MP6034 - Current Affairs in Public Relations

What will I learn on this module?

This module aims to develop your understanding of the relationship between contemporary issues and Public Relations, and how both shape each other. You will learn to analyse current affairs and issues in Public Relations in the light of contemporary PR theory. You are encouraged to develop a broader knowledge of issues and developments in Public Relations by investigating the issues raised by the tutor and your peers during the seminar sessions. You are expected to read widely in PR theory, and keep abreast of current affairs and contemporary issues affecting practice.

How will I learn on this module?

The module is taught via a 3-hour session involving lectures, seminars and interactive discussions. You will exit the module with an advanced understanding of the key concepts and debates in the Public Relations industry globally.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported in a variety of manners: the module tutor is available to discuss issues both during and outside scheduled teaching. Tutors can discuss issues during pre-determined Office Hours each week, and also via email. Additionally, information, teaching materials and other support is available through the Electronic Learning Portal system.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

KU1: Demonstrate a critical awareness of current affairs in PR in the context of PR theory.

KU2: Demonstrate specialist, pathway-specific knowledge of the issues, themes and scholarly debates that characterise the study and practice of public relations.

KU3: Demonstrate the analytical and interpretive skills required to formulate and justify independent critical viewpoints regarding complex issues within Public Relations.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

IPSA1: Display your ability to work independently, and in groups to demonstrates an appropriately sophisticated understanding of Public Relations.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural Awareness, Ethics, Curiosity)
PVA1: Demonstrate an appropriately nuanced understanding of the social, ethical, political and/or cultural contexts that situate Public Relations practice

How will I be assessed?

The module will be summatively assessed by the submission of a portfolio (3000 words) worth 100% that consists of six blog posts of 500 words each.

Each seminar of this module will link to the theme of the preceding lecture. All students are expected to bring one item to contribute to themed seminar discussions by explaining why it is relevant to the subject and interesting to share.

Items could include: a company news release, a newspaper clipping, journal paper, twitter threads, research papers by the CIPR or PRCA, a speech or even reference to a TV/Radio programme or podcast. Students can then choose five subjects on which to write a blog about their chosen item and how it contributed to the theme and to reflect on the key issues raised during the class discussion.

The final blog post must be used to reflect on PR as a ‘management discipline’ drawing on a range of material explored during module lectures and discussions.

All blogs must include reference at least one theoretical concept that is relevant to the theme discussed.

You will receive formative feedback on your understanding of the relationship between Public Relations theory and current affairs during class discussions. These will test your ability to critically engage with issues relating to the application of Public Relations theory in an academic fashion and allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the issues and concepts raised. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your ideas with your peers.

Under normal circumstances, you will receive written feedback on your summative submissions within 20 working days. The feedback will normally be supplied electronically as part of the ESAF process. This feedback will provide a detailed account of your research/methodological skills, critical engagement and communicative ability, as well as supporting future learning by indicating areas for development. You can also request additional verbal feedback on your submissions by arranging a meeting with the module tutor.





Module abstract

This module challenges you to analyse current affairs in Public Relations in the light of contemporary PR theory. You will develop a specialised knowledge of issues and developments facing the Public Relations industry by examining case studies and contemporary subject debates. These range from ethical PR to the growing use of social media and other contemporary issues such as AI, globalisation, diversity and the role of PR in current affairs more generally Having this knowledge is crucial for your future employment as this knowledge and these ways of applying knowledge are an integral part of PR practice.

Course info

UCAS Code P3P2

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Arts

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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