a watchdog, however, Akhavan-Majid argues
52


that that is no longer the case, "Mass media performance in the United States
may thus be considered to deviate considerably from the adversarial role vis-
a-vis the government envisioned for it under the Libertarian theory" (149).
That adversarial role may be why the majority of the broadcast
journalists who responded said that they either did not know the public
relations people from colleges and universities (28%), or they knew them on
an acquaintance or business basis (40%). Or, it could be that there is little
contact made by the public relations officers. Only 21.6% of the broadcasters
said they were on a friendly basis with the public relations people and just
over 10% said it was a very friendly basis. That differs with the findings from
the public relations people where 62.5% said they were on a friendly or very
friendly basis with the radio journalists. Only 37.5% said they did not know
the radio journalists or had only an acquaintance or business basis with them.
The broadcasters may have been responding the way they "thought" they
should respond to make sure there was no sign of bias of the news. The
public relations people may also have been responding the way they "thought"
they should, since it is the job of the public relations person to establish and
nurture a relationship with all reporters, including broadcasters.
Redefining the relationship may be the key toward improving
communications, according to Chapman:
It is not possible or desirable to eradicate the adversarial nature
53


of the relationship, but the relationship can be refined. One
excellent way to alter the relationship is to take time to become
acquainted with reporters who cover the agency. Hand deliver
news releases; visit reporters in their offices...with a little effort,
the adversarial relationship between strangers can become a
respectful relationship between professionals a far more
productive situation (35).
That redefining was discussed in the last question of the broadcast
journalists, which asked how public relations people could assist them better.
Some of the more frequent responses included the timeliness of the material,
sending notices further in advance and by contacting and or faxing more
often. Other suggestions included knowing the format of the station and
sending tapes with news stories.
Hypotheses #6 and #7 looked at the information from the surveys
filled out by the public relations people. While a relationship did exist, it was
not a strong relationship and with the low numbers of respondents (19) it is
very difficult to draw any conclusions.
All seven of the hypotheses had significant relationships according to
the data. The most significant relationships came in the hypotheses which
looked at the frequency of contacts, made either by broadcast journalists or by
public relations personnel. The data clearly indicated very strong significance
levels for all hypotheses dealing with frequency of contact. That compares to
a less significant data for those hypotheses that dealt with the relationship
between the radio person and the public relations person. It didnt seem to
54


matter if the respondent put, "dont know," "acquaintance basis," "friendly
basis," or "very friendly basis," it did not make a significant difference in how
much information the radio person used from the college. The frequency of
contact seems to play more of a key role, than whether people like each other.
This means that public relations people should be persistent in dealing
with radio people, they should call often, send releases often and stay in touch
as much as possible.
As far as Akhavan-Majids model, the research supports the "Elite
Power Group Theory," that the new media today are often little more than
"transmission belts," and if the public information specialists oil that belt
through contacts, they will likely help fill the newsholes.
Research Limitations
The results of the research indicate that the frequency of contacts by
public relations specialists does increase the frequency with which news
directors use news releases and/or information from professors and staff on
the air. However, the research did not find that the relationship between
public relations and radio journalists impacts the use of news releases and/or
information from professors and staff. There could be reporting bias by the
radio journalists who said the relationship didnt make any difference because
they thought that it shouldnt. The radio journalists may have been very
55


concerned about appearing ethical and not reporting a stronger relationship
where one exists. On the other hand, it may have seemed okay to report that
the frequency of contacts did impact the news.
Any generalizations about the research have to be made with caution.
While there was a great response from the broadcasters in Colorado, it would
be difficult to interpret the results for other states. Things like economic
condition of the state and the number of radio stations would have to be
taken into consideration. The comments, in general, can still be very useful
to public relations specialists.
The research done on the public relations specialists was very limited,
with only 19 responding. There would have to be a much larger sample taken
to get results that could be generalized.
Future Research
Future research could include surveying a random sample of the
population in a controlled, laboratory setting to see if similar results were
obtained. A mixed model paradigm could also be used, using two different
parent populations and different stimulus manipulation. Two different
questionnaires could be administered to see if the outcome remained the
same.
One area that could be researched in the future is if public relations
56


people have a fear of the media. Marcus Servoss in "Why You Should
Overcome Your Phobia and Learn to Love the Media," writes that a
companys failure to recognize the media as an economical and effective
conduit of information to the public is bad business:
Overcoming media phobia and developing a beneficial
relationship with local or national media can do much to
enhance the reputation and the bottom line of a business (18).
Another area to research in the future will be interviewing radio
stations and public relations people in the wake of the new FCC ruling. Gail
Newbold discussed that ruling in Ad News:
The new FCC ruling allowing ownership of two AM and FM
stations in a given market. Since the FCCs August ruling 12
local stations have entered into lease management agreements
with plans to merge...Its tough on the market and tough on
people. Good people end up as extra bodies (18).
These stations are consolidating staffs, so where there were four news
directors, now there is one. With fewer news directors to deal with, but with
them conceivably having more work covering four stations instead of one, it
would be interesting to see if public relations people will have more of an
impact on broadcast journalists in the future.
The training of public information specialists could also be examined to
see how their backgrounds compare with broadcast journalists. Included in
this train of thought could be if the professional status of public relations
people has increased.
57


Another area may be to take the social judgement theory and apply it
to both groups, the broadcasters and the public relations specialists, to see if
one group sees themselves as the in-group, and the other as the out-group.
Robley Rhine writing in his paper, "William Graham Sumners Concept of
Ethnocentrism," says that "ethnocentrism may interfere with our social
perception by providing us with ready-made but inaccurate stereotypes."
Rhine ends his paper with a quote by Rudyard Kipling that could be applied
to broadcasters and public relations specialists:
All good people agree,
and all good people like to say.
All nice people like US are WE
and everyone else is THEY:
But if you cross over the sea
instead of over the way
You may end up (think of it)
looking on WE
As only a sort of "THEY."
58


QUESTIONNAIRE FOR BROADCAST JOURNALISTS
My named is Janet Kacskos. Im researching radio news for my thesis in the
Communications Department at the University of Colorado at Denver. I
would appreciate you taking a couple of minutes to answer the attached
questions. Your comments will be kept completely anonymous. Your help is
greatly appreciated.
1. Is radio news an important part of your stations programming?
Yes No
2. How much time per hour does your station dedicate to news?
a. less than two minutes____
b. two to five minutes___
c. five to 10 minutes____
d. 10 to 15 minutes____
e. Over 15 minutes
3. Do you personally write the news that you broadcast over the air?
Yes No
4. If no, who else writes the news that is read over the air at your station?
a. Other reporters_______
b. Wire services_________
c. Other (please list)___________________________________________
5. With reporters having more work and less time today than reporters in
past years, do you ever use news releases that are mailed to you from
colleges or universities?
Yes No ______
59


5a. If yes, how often do you use those news releases?
daily weekly 2/month monthly yearly rarely never
6. Do you ever use sound bites or information from professors or staff
members from colleges or universities from Colorado in your radio
news?
Yes No
6a. If yes, how often do you use professors or college staff?
daily weekly 2/month monthly yearly rarely never
7. Who identifies which professors or staff members that you will use?
a. You call personally
b. A public relations person gives you suggestions______
c. Other (please explain)_______________________________________
8. How often do public relations people from colleges or
universities contact you?
daily weekly 2/month monthly yearly rarely never
9. How often do you contact public relations people from colleges or
universities?
daily weekly 2/month monthly yearly rarely never
60


10. How would you describe your relationship with public relations people
from colleges and universities?
a. Dont know them_______
b. Acquaintance or business basis for the most part_____
c. Friendly basis for the most part____
d. Very friendly basis for the most part
11. One final question, is there any way that public relations people
could assist you better?
Station call letters and town
Thank you for your time. Please return the completed survey in the
addressed, stamped envelope provided. Your comments will be most helpful.
This survey is being paid for in part by Metropolitan State College of Denver.
61


QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICERS
My named is Janet Kacskos. Im researching radio news for my thesis in the
Communications Department at the University of Colorado at Denver. I
would appreciate you taking a couple of minutes to answer the attached
questions. Your comments will be kept completely anonymous and
confidential. Your help is greatly appreciated.
1. Is radio news an important target of your institutions public relations
plan?
Yes
No
2. Do you personally write the news releases that are sent out by your
college?
Yes
No
3. With reporters having more work and less time today than reporters in
past years, do you feel they are using news releases from colleges or
universities more today?
Yes No
4. How often do you send news releases to radio stations?
daily weekly 2/month monthly yearly rarely never
5. Do you ever try to get professors or staff members from your college
or university on the radio?
Yes No
62


5 a. If yes, how often do radio stations use your professors or college staff?
daily weekly 2/month monthly yearly rarely never
6. Who identifies which professors or staff members that you will use?
a. You call the radio station_______
b. The radio station calls you______
c. Other (please explain)_________________________________________
7. How often do you contact radio journalists?
daily weekly 2/month monthly yearly rarely never
8. How often do radio journalists contact you?
daily weekly 2/month monthly yearly rarely never
9. How would you describe your relationship with radio journalists?
a. Dont know them
b. Acquaintance or business basis for the most part_____
c. Friendly basis for the most part___
d. Very friendly basis for the most part
10. Please list the name of your college/university
Thank you for your time. Please return the completed survey in the
addressed, stamped envelope provided. Your comments will be most helpful.
This survey is being paid for in part by Metropolitan State College of Denver.
63


