The Ecology of Public Communication custom essay

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Assessment item 2: Theory to Practice report

Length: 1800-2000 words

Task: In this assignment, students build on their research for Assignment 1 to discuss the relationship between theory and practice. They use three resources for this assignment: the academic literature; media coverage of an issue; and panel discussions in this subject on working for different sectors. They address the role of public relations, advertising or public communication in relation to an issue from a list provided by the lecturer and assess the influence of work for particular sectors on these roles and practices.

The purpose of this assignment is twofold: to present and discuss the relationship between the debate in the literature canvassed in the first assignment and public communication practices evident in the representation of the selected issue in the media; and to identify the issues for society in the use of public communication practices for/from the different sectors on the selected issue.

This is a report – students should refer to the guidelines for reports and referencing on the library homepage. No executive summary is required for this assessment.
The format of this report should include:
1. Introduction – to the literature from the first assignment and to your selected contemporary issue (from media reports) from the list provided by the lecturer. You need to write something about public relations or advertising and make the connection with how the issue is portrayed in the media. You should also mention the sectors represented in the media coverage of the issue.
2. Body of the Report: Here you elaborate on the role of public communication, public relations or advertising in society (further references) and include a summary of your understanding of the media coverage of the issue. You integrate theory with practice, using your issue to provide examples of the points you make. Identify the sector/s involved and discuss the implications of work for these sectors in relation to the issue.
3. Conclusion
4. Appendices: Copies of media material used in the argumentation in the report.

Logic of reasoning
Depth of research
Coherence of argumentation and discussion Relevance of information from media material Relevance of material from panel discussions Understanding of public communication practices Understanding of sectors
Appropriateness of referenced material
Clarity of written expression
Accuracy of report format
Accuracy of spelling and grammar Conformity to UTS Harvard referencing style Adherence to word limit.

Assignment 2 2012

Theory to Practice report

Below are the steps you should follow for Assignment 2.
Make sure you read this in conjunction with instructions in the subject outline.

1. Choose one issue from the following list and investigate media coverage of the debate for your assignment

Contemporary issues in the media:

(a) Coal seam gas mining
(b) Plain packaging for cigarettes
(c) Asylum-seeker policy
(d) Privacy and protection in data collection and use
(e) Measures to control gambling, such as poker machine reform

2. You are expected to discern what advertising or public relations practices are involved in the depiction of the issue in the media – what organisations are cited, used as sources etc, and can be understood to have participated in public relations or advertising activities to achieve this.

3. You should determine which sectors are involved in the representation of the issue – public/government, private/commercial and/or not-for-profit. You will need to discuss the implications of work for these sectors involved in the issue. Your subject outline explains that one purpose of the assignment is that you identify the issues for society in the use of public communication practices for/from the different sectors on your selected issue (a-e above). You will refer to the discussion in the panel session on May 4 to help you make these assessments.

4. Discuss the role of public relations, advertising or public communication in society using the academic literature (from your first assignment plus more research) and applying theory to practice with illustrations from your issue and its depictions, your analysis of the sectors involved and the differences in working in public communication for those sectors.


Assignment 2 Tips
(to be read in conjunction with the Asst 2 doc and the vodcasts/slides from the
project team)
Possible contemporary issues in the media (you choose one)
Contemporary issues in the media:
(a) Coal seam gas mining
(b) Plain packaging for cigarettes
(c) Asylum-seeker policy
(d) Privacy and protection in data collection and use
(e) Measures to control gambling, such as poker machine reform
1. What do you need to discover from the media depictions of the issue?
Information to provide a summary of the debate/issue depicted in the media What sources are included in the stories you have located about the issue? Do they represent organisations?
What sectors do they come from?
What public relations and advertising activities may have contributed to these stories?
2. What communication areas of research do you need to address for this assignment?
Extended from Assignment one work (don’t just rely on what you’ve already done):
a) Literature that talks about the public sphere PLUS
b) Literature that defines either advertising or PR (or across both for pub
comm practice) PLUS
c) Your assignment one focus for an issue (A, B, or C) ie Media effects,
persuasion, media and the public sphere PLUS
New (perhaps) for assignment 2:
d) Ethics and public communication (or adv or PR) PLUS
e) Media agenda-setting (see articles in eReadings for effects week) PLUS
f) Info on the different sectors and public communication practice for these
Possible extras:
Self-regulation and professionalism
3. What do you need to include about the professions and the sectors?
Integrate information and quotes from the panellists about the sectors and differences among them for practice with your readings on the sectors, the issues and the professions.


