CSU Professor Recognized for Research on PIO-Journalist Relationships

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Christopher McCollough, a Columbus State University assistant professor of communication, has won recognition as author of the top 2014 paper in the Public Relations Division of one of the nation's largest regional communication groups, the Southern States Communication Association.

McCollough, who joined CSU's faculty in 2012, will present his Top Paper in Public Relations, "State Government Media Relations: Revisiting the "Adversarial" PIO-Journalist Relationship," at the annual SSCA conference in New Orleans in April.

McCollough's paper focuses on the working relationship between journalists and public information officers representing state agencies in three states, characteristics of agency PIOs that affect those relationships and strategies PIOs can employ to improve those relationships. McCollough conducted about 20 extensive interviews, divided almost evenly among PIOs and journalists, in researching the topic. The paper was part of a study that included 60 such interviews and three months of observation at 10 agencies within three states’ governments, which was the basis of research that led to his Ph.D. in mass communication and public affairs from Louisiana State University.

McCollough earned both his master's and bachelor's degrees in communication from Virginia Tech. At CSU, McCollough helps coordinate the curriculum in CSU's public relations degree concentration.

CSU's Department of Communication, based in Carpenters Hall on CSU's RiverPark campus, also offers conventional Bachelor of Arts degree tracks in mass media and communication studies, as well as an online three-year B.A. in communication with a civic leadership focus.

Founded in 1930, Southern States is one of the nation’s oldest communication associations, with 743 current members, mostly faculty at colleges and universities, conducting research in 21 divisions and interest groups.

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