By Abraham Cabrera
Do you know what public relations classes to take in spring 2020? It’s important to enroll in classes that will help you gain broad knowledge and specific skills that will be applicable post-graduation. The Department of Journalism & Public Relations at CSULB offers a large spectrum of unique and creative classes that provide students the opportunity to venture into something new. However, considering how many courses are offered, it can be challenging finding the right course for you. Here are seven of my personal favorite courses (in descending order) that you should take while striving to obtain your minor.
1. JOUR 270: Principles of Public Relations
This course is one of the first pre-requisites that you have to take in order to pursue the public relations minor. The class exposes new students to PR through assignments that introduce terminology, history, concepts, and theories. The reason why I choose this course as number seven is simply because there is a lot of information that you have to learn and comprehend in order to be successful. One of the most important concepts that is discussed in JOUR 270 is the four steps of the public relations process: research, planning, implementation and evaluation. Lastly, ethics, social responsibility, global perspectives, and diversity are also examined and discussed. JOUR 270 is an important class and has a lot of useful information, but it can be a little difficult to grasp all of the theories presented. If you are able to pass JOUR 270, you will be one step closer to achieving a minor in public relations.
2. JOUR 350: Writing in Spanish for Journalism and PR
You have to complete JOUR 120: Newswriting and Ethics with a grade of “C” or better before enrolling in JOUR 350, but I would highly recommend this course to any Spanish speakers. You will be able to take your bilingual skills and develop professional writing skills while practicing cultural competence. This is important when considering that you will have an improved perspective for how you can reach and target the Spanish-speaking audience. Students will also be responsible for writing and editing articles, pitch letters, blogs, social media posts, press releases, and other forms of communications utilized by public relations professionals. Students who take this course will have an advantage over their competition because not only are they bilingual, but they can also demonstrate how to effectively use Spanish in a professional environment.
3. JOUR 471: Public Relations Management and Campaigns
If you are a student who dreams about working in an agency setting, then this class has to be in your spring schedule. This is one of the most influential and effective courses I have personally taken, simply because it actually places you in real life situations and prepares you for what a career at a public relations agency would look like. JOUR 471 has students develop a public relations plan for a real client, which involves an oral presentation and a formal written plan. Prerequisites for this course include JOUR 374 or JOUR 375 with a grade of “C” or better. This course should be taken by anyone who would like to experience working in an agency.
4. JOUR 478: Public Relations Case Studies
This is another one of those mandatory courses for achieving a minor in public relations and prerequisites include JOUR 120 and JOUR 270 with a grade of “C” or better. This class is ranked number four on my list because the course places students in unique and chaotic environments, which is important in the world of public relations because you never know what form of communication you’ll have to use in your post-grad career. Students are taught to analyze case studies and explore decision-making processes in several different areas of public relations. The course gives students the experience of how to maneuver through community relations, multicultural relations, investor relations, media relations, crisis communications, and marketing communications.
5. JOUR 498: Internship
This is the most interesting course offered at CSULB and I highly recommend this class to all public relations students. Your main task is to get an internship for the duration of the semester that will provide you with practical journalism or public relations experience. After securing your internship, the class instructor will also provide seminars and workshops to facilitate professional development and career building. Not only are you working in an outside internship, but you are also carefully guided and advised on how to effectively use your internship to your benefit and secure a job post-grad. The prerequisite for this course is simply senior standing or consent form the instructor. But, you also must have your internship approved by the instructor prior to the class starting.
6. JOUR 305: Media Design
This course is exactly what it sounds like and it is by far the most creative and unique course that I have taken at CSULB. JOUR 305 gives students actual experience in design of online and printed materials through theories, principles and techniques of contemporary media design. I would recommend this course to anyone who would like to improve their skills in programs such as InDesign, Photoshop and Microsoft Word. The professor is helpful and gives students the opportunity to really walk away from the class with proficient skills in media design which can be extremely useful in a public relations career. The prerequisite for JOUR 305 is achieving a “C” or better in JOUR 120.
7. JOUR 470: Digital Tools for Public Relations
Ok I know this may seem extremely biased because this blog post is an assignment for JOUR 470, but I honestly recommend this course to every public relations student. The reason why I ranked this course number one on my list is because of the several relevant concepts that are discussed. The course examines the opportunities and challenges that are presented to public relations practitioners in today’s digital age. Social media has evolved to become a large part of everyone’s daily habits and considering how often our society engages with social media, it’s important to understand how to use social media to your advantage. Students are taught the best practices in digital public relations which include search engine optimization, social media strategies and media monitoring. Professor Newton does an excellent job explaining all of these new concepts and tools that are used in some of the most successful companies. JOUR 470 is the perfect balance of educating students with real life scenarios that can be easily applied to our daily life, while providing concepts that can be easily overlooked, but are important for social media success. Prerequisites for this class include a “C” or better in JOUR 120 and JOUR 270.
Ultimately everyone will have their personal preferences of what classes they would like to take, but this list is merely meant to provide an alternative perspective for what you can except in these classes. You can also find all classes available for the spring 2020 semester on the CSULB enrollment website. In conclusion, there is no right or wrong path for how you can obtain your public relations minor, but it’s reassuring knowing there are several different enjoyable and compelling courses offered to students.
If you would like to learn more about the public relations major or minor, I advise joining the Public Relations Student Society of America club here on campus. You can increase your network while getting the opinions of others who have also taken and completed public relations courses. Join PRSSA by clicking going to their website: http://www.prssalb.com/join.html.
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