This module investigates the development and evolution of public relations as a discipline and profession. The module begins with a description of the purposes of public relations and the manner in which the public relations function deals with corporate problems and opportunities. Key topics dealt with include the interface between public relations and employee relations. Other aspects of public relations examined include media relations, community relations (including CSR), PR issues and crises management, investor relations, consumer relations and ethics. Areas examined include the codes of practice and regulation of PR; the relationship of PR and other elements of the communications mix; and PR's business, political and socio-economic context. Throughout the course, basic communications theories and their application in influencing perception, motivation, attitudes and behaviour are utilised in examining practical case studies. To this extent, key functional aspects of PR, which build upon the Media Skills unit taught in first year, are the importance of writing style and editorial skills; and the role of visual elements, such as photography and graphic design, within communications. The module allows students to explore the distinctive role of public relations as a discipline and develop a portfolio of skills, techniques and tools essential to the practice of public relations in today's people-oriented businesses. The course provides a comprehensive analysis of contemporary case studies in PR issues; including a selection of familiar current and classic precedent-setting cases. Case topics that students will examine include broad matters of public concern such as animal rights activism, GM foods and labelling, corporate environmental responsibility, the political correctness debate, unsafe products, and financial takeovers.