Information Strategies for Communicators
Kathleen A. Hansen, University of Minnesota
Nora Paul, University of Minnesota
Copyright Year: 2015
Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing
Conditions of Use
This book provides extensive conceptual and some applied understandings to strategic communication as regards three fields: PR, Journalism and Advertising. It does a more than adequate job of showing the readers how to progress through applying... read more
This book provides extensive conceptual and some applied understandings to strategic communication as regards three fields: PR, Journalism and Advertising. It does a more than adequate job of showing the readers how to progress through applying such things as careful audience analysis, deliberative message creation. There is no considerable discussion of message delivery or how to garner feedback after message delivery. It does not offer an overarching glossary of key terms, not does it have an index. The Table of Contents, however, is well developed and helps mitigate the lack of an index to a small extent.
The content does not display bias, In fact, the authors treat carefully and equitably the fundamentals of strategic communication across all three fields they address (PR, Advertising and Journalism). Some areas where the book could run the risk of being inaccurate due to new developments, for example in the legal or ethical arenas, are kept very short and fundamental, which minimizes the risk of inaccuracies.
This book is full of evergreen and fundamental information in such areas as researching, idea formation, message creation and message delivery. Since its 2015 inception, it displays no considerable "dated" aspects. The book does not provide specific case studies that could become quickly dated. The book's technical structure -- short sections within chapters that focus on fundamentals -- make it easy to update.
The prose is straightforward and jargon free. Any particular terms, for example within the research sections, are clearly contextualized.
Yes. This is a strong suit for the book as it clearly aligns relevant terms consistently with the three fields it speaking to.
This is a strong point for the book. As I teach in only one of the three fields it covers (PR), I find that the book clearly lays out particular understandings and applications to PR in clearly divided sections. It speaks to specific strategic communications aspects for that field that the reader does not necessarily have to read across other fields or other sections.
Yes. It importantly talks first about thinking of your aim, then understanding how that aim can align with various relevant audiences. Then how you distill that process down to the message and the sources used to inform your message. It then goes into several sections of how to better research (which is a real problem in PR campaigns, for example). The one weak spot is that the book does not discuss in detail aspects of dissemination and how to gather feedback after the dissemination.
No interface issues detected.
I saw no pattern of grammar/technical issues.
I saw no insensitive depictions. Many of the photos used seemed to disproportionately show white people, but that may be a function of what was freely available for the authors to use at the time they created this book.
A strong introductory text. The content is well-rounded and takes diligent care to address concerns from multiple perspectives without making assumptions about culture or the students' baseline knowledge. Some elements fall short of addressing... read more
A strong introductory text. The content is well-rounded and takes diligent care to address concerns from multiple perspectives without making assumptions about culture or the students' baseline knowledge. Some elements fall short of addressing communications challenges with an audience who do not understand the nature of information, or who have been systematically misinformed.
The authors go out of their way to present unbiased perspectives, and take diligence to describe the nature of bias.
Some elements fall short of addressing communications challenges with an audience who do not understand the nature of information, or who have been systematically misinformed. Greater address of educational challenges, 508 compliance/accessibility, and confirmation bias would be helpful.
Well written with overarching ideas presented first and details rounding out the picture.
Ideas, language, and scope are consistent.
Readers are not compelled to skip around to tie information together due to implementation of accessible language. The lessons behave well in modular fashion. Instructors who teach communications courses for specialized fields/industries will find this very helpful as a supplement to texts that address more specific content areas.
While each lesson moves from large ideas to smaller supportive concepts and details, a stronger approach to doing this with the entirety of the book would add another layer of precision.
The PDF version is less comprehensive than the online versions; table of contents and appendix not included, but resources available with the online version are well structured. Images in the PDF version are glitchy in the page layout.
Minimal grammatical errors. Some sentences read awkwardly, but in some places it encourages the reader to review the content to positive effect.
Authors establish trust and credibility by building a humanistic lens that embraces psychology, ethics, and responsible stewardship.
Overall a strong text for an introductory course in communications, or a supplementary text to communications related coursework.