Your framing question for this assignment should be one of the following three questions. You should then choose an orientation to this question from issues A, B or C below. You should make the link between your question and your choice of issue explicit in your assignment.

(i choose 3 and B)

3. What is the role of advertising in the public sphere?
B. Onmediaeffects
When scholars say that public relations and advertising are key discursive actors/activities in our society, they are arguing that these professional public communication practices and industries influence how we see ourselves, our communities and issues or events that arise.
Media are integral to advertising practice and a large proportion of work in public relations. Debate and research have extended across decades on the effects the media may produce with their particular constructions of reality; for example, in
news, drama, and advertisements. These effects can be explored in many ways for so-called pro and anti social outcomes on individuals, cultures, etc.
Find an aspect of a debate about media effects that interests you and locate two articles that explore different views on this. Explain and compare their points of view or research outcomes. How do these relate to other academic writing on this issue? How does the academic writing on this issue relate to advertising and/or public relations practice?
You may use examples when explaining the different aspects of the issue such as depictions of body images and any relationship to eating disorders or cosmetic surgery, or media portrayals of violence and incidences of anti-social behaviours.


First Assignment:

The media in recent years has grown to be the most significant contributor to character formation in teenagers/children and the sexuality of teenagers. It has been shown on many occasions that what a child grows up to be, is directly related to the content he/she received from the media. Violence and deteriorating moral standards have been associated with the media depiction of the vices as something one should inspire to do (Strasburger, Wilson and Jordan 2009). The media has received a lot of criticism for this alleged cultivation of negative characters in young individuals.
Gruber, E. & Grube J. W. 2000, Adolescent sexuality and the media: a review of current knowledge and implications, Western journal of medicine 172(3), pp.210–214. Viewed 26 march 2012,

Sexual attitudes in adolescents are a result of the type of information these young people come face to face with on a daily basis. Studies have revealed that TV and other Electronic tools of broadcasting information can greatly impact teenager’s attitudes, Beliefs, and behaviors, Gryber and Grube seeks to establish a pattern that relates the rate of exposure and sexual attitudes in teenagers (2000, pg, 212).

Gruber and Grube collected information available from previous examination of that relate adolescent behavior with the amount of sexual natured content they were receiving from the media.
Sexuality as shown in the Media
Sexual content has an impact to anybody who is its recipient. Sexual exposure effects are more profound in adolescents as it occurs at a stage when their responsibility as either female or male members of society, their perception of sex, and sexuality is being formed (Gruber & Grube, 2000).

In America teenagers were found to have been exposed to 143 scenes of sexual nature each week aired when most people are known to be watching television. The sexual natured content mostly involved unmarried couples in uncompromising sexual situations presented as if there is nothing wrong in involving in such activities.
Access to content of sexual nature to American children is undeniable, with about 2.9 TVs in homes of adolescents who attend high school and three quarters having access to cable TV. Young people also confess to having sourced most of their knowledge about sex from media sources as opposed from parents or other people they interact with.

