Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

MA Public Relations


Communication and the Arts


Renee Robinson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

McKenna Schray, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ruth Tsuria, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gregory Stevens, M.A.T.


higher education, public relations, digital journalism, prospective students, college, university, website, feature story, engagement


Higher education institutions (HEI) are facing increasing competition for student enrollment. Studies indicate that websites are now the main source of a prospective student’s information-gathering process, but little research has been done on how higher education institutions can operationalize their websites as functions of public relations to persuade prospective students to apply. This project investigates how concepts of digital journalism can be used to create online feature stories that engage prospective students. A case study was conducted that included an examination of digital journalism literature, an analysis of digital journalism and public relations textbooks, and a content analysis of college feature stories. Findings guided the creation of an instructional website for student workers, teaching actionable items on reporting topics, storytelling with visuals, engaging audiences, and attributing content within the framework of higher education public relations.