QUESTIONNAIRE FOR VMS PERSONNEL
My named is Janet Kacskos. Im researching the relationship of public
relations personnel and radio news for my thesis in the Communications
Department at the University of Colorado at Denver. I would appreciate you
taking a couple of minutes to answer the attached questions. Your comments
will be kept completely confidential. Your help is greatly appreciated.
1. Could you explain exactly what VMS does for its clients?
2. How many clients do you have?_________
3. Do any colleges or universities subscribe to your service?
Yes_______ No_______
If so, how many_______
4. How many radio stations in the Denver Metro area do you monitor?
5. Why do clients subscribe to your business?
64


6. From the clients that yon have, would you say that public relations
personnel and the information they send out does have an impact on radio
news?
Yes
No
Why or why not?
7. What about public relations personnel from colleges and universities?
Does the information they send out seem to be used on radio news a lot?
Yes______ No______
8. Anything else that you would like to add?
Thank you for your time. Please return the completed survey in the
addressed, stamped envelope provided. Your comments will be most helpful.
This survey is being paid for in part by Metropolitan State College of Denver.
65


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Full Text

PAGE 1

THE IMPACT OF PUBLIC INFORMATION SPECIALISTS FROM INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION ON RADIO NEWS by Janet Datisman Kacskos B.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, 1981 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Communication 1993

PAGE 2

This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Janet Datisman Kacskos has been approved for the Department

PAGE 3

Kacskos, Janet Datisman (M.A., Communication) The Impact of Public Information Specialists from Institutions of Higher Education on Radio News Thesis directed by Associate Professor Jon Winterton ABSTRACT The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how public information specialists at institutions of higher education impact radio news. This was done by sending out a questionnaire to all radio news directors in Colorado. News directors from 120 out of the 151 radio stations responded. In addition, a separate questionnaire was sent out to the public information specialists at the twenty-four institutions of higher education in Colorado. Nineteen responded. Both surveys were administered in Fall, 1992. Seven hypotheses were posited regarding the relationship between public information specialists and radio news directors. While a strong relationship was confirmed by the data for all the hypotheses, three were statistically significant. The first hypothesis posited that the frequency of contacts broadcast journalists report making with public relations people was positively related to the frequency with which they report using news releases sent from public relations people. There was a significant correlation between these two behaviors. The second hypothesis was also significant. It said that the iii

PAGE 4

number of contacts public relations people from colleges or universities make with broadcast journalists, according to the broadcast journalists, was positively related to the frequency of the use of sound bites or information from professors or staff members that the radio station reported that they use. In addition, hypothesis five was confirmed strongly by the data. It postulated that the frequency of contacts made by a public relations person to broadcast journalists, according to the broadcasters, was positively related to the frequency with which the broadcasters report using news releases from colleges and universities. Thus, it could be summarized that public relations people need to make contacts with broadcasters, if they want their news releases, sound bites and other information used on the air. The data put more weight on the frequency of contacts, rather than the personal relationship between the broadcaster and the public relations person. This abstract accurately represents the content of the ",u..L> ... >'_ thesis. I recommend its publication. Signed IV

PAGE 5

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS A sincere thank you to my thesis committee members, Dr. Sam Betty for assisting with the statistics; Benita Dilley, for so thoroughly editing my work; and my adviser, Dr. Jon Winterton, who told me I could do it, even when I wasn't so sure, and gave me excellent guidance and information through numerous courses such as Introduction to Graduate Studies. Those who provided support and cooperation throughout the process of compiling this thesis include my supervisor at Metropolitan State College of Denver, Nancy Munser, and the radio station news directors and public information specialists surveyed for this research. Nancy was very understanding throughout the entire process and encouraged me to complete this research project. A special thanks to my mother who always provided a shoulder to lean on when things weren't going well and to my husband, Craig, who helped me put everything in perspective and kept me sane during this process. v

PAGE 6

CONTENTS CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION AND PROBLEM. . . . 1 The Problem . . . . . . . .. 1 Elite Power Group Theory . . . . . .. 2 The Role and Tasks of Radio Journalists. . . .. 5 The Role and Functions of Public Information Specialists from Institutions of Higher Education .. 7 News Releases. . . . . . . . .. 10 Plan for Thesis . . . . . . . .. 13 2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE AND HYPOTHESES. 15 Elite Power Group Theory . . . . . 17 Public Relations Influence . . . . . .. 19 The Relationship Between Radio Journalists and Public Relations Specialists. . . . .. 21 Where do Radio Stations Get Their News? ............ 24 Research Question and Hypotheses .................. 25 3. DATA COLLECTION AND DATA ANALYSIS STRATEGY ............... 28 The Method . . . . . . . .. 28 Sampling . . . . . . . . .. 31 4. FINDINGS. . . . . . . . .. 33 Other Findings from Broadcast Questionnaires . .. 44 Other Findings from Public Relations QuestIOnnarres . . . . . . .. 45 VMS Findings . . . . . . . .. 46 VI

PAGE 7

5. DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS. . . . . .. 47 Research Limitations . . . . . . ., 53 Future Research . . . . . . . .. 55 QUESTIONNAIRE FOR BROADCAST JOURNALISTS. .. 57 QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION SPECIALISTS . . . . . . . .. 60 QUESTIONNAIRE FOR VMS. . . . . . .. 62 BillLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . .. 64 vii

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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION AND PROBLEM Radio, radio, where would life be? Where would life be, without it? We hear that catchy radio lingo by the Radio Advertising Bureau on many radio stations. This thesis deals with a certain part of radio, the journalists who write and air the news on radio and where their lives would be without public relations people from higher education institutions. Public information specialists and radio journalists share some of the same values while differing on others. In the article "Using Role Theory to Study Cross Perceptions of Journalists and Public Relations Practitioners," Andrew Belz, Albert D. Talbott and Kenneth Starck say that the relationship between the two groups can be very problematic, "To some extent, public relations practitioners and journalists are dependent on each otherll (125). The Problem This paper looks at the relationship between public information specialists at institutions of higher education and radio journalists and the impact of this relationship on radio news content. It also examines the role, if any, that public relations representatives have in helping to select the news 1

PAGE 9

that the public will hear on the radio. It is based on the contention that the way broadcast media get their news has been changing over the past several years and that they are more reliant on public relations departments than in the past. A theory recently proposed by Roya Akhavan-Majid discusses some of the ways that the media have changed. Elite Power Group Theory Akhavan-Majid's "American Mass Media and the Myth of Libertarianism: Toward an 'Elite Power Group' Theory" provides a useful theoretical foundation for this investigation. Akhavan-Majid has written many articles about mass media, not only in the U.S, but also in Japan. He has also been quoted extensively, in discussions of the mass media and his model has been used in other theses. The model deals with the media moving away from the Libertarian model which he says is characterized by "plurality of media outlets, independence from the power elite, and freedom from government control," and the media moving towards "concentration in media outlets, integration with other elite power groups, and two-way flow of influence and control between the government and the press" (145). His major contention is "that the u.s. news media today are often little more than 'transmission belts' for the official viewpoint, thriving on 2

PAGE 10

ready-made handouts, press releases ... (140). His assertion suggests that there is a stronger relationship today between public information specialists and radio journalists than in past years. Belz et al. uses role theory to study two interacting roles, that of journalist and public information specialist. Role theory suggests that people play parts determined, to some extent, by others' expectations. In an article in the Canadian Journal of Communication, J. Charron discussed the cooperation, conflict and negotiation between journalists and public information specialists: The relationship between journalists and public relations practitioners is at once cooperative and fraught with conflict and implies a double negotiation: over the exchange of resources, and over the rules regulating this exchange (47). The research done in this thesis hypothesizes Akhavan-Majid's Elite Power Group Model. His model indicates that journalists, both print and broadcast, are doing less investigative and true reporting today and are getting their information lithe easy way." Radio journalists get their information from many sources, ranging from wire services such as the Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UP1) and newspapers to newsmakers and public relations representatives. The questions asked in the surveys examine if news releases are used 3

PAGE 11

more today by broadcast journalists than in past years and if the relationship between public information specialists and broadcasters makes a difference in the news heard on the radio. Questions are also asked examining if the frequency of contacts that public relations specialists make to broadcasters impacts radio news. The theoretical issue examined is, since journalists can now be classified within The Elite Power Group Model, as explained by Akhavan-Majid, if the frequency of contacts or the relationship between public relations representatives and broadcast media impacts the frequency of the use of news releases on the air. The findings are then discussed and future research questions are posed. The information in this thesis is very pertinent to public relations representatives. It should help them in deciding how and if to work with the broadcast news media and where to spend their time and efforts. Radio journalists may be interested in knowing how often and to what extent their peers use news releases from public relations people and what sort of relationships the two groups have. It may also be interesting for both groups to examine the Elite Power Group Theory Akhavan-Majid writes that journalists have become something along the lines of puppets, "their ability to serve as forums for the expression of diverse views and opinions diminishes ... and their willingness and ability to perform a watchdog function may be expected to erode" (142). He explains 4

