Duhé, Sandra (Ed). (2012). New media and public relations. Second Edition. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.

This is one of the more recent books that that takes a thorough look at new and emerging media and public relations. Following the editor’s extremely well-written thematic analysis of the new media’s impact on public relations during the past three decades, the book is divided into these seven sections: contemporary theory, corporate applications, political and governmental applications, nonprofit applications, health applications, university applications, and crisis communication. The book contains 34 articles representing the work of more than 60 new media scholars including some of the top names in public relations research. A central theme throughout the book is that treating new media as a one-way information dissemination channel is detrimental to public relations, including to the organizations practitioners represent and the publics they serve. The book clearly encourages thoughtful and strategic approaches to new media and other communication environments. As the editor writes early in the book, “As long as technology evolves, so must our thinking.” This second edition of the book was prompted by the rapid growth and development of social media technologies. Although the book’s primary purpose is to serve as a text for undergraduate and graduate courses about public relations and new technologies, it contains an abundance of information practitioners will find useful.

What it means:

Although many public relations practitioners recently have expressed an interest in learning about scholarly research that could help them function more effectively, experience shows few of them have the time to search through academic journals in university libraries. This book packages the equivalent of more than a year’s worth of recently published research on the topic of social and other emerging media thus providing an extremely user-friendly way for those interested in simply buying a book and reading the material.


Book. 371 pages. Seven sections. 34 articles with a variety of methodologies

Key findings:

1)      One of the book’s articles shows how organizations are using Twitter and Facebook to build relationships and to communicate transparently and authentically.

2)      Another explains how companies cultivate relationships with publics on social networking sites.

3)      A chapter provides an in-depth look at Coombs and Holladay’s“Internet Contagion Theory that suggests online communication channels empower stakeholders.

4)      One of the articles discusses “reverse mentoring” where seasoned public relations professionals network with younger and more tech-savvy practitioners.

5)      Other articles pursue how social media was used effectively during crises such as the April 2011 tornado in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and the March 2011 earthquake in Tõkoku, Japan.

How to use:

This book could be used effectively as a refresher text by someone with considerable knowledge about new media and public relations as well as by the novice who wanted to quickly and conveniently have more than 30 recently written articles about social media in one package.

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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