Contemporary Issues Essay

Assessment item 1: Contemporary Issues Essay
Objective(s):a, b, c
Weighting: 30%
Due: In class Week 5
Length: 1500-1800 words
Task: Students work in groups to explore the academic literature that addresses the roles of public
communication, public relations and advertising in society. Students individually select two
academic journal articles (peer-reviewed) to review for the assignment. The lecturer will nominate
issues from which to choose a focus for the assignment. Students cite at least four academic
sources (other than the two reviewed articles) that provide an overview of the roles of these
practices/professions in society; they review the contribution of each of their articles to the debate.
Students should adopt a critical stance.
Public relations and advertising strategies and actions have consequences in society. This
assignment provides students with the opportunity to review and position specific articles for their
contributions to the academic literature on a particular issue related to these consequences and the
roles of public communication in society today. Students learn how to identify and assess academic
journal articles in their field of study. They become familiar with a critical approach to research and
Use UTSOnline:
You are expected to adhere to the guidelines posted on UTSOnline by the subject coordinator. The
choice of issues/questions will be posted online in Week 1. Further details about the assignment
are also included online: for example, How to get started, What is an issue?, What is critical?, What
is an academic journal article?
Although students work in groups to explore the literature, the assignments themselves are
individual efforts and are graded individually. Students should refer to the guidelines for
presentation of essays produced by the faculty. Please note, however, that a synopsis is not
required for this assignment. The format of this essay should include sub-headings, an introduction
to the issue, a brief summary of each article, discussion and review in the body of the essay, a
conclusion, references, and copies of the two journal articles in the appendices.
Criteria: Appropriateness of academic journal article selection
Integration of research in the review
Depth of critical analysis
Clarity of written expression
Accuracy of spelling and grammar
Conformity to UTS Harvard referencing style
Adherence to word limit.

3. What is the role of advertising in the public sphere?
B. On media effects
When scholars say that public relations and advertising are key discursive actors/activities in our society, they are arguing that these professional public communication practices and industries influence how we see ourselves, our communities and issues or eve nts that arise.

Media are integral to advertising practice and a large proportion of work in public relations. Debate and research have extended across decades on the effects the
media may produce with their particular constructions of reality; for example, innews, drama, and advertisements. These effects can be explored in many ways for so – called pro and anti social outcomes on individuals, cultures, etc.

Find an aspect of a debate about media effects that interests you and locate two articles that explore different views on this. Explain and compare their
points of view or research outcomes. How do these relate to other academic writing on this issue? How does the academic writing on this issue relate to advertising and/or public relations practice?

You may use examples when explaining the different aspects of the issue such as depictions of body images a nd any relationship to eating disorders or cosmetic
surgery, or media portrayals of violence and incidences of anti – social behaviours.

Basic research: eReadings for Week 4

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