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that the media is being manipulated by profits and government policy. While Akhavan-Majid contends that the media is losing some of its force, Patricia Ewing Pace and Jo Culbertson in Successful Public Relations for the Professions state there is still a lot of power wielded by both broadcasters and public information specialists: Electronic media, radio and television are among the most powerful forces in our society. Public relations messages via these media have a great deal of impact, especially for professional firms (85). The Role and Tasks of Radio Journalists In their book Radio Journalism, John R. Bittner and Denise A. Bittner discuss the first radio news broadcast and explain the significance of the medium: But first, if this broadcast is reaching you, please drop us a card. Address station KDKA, Westinghouse, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania." With those words, radio began its first major news broadcast to the American public the November, 1920 Harding-Cox Presidential election returns. Over the next fifty years, this new medium would transform the structure of society and shrink the globe .. Jt would bring news to more people with greater speed than any other medium. Radio would come of age and survive the challenges of television to become the most pervasive medium in the world today (131). Radio news ranges from thirty second headlines on some radio stations to twenty-four hour continuous feeds on other radio stations. Radio Journalists: A broadcast journalist or radio personality presents the day-to-day 5

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happenings in that region, state, country, or the world either in a taped or live broadcast. In his book Broadcast Journalism: An Introduction to News Writing, Mark W. Hall gives a definition of a radio journalist: True broadcast journalists, to indicate their extensive training, are persons specifically trained for reporting the day's events by radio ... They have received extensive training in the complexities of hard, journalistic reporting combined with a knowledge of radio ... A good journalist must be aware of just about everything that is going on in the world (77). While the actual job for radio journalists varies with each station, most job descriptions include that the applicant should have a college degree in journalism and the ability to conduct interviews, both over the telephone and in person. Radio journalists also need to know how to gather, write and deliver the news in an accurate, fair manner over the air. Sheila Stainback, a New York-based reporter and one of the top African American newswomen in the industry contends that attitude is also important for radio journalists, "Smile, smile, smile. I tell young reporters to keep a chipper attitude, and by that I mean they should be friendly, but not inviting" (24). The Bittners expound on how broadcast journalists develop their news judgments: The comparative importance of news does not lend itself to tidy categories and automatic definitions. News judgment is learned 6

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over a period of time, tempered by ethics and refined by professional experience (145). While news judgement is just as important to radio journalists as it is to television journalists, the radio broadcast journalists often take a back seat in terms of salaries and how well known they are. However, radio is a legitimate news source for many people. One of the premiere broadcast journalists, Edward R. Murrow, was discussed by Kenrick in Prime Time: (Edward R. Murrow) believed, and always would believe that radio was a more useful and serious means of communication (than television), and he frequently said that a commentator had no need to be seen, only to be heard (182). In his paper on the Elite Power Group Theory, Akhavan-Majid is far more critical of journalists, saying that, far from striving to perform as watchdogs for the people, they are, "driven primarily by the need to fill their newsholes as efficiently and conveniently as possible." He continues: The idea that the U.S. news media today are often little more than "transmission belts" for the official viewpoint, thriving on ready-made handouts, press releases, press conferences, background briefings, and quotes from prominent officials, is thus well documented and widely accepted in the academic community (140). While Woodward agrees that the media have changed, he contends that radio continues to play an important part in our lives. Woodward reports that of a total American population of 250 million, radio reaches about 200 million each weekday. In fact, the Radio Advertising Bureau calculates that there 7

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are 5.6 radios per household in the United States (45). The Role and Functions of Public Information Specialists from Institutions of Higher Education Public Relations People: Are those people hired by companies or organizations to represent their firm in a positive manner and who provide stories to including radio reporters. Fitzpatrick writing in Public Welfare says that public information officer, public relations advisor, public affairs consultant call the position what you will, every agency needs a skilled professional communicator who can convey the truth about an agency's programs, policies, and philosophies, "A communications professional can ensure that agency news is smoothly delivered to the public in a series of easily digestible bites" (33-34). Writing in Adyertising & Marketing Deborah Radman says that a company's promotional efforts should include a plan for working with the media (24-25). Gene Grabowski in Public Relations Ouarterly gives an informal definition, "Oh, he just talks on the phone with reporters and tries to get them to write stories" (27). Grabowski goes on to name the seven deadly sins of media relations saying that poor sales skills is a biggie, "When people ask me what I do for a living. I often tell them I'm a salesman of ideas" (27). Robert Dilenschneider and Dan Forrestal defined public relations as, 8

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" ... the use of information to influence public opinion" (28). Public relations should not be taught in schools of journalism and! or mass communications, argues Ziff in his article "Public Relations in the Academic Media Empire." In "thumbing his nose" at public relations education he suggests that public relations belongs in a school of management, and journalism should leap out of the communications realm: The liberation of journalism education would ... give heart to those thousands of good journalism students who continue to submit themselves to whatever academic regime is required, however bizarre, to get a ticket toward a craft they love. It might even affect how journalism is practiced, including liberating it from the gaudy and triumphant march of Publicity (18). While Ziff obviously does not care for the public relations field, Bissland and Rentner in their article "Education's Role in Professionalizing Public Relations: A Progress Report" explain that public relations is trying to gain professional status by stressing specialized education for the field. They say that the number of public relations courses and programs offered by colleges and universities has mushroomed in recent years, and since 1975, no fewer than three separate commissions have made recommendations for enhancing and formalizing public relations education. Cutlip also takes a different approach from Ziff, "Today more than 300 colleges and universities offer one or more courses in public relations most of them, appropriately, in courses allied to the journalism curriculum" (115). 9

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"Public Relations is a two-way communication process," according to Pace and Culbertson, "between a firm's professionals and the audience they want to reach" (43). The firm's professionals would in the case of higher education, include the president, the vice presidents, possibly the cabinet, the governing board and at times, the faculty, staff and students of the college or university. In other applications, it would be the president of the company and other high ranking decision makers. Bissland reports that according to his study, the majority of public relations practitioners are women, approaching middle age; well-educated and loyal employees who have worked an average of 6.8 years for their present employer and 11.9 years in the public relations field: Respondents showed high levels of formal education: 94.5% of our 650 respondents had at least a bachelor's degree; 26.8% reported a master's degree, whereas 25.2% reported some graduate work (98). Toni Delacorte, Judy Kimsey and Susan Hales in How to Get Free Press take the definition of public relations a step further: Think of PR as an ongoing process that will keep the business in the public eye, create goodwill within the community and among the company's employees, and establish credibility and a clear image of the product or service rendered (117). Public relations people at institutions of higher education are those people who represent the interests of colleges and universities in a positive manner to the media. Indeed, they are paid by and are held accountable to 10

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their employers. In his handbook, Lesly says, "Fundamentally, the assignment of the educational public relations person is to explain change occurring in and coming from the college or university" (111). News Releases One task of public relations specialists is sending out news releases. A news release is a one page story about a certain aspect that can be sent to print and broadcast media. According to John Warren and Linda Morton in "Readability and Acceptance of Public Relations Releases from Institutions of Higher Education," the best news release is one page long, it's easy to read and they found that releases with longer paragraphs were more acceptable than shorter paragraphs. Educational public relations people write news releases about events at their institutions and about the professors and staff who make up the institutions. The goal of the news release is to get publicity or a mention for the college or university either on radio, television or in the print media. Hall also deals with news releases: One overlooked source of potential features are the stacks of free public relations handouts, audio tapes, etc. These "news releases," while often only seeking free publicity, very often can lead to solid features with important news value (91). News releases are written by a variety of organizations, ranging from 11

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non-profit groups such as United Way to government offices, such as city hall. In the Media Relations Handbook, the National Council on the Aging writes that a news release needs to include the "Who? What? When? Where? and Why?" of the story. Some of the inquiries made in the questionnaires used in this thesis deal with news releases, such as "With reporters having more work and less time today than reporters in past years, do you ever use news releases that are mailed to you from colleges or universities?" Another questions asked in the survey for broadcast journalists asked how often news releases were used. In their book, Radio the Bittners discuss the origin of news releases, ... most press releases are mailed on a regular basis by government, education, business and industry" (20). Radio journalists report that they seldom read news releases in their entirety. Marilyn LeBlanc, the news director for KRFX in Denver says, "Most of the prepared news releases that come in here are so poorly written that I just toss them. Others should be paid advertisements, they're not news at all. The ones I do use, I rewrite to make them shorter, crisper and easier to understand." The journalist often rewrites the news release or uses just portions. Radio news time is limited and broadcast journalists do not have the liberty to uSe an entire news release. Radio reporters also rewrite releases or use just 12

