THE IDENTIFICATION, STATUS AND INFLUENCE OF SCHOOL-COMMUNITY RELATIONS DIRECTORS OF SELECTED ARIZONA PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS (COMMUNICATIONS, INFORMATION).
AuthorASHBY, SUZANNE KAY LEADLOVE.
KeywordsPublic relations -- Arizona -- Public schools.
Public schools -- Arizona.
Community newspapers -- Arizona.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which Arizona public school districts had a designated school-community relations director position with a clearly defined "gatekeeper" role and to determine the effectiveness of this role as perceived by newspaper editors and as evidenced by newspaper coverage of various news topics. Two different questionnaires and a topic analysis of newspaper stories were methods used to collect data. One questionnaire, responded to by 87 superintendents of Arizona school districts having enrollments of more than 800, pertained to the status of the position of school-community relations director and to school-press relationships. Data collected by this instrument was used to categorize districts into 18 different groups on the bases of district size, district type, and the employment of school-community relations personnel. A representative school district was selected from each category and editors of the newspapers serving those particular districts were contacted. Eleven different editors responded to a questionnaire or telephone interview pertaining to school-press relations and news coverage. Specific issues of the designated newspapers were then analyzed to identify the number and direction of different school news topics. In addition, an analysis of job descriptions submitted by school-community relations personnel determined specific functions of the position. The major findings of the study included: (1) Twenty-nine full- or part-time school-community relations directors were identified, who to some extent served as "gatekeeper" between their districts and the newspapers. (2) Although school-community relations directors expressed high priority on press-related activities, the amount of news coverage pertaining to these districts in most instances did not reflect this priority. Districts without school-community relations personnel appeared to receive just as much news coverage as those districts which did employ someone in the position. (3) School-community relations personnel perceived relations with newspapers to be much more positive than did newspaper editors. (4) Virtually no differences existed in the number of different topics nor in the direction of coverage between news about school districts employing school-community relations directors and districts that did not. Additional findings pertained to job roles, news sources, positive press-school relationships, and types of news topics.
Degree ProgramEducational Foundations and Administration