Archive for July 2009

The First International History of Public Relations Conference is to be held at Bournemouth University in England on July 8 and 9, 2010. The Conference was announced recently and already has had very positive indications that people and papers will be coming from afar afield as Australia, South Africa, Namibia, Germany, North America and the UK.

The Call for Papers  (below) is now being distributed and it offers a very wide range of PR history themes and the opportunities to present Research Papers, Working Papers and Posters.



 8-9 July 2010

Centre for Public Communication Research (CPCR)

The Media School, Bournemouth University

Poole, England

Academics, practitioners and research students are invited to submit competitive abstracts and papers for presentation at The First International History of Public Relations Conference.

This conference will be the first international opportunity for academic researchers, historians, interested practitioners and research students to meet, present papers and discuss this emerging area of research.

Full Papers – 3000 to 6000 words

Working Papers – 1500 to 3000 words


Papers and posters for presentation at the conference will be selected, after peer review, on the basis of abstracts, of no more than a single page length. Author details must be printed on a separate sheet and the author(s) should not be identified in the abstract.

Manuscripts of the selected papers are to be submitted using Harvard referencing and according to the Journal of Communication Management editorial style found at: . The manuscript should be in MS WORD format, in 1.5 line spacing and 12 point font size.


Submission of abstracts: December 7, 2009

Acceptance notification (by email): January 18, 2010

Submission of selected papers: April 26, 2010

All accepted abstracts will be published in the conference programme, which will be available online. A selection of full papers will be published in a Special Issue of the Journal of Communication Management in late 2010.

Conference Themes

As this is the first international conference on the History of Public Relations, the range of conference themes is wide and those listed below are the starting point for consideration, rather than a finite list.

  • Public relations in history before it became a named or defined discipline
  • Alternative approaches to the history of public relations, e.g. on the basis of culture (personal networks and influence) or via definitions of public relations
  • The evolving naming of the field from propaganda and press agentry to corporate communications
  • The history of public relations and its developing or diverging relationships with other disciplines like marketing, HR, legal and corporate governance
  • The evolution of public relations in nations or parts of government or industry
  • Seminal personalities or events that shaped the formation of public relations as a discipline (This can also include challenges to the “Great Man” or “Great Woman” approach)
  • Key books or articles (or series of both) that have influenced public relations
  • The history of political public relations and lobbying
  • The history of public relations education
  • The evolution of public relations theory(ies) over time – from propaganda to dialogue; the history of schools of thinking in public relations
  • Formative influences on public relations theory and practice, such as in or by government, industry or consultancy
  • The formation of industry and professional bodies and their impact, over time, on public relations practice and education
  • The evolution of public relations education, training and continuing professional development
  • The impact of technology, over time, upon public relations practice and theory
  • Archival sources for the history of public relations
  • The theories and processes of researching the history of public relations
  • Oral histories of public relations; the role of this methodology

Please send abstracts to Dr Tom Watson, Conference Chair, The Media School, Bournemouth University, email:


If you have used PR research and measurement extensively in one of your PR campaigns this past year, you should consider entering the Jack Felton Golden Ruler Award for Excellence in PR Measurement & Evaluation

Entries of all types are welcome – including research using social media!  The award recognises superb examples of research used to support public relations practice. Winners are feted at the Institute for Public Relations’ Summit on Measurement in October held at Portsmouth, NH, near Boston in the US, and it’s quite a big deal. But hurry!  Entries are due on Saturday, August 15. 

Here’s How to Enter, and see these examples of previous winners’ entries: Padilla Speer Beardsley’s Winning Entry 2007 or Shell’s Award Winning Entry 2008 for ideas – and there are more on the site. 

By the way, the Award was named for Jack Felton, who was formerly CEO of the Institute for PR, and instrumental in creating the Commission on PR Measurement & Evaluation.  He is highly respected and much loved throughout the industry worldwide.

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