Date of Award

5-2014

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Vanessa Murphree, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to better understand how public relations campaigns that are designed to influence public policy can incorporate principles from James E. Grunig’s Excellence Theory to improve campaign effectiveness and relevance. In this case study of the Mississippians for Healthy Families campaign in opposition to Mississippi Proposition 26, social media distributed was viewed to analyze its content messages and practices. The study’s research question was designed to understand communication methods used by Mississippians for Healthy Families through the “No on 26” campaign, and the question was examined through a content analysis of materials collected from MS4HealthyFamilies on Twitter, Mississippians For Healthy Families on Facebook, votenoon26.org, and plannedparenthood.org. The findings of this study contribute to the current understanding of public relations theory through review of specific tactics and practices of the organization, which can be applied to public relations campaigning for public policy change as a whole. Excellence theory principles found through the content analysis of this study suggest that practice of formative research, symmetrical communication and relationship building with key publics are important to campaign success.

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