Teenage sexuality
It is shown that almost 50 per cent of American high school students have engaged in some other form of intimacy, annual teenage pregnancy stands at 7.5% among American high school students. Each additional sexual partner in a teenager’s life elevates the risk of getting a “Sexually Transmitted Diseases” (STD) or HIV infection (Gruber & Grube, 2000). A quarter of teenagers involved in sex are infected with STDS every year, teenage infection of STD represents a quarter of all new infection recorded each year.
Knowledge about Media Sexual Content

Effects of sexual content in the media are seen in analysis and trailing of televised material throughout the year. Teenage girls are shown to prefer sexual content that is aired on the normal network while boys are likely to go for more hardcore content. Boys too show a high adoption rate of new technology and thus are more likely to be exposed to sexual content. Repeated viewing of programs that promote certain stereotypical sexual roles, can accept this roles as real in their own live; girls with a history of STDs were likely to have been exposed to material that show women as sexual objects. Teenage girls also look up to the media to shape up their image show they can impress boys.

However the article comes short of establishing a direct link between exposure to sexual content and the commencement or involvement of teenagers in sex. The article supports this idea by showing that a simple alcohol advertisement does not induce usage among teenagers rather the way they perceive it is the one that directly leads to alcohol usage.

Canadian pediatric society 2003, Impact of media use on children and youth, Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, vol 8(5), viewed 26 march 2012,

It has been found that continuous use of the media greatly impacts on a child’s psychological development. Physicians there find it important to talk with parents and guardians on their children’s exposure to the media and at what age a child is supposed to use the media. The media in this case refers to aspects such as games, television, internet, music as well as the radio.

Each of the different media is explained together it’s beneficial as well as its harmful effects to children and how physicians can play a part in counseling the affected patients as well as their families so as to uphold the healthy use of various kinds of media in the society.

According to various studies television has both positive and negative impact on children and adolescents and its effects is mainly based on the level of development of the child. Though not all programs are based certain programs are said to have negative effects to child this includes programs related to sexuality, offensive language and violence.

Video games
Though video games are viewed as major factor in the development of finer coordination as well as skills, it still have its negative impacts such as inactivity, violence as well as antisocial behavior which is gained after extreme exposure to the use of video games. To solve the problems associated with the use of video games guardians ought to be discourage the playing of violent games and also they should aim at familiarizing with the various kinds of rating impended on video games so as to make sure that children play games that within their age limit. Both the positive and negative impacts of video games have been a matter of public concern (Strasburger 2010). Though at times some video are rated as appropriate for all audience they still have some aspects of violence thus leaving more to be desired for in term of video games ratings.

Music videos
The music videos have noteworthy effects on the viewers for example they expose the viewers to violence as well as making teenagers endorse in premarital sex. This is because a high percentage of these videos have sexually explicit materials and another considerable percentage has violence which is mostly projected to women. These impacts on the children view and attitudes towards various sex roles in the society (Chandra, Martino and Collins 2008).

The internet has both the positive and negative effects to children and adolescents. The internet offers a variety of educational material, but there is a lack of editorial standards thus limiting the credibility of the internet as resourceful area to find academic materials.
A negative impact of the internet is its effects on the child postural development this is mainly caused by the long hours spends when watching the TV or using the computer. The long hours of sitting also leads to obesity, unsocial behaviors and addictive behavior (Strasburger, 2009).

Parents should aim at knowing the dangers associated with the use of the internet and when doing so they should also not fail to realize the benefits of the internet. This will ultimately lead to a reduction on the negative effects while majoring on the positive impacts. Parents ought to be encouraged to value the positive effects on the internet. In collaboration with the physicians, parents must be prepared to face the challenges posed by the internet and aim at reaping the benefits.

The two articles explore the effect the media has on children and people between the ages of 13-19 years. Gruber and Grude (2000) discuss the knowledge and data available about teen sexuality and further explore how it relates to exposure to sexual content. The Canadian pediatric Society (CPS) (2003) explores the relationship between various forms of media and the effect they have on teenage behavior. Gruber and Grube (2000) concentrate on television while the CPS (2003) and Nucci et al (2008) tackles the wider context of television, music videos and the internet and their relationship to teenage behavior.