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portions, so that they contribute their writing style or editing style to the story. The National Council on the Aging write about news releases and broadcast media: The electronic media offer a great variety of ways to publicize your organization. Basically, the same news releases that are distributed to newspapers can be used for television and radio stations, although TV and radio allot only a small amount of time to each story, and television likes stories that are visually attractive. Keep these elements in mind when dealing with television and radio stations (111). A release sent out by a college may be changed by the broadcast journalist to be less favorable for that institution, although Akhavan-Majid would contend that the media have "opened themselves up to manipulation" and often use press releases without even checking the facts (143). Akhavan-Majid takes the view that news releases can include readymade handouts, press releases, press conferences, background briefings, and quotes from prominent officials. Plan for Thesis The problem examined in this paper looks at the relationship between public information specialists at institutions of higher education and radio journalists and the impact of this relationship on radio news content. In this first section the problem was examined along with the Elite Power Group Theory, which is a basis for the paper. Definitions and explanations of radio 13

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journalists, public information specialists and news releases were then given. The second chapter deals with a review of the literature and posits the hypotheses. Through the literature, the paper examines the influence of public relations, the relationship between radio journalists and public relations specialists and where radio stations get their news. Finally the research question and hypotheses are listed. The third chapter contains the data collection and data analysis strategy. The method of data collection was via three mailed questionnaires; one sent to radio journalists in Colorado, one sent to public information specialists at higher education institutions and one sent to a broadcast monitoring group. All of the questionnaires were sent with a stamped, addressed return envelope. The questions looked at both the frequency of contacts made by public relations people and the relationship of public relations people with broadcasters and how often news releases or professors from colleges were used on the air. The hypotheses posited that more contacts and a better relationship would increase the use of news releases and college staff and faculty on the air. The fourth chapter lists the findings and examines the information from a statistical point of view, using chi square. The last chapter discusses the findings within the framework of the 14

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Elite Power Group Theory, looks at research limitations and then poses future research questions. 15

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CHAPTER TWO REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE AND HYPOTHESES There is some information that has been some written about radio reporters and some information that has been written about public relations people, however, very little of the information looks at the relationship between the two groups. The majority of the information is in books and looks at journalists in general, both print and broadcast and public relations specialists in general, from private and non-profit organizations. One journal article that looks at journalists in general and public relations specialists in general is Akhavan-Majid's, "American Mass Media and the Myth of Libertarianism: Toward an 'Elite Power Group' Theory.'! This article and theory has been used as the support for the thesis. The review of the literature is offered in four areas; first a look at the basis Elite Power Group Theory, then public relations influence, the relationship between radio journalists and public relations specialists, and where radio stations get their news. The first area examines the Elite Power Group Theory and also looks at how Woodward's thesis, "Deregulation and the Decline of RadIO News," discusses the demise of a specific part of the media, radio news. Also examined are articles by M. Collins and R.B. Horwitz regarding the changing 16

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times of radio. Lloyd Dennis discusses how public relations is changing and Deborah Radman discusses where the public relations industry is going. The second area, public relations influence, includes information on public relations influence on newspapers from a book by Jeff and Marie Blyskal, and on the growing power of public relations from an article by John Detweiler. Michael Lee writes of the possible successes for public relations practitioners. The third area examined is the relationship between radio journalists and public relations specialists. James Bissland and Terry Lynn Rentner in their article, "Education's Role in Professionalizing Public Relations," discuss how public relations people can relate to journalists. Belz, Talbott and Starck in "Using Role Theory to Study Cross Perceptions of Journalists and Public Relations Practitioners," discuss the perceptions that each discipline has of the other. Atwood and Marie Copping discuss situational theory in "Applying Situational Communication Theory to an International Political Problem: Two Studies," and Scott Cutlip discusses in "Public Relations The Manufacture of Opinion," how much of the information we read and hear is actually from public relations. Also commenting on the relationship are the Blyskals in their book and Woodward in his thesis. The fourth area deals with where radio stations get their news. Carole 17

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Howard and Wilma Mathews discuss that dilemma in On Deadline: Managing Media Relations. Woodward also discusses the growing problem of radio journalists trying to find news. The chapter concludes with the research question and hypotheses. Elite Power Group Theory Akhavan-Majid writes that the world of media has changed. He asserts that it used to be that Libertarianism was the ideal that often inspired journalists as well as the standard against which mass media performance was often judged by critics. Libertarianism, according to Akhavan-Majid: ... views human beings as rational and capable of discovering the truth if allowed to participate in a free marketplace of ideas ... As a partner of the people in the search for the truth, the press is required to function as a watchdog (147). He says those days are gone and that the mass media can now be described using an Elite Power Group Model, an elite whose power is steadily increasing through concentration of ownership, integration with other power elites, and two-way flow of influence and control: For example, the nation's largest newspaper chain, Gannett shares directors with Merrill Lynch, Standard Oil, Phillips Petroleum, Kerr-McGee, Twentieth Century-Fox, McDonnell Douglas, McGraw-Hill, Eastern Airlines and New York Telephone Company (144). Profits now seem to be the driving force behind all mediums. 18

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Woodward writes that mom and pop radio stations are a thing of the past. Even the smallest stations are now owned by corporate giants or at least by people more interested in turning a buck than in community service (41). The Elite Power Group Theory attempts to come up with an explanation of why the media is changing, saying profits are the most important factor and that the reporting media are a "transmission belt" for the government and other various groups who use the media. Cliff Dodge, the President of the Colorado Broadcasters Association calls Akhavan-Majid's theory "common sense." In his paper on the Elite Power Group Model, Akhavan-Majid states that 4,600 reporters, representing some 870 news organizations file exactly the same stories every day, many based on "staged events." He lists that as just one example of why the media can no longer be classified in the Libertarianism model, but fit better under the Elite Power Group Model. Because of the control, Akhavan-Majid contends that newsgathering routines are created that emphasize beat reporting, staged pseudo-events and quotes from credible sources, as well as the expanded use of press releases. Collins, agreeing with Akhavan-Majid's statement that media are primarily driven to fill their newsholes, says that radio stations are desperate for news with dwindling staffs and fewer resources: The golden days of full newsrooms, of Edward R. Murrow and 19

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H.V. Kaltenborn, are gone. Some radio networks have had to borrow, buy or pirate television audio to keep pace with unfolding stories (29). In addition, syndicated program packages are being used more and more by radio stations, according to R.B. Horwitz in The Irony of Regulatory Reform. In order to keep up with the changing media Lloyd Dennis, in "Deja Vu AllOver Again" writes that public relations needs to change and will require both a vast skein of internal and external communication linkages and synergy between traditional public affairs and public relations skills, "So change in the function of public affairs is evident change in the direction of being proactive, anticipatory, and integrated into real decision-making" (15). Agreeing with Dennis, Radman says the new partnership of public relations and marketing is moving rapidly toward focused interaction with all individuals in a position to influence the fortunes of an organization (24-25). That, in turn, agrees with Akhavan-Majid's notion that the media have become "transmission belts" for anyone who wants to use them (140). Public Relations Influence Jeff and Marie Blyskal in their book PR: How the Public Relations Industry Writes the News maintain that while journalists find it easy to dismiss public relations influence as minimal, they do admit to using public relations, 20

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extensively. They quote Seymour Topping, managing editor of the New York Times: PR people do influence the news, but really more in a functional manner rather than in terms of giving new editorial direction. We get hundreds of press releases every day .... Quite a lot of our business stories originate from press releases (50). Topping says that public relations is becoming a second news network behind the legitimate news media, a second network that feeds the real news media more and more of its news. Public relation people may ask more of reporters in the future and thus gain more influence. Detweiler in Public Relations Quarterly writes that the confirmation process of Justice Thomas suggests that for many years to come the nation can be assured that the First Amendment will be interpreted at the nation's highest court by at least one very persuasive, self-avowed "media victim." Detweiler says this new legal climate should embolden public information specialists to push for prepublication assurances from reporters. If you can convince newspaper and radio reporters, and news directors that what you are saying is news, you will get publicity, or free coverage. Lee, in Real Estate goes on to say that public relations is not for the fainthearted and successful public relations is no piece of cake, "But with a well-planned public relations effort, you may get past the gatekeepers. And if your company becomes big news, it may mean big success" (10). 21

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The Blyskals go on to say that from interviewing Charles Staebler, the assistant managing editor at the Wall Street Journal, they found out that many public relations pitched stories do not survive, perhaps because they are not well written, are outdated or plain boring: However, of all the stories that do make it into the newspaper, the percentage of them that have PR roots is shocking. Staebler estimates that perhaps 50 percent of the average Journal's stories are spurred by a press release (46). Along those lines, 40% of the news content in a typical newspaper originated with public relations press releases, according to research by Cutlip, a retired dean of the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia. That 40 percent figure is also used by Cutlip in a recent article in the Gannett Center Journal (105). The Blyskals throughout their book give examples of the large percentage of press releases that end up as stories in newspapers. They point out that the Columbia Journalism Reyiew looked at typical issues of the Wall Street Journal and found that 72 percent were based solely on press releases. They go on to say that the press and public relations are in bed together almost everywhere you turn. The Relationship Between Radio Journalists and Public Relations Specialists Several relationships between journalists and public relations specialists 22

