Author

Sommerfeldt

Date of Award

9-2007

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Maureen Taylor

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Kent

Third Advisor

Dr. Julie Apker

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

This thesis explores how an activist organization, MoveOn.org, is using the Internet to meet its public relations needs. MoveOn.org's Web site was analyzed to the extent that MoveOn engaged in three basic functions of public relations. Accordingly, this inquiry asked how MoveOn.org engaged in relationship-building with publics via email action alerts; agenda-stimulation through online information subsidies (press releases); and how MoveOn mobilized organizational resources on its Web site. Results show that MoveOn.org regularly engages in rhetorical relationship building through action alerts with its publics, mainly through Burke's identification by antithesis identification strategy. Keywords from MoveOn's press releases were used in a search to determine if mainstream media utilized MoveOn' s releases in information-gathering. Outside media sources did not use information from MoveOn's press releases in great frequency. Consequently, MoveOn missed an important opportunity to stimulate the national/social agenda. MoveOn's Web site and action alerts were coded for instances of resource mobilization features. MoveOn was found to engage in resource mobilization more heavily in its action alerts and in Web pages specific to unique campaigns. Overall, the data suggests that MoveOn engages in major public relations functions in a manner representative of a catalytic issues management strategy.

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