Texas public relations association members' perceptions of an academic major in agricultural communications and journalism



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The purpose of this study was to determine Texas Public Relations Association (TPRA) members' perception of the word agriculture and how that perception influences perceptions of the skills and qualifications of graduates from agricultural communications and journalism (AGCJ) programs. A researcher-developed electronic questionnaire was used for data collection. Of accessible population of 148 TPRA members, 83 responded to the questionnaire, yielding a response rate of 56.08%. This descriptive study found that TPRA members did not have a negative perception of agriculture or the AGCJ major, but there was a lack of awareness of the AGCJ major and respondents had low self-perceived agricultural knowledge. Writing, interpersonal skills, public relations, editing, and media relations were considered to be the five most important skills in the public relations profession; however, AGCJ graduates were perceived to be only somewhat competent in these skills. Respondents ranked AGCJ as seventh of eight majors according to how well prepared graduates were perceived to be for entry-level public relations positions. Results indicated a positive correlation between awareness of the AGCJ major and perception of the major; therefore, the lack of awareness influenced the less positive perception of the major.