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are posited by Bissland and Rentner in "Education's Role in Professionalizing Public Relations." Their findings show that the majority of the public information specialists overwhelmingly prefer the "Two-Way Symmetrical Model," the purpose of which is mutual understanding. They explain the model by saying that both sides feel free to ask questions and give information. Bissland and Rentner found that the Two-Way Symmetrical Model is chosen ahead of lithe Press Agentry/Publicity Model," the purpose of which is propaganda; the Public Information Model, the purpose of which is just dissemination of information; or the Two-Way Asymmetric Model, the purpose of which is scientific persuasion. The "Two-Way Symmetrical Model," could be tied into Akhavan Majid's theory in that he says the media are no longer functioning as an adversary of the government in the public interest, but instead the media has reached an understanding with the government and other agencies. It doesn't matter if a public relations person is specifically trained in public relations, according to Bissland and Rentner, or if they've entered the field without formal education, both groups of practitioners still prefer the mutual understanding model. (97-99). The relationship between radio journalists and public relations specialists is discussed by Belz, Talbott and Starck. They used role theory to study cross perceptions of journalists and public information specialists. Their 23

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primary finding was that journalists and public relations officers differ sharply over their perceptions of the public relations role, yet both groups have similar perceptions of the journalistic role. Whereas the journalists have more widely disparate perceptions of the two roles, most public relations specialists viewed the two roles as having a lot of similarity. Both sides agreed that the journalistic role involves accuracy, fairness, objectivity, balance and informativeness. However, the journalists perceived that public relations involved advocacy, persuasion, withholding of information, and aggressiveness. Belz, Talbott and Starck suggest that this implies that journalists who choose to enter public relations will suffer from inter-role conflict (130-132). This different perception of roles could be put into the "Exemplar Based Model of Social Judgment,1t from Eliot R. Smith and Michael A. Zarate which says specific past experiences with the target person and other individuals, as well as more abstract schematic knowledge, influence judgements and perceptions of people and groups. The past encounters that journalists and public relations officers have had with each other, their knowledge of each others' group and what they've heard about the other group may account for the relationships they now report having. This would also fit into the social judgment theory described by Gordon B. Moskowitz and Robert J. Roman where Itindividuals can spontaneously form stereotypic inferences to a member of a relevant outgroup 24

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without being aware that such inferences have even occurred" (728). A radio journalist may lump all public relations officers into one category of "flacks" without being aware of their bias. Once developed, the stereotype could actually feed into itself. While newspapers seem to have a close relationship with public relations, they are not the only medium in that category. The Blyskals report that local radio and TV stations are more dependent on public relations than newspapers because they have smaller news staffs. In his thesis, Bill Woodward writes that the number of persons employed in radio news has declined since the Federal Communications Commission deregulated radio in 1981. Woodward sent out a survey to all station managers and all station news directors in Colorado during 1990; "The survey reveals that numerous radio stations have eliminated news departments and news personnel, and have dramatically reduced the quality of news programming" (40). This agrees with the Elite Power Group Model of the growing concentration and conglomeration of radio stations, as opposed to diversity and plurality. Fewer companies are owning more stations and can get by with fewer employees. 25

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Where Do Radio Stations Get Their News? In the book On Deadline Managing Media Relations, Carole Howard and Wilma Mathews discuss how reporters gather their news, IIMost radio stations manage with small news operations. They depend primarily on material that comes over the wire services, is delivered to the station, or is called in to the news directorll (200). Woodward says there are less people to get news for radio stations today. He says the disappearance of radio newscasters is traceable to several factors, including a demand for higher profits. That fits into the Elite Power Group Theory, where Akhavan-Majid writes about the integration of media with other power elites: The concentration and conglomeration in media ownership in the United States has been accompanied by growing integration between the media, big business, and government elites through both interlocking directorates and personnel flow and overlap (148). As an example, Akhavan-Majid points to the fact that the nation's largest newspaper chain, Gannett, shares directors with Merrill Lynch, Standard Oil, Phillips Petroleum, Kerr-McGee, Twentieth Century-Fox, McDonnell Douglas, McGraw-Hill, Eastern Airlines, and New York Telephone Company. Howard and Mathews suggest talking with the radio news directors and program directors to get detailed information on a station and the opportunities for public information specialists, so you can help them in their 26

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gathering of the news. "If you become acquainted with representatives of the media and stay in touch, it will reap rewards for your organization and you'll be able to get your information in print or on the airll (88). Research Ouestion and Hypotheses The overall research question is IIDoes the frequency of contacts or the relationships between broadcast journalists and public relations specialists impact the use of news releases or using professors or staff more on the air?1I This question implies that either the frequency of contact or the relationship will impact the frequency of the use of news releases or using sound bites or information from professors or staff members on the air. It also fits into Akhavan-Majid's model that the media is a "transmission beltll and that public relations people do have an impact on radio news. These questions lead into the hypotheses: HYPOTHESES: HI. The frequency of contacts broadcast journalists report making to public relations people is positively related to the frequency with which they report using news releases sent by public relations people. H2. The frequency of contacts public relations people from colleges or universities make with broadcast journalists, according to the broadcast journalists, is positively related to the frequency of the use of sound bites or information from professors or staff members that the radio station reports that they use. 27

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H3. The relationship radio journalists report having with a public relations person is positively related to the radio journalists saying they use news releases more now than in past years. H4: A broadcast journalist's relationship they report having with a public relations person from higher education is positively related to the frequency they report having professors or staff from the college or university on the air. H5: The frequency of contacts made by a public relations person to broadcast journalists, according to the broadcasters, is positively related to the frequency with which the broadcasters report using news releases from colleges and universities. H6: The frequency with which a public relations person says they contact a radio station will be positively related to the frequency that the public relations person says the radio station uses their information. H7: The better a relationship a public relations person says they have with a broadcast journalist is positively related to the public relations person saying that radio people are using more news releases today than in past years. By testing the hypotheses, the study was able to determine the use of news releases in broadcast news and the impact contacts and relationships between broadcast journalists and public relations people from higher education have on the news content. The hypotheses also looked at how important it is for public relations people from higher education to spend time making contacts and developing positive relationships with broadcast journalists. 28

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CHAPTER THREE DATA COLLECTION AND DATA ANALYSIS STRATEGY The method of data collection was via three questionnaires mailed out along with stamped, self-addressed return envelopes. The questionnaires were sent to the news directors at their respective radio stations in Colorado, to the public information specialists at institutions of higher learning in Colorado and to Video Monitoring Services of America, Inc. (VMS), a broadcast monitoring group in Denver, Colorado. Measuring public relations can be difficult. Pace and Culbertson in Successful Public Relations for the Professions say: When that audience responds positively-by becoming clients, by recommending the firm's services to others, or even by requesting additional information-then a successful cycle of public relations has been completed (77). The majority of public relations programs still go unmeasured, according to Lindenmann writing in the Public Relations Journal, "The hunt for the best research technique has yielded the cold, hard truth that public relations programs are not easy to measure" (27). The Method The sample included all of the news directors at the 151 radio stations 29

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in Colorado. Names and addresses were obtained from The Denyer Metropolitan Media Directory, and from The Denyer Metropolitan Media Directory Statewide Supplement, both of which are updated quarterly. First a detailed questionnaire was sent out to the news directors. Along with the questionnaire was a stamped, self-addressed envelope. If the questionnaires were not sent back within six weeks, a follow-up letter was sent out with a new questionnaire and a stamped, self-addressed envelope. The original questionnaire was sent out in October, 1992. All of the responses gathered came back by January 1, 1993. Questions for the radio news directors included whether or not the broadcast journalist had a good relationship with public relations specialists from higher education, the frequency of contact between journalists and public relations specialists and the frequency of the use of news releases and! or professors from higher education on the air. The questionnaire is attached in the appendix. In addition, the public relations people at the 24 institutions of higher learning in Colorado were surveyed, also between October, 1992 and January 1, 1993. Some of the questions asked of the public relations persons were similar to those asked of the news directors. Other questions looked at the frequency with which public relations 30

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people contact radio personnel and the frequency they report of getting news releases, professors and staff and other information from their college, on the air. The questionnaire is attached in the appendix. The colleges included the community colleges, four year colleges and universities in Colorado, as distinguished by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. The relationship between the media and public relations people was examined by looking at the questionnaires. Delacorte et al. discuss how journalists and public relations specialists should work together: Since God invented them, journalists have been asking: who, what, when, where, and sometimes why. These, therefore, are the questions that all good public relations people must learn to answer in one form or another (37). In addition, a representative of VMS was interviewed. VMS is the only service in Denver that monitors both radio and television stations for businesses and institutions of higher education. Customers receive a monthly printout of how many times their name appeared in news stories and in what context the name appeared. The printout also lists the date, time and channel. These reports help determine how many stories a month a radio station devotes to institutions of higher education The questionnaire for VMS is attached in appendix. 31

