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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M journalism professor contributes to PR textbook

Joseph Basso and Randall Hines, public relations professors and Aggies, were tired of using bad examples of “good” public relations writing in their classrooms. In response, the two joined together to write a textbook to train aspiring and practicing public relations practitioners.
“Overall, the quality of public relations writing has been deplored by experts,” said Hines, associate professor of public relations at Susquehanna University. “We’re hoping that this text will provide some skills to reverse such criticism. This should prove to be a gold mine for such inexperienced writers.”
Hines and Basso, assistant professor of public relations and advertising at Rowan University, invited Douglas Starr, professor of agriculture journalism at Texas A&M, to guest write a chapter in the book titled “The Writer’s Toolbox: A Comprehensive Guide for PR and Business Communication.”
“Working with Doug Starr at A&M from 1987-1991 was an honor,” Hines said. “He’s a fine gentleman with a wealth of knowledge about public relations and writing. It was our privilege to ask (Starr) to guest write one of the chapters in our book.”
Starr wrote the chapter on speech ghostwriting, a subject that is not taught at A&M.
“It’s a practical how-to chapter about speech writing,” Hines said.
Starr, Basso and Hines were no strangers to each other before writing the book. Basso and Hines were graduate students at A&M and received their doctorates from A&M in educational public relations.
“Our training at A&M provided us with great teaching opportunities in PR,” Hines said.
Kori Serpas, Class of 2003 and a former journalism major, said her studies under Starr helped her understand public relations.
“My directed studies were public relations when I was in college, and Dr. Starr’s teachings progressed my understanding of the PR world to the max,” she said.
The content of the book covers issues a public relations practitioner faces and teaches the theories, practices and principles of public relations, Starr said.
Starr said the textbook addresses issues in other professions as well.
“It teaches writing,” Starr said. “When you get into the field your main contact will be a PR person. You ask that PR person to get you in to see the boss. He opens doors for you. PR gives you aid in getting that big story.”
Because of the closing of A&M’s journalism department in the spring of 2004, this textbook will not be a required text for students at A&M.
“It’s unfortunate that the department is closed now,” Serpas said. “However, the fundamental principle of PR and journalism is knowing how to write. It seems that with Starr as one of the authors and the other two knowing him in one way or another, this text will benefit many students at A&M.”
The book will be available for purchase in January.

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