It's difficult to try to cover, in one text, the basic roles of journalists, advertisers and other professional communicators. However, the authors cover these various professions well, providing examples in each chapter to help students see these... read more
It's difficult to try to cover, in one text, the basic roles of journalists, advertisers and other professional communicators. However, the authors cover these various professions well, providing examples in each chapter to help students see these roles. The authors explore each topic thoroughly. An example: the authors detail what a public library is. While this might cause eye rolls from instructors of a certain age, the authors realize that the audience -- college students -- might very well not have the context that we might expect them to have.
The authors provide accurate information, supplying sources when necessary (although they use Wikipedia for one reference). The authors present each subject in an unbiased manner.
The authors start the book by providing the basic attributes all employers seek when hiring people -- attributes that will never be obsolete. The analogies and references used by the authors ensure minimal updating of the text will be necessary. I would suggest more moments from journalism, PR, etc., that would engage students and present fodder for class discussion -- whether it's Time magazine's decision to alter OJ Simpson's mug shot on the magazine's cover, or PR person Justine Sacco's tweet that got her fired, these examples highlight real-world decisions and consequences.
The authors write in a breezy narrative, creating easy-to-read sections. The authors provide graphs when necessary to help students visualize concepts, and any jargon / technical terminology is explained clearly.
The text maintains a consistent tone, and the authors provide a framework that never alters, giving comfort to readers, who like to know what to expect.
All chapters first begin with key concepts: bulleted items detailing what students will learn. The next section highlights learning outcomes: what students will be able to do. These two sections offer a clear understanding for students in a concise format. The authors keep the chapters -- and the sections within each chapter -- short, bowing to today's audience. The shorter sections make reading palatable, even when students might find some of the content dry (the light at the end of the tunnel is never far away).
The authors begin the textbook with life skills before detailing any specific writing, research or interviewing skills needed by professional communicators. This strategy helps answer the question all students ask when introduced to a text: "Why should I care about this?" The authors then logically present their topics, following the opening section with the various types of media messages, before getting into the specific skills that great communicators must possess. The format does allow for instructors to jump around if they desire -- the text doesn't have to be presented in linear fashion.
There were no interface or navigation problems in this text.
The authors struggle at times, mainly with: * commas after introductory phrases * the Oxford comma * pronoun agreement with the subject * relative pronoun use * weak sentence structure (e.g. "There are" sentence constructions)
The text isn't culturally insensitive or offensive in any way.
Table of Contents
- Lesson 1. Personal / Professional Skills of Successful Communicators
- Lesson 2. Information Strategy Process and the Needs of Communicators
- Lesson 3. Question Analysis: From Assignment to Message
- Lesson 4. Question Analysis: Who's the Audience?
- Lesson 5. Question Analysis: What's the Topic?
- Lesson 6. Question Analysis: Who Contributes Information?
- Lesson 7. Question Analysis: What are the Ethical and Legal Considerations?
- Lesson 8. Research Skill: Searching
- Lesson 9. Research Skill: Interviewing
- Lesson 10. Research Skill: Evaluating Information
- Lesson 11. Research Skill: Managing and Synthesizing Information
- Lesson 12. Information Resources: Publications
- Lesson 13. Information Resources: Public Records
- Lesson 14. Information Resources: Data and Statistics
- Lesson 15. Information Resources: Polls and Surveys
- Lesson 16. Message Tasks: Applying What You've Learned
About the Book
Written by two nationally recognized experts in information strategy, Information Strategies for Communicators leads students step-by-step through the information search and evaluation process for news and strategic communication message production. The book includes a conceptual model of the information strategy process, case studies to illustrate the process in action, and links to current examples throughout.
The definitive text for the information search and evaluation process as practiced by news and strategic communication message producers. Currently used at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication; JOUR 3004W/V, Information for Mass Communication.
About the Contributors
Kathleen Hansen is a professor and director of undergraduate studies at the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. She received her M.L.S. and M.A. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her research centers around the preservation of digital and print news archives, information access and serious games in the news.
Nora Paul is the Director of the Institute for New Media Studies at the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. She received her M.L.S. and B.A. degrees from Texas Women's University.