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Sampling The sampling used for the questionnaires falls under the "judgement" category. A subgroup of the population was selected, Colorado radio news directors and public relations people from higher education in Colorado. These subgroups can be judged to be representative of the total population. However, an attempt at consensus makesit less a "sample." For the news director population, instead of interviewing all of the news directors at all of the radio stations in the United States, it was limited to the news directors at the 151 radio stations in Colorado. With so many stations and so many different formats, this group should not only give an overview of Colorado, but of news directors' attitudes in general. Broadcasting magazine reports that Denver radio is in the top twenty-five markets, which should indicate that Denver has enough stations to be representative of more than one city. In the cases where the station currently does not have a news director, the questionnaire was sent to the interim news director. If there was no interim news director, the questionnaires Were sent to the program director, who is the supervisor of the newsroom. For the public information specialists, surveys were sent to the Public Relations Director and to the Public Information Specialist at each institution. While all 24 institutions do not have people in those exact positions, Geri 32

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Reinardy of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education says addressing the envelopes to those people will ensure they got to the correct people. For VMS, a sample judgment was also used. From talking with the personnel at VMS, it was determined that out of the five employees, that one person could best answer the questions; Peter Grampp, the head of Client Services. The mail survey was chosen, as Charles Ingold in 1992 writes lito minimize social acceptability bias and some of the problems with self-report data in general II (19). He reports that mail surveys probably inhibit responses the least since they can be filled out in relative privacy, without the researcher addressing respondents in a direct, verbal fashion. 33

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CHAPTER FOUR FINDINGS To analyze the data chi-square was used to assess the statistical significance of associations in a cross tabulation. The computer program used to analyze and display the data was the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences Personal Computer enhanced edition (SPSS/PC). The significance of t or SIG T number has been calculated, which is the probability that such deviation from zero would be due to sampling error. The significance level used to base the hypotheses on was a minimum of .05. The methods used explain how radio broadcast journalists relate to public relations personnel. It also helped answer the following questions, "How strong is the relationship between broadcasters and public relations people?" and "How important is the relationship in shaping radio news?" Also examined were the mode and means in the answers and the percents. The findings list how each of the questions in the survey were answered, how the broadcasters answered most frequently and the percent that responded that way. The findings also list how the public relations people responded to each question and the percent that responded that way. One hundred fifty-one surveys were sent out to the radio stations in Colorado. Of those, 120 broadcast journalists responded, for a 79.5% return 34

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rate. Of the 24 colleges and universities in Colorado, 19 or 79.2% responded. Hypothesis #1 Hypothesis #1 was "The frequency of contacts broadcast journalists report making to public relations people is positively related to the frequency with which they report using news releases sent by public relations people." This compared question #5a and #9 from the survey sent to the news directors. Question #5a looked at whether reporters use news releases more today than in past years. Of the broadcasters, 76.2% said "yes," they do use the releases more. Question #9 was the frequency of public relations people contacting the radio people. In all, 32.6% of the broadcasters said that public relations people contact them on at least a monthly basis, with 12.4% reporting a weekly contact. The data said that 31.4% rarely received contacts from public relations people. Crosstabulation of responses to questions #5a and 9 are provided in Table #1. 35

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Crosstabulation of Using News Releases More Today With Frequency of Public Relations Contact Question ilL #5a nedaily wkly 2/m mnthly rarely ver Question #9 daily 1 weekly 4 9 1 2/mnth 3 2 9 mnthly 3 8 3 2 6 yearly 1 5 1 rarely 5 7 7 8 never 1 4 2 2 2 TabJ e #r. Hypothesis #1 was accepted as confirmed. There is definitely a positive relationship between the frequency of contacts made and the n/ a 1 1 1 9 10 frequency of using news releases. The chi-square was 112.39505, at 42 d.f. with significance of p < .05, in fact p < .01. The contingency coefficient was .69544. Hypothesis #2 Hypothesis #2 was, "The frequency of contacts public relations people from colleges or universities make with broadcast journalists, according to the broadcast journalists, is positively related to the frequency of the use of sound 36

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bites or information from professors or staff members that the radio station reports that they use." This hypothesis compared question #6a with question #8 from the survey sent to the news directors. Question #6a asked the frequency that radio people used sound bites or information from professors or staff members from colleges and universities in Colorado. Fifty-five percent of the broadcast journalists said they did use sound bites and/or other information and of those the largest percent used them on a monthly and twice a month basis. Question #8 looked at the frequency with which public relations people contact the broadcaster. The most recurrent response (31.2%) from the broadcasters was a weekly contact. And 58.4% of the broadcasters said they were contacted on at least a monthly basis, however, 41.6% said they were only contacted yearly, rarely or never. Cross tabulations of responses to questions #6a and #8 are provided in Table #2. 37

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Crosstabulation of Frequency of Using College Information With Frequency of Public Relations Contact Question n #6a daily wkly 2/m mnthly yrly rarely Question #8 daily 2 1 weekly 6 12 6 4 2/mnth 2 1 1 1 mnthly 4 3 11 1 yearly 1 3 rarely 2 1 2 2 never 2 Table #2 Hypothesis #2 was accepted as confirmed. The chi-square was 88.36956, at 36 d.f. with a significance of p < .05, in fact, p < .01. The contingency coefficient was .72663. Hypothesis #3 n 3 2 1 2 3 Hypothesis #3 was, "The relationship a radio journalist reports having with a public relations person is positively related to the radio journalist saying they use news releases more now than in past years." This compared question #5 and question #10 from the survey sent to the news directors. In question #5, which asked broadcasters if they use news releases more today, 76.2% of the respondents said that with more work and less time 38

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today than reporters in past years, that they use news releases that are mailed to them by colleges and universities. Question #10 dealt with the relationship between the public relations people and the broadcasters. Of the broadcasters, 68% said they either don't know the public relations person, or only on an acquaintance basis. In all 21.6% said they were on a friendly basis with the public relations people and 10.4% said it was a very friendly relationship. Crosstabulations of responses to questions #5 and #10 are provided in Table #3. Crosstabulation of Using News Releases More Today With the Relationship Between Broadcasters and Public Relations Specialists #3 Question #5 Yes No Question # 10 18 16 Don't know them Acquaintance 38 6 basis Friendly basis 26 2 Very friendly 14 Table #3 The chi-square for Hypothesis #3 was 23.06532, at 3 d.f. with significance of p < .05, in fact p < .01. The contingency coefficient was .40152. The hypothesis was accepted as confirmed. 39

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Hypothesis #4 Hypothesis #4 was "A broadcast journalist's relationship they report having with a public relations person from higher education is positively related to the frequency they report having professors or staff from the college or university on the air." This compared question #6a and question #10 from the survey sent to the news directors. Question #6a looked at the frequency of a broadcaster using professors or college staff on the air. The most frequent response was either twice a month or on a monthly basis. Question #10 dealt with the relationship between the public relations people and the broadcasters. Sixty-eight percent of the broadcasters said they either don't know the public relations person, or only on an acquaintance basis. Of the broadcasters, 21.6% said they were on a friendly basis with the public relations people and 10.4% said it was a very friendly relationship. Crosstabulations of responses to questions #6a and #10 are provided in Table #4. 40

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Crosstabulation of Frequency of Using College Information With Relationship Between Broadcasters and Public Relations Specialists Hy:pothesis Question 1M #6a nedaily wkly 21m mnthly yrly rarely ver Question 2 6 7 #10 don't know acquaintS 6 8 6 2 ance friendly S S 9 2 2 very 2 3 3 2 1 3 friendly Table #4 The chi-square for hypothesis #4 was 41.80132, at 18 d.f. with significance of p < .OS. The contingency coefficient was .S882S. There is a significant relationship, however it is not a linear relationship, rather it is curvlinear, which challenges the hypothesis. Hypothesis #S Hypothesis #S was liThe frequency of contacts made by a public relations person to broadcast journalists, according to the broadcasters, is positively related to the frequency with which the broadcasters report using news releases from colleges and universities. This compared question #Sa and question #8 from the survey sent to the news directors. 41

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Question #5a looked at whether reporters use news releases more today than in past years. Of the broadcasters, 76.2% said "yes," they do use the releases more. Question #8 looked at the frequency with which public relations people contact the broadcaster The most often response from the broadcasters was a weekly contact at 31.2%. Of the broadcasters 58.4% said they were contacted on at least a monthly basis, however, 41.6% said they were only contacted yearly, rarely or never. Cross tabulations of responses to questions #5a and #8 are provided in Table #5. Cross tabulation of Using News Releases More Today With Frequency of Public Relations Contact Question ii.2 #5a daily wkly 2/m mnthly yearly rarly Question #8 1 4 2 3 1 daily weekly 1 13 1 8 2 4 2/mnth 1 11 1 3 1 1 monthly 2 1 4 3 5 rarely 1 4 6 1 5 never Table #5 42 n 3 1 1 1 2

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Hypothesis #5 was accepted as confirmed. It shows a very significant relationship. The chi-square was 47.58007, at 30 d.f. with significance of p < .05. The contingency coefficient was .57169. Hypothesis #6 Hypothesis #6 was liThe frequency with which a public relations person says they contact a radio station will be positively related to the frequency that the public relations person says the radio station uses their information. II This compared question #5a and question #7 from the sent to the public relations officers. Question #5 asked if the public relations people tried to get professors or staff members on the radio. Of those responding 94.7% said they do try to get their people on the air and question #5a where the data confirmed that the largest percentage of public relations people said that radio stations use their professors and college staff on a monthly (26.3%) basis. Question #7 looked at the frequency of public relations people contacting radio journalists. The largest percent (40%) said they contact radio journalists on a weekly basis. Eighty percent said they contact the radio journalists on at least a monthly basis. Crosstabulations of responses to questions #5 and #7 are provided in Table #6. 43