High rates of sexual activity among the population between 13 and 20 years have worried stakeholders of the health profession. Gruber and Grube (2000) are of the opinion that it cannot be established conclusively that exposure to sexual content contributes to lower moral standards among teenager. Brown et al (2006) points out that long-term exposure may lead to teenager thinking what is depicted in television shows as is reality as teenagers have not developed the ability to make decisions on what is good for them as regard content sourced from the media. Chandra, Martino and Collins (2008) agrees with Gruber and Grube (2000) that exposure to sexual content simply does not mean a teenager will change his sexual attitude but other factors contribute significantly to sexuality at this age group. The article recommends further more specific studies on the relationship between access to sexual content and adolescent sexuality.

The CPS (2003) and Brown et al (2006) are more authoritative urging that music videos contribute to negative sexuality and violent character among those who watch them, CPS also takes a positive view of video games crediting them with the development of finer condition skills among their users.

The two articles link risky sexual behavior with exposure to sex natured content through the media. Collins et al (2004) and Gruber and Grube show that young people source most of their knowledge about sex from media sources. Gruber and Grube explore the data available on teenage sexuality showing increased sexual activity among teenager, high rates of pregnancy among under-age females and high STD infection rate, while CPS (2003) and (Collins, Elliott, Berry, et al 2004) associates this to content in music videos and other media. All three articles agree that further research needs to be conducted to establish the relationship between media content and child/teenage behavior development. Both also agree that medical professionals and parents need to be in the frontline in accessing and approving the type of media content and the duration and intensity of media usage that influence changes in character among the youth.

An advertiser can learn valuable lessons from the above articles while coming up with content for their advertisement (Collins et al 2004, p. 208). Advertisers of contraception can adopt media as the choice means delivering their marketing messages as the youth are known to get most of their information on sexual matters from the media (Rozendaal, Buijzen and Valkenburg, 2011). Advertisers who advertise products that touch on sexuality must be careful in the type of content they apply to their commercials as a advert suggestive adverts may influence teenagers to act in the way that advert depicts.

Brown, J.D, L’Engle, K.L., Pardun, al 2006. Sexy media matter: exposure to sexual content in music, movies, television, and magazines predicts black and white adolescents’ sexual behavior. Pediatrics 2006, vol 117, pp.1018–27.
Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) 2003, Impact of media use on children and youth, Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, vol 8(5).
Chandra, A., Martino, S.C., & Collins, R.L. 2008. Does watching sex on television predict teen pregnancy? Findings from a National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Pediatrics 2008, vol 122, pp.1047–54.
Collins, R.L, Elliott, M.N, Berry, S.H, et al 2004. Watching sex on television predicts adolescent initiation of sexual behavior. Pediatrics, vol 114, pp. 280.
Gruber, E. & Grube J. W. 2000, Adolescent sexuality and the media: a review of current knowledge and implications Western journal of medicine 172(3), pp.210–214. Viewed 26 march 2012,
Nucci, L., Narvaez, D., Hogan, M.J., Strasburger, 2008, Media and prosocial behavior in children and adolescents, In: Nucci L, Narvaez D, eds. Handbook of moral and character education, Erlbaum Mahwah , pp. 537–53.
Rozendaal, E., Buijzen, M., & Valkenburg, P. M. 2011, Children’s Understanding of Advertisers’ Persuasive Tactics. International Journal of Advertising, vol 30, pp. 329-350.
Strasburger, V 2009, Children, adolescents and the media: what we know, what we don’t know and what we need to find out (quickly!), Pediatrics vol 12, pp.756-767.
Strasburger, V. C. 2010, Children Adolescents, and the media Pediatrics 125, pp. 756-767, viewed 26 march 2012,
Strasburger, V.C., Wilson, B.J., &Jordan, A.B.2009, Children, adolescents, and the media, 2nd edition. Sage, Thousand Oaks.


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