CMNS 3551: Media and Public Relations

Students develop key skills and techniques used in the field of media and public relations, such as how to prepare and distribute press releases and media kits; how to arrange press conferences and media events; and how to coach organizational spokespersons in media relations.


After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain and apply best practice skills to carry out public relations functions for businesses and non-profit organizations
  • Evaluate, design and implement effective strategies for media interviews and news conferences
  • Evaluate, design and implement effective PR strategies for print, broadcast, and online media environments
  • Evaluate and produce professional press kits and written press releases

Course outline

CMNS 3551: Media and Public Relations is comprised of the following five units:

Unit 1: Public Relations – Overview, Ethics and Publics
Introduction to public relations and what to expect in the field, with an examination of the practical and theoretical. The importance of ethics and understanding publics is also addressed.

Unit 2: Tools of PR
Introduction to PR writing, the core pieces of public and media relations including a news release and full press kit. We will also examine public relations in a digital age with specific focus on social media practices and how best to speak to your desired audiences.

Unit 3: Media Relations
Introduction to working directly with media and building a proper media list. Preparing and giving interviews is also addressed.

Unit 4: Communications Plan
Introduction to the components of a PR plan which includes the development of strategic and tactical thinking behind a campaign.

Unit 5: Crisis Communications
Exploration of how to adapt communications and PR planning in the midst of a crisis situation at the organizational level.

Required text and materials

Cardin, M. and McMullan, K. (2014) Canadian PR for the Real World (1st ed.), Pearson Canada Inc., Toronto, ON
ISBN: 9780132154802


Please be aware that due to COVID-19 safety guidelines all in-person exams have been suspended. As such, all final exams are currently being delivered through ProctorU, which has an approximate fee of $35 involved. There will be more information in your course shell, on how to apply, if your course has a final exam.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course and 50% or higher on the mandatory Final Exam.

Assignment #1 – News Release 10%
Assignment #2 – Media Advisory 10%
Assignment #3 – Full Media Kit 20%
Assignment #4 – Full Communications Plan 20%
Assignment #5 – Crisis Communications Plan 10%
Final Exam * 30%
Total 100%

* Mandatory

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication through the Learning Environment’s “Mail” tool or by phone. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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