My Summer Research on CEOs and the Media


Over the summer, I spent six weeks at PRIME Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. thanks to the Grunig PRIME Research Fellowship. Although a wonderful opportunity, splitting up the Blake and Nicole bestie duo was difficult! I was able to get over the short separation and, as part of the fellowship, I did a research project on CEOs and media relations. Below is a snippet of a column I wrote for the Institute for Public Relations about it. Click through to read more, it’s short and written for practitioners, not academics (a.k.a you’re going to understand it and it may be useful!):

Me with my award in my living room since the Nor’easter a few weeks ago cancelled my flight to NYC 😦

CEOs are often the face of a company, but having a visible, or even well liked, CEO may not help a company’s reputation in all situations. This is a topic I explored over the summer with PRIME Research thanks to the Grunig PRIME Fellowship. Specifically, I looked at how the tone and visibility of CEO media coverage is related to the tone and visibility of overall organization coverage.

The first big takeaway is not all publicity is good publicity… {Read more.}

If you want to dive into the numbers and check out the full paper, you can download it here.

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PR is Math


We’ve all heard it at least once, “I got into PR because I suck at math”. Sorry, but if you suck at math or don’t like math, you probably aren’t going to get very far in your PR career. There, I said it. Now stop making the rest of us look bad.

You can be a great communicator and have creative ideas, but unless you can show your organization or client the impact of your efforts through research and evaluation, they will have no reason to keep you around. Research means measurement and measurement means math. You have to be able to understand statistics to show your client their ROI.

So, now that we agree that you need to at least tolerate math if you want to be a successful PR practitioner, what about those who love math (yes, we’re out there)? You know, the few of us who get giddy over statistics. Well, one option is academia. There will always be a need for passionate PR professors who give back to the field through research and education. But, that’s not the only option for math lovers.

Somewhere between traditional practitioners (media relations, community relations, etc.) and academia is the world of applied research. This is a world that I will explore this summer in Ann Arbor, Michigan at PRIME Research as part of a research fellowship I was rewarded. PRIME’s services include advanced media analytics and stakeholder surveys to aid in planning and evaluation.

PRIME is not the only agency out there that values research. If you love stats and PR, but aren’t sure about teaching, a career in applied research may be something to explore. I suggest checking out the Institute for Public Relations to learn more about the research side of PR. Are you now drooling over these possibilities? If so, get back to analyzing some data on SPSS!