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Summary of Scholarly Article

Topic: Summary of Scholarly Article
Order Description
Worth 212.5 points total.
First draft = 100 points, due by noon Mon. 2/20
Final version = 112.5 points, due by midnight Fri. 4/14
Purpose: Students will apply their critical reading, summarizing and writing skills to this deliverable. Students will learn to adjust their writing to fit the audience. Students will also determine and interpret their readability scores.
Scenario: You are an assistant account executive at the public relations firm ACME Public Relations, where the Commission on Public Relations Education (CPRE; see HYPERLINK “https://www.commpred.org” https://www.commpred.org) is a new client.
ACME strongly believes in the professional development and continuing education of its staff. To that end, the monthly newsletter (delivered as a Word and PDF document to staffers’ emails and available on the firm’s Intranet) runs a regular column that you write. In “I Read It So You Don’t Have To,”
This is a riff on the title of former weekly column in The Washington Post, “We Watch So You Don’t Have To,” written by Lisa de Moraes, the paper’s former television columnist.
you summarize an interesting scholarly research article about public relations for the newsletter’s non-academic audience, namely your ACME colleagues.
The scholarly article chosen for your upcoming column explored what experienced public relations professionals think of the writing skills of entry-level public relations practitioners (viz., Cole, Hembroff, & Corner, 2009). What they think is not good.
NOTE: The study is provided as a PDF file in the course folder. We will use this study throughout the course. For the sake of this and other course deliverables, pretend that the CPRE funded the study. It did not [the Public Relations Society of America did in part], but let’s pretend that it did. We are also assuming that the Cole et al. study has just been released, which is not the case since its publication date is 2009 and it’s 2016 now.
Execution of Tasks:
Before writing anything:
Read HYPERLINK “https://libguides.unf.edu/c.php?g=177086&p=1163776” https://libguides.unf.edu/c.php?g=177086&p=1163776
Brooks, P. (2002). Writing articles and newsletters: An easy step-by-step guide.Havant, UK: Crimson ebooks (downloadable as an ebook/PDF via the UMUC Library).
Before reading the Cole et al. (2009) study, look at the following materials. They will help you read it in a more critical (meaning, thoughtful) way:
Cohen’s (n.d.) “Guidelines for Critical Reading,” (in the Week 1 course folder)
The Center for Media Literacy’s critical news reading guidelines (in the Week 1 course folder
Then read the Cole et al. study. BUT ?
Avoid the abstract! It will plant too many ideas in your head, like how seeing a movie does before you’ve read the book. It’s harder to come up with your own mental images once the movie’s images are in your head. It’s a similar thing with the abstract and this deliverable.
What’s my endgame with this piece?
Your operational goal is, of course, to write an engaging, well-written piece for your PR firm’s internal employee newsletter.
Your mission goals are:
to get your colleagues thinking about practitioners’ writing skills in the PR industry generally and at ACME PR specifically and
to help familiarize your colleagues with ACME’s newest client, the CPRE, and CPRE’s mission and work.
Now it’s time to write:
Adopt the role of “writing alchemist”:
Transform this long, scholarly article into a compelling summary that your audience can understand and find relevant. This is not so different from writing a good, old- fashioned book report.
Summarize and distill the main points of the study so your audience can get the main takeaways from the Cole et al. article without actually having to read it. After all, your column isn’t called “I Read It So You Don’t Have To” for nothing! But don’t pull a Big Nate:
Tease out the article’s findings your audience will find most meaningful. Consider what about this study might be useful to them as they do their public relations jobs, mentor interns, interview recent college graduates for entry-level assistant account executive positions and so forth.
Your firm’s new client funded this study, so your article should not criticize or poke holes in it. Be diplomatic. You are not “developing a critical response” (Fowler & Aaron, 2016, p. 157).
Your piece is supposed to be friendly and interesting. Your column has a playful, clever name. Consider writing in the first person. Maybe break down that “fourth wall” between you – the writer – and the readers, by directly engaging them with rhetorical questions or questions à la “What do you think your supervisor thought of your writing when you first started out in PR?”
Use one of the outlining strategies suggested by Kallan (2012; e.g., piling) or LBH (aka Fowler & Aaron, 2016), covered in the Week 2 lecture notes, to develop the structure of your newsletter article.
Students may find that the five-paragraph essay format useful, but don’t feel bound by that length or structure.
DO feel bound by these parameters:
Your deliverable-as-newsletter column may not go beyond one 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, formatted with:
one-inch margins all around.
a 12-point font such as Times Roman.
lines single spaced.
three columns (mimicking the appearance of the actual newsletter). In Word, click open “Page Layout” and then “Columns.” Choose the three-column format.
Place your name and column title (“I Read It So You Don’t Have To”) in a header, so to reserve your column “inches,” of which you have 27 (I think!), for the text of your column.
After writing your first/rough draft:
Run the draft through the spell/grammar checker and proofread to catch any obvious issues.
Then, determine your readability score in Word. These are the instructions for Word 2007 but it should be a similar process for more current versions of Word:
Click on the spelling/grammar checker icon as if you are running the checker on a document. In the box that pops up, place a check in the box next to “Check Grammar,” if it is not already checked. Then click on “Options” in the lower left corner of the pop-up box. Check “Show readability statistics” under the “When correcting spelling and grammar in Word” category.
Jot down all of the readability statistics that pop up on the screen:
number of words, sentences and paragraphs;
the average number of words per sentence and sentences per paragraph;
the percentage of passive sentences;
your Flesch reading ease score; and
your Flesch-Kincaid grade level score.
After running those readability statistics:
Put your first/rough draft away for a sufficient amount of time (ideally, at least one day).
Engage in some strategic rewriting of your deliverable-as-newsletter column. Consider your diction and syntax. What about the style of your writing? Is it engaging and compelling? Does it fit a column playfully named “I Read It So You Don’t Have To?” Have you captured the overall gist of the study’s findings and any particularly outstanding points for your audience? Is it in final form (even though it’s considered a first draft for the purposes of this course)?
Then, run your readability stats again on this final version and jot them down.
Prior to/during submitting your deliverable to me, please note in the Student Text Box:
your first set of readability statistics, and
your set of your post-rewrite statistics.
Fowler, H. R., & Aaron, J. E. (2016). The Little, Brown handbook (13th ed.). Upper Saddle
River, NJ: Pearson.

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