National Communication Association
365 Days of Communication Research:
Public Relations Division Call
The Centennial Committee is asking NCA interest groups to help us celebrate NCA’s centennial throughout the year of 2014. We are inviting interest groups to contribute ten 100-150 word descriptions of the most important concepts, theories, and research discoveries in the discipline of Communication Studies.
We’re calling on NCA interest group to work with their members to create and submit short, accessible summaries that will be posted daily on the NCA website during 2014. Our hope is to promote our scholarship in a clear, succinct way that can be employed and referenced by educators inside and outside of our discipline, members of the media, and the public at large.
The Public Relations Division is asking members of our division to contribute ten 100-150 word submissions that summarize and assess the impact of a concept, theory, or research discovery from your area of the discipline of Communication. Your submissions should be written to appeal to, and be understood by, lay audiences, and refrain from incorporating specialized jargon and quotes. Included are two samples below.
This is a wonderful opportunity for us to work together to celebrate, disseminate, and enhance the ideas and research NCA has generated in the 100 years since it was founded. Accepted submissions will be posted daily to the NCA website throughout the year, starting on the date of NCA’s founding, November 28th, and our goal is to have 365 unique, diverse ways to elevate the most impactful features of our discipline.
Please submit your public relations submissions as an email document attachment, as well as any inquiries, to Michael J. Palenchar, NCA Public Relations Division Chair & Associate Professor, University of Tennessee, at email@example.com. Deadline is Friday, July 12.
Thank you in advance for helping NCA celebrate the centennial and to bring our research to our communities.
Zac Gershberg Dawn O. Braithwaite
California State University, Stanislaus NCA Past President
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
In his 1950 book, A Rhetoric of Motives, Kenneth Burke (1897-1993) developed a theory of rhetoric grounded in the identification that is fostered between a speaker and an audience. This process occurs prior to, and with more impact than, rhetorical appeals that are limited to consistent, sound logic. Audiences are most likely to be moved to agreement when they share similarities with the source of the rhetoric. An example of this noted by Burke was how American politicians pretend to be humble rural folk while campaigning for office. Burke did, however, observe and warn of the implications of division that result when identification is sought; as a public comes together, it necessarily excludes those who don’t belong. Nazi Germany serves as a dangerous example of this tension: while Adolph Hitler rallied people around Aryan purity, this identification also required the hostile exclusion and expulsion of Jewish persons.
Research Discovery Example
There is no greater challenge to parents than the death of a child. As parents seek to deal with their grief, they are often disheartened to discover how difficult it is to talk to one another about their child’s death. Paige Toller’s study of the communication of grieving parents was published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research in 2009. The couple might be especially challenged to find that they grieve differently from their spouse. One may want to be open and talk about it and the other wishes grieve more privately. Toller describes five communication practices to help parents give each other freedom to grieve in their own way and stay connected as a couple: learning to accept differences, listening with empathy, compromising in ways that help the spouse and honor one’s own needs, seeking outside help, and finding supportive family and friends.