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Crosstabulation of Getting Professors On the Air With of Public Relations Contact Hypothesis #6 Question #5a yearly, rarely, daily, weekly 2/month, monthly never Question #8 daily, weekly 2 1 2/ month, monthly 7 1 yearly, rarely, 1 3 4 never Table7/:6 Hypothesis #6 was less significant than the other hypotheses. It had a chi-square of 10.92500, at 4 d.f. with significance of p < .05. The contingency coefficient was .60422. The significance was likely off because of the low number of public information specialists surveyed. Hypothesis #7 Hypothesis #7 was, "The better a relationship a public relations person says they have with a broadcast journalist is positively related to the public relations person saying that radio people are using more news releases today than in past years." This hypothesis compared question #3 and question #9 from the survey sent to public information specialists. Question #3 asked public information specialists if they thought radio people are using more news releases today than in past year. The public relations people were split over the question with 47.1% saying yes and 47.1% 44

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saying no. Five point nine percent were not sure. Question #9 looked at the relationship that a public relations person said they have with a radio journalist. The largest group (37.5%) said they were on a friendly basis, 62.5% said they were on a friendly or very friendly basis and 8.3% said they didn't know the radio journalists. Crosstabulations of responses to questions #7 and #3 are provided in Table #7. Crosstabulation of Using News Releases With Relationship Between Broadcasters and Public Relations Specialists Hy:pothesis Question #3 fl Yes No Question #9 Don't know 2 Acquaintance 1 3 Friendly 4 2 Very friendly 4 2 'fable #7 Hypothesis #7 was not confirmed by the date. It had a chi-square of 4.33333, at 3 dJ. with significance of p > .05 at .2276. The contingency coefficient was .44049. Again, it was likely not significant because of the low numbers of public relations officers who were surveyed. 45

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Other Findings From Broadcast Ouestionnaires Going over the questions that were not used in the seven hypotheses; 91.6% of the broadcast journalists said that radio news is an important part of their station's programming, with the majority (68.2%) saying they spent between two and 10 minutes an hour on news. Over half of the recipients personally wrote the news for the station, however, most all of the respondents relied heavily on wire services, other reports and networks such as ABC, CNN, NPR, CBS and NBC. Fifty-five percent of the broadcasters said that they use sound bites or information from professors or staff members from colleges, while 44% said they did not. When broadcasters do use professors or staff members, the largest category (50.9%) call the college themselves. Thirty-eight point one percent said they did take suggestions from public relations people. Other Findings From Public Relations Ouestionnaires Most (78.9%) of the public relations people report that radio news is an important target of their institution and the majority (73.7%) said they write the news releases sent by their institutions. The largest group (45%) said they sent releases to radio broadcasters on a weekly basis. Ninety percent said they send releases on at least a 46

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monthly basis. The majority (94.7%) said they do try to get professors or staff members from their college or university on the radio. In identifying which professor or staff member will go on the air, 53.6% of the public relations people said they would call the radio station while 46.4% said the radio station calls them. Sixty percent of the public relations people reported that radio journalists contact them at least twice a month, with the largest group (35%) saying radio people call them weekly. VMS Findings While the information from the questionnaire for VMS personnel was not used in the hypotheses, the information from it, is interesting and the findings are reported below. According to Peter Grampp, who filled out the survey, the purpose of VMS is to monitor television and radio news and then notify clients on stories of interest to them and provide videotape, audiotape and transcripts, as requested. Grampp reported that twelve colleges or universities in Colorado subscribe to their service. Grampp says in his analysis of radio news, that public relations personnel and the information t4ey send out does have an impact on radio 47

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news, "We have seen that PR releases and other activity makes up some news content." In addition, Grampp reported that the information public relations personnel from colleges and universities send out, seems to be used on radio news a lot. 48

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CHAPTER FIVE DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS AND FUTURE RESEARCH Persuasive Communication is as old as Plato's Republic, but what started in the early 1900's as a little-accepted vocation in our own country has reached the size, scope and power of an industry. America's public relations practitioners, some 150,000 strong, wield major influence in the public opinion game. So says Cutlip in his article, "Public Relations The Manufacture of Opinion." One hundred fifty-one surveys were sent out to the radio stations in Colorado. Of those, 120 broadcast journalists responded, for a 79.5% return rate. Of the 24 colleges and universities in Colorado, 19 or 79.2% responded. The response rates for both the public relations people and broadcast people were quite good, which may be related to their interest in the relationship that does exist between the two groups. The results from the questionnaire seem to back up the Elite Power Theory that says the media have become transmission belts for news releases and public relations specialists. The findings showed that public relations specialists wield influence among broadcast journalists especially if they frequently contact the broadcasters. Hypothesis #1 which looked at the frequency of contacts broadcasters make to public relations people and the frequency with which they use the news releases from those public relations 49

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people showed a very significant relationship. The frequency of contacts is definitely related to the frequency of using news releases. This would mean that public relations people cannot be content to send out a news release every so often, instead they need to send out releases and make contacts on a very regular basis, if they want their information to get used. That was also true in Hypothesis #2 which looked at the frequency of contacts and the use of sound bites or information from a college. Again, as the frequency of contact increases, so does the use of sound bites and/or other information from a college. It could be as Akhavan-Majid stated that the media need to fill their newsholes as efficiently and conveniently as possible and more frequency by the public relations specialist makes it fast and easy to fill the news slot. Cutlip writes about the relationship between journalists and public information specialists: From PR's beginning to its present, public information specialists and journalists have functioned in a mutually dependent relationship, sometimes as adversaries and sometimes as colleagues. Journalists are often captives of practitioners, who tend to have not only abler manpower public relations generally pays better than journalism but also news control (203). That corresponds with Hypothesis #3 which looked at the relationship 50

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between public relations people and radio people and the use of news releases. The better the relationship did not mean that more releases were used. Nor did a bad relationship mean that releases were not used. While the relationship was significant, it did not show any correlation of a public relations person having to be on a friendly basis with a radio person, in order to get their releases used. Hypothesis #4 also looked at the relationship between the two groups and the frequency that broadcasters said they use professors or staff on the air. While there was a significant relationship, it is hard to explain the result because they are not on a linear basis. It may be as Akhavan-Majid contends, that the media have gone from being a watchdog, but the adversarial relationship of the past may cause both parties to be leery of one another and for radio people to use releases if they are contacted a lot, rather than on the basis of the relationships they have. From the survey it seems that public relations people should not be afraid to "bug" radio people, even if it creates a "not friendly" environment, you will still get your releases used. Public Relations people are in a good position to get their releases used. Over 76% of the radio respondents said that with reporters having more work and less time today than reporters in past years, that they use news releases that are mailed to them by colleges and universities. Of the 51

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broadcast journalists who use them, the largest percent, use them on a weekly basis. That makes sense, that the radio people who rely on news releases for their information, would do so on a frequent basis. Hypothesis #5 looked at the frequency of contacts made as related to the frequency of using news releases. There was a very significant relationship found between the two questions, with the increase in frequency of contacts directly related to more news releases being used. There was a big discrepancy between how often radio journalists said they contacted public relations people and how often public relations people said they were contacted by radio journalists. Of the radio journalists, 43% said they contacted public relations people at least once a month, while 70% of the public relations people said that radio journalists contacted them at least once a month. While the discrepancy exists, it still is clear that the frequency of contact will help public relations people get their news releases, professors and staff and sound bites used on the air. Cutlip goes on to say that the relationship of public relations officers and journalists, is tumultuously interdependent. He says suspicions and resentments exist on both sides. And although neither can function alone effectively, the public's interest is for the relationship to be adversarial. That adversarial role fits into the Akhavan-Majid model which says the press is required to function as a watchdog, however, Akhavan-Majid argues 52

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that that is no longer the case, "Mass media performance in the United States may thus be considered to deviate considerably from the adversarial role visa-vis the government envisioned for it under the Libertarian theory" (149). That adversarial role may be why the majority of the broadcast journalists who responded said that they either did not know the public relations people from colleges and universities (28%), or they knew them on an acquaintance or business basis (40%). Or, it could be that there is little contact made by the public relations officers. Only 21.6% of the broadcasters said they were on a friendly basis with the public relations people and just over 10% said it was a very friendly basis. That differs with the findings from the public relations people where 62.5 % said they were on a friendly or very friendly basis with the radio journalists. Only 37.5% said they did not know the radio journalists or had only an acquaintance or business basis with them. The broadcasters may have been responding the way they "thought" they should respond to make sure there was no sign of bias of the news. The public relations people may also have been responding the way they IIthoughtli they should, since it is the job of the public relations person to establish and nurture a relationship with all reporters, including broadcasters. Redefining the relationship may be the key toward improving communications, according to Chapman: It is not possible or desirable to eradicate the adversarial nature 53

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of the relationship, but the relationship can be refined. One excellent way to alter the relationship is to take time to become acquainted with reporters who cover the agency. Hand deliver news releases; visit reporters in their offices ... with a little effort, the adversarial relationship between strangers can become a respectful relationship between professionals -a far more productive situation (35). That redefining was discussed in the last question of the broadcast journalists, which asked how public relations people could assist them better. Some of the more frequent responses included the timeliness of the material, sending notices further in advance and by contacting and or faxing more often. Other suggestions included knowing the format of the station and sending tapes with news stories. Hypotheses #6 and #7 looked at the information from the surveys filled out by the public relations people. While a relationship did exist, it was not a strong relationship and with the low numbers of respondents (19) it is very difficult to draw any conclusions. All seven of the hypotheses had significant relationships according to the data. The most significant relationships came in the hypotheses which looked at the frequency of contacts, made either by broadcast journalists or by public relations personnel. The data clearly indicated very strong significance levels for all hypotheses dealing with frequency of contact. That compares to a less significant data for those hypotheses that dealt with the relationship between the radio person and the public relations person. It didn't seem to 54

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matter if the respondent put, "don't know," "acquaintance basis," "friendly basis," or "very friendly basis," it did not make a significant difference in how much information the radio person used from the college. The frequency of contact seems to play more of a key role, than whether people like each other. This means that public relations people should be persistent in dealing with radio people, they should call often, send releases often and stay in touch as much as possible. As far as Akhavan-Majid's model, the research supports the "Elite Power Group Theory," that the new media today are often little more than "transmission belts," and if the public information specialists oil that belt through contacts, they will likely help fill the newsholes. Research Limitations The results of the research indicate that the frequency of contacts by public relations specialists does increase the frequency with which news directors use news releases and/or information from professors and staff on the air. However, the research did not find that the relationship between public relations and radio journalists impacts the use of news releases and/or information from professors and staff. There could be reporting bias by the radio journalists who said the relationship didn't make any difference because they thOUght that it shouldn't. The radio journalists may have been very 55

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concerned about appearing ethical and not reporting a stronger relationship where one exists. On the other hand, it may have seemed okay to report that the frequency of contacts did impact the news. Any generalizations about the research have to be made with caution. While there was a great response from the broadcasters in Colorado, it would be difficult to interpret the results for other states. Things like economic condition of the state and the number of radio stations would have to be taken into consideration. The comments, in general, can still be very useful to public relations specialists. The research done on the public relations specialists was very limited, with only 19 responding. There would have to bea much larger sample taken to get results that could be generalized. Future Research Future research could include surveying a random sample of the population in a controlled, laboratory setting to see if similar results were obtained. A mixed model paradigm could also be used, using two different parent populations and different stimulus manipulation. Two different questionnaires could be administered to see if the outcome remained the same. One area that could be researched in the future is if public relations 56

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people have a fear of the media. Marcus Servoss in "Why You Should Overcome Your Phobia and Learn to Love the Media," writes that a company's failure to recognize the media as an economical and effective conduit of information to the public is bad business: Overcoming media phobia and developing a beneficial relationship with local or national media can do much to enhance the reputation and the bottom line of a business (18). Another area to research in the future will be interviewing radio stations and public relations people in the wake of the new FCC ruling. Gail Newbold discussed that ruling in Ad News: The new FCC ruling allowing ownership of two AM and FM stations in a given market. Since the FCC's August ruling 12 local stations have entered into lease management agreements with plans to merge .. .It's tough on the market and tough on people. Good people end up as extra bodies (18). These stations are consolidating staffs, so where there were four news directors, now there is one. With fewer news directors to deal with, but with them conceivably having more work covering four stations instead of one, it would be interesting to see if public relations people will have more of an impact on broadcast journalists in the future. The training of public information specialists could also be examined to see how their backgrounds compare with broadcast journalists. Included in this train of thought could be if the professional status of public relations people has increased. 57

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Another area may be to take the social judgement theory and apply it to both groups, the broadcasters and the public relations specialists, to see if one group sees themselves as the in-group, and the other as the out-group. Robley Rhine writing in his paper, "William Graham Sumner's Concept of Ethnocentrism," says that "ethnocentrism may interfere with our social perception by providing us with ready-made but inaccurate stereotypes." Rhine ends his paper with a quote by Rudyard Kipling that could be applied to broadcasters and public relations specialists: All good people agree, and all good people like to say. All nice people like US are WE and everyone else is THEY: But if you cross over the sea instead of over the way You may end up (think of it) looking on WE As only a sort of "THEY." 58

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QUESTIONNAIRE FOR BROADCAST JOURNALISTS My named is Janet Kacskos. I'm researching radio news for my thesis in the Communications Department at the University of Colorado at Denver. I would appreciate you taking a couple of minutes to answer the attached questions. Your comments will be kept completely anonymous. Your help is greatly appreciated. 1. Is radio news an important part of your station's programming? Yes No 2. How much time per hour does your station dedicate to news? a. less than two minutes b. two to five minutes c. five to 10 minutes d. 10 to 15 minutes --e. Over 15 minutes 3. Do you personally write the news that you broadcast over the air? Yes No 4. If no, who else writes the news that is read over the air at your station? a. Other reporters __ b. Wire services '---c. Other (please list), ______________ 5. With reporters having more work and less time today than reporters in past years, do you ever use news releases that are mailed to you from colleges or universities? Yes No 59

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5a. If yes, how often do you use those news releases? daily weekly 2/month monthly yearly rarely never 6. Do you ever use sound bites or information from professors or staff members from colleges or universities from Colorado in your radio news? Yes No 6a. If yes, how often do you use professors or college staff? daily weekly 2/month monthly yearly rarely never 7. Who identifies which professors or staff members that you will use? a. You call personally __ b. A public relations person gives you suggestions __ c. Other (please explain) _____________ 8. How often do public relations people from colleges or universities contact you? daily weekly 2/month monthly yeady rarely never 9. How often do you contact public relations people from colleges or universities? daily weekly 2/month monthly yeady rarely never 60

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10. How would you describe your relationship with public relations people from colleges and universities? a. Don't know them b. Acquaintance or business basis for the most part __ c. Friendly basis for the most part __ d. Very friendly basis for the most part __ 11. One final question, is there any way that public relations people could assist you better? Station call letters and town -----------------------------Thank you for your time. Please return the completed survey in the addressed, stamped envelope provided. Your comments will be most helpful. This survey is being paid for in part by Metropolitan State College of Denver. 61

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QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICERS My named is Janet Kacskos. I'm researching radio news for my thesis in the Communications Department at the University of Colorado at Denver. I would appreciate you taking a couple of minutes to answer the attached questions. Your comments will be kept completely anonymous and confidential. Your help is greatly appreciated. 1. Is radio news an important target of your institution's public relations plan? Yes No --2. Do you personally write the news releases that are sent out by your college? Yes No --3. With reporters having more work and less time today than reporters in past years, do you feel they are using news releases from colleges or universities more today? Yes No 4. How often do you send news releases to radio stations? daily weekly 2/month monthly yearly rarely never 5. Do you ever try to get professors or staff members from your college or university on the radio? Yes No --. 62

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Sa. If yes, how often do radio stations use your professors or college staff? daily weekly 2/month monthly yearly rarely never 6. Who identifies which professors or staff members that you will use? a. You call the radio station b. The radio station calls you __ c. Other (please explain) _____________ 7. How often do you contact radio journalists? daily weekly 2/month monthly yearly rarely never 8. How often do radio journalists contact you? daily weekly 2/month monthly yearly rarely never 9. How would you describe your relationship with radio journalists? a. Don't know them b. Acquaintance or business basis for the most part __ c. Friendly basis for the most part __ d. Very friendly basis for the most part __ 10. Please list the name of your college/university Thank you for your time. Please return the completed survey in the addressed, stamped envelope provided. Your comments will be most helpful. This survey is being paid for in part by Metropolitan State College of Denver. 63

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QUESTIONNAIRE FOR VMS PERSONNEL My named is Janet Kacskos. I'm researching the relationship of public relations personnel and radio news for my thesis in the Communications Department at the University of Colorado at Denver. I would appreciate you taking a couple of minutes to answer the attached questions. Your comments will be kept completely confidential. Your help is greatly appreciated. 1. Could you explain exactly what VMS does for its clients? 2. How many clients do you have? __ 3. Do any colleges or universities subscribe to your service? Yes No If so, how many __ 4. How many radio stations in the Denver Metro area do you monitor? __ 5. Why do clients subscribe to your business? 64

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6. From the clients that you have, would you say that public relations personnel and the information they send out does have an impact on radio news? Yes No Why or why not? ____________________ 7. What about public relations personnel from colleges and universities? Does the information they send out seem to be used on radio news a lot? Yes No 8. Anything else that you would like to add? Thank you for your time. Please return the completed survey in the addressed, stamped envelope provided. Your comments will be most helpful. This survey is being paid for in part by Metropolitan State College of Denver. 65

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